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Cannabis, Trade Show, Lucky Leaf Expo, Minnesota Legit,

Review of ‘Lucky Leaf Expo’: Cannabis Industry Trade Show in Minneapolis

By John Wheeler

Recreational cannabis has been legal in the State of Minnesota for nearly a year now, but it still feels as though official dispensaries (outside of a couple on tribal land) are a long way off.

Despite the future being a little hazy, the wheels of progress are grinding on: Our friends at Minnesota Legit were offered a booth at a massive cannabis business trade show last weekend known as The Lucky Leaf Expo in The Minneapolis Convention Center, and I felt duty-bound to tag along and report my findings.

Minnesota Legit is a Minneapolis based glass blowing collective that specializes in smoking accessories such as glass pipes, pinchies, headies, water pipes, dab rigs, etc.. who have in recent years expanded into dugouts, oil pens, grinders, vaporizers, and even seeds.  

They were showcasing this assortment at the expo, and one of the first things I noticed was that regardless of the presence of several hundred active booths, MN Legit was the only company on site promoting glass, with the exception of one other lone independent artist.

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The expo featured a multitude of businesses centered around growing and manufacturing hemp and cannabis products.  Farmers, seed distributors, folks selling machines for extraction and mass producing pre-rolls, grow lights, irrigations systems- every single part of journey from the soil to your bong was thoroughly represented.  

It reminded me of one of those buildings at The Minnesota State fair that used to bore the daylights out of me as a kid, though I’ll admit that I found this subject matter a bit more intriguing.

One of the more recognizable storefronts was a rather large Cheech and Chong booth.  I know it would be silly to expect the actual Cheech and Chong to show up to something like this in person, but I couldn’t help being a little disappointed that they didn’t.  Dave’s not here, man.

There was a small faction of showers that were not growers: security systems, financial institutions, and lawyers- lots of lawyers.  If anyone is going to find gold in The Great Minnesota Green Rush, it’s going to be the lawyers.  The schism between the state and federal legality, the ever changing regulations across time and municipalities, and the sheer amount of hoops involved in getting something like a dispensary up to code and running… If you were an aspiring budtender at this event, your time would likely have been best spent talking to the suits.  

Trying to navigate the murky waters of this emerging enterprise without the right legal council would almost certainly lead to shipwreck.  I probably should have gone to law school instead of… no school.

The biggest question on my mind leading up to the expo was “Who is going to be attending this particular trade show?”  The tickets started at ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS just to get in and wander the booths, and they went all the way up to five big ones if you were interested in the classes and seminars given by various industry insiders which included entrepreneurs, scientists, and of course the ever present lawyers.  Makers of gummies and THC beverages were not allowed to provide samples of their wares, which meant this occasion was definitely NOT a party.  Who is shelling out their hard earned scratch and sacrificing a precious weekend for this experience?  

I spoke to a couple people whose background lies in the black market who are working towards making the perilous jump above board, but the largest demographic by FAR were the 30-50 year old straight laced investors looking to make their money by getting in on the ground floor of whatever the next big thing might be. Realestate, cannabis, I.T. solutions: at the end of the day it’s all just different numbers on the same old spreadsheet.  

Does the presence of throngs of venture capitalists point to big things on the horizon?  Is the sleeping green giant truly about to awaken, or did Minnesota drag its feet a little too long on this one?  

I suppose we should just revel in the fact that we can enjoy our herb without getting hassled by the man, and see what happens from there.  Personally, I wouldn’t mind a little extra tax revenue going to pay teachers and fix the damn roads- maybe we should try to get a head start on legalizing mushrooms.  Now there’s a convention I’d like to visit.

I can’t speak to the success of the other exhibitors, but from where I was standing the Legit booth looked to be pretty poppin the entire time.  Perhaps their reputation preceded them, or maybe all the colorful glass under the lights of the display cases graciously donated by Minnesota Fixtures and Displays created a vibrant beacon in a world of dry lectures and soil samples.  

Either way, there was definitely a little magic in the air.

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