The initiative to legalize psilocybin, the compound in “magic mushrooms” responsible for the psychedelic effect, is gaining momentum, offering new hope for sufferers of maladies like PTSD, anxiety and addiction, amongst others. On June 30, Oregon Live reported that over 164,000 signatures have been collected, enough to bring legalizing psilocybin in a therapeutic setting to the November ballot. In Washington, D.C., advocates, which were hamstrung in campaigning by Covid-19 restrictions, are scrambling to collect about 10,000 more signatures by July 6 to bring to the November ballot a measure to decriminalize psychedelics, much like the cities of Oakland and Denver have already done.
If one or both of these votes leads to legalization, it will send a signal to other states going forward about the potential of psychedelics where traditional drugs have failed those in need.
“Oregon is looking to be a real trendsetter,” said Ben Nikolaevsky, CEO of Pure Extracts, in a phone interview with CFN Media on the topic. “While most energy has been focused on decriminalizing psychedelics, Oregon wants to provide a new framework that will allow for expanded research and medicinal use in a controlled setting. It would be a landmark development for patients and lend further credence to the acceleration of the emerging psychedelics market,” he added.
This is a huge leap forward to validate centuries of anecdotal evidence that psilocybin can provide meaningful therapeutic benefits for a number of conditions of the brain. Research is ongoing at leading institutions like John Hopkins, Harbor UCLA and NYU to provide clinical proof the psychedelics could be a solution to fill areas of great unmet medical need.
The Opportunity: One-Stop Shop, Lower Costs
Pure Extracts CSE: PULL (listing pending) was already building its brand with its singular focus on the extraction of plant-based products, namely cannabis and hemp.
The Company, which expects to be going public soon on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker “PULL”, operates from a 10,000-square-foot purpose-built EU GMP-compliant extraction facility north of Whistler, British Columbia. With expanded offerings of mushroom R&D, extraction and formulation, the facility will be renovated to 20,000 square feet.
The burgeoning psychedelic and functional mushroom industries are among the fastest growing and most newsworthy industries in North America. To that point, the global mushroom medicinal mushroom market expected to exceed $13.88 billion annually by 2022.
“Now is the right time to be positioning as the macro picture for mushrooms is very bright,” said Nikolaevsky. “With increased consumer awareness and a shifting regulatory environment, we expect to see exponentially rising demand from extractors, particularly ones like Pure Extracts because of our expertise in different methods, industry-leading partners and costs that are lower than the competition.”
Right now, extraction costs for a single gram of psilocybin can rise up to $10,000, a price point Pure Extracts is confident it can significantly beat while producing consistent extracted ingredients and maintaining high margins.
This Team Has Done It Before
Nikolaevsky and Benville, cannabis operations and extraction boffin, have assembled a world-class team spanning industry and capital markets. Earlier in his career, Nikolaevsky was president & CEO of Blue Goose Capital Corp. and served as Market Vice President, National Accounts at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (NYSE: CM)(TSX: CM), and as Chief Credit Officer & Capital Markets Manager at IBM Global Financing Canada. From there he led Natura Naturals, a privately-held licensed Canadian Cannabis producer, as CEO and President. In January 2019, cannabis giant Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY) acquired Natura for up to C$70 million.
With the successful exit from Natura, Nikolaevsky brought part of the team to Pure Extracts to capitalize on what is even a larger opportunity by combining cannabis and mushroom markets under one roof.
Serial entrepreneur Alexander Logie, Director of Business Development, brings over three decades of experience in the financial services sector to Pure Extracts. Mr. Logie co-founded Crane Capital and Mercury Capital, two successful firms that were acquired by larger asset management companies. He also served as SVP of Business Development at Natura (as well as interim CFO and COO).
Andy Gauvin came to Pure Extracts as Director of Sales after holding the same position at Natura up to its acquisition. Gauvin has a diversified skill set earned over 30 years in the cannabis and beverage alcohol space, including VP Sales Canada for Moosehead Breweries where he became well respected for his results-focused strategies. Throughout his career, he established relationships with key provincial cannabis customers, developed sales strategies and played an important role in product development.
Rounding out the key leadership is Shivani Bhatia, who didn’t come from Natura. Bhatia, Head of Quality Assurance at Pure Extracts, previously held a senior position at Whistler Medical Marijuana Corp., handling Quality Assurance work for two facilities. A Health Canada Security Cleared QA professional, Bhatia established and enforced GPP, GMP, and Quality Assurance standards, areas that are critical to the future success of Pure Extracts.
Be On The Lookout
In some ways, the emergence of psychedelics feels like the cannabis industry a decade ago. That’s only because of the potential scale of the industry and the fact that it is legalization (or decriminalization) of a long-illicit drug. In many ways, legal cannabis has helped condition lawmakers to the possibilities, but the comparisons stop there. A stiff regulatory environment will mean that not every company can jump into the industry with hopes of taking some market share. Remember when one failed miner after another said they were going to use their land to grow pot? That’s not going to happen here.
First movers with experience, like Pure Extracts, should have a decisive competitive advantage. To that point, there could be a strong market response when “PULL” soon becomes an active listing on the CSE.
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