What started out as just another one of those long conference weeks morphed into the “Brave New World of Cannabis” with the Tuesday morning announcement of Constellation Brands $5 Billion Canadian dollar (yes with a B not an M) investment in Canopy Growth. Some would argue it was the most significant financial news ever for the regulated industry not only in Canada and the US but also worldwide.
The announcement represented a seismic shift for Cannabis due to the Alcoholic Beverage the consumer brand marketing machines from the Alcoholic Beverage Industry being unleashed. The Juul commercials airing on the radio nationally in the US are just a taste of what will happen at Pax and other product and service brands en-masse, time will tell what the regulators will allow in light of the concern for potential consumption by minors and health concerns.
It also sent a major signal and message to Wall Street and the current administration about the large potential profits to be made if a centralized federal policy to regulate cannabis in the US doesn’t happen sooner rather than later. Intrastate commerce and billions of potential export revenues are at stake and Canopy and other publicly traded Canadian companies, many of whom have or will have major US cannabis holdings, are indicative of the abdication of the fastest growing industry in the world by the US government. Go figure.
But I digress, CBE traveled to the great white north to cover Marijuana Business Daily’s first foray into unchartered international waters by launching the first MJBizCon INT’L conference at the Toronto convention center. There were some 125 booths, primarily US-based ancillary businesses and service providers although Canadian companies like Keirton (Twister), Centurion Pro, Cova, Argus Controls and others were present. The traffic was nothing like the two-ton guerrilla, MJBiz, Las Vegas, but exhibitors told CBE that the quality of booth visitors was terrific.
The host did a great job keeping the traffic moving with quality hot lunches on the 15th and 16th and the usual exhibit hall evening cocktail reception on at the end of the Pre-Conference agenda on the 14th.
The two-day agenda of content presented on day one and two included a presentation by Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Privateer Holdings, which recently completed an IPO for its Tilray holding on NASDAQ as well as a collection of presentations covering the international landscape, regulatory and investor climate presented by industry experts. Canopy Growth’s Bruce Linton, already a rock star, missed his group presentation (and scheduled interview with yours truly!) on day one due to the morning’s stunning announcement, but was there to keynote the agenda on Day 2. As usual he graciously stayed around to answer a slew of questions by the attending media.
Attendance at the show rose from about 2,000 on the opening day to approximately 2500 by day two as additional locals and US investors showed up for the Benzinga Capital Conference that followed MJBizCon INT’L. CBE did not stay for that, I had a long drive back to Washington DC and a couple of stops in the PA countryside on the way home!
As usual the staff at Marijuana Business Daily did a great job accommodating both attendees and the press and put on a first-rate event. The only negative feedback I heard came from some disgruntled Canadian companies that told me they couldn’t get booths and that some had boycotted the event as a result. However, those voices were at the event!
Hats off to MJBizCon INT’L, they have set the bar for future international conferences with their foray into the “Great White North”!
The timing of Canopy Growth’s announcement was perfect for the first time effort and definitely created a buzz in the exhibit hall. CBE can’t wait to see what the Canadian market does for an encore and the response from the US financial markets and federal government to last week’s earth-shaking news…but I just can’t get the Canadian national anthem out of my head. I hope that it serves as a wake-up call for US lawmakers in Washington DC.
“O CANADA, our home and native land. True patriot love in all of us command”