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I had the chance to check out the LIFT Cannabis Expo this past weekend in Toronto. This was by no means an ‘amateur’ conference.

More than 19,000 people attended the LIFT Cannabis Expo in Toronto from May 25th to the 27th. The sun was shining as the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) played host to this massive event featuring exhibits from cannabis enthusiasts in all sectors of the industry. From growers and licensed producers to distributors and software companies, representation was diverse and impactful.

Here are some quick stats:

  • The Lift & Co. Business Conference sold out all 750 available seats
  • 88 speakers featured over 22-panel sessions on the Main Stage during the Lift & Co. Expo
  • 23 presentations occurred over the weekend on the MedReleaf Demo Stage
  • 5 companies used the Expo to launch new brands and products
  • Many companies spent between $100,000 and $200,000 on their expo presence
  • Almost 260 exhibitors showcased on the trade show floor
    • An increase of about 30% over the Toronto 2017 edition
  • Over 220,000 square feet of exhibition space was filled
    • An increase of about 50% over the Toronto 2017 edition

Trade Show Highlights:

  • Attendees got to interact with Lift & Co.’s new Cannabis Concierge App, which helps people consume confidently
  • Green Relief’s two-level booth showcased their innovative Aquaponics technology
  • The Hub by MedMen and Cronos saw meetings aplenty with networking revelers
  • LocalCoin’s Bitcoin ATM was featured on the show floor
  • User-generated social posts tagged with #Liftcoexpo were printed and displayed for attendees
  • Aphria offered up massages to aid in relaxation
  • Phyto Extractions showcased a “Blizzard of Dollars” activation
  • CannTrust offered up a VR experience
  • FIGR Cannabis presented an audio experience pairing playlists with cannabis strains
  • Mat Fogarty won the Leaf x Lift & Co. Pitch Competition for his Can of Bliss, a pocket-sized resealable weed tin
  • The Sisters of the Valley made an impact and drew awareness to their documentary, Breaking Habits, which debuted at Cannes this year
  • The TVape Lounge was a hotspot for medicinal cannabis cardholders to test out the hottest developments in consumer vaping technology
  • Olympic Gold Medalist Ross Rebagliati brought his medal along and posed for photos with attendees at his Ross’ Gold Glass booth
  • Abi Roach’s Hotbox Café delighted guests with advanced joint rolling demos and body painting

Through the Eyes of MatheosTheo

What stuck out the most, was the sheer amount of time and investment put into booths and displays. There was no fooling around, big players with deep pockets looking to make an impact through experiential design and outreach. Some booths had cameras ready to capture consumer data and trends, while others invited attendees to touch or feel an object that connected to their brand.

Seven Points Design Booth, a firm focusing on cannabis retail experiences and design.

Seven Points Design Booth, a firm focusing on cannabis retail experiences and design.

Arguably the most eye-catching setups were the booths with 100-foot video boards to display captivating media while they campaigned their audience. Instinctively, the bright and eye-catching clips reminded me of a Clockwork Orange. Not with a psychotic reprogramming impulses vibe; but in a clean, effective, Stanley Kubrick kind-of-way.

Future booth complete with Clockwork Orange-esque clips.

Future booth complete with Clockwork Orange-esque clips.

Other than the exhibitors themselves, there was a ton for the consumer to do and see at the conference. The LIFT & Co. Cannabis Conference did an amazing job bringing in musicians, artists, joint rollers, and other personalities to add the offering. Suprisingly, the conference felt like a blend between a professional gathering and a music festival, with good vibes all around. With a colorful backdrop of bong and bubblers, human skin turned to a blank canvas.

Body painting at the LIFT and Co. Cannabis Expo

Body painting at the LIFT and Co. Cannabis Expo

Walking the isles of the exhibitors, I stumbled upon the San Rafael booth where musician Avery Florence was busy entertaining the crowds with live guitar and percussion. Perfectly emoding the spirit of the event, the group was nice enough to let me join in and jam for some time. We played some classic rock tunes and rode the vibes to the end of the weekend.

Avery Florence jamming at the San Rafael Booth LIFT Cannabis Expo - Lift & Co.

The inclusiveness of the people, the energy, the flow, was all right on point. The organizers knew exactly what they were doing and the weather was outstanding.

The cannabis community could not have asked for a better weekend, and we certainly made the most out of it. Maybe the only downside is we have to wait another year for the next LIFT & Co. cannabis expo.

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