🌿 Leaflet 🌿 November 19, 2019 🌿canabodial
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. This week, we review the pending vote on the MORE Act, take a look at a recent cannabis jobs report, and hear some expert opinions about the market. We also get up to speed on new medical studies and advancements.
CannaGather Baltimore was in full swing this past Thursday. Maryland’s medical cannabis community got together to discuss patient advocacy with a list of exciting guests. 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
November 20 // New York, NY // Vaping Crisis: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
November 20 // Orange County, CA // Entering The Era of Professional Cannabis: Compliance, Healthcare, and Community
November 21 // Denver, CO // The Future of Edibles: Keynote Q&A with Nancy Whiteman
December 3 // Los Angeles, CA // CGLA December: Distribution & Manufacturing Decoded
December 17 // New York, NY // State Senator Diane Savino & (depending on impeachment) Congressman Jerry Nadler
A Close Look at Cannabis Jobs & Salaries
A new report this week proves that cannabis companies are a great place to look for work. The 2019 Cannabis Industry Salary Guide was just released by Vangst, one of the industry’s top recruiting platforms. The guide reveals that the U.S. cannabis industry employs approximately 211,000 people in 2019, with that number expected to double to around 400,000 by 2021. Vangst CEO Karson Humiston says that “the industry is growing” and Wall Street Journal analysts expect it to be worth $85 billion by 2030.
The report is released after months of layoffs by publicly-traded cannabis companies, but consensus from job market examiners is that getting in on the ground floor and working through initial uncertainty will pay off in the end. The ability to showcase real experience will be particularly crucial when new state markets open up. Humiston’s advice is to keep a “startup” mindset. “The people that I believe we’ve seen do the best have come into the industry with their eyes wide open, willing to wear a lot of different hats, genuinely excited about building this brand new space, and not coming in with any preconceived notions of how things should go.”
Check out these average salaries for different cannabis positions, as outlined in the Vangst guide: vice president of manufacturing ($134,000); vice president of retail ($104,000); director of lab extraction ($92,500); director of cultivation ($87,100); chemist ($63,200); dispensary general manager ($56,000); edibles specialist ($41,000); and budtender ($14.90/hour).
What This Means and Why You Care:
The 2019 Cannabis Industry Salary Guide is a great place for anyone, from hourly retail employees to experienced executives, looking to educate themselves on how to enter into or navigate within the space. The report is reassuring for the industry and provides a solid framework for understanding the type of jobs available and the income you can expect.
Experts Weigh In on the State of the Market
It’s no secret that the cannabis market has taken some serious hits in recent months. Disappointing sales in the U.S. and Canada, a series of lawsuits, and the ongoing vaping crisis actively hamper an industry where companies and investors have often overextended themselves. 11 cannabis experts spoke with Business Insider to share their outlook on the future, who acknowledge the difficulties that lay ahead but view these setbacks as “temporary speed bumps” for the industry as a whole.
Canopy Growth CEO Mark Zekulin expects “some real shakedown over the next few months” but is optimistic about the prizes of the industry available in North America and abroad. “The core thing is…letting the right amount of time pass,” he says. For now, cannabis startups see a sharp decline in investment, and the numbers are worse for companies later in the growth cycle. Canndescent CEO Adrian Sedlin feels that “the capital markets for cannabis are totally broken. Period. Full stop.” Marc Hauser, vice chair of the law firm Reed Smith‘s cannabis team, says that “the initial wave of investors…has been tapped out.” Many point to the quick overload of investment into public markets as similar to the tech industry in the late 90s. Peter Barsoom, CEO of cannabis edibles startup 1906, says “there was a mismatch that led to a bubble and sharp decline.”
Now let’s take a look at some of the activity from this week: Canopy Growth, Tilray, and Cronos Group all released troubling earnings reports which led to the ManifestSeven Marijuana Index dropping 15% in just a few days; the previously announced Cresco Labs / Origin House merger was repriced to $400 million (down from $825 million), and is expected to close in January; Green Thumb Industries sold its Pennsylvania cultivator and processing facility to Innovative Industrial Properties in a $20 million sale-and-leaseback deal; and Neptune Wellness Solutions announced an agreement with International Flavors & Fragrances to co-develop hemp-derived CBD products.
What This Means and Why You Care:
As we know, the cannabis market is experiencing uncertain times, and experts on the front lines can provide valuable insight. Staying regularly informed about company earnings and fund raises are important from an investor-perspective and act as good indicators of the general outlook for various business-types that exist within the industry.
