May 4 2021,


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MSO Ascend Wellness Holdings soared 22% in its debut on the Canadian Securities Exchange, reaching a market cap of $1.6B. The pop comes after a slow April for pot stocks.   
Reuters, New Cannabis Ventures

  • The company posted $144M in revenue last year.
  • Reuters reports that before deciding to go public Ascend had preliminary talks about an acquisition by Florida-based MSO Trulieve. CEO Abner Kurtin said the company remains open to being acquired if there's a "strategic fit." 
  • The company, which acquired MedMen's New York assets in February, has a taste for distressed assets, Kurtin told Business Insider. (Paywall)
  • It went public through a traditional IPO rather than a reverse takeover, in part because it aspires to uplist to the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ once that's legally possible. 
  • The company just opened the first REC shop in downtown Boston.

Quick Hit

  1. Hopes that Rhode Island and Minnesota would legalize REC this year have faded, but Texas may still loosen its MED law.

Bengal Capital's newsletter weighs in on how consumers discover and settle on their favorite brands:

The affinity for brands doesn’t begin or end in a vacuum. Customers pick brands on a relative basis once they’ve tried other products in that category. Very few people decided to fall in love with a Porsche without first subconsciously comparing it to the many experiences they had driving other cars...

Building brand affinity among consumers who are new to the product is extraordinarily difficult when they have nothing in their internal database to compare it to. Oftentimes, even if the interaction with the product was delightful, it emboldens the customer to try other types in order to experience more of that category. Eventually, they may come back around to the first brand that they enjoyed but it's often a long and circuitous path. “Brands” in cannabis will eventually be a huge business - the way that we get there will be highly unconventional.

Read the whole thing.

Quick Hit

  1. There was a bit of a...dust-up over Canna Bumps, a THC product designed to resemble powdered cocaine. In Leafly, Bruce Barcott calls it "very not fucking funny." 


The double whammy of the vape crisis and Covid left the vape industry reeling. While sales have continued to grow, vapes have lost market share and continue to struggle against public perceptions.

WeedWeek reports:

Business owners within the space know just how fragile that confidence can be. Although licensed vape brands were largely absolved of culpability in the 2019 lung-illness outbreak, they are still working to make that message widely known. Even with that crisis now in the rear-view, a handful of company representatives contacted for this article declined to comment on it, likely hopeful to simply move past it.

Signs of the industry moving past the COVID sales dip have already emerged.

Inhale the whole thing.

This story was made possible by The Blinc Group.

IN THE NEWS — 5/5/21