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🌿 Top Cannabis Startups in 2020 🌿

🌿 Top Cannabis Startups in 2020 🌿

Wurk Banner Ad -- Feb 18

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.

Canopy Growth reports impressive earnings. New research finds that lasers can be used to tell hemp and marijuana apart. Pennsylvania and Kentucky make progress on legalization efforts. We also outline some of the top cannabis startups to look out for in 2020. 

Join Us Tonight In New York or Boston. Karim Webb, Founder and CEO of 4thMVMT (the largest social equity cannabis company in the U.S.), will be CannaGather’s keynote speaker. Today also marks our CannaGather Boston launch, where we will partner with the National Cannabis Industry Association for a night of 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!

// CannaGather Calendar

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

(TONIGHT — 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 – Creating Opportunities, Equitably?

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

March 16 // New York, NY // March CannaGather

// Entrepreneurship

Look Out for These Cannabis Startups in 2020

Business Insider asked a number of leading cannabis investors to name drop some of the cannabis startups that they’re excited about this year. Topping the list of Business Insider’s buzziest startups to bet on in 2020 is Flowhub, a cannabis-tech company that helps retailers track inventory and process sales. The company has raised $27 million from investors since it was founded in 2015, and now works with over 900 dispensaries across the country by assisting in the management of their businesses and compliance with regulations that differ from state to state. Flowhub is slated to continue its growth as more states legalize cannabis, and its founder “likes to tell lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the U.S. tracks legal cannabis better than it does uranium.” Next up is Leaflink, the New York-based wholesale management platform for the cannabis industry also founded in 2015. One investor notes that the company has “a strong foundation in the U.S. and a solid understanding of cannabis companies’ needs and behaviors.”

Another top startup to look out for is Wurk, a company described as the future of workforce management for cannabis software. They handle payroll, timekeeping, scheduling, 280E management, onboarding, HR consulting, and more. Emily Paxhia, co-founder of Poseidon Asset Management, says that “the need for true payroll and human capital tech solutions will only continue to increase,” and that “[Wurk’s] system helps companies to stay compliant, to manage complicated tax structures, and to follow the regulations on employment law in the industry.”

Additional startups that made the cut are Ascend Wellness, PathogenDx, Flow Kana, Grassroots Cannabis, Canndescent, Clever Leaves (formerly Northern Swan), Fyllo, Headset, Holistic Industries, Pax Labs, Sunderstorm, and Vangst.
 
What this means and why you care: These successful startups can help other cannabis entrepreneurs as they contemplate their business concepts and strategies. The list proves that the industry is ripe for companies with all different angles to enter and thrive.

// Finance

What’s New This Week?

Canopy Growth reported their quarterly earnings this week, shocking investors with a 49% rise in net revenue to C$123.8 million in the last three months of 2019. Following the news, Canopy’s stock shot up in trading, while other cannabis companies experienced stock surges as well. This could be a potential sign that the long, steady downturn in the industry is coming to a close.

Acreage Holdings, a vertically integrated cannabis operator in the U.S., announced it secured a $100 million credit facility, a $50 million private loan partially from CEO Kevin Murphy, and a $30 million private placement.

Sanity Group, one of Europe’s leading medical cannabis and wellness brands, completed a $22 million funding round led by Calyx and HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, alongside Scooter Braun’s TQ Ventures.

KushCo, a publicly-traded maker of cannabis accessories, raised $16 million through a direct offering.

What This Means and Why You Care: The positive earnings report from Canopy Growth is a good sign for the industry as a whole. This hopefully signals a notable turning point for stock prices and industry growth.

// Legal

Progress in Pennsylvania and Kentucky

In Pennsylvania, Rep. Jake Wheatley (D) announced he intends this year to “introduce a comprehensive reform bill that’s designed to promote social equity and restorative justice” related to cannabis legalization. In a letter to House members, Wheatley laid out a complete tax structure, in addition to financing initiatives and “business policies of the legalization proposal” after revising the bill based on incorporated feedback from key stakeholders. According to Wheatley,  “keeping the tax initially low and allowing it to grow over time is a great example of the advice we heard during numerous meetings with stakeholders.” Though Pennsylvania has a miles to go, top officials are in agreement that legalization is right move, with continued support from Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) and new backing from recent convert Gov. Tom Wolf (D), who came out in support of legalization last fall. 

