Can Canadian Experience Help the Polish Cannabis Market?

Following the 2019 CECF conference, its founder Andrew de Roy sat down with guests from Canada, Stephen Verbeek, Greg Gorzkowski, and Christian Borys, who shared their experiences from the world’s most advanced cannabis market and views on Poland.

On this episode of the CECF podcast we discussed:

  • The next steps for Poland.
  • The biggest landmines that Poland could face. Might talk of recreational cannabis help with legalisation or hinder it?
  • Educated doctors in using cannabinoids in healthcare. 
  • From the Canadian perspective, what can Poland learn in terms of dealing with regulatory changes?
  • How to educate regulators and lobby successfully.
  • What hard-learnt lessons could Poland take from Canada’s experience?





















Stephen Verbeek’s career began in the investment banking division of one of Canada’s premier banks before leveraging that banking experience with his knowledge of cannabis in co-founding the private equity firm Huxton Black LTD. Huxton Black operates as a hybrid robo-advisor portfolio management firm which raises capital and consults in the cannabis space, and Stephen serves as the Chairman and CEO of one of Huxton Black’s cannabis ventures called Hello Cannabis Corp. The company is now involved in 7 different projects across 3 continents after branching out from its original focus on educating physicians, unions, employers, and private corporations on the solutions surrounding medical cannabis programs. HelloCannabis has now rapidly grown to become one of Canada’s most exciting vertically integrated cannabis companies after signing a retail partnership agreement to build and operate legal cannabis stores in Canada. After 4 months of operation the retail store is the number 1 rated store in Ontario and sales have been increasing 9% week over week since inception. The team behind the retail operation is one of the few independent (non-LP affiliate) operators in the space that has proven with experience and irrefutable evidence to be industry leaders.



Greg Gorzkowski works as the Vice President of Strategy at Materia Ventures, a European focused medical cannabis production and distribution company with operations in Malta, Denmark, Germany, and the UK. Starting from a history of compliance, retail, and technology, Greg Gorzkowski started the cannabis program at Shopify, where he worked with companies including Aurora, TGOD, and Canopy Growth. Starting with direct-to-patient medical cannabis sales for licensed producers, eventually, the cannabis program evolved to include companies and provincial governments operating under Canada’s new adult-use cannabis regulations. Greg contributed to the companies wildly successful recreational cannabis launch in Canada which covered over 50% of all cannabis transactions on the first day of legalization. After Shopify, Greg went on to help build out the international program at Ample Organics leading seed-to-sale platform covering 70% of the licensed producers in Canada. Working with both regulators and private sector companies in Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, Jamaica, and Malta, Greg gained a vast knowledge around various regulations and the complexities that come with the international cannabis supply chain.


Christian Borys is the founder of Black Hawk, a Toronto based creative agency which has produced campaigns with Fortune 500’s, global NGO’s, venture-backed startups and built one of Canada’s first legal cannabis retail brands. He is also the CEO of Gatsby. Prior to founding Black Hawk, Christian had been an early employee at Shopify before embarking on an award-winning career in journalism and film, working with the likes of the BBC, VICE, Washington Post, The Guardian, Daily Beast, Al Jazeera, Channel 4 and the CBC.

Cannabis Education Challenges with Samia Al-Hameri [PL]

What are the real challenges that prevent patients and doctors from getting effective treatment?

In this short podcast episode with Samia Al-Hameri, we speak about the readiness of Polish society to accept cannabis treatment. We discuss why in some cases it might be the only solution for the patient, as well as what led Samia to in-depth cannabis research.

Samia Al-Hameri is pharmacist, who is driven by a deep concern for the health of society and those patients in need of alternative treatment solutions. She researches the influence of natural medicines, with an emphasis on cannabis-based products. 

She lives with a mission to educate the society about the medicinal qualities of cannabis. Samia is the author of a first in Poland series of educational workshops dedicated to doctors and pharmacists. 

Samia is the founder of the project ‘Konopna Doktorka’, where she publishes fresh findings and notices of events related to cannabis in Poland.

Here’s how Samia describes herself:

 

MISSIONARY AND TRAVELER

“I believe in nature and energy she has given us.

