The Lift and Co. Cannabis Expo, which bills itself as “Canada’s Biggest Cannabis Expo”, was last weekend at the Vancouver Convention Centre and the place was packed tighter than a joint and abuzz with excitement- what else would you expect at the very first Lift Expo since Canada legalized cannabis?
But if you were hoping to find any cannabis at Lift, you’d be disappointed. As stated on their Frequently Asked Questions page:
“The law does not permit companies to display, sample, or sell cannabis or cannabis-infused products at events.”
That means Lift was caught in a weird place. Cannabis is legal, yet it was basically prohibited at the expo, although being an all ages, family-friendly event probably had something to do with that, too.
But it also shows how ridiculously restrictive our cannabis laws are by essentially forcing Lift to be a cannabis expo with no cannabis samples, displays, sales, smoking, vaping, concentrates, edibles, flower, or seeds.
If that was for the sake of protecting the children, doesn’t that seem a little excessive? Kids are allowed in liquor stores if they’re with their parent or guardian, after all. Why wasn’t the Lift Expo allowed to do something similar only with cannabis instead?
But that only goes to highlight the huge discrepancy between cannabis and alcohol- but alcohol is stitched into the fabric of our society and normalized in a way that cannabis is not, despite the fact that cannabis is less harmful.
And speaking of alcohol…
Lift Expo had more alcohol than cannabis!
While cannabis was nowhere to be seen, you could grab a few drinks at Solei Sungrown Cannabis’ summer-inspired exhibit as they were serving up cocktails and wine all day.
It was weird that a licensed producer would have a bar, and I wondered if that showed a lack of confidence in their cannabis, like they knew people would rather drink alcohol than smoke their weed? We may never know the answer.
But while it may have sent the wrong message that cannabis is worse or more dangerous than alcohol, there might be a silver lining- it might have made people wonder why alcohol is being served at a CANNABIS expo while cannabis smoking and vaping was banned, and oh yeah, edibles and concentrates are still illegal.
The more people realize how ridiculous and restrictive the laws for cannabis are compared to booze, the better our chances of changing them to something resembling common sense.
To be fair, Lift did have a vapour lounge on-site, but it was restricted to card-carrying medical cannabis patients only- which meant that everyone else had to smoke or vape in a small, cordoned-off section in the building’s underground parking lot.
🌻 Go take a moment over at the Solei Moments Lounge! PS: There’s still over an hour left until we close up shop here at the Vancouver Convention Centre! Make a connection, get some swag and enjoy the rest of the #LiftCoExpo! pic.twitter.com/dWpfpItJA2
— Lift & Co. (@liftandco) January 13, 2019
From towering cannabis extraction equipment, huge industrial trimmers, and grow kits in all sizes, to more consumer-focused products like smell-proof bags, rolling papers, and smoking accessories, Lift showcased the diversity of the cannabis industry. There was a little something there for everyone along with all the usual free swag you’d expect at an expo of this size.
T-Zero Twister Trimmer
The T-Zero Twister Trimmer was a stand-out, which was created specifically for trimming cannabis for big, commercial growers.
As a company spokesperson told CBC:
“The average hand trimmer — and I’m saying average — can do about a pound-and-a-half to two-pounds in an eight hour period. This will do 500 pounds in an hour.”
It can trim wet or dry cannabis, and with an output like that, one hopes it could make a dent in the country-wide cannabis shortages currently plaguing the legal supply right now.
Check out the video below to see it in action.
RAW Rolling Papers
RAW, one of the world’s most famous rolling paper companies, had a great looking setup that showed off some of their new and favourite papers.
The biggest eye-catcher were the “Challenge Cones”.
[Editor’s note: the cones take all the hassle out of rolling a joint as they’re pre-rolled- you just have to pack the cone with cannabis to make a perfectly rolled joint]
It was a massive, 24-inch cone that holds 2.5 oz (70 grams) of cannabis!
View this post on InstagramLift & Co Cannabis Expo this weekend has already been a huge success. Would love to see you come by tomorrow and grab some swag. Thank you to everyone who has been to the booth and donated to the #rawfoundation. You’ve helped improve the lives of those who might not have been able to find the means to do so for themselves. Much Love ✌💕 #liftcoexpo #lift2019 #raw #rawrollingpapers #rawornaw #supportagoodcause #booth107A post shared by RAW Life Vancity (@amfl0rk0) on
Other Cool exhibits
In the absence of cannabis, many companies focused on creating experiences and positive associations to their brands and there was a lot of competition, driving some to rather interesting ideas because there’s nothing like rules and limits to test your creativity.
It ran from simple tactics, from the reps for Keystone Labs wearing lab coats to Cove’s West Coast-inspired rustic aesthetic that came complete with a canoe and fake plants.
There was also High Street Greenery’s cool flower shop exhibit that gets big points for its marketing theme that proves you can do a lot with less.
While the cannabis laws aren’t Lift’s fault, the bottom line is lacking that critical (and recently legalized) ingredient made what could have been a truly historic Lift Expo more of the same with only a few small changes.
But there’s still hope. Edibles are supposed to be legalized by October 2019. So who knows?
Maybe we’ll have better luck next year at Lift 2020.
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Are you in town for the @LiftAndCo Expo? If you are we encourage you to come see and support our cannabis friendly spaces. Come see what we are fighting for & tell the city if you want us to stay open! The city is forcing closure of our 1674 Davie St, 3421 East Hastings St, 3175 West Broadway St locations at the end of the month. Our lounge and headshop at 307 West Hastings is remaining open! Pictures from 2018 #CannabisCulture #activism #business #fairness #equality #justice #community #medicalcannabis #dispensaries #saferchoice #cannabistruth #Vancouver #legalization #prohibition #FakeLegalization #NewProhibition #CannabisSavesLives #DispensariesSaveLives #CannabisCultureDispensary #Vancouver #lift #liftconference #LCBC #LiftCoExpo#
Featured image courtesy of Peak Wellness Canada.