Okanagan cannabis conference: pot for pets a ‘massive market’

The Okanagan Cannabis Conference, the first of its kind, is attracting potential investors and budding entrepreneurs like Kristine Rossworm of Kelowna.

She runs a wine tour business and wants to expand into the cannabis tour business.

“Maybe you would be able to try a product and maybe take a tour in a facility to learn how it’s actually grown and produced and (get) educated on that side,” said Rossworm. “As well consuming some of the products.”

The Okanagan Cannabis Conference in Kelowna attracted a wide and diverse crowd.

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Valens GroWorks is already in the game and has been for some time. It has large grow operations set up in Kelowna, Lake Country and is looking to expand to Armstrong. Its focus is on the extraction market, where cannabis is turned to oil for consumption.

The owner says that’s where the future of the industry is heading.

“If you look at any cannabis-mature market in California or in Washington, flower sales go down month-after-month and extraction or ancilliary products go up, whether it’s topical, vape pen, edible or beverage. Those are currently rising month over month,” said Valens CEO Tyler Robson. “So that’s exactly where we’re heading.”

Some are banking on vape pens taking off when legalization happens, including Jonathan Parker of Vancouver’s Kush Oil, who says vaping oil is the future of cannabis consumption.

“Kush oil, pure CO-2 extraction is the wave of the future,” said Parker. “It’s the cleanest way to smoke. Very gentle on your lungs.”

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Some booths were selling the latest and greatest grow lights; even shipping container companies are looking to get in on the action. And there’s a company that will come to your home and help set up your own grow.

Many at the conference were there to hear what Darcy Bomford, the CEO of TrueLeaf Medicine, had to say. His company is building a massive grow operation in Lumby and a big part of its market are pets.

“The cannabis industry globally is a $90 billion industry but the pet industry is $180 billion globally, so twice the size,” said Bomford.

If you’re looking to invest in the cannabis industry, Bomford’s advice is to pick the players who are in the game for the long haul.

“Look at the companies that are going to give you long-term growth, build a brand over the next five to 10 years would be my advice,” said Bomford.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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