Psychedelic patent wars
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.
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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.
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.
- 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
- Harborside agreed to acquire California-based cannabis company Sublime in a $43.8 million cash and stock deal.
- San Francisco-based cannabis company SPARC is acquiring Besito, a cannabis brand.
- Canopy Growth ended its partnership with music artist Drake, according to regulatory filings. The partnership was announced in November of last year. Read Bloomberg's coverage of the news here.
- The Parent Company and Jay-Z's $10 million cannabis equity fund made its first investment this week, into Josephine and Billie's, an LA cannabis brand and speakeasy led by two women of color.
- Canopy Growth released its fiscal Q4 results, reporting C$148.4 million in net revenue and a C$616.7 million net loss.
- Cannabis delivery service Emjay is looking for an intrepid intern to smoke, eat, and test 600+ cannabis products and write reviews for $15 an hour this summer.
Science and research
- A study from researchers at the University of New Mexico found that cannabis relieved nausea symptoms in 96% of patients tested within an hour.
- A report from the Tax Foundation analyzed the implications of the reintroduced MORE Act, and says that excise taxes on cannabis are the wrong way to go - rather, products should be taxed based on either potency (THC content) or weight.
- Syracuse University is launching cannabis certificate courses in areas like cannabis business, policy, and medicine, in partnership with Green Flower Media.
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:
What we're reading
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. (
Biden's Shameful, Conservative Stance Against Legal Pot in D.C. (The New Republic)
- I took a new job in a remote location after my divorce. There aren't many people to date, but I'm happy staying single.
- Elon Musk hits out at viral videos of DINK couples, saying there's an 'awful morality' to those who choose not to have children
- Married couples often share high blood pressure, study shows
- 8 Irresistible seasonal snacks to warm your winter days
- Vijay Shekhar Sharma says 'Wed in India' is a good idea for its food options
- NCLAT stays CCI penalty on NTPC in Ratnagiri Gas & Power shares issue
- A Japanese Start-Up Is Testing a Rocket Powered Entirely By Rocket Fuel Created From Cow Dung!
- Amazon sues scammers for stealing millions of dollars via fake returns