SA Cannabis Expo's Silas Howarth: Biggest Shift in the Last Year is that Local Government is Now Engaging With the Industry
Q&A with SA Cannabis Expo CEO Silas Howarth. Get to the Johannesburg Cannabis Expo at the Sandton Convention Centre this Weekend
16 November 2022, 12:00:00
The Cannabis Expo has survived the Juicy Fields meltdown and the pandemic and has bounced back to stage the Johannesburg Cannabis Expo this weekend; how did you survive?
We are extremely fortunate that The Cannabis Expo, being the largest cannabis event in Africa, has huge exhibitor support with diverse organisations from across the cannabis industry taking part in each event, so we are not as heavily reliant on sponsorship funds as many other events are. It is also really encouraging to see so many new exhibitors coming on board for each expo, which speaks to the continued innovation and growth in the cannabis industry.
Are there any lingering repercussions for the Expo in terms of Juicy Fields?
From your perspective, where is the SA cannabis industry right now, and what’s shifted in the last year?
As with all industries, the covid pandemic and the state of the local economy has certainly had an impact on the cannabis industry, but we have also seen continued growth and innovation with new products and companies continually entering the market. The biggest shift this year that we have seen in comparison to before is with local government’s approach to the industry and to the expo, and we are seeing government now engaging directly in a positive way, with government departments becoming exhibitors at The Cannabis Expo at the recent Durban event and even more so in the upcoming event at Sandton Convention Centre, as well as large government delegations confirming their attendance for this event. We are encouraged by this interaction and hope that discussions between government, the industry and the public at The Cannabis Expo will result in further positive outcomes for the cannabis industry and the local economy.
What is the breakdown of your exhibitors between B2B and B2C?
We attribute the popularity and the continued growth of The Cannabis Expo to the ideal balance that we have created at each event between business and fun, with many local and international B2B exhibitors concluding massive cannabis deals at the expos and industry stakeholders taking part in important panel discussions, while also having a huge consumer focus to the event with informative presentations and exhibitors showcasing the latest cannabis consumer products and innovations, and of course the Cannabis Food market and the Freedom Festival where everyone can enjoy and celebrate this incredible plant.
What is your outlook for the industry for 2023?
We are expecting to see continued growth in the cannabis industry in 2023 and are hopeful that local government continues to recognise the massive potential benefits to the South African economy that the cannabis industry can provide and acts accordingly to assist in allowing the industry to thrive.
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