Next week Luc Richner will be the moderator during a panel discussion on Navigating the Regulatory Landscape at ICBC Berlin taking place from June 29-30. He will also be part of the panel discussion at the CB Club Berlin “Switzerland and the Netherlands are launching pilot projects – Could this be a model for Germany and Europe?” on June 28. This is one of a series of cannabis industry get togethers that Cannavigia has been part of.
The past few weeks have seen two of the most important cannabis gatherings on the annual calendar, Cannabis Europa in London and CannaTrade in Zurich. In a business climate that some people feel had been stumped in growth and not living up to expectations, these gatherings are becoming increasingly more important as a hub to share knowledge and discuss the changing industry face to face.
Cannavigia was involved in discussions at both these fairs and now with everybody being able to catch their breath, we had a debrief with the CEO and co-founder, Luc Richner.
Let’s kick off with your impressions of Cannabis Europa
London is always a good experience because there are a lot of government representatives who attend to learn from other models. There are also good working groups and exchanges, and everybody contributes. But the big issue was the change, of course taken by the German government. For the past few months all eyes have been on them and even though some people thought they would pull it off, we were always a bit sceptical about the initial plan. There was no legal basis for the avenue that they were pursuing and there are a lot of international agreements in place to block their course of action. People seemed to think that they would defy this.
Cannabis is an interesting business, whenever there is something happening there is an almost naïve approach that ‘this one decision will change everything’, and when it doesn’t happen, people are very disappointed. For us as a company it was a very successful get-together. There is a lot of interest in our software model from various sources. We are tailor-making the software to the specifications of pilot projects, and because of that, there has been a huge spike in interest in what we are doing.
Well, that’s our hometurf and we were the co-sponsors of the B2B lounge, so it was a solid conference for us. This was also our first time on a B2C-experience and we learnt new things. Germany was still the topic of discussion. At the same time there is a lot of interest in the Swiss pilot project of which there are five now. Currently that is the only up and running project in Europe. People are asking questions about how they were put together and what is happening there. More and more people are starting to look at this as a basis for Europe and possibly the rest of the world. As a partner in the Swiss project, this also strengthens our position. Our position now is to move the industry forward; one has to either follow the traditional medicine route or the academic aspect.
Is the industry still moving forward or should we believe the cynics that say it’s not?
All the dreams and the hopes of the industry were forecast without knowing about Covid and the war in the Ukraine. The initial forecast figures were also unrealistic. The world is also facing bigger issues than the legalisation of cannabis in this moment, so everybody has to wait their turn. The most important thing right now is that there is still growth. It may not be the huge percentages that were predicted, but there’s still growth. In certain countries a lot of licenses were awarded for financial gain, rather than a reflection of what the market can carry, and this was not sustainable. This caused some damage. The speculative bubble has fallen away and so have the over-hyped expectations. It looks like the Swiss model is working and cannabis is currently following textbook economics, with one exception: It’s growing faster than other start-up industries. So, the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train.