Lift & Co 2019 Conference: the Latest in Research & Innovations
With the legalization of cannabis in Canada, we are on the precipice of a new era of innovation and research. The Lift & Co. 2019 conference held several panels to talk about the latest developments: Leading Edge Cannabis Innovations, Cannabis Products and Devices: Inventions and Innovations, and Leading Edge Genetics and Plant Science Innovation.
Leading Edge Cannabis Innovations
Corey Koffler, COO of Green Tank Technologies, began the discussion with an update on vaping technologies. It’s predicted that concentrates are going to surpass flower in terms of cannabis sales because vapes are portable, convenient, discreet, and provide acute relief. More importantly, vaping provides a healthier alternative to smoking. With the rise of popularity of vaping, Corey made several predictions as to how vaping will evolve in the near future. He predicts that trends will include accurate dosing, pod based systems, child resistant cartridges, unique form factors, alternative heating technology, and environmentally friendly hardware.
Steven Bourne and Brandon Hebor are the directors of Rafterra Global, a sister organization to Green Relief. The two have created sustainable and traceable agricultural practices, which they’ve coined as disruptive agriculture. These practices are centered on aquaponics, which is a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. Through aquaponics, they have not only been able to grow bigger buds, but they also donate the fish from their aquaculture to special charities. Astonishingly, that means that people are being fed by the growth of cannabis. The pair ended their talk by urging for better, more sustainable production practices.
Jocelyn Prefontaine is the Head of Commercial Sales for Twister Trimmer by Keirton Inc. Based in Vancouver, Twister is the most recognized and widely used harvesting solution, not only in Canada but internationally. Jocelyn outlined how harvesting innovations allow people to scale while also yielding more usable product. She also highlighted the fact that harvesting innovations improved safety, air quality, and cleanliness, which is important in order to get Health Canada approval for a growing operation.
The panel was rounded out by David Hurford, Special Advisory to the Plant Medicine Company & former National Policy Secretary for the Liberal Party of Canada. Throughout his career, David has been an active participant in the shaping of many drug policies in Canada. Among other things, David has helped: lead development of the Government of Canada’s original medical marijuana regulations and procurement plan as a special advisor to the Minister of Health between 1998 and 2002; and implement Government of Canada’s hemp production guidelines and develop Natural Health Products Directorate as a special advisor to the Minister of Health between 1998 and 2002. David encouraged both the panel and audience to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation and assured the people in attendance of the government’s role in fostering innovation in the budding cannabis industry.
Cannabis Products and Devices: Inventions and Innovations
Moderated by Irie Selkirk, Cannabis Engagement & Education for Fleurish Cannabis, this panel focused on virtual reality, software, and CO2 extraction. Charles Bern is partner in Patio Interactive, a design and marketing agency focused on virtual and augmented reality. The use of this medium perfectly lends itself to cannabis education. Charles and his company have been using this technology for virtual tours of facility floors to look at operations through the lens of education. Charles found that one could not only educate using this technology but one could also receive input from users as to how to improve production. Overall, Charles believes the industry will continue to find innovative ways to educate.
Jeff Kiehn is the CEO of 365 Cannabis. Merging traditional business metrics with cannabis industry-specific tools, 365 Cannabis is designed for manufacturing, cultivation, and dispensary operations. Jeff stresses that the aggregation of data is what customers want to make better business decisions along the supply chain. He cautioned other software companies looking to expand their footprint that heavy lifting is required to make products regional compliant.
AC Braddock is the CEO of Eden Labs, which specialized in supercritical CO2 and ethanol systems for 24 years. Eden has been an integral part in extraction methodology and its relationship with the emerging science around whole plant, the Endocannabinoid system, and the Entourage Effect. AC made sure to emphasize that Eden Labs is focused on health, wellness, and social justice. She went on to say that women and those that are aged 50+ will shape the market in the near future.
Overall, the panel agreed that people who understand science have to lead the consumer conversation.
Leading Edge Genetics & Plant Science Innovations
The Leading Edge Genetics & Plant Science Innovations panel featured some of the industry’s top scientists. Dr. Peter Chen holds a PhD in food science from the University of Guelph and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. He presented research focusing on developing novel delivery systems for cannabinoids with enhanced water solubility, improved and consistent bio-availability and a clearer understanding of food matrix interactions on cannabinoid digestion assessed using the TIM-1 in vitro simulated digestion model. Currently, he is working on exploratory research and development, which can lead to new regulatory opportunities, technology, facilities, and product development.
Annaliese Kibler is the Director of Regulatory Affairs for Aurora Cannabis. Annaliese is a consumer, plant scientist, and prominent member of the cannabis industry. Annaliese spoke on the latest plant science initiatives including inclusive crop monitoring for optimized growth. She also spoke about pathogen virus and pest detection, breeding, lighting trials, and the importance of automation in the greenhouse.
Alexzander Samuelsson has a degree in chemistry and focuses his background on innovation, research and education in the Medical Cannabis industry. Alexzander spoke on cannabis compounds and receptors, essentially how we feel the effects of cannabis. He predicts that beverages will be a large part of the cannabis market as science learns how to make cannabis more water soluble.
Christopher McGrath is the Manager of Business Development at Atlas Biotechnologies Inc. Besides his management position with Atlas Biotechnologies, he currently serves as Treasurer on the board of Alberta Cancer Care Foundation. Christopher spoke on the importance of controlled environment cultivation and chemovar diversification.
Benjamin Adams’ work in the cannabis industry ranges from cultivation to integrated pest management strategies for multiple licensed producers in several states. His diverse areas of expertise landed him at Phylos Bioscience, a company leading the way into the future of cannabis genomics and data-driven breeding. Benjamin spoke on good manufacturing practices and the importance of precision instrumentation.
Overall, the panel stressed that the industry should be lead by education and scientific visionaries rather than marketing.