There won’t be wreaths of smoke wafting overhead at this weekend’s Cannabis Expo at the cavernous Vancouver Convention Centre West.
It’s all business for more than 130 industry exhibitors, who will welcome an expected 10,000 of the curious on Saturday and Sunday, a month after the federal government introduced new regulations governing medical marijuana use, and less than a year before the expected legalization of recreational use for adults.
For the marijuana industry in B.C. and Canada, it’s the calm before a commercial storm — selling pot for medicinal use will be dwarfed by the trade in pot for recreational users.
“The people who have been in the industry for a long time are seeing that they need to position themselves differently now that we are close to legalization,” said Natasha Raey of Vancouver-based Expo organizer Lift Cannabis. “The time for sort of rah-rah activism is starting to quiet down. This is the time for, let’s position ourselves as a real, professional industry, so that everyone takes us seriously.”
Lift, an online meeting place for users and producers, organized a similar event in May that drew about 10,000 people at Toronto’s Convention Centre. Exhibitors in Vancouver include health-care professionals and entrepreneurs, among them cannabis producers licensed under the federal government’s Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, which took effect in August.