Cannabis industry gathers in Saint John for second annual conference
Hundreds of international leaders in the cannabis sector have gathered in Saint John this week for the second World Cannabis Congress.
Everyone from researchers to retailers are among the 650 attendees who are discussing the legalization of pot in Canada and the future of the industry, which includes edibles.
There is one big change from last year.
“We had leaders from around the globe in cannabis, but particularly here in Canada discussing what the market was going to be like, it was all still theory going forward,” Derek Riedle, the publisher of a lifestyle media platform, said Monday on the opening day of the conference.
But what was theory is now the reality.
It's been eight months since legalization took effect, with more than a few bumps in the road on the rollout.
“Every new market has its challenges when it starts,” said Cy Scott, the CEO of Headset. “Licensing issues, supply chain issues and we're seeing a lot of that mirrored here in Canada.”
But it's the next phase of the rollout that's getting a lot of buzz -- edibles, cannabis extracts and topical products -- including among the older generations.
“New consumers increasingly want to eat it,” Riedle said. “They want to drink it or take it in tablet form, or vape it.”
While there is a lot of economic potential when it comes to the rollout of edibles in Canada, regulatory restrictions may still pose problems for producers.
Darrell Dexter, the executive director of the Cannabis Beverage Producers Alliance, calls the regulations for the new products onerous and complicated.
“We understand the reason,” sad Dexter. “This is a new industry, a new sector for Canadians, and they have some questions about it, and so that means from an association's perspective we have to continue that dialogue in a respectful way.”
The conference continues Tuesday.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Lyall.