From headlining speaker Jim Belushi to closing keynote Ted Smith, founder of the Victoria Cannabis Buyer’s Club, the first Grow Up Conference and Expo held in Victoria inspired, informed and entertained thousands of attendees.
Hosted at the Victoria Conference Centre June 20 to 22, Grow Up brought a legendary line-up of industry speakers to the stage, and hosted more than 3,000 people from across the globe.
“It was incredible to receive the warm welcoming of the Songhees Nation and Lekwungen People, along with the B.C. cannabis community, for the inaugural Grow Up Conference on the west coast,” says Randy Rowe, President of Grow Up Conference and Expo. “With both local and international industry veterans attending and speaking, there was electric energy throughout the busy three days. It truly shows the deep roots of cannabis in the province, and we look forward to coming back to B.C. for another show in 2023.”
The successful three-day expo opened with a welcome from Songhees Nation Chief Ron Sam, and headlining speaker Jim Belushi, who shared some of his life experiences that led him to pursue his passion for cannabis cultivation and his journey with Belushi’s Farm.
Closing keynote Ted Smith, founder of the Victoria Cannabis Buyer’s Club, reflected on the road from legacy to legalization with lawyer Kirk Tousaw, sharing his views on the challenges and hurdles ahead for an inclusive, thriving cannabis industry in Canada.
Other highlights from the three-days included a focus on Indigenous cannabis and plant medicines, with speakers including Albert Eppinga from BC Cannabis, Otis Jasper, of Sacred Circle and Darwin Douglas, from All Nations Cannabis Corp., who discussed diversity and inclusion within the cannabis world, and the importance of incorporating Indigenous people, culture and values into all levels of the industry.
Renowned Master Grower Ed Rosenthal hosted the first Grow at Home workshop to approximately 100 eager attendees. People learned hands-on from the grow master how to cultivate top-notch cannabis for personal use, the best way to preserve terpenes when harvesting and curing flower, and the basics needed to set up the first grow.
Grow Up also explored the emerging psychedelics industry, with attendees tuning in to hear University of British Columbia professor Zach Walsh speak about this medicine’s future as the legalization momentum builds. Walsh, along with industry experts discussed the therapeutic applications of psychedelics, along with the challenges and potential of future treatment.
In the Extraction Zone, the curious and enthusiast alike gathered with Marcus ‘Bubbleman’ Richardson, who shared his vast knowledge about cannabis extracts and about the latest developments in concentrates, delving into the science, essential equipment and various methods driving cannabis extraction’s evolution.
A two-day intensive deep dive masterclass technical workshop led by Dr. Av Singh took attendees in-depth on everything cultivation, with notable speakers including Master Growers Genevieve Newton from Stewart Farms, Annaliese Kibler, Aurora Cannabis, Dustan MacLean, from Parkland Flower, Mat Beren, from Great Gardener Farms, and Amit Nagi, from Aja labs.
Simon Smit, Founder of Serious Seeds, shared his award-winning insights into cannabis genetics, breeding and seeds, along with his principle of what it takes to grow great cannabis.
Rounding out the highlights was Budtender Day, including a luncheon for budtenders to connect with brands, growers and educators.
Grow Up Conference and Expo hosts events in Niagara Falls, Ont., and Victoria, B.C. Coming up next is the Grow Up Conference, Awards and Expo in Niagara Falls Sept. 12 to 14. For more information, visit growupconference.com.