3 Key Takeaways from CannaTrade 2019 in Zurich

Opinion

CannaTrade is one of Europe’s oldest hemp conferences. It has been hosted in Switzerland every year since 1999. It’s an event where you can learn about cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp with exhibitors from nearly every section of the industry. As the oldest hemp conference, CannaTrade does boast a substantial audience, acting as a place for the CBD and hemp communities to connect in Europe, with nearly 11,000 thousand visitors with 250 different exhibitors.

We attended CannaTrade with two of our new partners, Invenda and Wemp. Invenda is a global group revolutionizing retail with automation and innovation, and Wemp is an impressive up-and-coming vending company distributing CBD products to change the way that people buy CBD.  

At CannaTrade, Wemp was there to showcase smart CBD vending machines that can take payment and anonymously verify the customer age. These Invenda-powered vending machines integrate the Civic Pay system to verify identity anonymously and receive CBD products.

In addition to demoing with our partners, we attended CannaTrade to learn more about the CBD industry and its fit for vending. Here’s a brief insight into what we learned.

There is no shortage of interest in CBD and Hemp. The Guardian called CBD the “avocado toast” of 2019, and that sums up the excitement around CBD perfectly. If you’re not familiar, CBD, short for cannabidiol, is the non-psychoactive chemical found in hemp and marijuana plants and depending on where in the world you are, CBD products are generally allowed if the trace of THC is limited. In Switzerland, CBD is legal if it contains less than 1.0% THC, which is 0.8% higher than the rest of the states in the EU, making Switzerland a haven for European CBD companies.

Although there is still research to be done around CBD and its effects, people rave about CBD for the health benefits. The New York Times recently did a deep-dive into CBD following the story of parents treating their children’s severe seizures with CBD and referencing it as the “therapeutic cure-all.”  Whether it is the miracle drug that it claims to be, or not, we’re living through CBD’s moment. The Cannabis Trades Association UK suggested that there were 250,000 cannabidiol consumers in this country in 2017, double the number from 2016.

The automated retail industry is excited about CBD. It’s not just individuals who are excited about the potential for CBD, it’s industry too. As the evidence shows, people are ready to give CBD a shot, and it’s in high demand. Last year, CBD sales were estimated $2 billion at most. The market is expected to grow to $16 billion by 2025. That means there to be avenues to get these products into the hands of consumers. With age-gating capabilities, vending machines are a perfect way to distribute CBD and get it into the hands of people who want it and are permitted to have it.

With varying laws and policies around CBD, there has been a lack of nationwide or global stores that are prepared to offer CBD products. Vending machines are an ingenious way to put these products where demand is highest, with capabilities to make sure that kids don’t have access (thanks to Civic’s age-verification technology).

The vending machines industry as we know it is about to change. We know there is a huge opportunity to vend age-gated products. It’s been just a year since we introduced the world’s first crypto beer vending machines, but the feedback has continued to be incredible, and we’re embarking on this new industry with 12 partners, who all contribute to automated innovation in one way or another.

This is a market that continues to excite our company. We see the opportunity to help our partners, not only offer their customers the best, state-of-the-art technology but enables our partners to sell products in places where it may not have been possible before and reach more people than ever before.

Any consumers will be able to make purchases from the vending machines by downloading the Civic Pay app (to be released this summer) and having their ID verified. Keep your eyes on our social media – we’ll be sure to let you know when that first vending machine makes it into the wild.