Prohibition Partners LIVE 2020: Day One Highlights


On day one of the inaugural Prohibition Partners LIVE we welcomed a host of world-leading speakers and attendees to our five unique virtual event stages — Cannabis Oceania, Cannabis Europa, Cannabis Americana, ProCapital in partnership with MAZAKALI, and The PSYCH Symposium.

Before day two gets underway, we would like to take a moment first to look back on some of the highlights that made day one such a memorable experience.

Cannabis Oceania


Opening the inaugural Prohibition Partners LIVE conference in style, the Cannabis Oceania stage hosted six panel events discussing the state of the cannabis industry in Australia, New Zealand, China, and the wider Asia-Pacific region.

Following a welcome address from Prohibition Partners’ Managing Director, Stephen Murphy, the Gateway to Asia panel opened the day by exploring how Australian firms can help to open up Asia-Pacific markets.

Moderated by broadcaster and journalist Lynsey Hooper, panelists Brian Sheng (Founder & CEO, Asia Horizon), Ean Alexander (CEO, Altum International), and Glenn Davies (Founder & Group CEO, CannAcubed) discussed the historic shift being seen in policy and public opinion with respect to hemp and CBD in Asia, and how Australian firms might harness this. 

"We have to fight two fights in Asia. Cannabis is still taboo in many areas of Asian culture and education is needed. It's also hard to give investors a timeline as regulations change at different rates from one country to the next."Glenn Davies, Founder, CannAcubed.

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In the second panel of the day, Connecting with Key Markets, Stephen Murphy and Lynsey Hooper were joined by Fleta Solomon (Managing Director, Little Green Pharma) to take a closer look at Australia’s position as a fast-emerging global contender in the cannabis sector. The panel advised firms to leverage historic trade relationships with Asian markets and focus on high-quality pharmaceutical standards in order to access the newly forming Asia market.

The upcoming cannabis referendum in New Zealand is set to become a seminal event that will shape the face of the Asia-Pacific cannabis market in years to come. Through the New Zealand: A Closer Look and Preparing for Legislation Change in Australia and New Zealand panels, expert speakers explored the potential ramifications of this referendum and other similar legislative reforms in close detail. 

Previous polling put 60% of New Zealanders in favour of legalisation, explained panelist Ross Bell (Executive Director, NZ Drug Foundation), but since, fear-mongering from the ‘no’ campaign has begun to tip the scales back in the other direction. Now, the ultimate result of the referendum looks likely to rest with the undecided voter — a demographic that is now being targeted with different evocative messaging campaigns from both sides of the issue.

“This is not just a referendum for New Zealand. This is a referendum for the world.” — Ross Bell, Executive Director, NZ Drug Foundation.

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Rounding off the Cannabis Oceania talk series, The Uncharted Territories of Cannabinoid Research and Cannabis & Capital Markets explored the future for the Asia-Pacific cannabis market through the lenses of cannabis research, innovation, and the future of the public market. 

Cannabis Europa


Taking place in the digital medium for the first time in its history, Cannabis Europa was the second of the five Prohibition Partners LIVE streams to get underway on day one.

A total of seven talks, panels, and live Q&A sessions took place across day one, focussing on a large array of topics, including recreational cannabis in Europe, the importance of social and criminal justice reform, and the unique challenges of raising capital in the European cannabis space.

"There are very high barriers for entry into Europe for cannabis businesses. To get a licence or to operate in the medical sector requires a huge amount of coordination between the Home Office and HMRA. The process takes around two years." — Nick Davis, CEO, Memery Crystal.

“Investors support high transparency and firms that take regulatory compliance seriously.” - Will Muecke, Co-Founder, Artemis Growth

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In Cannabis 3.0, speakers Zack Grossman (Vice President Marketing North America, FIGR Inc), Robert Galarza (CEO, TruTrace) and Roei Zerahia (Co-Founder and Former CEO, Canndoc-Pharma) explored technological innovation in the cannabis sector, drawing on their own experiences to highlight some of the ways in which this plant is being utilised by innovators looking to unlock cannabis’ full potential.

“Most medical practitioners are not open to using flammable inhalables - particularly in light of COVID-19. Key areas of interest will be cold press inhalables. We've got to get creative about how best to consume medical and recreational cannabis.” — Robert Galarza, CEO, TruTrace.

