Every month, we scour community calendars to find out what cannabis-related events are happening near us. We want to get out into our community whenever we can and provide you with reviews, behind-the-scenes content, and industry insight, and we always try to do so in a fun, honest and positive way. With that in mind, we thought it was still important to share today’s post.
This morning we headed down to the Exhibition grounds in Toronto for the Cannabis Consumer & Business Expo, advertised as being “filled with B2B and B2C seminars and workshops” and featuring “1000s of new products and services offered by exhibitors.” As both a business owner and consumer in the cannabis industry, these seemed like a great fit and fun way to spend the day. We were excited to check out the “perfect forum where you can learn the ins and out of the Cannabis Industry“.
Upon entering the exhibitor hall, we could tell something was off; there were empty tables peppered among the active vendors, and many vendors were still setting up. As we walked further into the space, we noticed the empty tables became more abundant and an overall lack of organization became apparent. After 5 minutes, we returned to the ticket booth to inquire whether or not more vendors would be arriving, to which we were greeted by a laugh and an answer of “Yeah, I don’t know where they are”. Confused, we went back into the hall with the intention of checking out the few vendors that were setup, knowing that many of them were there to promote their work and had probably spent a lot of time and money to be there. That ended up being the one positive of the event: meeting a small handful of vendors who proudly wanted to share their work with us, but it was certainly far from the “1000s of new products and services” as described.
This event also boasted an info-packed seminar lineup for each of the three days, with topics for consumers and businesses of all kinds. After some searching through the hall, we discovered the seminar stage tucked in the far back corner with no speakers or listeners present. 30 minutes into the seminar schedule with still no speakers, the trend of disorganization and disappointment continued. We didn’t stick around long enough to see if any speaker ever spoke or if any of the discussions on the program happened.
Before leaving, we asked for a refund for what we had paid for our tickets and were greeted by another laugh – it turns out we weren’t the first people to ask for our money back. The organizer did not honour our request and we left feeling beyond frustrated; frustrated that this was a waste of money and time, frustrated on behalf of the vendors who showed up, hoping to be a part of something great (we’ve been in those vendor’s shoes), and particularly frustrated that we didn’t listen to our guts when when we had second thoughts about attending today.
We’ve been to several of the larger cannabis expos and trade shows in Toronto this year, from the Lift & Co Expo, to O’Cannabiz. Some we’ve shared here on our blog and some we’ve shared solely on our social channels, but we’ve always left these shows feeling educated, excited, and part of a larger community. Today carried none of those feelings. Instead, we left feeling as though the Cannabis Consumer & Business Expo was wrangled together haphazardly in an attempt to ride the coat tails of “trendy cannabis”. For the vendors involved and anyone else who attends, we hope day two and three improve, but we won’t be holding our breath.