Ep 278 – Global Cannabis Trend: Exporting Extract From Africa to Europe

jonathan summers exmceuticals

It’s no secret cannabis cultivation is going global. Here to tell us why and how he’s expanding into Africa is Jonathan Summers of EXMceuticals, a medical cannabis firm that aims to become the largest volume, lowest cost producer of wholesale cannabis in the world.

Learn more at https://exmceuticals.com (CSE: EXM) (FSE: A2PAW2

Key Takeaways:

  • Jonathan’s background in cannabis and how he came to be Executive Chairman of EXMceuticals
  • An inside look at EXM and its mission to become the largest volume, lowest cost producer of wholesale cannabis ingredients
  • Jonathan’s insight on Brexit and how it will affect London as a financial hub
  • Why EXM cultivates cannabis in Africa before processing, selling, and distributing in Portugal 
  • What cannabis cultivation in Africa could mean for the country’s economy and job market
  • Differences between the cannabis industry in Europe versus the U.S. 
  • The products Jonathan foresees gaining traction in Europe over the next few years 
  • What Dixie Elixir’s Tripp Keber is bringing to the table as a strategic advisor for EXM
  • How EXM is working to support African communities through nonprofit funds and increased employment
  • Inspiration Jonathan draws from lectures given by English philosopher Alan Watts
  • Where Jonathan sees EXM and cannabis heading in the next few years
Click Here to Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi, I'm Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I'll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at cannainsider.com, that's cannainsider.com. Now, here's your program. It's no secret that cannabis cultivation has gone global. Here to tell us why and how he's expanding into Africa is Jonathan Summers, chairman of EXMceuticals. Jonathan, welcome to "CannaInsider."

Jonathan: Great to be here. Thanks, Matt.

Matthew: Give us a sense of geography. Where are you in the world today?

Jonathan: Right now I'm sitting in beautiful, sunny London. I'm watching the rain come down. And the reason I'm in London is where cannabis business mainly operating in Africa and in Europe.

Matthew: Okay. And what is EXMceuticals on a high level?

Jonathan: EXM is best thought of as an ingredients business based on CBD and individual cannabinoids.

Matthew: Okay. Can you share a bit about your background and journey and how you got into the cannabis space and became part of EXMceuticals

Jonathan: Sure. My pleasure. It was...a few months ago, I've always been in finance. So I managed to do 15 years as a Wall Street banker before I left and did a couple of more entrepreneurial things in asset management. Started a couple of hedge funds, asset management businesses. And towards the end of last year, I began to look around for something else, having done finance for well over 20 years. And a friend originally brought me the EXMceuticals as a company he had met and was interested in and was helping to raise some small money for them. And he recommended I met them and I did so. And frankly, was very impressed with the plan.

I also thought that there were a number of things that possibly they weren't doing that maybe they should have been doing. And I started asking lots and lots of questions in addition to investing a small amount of money. And as part of the process of me asking lots of lots of questions, which tends to be my way, I got to know the guys who are running the company very well. And about six weeks later they asked me to come on board in an executive capacity. And that was end of May this year and I've been the executive chairman ever since.

Matthew: Okay. What do you think about Brexit? I mean, how do you think that's going to affect London as a financial hub? I mean, I don't really know. I spend a lot of time over in the UK, but I think, "Hey, perhaps if there's a clean break for the UK, you know, there could be more desirable tax rates and more business would flow to the UK be taken out of the European Union." I know there's more considerations and variables than that, but what are your thoughts around that?

Jonathan: I think it's one of those...we're kind of in uncharted territory, everybody feels very passionate in terms of their views which range vary widely from one end of the spectrum, it will be a disaster to the other end where people think it will be a fantastic boost to the economy. I think the truth will probably lie somewhere in between, but the facts are that this has been pending now for well over three years. A lot of the slowdown in economic activity that you would expect when there's a big change like this has already happened. For example, central London property prices are probably down 30% in the last 3 years as people have been worried about Brexit. So I would imagine that if Brexit is something other than a complete disaster, you would see, if anything, activity in London and England pickup.

Matthew: Yeah. Okay. And what do you think of Boris Johnson's haircut?

Jonathan: I'm a big defender of Boris, not necessarily as haircut, but because he's written a couple of very good history books, I would probably give him the benefit of the doubt.

