That deal, Canopy CEO David Klein told me, is all about pushing for profitability at home in Canada before stepping into the US.
But Klein thinks that step is coming soon, saying that federal “permissibility” (not legalization, for what it’s worth) is coming like a “freight train.”
Yeji and I will be covering everything you need to know about cannabis in New York. How the policies shake out, stocks to buy, people to know and watch, and who’s benefiting – and losing out – from how the industry develops.
Virginia passed adult-use cannabis on Wednesday. Starting from July 1, adults over the age of 21 will be allowed to possess, consume, and grow cannabis in the state. The bill does not yet allow for recreational sales, which are expected to launch in 2024.
Mexico lawmakers said on Thursday that they are considering yet another extension to hammer out the details of its adult-use bill.
A new study from the National Institute of Justice finds that there is little evidence correlating a specific THC level with impaired driving, and standard field sobriety tests are not effective in determining marijuana intoxication.
Planet 13 released its Q4 results on Monday, reporting $20.1 million in revenue and a $2.9 million net loss.
Verano Holdings released its full year 2020 results on Thursday, reporting $355 million in revenue and $245 million in profit for the full year.
Kushco Holdings released its fiscal Q2 2021 results on Thursday, reporting $32.9 million in revenue and a $5 million net loss.
California cannabis company Glass House has agreed to go public in a $567 million deal. It will be acquired by Mercer Park Brand, a Canadian special-purpose acquisition vehicle (SPAC), likely in the first half of this year.
Glass House is one of the largest cannabis companies in California. It currently oversees more than 500,000 square feet of cultivation crops and produces more than 110,000 pounds of dried flowers. Additionally, it runs four dispensaries and is active in the cannabis wholesale sector. Year-on-year revenue grew by 185% to $53 million in 2020.
Following the sale, “Glass House Group is poised to become the largest, vertically integrated brand-building platform in California,” Jonathan Sandelman, the chairman of Mercer Park, said in a statement.
“When we formed Mercer Park BRND, we aimed to create a platform that could launch the first national cannabis brands in the United States,” he continued.
The acquisition of Glass House includes all of its brands: Glass House Farms, Forbidden Flowers, and Mama Sue. Glass House Farms had a 4% market share at the end of 2020 and is aimed at the average, everyday cannabis consumer. Forbidden Flowers and Mama Sue have more targeted demographics and other product offerings, including THC flower, hemp flower, and tinctures.
The deal extends to two other players in California’s cannabis industry, Retailer Element 7 and Southern California Greenhouse. Glass House will merge with both of these companies within the next year, according to the deal.
Glass House itself is valued at $325 million in the deal. Retailer Element 7 and Southern California Greenhouse are priced at $24 million and $219 million respectively.
Retailer Element 7 will provide an additional 17 dispensary locations in addition to the existing 4. Through the merger with Southern California Greenhouse, Glass House will gain 5.5 million square feet of cultivation space.
“This additional capacity is expected to increase Glass House’s current footprint to up to approximately 2.5 million square feet by 2023. The Company’s total, targeted long-term footprint of 6 million square feet is expected to be by far the largest cultivation capacity in California,” said the joint statement by Mercer Park and Glass House.
Since 2012, 15 states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana for adults over the age of 21. And 36 states have legalized medical marijuana – meaning that a majority of Americans have access to marijuana, whether medically or recreationally.
New York became the latest state to embrace cannabis when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing marijuana on March 31. His move came shortly after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation officially legalizing marijuana in his state.
New Jersey was one of four states, along with Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota, where voters backed legalizing recreational cannabis in November. Voters in Mississippi approved the creation of a medical cannabis program.
Virginia and New Mexico are also close to legalizing recreational cannabis.
Some states that passed medical or recreational legislation through ballot measures have yet to iron out the details. For that reason Insider does not include South Dakota or Mississippi in our tally of markets where the substance is legal. Both states have faced legislative opposition to rolling out their programs.
Though Canada legalized marijuana federally in 2018, the US has not followed suit, forcing states to chart their own courses. As it stands, marijuana is still considered an illegal Schedule I drug by the US federal government.
Biden has said he would support federal decriminalization of the drug, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that marijuana reform will be a priority for the Senate this year.
