A variety of wares were available throughout the hall. Among the booths selling seeds and growing equipment were some potentially unexpected exhibitors, including a firm that provides financing for marijuana-related businesses.
“As we’ve moved closer to legalization, we’ve seen a more corporate side of the industry come about. … You’re seeing more businesses get interested and say ‘How can I be part of this industry that’s going to be huge?’” Raey said.
There has been extreme growth in the marijuana business over the past few years, said Matt Christopherson, who works for Keirton, a company in Surrey, B.C., that makes automatic marijuana trimmers used in large-scale marijuana production facilities.
As the industry grows, the stigma traditionally associated with marijuana begins to fall away, Christopherson added.
Working within the industry has become easier in recent years because more data has become available, said Scott Wilkins, an independent insurance agent who has spent the last eight years providing policies for people who grow marijuana.
Now Wilkins said he has more than 800 clients, including big companies licensed by the federal government. And he expects his business to continue growing as the federal government moves toward legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
Health Minister Jane Philpott announced in April that legislation for legalization would be introduced next spring, and in June, the federal government launched a task force to study how regulation could work.
Legalization could mean new business opportunities, but what those opportunities may be still remains unclear.
Gracewood believes there will always be a place for that kind of business in Canada’s medical marijuana industry, but he said the company is looking at what other channels may come up when new laws are in place.
“I think that there’s lots of opportunity out there for all sorts of businesses from different perspectives,” Gracewood said. “But for us, it’s more of a macro idea, communicating to the general public and to the business community as well, that there’s huge opportunity and there’s nothing to be scared of.”