The Lift Co Expo Brought Cannabis Technology, Innovation to Vancouver

It’s been three years since the Lift Co Expo has been open in Vancouver, BC—and folks from all walks were buzzing to get back into the swing of things.
Vancouver
Courtesy of Erik Biksa

Vancouver, BC Canada is a beautiful city to visit. Naturally, the province enjoys global recognition for its strong and influential history with regards to bringing cannabis into widespread acceptance and legitimacy.

The Lift Co Expo featured a wide variety of outlets for gaining more access to cannabis-related brands and service providers, geared for all types of folks including cannabis growers, consumers of cannabis goods, manufacturers, vendors, budding entrepreneurs, and lots more.

There were many seminars available to attend over the course of the event from Thursday, January 12th to Saturday night, January 14th. These seminars delivered a range of topics with unique insights and information from those driving the industry forward in their chosen areas of focus. 

For example, attending the seminars shed some light on how ownership of technology-related patents for cannabis production, processing, etc. can be an integral part in determining the value of a cannabis company. Did you know it’s actually more advantageous to have a patent pending than it is to have it finalized in some instances? Useful info for budding cannabis entrepreneurs.

vancouver
Courtesy of BC Trimmers

Inclusion and representation were a strong part of the undercurrent at Lift Co Expo Vancouver, BC 2023. Nearly half the attendance and exhibitors were women; which is a growing percentage versus industry stats in the past. Additionally, there were some very relevant discussions with regards to the growing percentage of cannabis businesses owned by people of color (while still not yet fully representative by most demographics).

But, what always keeps things interesting for this cultivation journalist and cannabis aficionado is the technology and innovation pushing things forward—often stemming from some very interesting people. You really do get to meet the nicest people at these shows!

Take for example the good peeps behind PreRoll-ER, the super advanced automated joint rolling machines that can turn out up to 1200 perfectly-rolled joints an hour within 0.01 grams of accuracy per joint. These machines have been designed and produced by a leading industrial automated packaging designer-manufacturer. 

vancouver
Courtesy of Erik Biksa

The rolling process is entirely customizable by the user from the digital interface, so allowances can be made for the size of the joint, the type of material being rolled, how tight or loose the material is packed and more. It even closes the end, cuts it, and tamps it down for the perfect “Dutch Crown” tip for easy lighting and even burning through the whole length of the joint. A truly amazing design. The level of knowledge and enthusiasm behind the machine was equally impressive.

When it comes to trimming frosty buds, you might think the latest advancements are being made by mechanical trimming machines. While you are partly right (there are some very cool automated trimmers), one very noteworthy advancement for the industry is being made by one of the youngest females in the professional cannabis industry.

BC Trimmers was founded by Angela Marks, at 19 years old. She was the first person to receive a designated license from Health Canada for the purpose of trimming cannabis crops in 2018. Since, she and her sister who acts as a manager and is responsible for the networking aspects of the business, have grown BC Trimmers into a flourishing dedicated trimming service for Craft and LP level licensed cannabis growers.

They work with cannabis producers who seek a signature look for their brand in the finished buds, developing a customized trimming method—expertly executed by their growing well-trained trimming team. Some of these trimmers, by hand, can not only bring out the best look in the buds, they can do it in an astonishing amount of time. Take MAC 1 for example: 5 pounds per 8 hour shift per trimmer is not unheard of by Angela or her crew at BC Trimmers.

Courtesy of BC Trimmers

When asked if she faced any challenges starting up this unique business she had this to say:

“At the time, being a 19 year old single mother, I found that getting some of the bigger outfits to take me and what my business offered seriously posed some hurdles. I remained persistent, in what is typically a male-dominated industry, and it wasn’t too long before I was getting all kinds of opportunities because we always did a great job and on schedule once afforded an opportunity to show what we could do.”

On the cultivation end of things, speaking with Rick Hugie at Evora Technologies, it was clear that the level of technology that growers can put to work is growing by leaps and bounds. They develop and offer intelligent automation systems that control, manage and track all aspects of the growing enterprise from seed to sale. While helping to take a lot of the headaches out of compliance and regulatory mandates and procedures, they have a keen focus on improving crop quality.

“Every aspect of the growing operation can be controlled and monitored from the system, providing intelligent data from all inputs, cultivation conditions, records and related information. This means successes are repeatable.  Additionally, should any issues arise during or post crop, every aspect that contributed can be traced and isolated within the system.” 

“We found that a lot of what growers were using for automation and record keeping was not really designed for indoor cannabis production, so a lot of our software and monitoring equipment is of our own design and we feel it offers considerable advantages over what has been historically available to cannabis growers.”

One of the cool things about Lift Co Expo was that it catered to all types of people who attended—you didn’t have to be a marijuana mogul to find something new or interesting that was relevant to your needs.

For example, just about every grower needs to mix up a tank of nutrients to feed their crops from time to time. Whether you do this with a hose and spigot in a barrel or via automated controls in giant batch tanks, the guys at AeroMixer had a great solution.

Courtesy of Erik Biksa

They designed a reliable, corrosion-proof water pump that stirs, mixes and aerates your solutions—all at once! It’s also great for mixing up concentrated fertilizer stock solutions too, as the patented design can handle ¼” sized solids and up to a ¼ LB of dry fertilizer per gallon of water. No more wasted nutrients found as sludge at the bottom of your tanks or barrels while delivering a more complete and better aerated solution for your favorite plants.

What a great and informative time at the Lift Co Expo 2023 and big ups to Lisa Petty, Corey Herscu and Bree DeVita for putting it all together and making everyone feel welcome. See you again next year in Vancouver! Also look out for the Lift Co Expo coming to Toronto, Canada in June 2023.

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