Lift-ing the American Trade Show Experience

LIFT Registration
(Image: Lift Events & Experiences)

When Lift Cannabis Business Conference & Expo was introduced in Canada in 2016, the gathering was far more than just a meeting place for burgeoning cannabis businesses to discuss new ventures. At the time, ending prohibition was merely an idea. Lift quickly became a crucial event offering a safe space for industry stakeholders to discuss how to move forward together. As such, the event played a pivotal role in legalization north of the border.

In the years since, Lift has grown with the industry. Despite a pandemic and a sea of other cannabis-related trade shows that have come and gone, Lift continues to evolve and act as a booster and barometer for the industry. This year, for the first time, Lift will expand its experience-based Canadian conference and trade show to the United States with an American-market-oriented event scheduled to take place in San Francisco in August.


It’s one thing to simply move into the U.S. in hopes of gaining market share, but it’s another to cultivate an environment that allows the industry and community to truly connect on a meaningful level. Lift’s targeted and intentional approach does exactly that.

“From the smallest grower to the largest multistate operator, participants will find our show provides a great return on investment as well as personal care from the time they sign up until the time the show is over,” said Lindsay Roberts, portfolio lead at the parent company, Lift Events & Experiences.

This diverse array of players includes some groups that don’t always feel comfortable or visible at trade shows, including microgrowers, budtenders, and retailers. Lift’s precision-targeting is an antidote for expo overwhelm, which can happen at events with oversaturated show floors the size of small airports. “We get to know each and every one of our audiences, the dozens of very distinct members of the full cannabis ecosystem,” said Marketing Director Lisa Petty. “We meet as a team weekly—sometimes biweekly—to ensure we’re providing the most value possible to each one of them.”

And, while Lift clearly is expanding, the passion and genuine discourse that existed in the show’s original DNA continue to be some of its most important ingredients. Discussions at Lift events are designed to foster curiosity, enable innovation, and propel the industry forward in a way that arguably does not exist elsewhere.

LIFT Live Flower on Show Floor
Attendees will be able to get up-close and personal with products on the show floor. (Image: Lift Events & Experiences)

“The Lift brand has a remarkable history of elevating thought leaders and trailblazers in our industry,” said Women Grow President Gia Morón. “Cannabis is at a pivotal juncture across the U.S., Canada, and throughout the world. I am so excited to see Lift bringing its unique event to San Francisco. This is a wonderful opportunity to grow a responsible, equitable, and profitable industry—and have a really great time while doing it.”

Every Lift event also incorporates a strong focus on the legacy market, recognizing the contingent that provided the foundation for the industry as it exists today. “The legacy segment is core to the cannabis industry as a whole,” said Roberts. “We’re talking about folks who embraced the plant as medicine and an honest way of life. They risked a lot in doing that.”

Lift’s unique mix of elements was on display during January’s Vancouver outing. An opening drum performance by Councillor Dennis Thomas-Whonoak of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (People of the Inlet) was followed by interactive presentations from an array of speakers addressing activism, funding and investments, cultivation, lifestyle, and tourism. The need for more granular discussions about innovation and disruptive technology—an ongoing necessity as the industry expands—was reinforced. Another important element: consumer-focused initiatives, notably the dedicated outdoor lounges, eye-catching demonstrations, and live entertainment.

Before the groundbreaking U.S. debut in San Francisco, Lift Toronto will take place June 1-3 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Thereafter, San Francisco will debut August 2–4 at the Moscone Center. Notably unique to this first U.S. event, live flower will be showcased at the expo for attendees to see, touch, and smell. Providing a space for brands to present their new releases to consumers acts as a research-and-development lab right on the show floor—a highly valuable commodity, given the cannabis industry’s strict regulations.

“As we reflect on a warm, welcoming, and very successful return to Vancouver earlier this year, we’re also working very hard to create unforgettable experiences in Toronto and San Francisco,” said Roberts. “You can count on Lift to spark the important conversations and facilitate the connections that will lift the cannabis community across North America.”



  1. […] The Lift Cannabis Conference & Expo in Toronto, Canada, checked all those boxes. This year’s agenda presented a list of change agents, including Muskoka Grown Chief Executive Officer John Fowler, Spirit Leaf and Superette President Dave Marino, and Abi Roach, a longtime cannabis activist and head of marketing, customer experience, and merch at Mera Cannabis. […]