Taking care of her property and gifts,

I devote myself to cannabis,

which has long been a guest in my life, as:

– a home medicine for numerous diseases

– a delicacy in the kitchen

– aromatherapy ingredient

…and even fireplace fuel!”

 

Historia Doroty Gudaniec: Sytuacja Pacjenta w Polsce [PL]

W tym odcinku rozmawiamy z Dorotą Gudaniec, mamą Maxa, pierwszego pacjenta w Polsce legalnie leczonego preparatami na bazie konopi. Walcząc o możliwość leczenia własnego syna Dorota stała się aktywistką i twarzą ruchu walczącego o legalizację konopi do celów medycznych. Dorota jest właścicielką marki ekstraktów z konopi siewnych Max Hemp, a także pomysłodawczynią i założycielką Centrum Terapeutycznego o takiej samej nazwie.

Reprezentuje Koalicję Medycznej Marihuany, która przy wparciu posła Kukiz’15, Piotra Liroya Marca – złożyła w Sejmie projekt zmiany ustawy o przeciwdziałaniu narkomanii.

W podcaście Dorota dzieli się historią walki o życie swojego syna oraz opowiada o niezbędnych dla pacjentów zmianach na rynku konopi w Polsce.

Global Cannabis Market: Investment and Legal Perspective

CECF podcast was joined by David Wenger, an experienced New York-based lawyer and investor. David is working on cannabis legislation in the US and was one of the early investors into the Canadian and US cannabis markets. His white paper “The Green Regulatory Arbitrage: A Case for Investing in US Multi-State Vertically-Integrated Cannabis Companies” has been widely read all over the world.

In this episode, David shared his expert opinion on current and future developments approaching the cannabis markets. Combining the legal and investor perspective, he shined a rational light on the so-called global green rush. We discussed:

  • The market landscape: will there be a mass consolidation or a diverse ecosystem of many different players?
  • The lack of capital: how will controversy around different types of investors, or the inability for cannabis companies to open bank accounts, be resolved?
  • Product classification: is cannabis a pharmaceutical product, a drug, or food? How will these definitions influence the legal and compliance aspects of the industry?
  • Market valuations: what approaches should an investor consider before investing in a company?
  • Private vs market capital: what is currently better for companies?
  • Cannabis vs alcohol: is it fair to assume that cannabis consumption will one day overtake alcohol?

Our guest David Wenger has worked as an attorney in New York office of DLA Piper for more than a decade. He first invested in cannabis in 2016 in Canada, and then engaged in the US cannabis market from 2017. David is a member of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives cannabis working groups, where he focuses on drafting and advancing federal cannabis legislation. He is the author of a widely read white paper titled: “The Green Regulatory Arbitrage: A Case for Investing in US Multi-State Vertically-Integrated Cannabis Companies.”

Regulacje Prawne Na Rynku Konopnym W Polsce [PL]

W tej edycji podcastu CEFC miało przyjemność rozmawiać z Andrzejem Dołeckim,
aktywistą i byłym politykiem. Rozmowa została przeprowadzona po polsku, a jej
tematem były polskie regulacje prawne dotyczące marihuany.
 
Andrzej jest założycielem i przewodniczącym Wolnych Konopi, organizacji opowiadającej się za skutecznym wykorzystaniem konopi. W 2017 roku polski parlament znowelizował prawo i zalegalizował import medycznej marihuany. Działał wtedy pod wyraźnym wpływem środowisk pacjentów i aktywistów, którzy pragnęli mniej restrykcyjnych przepisów. Stowarzyszenie Wolne Konopie to jedna z czołowych organizacji walczących o legalny dostęp do medycznej marihuany.
 
W niniejszym podcaście omawiamy strategie działania, dzięki którym udało się zmienić
polskie prawo dotyczące marihuany. Rozmawiamy o pozytywnych aspektach nowelizacji, o jej ograniczeniach, a także o wpływie, jaki wywarła na szeroko pojęty przemysł konopny. Nowe przepisy otworzyły nowe możliwości dla przedsiębiorców, w wyniku czego stale rośnie liczba firm oferujących produkty zawierające CBD. Dodatkowo duże zagraniczne korporacje zaczęły widzieć w Polsce żyzną glebę dla inwestycji.
Oprócz medycznej marihuany ich uwagę przykuwają też konopie przemysłowe, które
znajdują zastosowanie w wielu gałęziach przemysłu.
 
