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🌿 Connecticut Gets Serious 🌿

🌿 Connecticut Gets Serious 🌿

Welcome back to our weekly newsletter, which outlines recent cannabis news you need to know about related to entrepreneurship, finance, legal, medicine, science, and technology.

NY Gov. Cuomo included cannabis legalization in his budget proposal as this year’s legislative session begins (more on this next week). Connecticut makes cannabis legalization a 2020 legislative priority. The House files a bill to allow companies to market CBD as a dietary supplement instead of a drug. New studies are released covering cannabis and Tourette Syndrome patients. We also look at some financial strategies of Cresco Labs.

New CannaGather markets are set to kick off! Coming up this Thursday, January 30 is our official launch of CannaGather Detroit, featuring MI Legalize Co-founder, Treasurer, and Campaign Manager Nick Zettell. February 18 marks our CannaGather Boston launch, with speakers to be announced.

CannaGather had a full house in New York last week with an informative event featuring Bhang CEO Jamie Pearson. A rare, second-generation cannabis executive, she has decades of experience in global operations, deal structuring and negotiation as a former real-estate investor and executive. Also featured was Oren Levy, CEO of Green Angel CBD, which has made headlines for the NYPD’s infamous hemp “bust.”

Be sure to join us at a CannaGather in your city, where we continue to network and explore the latest progress in our communities as the reach of cannabis increases. 

Know someone who is just as cannacurious as you are? Be sure to share this newsletter to keep them in the loop!

// CannaGather Calendar

(NEW MARKET) January 30 // Detroit, MI // CannaGather Detroit Kickoff

February 4 // Los Angeles, CA // CGLA February 2020

February 13 // Baltimore, MD // Being Black in Cannabis

February 18 // New York, NY // Future of Federal Legalization with Senator Chuck Schumer

(NEW MARKET) February 18 // Boston, MA // CannaGather Boston Kickoff

February 19 // Orange County, CA// CGOC February 2020

February 19-20 // Boston, MA // Northeast Cannabis Business Conference, Hosted by NCIA (Use Discount Code CG20)

// Entrepreneurship

Federal Objectives for the Hemp Industry

Hemp and CBD entrepreneurs are supporting a new bipartisan House resolution that would amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to allow companies to market CBD as a dietary supplement instead of a drug. HR5587, filed by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN), would require the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to research regulatory and market barriers for hemp farmers and add a CBD exemption to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. The bill would also require the USDA to research other aspects of the industry, such as the costs of creating a hemp testing program and destroying plants with a THC content over the federal limit (0.3%).

“This new legislation will be very beneficial to small hemp farmers because it will remove a lot of regulatory and market barriers that hemp farmers face,” said Hemp Inc. CEO Bruce Perlowin. “It will also provide more regulatory certainty. This legislation provides clarity in the marketplace, creates a pathway for hemp-derived products, and more opportunities for hemp farmers.”

What This Means and Why You Care: This resolution would be a big advancement for entrepreneurs who deal with hemp and hemp-derived CBD products. It would provide a more clear path when conducting a variety of business transactions, as well as remove difficult obstacles that have plagued farmers, retailers, and other players in between.

// Finance

A Spotlight on Cresco Labs

Cresco Labs, one of the largest vertically integrated multistate cannabis operators in the United States, secured a credit facility last week for up to $200 million. Times have been tough in terms of finding capital to fund companies in the cannabis industry, and this recent transaction highlights the type of criteria that could be required to secure funding. Chicago-based Cresco has retail operations in seven states (where cannabis has been legalized for medical use). The company has seen significant growth recently, increasing their team of employees by 750% over the last 2 years alone.
Cresco’s forward thinking market strategy might have played a part in their ability to secure funding. Their recently closed acquisition of Origin House comes at a time when cannabis industry acquisitions have been more difficult to complete. By paying close attention to their geographic footprint, Cresco has strategically expanded into states with “strong regulatory structures and populations large enough to support a successful market,” according to New Cannabis Ventures. The company has reported that the debt financing from a syndicate of lenders will be put toward bankrolling pending acquisitions, operation expansion, and supporting additional growth initiatives.
What This Means and Why You Care: Cresco Labs’ market strategy could be a strong foundational example to other cannabis companies looking to grow and expand operations in the coming years. It will be interesting to note the company’s growth moving forward.

