A year of conferences, expos and symposiums
New medical cannabis laws
2017 was a very busy year for cannabis. In Europe we saw some important changes happening to the medical cannabis laws in several countries, such as Germany, Poland, Greece and Malta. On the 10 of March the draft of the new medical cannabis laws went into effect in Germany, which received a lot of national and international attention. This could be partly seen at the ICBC in Berlin, where hundreds of participant, from all over the world, came to see what the new laws were and tried to get into this potentially very lucrative market.
Business conferences vs. Expos
Another trend that I noticed is that expos are becoming more customer orientated and less interesting for businesses working in the cannabis field. We can see a trend of seed banks and local specialised stores increasing in these venues and a decrease of other cannabis businesses. The main complaint is that these expos are becoming a “smoke fest” and it is not worth the money to exhibit at these events.
To counteract this trend, Business conferences have started popping up all over Europe (ICBC Berlin, EUROAMCBC, ICACO) and big expos, like Cannafest and Cultiva, are doing separate events, dedicated for business professionals.
Below are some of the highlights of the events I attended this year.
6th Annual Masterclass Medicinal Cannabis
The 6th annual Masterclass was organized by Arno Hazekamp, in collaboration with Bedrocan, in the young, vibrant city of Leiden. They say that it is like “Amsterdam without the tourists” and it certainly feels very that way; under the hotel I stayed there were 2 coffee shops.
The masterclass was 5 days of intense lectures by renowned specialists such as Danial Schecter MD, Linda Klumpers PhD, prof. Renger Witkamp, William Nottcut MD and Noel Palmer PhD.
The last day of masterclass was a trip to the Bedrocan Netherlands facility, which most of the participants were looking forward to. Besides the presentation of the Bedrocan history, quality control and R&D, we also got to see the actual grow rooms, where the various chemotypes of Bedrocan are grown.
The timing of this event was fortuitous as it was just 2 days after the German government announced the rules for applying for the cultivation of medical cannabis in Germany. As you can imagine, hundreds of cannabis businessmen, from all over the world, came to get this valuable information and try to get a piece or the potentially huge German medical cannabis market. It was great to see and hear Tommy Chong, always smiling and with great positive energy.
IndicaSativa Trade Show
The fifth year of this expo at the Unipol Arena in Bologna (Italy) was an exciting event with even more diverse cannabis related products, than the last edition. They intelligently moved the date of the expo to an earlier term, as the arena can get very hot in the summer.
8th European Workshop on Cannabinoid Research
The 8th European Workshop on Cannabinoid Research was held at the Univeristy of Roehampton in London, where scientist in the field of endocannabinoid research scientific research gathered in one place. The 3 day event fetured talks form prominent authorities in the field of endocannabinoid sciences such as Professor Ben Cravatt, Dr Matt Hill, Professor Cecilia Hillard, Professor Vincenzo di Marzo, Dr Ben Whalle and Dr Guillermo Velasco.
IACM 9th Conference on Cannabinoids In Medicine
The main cannabinoid scientific conference this year, with more than 350 participants from 37 countries. The number of scientist attending the IACM confernce was amazing and the presentations reflected the newest findings in the area of cannabinoid medicine research. The schedule was very intense with interesting back to back presentations from the leading experts in this field. Frankly, it was too much to digest in just 2 days and I think I didn’t even get the chance to talk to over half of the people I intended to. A fantastic event, a must for any cannabis researcher. Sadly its biennial and we will have to wait until 2019 for the next event.
Cultiva Hemp Expo 2017
This year’s expo was larger due to the fact that they moved the symposium part to a separate area, where you did not need a ticket to go and listen to the presentations. This seemed like a good idea, but the distance and location of the conference room was very impractical and I hope they restore it to how it was before. It was also interesting to see the increase of various CBD products and terpene blends.
EuroAmerican Cannabis Business Conference
Following the trend of business conferences alongside expos, the organizer of the Cannafest expo hosted the first Euro American Cannabis business conference. It took place at the beautiful neo-renaissance Žofín Palace, located in the very heart of Prague on an iconic Slavonic island. As it was it0s first year, there weren’t many participants, but that offered a chance to have more 1 to 1 time with all the invited international speakers.
HHI Expo & Symposium
To top off this intense and exciting year, I was honoured to be invited to speak at the HHI Expo & Symposium held in Melbourne, Australia. The symposium offered 2 days of presentations from Australia’s top cannabis advocates such as Dr Teresa Towpik , Justin Sinclair, Paul and Sharlene Mavor, Prof Ian Brighthope, Carol Ireland, Michael and Ben Oakley. The expo offered a wide variety of things to see and to try out, but there was one thing that was evidently missing. The sale of cannabis seeds is forbidden, which means that seed companies are not present in Australia. This is in direct contrast to what you can see in EU expos, where the majority of the exhibitors are seed companies. On a more positive note, Australia legalized the sale of hemp products for consumption, on the 12 of November – people can now legally enjoy the benefits of these natural healthy products.
What will 2018 bring to the table? Even more fantastic expos, conferences and symposiums…more details in my next post.