Matthew: Okay. You've got some wild haircuts over here too. So that's...I understand.

Jonathan: You haven't seen mine yet.

Matthew: Okay. Let's talk about Africa a little bit. Why did you choose Africa and where are you operating there?

Jonathan: Sure. So just to give some background, Marc Bernier, the founder of the company, this is nearly three years ago now. So, a long time before I got involved. He was quite early in the evolution of cannabis and industrial hemp. He was working on a couple of projects in the Caribbean where he was setting up businesses and very close to having licenses and for various reasons based upon the scale of the land that he could cultivate, and just sort of the footprint he could develop he decided not to proceed with those, and the company then moved on and sort of went to Africa. The thesis behind all of it, but where Africa particularly was where we wanted to build a business with is basically you want to grow cannabis where it grows naturally. You want to grow cannabis where it's hot and sunny, ideally pretty much all year, outside of the rainy season, you want to go to cannabis with as long sunny days.

Lots of sunshine and also where you can get lots and lots of fertile, flat and available land. And Africa ticked the box on all those. The essential premise being you want to grow cannabis where you don't need to build large greenhouses and heat them because outside the greenhouse it's very, very cold. So that's the basic thesis behind why Africa. In terms of where we're operating, we have farms in Uganda and the DRC and we are in the process of the final stages of the acquisition of a gigantic farming and processing unit in Malawi. So that's currently where our farming operations are at.

Matthew: Okay. And DRC, is that Congo? Democratic Republic of Congo? Is that wat it is?

Jonathan: It is indeed. And obviously, when you mentioned the DRC, people raise eyebrows. It has a relatively checkered past. We are in a part of the DRC which is a much, much more stable. It's actually called the cubic [SP] kingdom. We are operating in a part of the DRC where I would imagine if we weren't there, none of the people that we're employing, of which about half of women would have a job. Effectively what we have in the DRC is a large area of clear land with a fence around it. We've put in the wells, we've put in the farm buildings, equipment, etc. And we have about 200 hectares of cleared land that we are planting out the initial 25 hectares of cannabis on. So, that's where we are in the DRC. It is basically a farming operation.

Matthew: Okay. And what markets do you think you'll be exporting to the most?

Jonathan: So we are not planning...this is important. We're not planning on exporting cannabis in any way, shape or form to countries or operations or companies outside of Portugal. So, everything we produce will be transshipped to Portugal in full client concentrate form. So we'll do the initial extraction in country. And Portugal is really the hub of our operations, which is where we are imminently expecting our initial sort of R&D pilot refinery license. And as soon as we get that... It's been about a two-year process to get to this point. As soon as we get that, hopefully in the next few days, we will immediately begin the process of fitting out and planning for a much larger to be GMP approved facility that we've already rented the site for about half an hour south of Lisbon. So right now we have an initial R&D lab and refinery in Lisbon. Once that's licensed, we will immediately begin the process of moving the refinery to the larger business facility half an hour south and the existing facility will just become R&D.

Matthew: Okay. Lisbon's becoming a bit of a hub, I know Tilray has a footprint there too. Why do you think Lisbon is kind of becoming a hub for cannabis or why do you find it desirable?

Jonathan: I think that the Portuguese authorities, while they're being very diligent, I think they're trying to build a business. I think they're obviously looking to create jobs and infrastructure in the country. They are gradually liberalizing the codes around marijuana, although obviously purely recreational is still frowned upon. I think that, you know, for example, I heard the other day 45 licenses are currently going through the application process to grow cannabis in the country. And that's obviously a process where we can be part of that because we're not going to be growing in Portugal, but we'll be very happy to process other people's production, you know, on a commercial basis.

Matthew: Okay. I'm curious how the African government officials have reacted to the prospect of cannabis cultivation in their borders. I mean, they haven't had the propaganda and reefer madness that's gone on in most of the Western world. What's kind of...what's their orientation in terms of how they feel about cannabis?