House Committee Set to Vote on Federal Legalization Bill
The House Judiciary Committee is gearing up to vote on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, a bill that would federally deschedule cannabis and address social equity. The legislation, introduced by Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), includes a 5% tax on marijuana sales, which would be used to fund job training, small business loans for socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, and legal aid for Americans impacted by the drug war. Other important components in the bill would help streamline cannabis licensing and employment, expunge the records of those with prior cannabis convictions, allow for re-sentencing, and block federal agencies from withholding benefits or security clearances as a result of cannabis use.
The vote was announced in a press release on Monday by Chairman Nadler and is scheduled to take place Wednesday at 10:00AM ET. “Our marijuana laws disproportionately harm individuals and communities of color, leading to convictions that damage job prospects, access to housing, and the ability to vote,” Nadler says. The legislation will also include a new “findings” section, which outlines major social equity-related language. A large portion of this section comes from a resolution put froward last year by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. In a statement Monday, Lee noted that she was pleased her legislation was being used “to right the wrongs of the failed and racist War on Drugs by expunging criminal convictions, reinvesting in communities of color through restorative justice, and promoting equitable participation in the legal marijuana industry.”
After committee members have the chance to introduce amendments to the MORE Act, the bill moves on to the Republican-controlled Senate.
What This Means and Why You Care:
A vote on the he MORE Act is a huge step in the right direction. Not only does it help pave the way for federal legalization, but it also addresses the importance of ensuring that low-income and communities of color, those most negatively impacted by cannabis prohibition, are not left behind.
// Medicine, Science, & Technology
New Cannabis Studies and Advancements
A new study published this week found that chronic pain patients were able to reduce their opioid use by taking hemp-derived CBD. All participants in the study had been previously diagnosed with chronic pain and were regularly taking opioid medication for relief. During the trial, each patient took two CBD gel capsules a day (totaling 30mg) over an eight-week period and completed questionnaires to assess factors such as pain intensity level, the pain’s disruption of their lives, quality of sleep, and any reduction of opioid use. Results suggest that “using CBD-rich hemp extract oil may help reduce opioid use and improve quality of life, specifically in regards to pain and sleep, among chronic pain patients.”
Measure Protocol, an ethical person-based data marketplace powered by blockchain, announced on Wednesday that it has partnered with Audacia Bioscience brand Broccoli to build an online research community for cannabis users. Audacia Bioscience, which conducts clinical trials using Artificial Intelligence and crowdsourced cultural mapping for the cannabis industry, developed Broccoli “to close the information gap surrounding cannabis.” By partnering with Measure, the brand will gain exposure to a new blockchain-enabled community and “connect with consumers, gather insights, and share valuable data as it relates to the swiftly maturing cannabis industry.” The new venture will have a particular focus on collecting consumer data that can be used to debunk myths or confirm facts, and making this information easily available to the public.
What This Means and Why You Care:
New patient and consumer cannabis studies create a flood of new findings relevant to anyone with a foot in the industry. Data from scientific studies are significant for doctors and business owners, but it’s also important for the general public to have access to this information, and brands like Broccoli can help bridge this gap.
“Prioritizing the Patient” at CannaGather Baltimore
Maryland’s medical cannabis community linked up at CannaGather Baltimore on Thursday for a night centered around patient advocacy. Mary + Main founder Hope Wiseman, the youngest Black woman dispensary owner in the U.S., spoke about her journey to become a license-holder in Maryland and her devotion to the patient-over-profits model. Roilyn McWilliams, Chair of Safe Access Maryland, explained the struggles that patients face when seeking a proper cannabis regiment. She also shared her personal experiences and lessons learned as a cannabis patient coping with chronic acute pain.
Cannabis patient and advocate Rita Montoya joined CannaGather Baltimore to introduce the Cannabis Patient Advocacy Association. The organization aims to help centralize the voice of Maryland’s patient advocacy groups and establishes a fund for people to apply for grants to continue their advocacy. Lastly, Luke Jones from Maryland NormL gave an informative legislative update that primed the crowd on the group’s 2020 legislative focus to raise the limits of decriminalized cannabis possession and bring down cannabis arrests rates within the state.
Do you want to get involved and join the CannaGather team? Reach out to us, we would love to have you on board as we grow!
Written by Justin Bernstein