The interest and excitement for the cannabis industry from the general public was evident during the consumer days for the Lift & Co. Expo in Toronto this year, which took place over the weekend of May 26-27.

Despite the exponential growth and maturity the industry has seen the past few years, this market is still just opening its doors to a more mainstream consumer audience, eager to find out every intricacy and business opportunity that is available to them.

After offering a closer look into the business and industry days of the conference held Thursday (May 24) and Friday  (May 25), here the Investing News Network (INN) is providing an overview of the consumer days of the show.

 Investor focus present at Lift

Despite opening the show floor to the general consumers interested in cannabis, on Saturday (May 26) a second  investing panel took place. Moderated by Fiona Brown, a partner with law firm Aird & Berlis, the panel included a selective collection of cannabis stocks commentators, including Cannabis Wheaton Income (TSXV:CBW) CEO Chuck Rifici.

When asked about the fear of over valuations for companies in the space, Rifici said investors should still be bullish on these stocks based on undervalued elements of the industry.

“If you are bullish on the market you would say that certainly with the international component and the global market size is probably underestimated, Rifici said. “I think alcohol is the best analog; I think cannabis can be larger than alcohol, probably a lot faster than we expect.”

Rifici added he thinks the overall cannabis market is “a lot bigger” than currently projected.

Speaking on the progress of consolidation in the space, James Lyle, a lawyer with Cassels Brock, said this trend is going to continue along.

“I think a difficult place to be in the industry going forward would be … a medium size company where you are not… one of the big players, ” Lyle said. “I think those are the companies that probably [will] reach a certain point and get taken down by some of the bigger players with more established distribution chains and more established brands.”

With some of the most recent high profile M&A activity within the cannabis market, it seemed appropriate to have a panel looking at the business expansion phase of this industry, which took place on Friday before the consumer days started.

Jason Saltzman, partner with Borden Ladner Gervais, explained he separates players in the public space as either ready to stay long term and others who may seek an early exit with a merger or an acquisition.

Rene Cormier, vice president of corporate finance with KPMG said from the strategic point of view there is an offence and defence play to the acquisitions seen in the markets at the moment.

Be sure to check back with @INN_Cannabis for our video interviews and panel recaps from the the Lift & Co. Expo

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Cannabis for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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