Former Mexican President Vicente Fox is a keynote speaker on Saturday at the Southwest Cannabis Convention and Expo.EXPAND
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox is a keynote speaker on Saturday at the Southwest Cannabis Convention and Expo.
Gage Skidmore

Cannabis Expo in Phoenix Features Trump-Basher and Pot Proponent Vicente Fox

Learn about the expanding marijuana industry, meet people in the business, hear former Mexico President Vicente Fox's views on legalization, or just breathe deeply of cannabis culture.

The third annual Southwest Cannabis Convention and Expo at the Phoenix Convention Center will let you do all of that and more this weekend.

"It's a one-stop shop for people who want to work in the industry, employ people in the industry, network, and understand policy and legislation," said Demetri Downing, a co-founder and advisor for the SWCC Expo. "We just try to create an environment that allows for the best information — the best discussion — to happen."

The main event begins on Friday and Saturday. Passes cost $49 per person, per day.

The expo will feature more than 180 booths featuring various companies and people who offer products, services, or information focusing mostly on medical marijuana, which is legal under Arizona law. About 140,000 Arizonans are now authorized to possess and use medical cannabis under the state program.

Expo attendees can expect to find information on cannabidiol (CBD), THC, how medical marijuana can enhance other types of therapies, the many different forms of ingestion, and other ideas on how marijuana can be used as medicine, said Downing, who also happens to be the executive director of Arizona's Marijuana Industry Trade Association.

"It's a tremendous opportunity for people to ... come and discuss and learn from hundreds of experts," he said.

Mark Hegyi, who runs a cultivation-supply business called GrowLife, said this would be his company's first expo in Arizona, and he expects not only to have his firm seen by thousands of people, but to check out other exhibitors and network at the event.

"This is something we wanted to support," he said. "Arizona ... has very progressive cultivators."

Guest speakers including Vicente Fox, Will Humble, (former director of the Arizona Department of Health Services), Cheryl Shuman, (founder of the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club), and others will take the stage starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Fox, who was Mexico's president from 2000 to 2007, has been an outspoken proponent of legalizing marijuana since at least 2009, and has gained notoriety this year for bashing President Trump.

"He brings a lot of attention to the industry," Downing said.

Humble was the state DHS' director from 2009 to 2015, and spearheaded the creation of Arizona's medical-marijuana program after voters approved it in 2010. He's now the executive director for the Arizona Public Health Association.

The SWCC expo also has a "one-day course covering everything you need to know about joining the cannabis industry" sponsored by Clover Leaf University on Thursday, for $299 per person.

Between 3,000 and 4,000 people attended last year's SWCC Expo, and the crowd is expected to be even larger this year, Downing said.

Full disclosure: The Phoenix New Times is a sponsor and media partner of the SWCC Expo.

If you want to go on both Friday and Saturday, here's a tip from Downing: Enter code azmed17 when you buy a two-day pass online and save 50 percent.

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