Those in the cannabis community that could make it out to the International Centre had the pleasure of experiencing the O’Cannabiz Conference & Expo. Two days (Friday & Saturday) full of speakers, live demos, and vendors. Fortunately, the conference centre has lots of free parking, but remember to drive safely.
We arrived first thing Friday morning and were able to do a quick walkthrough before the last vendors showed up and the crowd filled in. This helped us get a lay of the land, seeing that about half of the companies were new, and half were vendors that are regularly at conferences. One of the new booths was The Green Tent, a safe space for female entrepreneurs and businesses in the cannabis industry. O’Cannabiz followed two weeks after Lift and was about a quarter of the size for conference space. This made it a lot more manageable to see all the booths.
I was slightly surprised to see the number of packaging companies present, with at least four. As legalization nears it’s up in the air how the recreational cannabis will be packaged beyond being childproof. The different approaches to childproof packaging were interesting from a 5 pre-rolled cone holder with ash container to an innovative design that utilized special Ziplocs. The more traditional baggie with zip tab that’s childproof and used in a lot of US dispensaries was also present.
There were a number of American companies in attendance, which was consistent with the previous conference, but ironic for one called O’Cannabiz. Everyone’s trying to grab a share of the Canadian cannabis market and it was interesting to get a more international perspective. I always thought American states that had legalized cannabis were way ahead of us, but it was pointed out that the American cannabis companies are smaller. This is because cannabis is still federally illegal, the major companies aren’t entering the cannabis market. In Canada, there is the Federally recognized use of medical marijuana making the market full of large corporations rather than multiple small companies.
It was apparent some companies were not from Canada as they shared, they were having a beer the night before (June 7th) after setting up for the conference and were made aware the Canadian Senate voted on amendments, progressing the legalization act. We helped inform them how things were progressing in Canada and mentioned there was a provincial election for Ontario as well that would affect how legalization would be implemented. We’re used to doing that at Dankr, our job is to keep people informed after all.
The O’Cannabiz conference incorporated multiple speakers, panels and live demos that took place in the expo hall and in separate rooms. This was a nice way to provide some options to change it up and give you a chance to rest your feet. There were various topics discussed with us catching the Future of Cannabis, which ended up being all about Canopy Growth Corp. and the people on the panel. The live rosin pressing demo was very informative with them showing how to press rosin, explaining it and showing the difference between high quality and low-quality starting material. They used a Geurilla Press, with Alex from Home Grown Hydroponic explaining the process and Dabber Man operated the press. The live demos were at the back of the expo hall right beside the food area, which was a new much-appreciated addition this year.
Last, but definitely not least is the free swag! This is where it was nice to be at a smaller event so the booths weren’t crazy busy and you could chat with the vendors. We were speaking with advanced nutrients and got set up with a bunch of bottles, dab mats, and lighters. They were also doing a giveaway for a thousand dollars of nutrients. There were a number of companies doing a draw for an Ipad/tablet to people who signed up for their newsletter. CannTrust had an immersive VR experience, showing their grow facility, and were handing out bags that included a grinder. We got luckily and won a JWC X AHLOT Ritual Box by signing up for their newsletter and winning their 1 in 50 draw.
Each conference has it’s own unique feel to it, with O’Cannabiz being a smaller, more intimate experience. Of course, it’s great always to see the cannabis community, reconnect and meet new people. The International Centre will also be hosting Weedstock 2018, coming to Toronto at the end of October, so that will be exciting to see how they use the space differently.
Overall O’Cannabiz was a success, making for a great weekend of knowledge sharing and connecting with great cannabis companies. Each conference brings something unique to the table and you never know whom you’ll connect with. Take care until the next conference!