Ben & Jerry’s Ben Cohen Gives Keynote Address at Weed Conference

By John Lavitt 12/16/14

The co-founder of the popular ice cream chain dispensed business advice at the Marijuana Business Conference last month.

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It should come as no surprise that Ben Cohen, co-founder of the eternally popular Ben & Jerry's ice cream, is a big supporter of the growing marijuana industry, which is why he delivered the keynote address at the Marijuana Business Conference in Las Vegas last month.

Cohen and his long-time friend Jerry Greenfield started Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. more than three decades ago, turning it into a $300 million ice cream empire. That, of course, made him an ideal choice to deliver the address. “This is a great opportunity to share my experience building a major brand from scratch to a community of entrepreneurs on the leading edge of an explosive market,” he said.

According to the Cannabist, bits of Cohen's best advice from his address could be found on Twitter, though such pearls of wisdom as "The opportunities to combine making a profit with serving your community are limitless," and "Business is the most powerful force in the world," hardly seem earth shattering.

Though praising business as a whole, Cohen also expressed hope that small-time pot entrepreneurs won’t be swallowed up by corporate giants like the tobacco industry, and will be given enough breathing space to become the next Ben & Jerry’s.

With such ice cream flavors as Cherry Garcia, Half Baked Hazed & Confused, and Phish Food, there's no doubt Cohen has partaken once or twice in the past. So when asked which flavor goes the best with smoking pot, Cohen smiled and said, “I like Cherry Garcia. That’s been my all-time favorite.”

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.