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Exclusive: iAnthus CEO Hadley Ford

iAnthus is one of the more ambitious cannabis companies you may never have heard of. The company has 28 stores in the U.S. where it's beginning to roll out its "Be." dispensary brand, starting with a flagship store in Brooklyn.

At MJBiz Con, I caught up with iAnthus CEO and former Goldman Sachs banker Harley Ford to discuss legalization in New York, the future of interstate trade and why he thinks pot stocks are undervalued.

Read the exclusive interview here.

A Canadian analyst argues the worst is over for pot stocks and that institutional investors are getting more comfortable with the idea of cannabis investing. 🍁WW Canada has more.

Another Canadian analyst expects things to get worse before they get better.

Quick Hit

  1. Brian Mitchell, CEO of California-based Shryne Group, another quietly ambitious company, says the Green Rush is over, and good riddance.
    Cannabis Industry Journal


California Sues Lowell Herb Co. for Unlicensed Processing


The California Dept. of Food and Agriculture is suing California brand Lowell Herb Co. and associated entities for allegedly engaging in commercial cannabis activity without a license.

  • Update: Lowell responds "During the industry's transition in 2018, Lowell was working through a licensed third-party operator who had a lapse in their license. Thankfully the state is now caught up issuing new licenses, and we are currently operating in Los Angeles with both our Distribution and Type 6 Manufacturing licenses.   Our team will be reaching out to the CDFA to address their concerns for the issues that arose from the lapse in this license."

Lowell attracted attention this year for opening California's first cannabis restaurant. Before the suit landed, it said it was dropping "Lowell" from the restaurant's name.
L.A. Magazine

Quick Hits

  1. California dispensary Harborside will appeal the federal case it lost fighting industry-hated tax rule 280E. The company has been ordered to pay about $11M in back taxes from between 2007 and 2012. 🌴WW California has more.
    Bloomberg Ta
  2. With industry support, California launched a major crackdown on unlicensed LA shops.
  3. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) discussed the state's efforts to regulate cannabis.
    Nevada Independent

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Canopy Names New CEO

Canada-based Canopy Growth, generally considered the world's largest cannabis company, has named Constellation Brands CFO David Klein as its new CEO. Analysts read the move as increasing the odds that US liquor company Constellation will acquire Canopy, in which it is a major shareholder. 🍁WW Canada has more.

Quick Hits

  1. Colorado-based Medicine Man Technologies named Justin Dye as its new CEO.
  2. AdCann assembled six examples of reasonably attractive packaging which is compliant in Canada.


MLB to Treat Cannabis Like Alcohol

Photo by Jose Morales on Unsplash

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association removed marijuana from its list of "drugs of abuse" and said it would start testing players for opioids.
Rolling Stone

  • Marijuana related offenses will now be treated more like alcohol, and a potential $35,000 charge will be dropped.

In the same spirit, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he anticipates an "adjustment" to the NFL's prohibition of cannabis use.
NBC Sports


N.Y., N.J. Renew REC Push

Photo by Oliver Niblett on Unsplash

After falling short in 2019, New York and New Jersey officials discussed their hopes to legalize REC in 2020.

Quick Hits

  1. Virginia officials discussed decriminalizing in the now Democratically controlled state.
  2. Florida agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried (D), a vocal supporter of MED access, is engaged to her boyfriend Jake Bergmann, a founder of MED company Surterra Wellness, now known as Parallel.


Cannabis Patent Wars

Photo by Alessandro Bianchi on Unsplash

A four-part series in Leafly looks at the many issues surrounding cannabis patents and the "coming patent war." The story, David Bienenstock writes, is "perhaps business as usual in the cutthroat world of corporate agriculture, but represents a massive paradigm shift for traditional cannabis growers." 

  • "It’s not hard to imagine a Monsanto-fication of commercial cannabis farming," he writes.

Quick Hits

  1. The National Cannabis Roundtable, a group figure headed by former Speaker of the House John Boehner (R), released a statement calling for social justice, social equity and diversity and inclusion, signed by several prominent CEOs.
  2. California tech company Wayv is launching what it calls the first digital, compliant payment system for cannabis.


California Calls THC a Threat to Pregnant Women

Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash

A little known California government committee voted to declare THC a risk to pregnant women and their fetuses. The decision by the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee, which takes effect in a year, will require a warning label on marijuana products sold in the state. 🌴WW California has more.

  • Surveys have shown a rise in pregnant women using cannabis to relieve morning sickness, even though it is not a proven treatment.
  • Industry officials said there is not enough evidence to support the claim and worried it would open them to lawsuits.

Quick Hit

  1. A study found cannabinoids may be useful in treating alcohol use disorders.
    Alcoholism:Clinical & Experimental Research


Weed in Space

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

In a first, Colorado company Front Range Biosciences plans to send coffee and hemp plant cultures into space to study the effects of zero-gravity on plant mutations.

  • The plants will travel aboard a SpaceX cargo flight to the International Space Station and stay there for about a month.


Trump Admin. Defends Student's Right to Discuss Legalization

Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash

The U.S. Department of Justice defended a Mississippi student's right to discuss legalization on campus.
Marijuana Moment

  • Mike Brown, sued Jones County Junior College after he was disciplined for holding up a sign asking students where they stood on legalization.
  • “The United States of America is not a police state,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division said in a press release. “Repressive speech codes are the indecent hallmark of despotic, totalitarian regimes."

Quick Hit

  1. Record expungements for past pot convictions are gaining momentum, but some law enforcement groups disagree. “These are people who were convicted of making a decision to break the law,” said Bob Bushman, president of the National Narcotic Officers’ Assns.’ Coalition. “It was illegal when they did it and their convictions were the consequences for their illegal actions. They shouldn’t get a free pass like it never happened.”
    L.A. Times


Canadian Miss Universe Contestant Dresses as Weed


At last weekend's Miss Universe pageant, Canadian contestant Alyssa Boston dressed as legal cannabis.

  • “It was inspired by Canada’s recent legalization of cannabis but most importantly to end the stigma globally in hopes to spark more research for medicinal purposes,” Boston wrote on Instagram.

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