March 30 2021,



Chicago-based MSO Green Thumb Industries (GTI) has been targeted in a federal probe, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

  • The story suggests the probe involves "possible pay-to-play violations" as it applied for licenses.
  • It's not clear what specific actions by the company have attracted attention. GTI has been active in the political and regulatory processes which legalized MED and REC in the state.
  • No charges have been filed against Green Thumb and the company said it was unaware of any such investigation. CEO and founder Ben Kovler tweeted that the company is reaching out to authorities to engage with the allegations. "We stand by our hard earned accomplishments."
  • The company operates in 15 states and generated $500M+ in revenue last year.
  • Illinois' REC program is heavily weighted in favor of a few large companies. In an interview with WeedWeek, one observer called it a "state-mandated oligopoly."
  • Kovler, a private equity manager, descends from the family which started the Jim Beam empire a century ago.

Quick Hit

  1. Illinois' 16,000 industry workers could be forced to unionize.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that teenagers have a similar addiction rate to cannabis as to prescription opioids.

  • Bloomberg: "The findings contradict widely-held perceptions that cannabis isn’t particularly addictive and may attract attention amid a broad U.S. push to liberalize its use. The rates of addiction were significant, especially since teenagers’ brains are still developing, according to Nora Volkow, an author of the study and the current director of the U.S.’s National Institute on Drug Abuse."
  • N.Y.Times, "The researchers found that within a year of first trying marijuana, 11 percent of adolescents had become addicted to it, compared to 6.4 percent of young adults. Even more striking was that within three years of first trying the drug, 20 percent of adolescents became dependent on it, almost double the number of young adults."
  • One of the study's authors said the rise in potency of cannabis products may help account for the addiction rate. Potency caps, which the industry opposes, have won support in several states.
  • Rob McPherson, a retired liquor executive who offers the cannabis industry tough-love on LinkedIn, writes: 

"The cannabis industry (not all, but too many therein) has to stop this backward and non-sensical and irresponsible stance that cannabis is "just a plant", completely harmless, "no one ever died from consuming it", "it makes you a safer driver" and so many other mis-truths and misleading statements.

And stand up and grow up and present a professional and responsible and respectful position - anyone with any sense and experience knows that self-policing and self-regulation is far less egregious than that imposed by government..."

Quick Hit

  1. A study found a formulation of CBD and terpenes has the potential to treat certain severe Covid-related symptoms.
IN THE NEWS — 3/31/21
Photo by Elsa Olofson

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