All the states where marijuana is legal:
This article was first published in January 2018 and has been updated with new information about where cannabis is legal. It was updated on April 1 with New York’s legalization. Melia Russell contributed to an earlier version of this story.
Adults 21 and over can light up in Alaska. In 2015, the northernmost US state made it legal for residents to use, possess, and transport up to an ounce of marijuana — roughly a sandwich bag full — for recreational use. The first pot shop opened for business in 2016.
Alaska has pounced on the opportunity to make its recreational-pot shops a destination for tourists. More than 2 million people visit Alaska annually and spend $2 billion.
The ballot measure was backed by a number of cannabis giants, including Curaleaf, Cresco, and Harvest Enterprises.
The Arizona Department of Health Services began accepting applications for adult-use licenses on January 19. Approvals were issued just three days later on January 22. Sales began immediately.
Arizona rolled out adult-use sales faster than any other state that voted to pass recreational cannabis in the November elections. Companies already operating in the state’s medical market had a first crack at recreational customers.
In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. California became even more pot-friendly in 2016 when it made it legal to use and carry up to 1 ounce of marijuana.
The law also permits adults 21 and over to buy up to 8 grams of marijuana concentrates, which are found in edibles, and grow no more than six marijuana plants per household.
In Colorado, there are more marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks and McDonald’s combined. The state joined Washington in becoming the first two states to fully legalize the drug in 2012.
Residents and tourists over the age of 21 can buy up to 1 ounce of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrates. Some Colorado counties and cities have passed more restrictive laws.
Illinois lawmakers in June 2019 passed a bill that legalized the possession and commercial sale of marijuana in the state starting on January 1, 2020.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who made marijuana legalization a core component of his campaign for the governor’s office, signed the bill into law.
Illinois is the one of the few states to legalize marijuana sales through a state legislature, rather than a ballot initiative.
A ballot initiative in 2016 gave Maine residents the right to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, more than double the limit in most other states.
Massachusetts was the first state on the East Coast to legalize marijuana after voters approved the measure in 2016.
Marijuana dispensaries opened their doors to consumers in November 2018. Adults over the age of 21 can purchase up to 1 ounce of marijuana but cannot consume it in public.
Voters in Michigan passed Proposition 1 in 2018, making it the first state in the Midwest to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. Adults can possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, and residents can grow up to 12 plants at home.
The law is more permissive than other states with legal marijuana: Most allow residents to possess only up to 1 ounce at a time.
Montana residents are officially allowed to use marijuana as of January 1, 2021. A year later, the state will begin to open up applications for dispensaries.
New Jersey in 2020 voted to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older, opening a market that could near $1 billion.
In February, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the legalization legislation, after months of back-and-forth arguments about criminal penalties for minors possessing marijuana and the proper way to set up a licensing framework for cannabis sales in the state, among other details. Sales of cannabis for adult use could start in the second half of this year, analysts at Cowen said.
After two failed attempts to legalize adult-use cannabis in New York, the state finally passed recreational marijuana on March 31, 2021.
Though New Yorkers are now able to possess and smoke cannabis legally in the state, sales aren’t expected to begin for at least a year.
Andrew Carter, an analyst at Stifel, said he expects recreational cannabis sales to begin in late 2022. Analysts from Cantor Fitzgerald and Stifel estimated that New York could become a $5 billion cannabis market by 2025.
Residents and tourists who are 21 and over can buy 1 ounce of marijuana or one-eighth of an ounce of edibles or concentrates in Nevada.
There’s bad news if you want to grow your own bud, though. Nevada residents must live 25 miles outside the nearest dispensary to be eligible for a grower’s license.
Oregon legalized marijuana in 2015, and sales in the state started October 1 of that year.
Adults in the Green Mountain State can carry up to 1 ounce of marijuana and grow no more than two plants for recreational use. The law went into effect in July 2018. But it was limited in scope. It didn’t establish a legal market for the production and sale of the drug.
In 2020, the state legislature passed a bill that would allow for adult-use sales in the state. All localities must opt-in to allow for dispensaries, however. Sales are expected in 2022.
Marijuana was legalized for recreational use in Washington in 2012.
