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ūüĆŅ Early Success for Illinois ūüĆŅ

ūüĆŅ Early Success for Illinois ūüĆŅ

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.

Illinois sees early success in its first month of legal adult-use transactions. More major layoffs hit the industry. Whoopi Goldberg exits her cannabis venture. And new scientific studies are released.

Big News! On February 18, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (availability subject to change) will be CannaGather’s keynote speaker in New York to discuss the future of federal cannabis legalization, joined by Karim Webb, Founder and CEO of 4thMVMT (the largest social equity cannabis company in the U.S.). February 18 also marks our CannaGather Boston launch, where we will partner with the National Cannabis Industry Association for a night of cannabis legislative updates and great networking.

Interested in getting involved in New York’s legalization efforts? Join CannaGather on February 26 as we host an important event in Albany to help drive the conversation on legalization and ensure social equity components stay front and center.

Would you like to become a sponsor of our weekly Leaflet? Email me for more information.

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!

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// CannaGather Calendar

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 promo code CG30 for 30% off your conference and expo registration)

February 26 //¬†Albany, NY //¬†CRTA2.0 ‚Äď Creating Opportunities, Equitably?

March 11 // New Haven, CT // Breaking Barriers: CTPharma’s Quest for Medical Cannabis to Meet American Expectations

March 17 // New York, NY // March CannaGather

// Entrepreneurship

Whoopi Goldberg Exits Her Cannabis Venture

Whoopi Goldberg and Maya Elisabeth‚Äôs California-based medical cannabis company has¬†shuttered operations¬†after a business dispute between the two co-founders led Whoopi to announce¬†her resignation. Founded in 2016, Whoopi & Maya Medical Cannabis was created with the objective to provide women‚Äôs health products specifically intended to relieve menstrual pain. At the time, celebrity financiers in the industry were much less common, and the collaboration between Whoopi and Elisabeth (founder of OM Edibles) was an innovative concept that targeted a largely unaddressed market. However, the rapidly changing regulatory landscape saw Proposition 64 passed towards the end of 2016, legalizing adult-use recreational marijuana in the state of California, which up a series of unforeseen hurdles for this strictly medical marijuana company. The future of the business is currently uncertain.¬†‚ÄúI‚Äôd like to keep it going,‚Ä̬†said Co-Founder and Board Member Rick Cusick. ‚ÄúThe company is still intact but has lost a great deal of its power in the marketplace without Whoopi‚Äôs name.‚ÄĚ
 
Whoopi and Maya helped pave the way for other female cannabis entrepreneurs. Just look to Carla Baumgartner, Founder & COO of Ganjarunner, a successful LA-based cannabis delivery company; Jane West, founder of Women Grow, one of the industry’s largest professional networking organizations; or Hope Wiseman, Founder and COO of Maryland-based medical cannabis dispensary Mary & Main, who at the age of 25 became the youngest black woman dispensary owner in the country. These women and so many others are taking the industry by storm, and will hopefully inspire generations to come with stories of how they built successful companies from the ground up.

What This Means and Why You Care: Although this announcement highlights a shuttering business, it is important to recognize all the amazing female-run cannabis companies right now that will continue to thrive and serve as an example to any up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the industry.

// Finance

More Layoffs Ahead

Last week, a number of companies announced that they are planning major layoffs in an effort to cut costs and boost profitability.¬†Tilray said that they will be laying off 10% of their workforce, which has has approximately 1,443 staff globally. ‚ÄúBy reducing headcount and cost, Tilray will be better positioned to achieve profitability and be one of the clear winners in the cannabis industry, which will drive value for our investor and employee shareholders,‚ÄĚ said CEO¬†Brendan Kennedy.¬†Cowen analyst Vivien Azer noted that the plan was a¬†‚Äúlogical response given the current state of the industry.‚ÄĚ

Following the Tilray news was an announcement by Aurora Cannabis stating that they also plan to reduce their workforce by about 10%. The company is one of the largest cannabis producers in the world and has approximately 3,400 staff. 

Tilray and Aurora aren’t the only ones. Cannabis website, media, information, and editorial company Leafly let go 54 workers (18%), and California-based cannabis retailer Caliva announced last week that they are cutting ties with delivery service Eaze and plan to lay off around one-third of its workforce.