For the second year in a row, Kentucky lawmakers voted to approve a bill that would legalize medical marijuana. Last week’s Judiciary Committee hearing drew an unexpectedly large crowd, filled with both advocates and those in opposition. Supporters maintained that House Bill 136 “represents a thoughtful, reasonable medical marijuana system,” while others expressed their apprehension of the potential normalization of “various social ills, such as increased traffic accidents and homelessness.” Despite the conflicting opinions, the measure passed on a 17-1 vote, with Marijuana Moment reporting that “while less than half of respondents said they support broader recreational legalization, support for medical marijuana was strong across party lines: 95% of Democrats, 92% of independents and 90% of Republicans said they support legalization.”
 
What this means and why you care: We are seeing an increase in thoughtful contemplation surrounding marijuana legalization, both recreational or medicinal. Pennsylvania and Kentucky are just two examples of states that continue to move the conversation forward. 

// Medicine, Science, & Technology

Using Lasers to Tell Hemp and Marijuana Apart

A major obstacle for both farmers and law enforcement has been the logistics of figuring out the difference between hemp and marijuana. But new research found that lasers can be used to distinguish between the two plants in “a fast, affordable, and highly precise way.” By using a hand-held laser device, researchers as Texas A&M University were able to “determine whether plant material is hemp or [marijuana] with 100% accuracy.” These lasers picked up “changes of intensities” in vibrational bands, which suggests that there are structural differences between the two plants, in particular that more cellulose is found in hemp. The spectrometer is also believed to “potentially identify different strains by accurately measuring the potency of individual plants.” 

This discovery could have wide-reaching implications. It could allow farmers and officers to quickly identify if a plant is hemp or marijuana, and help streamline the process for state and federal regulators when forming legislation. “Because of the portable nature of our analysis, this spectroscopic approach will be highly advantageous for police and border control officers…[and] these results demonstrate that [the laser] can be a great tool for hemp cultivation and breeding allowing for accurate detection of THCA levels in intact growing plants.”

What This Means and Why You Care: Hemp is currently defined under federal law as having 0.3 percent THC or less (the negligence threshold is 0.5 percent). Proving that a hemp crop meets this requirement can be a costly and lengthy process. These new findings can help anyone involved in the hemp industry by speeding up analysis, lowering costs, and providing clarity.

// Community

CannaGather Baltimore Talks Being Black in Cannabis

Last week, Baltimore hosted a huge event focused on being black in the cannabis industry. The keynote speaker of the evening was Scheril Murray Powell, Esq., an Agricultural and Cannabis Attorney at Doumar, Allsworth, Laystrom, Voigt, Adair, and Dishowitz. The Daily Business Review has named her one of the Top 12 Cannabis Attorney’s in Florida. She is the Executive Director of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists of Florida and former Director of Federal Affairs for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Scheril is on the Hemp Pilot Program Advisory Board for the University of Florida and on the board for the Hemp Feed Coalition and the U.S. Hemp Builders Association. She is also President of consulting firm Green Sustainable Strong. As a Cannapreneur, Scheril is the President of Canna Headhunters, a staffing agency in the Cannabis Industry that connects Cannabis talent to opportunities.

Leo Bridgewater Sr. also joined to speak at the event. Leo’s advocacy has seen him testify the NJ Senate Committee to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) added to the NJ Medical Marijuana Program. Leo currently serves as National Director of Outreach with Reign Media, advisory board member for Cannabis World Conference Business Expo, and advisory board member for MPX biocuticals NJ. Leo was Co-Founder of Cannagather NJ and has partnered with organizations like Minorities for Medical Marijuana, Coalition Medical Marijuana New Jersey, Women Grow, Drug Policy Alliance, The Americans Civil Liberties Union, Cannabis Cultural Association, New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association, and NJ Cannabusiness Association. He hopes to be a vessel by which the industry works through in the state of New Jersey.

Join Us Tonight In New York or Boston. Karim Webb, Founder and CEO of 4thMVMT (the largest social equity cannabis company in the U.S.), will be CannaGather’s keynote speaker. Today also marks our CannaGather Boston launch, where we will partner with the National Cannabis Industry Association for a night of 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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