Vancouver Cannabis Expo Shows Breadth & Growth of Marijuana Industry

CBD News Pick – The Canadian Press

A two day marijuana exhibition in Vancouver is giving people an idea of just how large and varied Canada’s cannabis industry has become — and where it could grow next.

More than 100 businesses set up booths to showcase their wares at the Vancouver Cannabis Expo, but not a single cloud of smoke could be seen in the massive hall.

The expo is helping to break down stereotypes and prove there’s a credible side to the industry, said Natasha Raey, spokeswoman for Lift Cannabis Co., which put on the show.

“It’s not just someone selling bud out of a ziploc bag anymore. You’re seeing real brand development. The industry is growing up,” she said.

A variety of wares were available throughout the hall. Among the booths selling seeds and growing equipment were some potentially unexpected exhibitors, including a firm that provides financing for marijuana-related businesses.

“As we’ve moved closer to legalization, we’ve seen a more corporate side of the industry come about. You’re seeing more businesses get interested and say ‘How can I be part of this industry that’s going to be huge?”‘ Raey said.

There has been extreme growth in the marijuana business over the past few years, said Matt Christopherson, who works for Keirton, a company in Surrey, B.C., that makes automatic marijuana trimmers used in large-scale marijuana production facilities.

“It’s no longer mom and pop. There’s a lot of money coming into this industry that legitimizes everything,” he said.

As the industry grows, the stigma traditionally associated with marijuana begins to fall away, Christopherson added.

“There’s a lot of people who are capitalists and they see this as an emerging market, one of the fastest growing sectors in the world.”

Working within the industry has become easier in recent years because more data has become available, said Scott Wilkins, an independent insurance agent who has spent the last eight years providing policies for people who grow marijuana.

Wilkins said his work began when a man with a Health Canada license approached him looking to get insurance so he could rent a commercial building, which was incredibly difficult at the time.

Now Wilkins said he has more than 800 clients, including big companies licensed by the federal government. And he expects his business to continue growing as the federal government moves toward legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

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