The first-ever CannExpo, a cannabis consumer and retail show, takes place at the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place in Toronto from March 24-26, 2023, and promises to educate, entertain, and stir up more passion for legal cannabis consumption.

Cannabis has been legal in Canada for four years, yet, there is still stigma and myths associated with it. CannExpo intends to change that, bringing cannabis consumption into the mainstream through this innovative and groundbreaking, three-day-long event. 

An almost endless compilation of activations await, including

  • daily cooking-with-cannabis competitions featuring celeb chefs;
  • educational sessions on how to speak to your kids about cannabis;
  • live multicultural entertainment and cultural experiences such as pow-wows;
  • high profile speakers and main stage guests like Cody VanGogh – a joint-rolling expert whose world-class creations have been enjoyed by the likes of Snoop Dogg and Machine Gun Kelly;
  • ‘budtender’ (aka cannabis retail expert) exclusive events;
  • an expansive retail and vendor showcase with new products and cutting edge technology, plus the ability to purchase accessories, hardware, and services.

The depth and diversity of this first-ever cannabis consumer show make it the cannabis show to experience. It was designed and executed by CannExpo Founder and CEO, Kathryn Reilly, a woman with significant experience in launching winning consumer shows (National Bridal Show, Gardening Show, BabyTime). She states, “It was created to welcome consumers, not only industry types, in a friendly, welcoming, entertaining, and educational environment.”

Here are just some of the CannExpo 2023 highlights that attendees have to look forward to:

The Disciplined Stoners on Friday, March 24 at 1 pm. They’ll appear and host the awards show and are part of panels and games throughout the day. Ellevan and Winny Clarke are The Disciplined Stoners. They cover many sides of cannabis through the lens of creativity, holistic wellness, and business, in a style that combines perspective, performance, music, and comedy.

Daily competitions include “So You Think You Can Cook With Cannabis” with celebrity chef judges Jordan Wagman, Vito Blaze, and The Ganja Mama. The competition will run all weekend long and includes three categories; Best Infused Baker, Best Mixologist, and Best Chef.

The rolling competition at CannExpo will be judged by acclaimed joint rolling artist Cody VanGogh, the only Canadian competitor in the National Joint League. Sign up for all three days at Booth #624 for your chance to win prizes.

Featured speaker Jack Kungel of Jack’s Garage documentary, is a well-known 69-year-old ‘prophet’ of the cannabis movement, who will speak on Sunday, March 26 about his own journey through a 20-year battle with pain, cancer, and the devastating physical effects of eight surgeries and pharmaceuticals. His journey to health through cannabis has led him to become a passionate educator about the many benefits of cannabis and a plant-based diet.

The Cannabis Community and Influencer Awards Ceremony takes place on Friday, March 24th. Fan-nominated cannabis influencers are competing in various categories designed to celebrate success and inclusion, and bring attention to those less known in the industry. CannExpo will be awarding a special Lifetime Achievement Award to Abi Roach, a world-renown driving force in cannabis advocacy, who pioneered the cannabis industry in Canada by making history in his fight for legalization.

Educational sessions include women in cannabis (a roundtable of eight important women in the industry taking place on Friday at noon), cannabis safety and parenting, medical cannabis, questions to ask your budtender, psychedelics advocacy, and more. Talks will be taking place on the event stage and in ‘sesh’ rooms for all levels of cannabis consumers to participate and learn.

Popular cannabis brands will exhibit including licensed retail stores, craft growers, accessories, cannabis crafts, organic hemp products, and more.

The Ontario Cannabis Store will be in attendance to promote their new education hub for Ontarians, Cannabis Made ClearCannabis Made Clear provides unbiased, non-judgemental education on a range of key cannabis-related topics including responsible use, health effects, the value of buying legal cannabis, and how to have these important conversations with young people. Ten access grant winners at the show will also be present, sponsored by the Ontario Cannabis Store. These grants aim to increase the presence and participation of Black, Indigenous, and people of colour-owned retailers and Licensed Producers at CannExpo.

The Tether Budtender & Retail Gathering on Sunday, March 26 from 2-3:30 pm is an exclusive event during CannExpo for budtenders and licensed retailers, celebrating the finale of Tether’s 2023 Budtender Appreciation Week. At this exclusive event, there will be the opportunity for budtender sampling, networking, and gifting. The event is open to currently employed Cansell-certified budtenders, retail buyers, and licensed owners/operators. Registration is $25.00 and includes Sunday admission. 

Budtenders, retailers, cannabis consumers, and the cannabis-curious will all come together at this unique show. Tickets cost $20 for a day pass or $45 for the entire weekend. 

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.