WeedWeek edition / February 08, 2020
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1 MEDMEN CEO STEPS DOWN

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IG @SHOPMEDMEN
Embattled MedMen CEO Adam Bierman has stepped down from the top job. He will relinquish his voting shares but will remain on the company board. A MedMen co-founder, Bierman leaves a mixed legacy: Nationally, MedMen is arguably the best known brand of the legalization era, but like many prominent plant-touching companies it has struggled to reach profitability. Business Insider
  • With typical brutalityEquity Guru writes, "In a sector rife with terrible CEOs, ... none come close to Bierman in terms of self enrichment, entitlement, and outward facing douchery."

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2 WHAT’S HAPPENING AT ACREAGE?

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ALEX WONG, GETTY IMAGES
Over the weekend, Instagram feed @theblacklistxyz posted a truncated internal email and related commentary about MSO Acreage Holdings.
  • The email, apparently from a senior executive, touts several achievements and says the company is currently involved in a financing effort that is "critical to ensure that the Company is on solid footing for the balance of 2020 until we are cash flow positive."
  • The post also includes an anonymous "take away" which suggests the company is struggling with operational issues and a "toxic" work environment.
  • An Acreage spokesman confirmed the email's authenticity to WeedWeek. He declined to comment on it or the "take away."
  • Acreage stock was at $5.81 yesterday, down from $24.13 in May.
Acreage has agreed to be acquired by Canadian giant Canopy Growth for $3.4 billion once U.S. law permits. It has also garnered attention for naming former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner to its board of directors. Barron's

Quick Hit

  1. Leafly laid off 18% of its workforce. GeekWire
  2. High Times gave up on a NASDAQ listing. New Cannabis Ventures
  3. Despite all the gloom, global cannabis sales jumped 48% to $14.4 Billion in 2019, according to a new report from BDS Analytics. Grizzle
This week on the podcast
Who Hurt Kristen Yoder?

3 WEEDWEEK ENDORSES ELIZABETH WARREN

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CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY IMAGE
WeedWeek endorses Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for president. Voting in the Democratic primary begins with tonight's Iowa caucus.
  • Of the leading Democratic candidates, WarrenPete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders have endorsed legalizing marijuana. WeedWeek believes Warren has the best chance of winning in November. HuffPost, Chicago Tribune, Vox
  • Warren has demonstrated concern for rectifying the injustices of the war on drugs, while also showing that she's willing to act pragmatically to normalize the industry. Notably she is a co-sponsor, with Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) of the bipartisan States Act, which would protect state-legal REC and MED activity.
  • Candidates Joe Biden and Mike Bloomberg have not endorsed legalization, though both seem resigned to endorse states' rights. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) says she supports legalization but has barely discussed it.
  • For lots more reasons to support Warren, see the New York Times endorsement of her and Klobuchar.
President Trump's record:
  • Trump has largely continued President Obama's policy of benign neglect towards the marijuana industry. It's one of very few areas where there has been consistency between the two administrations.
  • However, this policy has become increasingly tenuous as more states have legalized, and many aspects of marijuana policy -- from banking to pesticides to medical research and veterans access -- demand federal attention.
  • Trump reportedly supports states-rights and a majority of Republicans nationwide support legalization. However, influential Trump allies in Washington from Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to Fox News personality Tucker Carlson, have pushed back against legalization. Trump is not known to have pushed for cannabis reform. Politico, MarketWatch, Reddit
  • While some in the cannabis industry have suggested Trump will legalize in order to secure his re-election, I'm not aware of any evidence suggesting this is likely or that he has seriously considered it. It would certainly attract loud criticism from parts of his base.
Are you registered to vote?

Quick Hit

  1. John Boehner's successor as Speaker of the House, former Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), said he opposes legalization. Marijuana Moment
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This week on the podcast
Equity Gets Momentum: Eaze & the Underrepresented

4 STATES UPDATE

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PHOTO BY CHRISTOPH VON GELLHORN ON UNSPLASH
Here's the latest state news:
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5 CALIFORNIA STEAMING

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MJBiz takes a look at California's ongoing industry crisis:
  • There's broad agreement on three related causes: 1) The lack of access to legal cannabis in much of the state; 2) The state's illegal market still dwarfes the legal market; 3) High taxes drive consumers to the illicit market.
????Donnell Alexander tackles these issues and much more every week in WeedWeek California. Subscribe today!

6 PLANET 13’S INSTAGRAM STRATEGY

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HTTPS://WWW.INSTAGRAM.COM/SHOPPLANET13/
TechCrunch looks at how the Planet 13 dispensary in Las Vegas -- which claims to be the world's largest pot shop -- dodges social media restrictions.
  • The short version: The store encourages customers to use instagram for them.
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7 AMANDA CHICAGO LEWIS ON THE VAPE CRISIS

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PHOTO BY DONN GABRIEL BALEVA ON UNSPLASH
Veteran weed beat reporter Amanda Chicago Lewis goes long on vaping and the vape crisis in California Sunday magazine. Key point:
  • "In the United States, fear and confusion often provoke dramatic and counterproductive drug policies. Whether we consider an intoxicant to be medicine, to be socially acceptable, to be legal, has always been a matter of morality, race, and class — not just science and evidence. This makes sifting through the contradictory claims about vaping difficult."
Delivery app Eaze released its annual State of Cannabis report and "vape sales took a major hit."

8 INDUSTRY UNFRIENDLY STUDIES

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PHOTO BY ONLINE MARKETING ON UNSPLASH
Two studies tinkle on common industry talking points:
In both areas, it's fair to say, more study is needed.

9 MICHIGAN DISPENSARY OWNER SENTENCED TO 15+ YEARS

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PHOTO BY LARRY FARR ON UNSPLASH
A Michigan man who owned dispensaries in between 2010 and 2016 was sentenced to nearly 16 years in federal prison. MLive
  • Danny Trevino, 47, had been convicted of multiple federal charges, but no state charges. The sentence he received was at the low end of the sentencing guidelines.
  • "Federal law has not changed," U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney said. He noted that Congress has eliminated the mandatory minimum sentence for crack cocaine, but not for marijuana.
  • “What you saw is a travesty,” Detroit resident Richard Clement said.

10 LATEST FAD: THEMED DISPENSARIES

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COURTESY OF DELI BY CALIVA VIA HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
Cannabis Now sees a themed dispensary trend. These include a New York deli-themed shop opened by Caliva in Bellflower, Calif., a "psychedelic wonderland" called Doobie Nights in Santa Rosa, Calif. and the Smokin' Gun Apothecary in Denver.