The big news was New York’s legalization of adult-use cannabis. The day after state lawmakers released an updated version of the MRTA over the weekend, New York’s legislature voted to pass the bill in both the State Assembly and Senate. Hours later, on Wednesday morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation into law.
We’ve got you covered on all the different angles of this and how it’ll affect current operators. While stocks remained relatively unchanged the day the bill passed in New York’s legislature, they saw big gains after Cuomo signed the bill.
More regulations are expected to trickle in as the Office of Cannabis Management and a Cannabis Control Board begin to create a more detailed framework for recreational cannabis. But we’ve got you covered in the meantime with the key takeaways every investor should know.
Outside of the vacuum suck that was New York legalization, some companies announced deals to increase their presence in the US. Greenlane and KushCo announced they were merging in an all-stock deal while Verano Holdings announced an acquisition in Pennsylvania and Ayr Wellness closed a deal in Ohio.
Cannabis companies are gearing up for a boost in sales as stimulus checks start hitting people’s bank accounts. Ben Kovler, Green Thumb Industries’ CEO, says “it’ll be as simple as people will buy more weed.”
GTI, Columbia Care, Curaleaf told us they’re looking to ramp up cultivation to meet demand. They also say they’re generally happy with the law but are waiting as more regulations come to light in the coming months.
New York’s new legal market is nuanced and complex. We’ve got you covered with the key takeaways investors should know, including which stocks to buy, deals to expect, and how taxation will look as sales begin.
New York’s adult-use law gives huge advantages to cannabis companies that already have a foothold in the state. The 10 operators in New York’s medical market will be able to transition into adult-use and be some of the few players to be vertically integrated.
The vast majority of the 10 operators currently in New York are multistate operators with deep pockets. A select few, however, are either private or financially struggling. As newcomers look to enter New York, here are the kind of deals you can expect to see.
Some aspects of NY’s cannabis legalization bill take effect immediately, while others are delayed. Here’s what we know about what’s allowed now and when you can expect to be able to home grow and buy products in dispensaries.
Psychedelics company Cybin announced executive changes on Tuesday. Co-founder and former COO Paul Glavine will become chief growth officer, and co-founder and former SVP, Business Development John Kanakis will become chief business officer.
Deals, launches, and IPOs
Psychedelics company Wesana Health announced that it closed a C$16.1 million private placement to fund trials of psychedelic-assisted therapy to treat traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Greenlane and KushCo announced on Wednesday that they were merging in an all-stock deal in which KushCo will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Greenlane.
MSO Verano Holdings announced on Wednesday that it agreed to acquire The Healing Center in Pennsylvania, adding three Pittsburgh-based dispensaries.
Ayr Wellness announced that it closed on its acquisition of Ohio Medical Solutions, Inc. On Tuesday, the company closed the acquisition of medical marijuana company Parma Wellness Center.
Canopy Growth said on Thursday that it closed its acquisition of Ontario-based cannabis brand Ace Valley.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said this week that he wants cannabis to be legal in the state as early as July 1 of this year. In February, state lawmakers passed legislation to legalize cannabis in Virginia in 2024; lawmakers are scheduled to consider Northam’s amendments on April 7 when they reconvene.
The New York State Senate and Assembly passed a bill legalizing marijuana for those over 21 years of age on Tuesday, bringing the Empire State into the recreational cannabis market along with several of its neighbors.
The New York Senate passed the bill to legalize recreational marijuana earlier Tuesday in a 40-23 vote. Late into the night, the Assembly passed adult-use cannabis in a 100-49. The legislation is now en route to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk. He has said he would sign the bill and reiterated his support again on Tuesday after the bill passed both chambers of New York’s state legislature.
With the April 1 budget deadline looming, lawmakers were swift to coalesce around the final language that was only released on Saturday.
Medical cannabis is already legal in a limited capacity in New York, but the recreational provisions in this bill most likely won’t take effect until 2022. Norman Birenbaum told Insider in February that he expects sales to begin around 12-18 months after the bill passes, in accordance with most other states that have made the transition from medical to recreational in recent years.
Cannabis companies have been pouring over the details of the bill, with licenses up for grabs in what could become a $5 billion market by 2025, according to analysts from Cantor Fitzgerald and Stifel.