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The panel session The Perfect National Cannabis Model saw writer and journalist Robert Jackman (Writer, The Spectator), joined by the political and legislative experts Piernicola Pedicini (Member of the European Parliament, Italy), Jakob Sons (Co-Founder & Managing Director, Cansativa GmbH), and João Taborda da Gama (Partner, Gama Gloria) to discuss the ‘pros and cons’ of their respective domestic cannabis models in Italy, Germany, and Portugal.

“Pan-European regulation is unrealistic for medical cannabis in Europe.” — Jakob Sons, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Cansativa GmbH.

In The UK: Pioneer or Passenger?, Crispin Blunt MP (Member of Parliament, British Government) and Liz Shanahan (Director, UDG Healthcare) discussed the future of cannabis in Britain, concluding that it would be a “missed opportunity” if the country were not to be considered a pioneer of the movement in the coming years.

Building new cannabis laws also means looking to the past and seeking to repair — in so far as any of this can be repaired — the damage done to communities by previous prohibitionist regulatory frameworks. The final Cannabis Europa talk of the day came in the form of a panel session on this topic, titled Social & Criminal Justice Reform, where numerous panelists including ‘Father of the Cannabis Industry’ Steve DeAngelo (Chairman & Co-Founder, Harborside Inc), Albert Tio (President of the Catalonian Cannabis Clubs) and Amber Moore (Senior Researcher, Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group) came together to analyse the role the social and criminal justice system should play in the context of future cannabis law reform.

"Cannabis came to North America and much of the world through the hands of black people, and anybody who is in this business owes a historic debt to people of colour. And we must, as an industry, pay that debt.” — Steve DeAngelo, Chairman & Co-Founder, Harborside Inc.

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Cannabis Americana


Day one on the Cannabis Americana event track saw wide-reaching debate on a number of important topics relevant to the cannabis industry in North America — with six talks, panel discussions, and live Q&A sessions providing ample insight into the regional marketplace. 

In Overcoming the UN Deadlock, policy experts Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli (Founder, FAAAT) Natalie Fertig (Cannabis Reporter, Politico), and Khalid Tinasti (Executive Secretary, Global Commission on Drug Policy) traded insights and gave their analysis on the United Nations approach to cannabis, and how breaking its ‘deadlock’ on cannabis could mean for the future of the North American and the wider global industry. 

“Countries with the same treaty can have different interpretations of the law, and as a result we see different policies in place on the ground.” — Kenzi Riboulet Zemouli, Founder, FAAAT.

Along similar lines, the panel Impact of US Legislation on Global Industry examined the approach to cannabis in the United States, and theorised as to what impact the potential federal legalisation of cannabis could have on operators in the North American industry, but also on the larger global market.

In Capital Markets in N. America, panelists including Kim Rivers (CEO, Trulieve Cannabis Corp.), Michael Sassano (Chairman, SOMAI Pharma) and Codie Sanchez (Managing Director, Entourage Effect Capital) analysed how capital markets have reacted to the 2019 slump in North American stocks, and set out an examination of how the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to affect investment over the next 12 months.

“There are restrictions in how cannabis is regulated in parts of the US which make it currently impossible to be profitable. Full stop.” — Kim Rivers, CEO, Trulieve Cannabis Corp.

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Creating meaningful and engaging brands that bring cannabis into the mainstream can only be achieved with a sharp understanding of the stakes of legalisation. Building Successful Cannabis Brands built on this statement, featuring representatives from major brands that have both navigated the complexity of cannabis regulations and understood the modern cannabis consumer.

“This touches everything. It touches music, it touches medicine and it touches culture. This is a movement and we need to think about our role within that.” — Jason White, CMO, Curaleaf.

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“The way cannabis has been policed has been part of the way black people have been racially profiled and persecuted for decades.” — Willie Mack, Social Entrepreneur & Co-Founder, Think BIG.

The final Cannabis Americana session of day one was dedicated to hemp. Once a fringe crop, hemp has now been largely embraced by lawmakers, farmers and consumers. In The Future of Hemp, panelists examined the acceptance of hemp over the past 18 months, and looked to predict what the future might hold for this versatile crop.

