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Everything You Need To Know From The Cannabis Capital Conference

August 22, 2018 8:47 am
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“This is a big day,” said Benzinga Founder and CEO Jason Raznick, as he joined the "420 Investor" Alan Brochstein on Aug. 17 in welcoming the sold-out crowd to the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference. "What has changed over the years is how exciting this industry is."

Numerous diverse and unique cannabis representatives from around the world met in Toronto to discuss and present vital updates of the fast-growing industry.

"It has not been easy,” Brochstein declared, in regards to the past years of cannabis investing. The industry has since blossomed into a fast-growing and prestigious sector.

“We'd like to see an elevation of the discussion of the cannabis industry so there's less opinion and a more factual mature discussion around the industry," Giadha Aguirre de Carcer, CEO of New Frontier Data said during her closing keynote.

A Blooming Market

2018 has featured the expansion of top cannabis companies to the U.S. stock market.

In February, Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CRON) became the first cannabis company to be listed on a major U.S. stock exchange. In May, Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE:CGC) followed suit, followed by Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY) in July.

The industry’s recent advancements don't end there. Earlier this summer, GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:GWPH) made history when its product, Epidiolex, became the first cannabis-based drug to be approved by the FDA. Epidiolex is designed for the treatment of epilepsy.

In light of limited exposure to the market thus far, a plethora of keynotes, fireside chats, panels and company presentations provided extensive information regarding the current state of the industry and projections of future growth.

See Also: How To Invest In Marijuana Stocks

Fireside Chats

Aphria Inc. (TSE: APH) (OTC:APHQF) CEO Vic Neufeld spoke about President Trump’s views regarding the federal ban on marijuana in the U.S., as well as the influence the U.S. market has on the entire industry. Neufeld expressed his company’s endeavors to distinguish themselves in an increasingly competitive market.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSE: ACB) (OTC:ACBFF)’s Marc Lakmaaker spoke of the company’s journey to $5 billion through an array of deals and acquisitions. The vice president of investor relations also reported unique future plans and business ventures. "We're discovering more and more [medical] applications for cannabis, and that will only get bigger," he said.

Stephen Pynn, who serves as the vice president of corporate development for Pure Global Cannabis (CVE: PURE) (OTC:PRCNF), reported the company’s aggressive growth strategy. This growth initiative was established to penetrate the company into new markets, beyond Canada. Pynn updates investors on capacity growth and production strategies.

Company Presentations

Numerous cannabis companies pitched their business plans to potential investors, highlighting topics such as manufacturing, product quality and markets. Some companies include Ianthus Capital Holdings Inc. (CSE:IAN) and Medicine Man Technologies Inc (OTC:MDCL).

Representatives from CannaRoyalty Corp. (CSE:CRZ) (OTC:CNNRF) and Compass Cannabis presented the biggest opportunities in cannabis today. According to both companies, that endeavor lies heavily in branding. Both executives reported their company’s approach to entering the supply chain and pushing brand growth through different marketing initiatives.

Four industry leading cannabis companies discussed the future of medical and pharmaceutical cannabis, including expansion products, geographic focus, strong management and partnerships. Tidal Royalty (CSE:RLTY)(OTC:TDRYF) CEO Paul Rosen provided interested investors with a questionnaire to determine if cannabis is the right investment on a personal basis.


Considering the rise in the cannabis industry, the competitive landscape forces companies to stand out to succeed. Four cannabis executives spoke about the direction of the industry, government scrutiny and market red flags.

Executives discussed the challenges businesses within the cannabis industry face when scaling and expanding. Facing a competitive landscape, going public and finding strong talent were key focuses for these panelists.

Three social justice panelists shared personal stories and insights of the injustice and criminalization of cannabis. These stories pertained to negative stereotypes surrounding the drug itself, unfair treatment of criminalized offenders and the unjust societal ramifications that result from using cannabis.

Tim Seymour, member of CNBC’s “Fast Money,” led the discussion on the current state of the cannabis industry. The group of four panelists highlighted the cannabis sector and its recent advancements, as well as the potential for cannabis-related cosmetic products.

Potential cannabis investors gained insights from five industry executives who discussed unique business models and viewpoints. Companies such as MedMen Enterprises Inc. (CSE:MMEN), Acreage Holdings, 4Front, MediPharm, and Cordova Cann Corp. (OTC:LVRLF) presented on the topic.

Three key players in the cannabis industry shared their company's views on emerging market opportunities within the sector. The executives spoke about the advanced market, global and domestic exposure, taking risks and the importance of partners with similar goals.


Giadha Aguirre de Carcer presented a keynote that was all about the numbers. Aguirre de Carcer spoke about the need for objective data within the industry, as well as specific markets, channels and helpful data methods, which cater to 3 billion potential consumers.

She also presented production issues related to contamination of cannabis plants, by means of pesticides and herbicides. According to Aguirre de Carcer, 84 percent of products tested in California contained some trace of pesticides.

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