LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Canadian cannabis tech company has pulled out of the CES gadget show after being given constraints on how it could promote its products.
a dozen states allow the use and sale of marijuana for recreational
purposes, and policies around the world vary. Broad marijuana sales
began in Nevada in 2017. Las Vegas, where CES takes place, is now home
to what’s claimed to be the world’s largest cannabis dispensary, Planet
But CES organizers say marijuana’s acceptance isn’t widespread
yet. CES organizers prohibited Keep Labs from mentioning the word
cannabis, showing cannabis in promotional materials or discussing what
the Keep device does.
“We don’t allow pornographic. We don’t allow
content where children are killed. We don’t allow anything with
vaping,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology
Association, which organizes CES. “Marijuana has been a tougher one for
He said the show is waiting to see if marijuana becomes more legal, at least in the U.S.
“It is changing very quickly, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we changed it sometime in the future as well,” he said.
Labs was awarded a prestigious CES Innovation Award in October for its
“Keep” home cannabis storage device. It connects wirelessly to an app
and lets users unlock the storage unit with a fingerprint or facial
recognition. After CES placed limits on what Keep can show, the company
decided it was better not to attend at all.
Keep was to be one of about 4,500 companies exhibiting at the four-day CES show, which opened Tuesday.
Keep co-founder Philip Wilkins described the move as “naive.”
13 dispensary’s marketing specialist, Brandon Zimmer, said he was
surprised by organizers’ decision, given that CES is supposed to be a
showcase for tech innovations. He said cannabis tech is an exciting
field, with lots of invention and new devices.
But Gartner analyst Werner Goertz said organizers are being smart in being cautious.
Last year, CES also banned an innovation award winner, a vibrator made by a female-founded startup. That led to complaints that CES was being tone deaf on diversity. CES ultimately relented and allowed space for sex tech companies this year as a trial.
By James Brooks