O’Cannabiz Toronto 2019 Conference & Expo – Canada’s Premier Cannabis Industry Convention
O’Cannabiz is Canada’s premier cannabis industry convention and expo. SVP Programming Danya Dixon and RNMKR CEO Corey Herscu visit the Midas Letter set to explain what the convention has to offer industry insiders and cannabis enthusiasts alike. The pair explain that the conference features industry-specific talks and panel discussion. Dixon and Herscu reveal this year’s event is bigger than ever, with over 100,000 square feet of expo space and 250 booths. The O’Cannabiz Conference and Expo runs from April 25 to 27 at Toronto’s International Centre. For more details visit ocannabiz.com.
Howard Glassman: And, hold on! We’re doing this now! This is actually happening. It’s great to have a couple of people here in the studios representing something called the O’Cannabiz Conference and Expo. It’s in Toronto, April 25th through 27th, International Centre; please say hello to the Senior Vice President of Programming, Danya Dixon. Hello, Danya.
Danya Dixon: Hello there.
Howard Glassman: And with me, a friend of mine: full disclosure, my buddy, the President and CEO of RNMKR PR, Corey Herscu. Young man, good to see you.
Corey Herscu: Thank you, Dad.
Howard Glassman: [laughter] Always a pleasure to hang with my little Bar Mitzvah boy. Danya Dixon, Danier – Danya!
Danya Dixon: Danya, yes.
Howard Glassman: Danya, how are you.
Danya Dixon: I’m doing well, thank you.
Howard Glassman: Happy International Women’s Day.
Danya Dixon: Thank you very much. Represent.
Corey Herscu: Can I hug Danya, or is that weird?
Howard Glassman: Pardon me?
Corey Herscu: Can I hug her for a little bit?
Howard Glassman: No, don’t go anywhere near her. Good lord.
Danya Dixon: No, no.
Howard Glassman: Good lord. Do I have to tell you everything? It’s International Women’s Day. It’s not about you.
Corey Herscu: I know, Dad…
Danya Dixon: He’s already tried to throw that around. [laughter]
Howard Glassman: You know, I – well, it’s interesting: you’re the Senior Vice-President, and I’ve known Danya’s family for a long time. Her father has been putting on huge trade shows and Canadian Music Week was basically created by her father. And now you guys, the family business, is now morphing into this Wild West, the frontier, of cannabis, cannabis and related industries.
Let’s tell people who have never been to a Cannabis Expo, what they would expect.
Danya Dixon: Sure. So the event itself is actually comprised into a few different components. So we have the business conference; so that’s, you’re looking at topics such as state of the industry, you’re looking at the new branding regulations, you’re looking at new joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions; learning how, basically, how the cannabis industry works, and if you’re interested, how to get into that.
Then we also have the Expo, so that runs for two days at the International centre, and you have everything there from the licensed producers, you have the growers and cultivators, you have your new start-ups. You have people displaying their new CBD products and explaining that, and infused products, and skincare regimens, and new software systems for retail. I mean, it’s endless, it really is every sector.
Howard Glassman: It is, and but to be clear, and there is an industry component to it.
Corey Herscu: Yes.
Howard Glassman: And you know, a lot of people watching The Midas Letter, interested in investing in companies and learning more about how they operate. So there’s industry at O’Cannabiz.
Danya Dixon: That’s correct.
Howard Glassman: And the public is welcome, because I walked around it last year, and it was the first, you know, weed-related conference I’d ever been at; it was insane. I just didn’t know what to expect. I think there’s a lot of things about this industry people would be surprised about, not the least of which is, as you were just saying, the variety. So many different aspects of cannabis – it is endless. And this year, now, last year was pretty big; I mean, is this year going to be bigger?
Danya Dixon: It is. So yesterday – yesterday; it feels like yesterday. Last year, we had about 60,000 square feet worth of Expo space; this year we have actually increased to 100,000 square feet. So we’re looking at almost 250 different booths that we have there.
Howard Glassman: Wow.
Danya Dixon: We actually are putting a mainstage in the trade show to have some of our workshops and keynotes, demo stage presentations, and we’ve actually divided into industry, and then we have a day where the public are allowed to come. So we’re dedicating content and subject matter to health and wellness, so you can learn about skincare. You can learn about proper dosing, talk to doctors about pain management. You can learn about, you know, athletes and cannabis. We have Montel Williams and Ricki Lake.