Jonathan: I think it's mixed. On one hand, there's an obvious slight nervousness. There is obviously a negative association within the country to do with, you know, with some people with recreational use, somewhat frowned upon there. So I think where they are generally much more encouraging of it is where it's an export market product where you're cultivating in the country, ideally transforming, doing some extraction in the country. So it's not just a farming operation. And then transshipping it elsewhere for medical or nutraceutical purposes, I think they have a lot more time for, I'm not sure there's a huge drive at the moment for sort of in-country distribution, and really in many cases the plant grows wild there anyways. So I'm not sure that's a process which you could really want to distribute in-country. There doesn't seem to be much point to that. Where I think this really resonates with governments, certainly in sub Saharan Africa, is in terms of job creation, export revenues because one of the big crops in a number of these countries, particularly in Malawi has been tobacco. And as the tastes, needs, wants, desires and the health issues of the world evolve, tobacco is a crop, which frankly is in less demand.

And with the price down, something like 50% for certain kind of...sorry, for certain tobacco strains in the last 2 to 3 years, the farmers are looking around for something else to grow and the local governments are looking around for other sources of revenues. It's that simple.

Matthew: Okay. So you're growing outdoors, taking advantage of the sunshine and eliminating that electricity costs. Is there some greenhouses involved there or is it just pure outdoor?

Jonathan: So I think it would be...it's not smart to just have a purely outdoor grows. So obviously we have nurseries, we have one in Uganda and a very, very large 10-acre nursery, comes with the facility that we're buying in Malawi. And in the nursery you'll keep your seed stock, you'll keep your basic plants and you'll take cuttings from and your plant out from there. And then maybe you plant out in the field when the plants are a few inches, maybe a foot high on that basis. But I think it would be...it's not as unsophisticated as just scattering seeds in the field. We're going to be looked at plants out of the nursery. One of the things we are doing in all of these geographies is also figuring out what we'll grow well outside in these environments that contains a lot of CBD. So for example, it wouldn't come as a surprise to you that a lot of the local strains in some of these countries are very high in THC and don't contain a lot of CBD. Also some of the more, shall we say, heavily engineered genetic seed stock that's just been bred in the West or in Canada to produce CBD doesn't necessarily grow that well outside in Africa given the environment. So, there is a process to go through in terms of what grows well that contains the right ingredients.

Matthew: Okay. So, you don't plan on selling flower, just concentrate and you're going to extract into concentrate there in Africa then export it. Talk a little bit about the strategy there. Is it really just to try to get as much value per gram over or what's kind of the idea there?

Jonathan: Yeah. I mean, it's really based upon...we're in ingredients business. We're not in the business of selling flowers for medical reason or for any reason. And I think it's, you know, what we'd like to do is very rapidly to get to the point where we're putting a lot of production through the extraction facilities. We already have a fully built one in Uganda and we will be putting one in Malawi as soon as we are able. You want to put the biomass in there as soon as you possibly can after you harvest it to keep as much of the sort of CBD chemicals as you can, the terpenes, etc., which we can also talk about and get that into a container and get it shipped to the refinery in Lisbon. This is really about growing biomass, leaving the biomass in Africa and we can figure out what to do with that further down the road. But getting the sort of the concentrate, the chemicals to the refinery as quickly as possible.

Matthew: Okay. So how much do you anticipate getting to the Lisbon refinery out of the gate?

Jonathan: So, our numbers for next year include us having 100 hectares of cannabis being cultivated all year. We're assuming that we can produce three crops because it would probably be slightly more than that, effectively as a three-month growing cycle. But you don't really want to be growing in the rainy season. The countries we've chosen, the rainy seasons don't overlap. So effectively we'll be able to grow all year. But obviously, while we're talking very, very large amounts of land, we're obviously not going to be plotting it all out initially. But if I give you an example, one hectare of land, fully planted and these plants get quite large when they grow outdoors in Africa, so they can easily be eight feet high. We're talking roughly 10,000 plants per hectare. If you assume that habitat produces 3 crops a year, and again, we have no shortage of land and roughly 6% of that, biomass turns into eventual sellable isolate or distillate, each hectare producers just over 7,000 kilograms of sellable product a year once it's been through the refinery. So effectively, if you think about it on a modular basis, if 1 hectare produces about 7,000 kilograms and you've got 100, 200, 300 in the ground, you can just do the math.

Matthew: Yeah. Okay. This is interesting. What kind of finished products do you anticipate the ingredients will make there the most? What do you think are the top three will be people use the ingredient for after it's refined?

