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Highlights from the Cannabis & Psychedelics Investment Summit in London Sep 20, 2022

Sep 26, 2022

Niamh Sayers, conference attendee

An experienced crowd of industry experts, entrepreneurs and investors gathered on 20th September, 2022 in the beautiful surroundings of BMA house, Tavistock Square London, for the first Cannabis and Psychedelic Investment Summit (CPIS) to be held in London, UK.

Noa Kahner, CEO of Kahner Global and organizer of the CPIS, kicked off our day with an introductory speech.

Following Noa’s introduction, was the first panel entitled ‘A Legal Overview: The Future of Cannabis Policy’, hosted by Anuj Desai of The Cannabis Conversation. This panel gave a comprehensive overview of the current blockades to federal legislation for the legislation of cannabis in the US, with many parallels highlighted in the UK regulatory climate, and in Europe.

Saphira Galoob, the Executive Director of the National Cannabis Roundtable and lobbyist for the US Federal Congress insightfully noted “it’s not a moment, it’s a process”, when it comes to cannabis legislation, after she remarked on the dichotomy of federal vs state law in the US. Incremental changes in the law, she noted, were more likely to prove successful than comprehensive, sweeping reform. Although when the Democratic party were recently elected in both Houses, the markets went wild for cannabis and ancillary companies, unfortunately since this, there has not been much movement in the legislature despite Democratic control of both Houses. One highlight has been the SAFE Banking Act of 2021.

Jonathan Havens, of Soul Ewing Arnstein and Lehr, spoke of the overwhelming public support for decriminalization and even legislation of cannabis, yet highlighted politicians do not want to be associated with cannabis due to the decades worth of stigma surrounding it.

Further adding to that, Damien Egan, the Mayor of the London borough of Lewisham, spoke of the timidity of politicians in the UK to include cannabis-related policies in their manifestos. Damien is said to be the first to include cannabis policy in his manifesto to run for public office, during his successful run for council in 2018. Although some progressive policies have been included in White Papers currently making their way through the legislative process in the UK, the rhetoric surrounding drug policy has remained close to the infamous ‘War on Drugs’/tough on drugs stance, due to the same stigma associated with cannabis in the US and Europe, holding back truly progressive policies.

The second panel of the day was ‘Germany and North America: Opportunities in the Rec Space’. This panel was hosted by Bijan Christoph Hezarkhani, a cannabis consultant. This panel discussed all things operations, sales and the recreational market for Cannabis in Germany and North America, and the implications and potential ripple effects of these major markets for the whole of Europe.

Julia Germaine, Operating Partner at KindRun noted that with great competition in the market, companies that focus on operations – providing access to product that fits into customer lifestyles, suiting the needs of the customer – will come out on top. Julia also highlighted the potential for opportunity in sales growth, as 30% of sales are being captured in the US, while 70% remain through illicit sales; so there are more sales to capture. Competing with illicit sales, companies will be focusing on product purity and price. ‘Consumer preferences are driving purchasing avenues’ in this space, Julia stated. Delivery options for legal cann