Under the framework set forward by lawmakers, adults over the age of 21 in New York would be able to legally purchase and possess cannabis.
They’ll also be allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants at home, with a maximum of three mature and three immature plants per adult, and partake in marijuana on-site at various “consumption lounges.”
The legislation expands New York’s existing medical program. The list of qualifying medical conditions for medical cannabis could be expanded, along with product options. Flower products, which are not allowed under New York’s medical program, may be permitted under the expansions.
The 10 cannabis companies that currently operate in New York’s medical market are expected to have a big leg up over new entrants into the space because they already have dispensaries and cultivation in place in the state. However, the bill emphasizes social equity and outlines a goal of 50% of licenses going to social equity applicants, or individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.
The bill also earmarks 40% of tax revenue from cannabis sales for a new fund to support economic and social-equity programs. Another 40% would go to the state education fund, and the remaining 20% would go to drug-education program – a structure that marks a huge win for Democrats who had pushed for social equity to be a key component of legalization.
The tax revenues that would come in from a legal market were a point of debate between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers the past two times New York tried – and failed – to legalize cannabis. But with the myriad scandals facing Gov. Cuomo, lawmakers were able to wield more control than they otherwise would have during budget season.
Details such as how many dispensaries will be allowed in total in New York still need to be worked out. The bill would create an Office of Cannabis Management and a Cannabis Control Board to regulate the industry and fine-tune these details.
Individuals who want to take part in New York’s legal market would have the choice of either owning dispensaries or becoming a cultivator under the bill. The exceptions to this are existing medical operators wishing to transition to adult-use and “microbusinesses,” or smaller social equity operators who can control multiple parts of their own supply chain. Incumbent medical operators will be allowed to keep their cultivation, distribution, and retail capabilities even if they choose to take part in the recreational market.
New retail operators would be allowed a maximum of three dispensaries. There is not yet a cap on the total number of licenses allowed in New York. This number of licenses may be left up to the Cannabis Control Board, the bill said.
1 in 3 Americans now live in a state where adults can legally buy marijuana for recreational use.
New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota all legalized marijuana for over-21-year-olds. New York is on the verge of legalization and could soon become the 15th state to legalize weed for all adults.
Research has found cannabis can relieve pain, treat epilepsy, and improve people’s sex lives. Marijuana use has also been associated with short-term memory problems, a distorted sense of time, and decreased sperm counts.
Despite the limitations to scientists studying the drug, a growing body of research and numerous anecdotal reports have found links between cannabis and several health benefits, including pain relief and the potential to help with certain forms of epilepsy.
In addition, researchers say there are many other ways marijuana might affect health that they want to better understand — including a mysterious syndrome that appears to make marijuana users violently ill.
Along with several other recent studies, a massive report released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in 2017 helps sum up exactly what we know — and what we don’t — about the science of weed.
Here’s what you should know about how marijuana affects the brain and body.
Marijuana use is linked to a rare syndrome that causes nausea and vomiting.
They gave her condition a name: cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS. The rare illness is still fairly new and understudied, but researchers believe it might affect a large population.
“CHS is certainly not very rare,” Andrew Monte, an associate professor of emergency medicine at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital who led the March study, previously told Business Insider. “We see it absolutely every week in our ER.”
Marijuana can make you feel good.
One of weed’s active ingredients, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) interacts with the brain’s reward system, the part that has been primed to respond to things that make us feel good, like eating and sex.
When overexcited by drugs, the reward system creates feelings of euphoria. This is also why some studies have suggested that excessive marijuana use can be a problem for some people — the more often you trigger that euphoria, the less you may feel during other rewarding experiences.
In the short term, it can also make your heart race.
Within a few minutes of inhaling marijuana, your heart rate can increase by between 20 and 50 beats a minute. This can last anywhere from 20 minutes to three hours, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The NASEM report found insufficient evidence to support or refute the idea that cannabis might increase the overall risk of a heart attack. The same report, however, also found some limited evidence that smoking could be a trigger for a heart attack.
Marijuana’s effects on the heart could be tied to effects on blood pressure, but the link needs more research.
