Article by Glen Korstrom, Business In Vancouver
Back in 2010, when it was a radical idea to hold a trade show that celebrated marijuana and its accessories, entrepreneur Marco Renda helped make history.
The publisher of the alternative-medicine journal Treating Yourself hosted what was reported to be Canada’s first large exposition to promote the responsible use of marijuana as a medicine.
Marijana activist Jodie Emery remembers attending the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for that midsummer event that included a 4,600-square-foot “vapour lounge” for sampling marijuana and multiple booths displaying different varieties of pot.
“The event made waves in the news, with many saying marijuana was getting legitimized as a business because the banners and the booths looked very professional,” Emery said.
Seven years later, pot activists, curious consumers and potential investors can attend a circuit of marijuana, cannabis and hemp trade shows. The rise in these shows coincides with the Canadian federal government aiming to legalize recreational marijuana use and possession by July 1, 2018.
Attendees, however, are less likely to find vapour lounges or to see any marijuana on display at tables because the entire industry has become more conservative, Emery told Business in Vancouver.
The Lift Cannabis Expo, billed as the largest cannabis-related trade show ever held in Vancouver, is slated to take place January 12-14, 2018, at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
When organizer Lift Co. Ltd. held its second annual Toronto Lift Cannabis Expo in May, it welcomed 15,000 people over three days. The Vancouver show is expected to be just as big.
Many attendees of Lift’s May show likely attended the O’Cannabiz Conference & Expo in Toronto a month earlier. Or they might have celebrated 4-20 Day, on April 20, at an all-day gathering at Yonge-Dundas Square.