The CBCW (Cannabis World Congress & Business) Expo in New York City is growing every year even though the state has a very restrictive medical marijuana program. The exhibit floor seems to grow each year along with attendance as over 100 companies now fill the floor.
Thursday morning got off to a strong start with Acreage Holdings CEO Kevin Murphy introducing Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton who gave a candid presentation of his company and its route to trading on the New York Stock Exchange. He noted that he originally intended to list at the NASDAQ, but then got sidetracked with the investment from Constellation Brands.
He said that once that was complete and the company could return its focus to the U.S. markets, he figured it couldn’t hurt to reach out to the NYSE again and what was once a no, became a yes. Although he did add that the Canopy wasn’t allowed to ring the bell. “It’s like being a girlfriend, but not a friend,” he said and the room erupted with laughter.
The midday secret surprise session brought out the star power as Whoopi Goldberg joined Governor Bill Weld, football player Mike James and Alex Bernabe, Counsel to Governor Cuomo. Whoopi Goldberg is known for her line of medical cannabis products specifically designed to address women’s health issues like menstrual pain. “Male government officials don’t believe women suffer from period pain enough to add this to the list of qualifying conditions,” she said. Goldberg said that she thinks doctors should decide which conditions qualify.
Governor Weld said that he along with executives from Acreage Holdings had recently returned from a trip to Washington DC where they had spoken with several Republican politicians that were on the fence about legalization. He agreed with Goldberg that a lot of misinformation exists with regards to the plant and the ailments it can cover. “They’re beginning to come around,” he said. Weld said that he personally got interested in the cannabis industry when polls showed that his constituents were overwhelmingly in favor of legalization.
Bernabe gave a big hint as to what might be in the New York State report on cannabis that was commissioned by Governor Cuomo. The report was completed but the results aren’t expected to be published for at least another month. He wouldn’t say what was in the report, but he did say that the state had gotten a lot of good data and some of it was positive with regards to treating opioid addiction with cannabis.
Governor Weld noted that the negative campaign against cannabis was causing American citizens to suffer and that this was unnecessary. The panel moderator was Geoff Whaling, Chairman of the National Hemp Association who told his own story of suffering from a broken vertebra in his neck. He was taking 200 mg of oxycontin a day before switching to medical marijuana. James also added that as a football player he suffered a painful injury and was quickly addicted to painkillers before he too switched to medical marijuana.
Montel Williams, a prominent medical cannabis advocate, will deliver a keynote address on Friday.