November 13 2022,
THE BIG IDEA
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In the newsletter:
- EXCLUSIVE: Who owns Advanced Nutrients?
- Election Day roundup
Plus lots more,
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WHAT YOU MISSED IN WEEDWEEK CALIFORNIA PRO
EXCLUSIVE: Who owns Advanced Nutrients?
In November 2013, Michael “BigMike” Straumietis, co-founder and CEO of Advanced Nutrients fertilizer, put out a press release. It said he had bought out his two co-founders to become the company’s sole owner. The takeover “will allow BigMike to finally bring his dreams to reality,” it reads.
Over 15 years, Advanced Nutrients had grown from its humble origins as a British Columbia (B.C.) hydroponics shop into one of the biggest aboveground cannabis companies. Even on the west coast, legalization was years off, but AN produced an ancillary product that could be sold anywhere.
The “Nutes” brand connected with growers and became a cultural signifier. Colorful product names like Big Bud, Voodoo Juice and Rhino Skin helped it build an international following.
Today, 10 years after his press release, BigMike says AN had reached more than $100M in annual sales in 107 countries. He calls it “the most profitable cannabis company in the world.”
This allows BigMike, who is 6’7’’, to live “one hell of an awesome life.” In 2015, The Daily Mail dubbed him “king of Instagram” for his posts of private jets, sports cars and young, attractive women, their cleavage bursting with weed. Last fall, he hosted BigMike’s HalloWeed Bazaar, one of his “marijuana mansion” parties, at a 10-acre Beverly Hills estate. “Pillars bursting into flames and fire performers greeted guests, while sword swallowers, water dragons, and contortionists delivered 360 degrees of show stopping spectacles,” BigMike described it in a blog post.
The “freakishly alive” carnival atmosphere featured palm and tarot card readers, and a Ferris wheel. The “indulgent fare” — BigMike is known to furnish epic raw bars — accompanied drinks, a dab bar, a candy room and “endless platters of AAA bud.” A-list DJ A-Trak presided.
In the 10 years since the press release, BigMike had evidently come some way to bringing his dreams to reality. However, the announcement was incorrect in one key detail. While Big Mike would apparently take control of Advanced Nutrients, at the time of the announcement he hadn’t bought out his two co-founders. This is stated in subsequent court filings from both of BigMike’s two co-founders, as well as this one from Advanced Nutrients, where BigMike remains CEO.
So who owns Advanced Nutrients? The litigation is well into its second decade.
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ELECTION DAY ROUNDUP
The conventional wisdom is weed had a ‘meh’ e, only winning two out of five states where it was on the ballot. I’d argue the cannabiz overall did better than the results suggest.
The two states which legalized REC, Maryland and Missouri, represent a combined market of ~8-9M adults. The three which fell short, Arkansas and the Dakotas have a combined 5M people and no major media markets.
Other reasons for the industry to celebrate:
- Pennsylvania elected vocal legalization advocate John Fetterman. The N.Y.Times called his campaign a model for Democrats winning back the white working class. It was also the state where weed was closest to be being on the ballot.
- Overperformance by Democrats in both chambers could advance help federal reform. Marijuana Moment takes a look.
- Nearly half of Americans live in legal states.
PLUS: Voters in Colorado decriminalized psilocybin and some other psychedelics.
- The illegal market which strangled California is now coming for New York.
- A federal court threw out a Florida lawsuit trying to win gun rights for MED patients.
State and Local:
- The Pennsylvania and Minnesota legislatures could soon take on legalization.
- California voters banned flavored tobacco products.
- Illinois licensed its first equity retailers.
- Several Massachusetts companies want their debt restructured.
- In New York, a federal judge blocked licensing in five regions.
- Weedmaps CEO Chris Beals stepped down amid mounting losses. Executive chairman and co-founder Doug Francis is stepping in on an interim basis. YTD the company has lost $21.8M this year. Last year it made $73.7M profit.
Green Market Report
- A new California lawsuit alleges potency inflation of KingRoll prerolls, a brand owned by StateHouse Holdings, formerly Harborside. Like a previous lawsuit filed by the same firm against Jeeter, it cites WeedWeek reporting on potency inflation. Canna Law Blog says the Jeeter suit “heralds a potential new wave of litigation.”
- With crypto imploding, cannabis companies see an opportunity for investment.
Bay Area Inno
- Juul Labs staved off bankruptcy with an infusion from early investors.
- Scotts Miracle-Gro, whose hydroponics unit Hawthorne has been struggling, says it still believes in the plant.
- Facing mounting financial issues, High Times is going vertical with the acquisition of Moxie‘s California production and manufacturing assets in an all stock deal.
Green Market Report
- Silicon Valley is ditching booze, some for edibles.
Fun and interesting:
- The National Park Service asked tourists to stop licking psychedelic toads.
- Woody Harrelson invited his followers to come giggle in the ganja garden.
- Thrillist shares a recipe for a Humboldt Fog Tea Latte.
- Brands Tyson 2.0 and Ric Flair Drip are now under the management of Carma Holdings, where the executive chair is Fyllo boss Chad Bronstein.
- Cookies is partnering with Black-owned brand Gumbo.
- AeroPay and CannaHauler partnered on a new logistics and payment solution.
- Las Vegas Weekly announced its first cannabis award winners.
- This week MJBizCon takes Las Vegas. Here’s an interview with keynote speaker Berner.
- The American Autoflower Cup will be Jan 27-28 in LA. Product submissions are due Jan. 10.
- This week is Oakland’s first Cannabis Equity Week.