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🌿 Leaflet: Happy Holidays From CannaGather 🌿

🌿 Leaflet: Happy Holidays From CannaGather 🌿

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas Eve! 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.

The USDA announces a hemp crop insurance pilot program for 2020. A recent scientific study could allow law enforcement to detect THC in fingerprints. We discuss how social media influencers can help cannabis entrepreneurs and break down market activity from December.

CannaGather ended the year with a bang in New York City with NY State Senator Diane Savino who stopped in to chat about the status of cannabis legislation and what to expect in 2020.

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

January 7 // Los Angeles, CA // CGLA January

January 16 // Baltimore, MD // Social Consumption and Trendsetting in the 2020s

January 21 // New York, NY // January CannaGather

// Entrepreneurship

How To Leverage Social Media Influencers 

U.S. companies within the industry face disruptive advertising restrictions. “Cannabis brands cannot utilize social advertising currently – meaning no Facebook ads, no Instagram ads, no LinkedIn ads, no Pinterest ads, etc.,” says Natalie Cupps DiBlasi, co-founder of California-based digital agency focused on cannabis marketing.

To help counter the marketing hurdle, many entrepreneurs turn to social media influencers for assistance. Influencers tend to have large online networks and can be hired to engage with prospective customers on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (TikTok is also emerging as an impactful platform). They are able to present a brand message to a group of followers that trust their purchasing decisions.

Cupps DiBlasi believes that the “the number one way [cannabis brands can get their] message out there is through influencers.” In a piece for Marijuana Business Magazine, social media experts such as Cupps DiBlasi break down important considerations when hiring a social media influencer, such as cost, company needs, using a celebrity or micro-influencer, and the return on investment.

What This Means and Why You Care: Cannabis entrepreneurs need to be creative when marketing their businesses, especially in a restricted environment. Social media influencers offer a unique solution and an opportunity to target niche audiences.

// Finance

Market Activity in December

Here’s a look at some of the big cannabis moves from this month:

Curaleaf Holdings announced a new $275 million senior secured term loan facility. A Cowen analyst maintained their outperform rating on the stock, stating that the decision was “exceedingly helpful in addressing near-term cash commitments.”

Cannabis facility operator iAnthus raised $36 million of senior convertible notes from cannabis investment firm Gotham Green Partners and other co-investors as part of a $100 million financing plan announced back in September.

NASDAQ-listed cannabis compliance technology provider Akerna announced its $45 million acquisition of Canadian cannabis software company Ample Organics.

Select investors are making sure they are taking advantage of the brand new Michigan and upcoming Illinois recreational cannabis markets. Boston-based Ascend Wellness Holdings secured $28 million in new funding related to its expanding enterprise in the two states. Investors include Salveo Capital and JM10.

What This Means and Why You Care: In spite of the tough year for the cannabis market, reports show that many investors and executives are optimistic about the future of cannabis. The industry continues to stay active.

// Legal

USDA Announces Hemp Crop Insurance Pilot Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Monday that hemp farmers in 21 states will have the chance to participate in a crop insurance pilot program in 2020. This program will insure farmers against yield losses associated with natural causes (Actual Production History coverage). To qualify, applicants must have grown hemp for at least a full year and are in accordance with a 2014 Farm Bill pilot program or the USDA’s federal regulations under their recent interim final rule.

The pilot program will be offered to select counties in Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

What This Means and Why You Care: The U.S. hemp industry is rapidly evolving. New rules and regulations from different federal and state agencies are taking form to help shape the market. The USDA is in the process of developing a regulatory framework, and their public comment period was recently extended to January 29, 2020.

// Medicine, Science, & Technology

New Scientific Studies This Week

With growing cannabis legalization, law enforcement is placed in a unique situation where use and consumption are legal, but there are no limitations on what is acceptable for driving or operating machinery. A recent study provided a proof of concept that a “competitive immunoassay construct” can detect if someone has “recently used products containing THC, specifically marijuana, from the sweat content of fingerprints.”

Aging and HIV cause increased inflammation and neural injury, which often leads to neurological impairment (NCI). Researchers found that “cannabis exposure is linked to a lower odds of NCI in the context of HIV,” a result from the anti-inflammatory effect of cannabis. Further tests will help determine the effects of “dose, timing, and cannabis compound on this relationship,” which could be utilized to help people especially vulnerable to cognitive decline.

What This Means and Why You Care: The ability of law enforcement to understand cannabis and implement appropriate and effective policies will be a major hurdle as legalization expands.

// Community

2019: A Year in Review

CannaGather ended the year with a bang in New York City with NY State Senator Diane Savino who stopped in to chat about the status of cannabis legislation and what to expect in 2020. Senator Savino was the lead sponsor of the state’s successful medical marijuana legislation when she reintroduced the bill in 2013 and has been fighting to expand access ever since. With years of experience, the senator provided valuable insight into the world of cannabis as it relates to New York politics.

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

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

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