Now that recreational pot is legal, organizers of the second annual Cannabis & Hemp Expo at the Shaw Centre this weekend expect to see a jump in visitors.
“I think we’ll see more people through the door,” show director Kevin Blackburn said. “Cannabis has been in the spotlight for a few months now and there’s a lot of positivity around the sector.”
He said nearly 6,000 people attended the first cannabis trade show his company Canwest Productions staged here last year. Ottawa is a government town, and some people may have been hesitant to check out the exhibits and seminars last year, he said. While medical cannabis has been allowed in Canada since 2001, recreational pot only became legal on Oct. 17.
The expo is a chance to do everything from buy some rolling papers to hear investment tips about the burgeoning industry.
“It’s an opportunity for cannabis consumers and those curious about the industry to learn about new products, find out about companies they may want to invest in, and hang out with like-minded people all under one roof,” says the company.
The fair will feature about 50 exhibitors selling everything from bongs to growing gear, cannabis recipe books and video surveillance systems.
Seminars that run during the event include advice on trends in vaporizers, the future for the industry, the basics of home growing and medical uses of cannabis.
This year a kitchen is being built to allow more demonstrations on how to cook with cannabis, Blackburn said. There will also be a glass-blowing demonstration.
Only legal businesses and products are allowed to be part of the exhibit, said Blackburn. For example, there will be no exhibits from illegal mail-order weed companies, dispensaries, edible cannabis producers and seed sellers.
Dried cannabis flower, oils and seeds are now legal, but only if bought from government-approved sellers, who obtain their products from growers licensed by Health Canada. Edible cannabis products and vape pens aren’t legal yet.
“Part of getting rid of the stigma of cannabis is to operate legally and that’s what we want to do,” said Blackburn. “Anybody operating in the grey market or illegally will not be in the show.”
He’s turned away some potential exhibitors, such as dispensaries, he said. “We’re in it for the long haul. When (those products and services) are good to go, they’ll be part of the show.”
There is also a day-long industry conference on Friday Nov. 23 featuring keynote speaker Chuck Rifici, CEO of Auxly Cannabis Group, and officials from several other major cannabis companies, including Indivia, Hexo and MedReleaf. It’s $99.
Cannabis & Hemp Expo
When: Nov. 24 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Nov. 25 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: The Shaw Centre, 55 Colonel By Drive
Price: $10 online through Nov. 23; $15 at the door, for age 19 and over only
Full story is available here.