Salveo Capital hosted its first Marijuana Investment Summit last Wednesday in Chicago. A packed room of curious individuals spent the day learning about the potential opportunities and potential pitfalls of investing in the legal cannabis industry.
In the opening address managing principal Alex Thiersch spoke on the enormously bright future for those who get into the industry now, before the ground floor has even been built. His talk ranged from the fledgling nature of business infrastructure, to the very recent influx of individuals with past successes in non-marijuana industries, to the changing demographics of the cannabis consumer.
Though the industry experienced 74% growth in 2014 and legal cannabis sales represented a $2.7 billion market last year, Alex said that these numbers were only the tip of the iceberg. This "green rush" could be an amalgam of the gold rush, the oil boom, and the end of alcohol prohibition all in one.
Scott Miller, Salveo Capital's Chief Financial Officer, then presented on the state of the legal marijuana market. He outlined the history of the marijuana business in the United States from the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 to the Controlled Substances Act, all the way up through the Colorado medical and adult use markets of today. He described how these laws shaped the market today, and how the transition to legality has played out so far.
Scott spoke both as a member of the Salveo Capital team and as someone who has personally been researching investment in the cannabis industry, and gave an investor's look at the qualities of the companies and the types of deals available right now.
Director of Communications Eric Atienza spent the next session walking through the current federal and state legal landscape, and briefly projected how that landscape might change over the next few years. He spent time going over the implications of the Cole Memo and the FinCEN guidelines before touching on the Rohrabacher Amendment to the House spending bill, and bills currently in committee in Congress.
He then went into a quick breakdown of the current states with medical and adult use laws, and which states were the most likely to adopt new legalization laws through 2016.
The final presentation of the morning featured managing principal John Dohm explaining the benefits and considerations of investment as an individual versus as part of a larger investment vehicle. From liquidity to diversification to negotiating strength, John described the differences between various ways of investing in marijuana.
He also touched on a few of the other firms in the space, and the pros and cons of those models versus those of a committed fund.
The afternoon session opened with an introduction to the Salveo Capital team and a breakdown of its particulars. Alex and fund attorney Gary Jungels went over the history of Salveo, its accomplishments, and its legal structure. Three of the best up-and-coming companies in cannabis finished the day, showcasing the increasing sophistication of the cannabis space and the sort of savvy, professional, successful individuals that are now entering the marketplace.
The goal of the Salveo Capital Marijuana Investment Summit was to answer questions about investment in the burgeoning marijuana industry. At a time when there's so much change happening at the state and federal levels, and when there's such a dearth of information available to potential investors seminars like this can do much to allay fears and build the financial base of the legal cannabis industry.