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COLLINSVILLE, IL – Cannabis industry takes center stage at Metro East Expo

A major cannabis expo in the Metro East is attracting the attention of many people.

This comes as Missouri`s medical marijuana continues to get off the ground and Illinois` program prepares to expand to recreational marijuana.

The MoCannabisExpo is being held at the Gateway Convention Center in Collinsville.

Some 60 vendors are on hand selling products and giving out information about cannabis to people like Shelli Tribble. Shelli is planning to apply for five licenses to operate medical marijuana dispensaries in Missouri.

She came looking for answers to many questions, “You can go and you can find an insurance company but not all insurance companies will work with the marijuana industry, same with the accountants and the security companies,” said Tribble.

Paul Hall runs Emerald Gold, LLC out of Doniphan in south-central Missouri.

He is selling products that can extract oils including from marijuana plants.

Hall believes there are big business opportunities with medical marijuana coming to the Show-Me state, “I think you have a lot of people who need this medicine, certainly it helps people with pain, people with chronic pain,” said Hall.

Tony Ibarra from Denver is the president of DigaNET.

He is marketing security and special led lights that cultivators can use to help grow marijuana.

He already has a potential customer in Missouri looking to become a cultivator for medical marijuana, “Most of the people that we`ve met here are business persons, businesswomen, businessmen, they want to protect their investment,” explained Ybarra.

Authorities say more than 3,400 people in Missouri have applied for cards that will enable them to buy medical marijuana.

Nearly 3,000 applications have already been approved, meaning those people will be able to get medical marijuana when it becomes available in Missouri likely next spring.

The expo coordinator says the event came to our area because of the cannabis opportunities in Missouri and Illinois.

“We`re trying to help people that are, whether you`re just starting out or you`re in the business and you want to get in front of people looking to get into the business,” said Jen Wynn with Cannabis Industrial Marketplace, the group putting on the event.

Joe Wright was a featured speaker.

He was the first director for the medical marijuana program in Illinois.

Wright is optimistic about the Missouri program, “’It`s absolutely going to be good, there`s no doubt about that. As to whether it`s smooth, I would bank on it being a little bit rocky…it just takes a little while. This is a whole new thing for everyone to adjust to,” explained Wright.

Shelli added, “Growth potential is amazing in Missouri. I think we`re going to see some very successful businesses around our state and I think it`s going to boost our economy.”

The expo started today and runs Tuesday.

Then it moves on to other locations including Chicago, Miami, and Phoenix.