March 7 2022,
THE BIG IDEA
The news has been a bit slow so today’s newsletter highlights longer pieces from two individuals, Alan Brochstein and Jackie Bryant, who know their corners of cannaland as well as anyone:
- What soft MSO earnings tell us
- Why the cannabiz doesn’t get the coverage it deserves
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WHY MSO EARNINGS ARE SOFT
New Cannabis Ventures impresario Alan Brochstein listened to the earnings calls to see why leading MSOs Green Thumb Industries and Curaleaf turned in lackluster quarters:
One major point of differentiation for this call was that the company characterized its adjusted EBITDA margin as being burdened by 7% due to investments in developing markets, like Europe, which alone weighed on overall margins by 1%. CEO Joseph Bayern pointed to its operations in California, Colorado, Michigan and Oregon as depressing its overall margins.
Analysts were most interested in better understanding the margin decline. CFO Georgiadis suggested that the pressure on pricing was greatest in Pennsylvania and Nevada, noting that flower in the low to mid-range of quality is where it has been most intense.
Given the heavy sell-off into the Curaleaf report followed by a modest decline in its stock afterwards, it seems like investors are indeed factoring in diminished outlooks [for the rest of earnings season].
WHERE'S THE GOOD CANNABIS JOURNALISM?
In her must-subscribe newsletter Cannabitch, Jackie Bryant discusses why the cannabiz doesn’t get the coverage it deserves:
The biggest issue I’ve experienced with reporting on the cannabis beat, apart from the lack of full-time reporting gigs available and the relatively low rates, is the general hostility shown towards any kind of accountability. This is something I’ve heard from reporters on other beats, too — The Washington Post reported that PR specialists now outnumber journalists more than 5 to 1, according to 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
A publicist once offered me $5,000 to kill a story I was working on that had a good amount of public interest. When I said no, the harassment by the subject’s public relations representatives ratcheted up to the point I was fielding daily messages and calls — in the early mornings when I woke up, late at night, and on weekends – begging me to see things their way despite the mountain of evidence I was collecting showing otherwise. The publicist later claimed that, supposedly, the subject of the story had no knowledge of money being offered and I was asked to keep quiet about it.
- Forbes clarifies, again, that Curaleaf isn’t a Russian company.
- Business Insider spoke to Ross O’Brien, an investor and founder at Bonaventure Equity, about why he’s betting on life science companies in the space.
- Cannabis Wire looks at two big projects in New York, the state’s $200M equity fund and finding a seed to sale software provider.
- In Massachusetts, local control is undermining attempts at equity. Politico also had a look at legalization in the northeast.
- A lawmaker introduced a bill to consolidate regulatory authority in Illinois.
- The Illinois house passed a bill that would protect legal REC users from losing their jobs.
- Nevada regulators suspended the licenses of Desert Bloom for not properly tracking product.
- The L.A. Times editorialized that the California state fair shouldn’t reward the strongest weed.
- Maryland lawmakers are undecided on a REC legalization framework or whether the issue should be put to voters in November.
- Business Insider meets the 16 most influential women in psychedelics.
- Vice argues it’s time to study the downsides of psychedelics.
- Russia said it had detained American WNBA player Brittney Griner on drug charges after finding vape cartridges in her luggage.
- Greenway released its best of the industry awards.
- California-based Perfect Herbal Blends received a “composition of matter” patent for its method of protecting terpenes, which it says helps maintain product consistency across multiple markets.
- Retailer Planet13 completed its previously announced acquisition of California vertical player Next Green Wave.
- Training company Green Flower Media started a non-credit course at Tulsa Community College in Oklahoma.
- CPG and pharma exec Dennis Curran joined Acreage as COO. The company also announced the resignation of general counsel James Doherty.
- Harborside appointed Ed Schmults CEO.
- Wana Brands named Kelly Flores Chief Operating Officer. She previously had the same title at Dosist.
- Josh Crossney joined MJH Life Sciences as director of cannabis events.
- Nina Anguiano joined Force Brands as an executive recruiter.
- MSO Ascend Wellness Holdings launched new value brand “Simply Herb.“
- Beverage brand Cann re-released its Ginger Lemongrass flavor.
- Towers Highrise has a new rosin press coming out.
- Highsman, the brand started by former NFLer Ricky Williams, has a new pre-roll line. (Pictured)
- Musicians and entrepreneurs @breal and @shavodadjian bumped into Will Ferrell at a Major League Soccer game in LA.
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