Nowe prawo to jednak dopiero pierwszy krok na drodze do zapewnienia pacjentom
pełnego dostępu do medycznej marihuany. Andrzej dzieli się z nami swoimi przemyśleniami na temat strategii, jakie należy zastosować, by rynek mógł się dalej
rozwijać i mówi o interesach różnych grup działających na tym obiecującym rynku.
 
Główne tematy tego odcinka naszego podcastu to:
 
  • Znaczący rozwój polskiego przemysłu konopnego
  • Perspektywa dla dalszych zmian w prawie
  • Innowacje w dziedzinie konopi przemysłowych opracowywane przez polskich naukowców

Cannabis Industry Compliance in Europe

Following legalisation in North America, European countries have moved to remove barriers to the entry of legal forms of cannabis onto the market.

For many companies, this raises the question of compliance fundamentals and best practice. Currently, no uniform Europe-wide directives exist, so every country moving towards legalisation is introducing its own laws.

CECF podcast was joined by Marguerite Arnold and Dr. Francis Scanlan to discuss European cannabis regulation and compliance. The European Union is known to have stringent standards for consumer goods and pharmaceuticals, but on the nascent cannabis market it is not always clear how particular products are classified. 

Marguerite and Francis, both successful cannabis entrepreneurs in Europe, joined us to discuss the peculiarities of cannabis compliance, and how to introduce compliance standards on a market where the boundaries have not yet been fully defined.

We addressed the following questions:

  •  Is cannabis a pharmaceutical or food product?
  • What is the current state of compliance among large cannabis companies?
  • How will the international trade agreements as CETA and MRA influence the European cannabis market?
  • What are the trends for compliance in this young industry?

Marguerite Arnold is an American expat and entrepreneur who has covered the cannabis industry globally, from Europe, since 2014. She is also launching a digital health startup called MedPayRx across Europe, starting in Germany.

Dr. Francis Scanlan is the founder and managing director of Cloud 9 Switzerland LLC, a Health & Wellness company focused on Cannabis Edibles and Rx/OTC Pharmaceuticals. Francis has 26 years of international professional experience with increasing roles of responsibility in the Environmental, Tobacco, Phytopharmaceutical, Flavors & Food Ingredients, Food & Beverage and Wines & Spirits industries.

Medicinal Cannabis Momentum in Germany

Medicinal cannabis was legalised in Germany in March 2017, and many European are following suit. Investing in medicinal cannabis offers opportunities for first movers, but also challenges. What awaits investors in the coming years? What are the opportunities and challenges?

To answer these questions, Andrew de Roy is joined by Marguerite Arnold, the founder of MedPayRx and a cannabis industry journalist, consultant and patient advocate.

Cannabis Industry Development In Poland

Historically, cannabis was widely used in Poland, but from the mid-20th century, the Polish government began imposing stringent restrictions on its cultivation, distribution and use. Today, looking at global changes in attitudes towards cannabis, the Polish government has removed some barriers to the provision of medical cannabis to patients.

In this episode we were joined by Michael Klepacz, the founder of Natural Materials Unlimited, to discuss the development of the cannabis industry in Poland.

Activists and investors are urging the government to further adjust medical cannabis policies.
Dorota Gudaniec, struggling to get cannabis-based medication for her epileptic son, attracted widespread public attention and sympathy for her advocacy on the rights of patients in need of treatment.

On the business side, the market has recently seen the acquisition of HemPoland by the Canadian company, TGOD, a signal of the prospects for the Polish cannabis market.

In this episode, we delve into the following topics:

– The history of cannabis in Poland.
– The current state of cannabis market in Poland.
– The outlook for the future. Why is the market going to progress?
– The concerns associated with the high costs of medicinal cannabis for patients.
– What does the cannabis market in Poland need to really take off?

Michael Klepacz is the CEO and Founder of Natural Materials Unlimited, as well as one of the foremost cannabis experts in Poland.

Natural Materials Unlimited is a Sustainable Product Design company focused on plant-based products and minimal waste. They are a triple bottom line company: Planet, People, Profit. The focus of the company is to leverage the fibre industry that is present in Europe. It aspires to use as many locally grown and sustainable materials as possible