The HempFest Cannabis Expo—Edmonton’s first since recreational cannabis was legalized—looked a little different this weekend.
“The demographics haven’t changed,” noticed Barry Davidson, 3 Sixty Secure’s director of strategic engagement, “but the people who are taking it seriously have.”
October ushered in unlimited opportunity for entrepreneurs.
“Legalization has opened the doors to a lot of businesses,” said Lucas Norrie of Ookeoo, a line of discreet cannabis storage products.
“This could go global, so if we get in early with Canada being a front runner, the sky is the limit.”
And while Canada is among the world’s pot pioneers, Alberta is leading the nation.
According to Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, the province has 75 licensed retailers—more than any other jurisdiction in the country.
“We have some of the top global players in the province already and that’s very exciting because all of us benefit from that,” Davidson recognized.
More than 620 other establishments are awaiting approval from the AGLC.
The delay has inspired others to find a different angle of business, like Fuse Insurance.
“When people are investing literally hundreds of millions or billions of dollars in this industry, they want their investment to be protected and they need to have insurance,” explained the company’s president, Kevin Lea.
Fuse Insurance is filling a gap previously created by other agencies unwilling to deal in the cannabis industry.
This weekend was the company’s first time participating in HempFest.
“The look and feel of this conference is very different than last year and I suspect even next year will be very different,” Davidson told CTV News.
The conference ends Sunday.