The morning was sunny, warm, and alive. It was a picture perfect Southern California day in Beverly Hills for Kahner Global's 2nd Annual Cannabis Private Investment Summit West on May 3rd at the Peninsula Hotel. The stage was set for an amazing day of networking and learning from some of the cannabis industry’s most reputable leaders. These leaders ranged from investors and entrepreneurs, to lawyers and enthusiasts. The event included an incredible pre-event brunch, a series of panels discussing a variety of industry topics, a pitch-off by six very promising companies, and a networking happy hour to top things off.
When Noa Kahner, CEO of Kahner Global and the founder of the summit was asked what the goal of the summit is, she stated that “We are seeing a unique opportunity to invest in a multi-billion dollar industry that is growing exponentially in the U.S. and abroad. This summit is designed to formalize valuable relationships and educate those seeking to be a part of this historic and rare investment opportunity. Ultra high net worth investors and family offices now have a place to learn about the best investment strategies from thought leaders helping them to capitalize on the legalization of the cannabis industry.”
Some of the key takeaways from the event were as follows:
●It will ultimately be better for the industry that Trump won over Hillary.
●Although Sessions has made some worrying remarks about his stance and plans for the cannabis industry, the “genie” cannot be put back in the bottle, so companies in legal states should be safe as long as state laws are followed and taxes are paid.
●Government taxation on the industry aren’t likely to improve any time soon.
●There is still a lot of confusion around CBD and whether it should be legally categorized as a schedule 1 narcotic.
●The investment market for cannabis in both the US and Canada are very positive for small and medium sized investors. Institutional investors are largely still shying away due to federal regulations.
●Two things were repeated several times as important to investors considering a company to invest in; at least one bank in place to transfer and store funds and a strong management team.
●Although the US attracts a lot of attention for investing and businesses, Canada should not be overlooked and has extensive opportunities for investing.
●Advancements in technology and seed-to-sale systems mean a promising future for streamlining the industry and making processes and products safer for everyone.
●The future of branding for the industry is not overusing the color green and pot leaves, the future is elegant, refined, and targeting the fastest growing market segment; older consumers.
Government and Cannabis:
By far the most talked about topic at the summit was in regards to President Trump, his cabinet, their stance on cannabis, and the industry outlook as a result over the next 4 years. The panel, which included Michael Weiner, a partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP, was in agreement that investing is a bit more difficult with Trump and his cabinet, but overall deals are still being closed. It was also discussed how much government loves taxes. Due to this, we will most likely not see a change in the overbearing tax levels that cannabis businesses currently experience. As for whether CBD is or should be classified as a schedule 1 narcotic, the consensus was that it depends on who you ask. The one thing that was agreed on is that to be safe, anyone looking to sell CBD products should refer to it as hemp oil and not CBD.
The Cannabis Industry In Canada
“If you aren’t investing in Canada’s cannabis industry, you aren’t truly invested in cannabis” -Dooma Wendschuh of Province Brands
Right from the start of the Canada cannabis investing panel the panelists wanted to make it clear that although the market size is much larger in the US, Canada is not a market to ignore. If a US based cannabis company is looking for investors, it is easier to get investors in Canada, and is also easier to go public than in the United States.
The main concerns that were voiced to the panelist about investing in the Canadian market revolved around government regulations, restrictions, market size, and market saturation.
That being said, the feeling was that there are still many great opportunities to invest in the industry. As Dooma so well put it, internet companies haven’t lost their worth after the “dot-com” bubble. In the same way, Canadian cannabis investments won’t lose their appeal and value simply because it is a bit more mature and saturated for the market size than the US.
The Future Of Cannabis
It was very clear that the future of cannabis is bright. During the panel discussion, the work Israel is doing came up several times. CBD is seen to have potential for extreme growth in the near future. The vision for CBD is that someday it will be consumed as regularly as a daily multi-vitamin.
As seen in most mature industries, big data is soon to become a very valuable resource. With improved seed to sale systems, companies are able to capture extensive and valuable data. This data will help companies make more educated decision that will benefit the consumers.
As the government loosens on their policies, further research will be conducted which hopefully will reveal further proof of the positive health benefits of cannabis. Another result will be improved processes and safer products. All of this will spell good news for manufacturers and consumers who are currently feeling the growing pains and inconsistency due to rapid industry growth and lack of federal approval.
The Pitch Off
This was possibly the most exciting part of the day. Six teams faced off by presenting their business idea to a panel of judges. The benefit for each company to pitch was that it was in front of a room full of investors. The benefit of winning though was that the winning company gets to be featured on The Fresh Toast, the fastest growing cannabis lifestyle website.
The six participating companies were as follows:
1.Nesta Holdings Co. Ltd. - A private equity firm that builds partnerships and brands within the cannabis space
2.Coda Signature - An award winning infused product manufacturer based in Colorado that focuses on high end chocolate creations developed by their world class chocolatier
3.Province Brands - A Canadian based cannabis adult beverage company that is dedicated to creating a better, more healthy alternative to alcohol.
4.Revolution Enterprises - An industry leader in production, research, and development of medicines derived from cannabis.
5.Green Thumb Industries - A Chicago based cannabis cultivation and dispensary operator
6.Quanta - A company that provides a patented technology that energizes the cannabis experience while eliminating the negative side effects such as paranoia, anxiety, sluggishness, and slow mental function.
The winner of the competition was Province, with their patent pending process of making alcoholic beverages like gin and beer out of cannabis with no traces of alcohol whatsoever. Their claim is that due to accelerators and decelerators, the effects of the beverage will hit consumers within 10-20 minutes unlike other edible/drinkables that take around 1 hour. Also, due to the method in which they make the drinks, the experience is more like a drunk euphoria than a high one. In addition to giving you an alcohol like experience, they stated that since the drinks do not have any alcohol in them, their products eliminate any of the health risks and negative side effects of alcohol. As someone who enjoys craft beers and cocktails, this is super appealing.
Although they are a Canadian based company, they have plans to launch in the United States, so keep an eye out for their delicious beverages at retailers near you. To find out more about them, visit their website here (https://www.provincebrands.com/).
So it was an amazing day filled with good food, rich panel discussions, and exciting new opportunities. What stood out the most about this event was how professional and well run it was. People were here for one reason… to learn, invest, and build connections. This made for a very enjoyable experience that showed just how far the cannabis industry has come in recent years.
If you are on the east coast and were unable to make it to the Beverly Hills summit, don’t worry, the 3rd annual Cannabis Private Investment Summit will be taking place at Dorsey & Whitney, New York, NY on September 19th. For more information, visit the event’s website here.