What This Means and Why You Care:¬†These companies are part of a growing list of cannabis businesses¬†who are letting go huge numbers of employees (‚Äúover 1,300 jobs lost across both startups and public companies‚ÄĚ). This is indicative of¬†the recent downturn in¬†the cannabis market, with stocks¬†losing value and funding drying up.¬†

// Legal

Early Success in Illinois

Illinois saw notable success in its first month of legal adult-use cannabis transactions, with the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation reporting nearly $40 million in sales in just 31 days. By comparison, Illinois generated nearly three times the amount that Colorado did during its first month of legal recreational cannabis sales in January 2014. Out of the almost 1 million individual marijuana products sold throughout the state, a significant volume of sales were generated from out-of-state purchases made by residents living in the bordering states that have not (yet) legalized for recreational use, enabling Illinois to collect tax revenue from its neighbors.

Back in early January, top officials asserted that legalization would serve as ‚Äúa vehicle for restorative justice for communities most impacted by prohibition enforcement.‚Ä̬†When reporting the sales figures, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation held steadfast to that statement, noting that that a ‚Äúportion of every cannabis sale will be reinvested in communities harmed most by the failed war on drugs.‚ÄĚ

Former State Senator Toi Hutchinson indicated in a¬†press release that the ‚Äúsuccessful launch of the Illinois legal cannabis industry represents new opportunities for entrepreneurs and the very communities that have historically been harmed by the failed war on drugs,‚ÄĚ and that the administration is ‚Äúdedicated to providing multiple points of entry into this new industry, from dispensary owners to transporters, to ensure legalization is equitable and accessible for all Illinoisans.‚ÄĚ

What This Means and Why You Care: Expectations are high for Illinois (the sixth largest state by population) to become one of the largest players in the cannabis market. A prosperous first month of sales could lead to new investments in the market, and the state’s social equity policies (if proven successful) could act as a model for other states.

// Medicine, Science, & Technology

Recent Cannabis Studies

A recent review reported that¬†‚Äúcannabinoids, terpenes, terpenoids or flavonoids‚Ķare proven to have¬†medicinal properties‚Ä̬†and ‚Äúappear to be promising pharmaceuticals.‚ÄĚ

According to an abstract from PubMed, ‚Äúcannabinoids and cannabis remain potential drugs to alleviate the pain associated with¬†rheumatic diseases, as they were shown to be safe and to cause limited adverse effects.‚ÄĚ

ACS Publications released a study titled ‚ÄúUncovering the Hidden Antibiotic Potential of Cannabis.‚ÄĚ The conclusion was that ‚Äúcannabinoids exhibit¬†antibacterial activity¬†against MRSA, inhibit its ability to form biofilms and eradicate pre-formed biofilms and stationary phase cells persistent to antibiotics.‚ÄĚ

What This Means and Why You Care: Major studies around the United States continue to identify cannabis as a potential source for treatment for a variety of medical conditions. New opportunities for patients to benefit from cannabis will take form as studies are conducted and legalization expands.

// Community

NORMLizing The Game

CannaGather Los Angeles hosted a big night last Tuesday with the conversation focused on California’s legalization efforts. Cannabis Criminal Defense Attorney and LA NORML Executive Director Bruce Margolin, alongside Chosen Payments’ Ian Rassman (Deputy Director of LA NORML), joined CGLA as key note speakers to cover current efforts and issues facing in local, regional, and national markets.

Cheryl Branch, co-founder of Green Believers, joined the night as a special guest speaker. Cheryl is one of the industry’s most prominent and diligent unifiers. She shared her story and struggles, outlined current initiatives, and spoke about what our community can do to help Green Believers thrive in 2020 and beyond.

Big News! On February 18, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (availability subject to change) will be CannaGather’s keynote speaker in New York to discuss the future of federal cannabis legalization, joined by Karim Webb, Founder and CEO of 4thMVMT (the largest social equity cannabis company in the U.S.). February 18 also marks our CannaGather Boston launch, where we will partner with the National Cannabis Industry Association for a night of cannabis legislative updates and great networking.

Interested in getting involved in New York’s legalization efforts? Join CannaGather on February 26 as we host an important event in Albany to help drive the conversation on legalization and ensure social equity components stay front and center.

Do you want to 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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