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🌿 Will Biden Back Cannabis Legalization? 🌿

🌿 Will Biden Back Cannabis Legalization? 🌿

How did you spend your 4/20? Let us know what you got up to for a chance to be featured in next week’s Leaflet. Many had to change their plans for the typically social holiday – businesses held digital events and doubled down on online discounts and packages. Some non-cannabis brands like Ben & Jerry’s used the day to promote cannabis reform.

Celebrities from all over the map were tweeting about the occasion, from Elon Musk to Ozzy Ozborne. Neil deGrasse Tyson wondered why the word “phonetically” isn’t spelled phonetically, and Snoop Dogg reminded everyone to leave out milk and cookies at night. Wiz Khalifa and Billy Ray Cyrus both hopped on a live stream with Weedmaps (Wiz also released a cannabis-themed EP). Oh, and Mike Tyson smoked a joint while chatting with TMZ about why he loves cannabis.

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

If you’d like to speak at, sponsor, or otherwise collaborate on a future CannaGather Digital, let us know!

Make sure your canna-curious friends and colleagues are up to date on the latest news. Share this newsletter to keep them in the loop.

// CannaGather Calendar

Stay tuned for our next CannaGather Digital!

Our live events feature insight from the cannabis industry’s top thought leaders and allow our community to stay up-to-date without leaving the house.

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COVID-19 is a dangerous, deadly pandemic that enjoys exponential growth through the interaction of nodes in a social network.

As such, we have cancelled all in-person CannaGathers and are exploring digital alternatives. 

The CDC’s guideline is that this will continue through mid-May and we hope to recommence in-person CannaGathers thereafter.

// Entrepreneurship

Retailers Adjust to the Tourism Downturn

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unique issues for cannabusinesses that typically depend on travelers for a large percentage of their sales. Now that many stay-at-home orders will likely persist through the summer, companies are focused on more ways to appeal to local customers.

More retailers are investing in alternative sales strategies like online orders and home deliveries, as well as making sure brand awareness to locals remains a top priority. They’ve also shifted to target regular consumers with discounts and other incentives (such as loyalty programs). “While tourism will continue to be a strong driver of our business when things return to normal, this is a unique opportunity for us to build a strong local base and gain lasting market share,” said the Co-CEO of Las Vegas-based dispensary Planet 13. 

Some companies with multiple shops have cut back hours at locations that are more reliant on airport traffic and tourism. Colorado-based Seed & Smith built part of its business based on its proximity to the airport. They recently shut down all of their facility tours and ramped up social media outreach.

In states where adult-use cannabis sales are banned during the epidemic, companies have pivoted to supplying medical patients. Massachusetts is a great example – the state reported a 158% increase in medical patients week-over-week since recreational sales were shut down on March 24.

What this means and why you care: Cannabis entrepreneurs must come up with ways to deal with the downturn in tourism in an industry where many rely heavily on travelers. But this time also represents an opportunity for retailers to expand out new strategies.

// Finance

Canopy Growth Scales Back, and more…

Canadian company Canopy Growth is rethinking things. They ended more cultivation operations in the United States, Canada, Africa, and Columbia to “improve efficiencies,” and announced plans to eliminate 85 full-time workers (mostly from its Colombian operations). Canopy had over $4.5 billion in losses for 2019, after recreational-use was legalized nation-wide in Canada.

Molson Coors Beverage Company and HEXO Corp linked up for a joint venture to look into non-alcohol hemp-derived CBD beverages in Colorado. The project will be majority owned by Molson Coors and operate as a standalone entity with its own board of directors, management team, resources, and go-to-market strategy.

Arizona’s medical marijuana sales jumped 15% in March. Year-over-year, sales are up 32%. Consumers purchased 17,095 pounds last month in the state’s medical cannabis program, estimated to be the third largest program in the country.

Ontario-based cannabis company Aphria Inc. reported quarterly net revenues of $144.4 million, a 65% increase from the prior quarter.

Cannabis producer CannTrust is set to be delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange on May 6, due to the company’s “failure to meet continued listing requirements.”

What this means and why you care: As the world deals with the COVID-19 crisis, the cannabis market reacts. Some firms like Canopy Growth cut back while other companies capitalize on the new normal.

// Legal

Will Biden Back Cannabis Legalization?

Bernie Sanders isn’t confident he will. During a CBS interview on Thursday, a reporter asked Bernie to address a number of his policy proposals and comment on whether or not he thought presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would support them. Although Sanders was confident Biden would take action on “education reform, climate change, and the healthcare system,” he did not mention cannabis legalization or reduced prison sentences.

Biden has maintained an opposition to comprehensive cannabis reform and his record in the Senate outlines a long history of support for the enactment of restrictive drug laws. To his credit, the former vice president has recently backed “decriminalizing possession, medical cannabis legalization, modest federal rescheduling, expunging past convictions, and allowing states to set their own policies.” Support for an end to prohibition could help attract additional voters in November, especially younger Bernie supporters who have opposed Biden in the past. 

So is there hope? It’s been suggested that recently assembled Biden/Sanders joint working groups could lead to an evolution of Biden’s platform. One of these groups will focus on criminal justice reform, which would likely include conversations related to cannabis.

What this means and why you care: As legalization efforts on the state level continue to rise, an end to federal prohibition hasn’t made much headway. With Joe Biden unlikely to support comprehensive reform, alongside President Trump’s firm opposition to legalization, a federal-level cannabis revolution might have to wait until 2024.

// Medicine, Science, & Technology

Cannabis for Headaches & Migraines

A study on how cannabis treats headaches and migraines showed that “headache rating decreased in 89.9% of the sessions, an average 47.3% decrease in [headache] severity was reported, migraine rating decreased in 88.1% of the sessions, and an average 49.6% decrease in [migraine] severity was reported.”

More and more doctors are considering CBD as treatment for a wide variety of medical disorders. A recent study which looked its safety concluded that “CBD is well tolerated and has relatively few serious adverse effects, however interactions with other medications should be monitored carefully.”

Researchers found “no significant difference in measures of medication abortion satisfaction and pain when comparing marijuana users to non-users,” but that “marijuana users often attributed symptom improvement during their medication abortion to marijuana use.”

What this means and why you care: Cannabis has the potential to treat a range of medical disorders and provide relief. Further studies will help clarify the plant’s benefits and allow medical professionals to use it in safe and effective ways.

// Community

Cannabis Cultivation in 2020

Last Thursday, we hosted another wide-reaching live CannaGather Digital, where cannabis industry thought leaders joined up to discuss cannabis cultivation during the COVID-19 epidemic and beyond.

The online event featured Josh Haupt (Chief Cultivation Officer at Medicine Man and Author of “Three A Light”) and Cassandra Maffey (CEO of Scalable Living Soil Technology). 

If you’d like to speak at, sponsor, or otherwise collaborate on a future CannaGather Digital, let us know!

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

Make sure your canna-curious friends and colleagues are up to date on the latest news. Share this newsletter to keep them in the loop.

Written by Justin Bernstein

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