Investible Medical Marijuana

Featuring Todd Harrison

Todd Harrison of CB1 Capital Partners meets Mike Green to discuss investing in the medical cannabis industry. From perception and the legal environment, to application and distribution, Harrison evaluates the opportunities for today and tomorrow. He identifies the market inefficiencies created by both stigma and legal hurdles, along with some strategies to take advantage of them. Filmed on August 29, 2017 in New York.

Published on
11 September, 2017
Topic
Food agriculture, Micro
Duration
35 minutes
Asset class
Commodities, Equities
Rating
35

Comments

  • DR

    Daniel R.

    17 9 2017 16:32

    5       0

    More interviews by Michael Green please! He's smart, incisive, and draws out the best from the guest - doesn't get in the way. Excellent!

  • EF

    Eric F.

    16 9 2017 13:23

    0       0

    To learn more go to cb1cap.com? Nothing there, no contact info either!

  • SJ

    Sy J.

    15 9 2017 02:25

    6       0

    I'm waiting for oranic, grass fed, humanely raised canabis, that can certify that no insects were hurt or mistreated in production of this drug.

    • JA

      JORDI A.

      28 9 2017 21:47

      0       0

      Lol

  • VA

    Val A.

    14 9 2017 03:20

    0       0

    At least we know the dog is getting a good night sleep.

    Appreciate coverage on this topic, I'd love to hear more from the commodity space.

  • SD

    Stephen D.

    13 9 2017 09:38

    2       0

    Interesting. But to echo some very well informed commentary here, the incredibly small amount of research data on cannabis means that multiple medical applications are very speculative. Cannabis is legal in many US states now and there is clearly a lot of recreational demand, that's real and revenue generating. Mariijuana has been used as a medicine in many cultures over millenia so no doubt there WILL be medical benefits but we are surely years away from properly tested ones, especially as the FDA, being Federal, can't approve them until marijuana is federally legalised. This seems highly problematic.

  • AT

    Alex T.

    13 9 2017 02:56

    19       0

    As always with this subject, a lot of very uninformed commentary. Sadly Todd (in an otherwise excellent talk) did quite a poor job of explaining the medical science and that only reinforces those who are sceptical or biased. For instance, no one is claiming cannabis will cure brain cancer. Instead, GW Pharma's trial in glioma is for their CBD/THC combination in conjunction with chemotherapy, not replacing it. Efficacy will be measured like in any other trial, through Progression Free Survival rates etc.
    Big pharma & doctors are starting to realise that cannabis doesn't necessarily have to replace current "standard of care", but can enhance it. One example: there is evidence that cannabis enhances the pain-relief effect of opioids, thus allowing for much smaller doses and reducing the horrible side-effects of long-term opioid use. A combo therapy could be a win-win (there are companies working on this).

    One big issue I don't think Todd mentioned is that of patents and protecting IP. Can biotechs patent specific combinations of cannabinoids? Will those patents be enforceable? Besides the Schedule 1 issue, I think is a big reason we're not seeing more medical trials. Big legal battles are also looming w respect to patents on particular strains of marijuana.

    Todd, like many others, is quite dismissive of the investment thesis regarding growers. You can easily imagine how cannabis could become just another agricultural commodity with little value being generated in that part of the chain. I'm not so sure: governments are imposing massive regulatory burdens on growing medical marijuana. You need an incredibly sophisticated growing operation to comply, highly capital intensive. In Germany, for example, post legalisation it's clear that domestic large-scale commercial growing operations are a long way away from being a reality. It's just very complex. In the meantime they are importing medical marijuana from the handful of big Canadian growers . As for recreational marijuana, it seems the cultivation standards will be the same as for medical (from what we're seeing in California so far) . This is a very sore point for many growers... they've risked imprisonment for years and now thats it's finally legal they're getting shut out of the market. Most of those guys can't raise the millions required to set up a licensed operation. Bottom line, you can forget about mom & pop growers flooding the market. Cannabis prices could stay higher for much longer than people expect.

    Apologies for the excessive length of this comment. Thanks RV for the great interview!

    • DC

      D C.

      13 10 2017 19:35

      1       0

      Thanks for your comment. What's your background and involvement with the biz, if you don't mind me asking?

  • dj

    daniel j.

    12 9 2017 14:38

    1       0

    I have been in this space for some time. Imortant to note that canadian market is not the same as us marked due to lack of federal apptoval hence RICO applies.

  • TF

    Terry F.

