WeedWeek edition / August 23, 2020
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1 “SPECTACULAR GROWTH APPEARS SUSTAINABLE”

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At New Cannabis Ventures, the generally bullish stock analyst Alan Brochstein suggests multi-state operators have turned a corner:

As Q2 earnings season nears an end for the American multi-state operators, it’s clear that it represented an inflection point for the sector, with the large MSOs all enjoying “beat and raise” quarters. Investors shouldn’t have been too surprised, as the strong growth across the country for legal cannabis has been quite evident in the point-of-sale data, but the extent of the growth at the largest companies was truly extraordinary, with the average of the six largest revenue generators that have reported increasing sequentially by an average of 28%.

Strong quarters from Curaleaf, Trulieve, Green Thumb Industries and Cresco Labs figure in his assessment that "spectacular growth appears sustainable."

At Green Entrepreneur, former Cresco exec Joe Caltabiano is more skeptical, "Strong quarterly topline revenue doesn’t necessarily equate to long-term viability."

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2 DESPITE FIRES, CALIFORNIA MARKET GAINS MOMENTUM

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Devastating fires, particularly in NorCal, have wiped out numerous grows and the toll is expected to rise.
MJBiz

Aside from this latest disaster, there are numerous reasons for optimism in the country's largest REC market.

🌴WW California has lots more.

Quick Hits

  1. Beard Bros. Pharms serves up the ABCs of California cannabis.

3 LABOR TENSIONS ESCALATE IN MASSACHUSETTS

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@ufcwunion

WeedWeek reporter Hilary Corrigan looks at the escalating tensions in Massachusetts between unions who seek to organize the industry, and the companies pushing to keep big labor out:

"As states legalize cannabis across the country, unions see an opportunity to ensure solid wages and safe working conditions at the dawn of a high-growth industry. The national UFCW started its Cannabis Workers Rising campaign in 2010. According to its website, the union represents tens of thousands of cannabis workers across multiple states."

Also in New England, a federal judge ruled against Portland, Maine's efforts to prioritize REC licenses for state-owned businesses over Wellness Connection, a company affiliated with MSO Acreage Holdings.
WeedWeek

4 TRUMP CLAIM ON POT VOTES “LACKS EVIDENCE”

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At a speech rally in Wisconsin, President Trump suggested cannabis ballot initiatives hurt Republicans. But the claim lacks evidence, according to legalization activists.
Marijuana Moment/ WeedWeek

 

5 POWER PLAYERS: SCHWAZZE CEO JUSTIN DYE

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Former Albertson's chief administrative officer and Schwazze CEO Justin Dye is among the most accomplished mainstream executives in cannabis. For this week's Power Players interview, I spoke to him about deals that didn't happen, the company's stock and why he says vertical integration makes sense. (This is a departure from recent Power Player Rob McPherson, who said it doesn't.)

Dye says: "As the industry continues to mature over the next several years, I think you’ll see more and more standardization and probably less variation in quality, but right now we want to be vertically integrated to control the supply chain. I’d be happy to debate that."

Read the whole thing.

6 WITH $10M RAISE, FYLLO TARGETS MAINSTREAM INDUSTRIES

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Marketing tech company Fyllo raised an additional $10M for its war chest.
WeedWeek

Fyllo aggregates cannabis consumer data that mainstream sectors can use to target consumers with digital ads. It also offers software and services that help cannabis companies ensure they comply with various regulations. Fyllo expects its platform, with compliance solutions and a database of regulations, could serve other regulated industries, as well.

Meanwhile, Dutchie, an e-commerce platform for dispensaries, raised $35M from investors including former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Thrive Capital, an investment vehicle controlled by Josh Kushner, brother of President Trump's son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner.

Quick Hit

  1. Tyler Beuerlein, Chief Revenue Officer at payments company Hypur, writes that the cannabis industry needs stronger leaders.
    Forbes

7 DOOMA WENDSCHUH REPLACED AS PROVINCE CEO

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@provincebrands

Attorney and Province Brands co-founder Jennifer Dianne Thomas has replaced co-founder Michael "Dooma" Wendschuh as CEO of the beverage company. Founded in 2016, Wendschuh pitched investors on a beer brewed from the cannabis plant, which the company didn't release. Dooma previously co-founded Colorado pot start-up Ebbu, which sold to Canopy Growth for $330M in 2018.
Bloomberg Law

  • Earlier this year, Province announced a pivot to focus on a technology it says can brew beer from any plant. Thomas said Province aims to release its first products in Q4. She has not responded to a WeedWeek interview request.
  • "Ebbu’s business practices and Wendschuh’s bold proclamations were the subject of a June story by cannabis industry trade publication WeedWeek that cast doubt about Province Brands’ technology that turns plant waste products into beer."
  • Dooma will remain with the company as an employee and shareholder.

The Bloomberg story notes that Leafly also tapped an in-house lawyer, Yoko Miyashita, as its new CEO.

8 “CBD NATION” CALLS FOR MED RESEARCH

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Rylie Maedler meets with Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) (Credit: CBD Nation)

The new documentary CBD Nation, made by the initially skeptical filmmaker David Jakubovic, argues MED could have immense value if only doctors and scientists get to research it:

Before she entered the third grade, Rylie Maedler of Delaware learned she had a tumor winding through her skull, the result of a rare disease called Aggressive Giant Cell Granuloma. It wasn’t cancerous, but it was growing, and threatened her life.

Her teeth were falling out and she was beset with pain and seizures. While doctors dealt with the problem, including an invasive surgery, her mother Janie researched alternative cures...

Read the whole thing.

Related news:

9 A $30 POT SALE LANDED DEREK HARRIS TEN YEARS

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Derek Harris (Credit: Promise of Justice)

Derek Harris, a Louisiana man sentenced to life in prison for a pot sale worth less than $30, has been freed after 10 years.
CNN

  • Louisiana non-profit Promise of Justice said, "As COVID-19 rates continue to rise in DOC facilities, every day spent in Angola was a tremendous risk for Derek's health and safety."
  • Harris, a military veteran, was convicted of selling .69 grams of pot.

Quick Hit

  1. A federal appeals court has denied a motion by the DEA to dismiss a case challenging pot's schedule 1 status.
    Marijuana Moment

10 “THE SMELL OF SNL”

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Mashable interviews cannabis farmer Jim Belushi and a few others about a strain known as Gulzar Afghanica Belushi calls "the smell of SNL." There's lots more reminiscing as well.

  • Jim Belushi, "Everybody would drive across the border [from Illinois to Indiana] and comb up and down these corn fields at night and look for marijuana growing wild. It was called Indiana ragweed. When I went, we just pulled all the weeds, because we didn't even know what it looked like. We brought it home and dried it and smoked it and got sick. We didn't even know about buds. We were cooking the leaves in water."
  • Journalist Bob Woodward from his book "Wired: The Short Life & Fast Times of John Belushi:" "In the fall of 1969... John announced he hated alcohol and that anybody who drank was "straight." He introduced [then college girlfriend, later wife] Judy to marijuana. They would put masking tape and wet towels around the door of the girl's dormitory and smoke pot for hours, listening to rock groups like Led Zeppelin..."

Quick Hits

  1. In his column, Ngaio Bealum asked big questions about weed and religion.
    WeedWeek
  2. Cops busted the country's only magic mushroom "church," Oakland's Zide Door Church of Entheogenic Plants. Also, medical psychedelics company Field Trip Health has an app to guide users on trips
    Vice/Wired
  3. Madonna celebrated her birthday, with weed.
    @madonna