Eric Vengroff, Financial Analyst, Cannabis Daily
Considering the number of cannabis events that are popping up like mushrooms all over North America, perhaps a relativistic system of evaluating and comparing these events will develop over time, so that both exhibitors and consumers of the content will know where and when to invest their money.
In the meantime, I will continue to evaluate these shows and report back on what I see. If anyone else has observations or opinions they wish to share, please let me know and I will do what I can to make your thoughts known, assuming they’re printable for general consumption.
A number of well-known CEO’s, presenters, and industry experts converged in the South Hall of the MTCC in Toronto last week for what was the third cannabis expo held here in four months. Things are getting busy in this space as Canada prepares for legalized pot consumption in the fall, and this latest show brought another group of cannabis industry workers and professionals that were present at the other shows but not in this number – Americans.
Unlike the two previous events, the Lift & Co. Expo at the end of May, and the O’Cannabiz Conference & Expo in June, both of which were organized and run by Canadians, and which were business/consumer, straddling the weekend, the MJBizCon Int’l conference was held mid-week and billed itself as strictly business-to-business. Speaking with Cassandra Farrington, CEO and Co-Founder of Denver, CO-based MJBizDaily.com, she told me that her prior publications and prior focus has always been B2B, and the show didn’t stray from this content theme. That said, I believe it would be hard to distinguish this theme from the previous events.
The show floor was relatively small and lacked some of the business content that was more visible at the other shows -cannabis consultants, security companies, personnel agencies, lawyers, insurance companies and so on were few in number or absent entirely. Also distinctly lacking was Canadian content. Less than 10% of the exhibitors present at the other shows were in there. And, although much of content was directed at producers, only one Licensed Producer, Aurora (TSX:ACB), had a booth there. Most of the exhibitors were American, and in some cases, completely unaware of the legal restrictions that will apply to packaging, products, and promotion. Some exhibitors tried to shine me on that shine me on that they were in discussion with authorities to get their products approved – puleez…
The show featured some educational presentations, Q&A workshops, interviews and keynotes that provided groundwork, incremental knowledge and insights about the industry and all of its moving pieces. Two CEO talks, Brendan Kennedy of Tilray, and Bruce Linton of Canopy, showed why they have emerged at or near the top of the pile when it comes to cannabis investments, and it clearly wasn’t by accident or serendipity. Both illustrated that they have spent years in the trenches, developing business plans, meeting interest parties from all sides of the business relations needed and have their share of good and bad experiences to tell and provide some clues as to where they think the puck is going to be next. Fascinating stuff.
Timing being what it was, it turned out that the scheduled talk for Bruce Linton, Canopy Growth’s CEO, was scheduled for the morning after the company’s major announcement about its multi-billion-dollar deal with Constellation Brands. The Q&A following spilled into the halls, with lights, cameras, and action.
The information and opinions presented here are that of the author and do not represent the thoughts and opinions of this website. The analyst does not own or represent any of the companies listed in this article and receives no compensation from any party mentioned in this article. Readers are urged to do their own research and due diligence and should seek advice from an independent financial advisor before making any financial investment.