First cannabis expo in Michigan 1 week before legalization vote

Organizers of a cannabis conference strategically planned it to take place a week before Michigan votes on legalization.

Approximately 120 vendors were at the conference

Organizers want people to take a stand for a strong Michigan commercial cannabis industry. (Jason Viau/CBC)

The 1st Commercial Cannabis Conference & Expo in Michigan took place in Detroit exactly a week before voters decide on marijuana legalization in the state.

About 120 vendors were scattered throughout Cobo Hall at the pot expo, from an insurance company that deals specifically with marijuana to a marketing firm that only works on cannabis.

"It's been fun, being one of the pioneers in this industry" said Celeste Miranda, CEO of The Cannabis Marketing Lab.

But she faces a number of restrictions in her work, as do other business owners because marijuana continues to be illegal under U.S. federal law.

"You can't put up a Facebook ad, you just can't, it's not going to be approved."

Expo attendees heard from keynote speaker Keith Stroup, founder of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

According to Stroup, there are more people in U.S. who support legalization than those who currently smoke.

"It shows that we are finally winning the hearts and minds of the majority of the non-smokers in America. They have learned not that pot is good, but that prohibition is bad."

Organizers for the expo chose this day for the event as a strategic move. They hope the event will help keep legalization top-of-mind for people before they go to the polls Nov. 6.

The event will continue for a second day with presentations on things like setting up a retail business to cannabis therapy.

With files from Jason Viau