    12 9 2017 04:33

    18       1

    I have read a number of comments here that Todd sounds like a snake oil salesman in this interview. To me, he sounds no different than other interviewees that are selling a high tech vision to improve the world (Blockchain, social media,as well as Biotech promoters). Todd has a passion and is not afraid to show it. A passion is a wonderful thing and is the motivator to overcome the hurdles of conventional wisdom.

    I know little about the medical efficacy of marijuana, but it doesn't take a genius to understand that a legal ban on the plant that eliminates all research leaves everyone just with anecdotal stories and rumors.

    I also understand doctors who are reluctant to get on the bandwagon do so out of the lack of proper Phase 2 and 3 double blind trials. The problem here is the lack of research because of the DEA classification which from all I've read about marijuana usage is overkill (I have never consumed it in any fashion in my 67 years). I believe the main guiding purpose here in the war on drugs is money. Too much is being made by BOTH sides to terminate the war.

    So, I would like to see it reclassified (at least for research), so we can move forward to determine if marijuana has a place in medicine. Let's get it resolved one way or the other.

    • MR

      Mark R.

      14 9 2017 21:47

      1       0

      I have followed Todd since his early days at thestreet.com. He has always been a class act in his writing and passion for good causes. I wish him well with his latest passion. I think there will be plenty of use for CBD in the area of pain management alone to justify a very positive outlook for medical use.

  • GC

    Gary C.

    12 9 2017 00:06

    2       14

    Reminds me of the frying pan salesman with the mic at the county fair.. Or the guy selling sponges that absorb 50 times their weight in the kitchen.....

  • PP

    Patrick P.

    11 9 2017 21:59

    4       11

    I kind of felt like this guy was the monsignor selling the city fathers on the idea of Monte Carlo night at the church rectory 7 nights per week *BUT* it's not really gambling. And we are going to contribute big to the mayor's next campaign. So it's all good.

  • CM

    Carl M.

    11 9 2017 20:47

    3       0

    Cannabiscoin? I think it is already here?
    Mike seemed particularly relaxed during this interview.
    Sorry I could not resist some levity on such a heavy day.

  • GO

    Greg O.

    11 9 2017 20:05

    8       0

    "...and you mentioned that cats and dogs like to get high too..." LMAO, almost fell off my chair

  • Sv

    Sid v.

    11 9 2017 18:06

    20       4

    When someone describes their product as "magical and mysterious" and it cures everything, and even makes his dog stop barking, reminds me of a guy standing in the back of a pick up truck with a bull horn at an intersection in town selling bottles of "magic elixir" guaranteed to cure everything that "ails you.' Still, it is interesting.

  • TH

    Tomi H.

    11 9 2017 17:34

    45       4

    As a physician, I sadly have to admit, that this Interview was the first one that really sounded more like a sales pitch than a real profound fundamental analysis on the subject.

    While I somewhat agree on some points, especially that in the industry there might be pricing inefficiencies because of the legal issues and because the institutional investors aren't yet in, I totally disagree with the science and all the hype behind these "studies".

    I'm not saying that CBD or THC aren't helping a wide range of patients with different diseases. There is evidence behind it and that's why physicians are actually using medical marijuana when there is clinical relevance for that.

    But so far what comes to "CBD or THC curing brain cancer " etc. this is all just crazy hype around few methodologically problematic studies.

    For example, at the moment results have been published from only one clinical trial testing whether cannabinoids can treat cancer in patients, led by Dr Manuel Guzman and his team in Spain. Nine people with advanced, terminal glioblastoma multiforme – an aggressive brain tumour – were given highly purified THC through a tube directly into their brain.

    Eight people’s cancers showed some kind of response to the treatment, and one didn’t respond at all. All the patients died within a year, as might be expected for people with cancer this advanced.

    The results from this study show that THC given in this way is safe and doesn’t seem to cause significant side effects. But because this was an early stage trial, WITHOUT A CONTROL GROUP, it’s impossible to say whether THC helped to extend their lives. And while it’s certainly not a cure, the trial results suggest that cannabinoids are worth pursuing in clinical trials.

    Even though I am a medical practitioner and done lots of personal research on medical marijuana, I can't see positive expected value on trades that are taking long side views on these stocks as a group. In fact, I would suggest that there might be positive EV for shorting some of these stocks, since the prices are way ahead their fundamentals because all of the hype around these stocks. There certainly is a need for more clinical trials, but the potential for medical marijuana "curing cancer" or even to be considered as a relevant treatment for cancer is very low.

    And the last thing: There are also many other promising – and potentially even more effective – avenues that scientists are exploring for glioma. For example, treating glioma in mice with a “specific inhibitor” drug called alisertib, targeted against a protein called Aurora-A, prolonged the survival of mice with artificial brain tumours, similar to those in the cannabinoids study.

