A psychedelic renaissance

flow cannabis institute product marijuaan
Welcome to Insider Cannabis.

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.

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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.

We got the scoop on Acreage Holdings cutting 11 senior employees from its corporate office earlier this month. And Canopy Growth is laying off 75 employees and closing its facility in Denmark.

As a reminder, if you want to get in touch with a confidential tip, reach out to us at jberke@insider.com, or ylee@insider.com. Signal number for encrypted messages upon request.

-Jeremy (@jfberke) and Yeji (@jesse_yeji)

Here’s what we wrote about this week:

New York cannabis retailer Acreage Holdings quietly laid off 11 senior employees, sources say

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

Policy moves

  • 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

Earnings roundup

  • 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

Canada weighs tighter rules for grow-your-own pot producers (Reuters)

So many people visited the website for Seth Rogen’s new marijuana and home-goods company that the site crashed (Insider)

New cannabis coalition wants to influence how – not if – weed is legalized (Politico)

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)

For Nearly a Year, Teenagers Have Been Robbing Portland Dispensaries. Then Somebody Shot a Budtender. (Willamette Week)

Read the original article on Business Insider