Howard Glassman: Well, I wanted to ask you about that.
Corey Herscu: This is where it gets exciting.
Howard Glassman: [laughter]
Danya Dixon: This is the fun part.
Howard Glassman: Okay, yeah, what now? Because that’s sort of the big star: Montel Williams will be speaking on cannabis what?
Danya Dixon: He’s going to be talking about his lifetime kind of struggle with MS. So we actually had him speak in our Vancouver event back in December, and he has an amazing story where patients can obviously connect with him on that level, and just the education that he brings. And he’s an amazing, entertaining speaker, so we’re really excited to have him.
Howard Glassman: And is that a daytime thing, with Montel? By the way –
Danya Dixon: It’s a daytime thing.
Howard Glassman: If you’re looking at –
Corey Herscu: The night’s when things get really interesting.
Danya Dixon: Ooh, the nighttime stuff, yeah.
Corey Herscu: The night’s when things get interesting.
Howard Glassman: Well, let’s tell people to go to ocannabiz.com for all the details. What happens at night?
Corey Herscu: So, we’re trying to plan a couple things. We for sure we have a Village People-themed party.
Danya Dixon: Obviously.
Corey Herscu: And it’s really exciting; I want to see you in a headdress, and people will pay for those pictures. Let’s just be real here, okay?
Howard Glassman: Okay, let’s just be real. Let’s keep it real, Corey.
Corey Herscu: That’s what they’re coming for. They’re not coming for the networking, they’re not coming to meet people…
Howard Glassman: They want to see me dressed as one of the Village People.
Corey Herscu: But with your abs out.
Howard Glassman: Yeah. By the way, I’m a little surprised, because usually you dress like one of the Village People.
Corey Herscu: I have my hat. [laughter]
Howard Glassman: Corey has his hat. He comes into the studio and he’s dressed, he’s got the hat on like the Jewish Lone Ranger. So, what’s happening at night? I just want to get to the part about Montel; Montel, is that open to the public for people to see?
Danya Dixon: It is. So he’s going to be on the Saturday which is our industry and public day. So the public will be able to see him, and he’ll be on the red carpet afterwards, talking to the attendees that are there. And then Ricki Lake is going to be on right after him.
Howard Glassman: Wow. It’s kind of like a 90s talk show reunion, I love that.
Danya Dixon: Payback, right?
Howard Glassman: You just get someone throwing a chair, and it’s perfect.
So Corey Herscu is a PR guy I’ve known for a long time, and it’s interesting to see how your business has morphed. Corey has, is involved with several different cannabis-related, you know companies; O’Cannabiz is just something that Rainmaker is involved in.
Isn’t in interesting, as a young, you know, person –
Corey Herscu: Thank you for calling me young, still. I get cheered by it.
Howard Glassman: Don’t you find it interesting, though, that your business, like a lot of businesses in Canada, has morphed into this cannabis space?
Corey Herscu: I think that evolution is a good thing, and you have to let yourself keep going, otherwise you die; that’s it. And the Gretzy saying, you have to skate where the puck is going, not where the puck is. And I used to have a hustle in a different part of the industry, in technology –
Howard Glassman: Yeah.
Corey Herscu: And I discovered cannabis for personal medicinal use. It helped me a lot, and I thought, you know what? I have to, I’m good at what I do, and I have to share that story. And that was in cannabis, so I just said, that’s it.
Howard Glassman: I mean, some of the companies – you know, there’s, there’s some of the companies that Corey has been involved in that, you know, you people who watch the Letter, may have heard of. Emblem, you’ve done some work for; who else?
Corey Herscu: Emblem, Vapium, Blockstrain, Origin House…there’s a lot of them.
Howard Glassman: Right. Last year at O’Cannabiz, I went there – and again, this was my first one; I think Alison went to Lift last year, as well. And I didn’t know what to expect, but cannabis wasn’t legal in Canada last year.
Danya Dixon: Not yet!
Howard Glassman: So –
Corey Herscu: Are we…
Howard Glassman: I just want to know, because last year, when I went to O’Cannabiz Expo, I was like ‘will there be weed here?’ But obviously, there was not; it was not legal. But this year, would that be different?
