Welcome to Insider Cannabis, our weekly newsletter where we’re bringing you an inside look at the deals, trends, and personalities driving the multibillion-dollar global cannabis boom.
Happy Friday everyone,
There were lots of major, market-moving deals in the industry this week – and with Mexico becoming the fourth country (and the one with by far the largest population) to legalize cannabis, there’s lots of room to be optimistic about the future.
British American Tobacco agreed to pour $175 million into a 20% stake of Canadian cannabis producer Organigram, a portend of future tobacco and cannabis tie-ups, according to analysts. I spoke with Organigram’s CEO, Greg Engel, about the deal yesterday.
He told me that while the focus is on US CBD – that’s so far the largest legal addressable market – he said “the majority of the work we do is transferrable to THC.”
“We’re tackling the big near-term market opportunity first, and then we’ll be able to pivot,” Engel told me.
In other news, Curaleaf is the first US cannabis company to push into Europe, agreeing to pay $285 million, mostly in stock, for EMMAC Life Sciences. You can read my story on Curaleaf’s international ambitions here.
Last, despite all the room for optimism, the cannabis industry is still reeling from the effects of overly ambitious growth.
As a reminder, if you want to get in touch with a confidential tip, reach out to us at email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Signal number for encrypted messages upon request.
Here’s what we wrote about this week:
Acreage Holdings laid off 11 corporate employees last week as part of a restructuring, two sources familiar with the matter told Insider.
The layoffs included several senior employees, such as the director of compliance and VP of communications, among others. The move was billed as a corporate-wide restructuring effort, the people said.
The CEO of the biggest cannabis company in the US lays out how he’s preparing to profit from the spread of legal marijuana around the world
Curaleaf will become the first US cannabis company to expand into Europe through its acquisition of European cannabis company EMMAC Life Sciences in a $285 million deal. CEO Joseph Bayern told Insider he believes Europe will evolve to become a cannabis market that will rival the US.
Wealthy donors are fueling a psychedelics renaissance as universities vie for funding to study ‘magic mushrooms’ and MDMA
Within the past two years, around half a dozen universities have established centers focused on researching the use of psychedelic substances as medical treatments. The trend, researchers say, is in large thanks due to increasing evidence around the compounds as well as wealthy philanthropists have caught the “psychedelic bug.”
Deals, launches, and IPOs
- Curaleaf acquired European cannabis company EMMAC Life Sciences in a cash-and-stock $285 million deal. Read our interview with CEO Joseph Bayern here.
- British American Tobacco (BAT) invested $175 million into a 19.9% stake in Canadian cannabis producer Organigram. The two companies will focus on developing CBD products for the US market, before expanding into other product lines. Organigram shares shot up over 38% on the deal.
- Silver Spike Acquisition Corp announced on Thursday that it raised $250 million for another cannabis-focused SPAC.
- Fintech startup Aeropay raised $5 million, led by Chicago Ventures, to fuel growth in the cannabis payments space.
- Green Thumb Industries is entering California. The cannabis firm opened up an Essence-branded dispensary in Pasadena on Thursday.
- Lawmakers in Mexico passed a bill to legalize adult-use cannabis on Wednesday night. The legislation is expected to pass the Senate before landing on President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s desk.
Science and research
- A study in the journal Nature Sustainability found that indoor cannabis grows are a major contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. One kilogram of dried cannabis produces 2 to 5 tons of carbon dioxide – moving grows outdoors can help alleviate the high energy use.
- A new study in the European Journal of Public Health based on data from Ireland’s National Drug Prevalence Surveys found that male adolescents and young adults were most likely to be current users of cannabis and are at greater risk of cannabis use Disorder.
- Curaleaf released its Q4 and full year results, reporting revenue of $233.3 million and a net loss of $35.3 million for Q4.
- Acreage Holdings released its Q4 and full year results, reporting revenue of $31.5 million and a net loss of $36.9 million for Q4.
- Ayr Wellness released its Q4 and full year results, reporting revenue of $47.8 million and a net loss of $143.6 million for Q4.
What we’re reading
Canopy Growth, others formed JV ‘solely’ to pump marijuana stock, refiled CA$500 million lawsuit alleges (Marijuana Business Daily)
Seth Rogen Is All Fired Up (New York Times)