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Report Card: Lift & Co. Cannabis Expo Vancouver 2019

Dave Jackson Dave Jackson, Stockhouse
0 Comments| January 16, 2019

Click to enlargeLarge trade shows can be, to say the least, trying. As one who has attended, hosted, and covered dozens of them, I can attest they are not for the faint of heart. Or, the weak-kneed. There are, of course, the myriads of exhibitors' booths, the countless seminars, workshops, Q&A sessions, and multimedia displays one must navigate to cover the event adequately. And did I mention the after-parties? Probably best to just keep it at that.

Lift & Co. (V.LIFT, Forum) Cannabis Business Conference (LCBC) or Cannabis Expo Vancouver 2019 is a big industry event – in fact, the largest of its kind in Canada with a sister show coming this June 6 - 9 in Toronto. Billing itself as “Three days of learning, networking and fun!” Cannabis Expo Vancouver brought together the now very broad spectrum of cannabis industry types – from tie-dye Deadheads to Armani-clad corporates.

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(Dave Jackson / Stockhouse)

Now in its third year of operation – but the first time it's been held in the post-legalization era – Cannabis Expo Vancouver is as much a proud and confident demonstration of rapidly changing attitudes in the multi-billion-dollar cannabis industry as it is a traditional trade show and conference.

More than 15,000 spectators, attendees, exhibitors, and presenters descended upon the Vancouver Convention Centre, West Building, to network, watch, and learn about the exploding cannabis space. Hundreds of products and services were on display…from hand-size, tamper-proof bottling for your stash to $25,000 industrial-sized bud trimmers.

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(Dave Jackson / Stockhouse)

The show also featured live cooking and growing demos, a TVape lounge, as well as a cannabis career fair…giving attendees and potential cannabis industry employees the chance to learn more about the industry.

Manitoba producer and retailer Delta 9 Cannabis Inc. (NINE) (TSX: V.NINE, OTCQB: VRNDF, Forum) was in attendance as exhibitors. Founded in 2012 by father and son team, Bill and John Arbuthnot, Delta 9 was the fourth company in Canada licensed to produce legal cannabis.

In conversation with Stockhouse, company CFO Jim Lawson said that “while the Delta 9 team really enjoyed the show it seemed, compared to prior events, that the paid attendance was lower and the industry exhibitors were more.” He went on to say that despite the minor issues with the show, Delta 9 looks forward to events like Cannabis Expo Vancouver as, “investors want to discuss their investments (with us), customers like to talk to us, (it’s good for) name branding for the company, and it offers useful products and services many of which we have purchased.”

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(Image provided by Delta 9 Cannabis Inc.)

Recently-listed major national player Zenabis Global Inc. (V.ZENA, Forum) were front and centre on Friday’s busy media day, still basking in the afterglow of their successful TSX-V listing just a few days prior to the start of the expo. Well-situated for cannabis production and access to markets across Canada, Zenabis Global now owns four significant production facilities, with potential long-term global distribution and market share.

Zoë Patko, the effervescent Marketing Manager at Zenabis, echoed the positive energy that the Company’s management and staff exuded at their exhibitor’s booth:

“The Lift & Co Conference and Expo was a fantastic event for Zenabis, and for the industry as a whole. We personally had thousands of attendees stop by the Zenabis booth from every angle of the industry including; medical and recreational consumers, cultivators, physicians, scientists, researchers, legislators, educators, retailers, wholesalers, suppliers, and media. The numbers in attendance is a positive indication of the change in perception around cannabis that we are seeing amongst the general public. At similar events prior to legalization, we saw less than half of this kind of foot traffic. Now that recreational cannabis has been legalized, people are open to learning more and are engaging with the industry. They need these types of interactions to make informed purchase decisions. Now it’s the responsibility of the industry to show up, speak up, and educate everyone as we uncover new research findings, new products, and new consumer insights.

She went on to discuss the Company's hosting of their first-of-its-kind Women’s Zen Lunch during the show:

"Zenabis was happy to partner with Lift & Co to also offer the Women’s Zen Lunch during the expo on Friday. It consisted of 2 all-female panels that discussed diversity, leadership, inclusion, and stigmas surrounding cannabis. We received a tremendous outpouring of appreciation, both online and at the expo, for organizing this first-of-it’s-kind event. Men were also invited to attend, which a handful did, as our aim was to promote equality within the industry. With the news of Zenabis going public earlier in the week (TSX-V:ZENA), it was definitely an exciting time for our staff to speak on stage in panels, at our booth, and to media outlets that stopped by.”

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(Image provided by Zenabis Global Inc.)

Valens GroWorks Corp. (VGW) (TSX: V.VGW, OTCQB: MYMSF, Forum) is a Kelowna-based, multi-licensed, vertically-integrated provider of cannabis products and services. The Company has three subsidiaries all operating in different spaces of the cannabis supply chain, primarily focused on extraction services including oil processing and white labeling products for domestic and international markets while utilizing it's internally-developed extraction methods. A young, savvy and sophisticated company, Valens has positioned itself as an extractor of pure, high-quality cannabis and oils.

Kayla Mann, Valens’ Marketing Manager/Business Development, had this to say about the show:

“We have been lucky enough to work with Lift for various years now and all I can say is their year-over-year development is unparalleled. Vancouver's conference was bigger and better than last years, the quality of attendees is top notch and the creativity of its exhibitors is like no other conference. They truly champion the brands they present by helping us with any crazy idea we come up with. For me this year, they facilitated a space for me and my company to record podcast episodes. They are the epitome of top-quality customer service in all facets.”

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(Image provided by Valens GroWorks Corp.)

In summary, Lift and Co. Cannabis Expo Vancouver 2019 clearly and unequivocally demonstrated that gone are the days of headshop paraphernalia marketed solely towards the old school Cheech & Chong stoner. The choices offered to today’s sophisticated consumer in post-legalization Canada are mind-boggling, to say the least, and were on full display at LCBC.

2020 surely bodes well for consumers with even more choices and more cannabis companies developing innovative products and services in a marketplace that will have a further 12 months to blossom.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Delta 9 Cannabis Inc., Zenabis Global Inc., and Valens GroWorks Corp. are clients of Stockhouse Publishing.

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