WeedWeek edition / January 13, 2020
SHARE:

Connect with WeedWeek on TwitterFacebookInstagram and LinkedIn!

Check out the WeedWeek Podcast’s new themed playlists: CBDMoneySustainabilitySportsScienceHempPsychedelia.

Are you registered to vote?

1 SHORT SELLERS MADE $1B ON POT STOCK CRASH

image
PHOTO BY RICK TAP ON UNSPLASH

Pot stock short sellers collected profits of $993.3M in 2019, according to a new analysis by S3 Partners. (Short sellers bet on stocks to fall.)
Last year was abysmal for pot stocks. Two big cannabis ETFs fell 43% and 36% respectively, as the mainstream S&P 500 index gained 32%.
MarketWatch

  • It's now very expensive to short pot stocks.

Separately, investors filed a class action suit against Trulieve, Florida's largest MED company. The suit alleges Trulieve overstated corporate profits and misled defendants about cultivation practices.
Miami Herald

  • Trulieve said Grizzly's report contains "several false, slanderous and misleading statements about the company," and that Grizzly's sole interest is profiting from a drop in Trulieve shares. The company says it is preparing legal recourse against Grizzly.

Following California-based MSO MedMen's dismal stock performance, the Equity Guru mocked the company's plan to partner with yoga classes.

2 GOV. CUOMO: NEW YORK WILL GO REC IN 2020

image
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 29: Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, arrives to an opening ceremony of Delta's new terminal at LaGuardia airport on October 29, 2019 in New York City. LaGuardia airport is in the process of rebuilding the entire airport while it is still functioning in an effort to create a world class facility while not disrupting services. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

In his state of the state address, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) promised to legalize REC this year.
New York Times

  • He said the potential $300M in tax revenue would help to fill the state's $6B budget gap, and proposed that the state university system become a cannabis research hub.
  • Cuomo said he would co-ordinate the effort with bordering states New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, though he said New York would not wait for them. (New Jersey is expected to have a REC ballot initiative in November.)
    NJ.com
  • “The federal government failed Americans with opioids,” Cuomo said. “We cannot allow that to happen with cannabinoids.”
  • There are likely to be questions about where the taxes will go. And conservative Democrats on Long Island may still be hold-outs.

In other state news:

PRE-ORDER "THE CANNABIS DICTIONARY!

This week on the podcast
Gofire Or Go Home, with Joe Hodas

3 EXCLUSIVE Q&A: LAB TESTING AFTER VAPI

image

Following the vape crisis, cannabis product safety is under scrutiny as never before. For WeedWeekI interviewed Frank Traylor, CEO of Colorado-based testing company AgriScience Labs about product safety and the lab space after VAPI. Among other topics, he discussed:

  • What to look for in a testing lab
  • How VAPI has changed the testing space
  • Predictions for 2020

Though apparently not the cause of VAPI, the crisis raised new questions about heated vaporizers exposing consumers to toxins.
Colorado Green Lab

  • A start-up called Respira raised $2.1M for a heatfree vaporizer which can "aerosolize" liquids containing nicotine, THC, CBD and, theoretically, other compounds. It hopes to release a product this year.
    Business Insider

Conservative publication National Review called the recent ban on some flavored nicotine vapes, "What happens when people legislate what they don't understand."

Advertise with us!
Reach the highest minds in the
cannabis industry

Interested in advertising in the WeedWeek newsletter, website, or podcast? Reach out to our advertising team so we can help you spark up a campaign.

A note from the editor

Since 2015, WeedWeek has been the best way to keep up with the Green Rush. WeedWeek’s audience includes many of the most influential figures in cannabis because we are editorially independentAdvertisers have no influence on our editorial content.

Follow us on Google News, and be the first to see new WeedWeek stories.

We publish two free newsletters:

1) WeedWeek by founder Alex Halperin

2) WeedWeek California by Donnell Alexander

We also publish original reporting daily. The original WeedWeek newsletter has more than 8,000 subscribers and a weekly open rate above 25%.

