Both cannabis enthusiasts and investors converged in Vancouver between January 13-14 for the Lift Cannabis Expo, where many of the now growing brands and companies presented their products and offered their vision for the Canadian market, which will expand with recreational legalization later this year.
On Friday (January 12) the expo kicked off with a day dedicated to the business world of this sector. The day included a variety of panels with experts review ancillary businesses, investing trends, legal complications, cannabis branding and the expansion of the emerging global market.
If you missed the event–don’t worry–here the Investing News Network (INN) provides an overview of some of the biggest takeaways from the expo.
Investing interest of Lift Expo
A panel of noted investment experts gathered later on Friday to discuss where things currently are for public companies, interesting trends and what investors need to know for future selections.
Data collected from Daniel Pearlstein, principal of healthcare and special situations research with Eight Capital, showed the amount of money raised for cannabis companies in 2016 was matched in the first half of 2017 alone – which is nothing less than a clear indication of the growing interest for marijuana stocks in the Canadian market and beyond.
“It’s going to be a lot about really accelerating [and finding] better-defined business models,” Pearlstein said.
In trying to summarize the business year of 2017, John Medland, a partner at Blair Franklin Capital Partners explained some key trends throughout the year included companies attempting to find the best recipe of success and what exactly investors were looking for.
Expanding on that, Medland said various companies went for different business tactics, like massive expansion plans on production, patient acquisition, a disclosure of profitability and showing revenue growth, brand recognition, and international endeavors, to name a few.
“As we’re getting into 2018, I think the year will be some excitement as we progress towards July,” Medland said as it relates to full cannabis legalization in Canada.
When the panel was asked on the valuation metrics used for cannabis companies and their risk factor, Everett Knight portfolio manager at Matco Financial, said he thinks every company is going at different paces and there’s a unique valuation for each one.
In terms of bold predictions from the panel discussion, Knight declared 2018 could see companies from established industries make an entrance into the marijuana business.
“If you are looking at themes for 2018, I think consolidation is going to be a big one and not just from the industry players that now have,” Knight said. “I think this could be the year you see pharma enter the space or a tobacco company.”
Canada as a worldwide leader in the cannabis industry
One of the largest themes discussed throughout the remaining panel discussions was the unique position Canada is on to lead and implement many of the guidelines needed for the global cannabis market.
During a panel on the need to establish quality standards, Dr. Shane Morris, vice president of quality assurance and scientific affairs at Hydropothecary (TSXV:THCX), said the quality implemented for cannabis will be a key component in fighting off the stigma still surrounding the industry.
Penny Sterling, director of quality assurance at Aurora Cannabis (TSX:ACB) said trust will be one of the biggest things needed for the validation this market is seeking. Representatives for these Licensed Producers made it known they want to see a clear and strict set of guidelines for the quality assurance across the board with all cannabis products.
With the Canadian government’s signaling an invitation for micro growers to join the cannabis industry, Chris Stone, director of quality and quality assurance at Broken Coast said these new craft growers should be evaluated with similar high standards. This private LP was acquired by Aphria (TSX:APH) for approximately $230 million, set to be split in a payment of $10 million in cash and the rest with shares of Aphria.
— Bryan Mc Govern @ LiftExpo (@McGbryan) January 12, 2018
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Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.