Research suggests this is a poor assumption — and one that could have interfered with the study’s results. According to a recent survey, about 52% of Americans have tried cannabis at some point, yet only 14% used the drug at least once a month.
Other studies have also come to the opposite conclusion of the present study. According to the Mayo Clinic, using cannabis could result in decreased — not increased — blood pressure.
So while there’s probably a link between smoking marijuana and high blood pressure, there’s not enough research yet to say that one leads to the other.
Weed may also help relieve some types of pain.
Pot contains cannabidiol, or CBD, a chemical that is not responsible for getting you high but is thought to be responsible for many of marijuana’s therapeutic effects. Those benefits can include pain relief or potential treatment for certain kinds of childhood epilepsy.
The new report also found conclusive or substantial evidence — the most definitive levels — that cannabis can be an effective treatment for chronic pain, which could have to do with both CBD and THC. Pain is also “by far the most common” reason people request medical marijuana, according to the report.
Pain relief could include the discomfort of arthritis.
One of the ways scientists think marijuana may help with pain is by reducing inflammation, a component of illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis.
A preliminary 2005 study of 58 patients with RA, roughly half of whom were given a placebo and roughly half of whom were given a cannabis-based medicine called Sativex, found “statistically significant improvements in pain on movement, pain at rest, quality of sleep” for patients on Sativex.
Other studies testing other cannabinoid products and inhaled marijuana have shown similar pain-relieving effects, according to the report.
Individuals with inflammatory bowel disease may also find some relief.
A 2014 paper, for example, describes two studies of people with chronic Crohn’s. Half were given the drug and half got a placebo. That study showed a decrease in symptoms in 10 of 11 subjects using cannabis, compared with just four of 10 on the placebo. But when the researchers did a follow-up study using low-dose CBD, they saw no effect in the patients.
Researchers say that, for now, we need more research before we’ll know whether cannabis can help with these diseases.
Marijuana may also be helpful in controlling epileptic seizures.
The drug can be prescribed to people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two rare forms of epilepsy. In fact, it is the first FDA-approved treatment option for Dravet syndrome.
In the clinical trial for the drug, common side effects included sleepiness, fatigue, decreased appetite, diarrhea, and insomnia.
But it can also mess with your sense of balance.
Marijuana may throw off your balance, as it influences activity in the cerebellum and basal ganglia, two brain areas that help regulate balance, coordination, reaction time, and posture.
And it can distort your sense of time.
Feeling as if time is sped up or slowed down is one of the most commonly reported effects of using marijuana. A 2012 paper sought to draw some solid conclusions from studies on those anecdotal reports, but it was unable to do so.
“Even though 70% of time estimation studies report overestimation, the findings of time production and time reproduction studies remain inconclusive,” the paper said.
In a 1998 study that used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to focus on the brains of volunteers on THC, the authors noted that many had altered blood flow to the cerebellum, which most likely plays a role in our sense of time.
Limitations on what sort of marijuana research is allowed make it particularly difficult to study this sort of effect.
A recent study in mice suggested the possibility that marijuana may effectively flip a circuit in the brain that is normally responsible for quelling the appetite, triggering us to eat instead.
It all comes down to a special group of cells in the brain that are normally activated after we have eaten a big meal to tell us we’ve had enough. The psychoactive ingredient in weed appears to activate just one component of those appetite-suppressing cells, making us feel hungry rather than satisfied.
Some women have reported having more satisfying sex when using marijuana.
A small study of 373 women from of varying races, sexual orientations, and marital statuses found that people who said they used marijuana before sex tended to have a more pleasurable experience than those who did not use the substance.
Specifically, some women reported having more satisfying orgasms and an increase in their sex drive.
Researchers weren’t able to pinpoint why marijuana had this effect, but suggested it could be due to the substance’s ability to reduce stress and anxiety.
Marijuana may also interfere with how you form memories.
Marijuana can mess with your memory by changing the way your brain processes information, but scientists still aren’t sure exactly how this happens. Still, several studies suggest that weed interferes with short-term memory, and researchers tend to see more of these effects in inexperienced or infrequent users than in heavy, frequent users.
Unsurprisingly, these effects are most evident in the acute sense — immediately after use, when people are high.