Jonathan: So, I think Europe is very much in its infancy here in terms of where this product goes. And the vast majority of the 700 million Europeans that are getting excited about CBD are currently either thinking of purchasing or purchasing oils or tinctures. The U.S. has obviously ahead of this. And over in California, there's a lot of cannabis brands, be them CBD or recreational THC. So I think over here it's kind of in its infancy, but in general, I think obviously oils will be a big one initially, but the market will move on. I think nutraceuticals could be very big. Things like sports recovery, creams, hand creams, cosmetics. I think longer-term beverages and particularly food will need to be slightly further down the track, obviously given the regulatory burdens that are on that. And rightly so, given you need to make sure that the products are pure and to an extent, say, do what they say they're going to do. But I think in the short term it will be a sort of a nutraceutical market, a wellness market.

Matthew: Okay. And what about the minor cannabinoids like CBN and CBG? And maybe talk a little bit about terpenes and how you plan to preserve those two, if you would.

Jonathan: Yeah. So look, I think this is very exciting. I mean, at the moment, I think the point is everybody is fixated upon CBD. You're right to ask the question about CBN, CBG, THCV, etc. All these cannabinoids I think will really be a focus and it's going to be a focus for us. It is a focus for us. I mean, we are really aiming to produce 99.99% pure cannabinoid isolates from what will be a GMP facility. I think the market will increasingly mature towards a point where people will want specific cannabinoids because as the science proceeds in terms of what cannabis is used for or can be used for, people will want that particular effect. The science of the plant is really not very well understood right now. It's obvious that it does something, it needs to be a lot more quantified. The basic... As the science finds out what these individual cannabinoids do, it may well be discovered that certain combinations cancel each other out and other combinations enhance each other. So I would imagine very rapidly, and I think within a year or two you're going to get specific users will want to purchase large amounts of individual cannabinoids. And I think obviously CBN and CBG are the two you've asked for, specifically much in demand for sleep.

Matthew: Yeah. That makes sense. How do you find the posture or sentiment in the UK is changing in terms of adults talking about cannabis and maybe they're starting to look at it differently?

Jonathan: So, I think the problem that we have over here is a problem that maybe is general in cannabis. What would the fact that the industry is so young and has really exploded in the last year? I mean, I'll be honest, six months ago before I first came across EXM, I was really very uninformed about CBD and cannabis and medical and recreational. And I would've been asking silly questions too. The media generally doesn't understand it. I was at a conference recently where I was talking about EXM as an ingredients business and we're focusing on CBD and wellness. And the first question I was then asked was, what did I think the timeline was for cannabis to be legalized? At which point I said, "Well, CBD already is." And I had a sort of a blank stare back. I think there's so much confusion, so much confusion and misinformation and misunderstanding.

Not all of it deliberate, a lot of it genuine because people just don't understand the industry. Some of it I think in the media is created to sort of sell papers, etc. But so many articles about CBD ended up getting bogged down in discussions about recreational cannabis, which, look, if with CBD legal in the UK, if...you know, as long as you supply products with less than a very, very small amount of THC in it, I don't care if cannabis is never recreationally legalized, we can still build a very large business in the UK. And the UK is just one country out of many in Europe.

Matthew: You recently announced Dixie Elixirs founder, Tripp Keber as a strategic advisor. Tripp has a deep background in North American infused products, but how was he going to help with the EXMceuticals?

Jonathan: So, it's really three-fold. So, the most obvious way Tripp will help is, Tripp has been involved in cannabis for 11 years through various ventures. Obviously the biggest one being Dixie. He grew up in the space. He's seen it evolve. He knows a lot about the industry, the business, the plant, you know, in addition to that, you know, I'm a finance background. My COO is a finance background. We have obviously a visionary founder. We have, you know, farming staff, but we haven't got somebody who's really grown up in cannabis. And I think Tripp sort of clearly ticks the box there. I think Tripp also knows a lot of people. I mean, Tripp is an incredibly sociable individual. He knows the vast majority of people that are active in the industry, particularly in the U.S. He can make lots of connections for us, and indeed already has.

