Cannabis industry leaders and vendors will be on hand at Arrowhead Mall this weekend for a Cannabis Oklahoma Regional Expo (CORE) conference.

The event will feature vendors and speakers in the cannabis industry, focusing on legal and regulatory issues, insurance, the business of the industry, and manufacturing of hemp products.

“This event is actually going to be the launch of a new trade association for those in the cannabis industry called the Cannabis Industry Association of Oklahoma, or CIAO,” said Rob Raasch, president of the organization.

Randy Gibson, whose communications company represents CIAO, said the two-day event is a chance for industry leaders and representatives to discuss the various aspects of the industry.

“The marijuana industry is really getting big in Oklahoma — the cannabis and hemp industry,” he said. “This group is the one that represents a lot of the industry part like the growers, the labs, the transporters and the dispensaries. They’re going to be talking a lot about the different laws.

“Representative Chris Sneed is scheduled to speak, along with representatives from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Association.”

Gibson also said it’s a chance for attendees to “get discussion from the owners.”

“And if there are any patients that have something to say or what they’re kind of thinking about some of the laws being contemplated.”

In addition, there will be a special session on the hemp supply chain and workforce development program, including the collaboration between Native American tribes, tribal colleges and the federal land grant system.

“There will be a lot of good information for those wishing to know more or who are thinking about getting into the cannabis and hemp-related industries,” Raasch said. “We invite anyone who would like to know more or who have questions to come visit with our vendors, our speakers and our elected officials.”

Gibson said there will also be discussion on research and development in the industry.

“People talking about some of the things you can make out of hemp,” he said. “What we’re seeing is that’s where the industry is really taking off, where people are using the hemp part of the plant. They’re making consumable products like plastic cup and cutlery you see at restaurants and hempcrete, it’s like concrete.”

The event is being sponsored by CIAO, Native Health Matters, Native Grass Dispensary and the Muskogee Tourism Authority.

If you go

WHAT: Cannabis Oklahoma Regional Expo (CORE) conference.

WHEN: Noon-4 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.

WHERE: Arrowhead Mall.

TICKETS: or at door.

COST: $25 for expo; $50 for all events.

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