By Kathleen McKiernan
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Kathleen McKiernan of the Boston Herald takes us inside the the New England Cannabis Convention to check out the latest marijuana-related creations.
Thousands of marijuana enthusiasts and pot shop entrepreneurs are swarming the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center this weekend to check out the budding industry’s latest innovations, including state-of-the-art fertilizers, indoor grow set-ups and the latest extraction methods at the New England Cannabis Convention.
The event, which organizers say is expected to draw more than 5,000 visitors and 150 exhibitors this weekend, is the first since the Bay State legalized marijuana for recreational use in November and comes a little more than a year before state legislators expect the first retail shops will be able to open their doors to customers.
It also comes at a time when many would-be entrepreneurs are worried about a federal crackdown on a booming marijuana industry that has been legalized for both recreational and medicinal purposes in eight states, but is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government, though many who gathered yesterday were undeterred by federal threats.
“As bad as it is to say, it’s similar to gay marriage,” said Marc Shepard, who helped organize the event. “The progressive ball goes down the hill. It never goes back uphill. I think the tipping point has been reached when a quarter of the country legally allows it. How much longer can it remain illegal federally when it is legal in all the states?”
Many attendees flocked to booths showcasing various fertilizing and cultivation methods and cutting-edge extraction techniques.
Sterling Chaves, 24, of Hudson said he wanted to see what the “new, up-and-coming business” was going to offer.
“I want to see what they have in store for Massachusetts,” he said. “I’m interested in the extracts and the whole aspect of growing outside and what kind of seeds you can grow inside.”
Pete Tranchemontagne, of Uncle Pete’s Re-Leaf, a Maine-based caregiving business, was showing off his vibrating smoking device aimed at people who are visually impaired.
The pen, he said, vibrates when the concentrated THC is ready so that users who have trouble seeing will know when to smoke.
Meg Sanders, who works for Mindful, a Colorado-based cultivation and dispensary business, said she came to see the latest technologies.
“I’ve been in this business a long time,” she said. “There’s technology I haven’t seen — it’s getting more sophisticated.”
Sanders, who specializes in financial compliance, was quick to point out that the marijuana industry is a great option for professionals from a range of backgrounds.
“You can take your skill set and apply it to cannabis,” she said. “It’s like any other business. We’re seeing more and more people jump in. We need to get this industry off the ground.”