Since it’s inception in 2018, The Cannabis Expo has covered the country from Pretoria to Durban, Cape Town and now Sandton, Africa’s powerhouse business district in Johannesburg. As we walked to the Sandton Conference Centre from the overpriced parking in the Sandton City flagship mall, we couldn’t help but think how far we’ve come. Hanging from lamp posts the entire length of two adjoining streets were Expo banners reflecting in the skyscraper glass.

But how far have we come?
Well, one answer to that became apparent on the inside the Expo itself. The organisers had added a panel discussion stage, a discreet adjoining dagga smoking kraal and 10 more 3×3 booths since the last event. There seemed to be far more competition for the public’s precious Christmas bucks. Lots more lights, more grow mediums, extraction equipment, glassware, paraphernalia, clothing – and CBD.
One in three stalls was selling some form of CBD.

It didn’t take long for it to dawn on us that the only proudly South African product in the building (give or take a couple of notable SA products) was the weed in the chill behind the food court. Imported CBD was everywhere, imported support industries were everywhere.
For a country in the top 4 producers worldwide, the irony wasn’t lost on us.

The Expo had certainly attracted more international speakers to share their experiences. This for us is the most important impact the Expo is having. Information. Presentations and discussion panels ran back to back for three days. Compliance, regulations, medicine, growing, extraction, software – you name it, there was a talk for everyone. There was also a lot more inquisitive non-users at the Fields Of Green For ALL stand. It is evident more and more people are coming out of the prohibition shadows and into the Cannabis space to see what all the fuss is about.

So, isn’t that what it’s all about?

We’d say yes, it is. But it would also be nice to see 1 in 3 proudly South African cannabis plant based health and beauty products in the stalls too. It seems crazy that it is over thirty years since the first SA hemp trials and we’re still relying on Chinese and European based products to enter the CBD bonanza.
Shame, but we guess all that CBD in Dischem and Clicks is normalising the plant every single day.

We still haven’t seen 2-ply CBD infused toilet paper yet either……

This article originally appeared on fieldsofgreenforall.co.za and was published with permission.

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