Halifax trade show displays changing face of cannabis
Event organized by The Coast newspaper aims to educate, demystify public on all things pot
Walking into the Cannabis Sessions in downtown Halifax, someone could think they've stepped into a home show.
Held in the open and bright space of the former Attica Furniture store on Barrington Street, guests were welcomed with a coffee bar and swag bags.
This is the changing face of cannabis — from the shadows to the mainstream.
"We wanted to open it up to people ... very accessible, very approachable," said Lindsay Ann Cory, the event planner for Cannabis Sessions, organized by The Coast newspaper in Halifax.
The event was billed as the first of its kind in the Maritimes.
People who wanted to learn more about cannabis — be it the science, the industry or the practical — were invited to listen to guest speakers knowledgeable on the topic.
The idea, Cory said, was to demystify the plant.
"We're really fielding a lot of those consumer-based questions about cannabis and about the industry, and so we want to just kind of bring everyone together have a pretty casual discussion about it," Cory said.
"[And] talk about some things that we know people are interested in addressing stigma and some science things like terpenes and aromatics and all of that."
In addition to the information sessions, the event gave those in the cannabis industry an opportunity to show off their products.
"Oh, it's great, I can't believe there's something like this going on." said Jonathan Buckingham, one of the event's attendees. "And to be able to come here and see all these different booths is awesome."
Ben Carter, owner of YouCannGrow — a company that specializes in selling equipment to grow cannabis at home — said Halifax is starting to catch up with larger cities.
"You see a lot of big events in Toronto and B.C. and it's so nice to see it here on the East Coast and in Halifax," Carter said.
Carter, as well as a few other participating businesses, brought cannabis to the event to display — but each individual couldn't bring more than 30 grams of the dried product in keeping with federal regulations.
Kym Purchase, the government relations manager for Alberta-headquartered Aurora, said the event was a great opportunity to network with others in the industry. Aurora produces and distributes cannabis.
"In the cannabis industry, we're so new that we are our best support system, you know. And so making colleagues, making friends with other licensed producers, we can all help each other," said Purchase.
"And that's better for the market and it's better for consumers."
Cory said based on the attendance of this first Cannabis Sessions, there are plans for a second session to be held before the end of the year.
"I think when we first set it up, we thought young professionals will want to come here. But it's actually people's moms, people's grandmas, people's dads that are here asking questions," Cory said.