Bimaadzwin at Marijuana Business Conference and Expo International in Toronto
I spent the last several days at the largest cannabis conference to be held in Canada. There were 2,000 delegates and 125 exhibitors from 30 countries at the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo International at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
In terms of both speakers and exhibitors, the most glaring absence was First Nation or Indigenous content.
With just 60 days to go before cannabis sales become legal in Canada on October 17th, now is the time for government and industry to fully and completely engage First Nations who are already involved in the production and sales of cannabis and cannabis related products. This has the potential to become a major revenue stream and employer for First Nation communities.
It comes as no surprise that the majority of Canadians polled have indicated they are more interested in consuming cannabis products rather than smoking marijuana cigarettes. When all the illegal dispensaries are shut down, that will leave only First Nation dispensaries to serve those members of the public who would rather consume edibles than smoke cannabis related products.
Next month, cannabis will be a major theme at the First Nation Economic Advancement Conference (FNEAC), hosted by the Ontario First Nation Economic Developers Association (OFNEDA) – September 18-20 at the Chelsea Hotel in Toronto. First Nation cannabis producers will be there to tell their side of the story. More importantly, this will be an opportunity for them to demonstrate that their products are safe, and that First Nations can play a major role in the growth of this fledgling legalized industry.