Next week, The Cannabis Expo will open in Menlyn, Pretoria, for three days of "industry, health, and agriculture" exhibits.
Early ticket sales, at R150 a pop, point to a visitor attendance of around 20,000 people, organiser Silas Howarth told Business Insider South Africa, double what exhibitors had been promised. And exhibition space is long sold out while a waiting list for spots that open up due to cancellations continues to grow. A similar exhibition in Cape Town in April is likely to be three times the size of the Gauteng event.
"It's been insane," says Howarth. "It's getting to the point where we're quite quickly turning away certain types of exhibitors."
Interest in the expo has been big even though the organisers have been very clear: no actual marijuana will be allowed on the premises. As best legal experts can tell it remains illegal to trade in dagga, or in seeds, following a historic Constitutional Court ruling that effectively legalised cultivation and possession in personal spaces.