MSOs’ growth plan leaked

By Alex Halperin
Nov 8, 2021

MSOs are pushing for regulations that would give them “a near oligopoly,” a source told The Daily Beast. “They don’t want to compete” on the open market.

The anonymous source leaked a deck they characterized as showing industry support for the limited license regimes which have enabled MSOs to establish strong marketshare in many east coast states.  

  • Titled “Intentional Federal Regulation,” the deck was presented to the policy committee of trade group U.S. Cannabis Council, which includes several large MSOs as members.  According to its author page, the deck was prepared by an attorney at Perkins Coie, a USCC member law firm, and MPG Consulting
  • USCC rejected the idea that the deck characterizes its priorities. CEO Steven Hawkins said the group had no position on license caps.
  • Perkins Coie denied any involvement in the deck. MPG Consulting managing director Sal Barnes denied that his firm advocated for anything resembling a Big Weed oligopoly.

Even though the idea doesn’t have the USCC’s endorsement, Roberts writes, “Critics argue it’s more like a strategy that’s already in action.”

  • New York attorney David C. Holland said “It’s a strategy of preclusion through legislation rather than inclusion through competition…This is not what American business is supposed to be about.”
  • As boutique investment bank Sharp Capital Advisors CEO Stephen Miles told me in January, “Ultimately, the name of the game is to be a vertically integrated player in a protected market.” 
  • I’m not aware of any evidence to the contrary. Are you?

For example, Roberts finds a a Canadian regulatory report in which MSO Curaleaf notes it “maintains an operational footprint of primarily limited-license States, with natural high barriers to entry and limited market participants.”

Read the whole Daily Beast story.