5 Key Takeaways from Hempfest Toronto 2018

This year’s Hempfest in Toronto features speakers from diverse areas of the cannabis industry, from branding and marketing experts to advocates and cannabis product producers. We’ve compiled our notes on the event to provide neatly packaged cannabis industry intelligence for current/prospective business owners and operators.


Cannabis expos and conferences are getting niche.

Business owners need to identify the best conferences for their particular brand and product.

For example, cannabis product creators and accessory shops would benefit more from attending consumer oriented shows like Hempfest to increase brand awareness and secure future sales. On the other hand companies providing accounting, legal, and technology services would benefit more from more B2B oriented events such as Lift.

Knowing your primary customer base/market and spending the time and money to exhibit only at events that bring direct value is important to keep your business focus and not waste time and effort.

expo for cannabis

The cannabis industry in Ontario is similar to BC in 2016 – 2017

Cannabis retailers in Ontario number approximately 60 storefronts or more, all supplied by grey market producers. The majority of these stores are centered around southern Ontario, with tight clusters in Toronto and Hamilton.

The grey market in Ontario is very much alive and servicing the local population with great success. This draws comparison to the situation in BC just a year ago, and in many cases reflect the situation in BC now, but without the municipal structure for dispensaries that BC currently has.

Although none of these storefronts are licensed and may be subject to raids and legal action at any time, dispensary owners are generally willing to accept the risk to continue operations.

Until the Ontario government or cities themselves provide proper guidelines in the summer of 2019 these storefronts are hanging in limbo.

yoga and cannabis

Trend of more women in cannabis and female owned/operated cannabis businesses.

Companies like Canndora highlight the recent trend of more women focused presentations in the cannabis industry. This not only applies to business startups and dispensary owners, but also the direct marketing of cannabis products and brands to a female audience.

More and more ladies are carving out a niche in the cannabis industry and servicing a specific consumer base that had previously gone under the radar.

Canndora is a prime example of such a business, with marketing directed to women by women on topics and products designed to appeal to the female market. These are exciting companies to pay attention to as they are rapidly expanding the cannabis product market and diversity of the consumer base.

bong creating

Increased presence of processors and cannabis product creators.

People do not yet realize the growth potential of cannabis derivative products such as edibles, concentrates, and beverages in the following year. Once the regulations for such products are set mid-to-late next year, expect to see the number of companies focusing on specific cannabis derived products increase dramatically.

The Canadian and international cannabis market will experience an explosion in product diversity very soon. In the beginning there will be an oversaturation in varieties of cannabis derivative products. Soon after, brands will distinguish themselves from the competition and winners will begin to emerge in the market. We are already beginning to see the start of this with potential partnerships between giant companies like Coca-Cola and Aurora.

Automated compliance and data security is the future of Canadian cannabis POS systems.

As legalization hits full swing in Canada, it is clear that automating provincial and municipal compliance regulations and reporting is going to be the key factor in the success of POS and inventory management systems for licensed producers, processors, warehousers, and retailers.

Expect reporting and compliance regulations to be very strict in the beginning, loosening over time in the years to come. This highlights the need to have an airtight compliance reporting system built into the inventory management and point of sale platform cannabis businesses employ.

Data security is also a keystone to successful Canadian cannabis operations. We’ve all heard of the potential of lifetime bans to the United States for Canadians who work or invest in the cannabis industry at home. Your data is no different. Ensure your POS/IMS service providers have dedicated servers that only exist in Canada, with absolutely no data passing the border in any way.


greenline pos

Are you looking to open a cannabis retail business? Maybe you’re in the early stages of licensing, or maybe you’ve already been licensed and are looking for guidance on the operations of your store. Greenline is Canada’s most experienced cannabis retail POS with a heavy emphasis on compliance and adapting to regulatory changes as fast as possible, and we’re here to help the industry! Call us about anything, and we’re sure we can provide value.




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