There can’t be much that better illustrates the mainstreaming of cannabis in North American culture than an industry “trade show” at which two world-class athletes endorse the product and muse about a day when pot companies will sponsor pro sports arenas.
With the Liberal government recently promising to legalize marijuana by Canada Day 2018, the era of marijuana Prohibition is over, Olympic gold medallist Ross Rebagliati told the O’Cannabiz Conference and Expo in Toronto on Saturday.
“Where cannabis is going to be available in the future is everywhere,” Rebagliati said.
“Any restaurant is going to have a chef that’s going to know how to infuse the food (with certain doses) … Just like when you go to a Thai restaurant and there’s like the one pepper or two peppers or three peppers.”
Rick Barry, named one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time, said the cannabis industry is “an incredible opportunity for people to get involved in a business, to be able to make some money, and really be doing some good for people.”
Barry lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., and meets lots of U.S. veterans who use marijuana “to survive and enjoy life a little bit after the things they’ve been through.”
For Rebagliati, the distinction between medical and recreational use is really a concocted debate to “ease it into the corporate world” and society at large.
“We’re going through a massive educational period right now,” he said. “The average person isn’t even comfortable being at a trade show like this.”
Anyone hoping to find a stoner scene worthy of a Jeff Spiccoli pipe dream at the conference would be disappointed. There have been political conventions less clear-headed and organized.
The expo of all things weed was all business, high tech and had the buzz of any budding enterprise where fortunes might to be made. It was almost as corporate as the annual Detroit auto show — right down to sleek, bare-shouldered models at some displays.
Trade booths promoted nutrients for “revolutionizing plant potential,” irrigation systems, distribution lines, horticultural equipment and a cannabis securities exchange.
“We’re open to multi-channel distribution,” said Adam Greenblatt of Tweed, a producer in Smiths Falls, Ont., that grows in the former Hershey chocolate factory and is awaiting Ontario’s decision on how cannabis will be retailed.
If Rebagliati, a diminutive British Columbian who won a gold medal in snowboarding at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, has been for 20 years a poster boy for marijuana use, Barry, a tall, rangy 73, was of a previous generation of ostensibly clean-cut athletes.
He started his career with the San Francisco Warriors in the 1960s, he said. “I was there when the flower children and Haight-Ashbury was really getting started and that was the first time I even heard about marijuana.”
So when the two men took the stage for a conversation about marijuana and sports, they did not immediately appear to be kindred spirits.
Rebagliati, 45, was dressed in ball cap, hoodie, sweatpants, sneakers and looked like a middle-age sk8terboy — albeit one with a gold medal around his neck.
Barry, in slacks, loafers and checked dress shirt, could have passed for a delegate from a Republican convention.
Before it was over, however, they were finishing each other’s sentences.
Rebagliati: “If you can get yourself a gram of weed for $5 or $10, you know it makes you feel good for a couple of days, depending on your tolerance, maybe it’s only good for a couple of hours … ”
“But we’d probably have people not shooting so many other people out there,” chipped in Barry.
“You bet,” said Rebagliati.
“And they’re a lot of bad drunks out there,” said Barry. “I don’t think I’ve seen people who smoke marijuana turn into a violent sort of person.”
Rebagliati, who said he used marijuana for pain management, training and motivation during his career, has paid for his notoriety.
He was initially stripped of his gold medal after testing positive for THC before it was later restored to him. He hasn’t been allowed in the United States since 9/11. And he worked building houses for 10 years until the cannabis industry took off.
Now, he is the founder of the “the super-brand” Ross’ Gold.
“We have everything from production to storefront and we’re not only in Canada, we’re down in the United States as well.”
The shopping environment is “very much like a jewelry store,” he said. “It’s beautiful to be in and we’re attracting the kind of clientele that wouldn’t normally be comfortable coming into a dispensary.”
It seems his customers aren’t the only people getting comfortable with cannabis.
The associated law firms Aird & Berlis and Aird & McBurney — “a law firm to help you grow” — ran a raffle at booth 1404 at the O’Cannabiz expo.
A trip for two to Amsterdam
An Olympic gold medalist and former NBA star offer weed endorsements at a corporate trade show on the business opportunities in an exploding industry. “Where cannabis is going to be available in the future is everywhere,” Olympic gold medalist Ross …
Source: weed meme