Danya Dixon: We’re still playing, within, you know, the rules and regulations.
Howard Glassman: Legalities, yes.
Danya Dixon: There won’t be any weed onsite, no cannabis, anything like that; it’s, it really is educational in scope. So –
Corey Herscu: You want to get your feet wet in the industry, you’ve got a place to come.
Danya Dixon: You do, yeah.
Howard Glassman: Well, I will say this: you know, I remember last year, there was a mock-up of a store, a bricks-and-mortar store, and that’s when I went back and I was talking about being there with my partner Fred on the Humble & Fred show. I said Fred, my eyes were opened by this. He said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘Because I just never considered all the aspects of the cannabis industry until I saw that storefront in the Expo, because there were people there saying hey, if you want to open up a dispensary eventually, we’ll help you through.’ And I said, you know, that just shows you how far-reaching the business is in Canada.
Danya Dixon: Oh, absolutely.
Corey Herscu: And even integrating that with technology, and we’re talking about skin care –
Danya Dixon: Oh, it converges with everything. With everything. With every business.
Howard Glassman: Absolutely.
Corey Herscu: We’re even, like, it’s transcending species; now there’s people who are doing it for equestrian partners and for animals.
Howard Glassman: I was going to say, one of the first things – this happened about a year and a half ago – someone gave us sort of a gift bag of CBD-related products, and one of them was for pets!
Danya Dixon: Oh yeah.
Howard Glassman: It’s all there at O’Cannabiz. The conference and Expo is in Toronto April 25 through 27. There’s, it’s bigger than last year, as you were saying, but is there still room for people to, if they want a booth, I’m assuming…
Danya Dixon: We are almost sold out, we’re almost sold out. We actually just had to increase the space, so if you’re going to get a booth, you have to do it soon.
Howard Glassman: Okay.
Danya Dixon: Something new to add to the bill is our O’Cannabiz industry awards gala that we just announced last week.
Corey Herscu: We are talking about it, we’re talking about it.
Howard Glassman: We just assign a host? Is there somebody that –
Danya Dixon: We’re looking for a host.
Howard Glassman: You’re looking for a host?
Corey Herscu: Wait, wait, wait, the casting call is on the schedule; we’ll schedule you in for a casting call, so we’ll call you.
Howard Glassman: Oh, will you?
Corey Herscu: We’ll fit you in.
Howard Glassman: How about, can I borrow your stupid hat? Sorry, I didn’t mean –
Corey Herscu: My hat will get you the role. No, no, we all know the legality here.
Danya Dixon: That’s how we hired him. He wore the hat!
Howard Glassman: No, I know.
Corey Herscu: I just came in with it.
Howard Glassman: If some of you older people are wondering what a hipster looks like, that’s it.
Danya Dixon: There you go.
Howard Glassman: Well listen, it’s very exciting – we’re all – I can’t wait to go again, because I really enjoyed it last year.
Danya Dixon: We’re excited to have you.
Howard Glassman: And I would encourage, if you’re curious about this business, and obviously –
Corey Herscu: Mention Henry Rollins, too.
Howard Glassman: Pardon me?
Corey Herscu: You didn’t mention Henry Rollins is going to be there, and that’s exciting also.
Howard Glassman: Henry Rollins?
Danya Dixon: Yeah, he’s one of our –
Corey Herscu: Henry Rollins. We said Ricki Lake and Montel, Henry Rollins, Black Flags, Henry Rollins will be there. Please, please mention it.
Howard Glassman: You just did.
Danya Dixon: There you go, you did it.
Corey Herscu: I just took it away for you. [laughter]
Howard Glassman: What I was going to say, though, is, you know, a lot of you people that are interested in this business, this is a one-stop shop to go and find out everything. A lot of the companies you’re interested in here as an investment will be there, represented, at this conference and Expo. It’s in Toronto. Danya Dixon, the Vice President of Programming; Corey Herscu – is it Herscu?
Corey Herscu: Herscu.
Howard Glassman: What a pleasure, what a pleasure to be in your presence again. From Rainmaker PR, and make sure you check it out. The website’s easy: ocannabiz.com.
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