The Vancouver Enterprise Forum (VEF) held a sold-out event Tuesday night called 'High-Tech, Growing the Marijuana Industry'. Over 250 people attended to listen to a diverse panel of speakers including Jonathan Page (President & Chief Scientific Officer of Anandia Labs), Sam Znaimer (Founder at Locarno Capital), Dana Larson (Director at Sensible B.C.), Christian Groh (Chief Operating Officer of Privateer Holdings), and former BC Premier, Mike Harcourt (Chairman of True Leaf).
The panel discussed a variety of topics, including the ever-evolving medical marijuana industry in Vancouver, the role of dispensaries and licensed producers across Canada, the future of extracts, cannabis branding, and the opportunities to develop new businesses for the emerging sector.
Opening remarks ran a bit long and so the actual discussion and Q&A was comparatively short, but each panel member found opportunities to share his outlook based on his own experiences in the industry. On the topic of differentiation in an industry in its infancy, Christian Groh of Privateer stated, "Ask 100 growers how to grow the best cannabis and you'll get 100 different answers. And they'll all be right. And they'll all say they grow the best cannabis. It's just the way this industry is."
The challenges both LPs and patients face by the mail-order system imposed by Health Canada was an issue raised by an audience member, as was the lack of women in the industry (A fact mirrored by the all-male panel and the majority male audience).
The event also included presentations by a variety of emerging Canadian businesses, including Toronto-based seed-to-sale software company, Ample Organics. President, John Prentice, said of his experience at the event: "It was a great event and a really strong group of presenters was assembled. And the collaboration we're starting to see happen in the industry is refreshing and the future is bright."
The Vancouver Enterprise Forum (VEF) has long been a staple of Vancouver's entrepreneurial scene, boasting a membership of over 2000 and hosting 8 events per year designed to facilitate education and networking. Visit www.vef.org to learn more.