Vapouround magazine ISSUE 21 - Page 131

“IN ADDITION TO JUST THE VAPE SIDE OF THINGS, THERE IS A BROAD RANGE OF PRACTICAL USES FOR CBD. IT’S NOT JUST LIMITED TO THE VAPE CATEGORY.” – USA CBD EXPO ORGANISER JASON MONTI “CBD is the next avocado toast,” proclaimed Coca-Cola executive- turned CBD start-up founder, Chris Burggraeve in October last year. But if anything, consumers have embraced CBD with far more enthusiasm. “It’s really kind of amazing that nearly anywhere you go right now, there’s something on a counter or on a shelf that has some kind of CBD labelling on it,” USA CBD Expo host Jason Monti said. “Whether it’s going to a health food store and finding a CBD cream or supplement sitting on the counter or going to a local corner store and picking up some milk, it’s there.” The inaugural USA CBD Expo will take place on August 3 and 4. The event promises to be both a networking opportunity for businesses and a chance for consumers to learn about the huge range of products and companies currently on the market. A similar scale show in Las Vegas has been pencilled in for early 2020. “We’re excited to experiment with the CBD shows to do the same exciting and consumer-heavy style of event that vape was really known for,” Jason said. “We feel like this industry has gotten away from the consumer and we want to include the consumer on the CBD side of things.” Jason was introduced to CBD via running international vape events. The team began discussing a potential CBD event after Vape South America in Colombia in May 2018. “We had noticed that there were quite a few companies who had added CBD products to their lines and we thought at that point that we were seeing a trend. Since then, it’s been at every show we attended. As we’ve been planning our other shows, we’ve noticed more and more CBD vendors looking to be involved.” Many vape companies have expanded their CBD ranges beyond e-liquids. Meanwhile, CBD and hemp companies have turned to the expo model to promote their products and network. This has created a fertile ground for an expo that encompasses the full range of CBD products and markets. “In addition to just the vape side of things, that there is a broad range of practical uses for CBD,” Jason said. “It’s not just limited to the vape category.” The cannabis market has a very broad reach. But while there is some overlap with the legally murky marijuana industry, Jason decided early on to focus squarely on CBD and hemp. The highly-publicised Farm Bill has helped draw a clear line between the two industries and opened up interstate commerce. “It will be anything with the legal amount of THC,” Jason said. “It’ll be CBD, it’ll be hemp, it’ll be accessories, it’ll be financial. There’ll be investors looking to get involved in this industry with people that are maybe looking to raise capital.” There will also be buyers and large distributors looking to bring CBD into mainstream outlets, such as convenience and chain big box stores and local and chain pharmacies. From the outset, Jason wanted the event to be as accessible to consumers as possible, so consumer entry will either be free or subject to a very small fee. This should ensure that members of the public only recently exposed to CBD via the media or word- of-mouth will be able to attend. “It seems that every other day you pick up a newspaper there’s an article, every time you go online there’s some type of release, there’s another company making a big equity buy into another company,” Jason said. “Our goal as an organisation is to reach as many people to invite them to our event.” The event will also feature a panel of experts who will educate businesses on hemp and CBD market trends, the potential health benefits of hemp products and the many complex legal considerations surrounding them. “There are so many different uses right now for CBD, so it’ll be great to have so many speakers that can speak eloquently on those topics.” Jason hopes to help bridge the gap between consumers and the ever-growing businesses and products competing for their custom. And much like the vaping world, those working in within the industry often have personal stories to tell. “We really want them to come in and have an opportunity to meet manufacturers and vendors and hear their story. Our goal’s always been to get as many consumers to these events as possible. Consumers set the market, they’ll let the buyers know what to stock in their stores.” VM21 | 131