WeedWeek edition / May 20, 2019
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This week on the podcast
The Future of Dispensary Design with Danny Gonzalez

1 REC LEGALIZATION STALLS IN NORTHEAST

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Despite hopes from N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, REC legalization looks unlikely in either state this year, the N.Y. Times reports.

Quick Hits

  1. Colorado dispensaries racked up record monthly sales of $114.3M in March.
    KDVR (Fox)
  2. Illinois' proposed REC law could ban growing at home.
    Chicago Tribune
  3. Cresco Labs CEO Charlie Bachtell said Illinois businesses aren't concerned about the impact of home growing.
    Cannabis Wire
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2 SCOOP: MJARDIN UNDER INVESTIGATION IN CO

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WeedWeek is launching a new reported business column.

This week, I learned publicly-traded MJardin is under investigation in Colorado. The column adds to the Boston Globe's coverage of MSO Acreage Holdings and the Denver Post's reporting on MJardin.

Got tips for future columns? Email me securely: alexhalperin@protonmail.com

Separately, Green Market Report's Debra Borchardt writes Acreage is selling its real estate assets to a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) called GreenAcreage Real Estate Corp. (GARE) which will lease the assets back to Acreage. Acreage CEO Kevin Murphy has invested in GARE.

  • Retailer Medmen has pursued a similar real estate strategy.

Harvest Public Media asks whether states can ensure cannabis product safety without help from the feds.

 

3 PAIN AND OPTIMISM IN CALIFORNIA

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In Sacramento, a bill to cut pot taxes as a way to help licensed businesses, failed to advance, likely dooming it for the year.
AP

Nonetheless, the state industry keeps attracting investment:

KPBS takes a closer look at the San Diego market.

MJBiz meets HdL Cos., a little known auditing firm with significant influence in California🌴WW California has more.

Using Nevada's new transparency law, Cannabis Wire learns who are the major players in Nevada.

4 IS SOCIAL USE HERE FOR REAL?

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Massachusetts regulators gave a "preliminary OK" to a social consumption pilot program, though any businesses offering it could be a long way off.
Boston Globe

Las Vegas looks likely to be among the first significant social use markets, and businesses want to make Sin City into the "New Amsterdam."
Reason

A bill to allow consumption lounges in Oregon is "100% dead."
Salem Statesman-Journal

5 AMERICA’S SECOND HIGHEST PAID CEO

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Via privateerholdings.com/

Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Canadian MED company Tilray, and Seattle-based investment vehicle Privateer Holdings was the second highest paid CEO of companies traded on U.S. exchanges in 2018. He made just over $256M.
Bloomberg

  • Kennedy owes much of his earnings to Tilray's stock which debuted on the NASDAQ in July and ended up gaining 315% on the year.
  • In 2012, Kennedy told Bloomberg, the cannabis business is “either career suicide or it’s the smartest decision we’ve ever made in our lives—and we won’t know for three to five years.”
  • Tilray and its stock have had a harder time in 2019. 🍁WW Canada explains why.
  • Elon Musk was the best paid CEO, Bob Iger, of Disney, was third.

Quick Hits

  1. Bankers are eager to serve cannabis companies, a survey found.
    SacBee
  2. Canna Law Blog says the industry can't ignore the U.S./China trade war.
  3. Amanda Chicago Lewis reports on the rivalry between pot moguls BigMike and Dan Bilzerian who also offer their customers a fantasy of "butts, boobs and bikinis"
    Rolling Stone
6.

6 WHAT CAN CBD REALLY DO?

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The New York Times Magazine has a fascinating piece by Moises Velasquez-Manoff on the history, hype and promise of CBD as a medicine:

"Why plants produce molecules that seem perfectly designed to manipulate human biochemical circuitry is a mystery. It could be a kind of molecular coincidence. But many plants, including cannabis, might make these molecules to defend themselves from other organisms."

Taking CBD could cause you to fail a drug testConsumer Reports says.

The N.Y. Times' women's health columnist says it's unknown whether CBD can help with the pelvic pain disorder vaginismus.

Quick Hits

  1. Struggling Humboldt farmers hope to cash in on CBD.
    Times-Standard
  2. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) wants hemp farmers to access crop insurance.
    Washington Post.

7 D.C. CANNABIS BILLS KEEP COMING

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While it remains unclear if they have a chance to pass, cannabis reform bills keep piling up in Washington D.C.:

Joe Biden, frontrunner for the Democrats' 2020 nomination, endorsed cannabis decriminalization, but not legalization.
CNN

Quick Hits

  1. Courts are increasingly siding with employees in cases involving firings for cannabis use.
    Governing
  2. Extract Magazine looks into the availability of MED in Canadian jails.
  3. In addition to locking up black men, the war on drugs prevented them from going to college.
    The Atlantic
 

8 COCA-COLA BILLIONAIRE ARRESTED WITH 5,000 PLANTS

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Cannabis Now looks into the case of Alkiviades "Alki" David, who was arrested on the island of St. Kitts after authorities found about 5,000 plants and cuttings on his private jet. David is the founder of SwissX hemp products and an heir to a European Coke bottling fortune.

The nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis appears to be in the process of reforming its cannabis laws. David, who claims the cargo is all hemp, says he and a business partner were arrested after talks with the prime minister about creating a local hemp industry broke down.

Quick Hit

  1. In Forbes, Janet Burns says the dispute between longtime activist and entrepreneur Ah Warner and High Times"points to High Times' deeper problems with gender and leadership."

9 AFTER DENVER, WHAT’S NEXT FOR HALLUCINOGENS?

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Following the vote in Denver to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms, there's a lot of talk about what comes next.

Wired reports on the first placebo-controlled studies into microdosing LSD.

10 MR. NICE SHOP OPENS IN LONDON

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Mr. Nice, a modern headshop named for hash smuggler and folk hero Howard Marks opened in London. Marks' book Mr. Nice:An autobiography is essential reading.
Guardian