It sounds like the beginning of a joke: a couple of cannabis professionals walk into a traditional investment conference… and surprise, surprise, they were the most talked about group in the event.
Poseidon was recently invited by Opal Financial Group to present in Napa. Opal regularly sets up events to introduce high net worth individuals and family offices to new opportunities investing in emerging markets, alternative investments, and the like. Meetings like these are traditionally very dry. Nevertheless, we were honored to be invited. The very fact that a small group of cannabis professionals were invited to present at an otherwise very "buttoned up" event is an encouraging sign that at least portions of the mainstream financial world are beginning to accept us as a viable instrument.
Our session was scheduled directly after lunch--exactly snooze-o'clock. But to our shock and delight, the room was packed. It was, in fact, the only crammed room at the conference, and with it came a buzz in the audience like at no other session. The only topic that could possibly draw a crowd of sleepy investment conference attendees would be something unique and mysterious--in this instance, it was cannabis.
Emily Paxhia of Poseidon Asset Management, Troy Dayton of the ArcView Group and Josh Rosen of 4Front Advisors sat on a panel led by Kevin Murphy of Murphy Capital to discuss “Marijuana: Investing in the Next Great American Industry." It was incredible to see the openness and receptivity of the attendees. It is moments like these when progress is crystallized.
Just 10 months ago, when we launched the fund, the attitudes of institutional and traditional investors were quite different and much more cynical. Now, they are rapt with attention, curious about the different ways that investments can be placed. Key questions included the risks of the industry and what the panelists perceived as the future of the space. Questions from the crowd were thoughtful and forward-looking and also indicated a higher level of interest in the sector than they once had. As the time of the session elapsed, several hands remained raised. The conference organizers allowed the session to run long, as they had not seen such interest in a topic.
One area we were especially pleased to see traction and recognition was with industrial hemp. The crowd was amazed by anecdotes of the crops’ heartiness and its ability to contribute to the economy from such a variety of angles.
Coming away from the conference, we had a clear message that the general investment community is largely in the dark as to what exactly it means to invest in cannabis. It was a good reminder that we have to continue to attend these broader events to share and inform. We will only benefit from other investors coming in and raising the bar. As Morgan says, ‘capital is a change agent’ and the Green Wave is leaving a lasting impression on the shores of each community it touches.