// Legal

Connecticut Gets Serious

Connecticut has officially joined the conversation. The state’s top lawmakers announced that legalizing marijuana will be a 2020 legislative priority. On January 23, Senate President Martin Looney (D) spoke to the press about these developments, saying “it’s time that [Connecticut] caught up to what the public attitude and public will is on this subject.” Citing the amount of residents who commute regularly to Massachusetts to purchase legal cannabis products, Looney is holding steadfast in his commitment to make this a 2020 priority. “The time has come,” he said. “I don’t think we want to put our heads in the sand and be in a position equivalent to a state that refused to recognize that prohibition of alcohol was a failure and try to maintain prohibition after the national law changed.”
Senator Douglas McCrory (D) also weighed in on the legislation coming down the road, emphasizing the importance of “equity, expungement, and economic opportunity.” McCrory stressed that unless Connecticut addresses certain issues around legalization, such as unjust laws that have led to incarceration for misdemeanor marijuana possession, there’s not “a snowball’s chance to get this legislation passed.” Using pieces of cannabis legislation that saw advancement in several committees in 2019 as a framework, Connecticut lawmakers are confident they will be able to better address the financial, restorative justice, and regulatory components to legalization this year.  
What this means and why you care: Connecticut joins several other states in the significant push to have 2020 be the year that really moves the needle on cannabis legalization. As with other states, they seem committed to including major social equity components of legislation.

// Medicine, Science, & Technology

Cannabis and Tourette Syndrome

Results from a retrospective analysis and online survey suggested that cannabis-based medicine “might be effective and safe in the treatment of tics and comorbidities at least in a subgroup of adult patients” with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome and that “patients favored THC-rich cannabis over dronabinol and nabiximols, which might be related to the entourage effect of cannabis.” The retrospective data analysis included all adult patients seen at the designated clinic, who had used cannabis-based medicines for the treatment of Tourette syndrome previously. “All these patients were asked to complete an online survey to receive more detailed data about treatment with [cannabis].”

Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder that is characterized by motor and/or vocal tics and psychiatric comorbidities, including attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive-compulsive behavior/disorder (OCB/OCD).

What This Means and Why You Care: Official research focused on the use of cannabis for treatment of Tourette Syndrome is important for patients seeking relief from a disorder that can cause intense pain and frustration. Look out for further studies to to understand how cannabis can help these patients and others with different neurological disorders.

// Community

Cannabis Market Playbook 2020: A Brand Insider’s View

CannaGather had a full house in New York last week with an informative event featuring Bhang CEO Jamie Pearson. A rare, second-generation cannabis executive, she has decades of experience in global operations, deal structuring and negotiation as a former real-estate investor and executive. Bhang is a trusted international cannabis company with an extensive portfolio of over 100 cannabis, hemp-derived CBD, and terpene products, including chocolates, pre-rolls, gums, and beverages through its wholly-owned Red Ace Organics division, among others.

Also featured was Oren Levy, CEO of Green Angel CBD. Green Angel has made headlines for the NYPD’s infamous hemp “bust.” Attendees had a chance to hear his story and support his fight to help supply legal resources to those in need.

Lastly, we announced that Senator Chuck Schumer will be next month’s speaker in New York. He’ll be discussing the future of federal cannabis legalization.

Missed out on all the fun? Check out the exclusive recap of our New York event here.

Do you want to get involved and join the CannaGather team? We would love to have you on board as we grow! You can email CannaGather founder Josh Weinstein at josh@cannagather.com for more info.

Written by Justin Bernstein

Contribution by Michela Proto

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