Melbourne (July 31)

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The Cannabis Society (TCS) wrapped up the month of July with its Melbourne Investor Conference. 

With the purpose of hearing from entrepreneurs, investors and service providers on what is to come in this emerging industry around the globe and in Oceania in particular, the conference kicked off with the fireside chat moderated by Fiona Patten, Northern Metropolitan Region Member Victorian Parliament’s Legislative Council discussing the State of Cannabis in Oceania with Dr. Sud Agarwal, Co-Founder and CEO of Cannvalate.

Fiona Patten is a Member for Northern Metropolitan Region in the Victorian Parliament’s Legislative Council. Leader of the Reason Party, Fiona was first elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. Since being elected in 2014, Fiona has garnered respect from all sides of the political divide and has worked tirelessly to deliver legislative reforms that many thought impossible. Her achievements include establishing fertility clinic safe access zones, initiating Australia’s largest public inquiry into drug law reform, online e-petitions to Parliament, legalising Uber, securing a trial for Victoria’s first medically supervised injecting centre and initiating the Parliamentary Inquiry that led to Voluntary Assisted Dying laws. As ABC 774’s Jon Faine says: “She is, without doubt, Australia’s most effective legislator.”

Dr. Sud Agarwal is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Cannvalate, Australia’s first medically backed, medicinal cannabis company, focused on providing a seamless entry for global licensed producers of medicinal cannabis into the Australian market. He is a former medical director of the Cann Group (ASX:CAN) and has been an adviser to multiple listed/ unlisted companies and governmental bodies in the Medicinal Cannabis space.

Among the questions raised during this dialogue were how the international regulations and markets affect their business models, how government is involved in supporting cross-border commerce in the industry, and what are the current trials and tribulations that cannabis companies are facing in Oceania.

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The fireside chat topic triggered a lot of questions from the audience and was shortly followed by the first panel discussion - From Seed to Patient with Licensed Producers. Moderated by Rhys Cohen, Director of Cannabis Consulting Australia, and joined by Tommy Huppert, Founder & CEO, Cannatrek and Elisabetta Faenza, Co-Founder and CEO, LeafCann Group, some of the topics discussed were some of the strategies that cultivation companies are using to compete in the international market, if there’s enough supply to meet the demands of the Oceania market, and the number one need for cultivation operations to improve.

Rhys Cohen as Director of Cannabis Consulting Australia helps international and domestic organizations navigate regulated cannabis markets in APAC through assisting with market analysis and entry; import/export; distribution and sales; supply chain partner identification; license and permit applications; media and government relations; and scientific research partnerships. Rhys has worked extensively with the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics at the University of Sydney. And his industry analysis has been cited by Deloitte Access Economics and the Commonwealth Department of Health.

Tommy Huppert is a Start-up entrepreneur and medicinal cannabis health economist, he founded Cannatrek and put in motion it’s "seed to patient" industry strategy, corporate governance and cannabis licensing compliance structure. A seasoned international CEO with 30 years of business and leadership acumen in pioneering new industries, Tommy has drawn together an expert team of associated alliances, to deliver the Cannatrek blueprint strategy.

Elisabetta Faenza is the Member of Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD), Deputy Chair Montegu Services Masters International Relations, Dip & Adv. Certificate Clinical Hypnotherapy, Diploma Marketing University of Illinois at Chicago. Before co-founding LeafCann Group, a licensed Medicinal Cannabis company based in Australia and the UK, Elisabetta’s work as a clinical hypnotherapist, corporate speaker and mentor assisted thousands of individuals to change unwanted behaviours, recover from trauma and achieve personal and career goals. In LeafCann, Elisabetta has brought together a talented team of experts from biomedicine, clinical research, quality assurance, education and training, controlled medicinal cannabis cultivation, extraction, policy, project management, facility design, regulatory affairs and IP management. Elisabetta manages a global team on three continents, all working to produce the highest quality Medicinal Cannabis products under GMP.

The second panel of the day, moderated by Arjun Chhabra, Chairman & President of Greenfield Medicinal Cannabis, focused on Protecting The Chain: Discussion On Supply Chain, Compliance & Quality Assurance. Arjun was joined on the panel by speakers Andul Mohammad, Co-Founder & Director, Australia Cannabis Laboratories and Tim Oates, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Delta Tetra Consultancy. 

The trio explored topics such as: perspective on the regulations that exist in the market for quality and process of protecting the quality, issues of compliance in quality within the Oceania market, and a regulatory body organized to oversee compliance.

Arjun Chhabra is a lawyer who specializes in corporate, drug, health, and regulatory law. He has a background in mergers and acquisitions, capital raisings, and corporate governance. Arjun has worked with start-ups and in emerging markets, having worked as a corporate lawyer in Australia, the Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East, and as an investment banker in sub-Saharan Africa. He has worked with Deloitte, Blake Dawson Waldron (now Ashurst), Baker & McKenzie, Clyde & Co, and was the Chief Executive Officer and later Chief Strategy Officer of Anthesis Capital.

As CEO of Australia’s original cannabis specific consultancy firm, Delta Tetra Group, Tim Oates has been immersed in business strategy and commercialisation, regulatory compliance as well as intensive networking and deal flow. With a strong focus on cannabis breeding and cultivation, Tim is able to draw parallels between the ever-changing regulatory space and practical cannabis management.

If you’re interested in being a speaker, sponsor, or attendee at The Cannabis Society’s upcoming conferences, please email community@thecannabissociety.org.


The Cannabis Society