South Florida’s cannabis community will never be the same after last week’s mega-marijuana event, Southeast Cannabis Conference and Expo in Fort Lauderdale. Headlined by talk show host and veteran, Montel Williams and great pro athletes like Marvin Washington and Florida favorite Ricky Williams, SECC is the state’s first full-scale cannabis expo and conference and the state’s largest marijuana-themed conference and trade show.

The two-day event, sponsored by WeedMaps, FlavRx, Advanced Nutrients, and dozens of other cannabis and media businesses featured over 100 exhibitors, dozens of speakers and classes in both working and investing in the industry and attracted speakers, exhibitors and attendees from as far away as Hawaii.

As expected, the event attracted major canna-business celebrities like Cheryl Shuman, but also on hand were dozens of Florida’s own cannabis reformer heroes. In addition to the event being co-sponsored by the Florida Cannabis Coalition and Regulate Florida (the state’s new legalization initiative), United for Care’s Ben Pollara (from the successful 2016 ballot measure) and renown cannabis lawyer Michael Minardi spoke throughout the convention.

Former national NORML executive director, Norm Kent gave one of the keynotes, and Central Florida NORML’s outspoken Chris Cano, were all treated like celebrities. In honor of South Florida’s huge Hispanic population, the conference also featured an entire track of presentations en espanol.

On Saturday, a veterans’ rally honored those who have served and now seek access to cannabis to heal service related physical and emotional injuries. At the Friday reception and again on Sunday the stars came out as Ricky Williams and a crew of former NFL stars held panel discussions on using cannabis to help cope with the grueling physical demands of life in the big leagues and treat the pains and injuries that are a daily part of the job.

Last November Florida voters approved medical marijuana by more than 71%. Despite setbacks at the state legislature this spring, Florida’s newly developing cannabis industry is expected to top one billion dollars annually by 2020.

Though the numbers are still being tallied, organizers estimate over 3,600 attended the main convention, with hundreds joining off-site after parties Friday and Saturday evenings.

SECC and SWCC founder and organizer, Demitri Downing

With 165 miles of waterways, Ft. Lauderdale is known as the Venice of Florida.

National brands came from across the country to get a crack at the brand new market.

Michael Minardi firing up the crowd at the Vets rally.

Over 100 exhibitors filled the expo floor.

Hoban Law Group’s Florida office.

Freedom Leaf’s Cliff Perry flew in from Vegas for the show.

We interviewed reps from dozens of great companies including Benjamin from Advanced Nutrients

Cannabis Radio’s Daron and Brandy Babin lounging in the WeedMaps booth.