In anticipation of the Conference next month on April 9th and 10th we interviewed two of the speakers to get a flavour of what to expect in Paris.
Laure Bouguen of Ho Karan
Our first guest, Laure Bouguen, comes from a family of hemp farmers in Brittany. She is founder and CEO of Ho Karan, a producer of cosmetics using cannabinoids. Laure first wanted to work with hemp while at Audencia business school in Nantes but “the teachers didn’t like the idea at all.”
After a stint working in fashion, first at a design agency and then with Chanel, Laure founded Ho Karan as a men’s only line for barbers in 2016 using hemp seed oil for its anti-inflammatory properties. Since then the range has expanded to include both genders and further cannabinoids and will be distributed through 900 Sephora boutiques at the end of April
We asked Laure what she was excited for at the conference. The primary goal is to meet suppliers: “I am after the vanguard of R&D, producers of terpenes, flavonoids and cannaflavins are really important right now.” and the other benefit of the conference is meeting other entrepreneurs whether that be to share tips or seek inspiration from other business ideas.
Finally, we discussed the state of the cannabis industry in France and Laure’s role in the Le Chanvre Syndication. In “one year we grew for 3 to 37 companies in the Syndicate with 2 full-time lobbyists” which seems to be paying off as the ministry of health announced plans for medical cannabis last December. You can see more of Laure as Miss Cannabis a series designed to combat stigma and show the real cannabis industry.
Jens Kramer of Avicanna
Our second interview also was destined to work with the cannabis plant from business school but didn’t know so at the time. “I was at business school with [Avicanna’s CEO] Aras Azadian in Barcelona and we stayed in touch over the years”. Last year Aras called upon his old friend to become Vice President of European Operations for the Canadian headquartered firm. “I was new to this industry but I’d worked on new markets before and the potential here, especially in Europe was so great” he joined straight away.
The thing most important to Jens at the conference is knowledge. “There is still a lack of knowledge in this industry and for Avicanna and our network of scientists this exchange of knowledge comes first of all.” There are existential reasons to be preoccupied by knowledge, “we believe that cannabis will move towards a commodity and then the way to add value will be through intellectual property, techniques to perfect dosage or bodily absorption and similar.” The current model in Germany is unlikely to last with plant material being sold and patients smoking medicines “It’s crazy! And it’s also difficult for public institutions and insurers to get on board when there is no standardised medicine like a normal capsule.”
Avicanna has personnel based out of the UK and Germany who are actively exploring commercial opportunities in Europe. In addition, their objective for the conference in France is to raise the awareness of medical cannabis and to initiate conversations for a future market.
For Stop & Chat readers who are interested tickets can find them here, with a 30% discount code: CannabisFrance.