Psychedelic patent wars

Psychedelic patent wars
Olena Ruban/Getty Images

Welcome to Insider Cannabis, our weekly newsletter where we're bringing you an inside look at the deals, trends, and personalities driving the multibillion-dollar global cannabis boom.


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Welcome to another edition of Insider Cannabis. I hope you all had restful Memorial Day weekends.

In the cannabis stock world, one thing you can count on is volatility. While Canopy Growth posted larger-than-expected losses in Q4, Canadian cannabis stocks like Tilray and Sundial were sent ripping this week, mostly driven by retail investors on Reddit using platforms like Robinhood. They seemed to be reacting to the news that Amazon said it would stop testing for cannabis in some of its employees and signaled support of the MORE Act.

This morning, though, those companies have seen their stocks drop. I'm speaking with Sundial CEO Zach George at Benzinga's Cannabis Capital Conference today, and I'll let you all know what he says.


Some sources have told me they think Amazon's news is overblown. They said they think that if Amazon really wanted to come in and dominate the cannabis industry in the US, it would have figured out a way to do so already. But it's one of the few instances I can think of where a large and powerful company that isn't invested in cannabis has signaled support for legalization publicly.

I'd love to hear what you think - is this lip service on Amazon's part? Or do they mean it? Which companies will follow?

Let's get to it.

- Jeremy Berke (@jfberke) & Yeji (@jesse_yeji)

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Here's what we wrote about this week:

Cannabis companies are striking multibillion dollar deals again. Here are the 7 law firms putting them together.

Insider put together its third annual list of top lawyers in the cannabis space. This year we pulled the 10 largest cannabis-industry deals worldwide since the start of 2020, including M&A, capital raises, and debt financing, and pinpointed which firms worked on at least two of them.

Experts share how a brewing fight could shape the future of the $100 billion psychedelics industry

Research into the medical potential of psychedelics is experiencing a renaissance after decades of neglect amid the war on drugs. The dispute over one company's patents is turning into a larger fight over the future of what could become a $100 billion market. The conflict over patents has the potential to shape the future of the psychedelics landscape.

Legal cannabis sales shot up to $17.5 billion during the pandemic as dispensaries helped Americans stock up on marijuana

The pandemic initially disrupted the legal cannabis industry, but 2020 saw record sales of $17.5 billion. Dispensaries navigated changing regulations and markets to find new ways to reach customers.

Executive Moves

  • Ascend Wellness Holdings said on Wednesday that it had named Robin Debiase, former vice president of HR at Weight Watchers, as chief people officer.

Deals, launches, and IPOs

Earnings roundup

  • Canopy Growth released its fiscal Q4 results, reporting C$148.4 million in net revenue and a C$616.7 million net loss.

Cannabis jobs

Science and research

Chart of the week

New Frontier Data looked at revenue from the top 10 medical cannabis markets in the US, led by Florida and Arizona. Trailing closely behind were California, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania:

Psychedelic patent wars
top 10 medical cannabis markets by revenue in 2020Joanna Lin Su/ Insider

What we're reading

Psychedelics Patent Claim Raises Questions From Researchers Who Say They Did It First (Vice)

Why the pandemic was a breakout moment for the cannabis industry (The New York Times)

Congresswoman Blasts Biden Decision To Block Marijuana Sales In D.C. (Marijuana Moment)

Pot Producers Are Pushing to Clamp Down on Delta-8 THC (Bloomberg)

The End Of 'High Maintenance': Why Marijuana Delivery Via Bicycle Is Banned (And How To Legalize It) (Forbes)


Biden's Shameful, Conservative Stance Against Legal Pot in D.C. (The New Republic)