And he and I were in the States two weeks ago. We attended the conference in New York, which was fantastic to spend both time with him, but also with a lot of the people that he knows. In many cases, these people have built great businesses or done a lot of investing in the space already over the last two or three years. The last place that Tripp can help us is a very, very key one. And that's one of the initiatives that the EXM is currently working on is we've had an MOU where the Canadian company called GFR Pharmaceutical for the last 18 months. And we are currently in the process of turning that into a firm and binding 50/50 JV. GFR is Canada's biggest white label nutraceutical company. They own an operator, state of the art facility just outside Vancouver, producing and selling hundreds of millions of Canadian dollars of non-CBD related nutraceuticals every year.

They obviously supply a number of very, very big clients. A lot of their clients are telling them that they would like to get into full-spectrum hemp boilers or CBD. So obviously GFR has a desire to get into that business too. We will supply our 50/50 joint venture with very reasonably priced low-cost production full-spectrum hemp boilers CBD from Africa via Lisbon. We will also put Tripp into that JV. Tripp is going to be on the board of that. And we're going to buy, build or lease a factory facility, most likely in Colorado, which is where Tripp is based, but it could be Arizona. And we are going to build, create a state of the art facility to do white labeling for CBD products around the U.S. And, you know, the reason why Tripp is excited to be with us is he understands the EU GMP from Lisbon with the cheap production from Africa. But also he's met the GFR guys. He's visited their family...sorry, their factory, he hasn't visited their family. And we want to build a state of the art facility in the U.S. to take this to the next level and really do this on an industrial scale. So, Tripp is key for our ambitions in North America. But the connectivity he has his in the industry is second to none.

Matthew: And tell me, what are you doing there with the local community in Africa? We talked about the government officials, but how about the people that work at facilities and the local community there? Because I'm sure that means it's not only good for business but, I mean, it just helps the world in general. And I know you're doing some things there, but I don't know all the details.

Jonathan: We're trying to...I think we're trying to do things the right way. So for example, we already talked about the DRC. There was a several month period late last year and earlier this year when we weren't producing any cannabis because for various logistical reasons, we had to put some wells in and we were spending CAPEX because we'd grown a very small amount prior to that. We had the staff, again, half of them are women. We didn't lay them off. We kept paying the wages. I doubt these people would get another job in the region that they live in without us. That's just an example of, I don't think you can just turn the wages on and turn the wages off because people rapidly come to rely upon it. Specifically in Malawi with the unit that we're buying, it's a very large agric processing facility with 2000 hectares of land.

The factory that comes with it is state of the art. It's like something you would see in Atlanta or in the UK. Two hundred and twenty employees going up to 300 in the harvest season for mangoes. It's currently a mango plantation. You know, I think it's fair to say that those jobs would not necessarily be existing in a year or two if we one coming in to sort of turn it into a...also into a cannabis cultivation facility. For the record, I'm not going to rip the mangoes out. Why would I? It's fantastic. We're one of the biggest mango plantations on the planet. So, we'll keep those, but we'll be looking to scale up. We'll be looking to preserve and scale up the 220 jobs there. But also I think what you're referring to him as across everything that we're doing in all of the geographies we're operating in, 2% of the revenues from the local operation will be sort of segregated out and sourced and given to a local trust.

There will be a board for the local trust. But effectively the local people will choose the projects that money is spent on. And I would fully expect that to be projects that fit with the needs of the local community. Now, it's pretty obvious that particularly in the DRC and Malawi you can do less so, but particularly in Uganda...sorry, the DRC and Malawi, we're dealing with very poor countries here that they need the export revenues, they need the jobs and they need money to be spent.

Matthew: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. That's great. I watched this really closely, this international cannabis trade, because it's, you know, it started out with a trickle, you know, with some businesses moving down to South America and Columbia because it's such an ideal growing environment in the background for flowers. And, you know, now what you're doing with Africa and it makes a lot of sense. I mean, this is happening with other, you know, agricultural products, why not do it with cannabis as well? I mean, much more profitable plant. But then I think about, okay, in the Netherlands they are incredibly efficient and productive with these greenhouses. But still, I don't know what kind of the tradeoffs are in terms of how much profit they can make and the efficiency at their greenhouses indoors. But I got to imagine that somehow there's going to be some point where these all these things kind of compete with each other. Like these really high-efficiency greenhouses like the Netherlands. What you're doing in Africa, what's happening in Colombia. So, I assume at some point there's going to be like a...just like there is for pork bellies or soybeans, kind of like this international price that...maybe that'll be for hemp first, but maybe then for certain cannabis strains where there'll be futures contracts and so forth. Do you have any thoughts around there?

