For the first time since cannabis was legalized in Canada, a huge industry-only trade fair opened its doors in Vancouver on Friday.
In just the first two hours, 1,200 people flew through the doors of the 2019 Lift & Co. Cannabis Expo at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
1,200 people in two hours! We hope you didn't have to wait too long and are having a great time! 🌿 #LiftCoExpo— Lift & Co. (@liftandco) January 11, 2019
Exhibitions ranged from agricultural equipment, such as new heating methods, to legal services strictly for cannabis, to B.C.-based producers sharing their experiences on supplying cannabis to retailers.
Across Canada, several provinces all reported varying degrees of shortages in the first few months since recreational cannabis was legalized on Oct. 17. Problems included producers being unable to deliver the amounts they had committed to, and tough regulations from Health Canada.
Will Stewart, a senior vice president with Vancouver-based producer Harvest One, said out of all the provinces his company has dealt with, British Columbia has been the best because the government wanted to emphasize locally grown cannabis as much as possible.
“It has resulted into some of the best product selection here in B.C. versus what consumers could find in other provinces,” Stewart said.
Harvest One owns a grow facility in Duncan on Vancouver Island named United Greeneries, a licensed cannabis producer for the BC Liquor Distribution Branch.
“United Greeneries took the position to only sell cannabis that we had and was ready to go to consumers,” said Stewart. “We’ve hit all of our full commitments to the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch in full shipment amounts.”
Stewart said he’s had no problems recruiting staff to an industry that, a year ago, was seen as controversial in some circles.
“We’ve got some talented staff that come from British Columbia who are comfortable with the product and really want to be in this growing and exciting industry,” he said, though he noted workers sometimes have trouble travelling to the U.S.
The 2019 Lift & Co. Cannabis Expo continues on Saturday and Sunday.
- with files from The Canadian Press