The development of the legal medicinal and recreational psilocybin sector is on the horizon. A world of possibility has opened up, spawning a wave of startups and investors in the psychedelic space. Along with these are the potential to set the standard for a new industry. While changes in legislation are still more of a trending discussion than a reality, money talks. Cultural and financial shifts towards psychedelics mean that this former fringe substance is enjoying a surge in interest. Our intention is to elaborate on current players in the field, expanding into more comprehensive coverage as the stories, people, and businesses grow. Our first profile will cover Red Light Holland.
Underground to Mainstream
Red Light Holland isn’t wasting any time. They’ve come out of the gate strong as an early entry into the field of commercial, recreational psilocybin. Their initial offerings are Red Light Rec as their core business, and Red Light Health, a supplementary business with the goal of supplying the research and medical markets. While still very much in its infancy, RLH has put together the bones of an ambitious business plan. Their well-chosen team also seems hand-picked to wow potential investors. With a production facility being certified and brought into operation in the psilocybin-friendly environment of Horst, Netherlands, they’re poised to be the first publicly-traded company to produce a branded, legal microdosing product to an intrigued and waiting market.
These aren’t quite the mushrooms most North American psychedelic users are familiar with. RLH’s core business is yet to come to fruition, but they have a compelling angle. Truffles of the non-magical variety are, after all, a luxury item, with some being worth their weight in gold. It’s uncertain how the association will play out given that Dutch law requires Magic Truffles to be sold in their raw, unprocessed form.
These are already available to consumers in the Netherlands through online and brick and mortar stores known as “smart shops” (picture a dispensary). The current magic truffle market, like Cannabis in decades past, seems largely geared towards tourists. As a Canadian company, RLH is likely counting on previous cannabis tourist recognition. There is a history of good relations and tourism between the two nations, which could drive eager consumers from one country to the other. This, in turn, could seed a potential market for legalization on their home turf. Not that Canadians have ever held a monopoly on vice tourism in Amsterdam.
Whole Fungi Medicine
Red Light Health plans to use the product of its core business to tie into clinical research. RLH’s stated intention is to focus on Whole Fungi Medicine, exploring the medical possibilities of their truffles rather than synthetic psilocybin compounds. Is this approach actually meant to bear fungal fruit? Or is it simply a strategy to give the appearance to potential investors of being able to generate multiple revenue streams from a single product? The results remain to be seen.
Critical to their operation is the EU-GMP (European Union – Good Manufacturing Practices) certificate being pursued by RLH for their Horst facility. Any medical manufacturer who intends to sell in the European Union must first receive the GMP certificate. The regulations for medical manufacturers seeking a certificate are strict, following the length and breadth of the supply chain through the entire production process.
Startups crave investor confidence and the capital that comes with it. Occupying a more substantial portion of Red Light Holland’s investor deck than their current product or service offerings are the people themselves. Co-Founder and CEO Todd Shapiro helms a team of Canadian and Dutch scientific, financial, and real estate mavens. Beside them is, intriguingly, Canadian comedy mainstay Russel Peters as Chief Creative Officer. Given the greatest prominence as Chair of Advisory Board is Bruce Linton. His is a name familiar to anyone with experience in the Cannabis market. As founder and CEO of Tweed, later changing its name to Canopy Growth, Linton oversaw a rise in stock value from $0.13 CAD in 2012 to over $67 CAD in the months before cannabis legalization. As far as starting lineups go, RLH gives every appearance of having built a powerhouse.
RLH is banking on a lot of things going their way, just like any startup. They’re beginning to make some waves in the burgeoning psychedelic space, as well as in the investment world. This includes a recent listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. As things stand, they have the potential to be a big player in the existing market of the Netherlands. We’re all hoping for favorable changes to Canadian psilocybin laws in the years to come. If that happens, they have the potential to set the standard for the recreational market. That said, it’s still far too early to tell who will actually end up ahead should capital and hard work manage to turn potential into psilocybin business reality, but it’s safe to say that Red Light Holland have made their intentions clear. We’re looking forward to seeing more from them.
The news in the psychedelic space is unfolding day by day. We’ll be here to ask questions and keep you informed as it does.
James Stephen is a content contributor at Puff Digital. He studied Politics and International Development at Trent University and completed his Postgraduate Certificate in Book, Magazine, and Electronic Publishing at Centennial College. He has previously worked as a chef, and in his spare time is an author and freelance writer.