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Sunday, May 19, 2024
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.

Cannabis

KIND Gardens cannabis show lights up Vancouver for the first time

This awesome one-day function at the Harbour Event Centre on the city’s waterfront featured over 35 different brands and more

KIND Gardens cannabis show lights up Vancouver for the first time
Master grower Andrew from Ontario's small batch cultivator Carmel. Photo: Rowan Dunne

Vancouver was graced by a well-organized cannabis industry event for the first time on Thursday, which featured a variety of established and small brands handing out a plethora of samples and swag.

The one-day-only KIND Gardens cannabis show, hosted by KIND Media and Events, was held at the city’s Harbour Event Centre on the waterfront downtown. There was an interesting speaker series, a DJ, a cotton candy machine, old-school video games for people to play and even snow cones.

A specially designed indoor consumption zone was set up for those who wanted to burn some of the samples they had collected. It featured a booth with a series of volcano-style vaporizers and tables with other accessories as well.

The show featured over 35 different companies, including public operators like Organigram Holdings Inc. (TSX: OGI) and the Village Farms International, Inc. (NASDAQ: VFF) weed subsidiary Pure Sunfarms.

Despite recent troubles in the Canadian marijuana industry, the vibrant atmosphere at KIND Gardens made it clear that cannabis is still alive and well in British Columbia.

This pot fair has historically only been held in Toronto until now. It made its way to Calgary on Friday too.

“This event is a celebration of cannabis culture, the community and connections,” Serena Somani, Managing Director of KIND Magazine, told Ontario’s Cannabis Prospect Magazine. “We invite everyone to join us for a day of innovation, inspiration and celebration.”

KIND Gardens cannabis show lights up Vancouver for the first time

Pure Sunfarms showcases its buds and hands out rolling trays and other swag. Photo: Rowan Dunne

Read more: Surrey BC approves plan to allow up to 12 cannabis stores in the city

Read more: ‘Kool-Aid Man style’ crash through Ontario dispensary front startles employees

Tantalus Labs talked about perseverance

Tantalus Labs — originally established in Maple Ridge, BC — was one of the renowned names in attendance. The brand was recently acquired by Newfoundland’s Atlantic Cultivation. It was established before legalization and supplied the medical market.

A representative said that Tantalus has experienced some challenges recently but was able to persevere.

“In the last year, Tantalus came across some hard times as the whole industry is going through this huge transition,” Lisa Campbell, chief executive of the Mercari Agency representing Tantalus, said.

She discussed how the CRA has been cracking down and treating Tantalus like a scapegoat. They tried to destroy almost two metric tons of cannabis grown by the company, Campbell said.

The amount of tax debt owed to the CRA by federally licensed producers increased by a whopping 72 per year-over-year in 2023. They collectively owed C$273.4 million as of Dec. 31.

“We were able to rescue all that cannabis, get it sold and keep the brand alive. So we’re really happy that Tantalus is still in the market,” she said.

KIND Gardens cannabis show lights up Vancouver for the first time

Lisa Campbell is one of the Canadian cannabis industry’s well-known figures. Photo: Rowan Dunne

Read more: Flora Growth acquires high-tech German cultivation facility following legalization

Read more: Trafficking cannabis in Malaysia can get you 30 years jail and a bruised backside

Organigram speaks on benefits of AI for its business

The New Brunswick company was in attendance handing out samples from its brands like Shred, Trailblazer and Holy Mountain.

Organigram’s Field Service Representative in the Kootenays, Sydney Hayes, told Mugglehead about an interesting artificial intelligence program. It has been very beneficial for the operator in recent days.

“Marvel AI is basically a conveyor belt where all of our cannabis goes down,” Hayes said. She talked about how happy she was to have the opportunity to educate people about cannabis.

“Each bud is looked at very meticulously to find anything undesirable,” Hayes added. “Anytime any of those buds are found they’re shot to the back of the line, re trimmed, and then brought back through again.”

The program’s creator based in Surrey –Twister Technologies — says the program is 95 per cent effective at grading and sorting cannabis at a rate of 70 pounds per hour. Cannabis is assessed for quality using deep learning AI algorithms which determine whether is acceptable or not.

IRCC representatives discuss their organization’s impact

The event featured a series of “Kind Talks” on topics such as keeping money in the pocket of retailers, the future of the industry and female cannabis leaders.

Chris Felgate and Mandesh Dosanjh gave an oral presentation titled Empowering Independence: The Independent Cannabis Retail Collective (IRCC) Advantage for Cannabis Retail Success.

“Our team is a mix of really interesting people who help the organization connect and move the industry forward by connecting retailers, producers and member benefits, and really providing that platform,” Dosanjh said.

The two say that the purpose of the IRCC is to give independent cannabis retailers a platform to sell data acquired from their business activities. The platform fosters discussion on what prices are moving, where retailers are spending their money, and what is really being sought after — Felgate described.

“We provide the ability to tap into over 800 independent retailers and understand what’s near and dear to their heart,” Dosanjh added. “We’re there to create and support a vibrant industry through empowering independent retailers.”

KIND Gardens cannabis show lights up Vancouver for the first time

IRCC Head of Operations Chris Felgate (left) speaks on Thursday. Photo: Rowan Dunne

Read more: Organigram Holdings faces challenges after Health Canada’s edibles ruling

Read more: Canada hits 5 years since adult-use legalization as producers struggle to turn a profit

Private BC operators struggle to compete with government stores

Although British Columbia may have a vibrant and diverse industry, many independent retailers are struggling to compete with shops run by the province.

“It is very difficult,” Sunrise Cannabis co-owner Ehren Richardson told Global News recently. “Typically, [the province] undercuts all the small, independently-owned retailers to try and gain market share.”

The Retail Cannabis Council of BC’s Director, Cory Waldron, says there is an instant decline in private store sales whenever a government shop opens up anywhere nearby in the province.

However, despite a growing amount of tax debt among Canadian operators, sales in BC continue to rise.

The province raked in over C$485 million from cannabis during the 2022/2023 fiscal year. That number represents a 15 per cent increase year-over-year.

Cannabis contributes well over C$2 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product annually.

KIND Gardens cannabis show lights up Vancouver for the first time

Some Scarborough-grown haze on display at KIND Gardens from Ontario’s The Loud Plug. Photo: Rowan Dunne

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