The Cannabis Industry Prevails

May 25, 2020

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness and educate each other on a universal topic that can often get overlooked. Our mental health is how we think, feel and behave. It affects us daily, from physical factors to our relationships. To look after our mental health is to strive for a comfortable inner-balance and preserve an ability to enjoy life. Cannabis can have a major impact on mental health, but there is still much to learn about this connection.

Join us on May 28 for a live CannaGather Digital: Cannabis & Mental Health AwarenessYou can RSVP here (use promo code jbdigital for a discount). This Thursday, we’ll be tackling the complicated topic of cannabis treatments related to mental health with some of the most respected minds in the industry. Joining us is Dr. Uma V.A. Dhanabalan, CEO & Founder at Uplifting Health & Wellness, and Dr. Mary Clifton, CEO at

Do you have experience, knowledge, or opinions related to medical cannabis use for mental health? Reach out to us — we would love to hear from you.

Make sure your canna-curious friends and colleagues are up to date on the latest news. Share this newsletter to keep them in the loop.

Would you like to sponsor our weekly LeafletEmail me for more information. 

Written by Justin Bernstein

// CannaGather Calendar

Always use promo code jbdigital for a discount!

May 28 // Mental Health Awareness & Cannabis

June 4 // The Sustainability Situation

June 11 // The Real Deal with Cannabis Retail

Our live, online events feature insight from the cannabis industry’s top thought leaders and ensure our community stays up-to-date without leaving the house.

If you’d like to speak at, sponsor, or otherwise collaborate on a CannaGather Digitallet us know!

// Entrepreneurship

Growers Work to Keep Costs Low

Cannabis cultivators are taking steps to lower spending during the economic downturn and implement long-term safety habits. Many are becoming more strict in how they manage their sanitation supplies, mixing their own chemicals instead of buying brand-name products, and learning to repair their own equipment. 

“Everyone got into a very relaxed state (before the pandemic) because there was no shortage of materials,” said an Oregon grower who now sources product ingredients directly and has learned to personally maintain dehumidification, HVAC and air handlers. A cultivation and retail operation out of New Mexico is also making new adjustments, running his shop as lean as possible and reusing personal protective equipment.

The owner of one California grow company took a different approach, recently investing in a $2,000 temperature kiosk and hiring a full-time employee to sanitize high-touch areas, a move that could make business more efficient in the long-term. As a Canadian cultivation advisor put it, “the economic downturn only revealed the fragility of poorly constructed cannabis operations.” He says that cutting back on some areas such as the physical size of an operation, while investing more in the creation of quality products, is a good way to stay afloat at this time.

What this means and why you care: While demand remains strong in states across the country, growers are staying smart and laying down foundations for long-term stability, becoming more self-reliant and carefully directing their capital.

// Finance

Recent Mergers & Acquisitions News

High Times Holding Corp., owner of the iconic marijuana magazine, terminated their previously announced acquisition of the Humboldt Heritage cultivation and processing business. The news comes after High Times’ recent $80 million agreement to buy 13 operating and planned cannabis retail outlets in California from Harvest Health & Recreation.

LivWell Enlightened Health, a Colorado-based cannabis producer and retailer, completed its acquisition of Mindful, owner of five retail stores in the state, expanding LivWell’s portfolio to 22 Colorado stores. The company also purchased retailer Infinite Wellness Center in 2019 and edible firm Sweet Grass just last month.

Strawberry Fields, a popular dispensary owner in Colorado, terminated its $31 million agreement to be acquired by Schwazze (formerly known as Medicine Man Technologies), a Denver-based, vertically integrated cannabis company. Strawberry Fields co-owner Rick Kwesell stated that the company wants to remain independent “for the near future.”

What this means and why you care: Recent M&A activity has been slow, and many companies are backing out of deals. The current economic downturn will likely add additional hurdles.

// Legal

Marijuana Decriminalized in Virginia

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) officially approved bills to decriminalize cannabis possession in the state (effective July 1). Current laws say that possession is punishable by a $500 max fine, up to 30 days in jail, and a criminal record. The new legislation will make the possession of up to an ounce punishable by a $25 fine with no jail time or criminal record.

Back in 2017, Northam campaigned with a promise to explore cannabis reform as it related to criminal justice and has repeated calls for action. Virginia NORML has worked for years to achieve this victory, but they hope the state government can work quickly to 
“legalize and regulate the responsible [consumption] of cannabis by adults and begin undoing the damages prohibition has waged on tens of thousands of Virginians.”

What this means and why you care: Virginia is now the 27th state to remove the threat of jail time for low-level possession. More and more state governments are waking up to the reality of how policy born from the war on drugs negatively impacts their communities, and taking steps to reform the criminal justice system.

// Medicine, Science, & Technology

Injectable CBD Products Recalled

Biota Biosciences recalled their CBD vials after receiving a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning letter directing the company to end sales of their injectable products, which they market as an alternative to opioids for pain relief and detoxification. The FDA said that Biota violated federal statutes by “engaging in interstate commerce of an unapproved new drug and failing to properly label the products by neglecting to include directions for use,” and noted that injectable drug products “can pose a serious risk of harm to users because they are delivered directly into the bloodstream and bypass many of the body’s natural defenses…which can lead to serious and life-threatening conditions such as septicemia or sepsis.”

In their public response, Biota expressed their “full responsibility” and said they pulled all products and provided the FDA with a “root cause and corrective action plan.” They also stated that “no adverse events have been reported in relation to these products.”

The FDA has recently ramped up efforts to target companies that make unsanctioned claims about therapeutic uses for cannabis products. In April, they warned a former NFL-player to stop claiming that his company’s CBD products could cure COVID-19.

What this means and why you care: Currently, the FDA does not consider CBD as an approved food item or dietary substance. But regulations could be coming down the pipeline to allow the marketing of these products.

// Community

Medicated Memorial Day

Last Thurday, CannaGather Digital hosted U.S. military veteran thought leaders in the cannabis industry to chat about current issues surrounding PTSD and medicinal treatments, as well as how to best honor those who’ve served. We were joined by Reine Media‘s Leo Bridgewater, WOW Organics‘ Dan Schmink, and MJ Tours‘ Kaylena Pinuelas.

Check out last week’s full episode, and tune in to this Thursday’s episode here (use promo code jbdigital for a discount).

Would you like to sponsor our weekly LeafletEmail me for more information.

Interested in joining the CannaGather teamReach out to us. We would love to have you on board as we grow.

Make sure your canna-curious friends and colleagues are up to date on the latest news. Share this newsletter to keep them in the loop.

Written by Justin Bernstein

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