    If anyone is interested the real science behind medical marijuana and cancer, I would recommend to check this synthesis out: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2012/07/25/cannabis-cannabinoids-and-cancer-the-evidence-so-far/

    • JS

      Jeromy S.

      12 9 2017 06:56

      7       0

      I agree that when watching stories on cannabis investing it is always difficult to decipher what is factual with what is rhetoric. Lack of real clinical research/data makes it difficult to make an informed investment decision. Without that data, it is likely too risky for most investors. Or is it? Like Tomi, I too have been on the "physician side" of the medical industry for many years. J/K. That's b/s. In all truthfulness, I actually have been directly involved in the operations, ownership, acquisition/sale of over 130+ practices in the last 6 years alone. In fact, I still own and operate several medical practices today. Let me clear, I am a business owner/operator of medical practices and NOT a physician. No offense to Tomi, but like most physicians and providers I have the pleasure of working with we likely look at the "business" of medicine much differently. It is indeed ripe for disruption. I'm not sure cannabis is it but in the spirit of RVTV I would like to paint some color. RV does a fantastic job of presenting many DIFFERENT and exciting trade ideas that one could consider. This is one perspective I appreciate. I agree that there is more than one company today in trials (or soon to be) that likely has a silver bullet to cure cancer. Biotech has moved at an unremarkable pace and I believe that in a few short years, we will finally see the benefits of those advances. If you want a safe bet, then put your money there. But if you are looking for a long shot with a high risk/reward prop, then this might be it. Let's be honest with ourselves, the generations that came after me (and probably many of YOU old farts) don't give a shit about the war on drugs. They don't even know who Nancy Reagan is or anything about the "just say no" campaign. But the increasing problems with the opiod epidemic is very real. It's something that I see every day. IMO it's one of the most costly components of the US healthcare system (outside of behavioral health) and it seemingly has no end in sight. There are no REAL evidence-based solutions to the problem outside of more pharma. But imagine a day where everything from Restless Leg Syndrome to lower back pain to anxiety, sleep disorders, high blood pressure, COULD be treated and managed with cannabinoids? If only some day there was a generation that believed it was an acceptable alternative medicine to what is be pushed today. So if you are thinking about the investment that might pay in 15/25/30 years, who knows? I might be a couple bucks on it for the long shot (but mainly because I'm still pissed about missing out on Bitcoin in 2010). But remember this, the millennials are thinking differently about cannabis. As much as it be killing you to admit it, I'm afraid the next generation is thinking to themselves, "medicine advances one funeral at a time. RIP old timers. Time for us to get ripped. Glasses DOWWWNNN. Bongs UPPPPP!!!"

    • TH

      Todd H.

      12 9 2017 14:15

      6       0

      Thanks for the educated response, Tomi.

      We've had numerous conversations with physicians who share your POV given they're "not seeing feet on the street."

      And they wouldn't; cannabis is still a schedule 1 / illegal narcotic and it will remain that way until definitive efficacy is demonstrated.

      And it wasn't taught in universities until THIS year, where it's being rolled out nationally.

      And there isn't Wall Street research / coverage yet, which we believe is particularly powerful.

      Finally, please understand that the medical community, rightly, is results-oriented, vs. Wall Street where, by the time this is proved through, the opportunity will already be diminished.

      So yes, it's speculative, and certainly there are two sides to every trade.

      We are operating under the thesis that the longer 'mainstream' takes to understand the dynamic, the more profound the arbitrage.

      So yes, we understand not everyone sees it and honestly, that's why the opportunity exists in our view.

      Finally, if you would like to connect with our analyst to discuss, feel free to reach out at your convenience. todd@cb1cap.com

      Thank you,
      todd harrison

  • AM

    Aaron M.

    11 9 2017 17:17

    6       0

    Todd makes a lot of good points. The money in the space will be made from the pharma/healthcare side treating people with less toxic pill prescriptions, not the retail distribution of oils, food, etc.

  • EF

    E F.

    11 9 2017 17:10

    2       1

    what's 9/11 got to do with this

  • as

    andrew s.

    11 9 2017 14:44

    5       0

    Agree with Jacob s the money is not in the production, fast and easy to grow plant/weed

  • as

    andrew s.

    11 9 2017 14:20

    4       0

    GW Pharmaceuticals GWPH has been a leader in the medicinal field and has been going since 1998.

  • js

    jacob s.

