Cannabis investors can’t afford to miss the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, a premier gathering of investors and entrepreneurs painting an honest picture of the opportunities and challenges in cannabis investing. Space is limited—get your tickets before they sell out.

Ahead of the conference, we’re interviewing the speakers who will deliver key insights on the cannabis space at the BZ Cannabis Capital Conference. This installment features Avicanna CEO Aras Azadian.

Quickly give us your background—why are you passionate about cannabis?
I have been working as a biotech executive for the last 8 years and was fascinated by the medical aspects of cannabis and its potential efficacy in a range of medical indications. I believe we are just starting to scratch the surface on the potential role of cannabinoids as medicine and our team is motivated to be a contributing factor in its discovery.

What is the most exciting opportunity in the cannabis space right now
Medical and healthcare applications! Being a Canadian biotechnology company allows us to do federally approved clinical studies that allows to develop more optimized and consistent products with respect to specific indications whether that is dermatology or pain management.

There are still massive challenges for the nascent cannabis space to overcome—what is the most pressing of those challenges?
Convincing the medical community that for particular indications cannabinoid medication should be the first treatment option, that will only take place once the appropriate data and evidence is present

How should the industry advocate for a cannabis regulatory framework that will allow for safe, sustainable growth?
Within countries that allow clinical development such as Canada, further support and more clear legislation that allows for comprehensive clinical studies. From a recreational perspective, appropriate dosing limitations and warning for products such as the ingestible products

What big surprises do you predict occurring in cannabis in the next three years? Will a big legacy tobacco or alcohol incumbent invest in the space, or something else remarkable?
As the industry matures we will see further separation between recreational and medical companies, I believe that we will start seeing other life sciences and pharmaceutical giants taking larger leaps into the space, which will include big pharma, cosmetic giants and other life-sciences companies.

Any other thoughts?
We are truly living in exciting times and in perhaps the most exciting industry of this century, we are looking forward to being in the future of this industry and contributing to its maturity