Highlights from the Cannabis & Psychedelics Investment Summit in New York City, October 25, 2022
Erin Roche, Candy & Flowers
Kahner Global's Cannabis & Psychedelics Investment Summit Series is the leading and longest-running investor education conference on cannabis and psychedelics. We were thrilled to bring the conference back to NYC this year for our sixth annual event. Hosted at the exclusive Club 101 on Park Avenue, the event was sponsored by some of the leading companies in the cannabis and psychedelics space and attracted a room full of investors.
The day kicked off with breakfast and then opening remarks from Noa Kahner, CEO of Kahner Global, and Jenny Joslin, Co-Founder of High Herstory. The first panel was a fireside chat moderated by Gia Morón, President of Women Grow, and featured Tremaine Wright, Chair of New York’s Cannabis Control Board, and Andrew Cooper, Chair, Cannabis & Psychedelics Practice Group, Falcon Rappaport & Berkman PLLC.
The panel gave an update on federal and state policy reform, specifically what’s going on in New York’s adult use market. Wright summed it up by saying, “it’s a work in progress,” and announced that once they set full regulations, which they anticipate by the end of this year, they will be opening up the full
market in 2023. Wright added that New York is learning lessons from other states and borrowing some of what has worked. She added, “I’m hopeful that the regulations created for New York help people live out their dreams.”
The next panel was about Trends in the M&A Landscape with Chris Walsh, CEO of MJBiz moderating. Panelists included Mike Goral, National Cannabis Partner in Charge, Armanino LLP, Scott Hammon, Assurance Partner & National Cannabis Practice Leader, MGO and Michael Weiner from Dorsey & Whitney. The panel commented that we’ve seen a lowering in deal volume this past year and while there is still a lot of securities work, there’s a lot less M&A work as the Western half of the country faces challenges and skepticism “like we’ve never seen in this industry.
”Some of the forces at play are company stocks being down, flat revenue and expected valuations being harder to get. While the panel projected that 2023 will continue to be tough for operators, the good news, according to Hammon is that “there are tremendous opportunities in M&A right now if you have capital.”
Samantha Gleit, Partner, Feuerstein Kulick interviewed Rob Sechrist, President, Pelorus Equity Group to discuss REITs, debt and lending for the cannabis sector. We then moved into the investor pitch session where five companies pitched for seven minutes each to a star-studded panel of judges followed by Q&A. Bridge City Collective, Djot, nue.life, Poplar and Wunder gave compelling pitches.
The networking lunch break, brought to us by our platinum sponsor, Pelorus Equity Group, was a great place to stop the program and mingle with friends, colleagues and new contacts before moving straight into the Branding panel. Tahira Rehmatullah, Partner, Highlands Venture Partners moderated the panel that featured Charlotte Hanna, CEO, Community Growth Partners, Andrew Boyens, President, Pretty
Major and Willie Mack, CEO and Co-Founder of Frank White. The panel discussed the role branding plays in today’s cannabis market highlighting the importance of “guerilla style tactics” like sampling and being in person in the dispensary to engage with budtenders. Wille Mack added that, “California brands will come to NYC, some will struggle and some will be successful, those with brand consistency will rise to the top.”
Mitch Kulick, Partner, Feuerstein Kulick moderated the next panel for investors detailing the benefits investment funds in cannabis. Michael Scott, Founder, Cannaprenuer Partners and Jeffrey Monat, Senior Partner, Merida Capital Holdings, provided great insight on navigating the landscape today. An overarching issue discussed throughout the day is the industry’s access to banking and movement on SAFE banking. Despite some negativity in terms of the current financial landscape in cannabis, Scott said to watch out for great opportunities; “be skeptical but look for the all-stars, they are out there!” Monat added that “when companies look to buy your cannabis company, they are also looking at your IP; so, be sure you’re building a company with large goals and IP to rationalize the price.”
Another great area for cannabis investors is in technology and IP as discussed on next panel moderated by Adhum Carter Wolde-lule, CEO, Canna Capital. Panelists Kevin McGovern of McGovern Capital and Garyn Angle, CEO, Magical Butter discussed patents and innovation that can set companies apart from others in the industry, putting them on a track for future success.
Next up was the Investing in Pharmaceuticals and Psychedelics panel moderated by David Feldman, Esq., CEO and Co-Founder, Skip Into Advisors and featuring Dan Love, Co-Founder and Partner, Beckley Waves, Jamie Bambila, Founder, Grace Health & Wellness, and David Langer, Founding Partner, Lionheart Ventures. We learned that there are big opportunities in new drug development and although this space can take longer to see returns, there are opportunities to capitalize on IP along the way.
At this event, we tried a new format for more engagement between audience members and panelists. We broke out the room into five small groups for private roundtable discussions on everything from Investing in Psychedelic Medicine to Financial Due Diligence. The small groups were a success with many participants giving us positive feedback and asking for more content in this format moving forward.