The global elite are on their way to the Swiss alpine town of Davos for the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering, but this year a new group is joining the party: the cannabis elite.
A bevy of company executives and former politicians — all of whom are now involved in the burgeoning legal cannabis industry — are expected to attend what is being billed as the first ever “Cannabis Conclave,” a three-hour lunch at an alpine restaurant only accessible by cable car.
Attendees of the event at Restaurant Höhenweg will be able to “listen to insights by leading cannabis executives and investors while enjoying a three-course Swiss lunch” consisting of Swiss cheese pasta, meat fondue and “kaiserschmarrn” or fried pancakes.
Among those scheduled to appear at the lunch are former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, who serves as chairman of the Israeli medical cannabis company InterCure, and Bruce Linton, CEO of Canopy Growth Corp.
This year marks the first time that cannabis events, attracting prominent members of the industry, are being held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, a sign of growing legitimacy of the global marijuana sector.
Canadian investment bank Canaccord Genuity Corp. — one of the first investment firms to become involved in cannabis dealmaking — is a co-sponsor of Cannabis Conclave, along with the Consumer Choice Center, an organization based in Brussels that calls itself a “consumer rights organization to mobilize millennials against overburdensome regulation that limits choice.”
A number of the industry leaders present at the Cannabis Conclave are also scheduled to attend a second marijuana sector event called the Canada Cannabis House, sponsored by the Canadian Securities Exchange and OTC Markets Group Inc. — two stock exchanges on which the bulk of cannabis companies are listed.
The Canada Cannabis House will take place as a series of speaking events over the course of three days, exploring everything from how to secure funding as a pot company to the potential that emerging cannabis markets such as Thailand and Malaysia hold for the sector.
Other key cannabis industry figures participating in both events include: Kevin Murphy, the CEO of Acreage Holdings, one of the largest cannabis companies in the U.S.; Navdeep Dhaliwal, president of Supreme Cannabis, a Canadian licensed producer; and Saul Kaye, CEO of Israel Cannabis, who led the charge to get Israeli lawmakers to approve the export of medical cannabis.
Former White House director of communications Anthony Scaramucci, nicknamed “The Mooch,” whose private equity firm SkyBridge Capital has had a presence at numerous cannabis conferences, will interview Barak at the Canada House event.
Thousands of people are already congregating in Davos for the conference, which prides itself on a guest list that traditionally includes many of the most influential political and business leaders in the world, along with a slew of celebrities and journalists.
The Forum has already made headlines this year for the absence of U.S. President Donald Trump, and key members of his cabinet who abruptly cancelled plans to be part of Davos amidst the ongoing U.S. government shutdown.