An Alternative to Opioids

June 1, 2020

June is Pride Month, a time focus on the establishment of a future without discrimination. It’s an opportunity for us to educate, commemorate and celebrate our diverse community, as well as voice our rights as individuals to choose our own paths.

Join us on June 4 for a live CannaGather Digital: Planting & Cultivating Seeds of PrideYou can RSVP here (use promo code jbdigital for a discount). This Thursday, we’ll be conversing with queer thought leaders in the cannabis community about breakthroughs, setbacks and issues present as we march toward a more inclusive space in the global Green Industry. Our guests include Felicia Carbajal, a queer, Latinx, values-based community organizer, social entrepreneur, change-maker, and an innovator in the cannabis industry, as well as Joshua Crossney, the president, CEO, and founder of CSC Events, which hosts and operates the world’s largest scientific and medical cannabis event, the Cannabis Science Conference.

Do you have experience, knowledge, or opinions related to the LGBTQIA+ cannabis community? 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!

June 4 // Planting & Cultivating Seeds of Pride

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

NY Dispensaries Left Out of Loan Program

Medical marijuana dispensaries are specifically excluded from the recently passed New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF) program, alongside payday loan stores, strip clubs, liquor stores, pawn shops and branch banks. These eligibility restrictions come despite the designation of cannabis business as “essential” during the pandemic. These businesses were left out of the federal Small Business Administration(SBA)  program, so stakeholders and advocates were hoping for help on the state level.

Their exclusion might be related to the fact that the NYFLF program involves the partnership with some large national banks, who could be concerned with the risk associated with federal banking restrictions. Even so, Massachusetts is considering legislation that would provide aid to marijuana firms, and the latest federal House-backed COVID-19 relief bill includes cannabis banking language from the SAFE Banking Act.

What this means and why you care: The program ineligibility is another hit to New York’s cannabis industry progress. Adult-use legalization was previously expected for 2020, but the pandemic has caused the initiative a major setback.

// Finance

Around the Industry

Caliva, a cannabis retailer and delivery service, let go 20 employees at the end of March. The corporate office layoffs were mostly aimed at the company’s retail management division.

Constellation Brands-owned Canopy Growth announced a $1.3 billion loss this quarter. Retail sales were hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and analysts are concerned about the new leadership’s ability to pave a successful path forward.

TerrAscend, a global cannabinoid company, closed a $37 million private placement. They also released their Q1 earnings, reporting $34.8 million in net sales.

What this means and why you care: North American cannabis companies face a much different climate post-COVID, and it’s really shaking up the market, for better or for worse.

// Legal

Corruption in the California Market

Two Calexico, California city officials were charged with bribery a couple weeks ago. The pair allegedly accepted $35,000 in cash in exchange for help with the issuance of marijuana business licenses. Many are quick to note that this type of situation is not uncommon and that it has become prevalent in some CA communities. The FBI has been investigating corruption in the industry for some time, and had involvement in the Calexico case.

California has state and local cannabis licensing, which leads to high competition for local permits. Other cases exposed in the state include “pay to play” scenarios, law enforcement officials stealing from cannabis companies and officials working with businesses to work around city laws. Outside of California, investigations have revealed similar issues in Massachusetts, Michigan and Missouri. 

What this means and why you care: Corruption within California’s cannabis market has exposed local officials who look to capitalize on the emerging industry. Time will tell if this will continue to be a trend or if the state and FBI will ramp up efforts to stop it.

// Medicine, Science, & Technology

Medical Marijuana Causes Drop in Opioid Prescriptions

Some opioid prescription rates have dropped 20% in states with legal medical cannabis programs. Authors of the “first-of-its-kind” Columbia University study stressed the importance of reducing opioid use by providing patients with pain management alternatives. The study looked at prescriptions by orthopedic surgeons and found a reduction of 144,000 daily doses annually.

68% of overdoses (the nation’s leading cause of injury-related death) involve prescription opioids. There has been a recent collection of data linking medical marijuana legalization with decreased opioid-related mortality rates.

What this means and why you care: More and more research is showing that cannabis can act as a legitimate treatment option for chronic pain, drug withdrawal, and other ailments. Using medical marijuana can help countless patients deal with symptoms without the risks associated with opioids.

// Community

Cannabis & Mental Health Awareness

Last Thurday, CannaGather Digital tackled the complicated topic of cannabis treatments related to mental health with some of the most respected minds in the industry. We were joined by Dr. Uma V.A. Dhanabalan, CEO & Founder at Uplifting Health & Wellness, and Dr. Mary Clifton, CEO at

Tune in to this Thursday’s episode here (use promo code jbdigital for a discount).

In last week’s newsletter, we asked readers if they had any experience, knowledge, or opinions related to cannabis and mental health. We were extremely moved by everyone’s responses. It takes a tremendous amount of strength to open up about personal traumas and mental health. Olivia Novik had this to say:

I hold a controversial opinion, but one that deserves a voice. I became a cannabis enthusiast my sophomore year of college, 2010. I was using cannabis, traveling, learning yoga and meditation, and writing until 2014, when I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and have been on anti-psychotics on and off since then. It is advised that cannabis and psychosis don’t mix. I choose to ignore this, and would support most that do also. In the throws of deep psychosis, I see how cannabis can give energy to symptoms, but for everyone mediating their challenges, cannabis can alleviate the effects of medication, uplift, and even possibly cure chemical imbalances in the brain.

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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