This year to celebrate 4/20, we headed to the traditional territory of three Interior Salish nations: the Syilx, Nlaka'pamux, and Secwépemc peoples, to attend the inaugural BC Cannabis Summit. This event was organized and hosted by The BC Craft Farmers Co-op (BCCFC) and the Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers (ACCRES). The comprehensive three-day event featured industry experts, policy discussions and resolutions, a business trade show, industry networking, and special events.
While it was hard to narrow down our favourite moments, here are 4 highlights from the trip (no pun intended!)
1. Diverse Attendance
Many people who have followed the legalization of cannabis and the evolution of the cannabis retail sector know the perspectives of retailers, indigenous groups, regulators, producers, underground retailers, service providers, members of the public, and government representatives can differ significantly. Our favourite element of the conference was that it provided a safe space for representatives from each group to attend and openly discuss their perspectives, challenges, and experiences. We really appreciated the vulnerability of those who shared. We walked away with a deeper understanding of how we can improve as a sector as well as an appreciation for how we have evolved and the work yet to be done as an industry.
2. In-person Meets
After two years of living in a COVID haze filled with virtual meetings and emails, we can't stress enough how friggin awesome it was to meet people in person. Putting a face to an email, high-fiving in real life, and seeing the people behind the brands was spectacular. We had the opportunity to connect with so many authentic and passionate people. Getting a chance to nerd out with other cannabis enthusiasts was definitely a highlight.
3. Road- Trippin
While the conference was awesome, so was getting there and getting back. The drive to Kelowna (ki?lawna?) provided the perfect opportunity to stop in and visit some of our fellow retailers, artisan vendors and craft growers. It's one thing to learn about the growing and harvesting process of each grower, and it's another to see it in real-life!! It was also a real treat to experience the best customer service at some of our favourite small town shops.
4. Getting Feedback
Our team has been working so hard over the last two and a half years to create a great in-store and online experience. We want to spread the small town, friendly vibe far and wide to reduce the stigma around cannabis and the fear of visiting a pot shop for the first time. Throughout the conference, we received a lot of positive feedback about the brand and vibe we have created. It was a proud moment to know that our team's hard work is paying off.
With time we aim to share more in-depth insights into policy discussions, changes within the industry and goals for the industry's future.