CES turns its back on marijuana technology

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The consumer electronics convention isn’t ready for marijuana

The world’s largest consumer electronics convention, CES, is apparently not a fan of marijuana. IT appears that a number of marijuana technology companies wanting to participate in the most recent gathering were turned away, with organizers prohibiting them from setting up displays to show off their technological innovations. Coincidentally, the CES has no problem serving alcohol.

According to Jeff Brown, the VP of public policy and communications for PAX Labs, an electronic vaporizer company, “We’re not allowed on the showroom floor, and it’s apparently because [organizers] say they haven’t created a category for cannabis vaporizers yet.”

He adds, “Apparently they’re not comfortable with cannabis. It’s odd and mildly frustrating. Nevada is a medical and recreational [consumption] legal state, and there’s certainly no shortage of alcohol being served at CES. There are concessions everywhere. To draw the line at a technology company demoing cannabis is odd and frustrating.”

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which organizes and hosts the event, estimates that around 180,000 people will show up for the next iteration of the CES this year. There will be 4,500 companies and over 6,500 media workers – and not one representative from the marijuana industry. This prohibition means that many marijuana businesses will miss out on the opportunity to showcase their next-generation products, leading to a large number of medical patients not being given the full scope of information that should be available to them.

According to the CTA, “There are no cannabis or e-cigarette products on the exhibit floor at CES, as the show does not have a category pertaining to that market. As the industry and regulations evolve, we continue to assess all categories.”

That seems like an easy problem to fix. At some point since the CES started, every industry was not part of the show. It doesn’t take much to figure out that adding a new category is nothing more than a few keystrokes in a program. It would certainly seem that the CTA has ulterior motives for not wanting marijuana at the trade show.