WeedWeek edition / June 22, 2020
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1 MEDMEN FOUNDERS OUT; IS ACREAGE OK?

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Stormy seas ahead

MedMen co-founders Adam Bierman and Andrew Modlin departed the beleaguered company's board of directors. 

The company also announced the settlement of lawsuits alleging they ran the company "like a 'Wolf of Wall Street'-inspired personal slush fund." (MedMen didn't acknowledged wrongdoing.)

In a harsh piece for Forbes, longtime cannabis journo Chris Roberts writes:

"All that’s left is the fight over the scraps, MedMen’s desiccated and then charred hulk—and identifying both the villain and the moral of this cautionary tale.

"The analysis is not something most cannabis companies and cannabis investors will want to hear. The hubris that both floated and sank MedMen runs absolutely rampant in legal weed.

"MedMen was the first, the loudest, the brashest and the most ridiculous, but it won’t be the last. There are too many other companies built in its mold."

Plus, Virginia denied MedMen's request to open a MED shop.
News-Leader

*

Separately, MSO Acreage Holdings is dealing with some tricky situations of its own:

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2 ELSEWHERE, BUSINESS IS BOOMING

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Elsewhere, much of the industry seems to be thriving:

However, getting business insurance remains a challenge.🌴WW California has more.
Insurance Journal

Quick Hits

  1. A survey asked thousands of cannabis consumers about their purchasing and usage preferences.
    WeedWeek
  2. In an "unhappy case," two companies lost their yearslong 280E appeal because of a FedEx snafu.
    WeedWeek
  3. In WeedWeek's new Industry Voices feature, Terrapin Care Station communications director Peter Marcus asked if companies are growing too fast.

3 “A BRIGHT SPOT” FOR INVESTORS

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WeedWeek business columnist Dan Mitchell, found investors to be notably bullish on cannabis:

"The pandemic itself still presents plenty of risk. But all the participants [on a panel] agreed that, so far, it’s nowhere near as bad as it might have been. This owes to state governments declaring legal weed to be an “essential” business.

"...The general consensus among the call’s participants: there’s still plenty of risk, but, the future looks promising. And it looks more promising the further out you go."

Read it all.

At New Cannabis Ventures, analyst Alan Brochstein says ancillary pot stocks are leading the way.

Quick Hit

  1. In his other gig at the East Bay Express, Dan Mitchell looked at how pot shops are trying to protect themselves from armed burglars.

4 THE EQUITY TIGHTROPE

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Quite a few stories this week discussed how cannabis companies are adjusting to heightened awareness of systemic racism, while trying to avoid the appearance of opportunism:

In related news:

🌴WW California and 🍁WW Canada have more.

Quick Hit

  1. Experts on the job market discussed the most recession proof jobs in weed.
    Business Insider

5 POWER PLAYERS: CANNABIS DOING GOOD

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Kelly Perez and Courtney Mathis, co-founders of Cannabis Doing Good

For-profit consultancy Cannabis Doing Good works with companies seeking to step-up their corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. This month, co-founders Courtney Mathis and Kelly Perez launched the Cannabis Impact Fund, a non-profit to attract charitable contributions from the industry. For the first year, it will focus on groups promoting racial justice. 

The Fund wants cannabis companies to contribute 1% of their revenue or shares. WeedWeek has committed to the program. We'll also publish a list of our fellow participants.

In this week's Power Players interview, Perez and Mathis discussed how companies can get involved with CSR, why they started the Fund and the business case for "purpose driven" companies.

Kelly Perez:

"We had to create [the Fund] because it was demanded of us, because we are that nexus between community and cannabis."

Courtney Mathis:

"Here’s the trick about CSR. It’s a super power as long as it’s used correctly. So if a company is doing CSR and they’re doing a great job of communicating it to their customers, they’re going to see higher customer engagement and brand loyalty."

Read the whole thing.

Quick Hit

  1. California brand Bloom Farms, who Mathis cited for their CSR program, responded to an investors' lawsuit.
    WeedWeek

6 D.C. BANKING REFORM DUST-UP

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Whether President Trump would support cannabis banking reform is at the center of a D.C. dust-up.
Marijuana Moment

  • Pro-legalization Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) has suggested Trump supports bank access. 
  • But White House Chief of Staff, former Congressman Mark Meadows, told reporter Matt Laslo that Gardner has been "misleading voters."
  • Trump, Meadows said, "has no plan to lift a finger on cannabis legalization or even normalization.”

In other D.C. news:

With Democratic candidate Joe Biden under pressure to support cannabis reform, anti-legalization activitst Kevin Sabet called for him to "hold the line" and support decriminalization but not commercialization.
N.Y.Daily News

Trump tried to reboot his campaign with a Tulsa, Okla. rally that got panned on both sides of the aisle.
N.Y. Mag

  • But prohibitionist former U.S. Attorney General and Alabama Senate candidate Jeff Sessions (R) praised Trump's performance with a memorably debasing tweet. Trump has endorsed Sessions' opponent in the Republican primary.

7 DRUGMAKER PERRIGO BETS BIG ON CBD

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The CEO of Perrigo, a large maker of over the counter generic drugs, talked to Business Insider about why he's betting $50M on CBD. The company acquired a 20% of Colorado CBD company Kazmira.

CEO Murray Kessler said taking the Kazmira stake is part of a long-term push to position Perrigo as a "self-care" rather than a healthcare company...[It plans to] working with Kazmira on producing reliable and high-quality CBD, then leveraging its connections to sell it to big pharmacy chains and grocery stores.

"I don't have many opportunities that I look at and say — if done right and fully developed — it could be a $10 or $15 or $20 billion category," Kessler said. "Those don't come along every day."

Quick Hit

  1. Yelp blocked pot shops from accessing some paid business services.
    Marijuana Moment

8 HI-TECH HEMP HOUSE BUILT IN MOROCCO

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I'm a bit late to this, but in Morocco a coalition of groups built an off-the-grid house from solar panels and hemp.
Hemp Today

  • “This ‘space-ship’ [design] is advanced in time and reflects a turn not only in North Africa but in hemp construction, which doesn’t have comparable prototypes anywhere in the world,” said Monika Brümmer, a German architect and natural builder who led the project."

9 JUSTICE FOR JAWARA

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Steve DeAngelo, founder of Harborside dispensary and the Last Prisoner Project, has been raising awareness about the plight of Jawara McIntosh, son of legendary reggae musician Peter Tosh.
Instagram @Steve.DeAngelo

  • McIntosh, 40, was imprisoned for cannabis-related offenses in 2013. In 2017, a fellow inmate brutally beat him. McIntosh, a cannabis activist and father of four, sustained traumatic brain injuries and has since been confined to a bed.
    PeterTosh.com

10 JUDD APATOW JONESING FOR PINEAPPLE EXPRESS SEQUEL

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Judd Apatow said he has an "amazing idea" for a sequel to the 2008 stoner action comedy Pineapple Express. It involves legalization, but so far it's not clear if the movie will get made.

"My phone isn't ringing, let me say that, but I want to do it," Apatow said.
LAD Bible

Quick Hits

  1. Journalist and producer David Simon, who created The Wire, said, "We have to end the drug war."
    CNN
  2. In Canada, someone re-imagined Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" with Prime Minster Justin Trudeau as God giving weed to naked Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
    🍁WW Canada