Investors and major cannabis execs were in the same room April 17-18 at Benzinga's Cannabis Capital Conference in Toronto. Here's what six of the C-suite occupants had to say.
MariMed: 'Power To Transform'
Cannabis has the "power to transform human and wellness," said Robert Fireman, president and CEO of Marimed Inc (OTC: MRMD). One of the ways the medical cannabis company makes its mark is by offering a pure CBD product to treat children suffering from epilepsy, he said.
"We believe in the 'Med' in our name."
Fireman said his company is the same size and boasts a similar capacity to some of the large well known multistate operators — but may be underappreciated by investors. To better emphasize its true size, Fireman said MariMed plans on restructuring its business.
A revamped image can help the company increase its pro forma revenue from $43.5 million in 2018 to a projected $330.1 million in 2021, the CEO said.
Part of the growth will come from a new subsidiary, MariMed Hemp, Fireman said.
Nextleaf: 'Building Block' Of Cannabis
Nextleaf Solutions Ltd (CNX: OILS) owns issued and pending patents for the process of producing cannabinoid distillate. The company is able to create odorless and tasteless THC or CBD, which makes it the "building block" for the cannabis industry, said CEO Paul Pedersen.
Nextleaf's core purpose is to address one of the biggest headwinds for the cannabis industry: the oversupply of low-quality cannabis, the CEO said. The company understands that the secret to producing high-quality cannabis lies in the purifications and refinement steps, he said.
Nextleaf's facilities are able to process 100,000 kg of dry cannabis and 300,000 liters of cannabis oil annually. The location was strategically selected, as 9 million square feet of cannabis greenhouse cultivation is located within a one-hour driving radius, Pedersen said.
PathogenDX: Cannabis Has 'Many Bugs To Fix'
PathogenDX offers a disruptive testing technology and solutions platform for the food, botanical and agricultural space. Recognizing that an opportunity exists to extend its products to the cannabis sector, the company launched a testing platform to determine whether a sample exceeds local regulatory specifications.
"Cannabis has many bugs to fix; it has a lot of contamination problems," said CEO Milan Patel.
PathogenDX's testing platform for cannabis boasts a total turnaround time of six hours, as opposed to "antiquated" platforms that take days, he said. This is beneficial for the cannabis industry, which is operating in a regulatory environment that demands more stringent testing methods, the CEO said.
PathogenDX's CEO said its recurring "razor-razor blade" business model of selling both the equipment and testing kits can generate margins in the 60-70 percent range.
Cardiol: Addressing Stall In Heart Treatment
Heart failure is among the leading causes of death and disability in the western world, and David Elsley hopes his pharmaceutical cannabinoids company Cardiol Therapeutics Inc (OTC: CRTPF) can make a difference.
The sad reality is that no new therapies to treat diastolic heart failure have been introduced over the past 20 years, CEO Elsley said during his presentation. Cardiol Therapeutics hopes to make a change with its proprietary formulation of pharmaceutical cannabidiol that's designed to improve pharmacokinetics and target drugs to sites of disease.
To succeed in the pharmaceutical space, a company needs to be backed with a strong supply chain, he said. Cardiol has this aspect of the business covered after securing manufacturing agreements with Noramco to supply pure CBD for the Canadian and Mexican market.
A second manufacturing agreement was established with Dalton Pharma Services to supply pharmaceutical cannabidiol at more than 99.5-percent purity for its research initiatives, Elsley said.
Dalton is approved by Health Canada and FDA-registered, which gives Cardiol a clearer path toward addressing the international medical cannabis market, which is estimated to be over $60 billion in size in 10 years, the CEO said.
Emerald Health: 5 Key Advantages
Emerald Health is one of the original licensed producers of cannabis in Canada, Vice President of Communications Allan Rewak told attendees.
The executive highlighted multiple competitive advantages he said Emerald holds:
Realizing increasing value in one of the world's largest-growing facilities.
Becoming a pioneer in sourcing outdoor hemp for CBD extraction.
Establishing key strategic partnerships with large-scale extraction companies.
Creating differentiated, consistent and reliable products.
Capitalize on a first-mover advantage in endocannabinoid-supporting products for natural health consumers.
Fielding a question from the audience, Rewak was asked to comment on a recently published short seller report. Rewak is "happy to have people look under the hood" of Emerald Health, adding that there is nothing to hide and everything positive to find.
"We are focused on execution," he said. "If we need to respond further, we will."
The Supreme Cannabis Company: 'Punching Above Our Weight'
Analysts at Bank of America initiated coverage of multiple well-known cannabis stocks last week. Included in the coverage is one lesser known name relative to its large cap peers mentioned in the report like Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC): Supreme Cannabis Company Inc (OTC: SPRWF).
"We believe we will win and have a moat," Steve Chan, Supreme Cannabis Company's VP of investor relations and corporate communications, said in Toronto.
The company might still be young, but favorable coverage from a research firm emphasizes that Supreme Cannabis is "punching above weight," he said.
Supreme Cannabis might be best known for its 7ACRES cannabis products, which operate in the high-end segment, he said.
The company's highest-quality cannabis can sell for as much as $7,000 per kilogram at wholesale.
Its most important market to service is the "LACE" consumer — an acronym for the legal-aged cannabis enthusiast.
The key demographic is important to the entire cannabis sector, as just 20 percent of users consume 80 percent of all cannabis, Chan said.
Supreme Cannabis Co. CEO Steve Chan speaks at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Toronto in April. Photo by Juil Yoon.
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