According to the new NASEM report, there was limited evidence showing a connection between cannabis use and impaired academic achievement, something that has been shown to be especially true for people who begin smoking regularly during adolescence. (That has also been shown to increase the risk for problematic use.)
Importantly, in most cases, saying cannabis is connected to an increased risk doesn’t mean marijuana use caused that risk.
In some people, weed could increase the risk of depression.
Scientists can’t say for sure whether marijuana causes depression or depressed people are simply more likely to smoke. But one study from the Netherlands suggests that smoking weed could raise the risk of depression for young people who already have a special serotonin gene that could make them more vulnerable to depression.
Those findings are bolstered by the NASEM report, which found moderate evidence that cannabis use was linked to a small increased risk of depression.
And it may also increase the risk of developing schizophrenia.
The NASEM report also found substantial evidence of an increased risk among frequent marijuana users of developing schizophrenia — something that studies have shown is a particular concern for people at risk for schizophrenia in the first place.
Regular marijuana use may also be connected to an increased risk of social anxiety.
Researchers think it’s possible that CBD might be a useful treatment for anxiety disorders, and that’s something that several institutions are currently trying to study.
The recent report suggested that evidence of a link between marijuana and an increased risk of most anxiety disorders was limited.
However, the authors wrote that there is moderate evidence that regular marijuana use is connected to an increased risk of social anxiety. As in other cases, it’s hard to know whether marijuana use causes that increase or people use marijuana because of an increased risk of social anxiety.
Marijuana use could also affect sperm count.
A small study of 37 men found that those who used marijuana had decreased sperm counts than those who never used marijuana. The study did not specify the methods of marijuana consumption used.
Another study, however, found that marijuana increased sperm count in men. This study was larger and looked at 1,215 healthy young men. They found that men who currently or previously used marijuana had both higher sperm counts and higher sperm concentrations than men who never used the substance.
A person could need more sedation medication for surgery if they have a regular marijuana habit.
A small study in the May 2019 issue of The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that people who reported smoking marijuana or eating edibles on a daily or weekly basis needed higher doses of medication for sedation.
The researchers found that people who used marijuana daily or weekly needed 14% more fentanyl, 19.6% more midazolam, and 220.5% more propofol (all medications that are used for sedation) for the full length of their procedures than their counterparts who didn’t use as much marijuana.
Researchers haven’t determined why this was the case, but they believe marijuana could potentially desensitize the body’s receptors that process sedatives.
It’s worth noting that marijuana has likely gotten stronger since the 1980s, and that its ratio of THC to CBD has changed as well.
The THC content of marijuana across the US has tripled since 1995, according to a large recent study in which researchers reviewed close to 39,000 samples of cannabis. While THC levels hovered around 4%, on average, in 1995, they skyrocketed to roughly 12% in 2014.
Still, tracking THC potency over time can be tricky. The older a weed sample gets, the more its THC appears to degrade. How it is stored matters too. These two barriers could be interfering somewhat with the metrics on pot’s potency.
Most importantly, regular weed use is linked with some specific brain changes – but scientists can’t say for sure whether one causes the other.
Compared to people who rarely or never used the drug, the long-term users tended to have a smaller orbitofrontal cortex, a brain region critical for processing emotions and making decisions. But they also had stronger cross-brain connections, which scientists think smokers may develop to compensate.
Still, the study doesn’t show that smoking pot caused certain regions of the brain to shrink; other studies suggest that having a smaller orbitofrontal cortex in the first place could make someone more likely to start smoking.
Most researchers agree that the people most susceptible to brain changes are those who begin using marijuana regularly during adolescence.
The researchers noticed these brain-level changes in teens who had just one or two joints in their lifetimes.
Although researchers are unsure whether higher brain volume is bad for health, they do know brain volume naturally decreases during the aging process, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“Although the causes of major depressive disorder are multifactorial and complex, this meta-analysis suggests that the cannabis exposure could be 1 factor contributing to depression in young adulthood,” the researchers wrote.
Marijuana use affects the lungs but doesn’t seem to increase the risk of lung cancer.
People who smoke marijuana regularly are more likely to experience chronic bronchitis, according to the report. There’s also evidence that stopping smoking relieves these symptoms.
