This June, hundreds of members of the cannabis community from around the globe will arrive in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. For Derek Riedle, there’s no better place to launch the first ever World Cannabis Congress. Riedle is the founder and publisher of Civilized, who is presenting the event. While New Brunswick may not have the name recognition of, say, Las Vegas or Los Angeles, it has a unique and exciting position in the world of cannabis.
"New Brunswick has been at the forefront of the cannabis industry, globally, for a couple of years now," says Riedle. "[The World Cannabis Congress] has really formalized that position of thought leadership - of aggressive movement towards building and growing cannabis businesses here on the east coast."
To that end, the Congress will focus on themes of business, policy and innovation. Many cannabis meetings focus on investment, or act as trade shows, but Riedle stresses that ‘this is a C-suite level gathering’, bringing together "the best and the brightest across the industry - decision makers, opinion leaders, researchers, thought leaders - people who are really making an impact daily on this global industry.”
Riedle adds that “the goal is to get them here, make sure that they have an unbelievably valuable time, learn a lot, connect a lot, but also fall in love with New Brunswick."
Of particular note is the Congress’ first keynote speaker, the Hon. A. Anne McLellan, chair of Canada’s task force on cannabis legalization. The world will be watching as Canada becomes the first G7 country to federally legalize cannabis later this year.
"[She] is so uniquely positioned to speak to global leaders about the Canadian experience,” says Riedle, "and how you go from prohibition to a regulated, taxable, adult-use market in a very short period of time."
He adds that "she has knowledge that is eminently exportable as this becomes a global trend."
As the team behind the congress works hard assembling the schedule of speakers, panels and events, there’s one overriding goal for the Congress:
"We’re going to make sure [guests] are leaving feeling enriched and anxious to come back 12 months later, because it’s added to their network and it’s adjusted their perspective on where they can go and do business."
Business aside, delegates and guests can expect to have a great time in the host city of Saint John. "It’s worth the trip,” Riedle says.
"It’s off the beaten track, and I think that’s part of the allure. This is a wonderful city, filled with history and beautiful architecture and wonderful people. It will be an unparalleled host to this intimate type of gathering. I think people are going to fall in love with it."
For more information on the World Cannabis Congress, visit the official website.