Jonathan: I would completely agree. I think it's going to become an industrial crop, whether it's cannabis or industrial hemp, it'll take slightly longer for cannabis to be an industrial crop because it's harder to grow legally, but industrial hemp rapidly will become an industrial crop, it goes without saying. I think you have to be looking to... I don't know if we're going to be the lowest cost producer, but we're certainly not going to be the highest. I think if the price, I would predict the price, particularly for industrial hemp will come down significantly over the next 24 to 48 months, maybe even sooner. But because we're growing without the big CAPEX and without heating facilities and because we can grow all year, our production costs per plant or per unit, how do you want to quote it, per milligram of CBD, etc., will be, I believe some of the lowest and it's not going to be a race to the bottom, but it will be something of a race to the bottom.

But I know a lot of other people will not be able to produce at the levels we can produce. And if it gets to the point where we're not making money in our farming operations, I'd say that the vast majority of the industry aren't either. So look, I would agree. I think if this was just about cropping and growing cannabis, it's less of an exciting proposition. We are, you know, we're not just growing. We're also in the process. We have the CBD refinery and the R&D lab in Lisbon. We have the joint venture in the U.S. which I think gives us a lot of credibility. And to have, you know, fast forward six months and EU UGM GMP approves facility, half an hour South of Lisbon capable of processing all kinds of extracts from all over the world I would say would be a massive differentiating factor.

But when I think about the price of wholesale ingredients coming down, the price of biomass coming down, lots of people growing cannabis and hemp. In a way this is inevitable. And if you think about how CBD and cannabinoids really become a multi, multi, multibillion dollar industry, I think prohibition partners think 28 billion pounds a year by 2028 in the UK. So, if you assume that happens, the price point and the price at which this can go in things has to come down in order for it to be a mass-market adoption. So, for example, if you're talking about CBD, going into beverages is probably not going to happen when the price of wholesale CBD is where it is now, because it would put the price of those beverages up too much. But if the price comes down, you are much lot more likely to see mass-market adoption on a gigantic scale, which would sort of just massively increase the volumes. So look, I think the price coming down means that you need to grow cheap, but the...or produce cheap, but the price coming down will also mean that the take up of the product explodes even potentially as quickly as the most optimistic estimates.

Matthew: Okay. So the market expands as the margin potentially sink or lower. So you're making up in a revenue here even though you're losing in profit a little bit.

Jonathan: Absolutely. I just think...but if I think in terms of competitive advantage, growing outside on massive areas of flat land in Africa, eight-foot-high plants grow all year. You know, even if I automate my Dutch greenhouse or my Canadian facility, you know, there's no way you're going to be able to compete with that for nutraceutical general ingredients, which is what we're competing in. If you want to grow very high tech, purely medicinal cannabis, where each plant is barcoded, yeah, you'll need to do that in a greenhouse. If you want to grow specific strains of recreational cannabis to supply to a particular group of consumers who wish to consume it, that again needs to happen inside a greenhouse. That neither of those are businesses we're going after.

Matthew: It seems like, I mean, in many ways that Africa and, you know, there's a lot of individual countries in Africa and they're very different, but, I mean, they have no legacy infrastructure. So you can see kind of the uptake of certain advanced technologies like M-Pesa is a payment system there where, you know, if you have a cell phone, you can send money around anywhere in Africa. And I can't remember which telecom provider, I think it's a UK telecom provider that provides that service and they're putting them land deeds on the blockchain in certain countries in Africa. Do you see kind of catapult effect of Africa kind of going slow, slow, slow, slow and then like boom, making massive leaps to kind of get catch up to the developed world?

Jonathan: I'd like to see that. I think, I mean, we're a profit making enterprise. We're a company, but, you know, it would be nice to do some good as well. I don't know exactly how growing cannabis in Malawi, for example, is going to speed that up. But I completely agree with what you're saying. So for example, the best one is mobile telephones. So the fact that no outside of South Africa, no African country really built out a wire line business. They skip that. They completely ignore those billions of dollars of CAPEX that needed to build the telephone lines and put little cables in the ground. And they just went straight to the mobile and then it sort of...they skipped that whole sort of 40 years of digging pipes in the ground. Exactly how that would transfer to cannabis, I'm not sure.