Yet perhaps surprisingly, the report’s authors found moderate evidence that cannabis was not connected to any increased risk of the lung cancers or head and neck cancers associated with smoking cigarettes.
Other forms of marijuana consumption, like vaping or eating edibles, have not been linked to increased cancer risk like smoking has been linked.
“When you combust any plant, you’re creating significantly more carcinogens,” Dr. Jeffrey Chen, the director of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative, previously told INSIDER.
Some athletes think marijuana could be used in ways that might improve certain types of physical performance.
Some athletes, especially in certain endurance and adventure sports, say marijuana use can boost their athletic performance. This may be because of anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving effects that make it easier to push through a long workout or recover from one.
At the same time, there are ways that marijuana could impair athletic performance, since it affects coordination and motivation, and dulls the body’s natural recovery process.
Without more research, it’s hard to know how marijuana affects athletic performance.
There’s evidence that marijuana use during pregnancy could have negative effects.
According to the new NASEM report, there’s substantial evidence showing a link between prenatal cannabis exposure — when a pregnant woman uses marijuana — and lower birth weight. There was limited evidence suggesting that using marijuana during pregnancy could cause complications and increase the risk that a baby would have to spend time in a neonatal intensive care unit.
A study published in JAMA Psychiatry in September 2020 found that pregnant women who used marijuana had a higher risk of their children having ADHD and/or psychotic behaviors that have been linked to schizophrenia.
Experts say they have little information about the potential health risks associated with this practice, so they urge mothers to abstain from marijuana consumption.
CBD pills could help people cut down on marijuana use or quit.
Cannabis use disorder is a diagnosis that describes dependence on cannabis, making it hard to consume less of, or none of, the drug.
But in a study published in July 2o2o, UK researchers found that using CBD pills could wean people off cannabis if they have been diagnosed with cannabis use disorder.
“Unlike THC, CBD does not produce intoxicating or rewarding effects and it shows potential for a treating several other medical disorders,” lead author Dr. Tom Freeman said.
There are still so many questions about how marijuana affects the body and brain that scientists say far more research is needed.
Based on the available evidence and conversations with researchers, there are good reasons to think marijuana has potentially valuable medical uses. At the same time, we know that, as with any substance, not all use is risk-free.
More research is needed to figure out how to best treat the conditions that cannabis can help and how to minimize any risks associated with medical or recreational use.
Staci Gruber, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery program at McLean Hospital, told Business Insider that marijuana research is essential in determining “how best we can use it, what are the safest ways, and what are the real risks.”
Kevin Loria contributed to a previous version of this story.
The cannabis news machine was cranking on all cylinders this week.
First, the SAFE Banking Act was reintroduced in the House by a bipartisan group of lawmakers. The Senate version will be introduced next week. We read through the bill and pulled out all the most important details.
President Biden, for his part, will not likely be a friend to cannabis reform efforts – recent reporting from The Daily Beast shows that the White House fired staffers who admitted to past cannabis use. Bob Dylan may have said it best: The times are a-changing, but not quite as quickly as some may have hoped.
It’s important to keep in mind the more pernicious impact of punitive cannabis policies, though: It’s on people of color. Ninety-four percent of marijuana-related arrests by the NYPD last year were people of color.
Cannabis companies that survived a tumultuous 2019 and 2020 are seeing their fortunes improve. Insider looked through data from CreditRiskMonitor to see the risk of bankruptcy for major cannabis companies.
The good news is that cannabis companies have generally seen their financial situations improve over the past year. The bad news is that many still remain at risk and in the “red flag” zone.
Democratic leaders want to federally legalize weed, an exciting prospect for the industry. But six Democratic senators on Capitol Hill told Insider they had reservations about doing so.
Insider’s interviews with several senators on Capitol Hill show Democrats aren’t united on the issue, and the prospect of decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level this Congress isn’t as high as the industry envisions. Republicans tend to oppose the matter, but some would like legislation to support cannabis shops.
House lawmakers introduced a modest cannabis reform bill this week that has a good chance of becoming law, because it has bipartisan support. Insider read through the SAFE Banking Act and chose the top takeaways from the legislation.
