March 3, 2019 7:40 pm
Updated: March 6, 2019 11:06 am

Hempfest Cannabis Expo takes over downtown Edmonton venue

WATCH ABOVE: Hundreds of people took in the Hempfest Cannabis Expo on Sunday, the first time the annual event has been held since cannabis was legalized in Canada last October. Julia Wong reports.

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Hundreds of people took in the Hempfest Cannabis Expo on Sunday, the first time the annual event has been held since cannabis was legalized in Canada last October.

The event, held at the Edmonton Convention Centre, saw more than 60 vendors selling cannabis accessories, providing information on how to grow cannabis or offering services such as insurance for cannabis or safe and secure transport for cannabis.

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READ MORE: Marijuana is legal everywhere across Canada now

Expo founder Sacha Hockenhull said public perception has changed since he started the expo in Calgary in 2016.

“When I started the company, friends and family said, ‘you’re going to get arrested’ and ‘we’re going to disown you.’ Now, three years later, whenever I say I run a cannabis expo, I just get questions,” Hockenhull said.

“[There’s] a lot more interest in everything cannabis-related, from how can I help, with CBD and all those kinds of things as well.”

Hockenhull said public interest is the main thing that has changed at the event since legalization on October 17, 2018.

This is the first time the event has been held since cannabis became legal in Canada on October 17, 2018.

Julia Wong/Global News

“Legalization didn’t change it that much. It changed the enforcement obviously because now the AGLC has the mandate to come and get on the show floor and make sure everybody’s compliant,” he said.

“[However] it’s been a steady, steady change year after year or just more and more interest from a wider and wider age group and demographic.”

READ MORE: Legal marijuana had an exceptional year in 2018 – and not just in Canada

3Sixty Secure is a security company that specializes in the cannabis industry; it helps applicants with the security requirements on their Health Canada applications, facility design and risk assessments.

Director of Strategic Engagement Barry Davidson said business has been good since legalization.

“The business level coming through the door has continually increased. We haven’t seen really any slowdowns anywhere after legalization. As we’ve seen retail rollout, we work within that realm as well. The level of new clients coming through the door is pretty consistent,” Davidson said.

The expo will stop in Halifax next month and will also be held in Hamilton, Saskatoon and Calgary later this year.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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