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Presidential candidate Joe Biden says cannabis could be a “gateway drug.”
“The truth of the matter is, there’s not nearly been enough evidence that has been acquired as to whether or not it is a gateway drug,” Biden said at a town hall in Las Vegas over the weekend. “It’s a debate, and I want a lot more before I legalize it nationally. I want to make sure we know a lot more about the science behind it.”
He then tweeted:
Pew poll shows highest ever support for legalization.
Pew Research released a poll that showed the highest ever support for legalization at 67%. Support has been rising for years, though there was a noticeable spike over last year’s Pew poll, which showed 61% in favor of legalization.
Notably, an “overwhelming majority” of American adults, or 91%, now report support for either adult or medical use cannabis.
“The growth in public support for legal marijuana has come as a growing number of jurisdictions have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes,” Pew noted.
New Jersey’s effort to legalize through legislature dead, as lawmakers kick decision to voters.
New Jersey Democrats announced a bill that would seek voter support for legalization.
“We made further attempts to generate additional support in the Senate to get this done legislatively, but we recognize that the votes just aren’t there. We respect the position taken by legislators on what is an issue of conscience,” Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator Nicholas Scutari said in a joint statement Monday.
Advocates will have their work cut out for them in the Garden State. While Drug Policy Alliance shut down its New Jersey office in May, after advocating for years on medical and adult use cannabis, New Jersey Responsible Approaches to Marijuana Policy (an affiliate of Smart Approaches to Marijuana) has been pushing back against any legalization efforts. (And keep in mind that New York lawmakers have also been unable to coalesce around a legalization bill, failing by both budget and legislature in 2019. State Sen. Liz Krueger has signaled that she’s hopeful that New York lawmakers will legalize next year; meanwhile, northeast governors, including New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, are collectively pushing for a “northeast approach” to legalization.)
“With the effort moving to the ballot box, we will work to counter the industry’s well-tuned misinformation campaign, educate voters to the harms marijuana legalization has brought to the handful of states that have adopted it, and defeat the industry in the Garden State once and for all,” SAM said in a statement.
+ Context: Read the backstory on New Jersey’s failure to legalize by legislature through Cannabis Wire’s coverage here and here.
Charlotte’s Web add former Bacardi and Viacom exec to board.
Jacques Tortoroli was the chief administration officer of BacardiLimited in Bermuda and the executive vice president of finance for Viacom. ICYMI, Cannabis Wire covered CW’s earnings in Thursday’s newsletter.
HEXO says cannabis was inadvertently grown in an unlicensed space.
The Canadian cannabis company on Friday decided to “proactively address” an incident from earlier this year because of concerns that “false information … was being circulated.”
In short: HEXO realized in July that cannabis was being grown in a space that the company says was included in a license application but was not ultimately licensed. This is a highly sensitive issue in the industry after what happened with CannTrust, as the company was deliberately cultivating cannabis in hidden rooms and faced significant regulatory action. (Catch up on some of Cannabis Wire’s coverage the CannTrust situation here.)
HEXO CEO and co-founder Sebastien St-Louis said in a statement, “Upon discovering that cannabis was being grown in an inadequately licensed area of the Niagara facility we immediately ceased all activities and notified Health Canada.”
That facility, the company notes, “is no longer operational” as part of cost-cutting measures announced last month.
MedMen to lay off 190 employees.
The company announced a 90-day plan to realign the company in order to reach revenue and profitability goals by the end of 2020. Here are three major points:
1) The company will sell its stake in Treehouse REIT, which it helped to form, for $14 million, and will divest from a number of unnamed brands for $8 million.
2) The company is seeking to sell its licenses in “non-core markets.”
3) The company says that layoffs, which include 80 corporate employees (or 20% of its corporate team), will save $10 million, among other operational cutbacks that will save tens of millions more.
“Given market conditions, capital allocation is more critical than ever,” said MedMen co-founder and chief executive officer Adam Bierman.
Aurora earnings: revenue down, losses up.
Yet another cannabis company earnings report brings bad news. This time, it’s Aurora Cannabis, which is among the highest-valued in the world. CEO Terry Booth acknowledged “distribution and regulatory headwinds,” though he called them “short term,” and emphasized that “Aurora has, and will continue to focus on everything in our control.”
The company’s net cannabis revenue for Q1 2020 fell to C$70.8 million from C$94.6 million in Q4 2019. With losses widening as well, Aurora is aggressively seeking to increase “financial flexibility” from raising capital to even stopping construction; specifically, the company will “cease” activity in its Denmark facility called Aurora Nordic 2, which the company estimates will save C$80 million in expenses over the next year, and “defer” activity in its Aurora Sun facility in Canada, which the company estimates will save C$110 million.
The company said in its announcement, “Developing a profitable and robust global cannabis company is extremely important to Aurora. While the Company strongly believes the global market opportunity for cannabis is robust, there is uncertainty in the timing of revenue ramp-up in our core markets, and we continue to invest in our global operations which may result in near term challenges to achieving positive adjusted EBITDA.”
US companies Trulieve and Curaleaf beat revenue expectations.
Trulieve, a Florida medical cannabis company and one of the top valued in the US, announced that its Q3 2019 revenue hit $70.7 million, up 22% from $57.9 last quarter and up 150% from $28.3 million in the same quarter last year.
And now Curaleaf did the same, setting these US operators apart from their Canadian counterparts. The company’s total revenue for Q3 2019 rose to $61.8 million, up 189% from $21.4 million in the same quarter last year. And their net loss shrunk to $7.4 million from $35.6 million in the same quarter last year.