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Highlights from Kahner Global’s 3rd Annual Cannabis Private Investment Summit in Toronto


This week’s Kahner Global summit in Toronto hosted over 100 attendees for a packed day of panels and pitches. Five of the best and brightest cannabis entrepreneurs participated in a pitch competition held after discussions featuring industry leaders including top institutional investors, family offices, and ultra high net worth individuals.

The day was capped with a happy hour hosted by Bennett Jones and an after-party evening of networking in downtown Toronto.

Thanks to Bennett Jones LLP, Green Sky Labs and all our sponsors for another successful Summit, which would not have been possible without your support. And, a special call out goes to Michael Gordon, Co-Founder & CEO, Kush Marketplace, for his opening remarks on the Future of Hemp and Cannabis and for keeping us on pace as MC.

Here are some highlights and insights from Summit panelists and presenters:

Ranjeev Dhillon, Partner, Bennett Jones LLP moderated the all-legal panel where there was consensus that many in the United States want cannabis off schedule, but for now, there will continue to be state by state monopolies. There was also agreement that the hemp market was poised to expand hugely with the passing of the farm bill.

Stephen Lenn, Partner, Greenspoon Marder, commented: “There is no reduction yet on pricing, enthusiasm, projections or valuations - but it’s coming.”

Mark Sraga, Director of Investigation Services, Licensing Department, City of Toronto spoke on regulation around cannabis and it mirroring tobacco with respect to stores and cafes and where smoking and vaping will eventually be considered.

Chris Barry, Partner, Dorsey & Whitney, warned: “Be wary of management teams taking a loose approach to compliance. Bad outcomes are likely.”

Rehan Huda, CEO, Green Sky Labs – the Summit’s Platinum Sponsor, gave a short talk on Technology Trends in the Cannabis Industry: Xtraction, Genetics, and AI. He highlighted: “CBD is the next trend - the next vitamin D - but there are still a limited number of trials.”

Rehan Huda also shared that Green Sky Labs is tracking trends in production, extraction and isolation, and big data as well as food, beverage and nutraceutical growth.

Aaron Salz, Founder & CEO, Stoic Advisory, posed tough, insightful questions as moderator of the panel on Analysis of Public Market Companies in Cannabis.

Max Mausner, Senior Analyst, Vantage Asset Management, noted: “Constellation, Canopy, Tilray made people wake up,” and “We will start to see overcapacity which will have a dire impact on wholesale pricing. Look at what the market price might be. If you can predict price you will know who to buy and who to short. “ William Haynes, Equity Research Associate, Eight Capital, commented: “Still important to focus on top line metrics. It’s a work in progress, and near term, it will be tricky to determine direction.” He added: “There is a purely some Fear of Missing Out... people want a second chance at the cannabis market.” Keith Merker, CEO, WeedMD, noted: “Canada is linear, and investors should do their homework on where we might be going after this week’s sell off. I am looking forward to when those real metrics like EBITDA matter.”

Vishal Gupta, President & CEO, California Gold Mining Inc. moderated the Extraction and Manufacturing panel. Pat McCutcheon, CEO, MediPharm Labs commented: “As an extraction only company, we are focused on cannabinoid volume itself as it’s all we get paid for. We can only pull out what the plant has to offer.” Jason Laronde, Director of Sales & Business Development, Vitalis Extraction Technology explained his company’s focus on matching extraction machinery to the end goal.

Rehan Huda, CEO, Green Sky Labs noted that they are testing membrane technology in the cannabis space: “There is huge variability in CBD concentrations, which impacts how you set your operations up. Ideally, you want consistent feedstock.”

The Where is Medical Marijuana Going? panel was moderated by Kevin McGovern, Chairman and CEO, McGovern Capital & The Water Initiative, founder of 31 companies, a board member of WeedMD, and closely involved with Israel's cannabis industry and other endeavors. Launching with “What’s the holy grail?” and a declaration that “Medical cannabis will exceed and pass by recreational cannabis in the years ahead,” the panel took on some intensity.

Benjamin Caplan, MD, Founder of CED Foundation and CED Clinic, and CMO for Solo Sciences, Inc. stated that: “There is a certain myopia about cannabis. We should be looking way beyond THC or CBD at the other 100+ cannabinoids and thousand terpenes that hold promise. When we can parse those and their applications, we can crack the disease and application codes.”

When asked about whether one can take an unlimited amount of anything “good”, Dr. Caplan responded: “Hyperbole is always wrong, but we can’t find anything bad about CBD, and we are looking hard.”

Jose Baceller, President & CEO of VerdeMed with an established international foundation from which to expound, professed: “Latin America will copy FDA trial meds involving unpatented compounds. It’s a generic market, and is poised to become a commodity supplier to the industry.”

Dooma Wendschuh, Co-Founder of Province Brands, then spoke on The Rise of Cannabis Beverages and What This Means for Big Alcohol, which is accelerating the potential for M&A and consolidation already at this stage in the industry noting: “We are in the midst of a marijuana beverage revolution.”

Moderating the Investment Opportunities panel, Douglas J. Hannah, Managing Director, Silverleaf Advisors asked panelists to expound on "where the puck is going on cannabis investment opportunities.”

Arthur H. Kwan, MBA, President & CEO, CannaIncome Fund noted that: “International deals and insurance and reinsurance business are looking interesting.”

Sam Znaimer, WGD Partners added that: “There is no benchmark -- it’s a throw spaghetti at the wall with a lot of people playing the momentum game.”

Ryan Ansin, Ansin Investments noted the opportunity to take waste and turn it into money in this industry. He also conveyed: “You have to work hard to find good companies in which to invest, and then you need to get involved earlier and help build those companies up.”

Daniel Sax, Founder and CEO, Sensi Properties sees a ton of exuberance in this market, and warned: “Investment strategy comes back to risk. LPs may not be operating well. Deep medical applications are several years out. Retail, Ancillary plays – Less certainty, timelines and liquidity farther away. Be cautious about valuations.”

The Live Pitch session featured MediPharm Labs, Province Brands, Phylos, Next Frontier and Pistil.

Judges Colin Webster, Founder and CEO of Hero Ventures, Ltd., Sam Znaimer, WGD Partners, and Malcolm Mansfield, Wabana Capital, heard the best of best pitch presentations, questioned presenters, and ultimately awarded Phylos CEO Mowgli Holmeswww.phylos.bio -- with the winning pitch.

Many more highlights and pictures are archived for now, and we are aging those for future roasts and industry campfires. Thanks again for joining Kahner Global’s Toronto Summit!

The Cannabis Private Investment Summit showcases the best and brightest cannabis entrepreneurs in the industry and is the premiere summit for institutional investors, family offices, and ultra high net worth investors. For additional information, please visit www.cannabrunch.net or email us at info@kahnerglobal.com.

To sign up for Kahner Global’s 2nd Annual Cannabis Private Investment Summit Florida, being held on February 26, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, click here.

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