I was delighted to participate in yesterday’s Cannabis Colloquium in New York, sponsored by Cowen and Company.
My panel was on U.S. policy, and I was joined on the panel by Allen St. Pierre, former Executive Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and Michael Safir, Business Manager at High Times Magazine.
My book, “Marijuana: The World’s Most Misunderstood Plant,” was provided to all in attendance.
Yesterday’s event was the first cannabis event sponsored by Cowen and Company, and for that matter by any major Wall Street bank. The event was moderated by Vivien Azer, a Cowen managing director and senior research analyst who covers the beverage, tobacco and cannabis sectors. Ms. Azer is the first senior Wall Street analyst to cover the emerging cannabis sector.
Over the past few years, I’ve participated as a panelist or speaker at numerous cannabis-related events in the U.S. and overseas. Cowen’s event yesterday was the best, by far, U.S. event that I’ve participated in, based on the day’s program, the panel discussions, speakers, and most importantly the high-level of interest and seriousness of the hundreds of attendees.
Cowen's event yesterday was also the first time that a major Wall Street bank has decided to sponsor an event on the growing global legal cannabis industry, an industry that is still a challenge for many institutional investors and family offices due to the illegality of the plant at the U.S. federal level.
The tremendous number of institutional investors who were in attendance, including representatives from Blackstone, Janus Capital, and Fidelity, are proof that the cannabis industry is now on the radar screen of major Wall Street institutions, who were well represented.
There was a storm cloud hanging over the event. The uncertainty regarding the actions by the new Trump administration that could affect America’s state-licensed cannabis industry were raised throughout the day’s program and were on everyone’s mind.
A bright note was the afternoon program, which focused on Canada’s federally legal cannabis industry, its publicly-listed licensed producers or MMPRs, and the potential for the country’s new recreational marijuana program. The afternoon session also included an overview of the Canadian cannabis market by Mark Whitmore, the Vice Chair of Deloitte Canada. (As a side note, I’m CEO of INTIVA, which has an investment in two of Canada’s licensed producers, The Hyrdropothecary Corp., and WeedMD.)
Hats off to Vivien Azar and her colleagues at Cowen and Company for a fabulous event!