Lift held their annual Toronto cannabis expo June 6th -9th to showcase some of the largest companies in the industry. With each year the show changes slightly and this year being the first Lift post legalization there was a lot of excitement and anticipation.
The first day of Lift (Thursday) was the business conference, something the media wasn’t privy to, but from talking to others, there were a number of speakers and panels similar to other conferences. Weedstagram416 mentioned while he was there Thursday he noticed the conference was split on to two separate floors. This was because of the new Toronto smoking by-laws. Apparently vaporizer stores need to sell 90+% vapes to be able to have them on display. This transferred into the conference as the vaporizer companies being grouped together on a separate floor so they can display their products in a separate 19+ zone. With the new by-laws you can’t use any of the vaporizers in the designated zone like you could at previous Lifts.
In previous years there had been a number of companies marketing to small hobbyist/medical grows. I knew some friends who were looking for lights for their medical tents but all the companies were offering large, thousand watt lights. Some companies like Green Planet and Advanced Nutrient has products and samples targeting home growers. These companies also offer large-scale products and nutrients.
Green Planet had a large booth with the various products they distribute each having their own space. This included soil companies, lighting, watering systems, and another nutrient line (Lotus), which is a powdered nutrient. Green Planet was also doing some filming for their YouTube series Growing Exposed which takes you inside large scale grow operations.
Another change from previous years was when you entered there weren’t bags with programs like at most conferences. The large Lift booth with programs was right behind where you entered on the escalators. I didn’t find the programs until someone pointed them out to me on the second day.
Wondering through the expo there was a lot to see. I saw the biggest bud trimmer I’ve ever seen, trimming 300 Lbs in an hour. The trimmer was bladeless, using the buds to knock off their own leaves. I’m skeptical about the trim quality and if the trichomes get knocked off, but it was quite the machine to see.
The business day of the conference, Friday, was well attended with many vendors saying they were talking non-stop all day. Saturday and Sunday were open to the public and people did not fail to show up. The weather was warm and sunny all conference, helping for a great turn out.
When walking around the conference originally I noticed fewer giveaways from the large companies. Last year it seemed like everyone was walking around with Emerald Harvest (who weren’t at lift this year) and Cyco Nutrient boxes. Some companies had started to think outside of the box, presenting new experiences rather than just handing out rolling papers. Not that there weren’t lots of papers to go around.
Redecan turned one of the smaller conference rooms into a games room with pool, Ping-Pong and a handful of arcade games. They also offered chips, dip, a complementary drink with more available for purchase. Everything was Redecan branded along with a table with lighters and other swag avaiable. I thought this was a very smart idea for branding to provide a place for people to sit down, have some food and play some games before carrying on.
Symbl, another Licensed Producer was giving out glass jars with bamboo lids, rubber seal and space to write the strain name. I really like the jar as it looks clean and can store a good amount of cannabis.
Higharchy (Highly_Original) had, as you may expect, an original idea. They were out front of the conference with a Polaroid camera taking photos of people smoking weed. They also had joints for those who could use one, which I was surprised to see done by a large company. The Polaroid photos were posted in their booth at lift. If you went in and pointed out your photo they would give you a t-shirt.
The first day we took our time walking around seeing as much as we could. As we started our second day certain booths were pointed out to us that we has missed and had something special going on. 7ACRES had a two-floor booth promoting KKE (Khalifa Kush Enterprises) with embroidered hats, sweatshirts, and dab matts for those who sign up for their newsletter. The Remo Nutrient booth had mini super charge kits with sample nutrients, the representative mentioned it should be enough for one plants full life cycle. Cyco Nutrient had a few sample bottles for people. I saw some people had Futurola rolling trays, but they were all gone when we got there.
NitroTin and N2 Packaging are canning machines that were nice enough to allow us to can some samples of our homegrown. These companies use nitrogen to displace the air in the cans allowing them to be sealed without oxygen keeping it in an ideal condition for years. The nitrogen wasn’t connected, but there’s still something I find fascinating about seeing cannabis I’ve grown myself in professional packaging.
On Sunday there was a smoking lounge held across the street from Lift in honour of Tracy Curley who passed away a week earlier. There were refreshments and snacks for the large crowd of people that stopped by through the day. It culminated at 4:20 with a big smoke out and a glitter cannon as Tracy had requested. There was a quick photo of the crowd gathered and as I turned around I almost ran into Steve DeAngelo.
I had seen him at other cannabis conferences but always with a large swarm of people around him so I didn’t disturb. As I got the chance I asked him about the unflattering perception of him (Steve DeAngelo) portrayed in the Netflix show Disjointed as Angelo DeStevens. He said he wasn’t consulted on any of it, wasn’t an accurate perception and could only watch two episodes before turning it off. From the interviews I’ve seen with Steve, he always seems like a stand up gentleman to me.
As Lift wrapped up there was a lot to digest. There were a number of changes in the direction of the cannabis industry, most of them a fall out of legalization 8 months prior. These changes mostly highlight the large companies and seemed to forget about to small-scale, personal grower.