    11 9 2017 11:08

    20       1

    This might be a biased view but:

    I'm not sure where the money to be made here is. The price of weed is just dropping across the board. My friends are chemical engineers and for extra cash they grow weed and make oils and candies. I've watched them do this in their kitchen and it honest takes minutes.

    The ability for them to scale shouldn't be considered like alcohol companies where you need a brewery. You literally need a YouTube, a ricer cooker and some land to grow weed on to make oil. I mean people are growing in in their closets. I mean of course there are people that don't have friends that grow weed and make dummies so they'll buy it through dispensaries. But there are applications to find people selling weed and weed oil etc etc.

    I've grown up in a generation where weed smokers have been screwed by the government and now they want me to pay taxes to buy it? Fuck the government. This is a plant and most of the companies on r/weedstocks are going to be zeros.

    I wouldn't say alcohol companies are going to hurt either because of the future of self driving cars. But I think it's a little naive to think there's a "green rush" here. People only buy weed growing equipment because they're afraid of weed laws. We're growing weed outside. I think Mike's right on when he says this is a deflationary pulse. It's going to put money back in the hand of the consumers.

    • BP

      Benton P.

      11 9 2017 17:59

      3       0

      It won't be cost-effective to do it small batch. Big companies will deliver a cheaper / better product at some point and take a large percentage of the market.

      That said, i'd still love to have the friend that does it - but it won't be mainstream. I'm happy my brother keeps a chicken coop and I get eggs, but most people don't have that setup - so they buy quality/expensive eggs from the store.

    • ek

      eric k.

      12 9 2017 02:09

      1       0

      isn't the dosage important (Todd H. said something like if the dosing is done right with CBD, THC, etc. it can replace those 6 drugs that his friend was on)...I mean, it's not as simple as grabbing that kitchen weed and smoking it for all your ailments, is it?

    • NI

      Nate I.

      12 9 2017 05:02

      1       1

      Although certain States have thankfully opened a few cracks in the system, I'm skeptical that the DEA and other key players in the military industrial complex (MIC) will give up such a key component of their drug war/weapons sales gravy train without a huge fight, regardless of what prospective health benefits that scientists may uncover. As Max Plank famously quipped, “science advances one funeral at a time.” The MIC and the FDA are still doing an outstanding job of impairing and preventing legitimate medical research into this area and many others. That was true under Bush and Obama and it remains very much so under Trump. Fortunately the DEA lacks global jurisdiction so that's one in the plus column for science, but to put it in prospective, fecal microbiota transplants are still grounds for license revocation in the US with the exception of treatment of Clostridium difficile infection, despite many potential benefits and treatments that have been noted in other countries (last I checked anyway). Doctors must send their patients (who can afford it) on medical tourism and they won't be receiving insurance reimbursement.

    • JS

      Jeromy S.

      12 9 2017 07:42

      1       0

      Very relevant point indeed. However, let's not forget who makes the rules in this game. The Payers (insurance companies). They are motivated by profits as well and absolutely must eventually realize the benefit in medical cannabis. Here is why: Most basic medical coverage in the US through a private payer (United, Blue Cross, Aetna, etc.) likely already includes pre-approval for several "natural and homeopathic medicine" visits. This includes chiropractors, acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage therapy, etc. without a referral (or aka what the evidence-based medical community would consider complete shenanigans). Why? Because the reimbursement to these providers is still much cheaper than many other specialist visits when you factor in the added expense of paying big pharma prices for your RX when you leave or a procedure to fix your "lower back pain". All of which are highly probable treatment/advice and outcome(s). It might take a little time but as with other alternative medicine/treatments, cannabis is a far cheaper option than traditional medicine and big pharma. There are far better margins for payers if they align themselves with the medical cannabis industry which is really what their "new" demographic (the millennials) want anyway.

    • PW

      Paul W.

      12 9 2017 11:58

      3       0

      So when did our "endocanabinoid system" stop working and thus upset our "homeostasis" resulting in this need for CBD supplements via potato chips?

    • TH

      Todd H.

      12 9 2017 14:16

      1       0

      Couldn't agree more. We're not focused on the 'input' plant, as that's a commodity and will continue to see supply. We're looking at outputs / applications, such that lower input costs are a positive.

      Todd Harrison

    • TH

      Todd H.

      12 9 2017 14:21

      3       0

      Tomi- one more thing. GWPH due to release secondary endpoints for P2 glioma trials, which is Overall Survival. This was due in Feb but company guided 'weeks to months' at the time b/c "too many people are still surviving." We could see that release as early as tomorrow at MS Healthcare Conference. Just a heads up.

      Todd Harrison