Pubdate: Tue, 11 Oct 2016
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Dan Fumano
Page: 9


CONFERENCE: Event runs Thursday and Friday

At Vancouver's next big weed get-together, you can expect less tie-dye
and more suit-and-tie.

Organizers of the International Cannabis Business Conference this week
at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Vancouver expect a crowd of 650
or more to attend Thursday and Friday.

And with tickets to attend the conference running upwards of $600
each, the event might have more of a corporate feel than the average
4/20 rally.

There has been no shortage of cannabis conferences passing through
Vancouver in recent months: the Cannabis Hemp Conference came to the
Westin Bayshore in July, and last month brought both Canadian Cannabis
Business Week and the Lift Cannabis Expo to downtown Vancouver.

But the International Cannabis Business Conference seeks to
differentiate itself from other events with its global scope and
ambitions, conference organizer and founder Alex Rogers said this week.

The first editions of the conference were held in San Francisco and
Portland, and next April, organizers will take it to Berlin. Plans are
in motion, Rogers said, for 2018 events in Australia and Croatia.

Rogers has lived and worked in five different countries and served a
six-month jail sentence in Germany after a conviction for cannabis
trafficking, an experience he said prompted him to "make the decision
to get my life together."

"I am international citizen," he said. "I'm a global soul. So my goal
was always to take this international."

Rogers said it is no coincidence that Vancouver will be the first city
outside the U.S. to host his event, adding: "Historically speaking,
Vancouver is one of the cannabis capitals of the world."

"I think it's up to Canada and Vancouver to stay the leaders in this
game," he said. "They need smart, progressive policy that keeps
Vancouver and Canada a leader in the cannabis world for another 100

Speakers at this week's event include Dr. Gabor Mate, a
Vancouver-based physician renowned for his writing about the science
of addiction, and Kirk Tousaw, a lawyer and cannabis reform advocate.
Tommy Chong, another cannabis legend with ties to Vancouver, will also

Friday's keynote speaker will be Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Privateer
Holdings, a company based in Seattle with employees in five countries,
including about 130 Canada, and ambitions to be a leader in both the
medicinal and recreational cannabis markets.

Privateer subsidiary Tilray, a federally licensed cannabis production
facility on Vancouver Island, made history this year by becoming the
first Canadian company to legally export medical marijuana overseas,
Kennedy said, adding: "We've always viewed this industry as a global

Kennedy said he looks forward to the conference as an opportunity to
keep pace with the rapidly changing landscape of the bud business.

"I'm always looking to see, how is the industry changing. A year in
this industry is really like a dog year, the industry has changed so
much in the last six years. Each year has become more sophisticated,
more professional," he said.

"We would like to help develop a professional industry that would
eliminate the illicit market, so we're sort of in a holding pattern
waiting to see what happens in Canada over the next few months."
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MAP posted-by: Matt