Gone are the Birkenstocks and tie-dye shirts. Today’s cannabis confabs are strictly business.
The Marijuana Business Daily held its first international conference in Toronto over a three-day period this week, bringing an event that has drawn thousands of attendees in previous incarnations such as Las Vegas and Los Angeles to the last major industry gathering before Canada legalizes recreational marijuana in October.
Roughly 2,500 people paid as much as $920 a ticket to join the conference that touted Tilray Inc. CEO Brendan Kennedy and Canopy Growth Corp. chairman and co-CEO Bruce Linton, fresh off the company’s new $5 billion capital injection from Constellation Brands Inc., as keynote speakers. Business suits were the unofficial uniform for the day as attendance goers mulled around an exhibition floor filled with an assortment of cannabis players, such as vape pen makers, plant nutrient suppliers, grow-op software management tools and production facility consultants.
While the cannabis conference is unlikely to rival the annual Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) mining showcase or the Canadian International Autoshow, its presence displays a level of professionalism that is becoming more commonplace in the maturing industry.
Indeed, the money behind the cannabis industry is expected to reach new heights. The conference organizers issued a new report Wednesday that said worldwide spending on legal cannabis is forecast to surpass US$10 billion in 2018 and could reach as high as US$140 billion by 2027, assuming more countries legalize the drug.