I think, you know, it would be at the very least, a good simile would, in terms of how this can really work, if you just look at where tobacco is grown commercially, it's effectively probably the same kind of places that cannabis would grow pretty well commercially. And the one soundbite that actually I got from a conference when I was in...the one New York two weeks ago. Because people say, "Look, it's going to be a similar thing as to what happened to roses." Roses used to be grown in California. Now they're all grown in Ecuador. And actually over in Europe, they're all grown...sorry, in Europe they're all grown in Africa, mainly Zimbabwe and they're shipped to Holland and that's all from Holland. So, the same sort of thing will happen in the cannabis production chain as has happened in other agricultural goods.

Matthew: Okay. Yeah, I was kind of wondering if their local population in the next couple of decades is going to start to have more disposable income where they can buy some of these cannabis products at an affordable price point. I mean, it's speculation, hard to say, but...

Jonathan: It is hard to say. I think we're approaching this very much from the point of we will extract and take the product out of the country. And the main reason why I'm thinking along those lines is that's very much what these countries want in terms of export earnings. So, there's not really been much discussion about creating domestic products at this time.

Matthew: Okay. Jonathan, I'd like to ask a few personal development questions to help listeners get a better sense of who you are.

Jonathan: Oh, do you?

Matthew: Is there a book that's had a big impact on your life or your way of thinking that you'd like to share?

Jonathan: Ah, man, that's a tricky one. I read a lot. Actually I haven't read so much in the last few months because I've been so incredibly busy and I've barely seen any of my friends, but so I haven't had a huge amount of spare time. The first book I ever read when I was...that I really remember when I was nine that affected me was "The Lord of the Rings." And I read that in about a week and I then read all of his other books and it absolutely blew me away, as you can imagine, as a young boy, age nine. That was incredible. Reading has have always been a big part of my life. I studied history at university. I was fortunate enough to be allowed to go and effectively read history books for three years, which was absolutely fantastic. And I specialized a lot in history, military history, particularly a lot of World War II, which I still find fascinating to this day and still read a lot of. Evelyn Waugh, Douglas Adams. I've read all of this. You know, books about the universe, I find fascinating. Actually, most recently, the thing I've been listening to, particularly when I'm in the car and listening to podcasts is I've been listening to a lot of the audiobooks by a 1960s English philosopher called Alan Watts. I don't know if you [inaudible [00:35:16].

Matthew: Sure. Yeah. There's a lot of YouTube videos of his lectures and stuff too.

Jonathan: Fantastic. And I think, for a start, he's got a very entertaining baritone voice, and a fantastic English accent that's way, way, way ahead of his time given he died in the late '60s. And anybody who's not listened to any of those YouTube interviews or recordings of Alan or listened to any audiobooks, I would strongly recommend a couple of hours of your time.

Matthew: Yeah. I'll put a YouTube playlist of Alan Watts stuff in the show notes so people can listen to those because I find myself YouTube suggesting those to me all the time. And I will tell you, he definitely was out of his time.

Jonathan: Exactly. Fascinating man and quite an interesting life as well. So, worth just reading the Wikipedia page on it too.

Matthew: Here's a Peter Thiel question for you. What is the one thought you have that most people would disagree with you on?

Jonathan: Judging by the fact that the EXM share price is $1.35, I would say most people would disagree with me that EXM is going to be $1 billion business.

Matthew: Wow. That's great. That's a good look into the future here. So, good points here. Before we close, can you tell us the ticker symbol and the exchange where EXM is traded?

Jonathan: Yeah, of course. The main listing is in Canada. We're listed on the CSE. The ticker is EXM. We're also listed in Germany. We're on a few exchanges. The main one has got the catchy ticket of A2PAW2, so that's where we are.

Matthew: A2PAW2.

Jonathan: Yeah. It trades in euros in Frankfurt and also in Canadian dollars on the CSC. The EXM.

Matthew: Well, Jonathan, thanks so much for coming on the show. Really appreciate it. And good luck with everything you're doing in Africa. That's really an ambitious project you have going on.

Jonathan: Thank you very much. The opportunity to come and tell you a bit more of our story, I really appreciate it.

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