Curaleaf announced that investment banking veteran Carlos Madrazo is joining the company as senior VP of investor relations and capital markets
Former Nike senior brand director Craig Lyon is joining Connected Cannabis as head of marketing, the company announced on Tuesday.
Publicly traded cannabis tech company Akerna will acquire Viridian Sciences, a business management platform geared toward dispensaries in an all-stock transaction. The company did not disclose the size of the deal.
Policy moves and politics
Dozens of White House staff have been sidelined for their past cannabis use, according to The Daily Beast. Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday said that only five people who started working at the White House are no longer employed.
Sens. Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, and Ron Wyden held a discussion on Facebook Live to underscore their support for the SAFE Banking Act and federal marijuana decriminalization.
A deal to legalize recreational cannabis in New York is “very close” according to state lawmakers and Gov. Cuomo. Senator Liz Krueger, a co-sponsor of the MRTA, said in a radio interview this week that she is “extremely pleased” with the agreement that Gov. Cuomo and other lawmakers have reached in regards to growing pot at home and social equity funding.
Between 2010 and 2019, there were eight times as many marijuana-related arrests of Black and Latinx people as there were of white people in New York City, according to a report from the nonprofit Drug Policy Alliance and the City University of New York’s Public Science Project.
Green Thumb Industries released its Q4 and full-year results, reporting net revenue of $177.2 million and $22.5 million in net income.
Sundial released its Q4 and full-year results, reporting net revenue of C$13.9 million and a net loss of C$64.1 million.
Hexo Corp released its Q2 results, reporting net revenue of $32.8 million and a net loss of $20.8 million.
Chart of the week
Cannabis jobs have been growing rapidly across the US in recent years. The industry has averaged 27.5% growth each year, according to Leafly’s 2021 Jobs Report. In 2021, there are now 321,000 legal cannabis jobs in the country:
Cannabis stocks moved higher on Monday after Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York is “very close” on legalizing the drug for recreational use.
Shares of Tilray and Aphria traded up as much as 14% and 12%, respectively, while marijuana ETFs like the ETFMG Alternative Harvest and AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETFs were up as much as 4%.
“I think this [cannabis legalization] should’ve been passed years ago,” Cuomo said in an afternoon news conference, before adding “we have to get it done.”
“I think too many people have been imprisoned, incarcerated, and punished. Too many of those people are Black, Latino, and poor. It’s exaggerated the injustice of the justice system,” Cuomo added.
Like many other states that have considered the benefits of marijuana legalization, Cuomo said the measure could help raise revenue for the state’s deficit, which surged amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
But one analyst from BTIG thinks Cuomo is pushing hard for marijuana legalization to distract from recent sexual harassment allegations made against him. BTIG thinks a vote on the measure could come before the April 1 due date for the state’s budget.
If New York does legalize cannabis, it would likely represent a seminal moment in the cannabis reform and investment movement, as the fourth most populous state would grant its residents permission to consume the drug legally.
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.
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.
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.”
By midafternoon, the Houseplant site experienced so much traffic that it crashed, and the brand set up a “waiting room” for customers looking to get access to the site.
Less than an hour later, Rogen tweeted that the site had been taken offline to get it in better shape to support all the traffic. He told fans that many of the Houseplant products were still available.
Houseplant initially launched in Canada in May 2019. The launch on Thursday marked a move to the US market for Rogen and his longtime writing and business partner Evan Goldberg, as well as the brand’s CEO, Michael Mohr, a venture capitalist.
The brand sells bespoke strains of cannabis, which are packaged to look like vintage records. Rogen shared photos of a block-shaped lighter and ceramics from the brand on his social-media accounts as well.
Rogen told Architectural Digest that Houseplant was “trying to really consider people who smoke weed in a way that they have not been considered before.”
“Just like alcohol has martini shakers, wine glasses, and corkscrews. If you are someone who smokes weed, there is really none of that,” he said.
A press release said that after Houseplant’s launch, the brand would be releasing new products from the “Housegoods” line “every few weeks.”
“We are thrilled by how insanely positive the response has been so far – we have been completely inundated with interest and requests, and our site has been overwhelmed with the amount of traffic,” a Houseplant spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Insider. “We are working hard to get the website back up and running again, and will be in communication with our customers all along the way to provide the best experience possible.”