O'Cannabiz - Breaking Ground in Canadian Cannabis Business

Looking toward the future of Canadian canna-business at the O'Cannabiz Conference & Expo...

A day after the city’s annual 4/20 celebrations the inaugural edition of this new conference and expo, brought to us by the good folks from Canadian Music Week, descended on Toronto. They ran both events on the same weekend. Their thinking: Music and Cannabis is a great combination. This was a powerful insight.

When visiting the Sheraton Conference Centre in the heart of downtown, across the street from city hall, the beating bureaucratic pulse of the city never seemed far away. It was nestled in this setting that the inaugural O'Cannabiz Conference & Expo brought together people and businesses from across the country and around the world, ranging from the industry elite to the novice. The future of canna-business looks so much like any other legitimized industry.

The conference began with a boot camp day, an opportunity for the uninitiated; the newest entrants into the industry, and those considering diving in to learn the lay of the land. Saturday and Sunday were the main event with displays up across the expo floor from all kinds of supporting industries, LPs and startups, nonstop networking for those seeking to connect, a full speaker and panel schedule, and a concert performance by Canadian rock icons 54-40.

Leading speakers included some of the biggest names in the industry. Melissa Etheridge, a prominent musician and California-based cannabis entrepreneur and Bruce Linton, founder and CEO of Canopy Growth Corporation. Many of the speakers and panelists also offered general business advice that would be helpful for anyone considering launching a business for the very first time. Speculation around the future recreational cannabis market was the closest thing to planning for the future of legalization in Canada. With lots of talk about a diversity of products in the future, it’s clear for the time being that edibles and derivative products are going to have a long road ahead before fitting into federal and provincial regulatory frameworks. In contrast, while speaking of business in California, Etheridge shared proudly on her range of products that for now are destined to remain in state; edibles, vape pens, non-psychoactive topicals right through to the most surprising, a cannabis-infused wine.

One of the caveats of this conference was that exhibitors were unable to offer product samples with cannabis. While one might assume this would keep exhibitors to licensed producers and horticultural experts, who were indeed well represented, other areas of interest included extraction technology, legal and consulting services, services designed to connect patients to doctors, unique storage solutions and of course rolling papers! There is seemingly constant innovation in growing technology and one can hope that the prevalence of this industry, home growing, and more conferences like this one will allow the technologies to continue improving around efficiency and product safety. With the surprisingly semi-stuffy attitude wafting through the expo, it was amazing how many people gratefully flocked to enjoy the late afternoon happy hour. Somehow this also signaled some laxness towards the usage of discrete vaping products indoors - indeed, the future is rapidly arriving.

Though it might not have answered some of the most burning questions about the future of cannabis legalization, O Cannabiz was a great chance to connect with old friends and colleagues and to make some new ones as we navigate the challenges of the exploding Canadian cannabis industry. Future iterations of this will surely see a shifting and evolving landscape. The ability for so many to come into the mainstream in this industry for the first time and meet key players in this kind of venue is an incredible opportunity. Hopefully a greater openness and clarity around regulations will allow for exhibitors to showcase certain wares with more ease in the coming years; a designated vaping area would also be a very good idea!


Link : smokersguide.com/events/598/o___cannabiz_business_conference___expo_april_2017.html