Event Review – By Eric Vengroff, Cannabis Daily

As the room darkened and Marijuana Business Daily CEO Cassandra Farrington opened the show, she informed the assembled crowd that this was the show’s seventh year.

Considering that there were over a thousand exhibitors and 26,000 attendees, this is tremendous progress in a relatively short time frame. 

When one considers further the apparent speed with which states and countries are turning their attention to legalization for medical or recreational purposes and the world is nowhere the tipping point in terms of widespread acceptance, this show could get much larger.

In my other life as a car enthusiast and car business owner, I’ve been to the SEMA show a number of times. That show takes up all three of the major Convention Center elements, the parking lots and much of the surrounding area.  By comparison, MJBizCon occupied only the center hall.  As the market, product ranges and the industry expands, who knows.  The north and south halls await.

Chris Walsh, the VP of MJBizDaily discussed his insights on all the significant developments that have occurred so far this year.

  1. On the political front, the house of representatives flipping to the Democrats has given the pro-legalization front some cause for optimism. I think it is largely acknowledged to be faint hope at best.
  2. On the legalization front, Oklahoma, Utah and Missouri have voted in favor of medical use, joining the majority of states that have taken that step. Most significantly, Michigan voted in favor of recreational use legalization, making it the second largest state behind California, and the only one in the Midwest.
  3. Walsh then recapped the some of the more sizeable equity raises so far in 2018. Constellation Brands and Canopy Growth, Curaleaf, Acreage Holdings, Medmen, and other nine and ten-figure deals illustrated orders of magnitude increases in the sizes of the capital deals being accomplished.  Recent precipitous drops in some of the same stocks that were flirting with valuations in the tens of billions might have scared some off, but based on what I learned, I would be tempted to double down on the some of these stocks while I could during this period of negative sentiment, as the demand shows no signs of abating.
  4. His observations from states that have approved recreational use lead him to believe that as recreational use legislation increases across the US that medical use applications in order to get a prescription for cannabis would no longer be needed and would by extension become irrelevant. I’ve often wondered the same thing, so it would be interesting to see if this reality holds.
  5. Hemp acreage is increasing. This seems to be the case domestically and internationally, as a number of South American countries, not just Uruguay, look to cash in on the global demand and future anticipated demand for CBD products.  Efforts going into research around user studies into the pain-relieving effects of CBD, along with other potential medical applications are increasing as well.  Look for even further investment in hemp if the pending Farm Bill passes.
  6. Investment industry attention to cannabis has also increased. MJBizCon hosted their first institutional investor sessions this year in Las Vegas.
  7. In maturing markets, such as Colorado and Washington are showing signs of slowing growth, to 12% and 5% respectively. As was pointed out by the speaker that followed, Thorsten Kuenzlen, CEO of Alberta-based Sundial Growers, who spent the vast majority of his career in the beer and beverage industries, these are still figures that his former peers would kill for.

There were also some predictions for 2019 offered.  Walsh believes that at least six countries will legalize cannabis and one of those will adopt recreational use.  The next one is easy – he sees the Canadian Cannabis Bubble bursting.  This one is almost past-tense, as many cannabis investors are watching their values go up in smoke, as earnings misses start to come in.  He believes three more states, New Jersey, New York, and Illinois will also legalize for medical or recreational.  Lastly, he believes, with all the caveats and negative factors that could affect it, that a legislative breakthrough at the U.S. federal level is possible.  That last one would certainly change everyone’s game.

 

The information and opinions presented here are that of the author and do not represent the thoughts and opinions of this website.  The analyst does not own and does not represent any of the companies listed in this article. Readers are urged to do their own research and due diligence and should seek advice from an independent financial advisor before making any financial investment.

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