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Expert Interview: Nick Davis, CEO Memery Crystal

Expert Interview: Nick Davis, CEO Memery Crystal
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Nick Davis

The firm is also the leading UK law firm on advising the emerging cannabis sector on capital markets, business set-up, mergers and acquisitions, private fundraising, licensing and commercial contracts. Following the newly published guidance by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the firm advised on the first ever listing of a cannabis related business on London’s primary markets.

At Memery Crystal, our intelligent and tailored approach makes us a more attractive proposition than the ‘one size fits all’ service offered by many other law firms. We are commercially aware, entrepreneurial in spirit, international in outlook and pragmatic in approach. For more information, visit www.memerycrystal.com.

Wow, what a start to the year for the cannabis sector. London has been behind the curve on medicinal cannabis IPOs, how does it feel to finally have them on board?

We have been in discussions with the FCA for over two years now on behalf of MGC Pharmaceuticals (MGC), an Israeli pharmaceuticals company, so we are thrilled to finally have
a positive outcome for medicinal cannabis companies. The market has been waiting for a high-quality cannabis company and in MGC they found just that. However, the true victory here is for the patients who so desperately deserve access to these life-changing medicines. By opening the London markets, these companies are able to raise money to fund vital research and in turn save lives – for me, the decision couldn’t be simpler.

European cannabis market growth

What does this mean for the future of cannabis companies?

At present, a Main Market listing for medic- inal cannabis companies with UK only operations are likely to be the easiest to list from a regulatory perspective, followed by those which operate in jurisdictions whose regulatory environment is equivalent to that of the UK, such as EU countries, or Australia.

Beyond medicinal cannabis businesses, CBD companies who have successfully navigated the issue of “novel foods”, or those who oper- ate in the cannabis technology space (per- haps in extraction or vape technology), are likely to also be able to list on London Stock Exchange’s Main Market. However, in all cases legal due diligence and supporting opinions will remain vital for listings to proceed.

London’s AIM has yet to see a cannabis company listing and therefore may remain challenging unless AIM is also able to set out its position as to cannabis companies.

What is keeping you busy at the moment?

Following MGC’s listing, we have had a significant number of enquiries from cannabis companies considering a listing in London. Now is the time to maintain pressure with the investment industry to allow retail investors to participate in this huge growth sector.

Despite initial concerns, the London markets have remained incredibly strong during the pandemic, particularly in life sciences, those with COVID treatments, or med-tech products. Successive lockdowns have also seen the rise of tech companies and consumer brands that have developed a robust online sales strategy or those who have access to larger retailers.

With the Main Market now being available, we are likely to see a steady flow of high-quality companies including CBD based businesses considering a London listing.

Listings aside, we recently advised on the UK aspect of the landmark $285 million acquisition of EMMAC Life Sciences by US cannabis giant Curaleaf, which will be a huge milestone for the European cannabis market. The two leading companies combined create a global platform that is poised to exploit the rapid pace of growth of the European cannabis market, especially in the potential shift from medical to more consumer-oriented.

This acquisition and the recent listings make for a very exciting time in the cannabis industry. Cannabis is still one of the world’s fastest growing and most innovative industrial sectors and it is fantastic to be able to say that we at Memery Crystal continue to remain at the centre of it.

The European Cannabis Report: 6th Edition takes a deep dive on the current social, economic, regulatory and health trends. The report also includes sales forecasts of medical and adult-use cannabis in the US and Canada.

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