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The Bulls Were Back at Benzinga

Emerging from the cannabis downturn, investment funds are now ready to get aggressive again in areas like retail and key state markets.




A WELCOME SPIRIT of bullishness pervaded Benzinga’s Cannabis Capital Conference in Chicago from Sept 27-28. Some reasons for attendee optimism:

  • AG Merrick Garland told the Senate earlier this year that the DOJ’s marijuana policy would be “very close” to the Cole Memorandum, the Obama-era policy that limited interference with state cannabis laws, but which was rescinded during the Trump administration.
  • The leak of an HHS letter to the DEA recommending that cannabis be moved from a Schedule 1 to a Schedule 3 controlled substance.
  • The Senate Banking Committee fi nally approved the SAFER Banking Act.

The HHS letter especially revived the industry’s animal spirits, as evidenced by the 61 percent gain in the New Cannabis Ventures American Cannabis Operator Index by Benzinga’s opening bell. It was clear in Chicago that, while investors and companies will look to avoid the irrational exuberance of the past, investor interest is again spreading beyond the day-traders.

Entourage E ect Capital’s Matt Hawkins noted that he’s “having more conversations with institutional investors than ever,” albeit generally with independents rather than big public funds that “may require more than safe-harbor legislation and rescheduling” before entering. Emily Paxhia of Poseidon Investment Management said that, in contrast to past bullishness, the mood is more practical now: “It’s much clearer now how these businesses will operate long-term,” she said.

Dan Ahrens of AdvisorShares noted the machinations behind the three-part path now opening for more rational cannabis law in Washington. “They would not have dropped the HHS letter without collaboration behind the scenes,” he noted, while cautioning, “But we don’t know how long the DEA will take.”

TOM ADAMS is the CEO of Global Go Analytics. As founder of Adams Media Research and Adams Cannabis Research, as well as former head of Industry Intelligence at BDSA, Tom is unrivaled as an industry analyst and strategic consultant in legal cannabis.



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