ProCapital, in partnership with MAZAKALI


ProCapital, presented in partnership with MAZAKALI, is an exclusive investment-focused interactive forum that seeks to showcase investment opportunities across the international plant-based medicines (PBM) space. Powered by MAZAKALI’s Digital Capital Investment Platform, ProCapital features several real-time investment sessions across both days of the Prohibition Partners LIVE event, where participants can ask questions, schedule meetings with, and make direct investments into some of the most exciting private and public cannabis companies in the PBM space.

Day one on the ProCapital stage began with an introduction from both Stephen Murphy and Sumit Mehta (Founder & CEO, MAZAKALI), providing an industry update and setting the agenda for two days of education, access, networking and investment on the ProCapital stage. 

Following the introduction was a keynote speech, Cross-border Cannabis Capital Keynote, from experienced operator and investor Paul Rosen (Co-Founder and Former CEO, The Cronos Group) which featured a strategic overview of the global cannabis landscape, highlighting the latest developments in the sector and providing a glimpse into the next chapter of this exciting and high-growth space.

Alongside a host of other talks and panel discussions from leading investment and industry data experts, ProCapital hosted two unique Real Time Investment Showcases on day one, focusing first on Ancillary services and then on Hemp businesses. Powered by MAZAKALI’s Digital Capital Investment Platform, these showcases provided the opportunity to hear from enterprising companies making great strides in their respective fields, while making use of the ability provided by the Digital Capital Investment Platform to make real-time investment decisions throughout the session.

PSYCH: The Psychedelics Symposium


PSYCH: The Psychedelics Symposium provides a platform for the scientists and business leaders working at the forefront of the psychedelics space to present their latest findings and expert analysis on this unique industry.

Day One on the PSYCH stage opened with a Sponsor Welcome Address given by Dr Roger McIntyre (CEO, Champignon Brands), shortly followed by a Psych 101 talk from Adele Byrne (Senior Analyst, Prohibition Partners).

With the stage set, Dr Matthew W. Johnson (Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Johns Hopkins University) delivered a highly-informative talk on Psychedelics as Medicine, providing a deeper context as to how psychedelics have been used by different cultures throughout human history, and analysing a wealth of scientific evidence in support of the potential of synthetic psychedelics to address the modern mental health pandemic.

Panel discussions on Data, Tech & Community in Psychedelics, Showing Initiative: Psychedelic Decriminalisation and its Impact on Policy Reform and Psychedelics for Depression & Wellbeing highlighted several important issues in the space. 

"Any mental health issue that responds to psychotherapy will respond to psychedelics with psychotherapy, just better." — Dr. Ben Sessa, Chief Medical Officer, Awkn Life Sciences.



Firstly, panelists looked at how advancing technology and data might shape the future for the psychedelic medicine space, and the role of collaboration and data sharing in psychedelics research and therapy. Next, experts Robert W.E Laurie (Board Advisor, MAPS & International Lawyer, Ad Lucem Law) and Noah Potter (Principal, Legal Market Strategies) reviewed the psychedelic decriminalisation movements that are gaining momentum across the United States, exploring how such movements go about negotiating the maze of regulation and legislation surrounding psychedelic policy reform. In the third panel discussion on the day, experts on psychedelic medicine discussed the role that psychedelics can play, both inside and outside clinical settings, in alleviating depression and other mental health conditions, enhancing personal wellbeing.

“There's so much division in the US at present — psychedelics may play a role in bringing the unity we need to move forward.” — Robert W.E Laurie, Board Advisor, MAPS & International Lawyer, Ad Lucem Law.

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Finally, bringing to a close Day One on the PSYCH stage, the ‘hidden hand’ behind the renaissance of psychedelic science, Amanda Feilding (Director, Beckley Foundation), spoke of her experience and life’s work in a talk titled Lessons Learned from 50 Years of Psychedelic Activism. Drawing on her own personal experience at the frontier of psychedelic science, Feilding offered a deeper look into the lessons from the past that will apply to the next 50 years of psychedelic development.


Get Involved For Day Two

Once more, we would like to extend many thanks to all of the experts and speakers who have joined us over day one of this unique virtual conference. 

Day two of Prohibition Partners LIVE promises even more cutting edge insight and thought-provoking topics, presented by the world’s top experts and thought-leaders.

Tickets are still available ahead of day two, with ticket holders able to access all 120+ hours of debate aired across the five event stages on-demand for up to 30 days after the event. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to network with and learn from the world’s leading innovators, researchers, academics, and analysts.