Tips, comments and complaints to Alex alex@weedweek.net.

To advertise contact Lisa Marie Dudenhoeffer lisamarie@weedweek.net

4 THE TOUGHEST JOB IN WEED?

image
PHOTO BY OLENKA KOTYK ON UNSPLASH

The Los Angeles Times profiles Cat Packer, head of the city's Department of Cannabis Regulation. While Packer has advocated for a far reaching equity program in the world's largest cannabis market, her understaffed agency has struggled with the city hall bureaucracy, disappointed entrepreneurs and a host of other problems:

L.A. Times:

"If Packer had once seemed to personify L.A.'s progressive vision for cannabis, she was now the public face of its stumbles in realizing that goal. Licensing for new shops had been put on hold. Wesson and Mayor Eric Garcetti had called for an audit. Packer was being berated by cannabis activists at public meetings and facing threats in her inbox.

“It’s one thing to pass an equitable policy,” she told the crowd of applicants and activists. “It’s another thing in its entirety for it to be implemented.”

Read the whole thing.

Quick Hits

  1. In keeping with its promise, dispensary finder Weedmaps has blocked ads for thousands of unlicensed California businesses, but some stragglers remain.
    MJBiz
  2. Emerald Triangle legend B.E. Smith died at 72.
    Cannabis Now
  1. S.F. Weekly discusses the California report recommending potency taxes on REC.  WW California has more.
  2. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) proposed consolidating cannabis licensing authorities.
    Canna Law Blog

5 CES HONORS/SNUBS HIGH TECH STASH BOX

image
INSTAGRAM @DISCOVERKEEP

Start-up Keep Labs won an innovation award from the Consumer Electronics Show. The company's smart stash box uses facial recognition technology to identify its owner. The device, also includes a rolling tray, app, scale and other features.
TechCrunch

  • But the company didn't attend the convention because CES said it could not reference cannabis on the show floor. Confusingly, cannabis is referenced on the CES site.
  • Keep Labs was the first cannabis company so-honored by CES.

Quick Hit

  1. Vape giant PAX introduced its new device, the ERA Pro.

6 HIGH TIMES HAS ANOTHER NEW CEO

image
ALEX HALPERIN
Charlotte Figi on the cover of High Times

Struggling media brand High Times appointed former Overstock president Stormy Simon as its new CEO, part of a pivot from conferences and events to "physical and virtual distribution" businesses.
New York Post

  • According to an SEC filing, High Times has an "accumulated deficit" of $105.2M.
  • Simon replaces Kraig Fox who departs the company after less than a year.

Quick Hit

  1. Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, who replaced Ethan Nadelmann as head of the pioneering non-profit Drug Policy Alliance in 2017, is stepping down to return to Human Rights Watch. Her replacement has not been named.

8 SOUTH AFRICAN MINISTER MULLS REC

image
PHOTO BY FINDING DAN | DAN GRINWIS ON UNSPLASH

With business confidence at the lowest point since apartheid sanctions in the mid-1980's, South African finance minister Tito Mboweni tweeted that legalizing REC could help revive the nation's economy. REC was decriminalized in 2018.
Fin24

Quick Hit

  1. Russian president Vladimir Putin proposed criminal penalties for spreading drug "propaganda," including memes, online.
    Talking Drugs

9 “A SPECIAL KIND OF EVIL”

image
PHOTO BY RAUL VARZAR ON UNSPLASH
Scarred for life

My friend Maura Judkis has a hilarious piece about brave souls who get high and see "Cats," the movie adaptation of the Broadway musical.

  • Judkis writes, "It was unclear, on balance, whether getting high made “Cats” better, or much, much worse. Certainly, it seemed to raise the emotional stakes. One person reported bursting into tears before the film even started, during a trailer for “Trolls World Tour.”
  • One viewer called the movie, "a special kind of evil."

10 CHAPELLE WINS MARK TWAIN PRIZE

image
PAUL MORIGI/ GETTY IMAGES

Prodigious stoner Dave Chapelle won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Here's his acceptance speech.