Highlights from the 4th Annual Cannabis Private Investment Summit Toronto
Kahner Global's 4th Annual Cannabis Private Investment Summit in Toronto took place on Wednesday, June 12. We were in a beautiful space with spectacular views thanks to our sponsor McCarthy Tétrault. The networking brunch kicked off mid-morning and the room was packed with investors, brands and influencers in the cannabis space. Noa Kahner, founder of Kahner Global and JJ McKay, founder of The Fresh Toast, started the afternoon program with a few words about the current and future state of the industry.
From there, the agenda started with “Legal Concerns for Cannabis Investors.” Ranjeev Dhillon, Partner at McCarthy Tétrault, moderated the panel that featured Christopher Barry, Partner at Dorsey & Whitney, Vlad Klacar, VP of Regulatory Affairs at Auxly and Mark Cavdar, Director of Legal Affairs in Canada at Aprhia Inc. The discussion included discourse on international trade laws, how new regulations can actually create opportunities and what’s happening in the unregulated world of CBD. Both Vlad and Mark agreed that when investing in low cost cultivation centers like Colombia or Jamaica for exports, investors need to do more research. It may seem like a good, logical idea, but international trade channels for cannabis are not developed and have not been commercialized yet, so investors should do their due diligence before jumping in. When asked about CBD and the recent FDA hearing, Christopher said that “CBD is a regulatory morass right now.” Specifically on the recent hearings, he said that “the industry and the FDA talked passed each other. The industry asked for regulations and the FDA asked for data and research that doesn’t really exist yet.” Additionally, the panel made some comparisons between markets in the U.S. and Canada and what Federal legalization in the U.S. would mean for the Canadian market.
After the legal discussion, Rehan Huda, CEO of Green Sky Labs, gave an insightful presentation about capital market trends in the cannabis industry. Green Sky Labs is on a mission to use superior science and technologies to improve the current standards of cannabis extraction & isolation processing, therapeutic cannabinoid manufacturing, and digital healthcare solutions. Rehan’s presentation was very informative and led us into the next session, “M&A: Public and Private Markets.”
In this panel, JJ McKay moderated the discussion between Michael J. Willner, Esq., President and CEO of Willner Capital Inc., Eddie Miller, CEO at ECANN Inc., and Charles Taerk, President and CEO at Faircourt Asset Management Inc. After introductions and some discussion around investment strategies in the space, JJ turned the session into a lightning round asking pointed questions that were definitely on the minds of all investors in the audience. In response to whether there’s room in the market for continued growth and major M&A, panelists responded with “yes,” “no doubt” and “exponential!” Slightly lengthier answers were allowed for the question around the length of time investors should expect their capital to be tied up before they see dividends, but responses were positive and ranged from 2 – 7 years. When JJ asked, “someone gives you $10M cash today and said I want it in play in a month, where do you put it?” Answers ranged from “extraction” to “companies that are going about it the right way” to Eddie Miller’s pitch for “the Museum of Cannabis in NYC in Times Square.”
After questions from the audience, we moved to a networking break, where McCarthy Tétrault once again impressed us with their great food and hospitality. From there, we moved right into a discussi