Unraveling CuraLeaf's Finance DNA                              Open in your own browser for images
Vol. 9, No. 1 - January 21,  2023 -- Edited by  Lloyd Covens
MORE PARADISE AS USVI GAINS RMJ STATUS  -- After six years of contentious debate, the U.S. Virgin Islands joined the adult-use access club as Governor Albert Bryan Jr. signed enacting legislation on Jan. 19, which includes expungement authority for low-level offenders over the past 20 years. .  The island territory is home to 105,000 residents, where 21-year olds will pay an 18% tax and may possess two ounces of flower or one ounce of edibles.   Around the Caribbean, decrimina- lization(up to 10 grams) bills have passed in Belize, Antigua and Barbuca.  Several others have approved robust medical MJ laws, including Puerto Rico.

One in 3 Convert MJ Relief Dumping RX Painkillers 

      A major study from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) confirms the multi-year trend of consumers replacing painkilling prescription drugs with cannabis options. Among adults with chronic pain in states with medical cannabis laws, 3 in 10 persons reported using cannabis to manage their pain.  The high degree of substitution of cannabis with both opioid and non-opioid treatment emphasizes the importance of further research to clarify the effectiveness and potential adverse consequences of cannabis for chronic pain. 

"That patients report substituting cannabis for pain medicines so much really underscores the need for research on the benefits and risks of using cannabis for chronic pain," lead author Mark C. Bicket, MD, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Anesthesiology, and director, Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, told Medscape Medical News.


A related study that was released last September similarly found that giving people legal access to medical cannabis can help patients reduce their use of opioid painkillers, or cease use altogether, without compromising quality of life.     That same month, another study found that the pharmaceutical industry takes a serious economic hit after states legalize marijuana—with an average market loss of nearly $10 billion for drugmakers per each legalization event.  Another recent AMA study found that state-level medical marijuana legalization is associated with a significant decrease in opioid prescriptions and use among certain cancer patients.

             Now with the Food and Drug Administration's cannabis regu- lators pushing a unknown future date for developing "pathways" to deal with cannabis and CBD--the never-slacking hold on FDA by pharma is stronger than ever.   And reform advocates were especially dis-heartened on the millions spent on Congress to defeat Democratic efforts to bringing international competition to counter high prescription drug costs.  A 2019 analysis found a majority of top-selling drugs from Pfizer were discovered and developed by third parties, such as universities and academic centers. These findings suggest that “a reduction in pharmaceutical revenues would not have the supposed devastating impact on the level of biopharmaceutical innovation.” This did not stop Pfizer from spending a whopping $2.7 million lobbying in 2022.

"Billions and billions are starting to flow away from the pharma giants" noted one MJ analyst, adding, "they are increasingly finding ways to lobby Washington hard to prevent the slightest progress for national MJ legalization."   Another MJ lobbyist said he  sure the pharma lobby  was able to use Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell last month as their "one-man wrecking ball" which killed hopes to move the SAFE banking/expungements act by adding it to the 2022 OMNIBUS package.

2023 JAMA article link: 

Cannabis Across Borders: The Multi-State Brand

Above: Through partnerships and licensing, it's possible to become a national cannabis brand without selling your business or spending millions setting up vertical operations in a new market.    Download this key Brightfield analysis at:

Cannabis News Briefs...
                 Ten months ago, West420 News reported extensively on CURALEAF's foundational years raising millions in funding from Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich.  Earlier this month, Forensic News reported leaked documents confirming the extensive investments made to/from various holding entities moving around millions as CuraLeaf expanded beyond its PalliaTech (MMJ shops in Maine and Massachusetts) to the West Coast and into new markets.  This week, Massachusetts' cannabis officials said they were now looking into CuraLeaf's failure to report on the Russian financial backing.  Another regulatory headache for CuraLeaf is alleged THC product research at an unlicensed research lab in Newton, MA.  (See Mass. allegations report at )

  After going public through a Canadian shell, the 2017-2020 years of aggressive acquisitions and build-outs  meant CuraLeaf was in constant demand for cash.  Forensic News reporting suggests that Abramovich may have provided $300Mil. to $400Mil. to CuraLeaf backers during this period, and based upon complex transactions leading to 2022, the report estimates Abramovich may still be due nearly $50Mil. -- a distribution complicated by anti-Russians sanctions in place due to the Ukraine attack.   Other cannabis-related investments made by CETUS include TILT Holdings, EAZE ,  Green Gorilla and unsuccessful dispensary acquisitions in Las Vegas. CBD maker.  Full story:
       Las Vegas hopes to set the standard for state-of-art social consumption lounges, and a new project, "The Lexi", hopes to open this fall as a full-service cannabis hotel.  Formerly The Artisan, the 64-room hotel off I-5 and Sahara, will devote most of its 4th floor to cannabis consumption, along with their lower floor lounges.   Having purchased The Artisan"  for $11.9Mil, new owners Elevations Nation--which also owns Phoenix's Clarendon MJ hotel,  says it will spend nearly $15Mil in renovations in Vegas.   Last month, Nevada regulators selected the first 16 licensees for consumption lounges, some who may open by this summer.  Elevations hopes to acquire and open new cannabis-friendly hotels in San Diego, Palm Springs and LA.

Link-of-the-Week:   Vicente Sederberg senior counsel Shane Pennington has spent years looking at all aspects of the DEA and FDA, and in this 5-minute YouTube excerpt, Pennington dismisses industry hopes at the FDA (for progress toward affirming safety of cannabis) saying "will never happen" under the current "randomized clinical trials" model.  Pennington says these multi-year FDA trials cost millions, and pharma gets their payback with years of exclusive sales (upon FDA approval) and more revenues from patents and other intellectual property, yielding years of revenue.  However, he notes,  "so when you see people say we're going to do research and we're going to move it to schedule 2, the  problem is [raising] money, cause the model is broken"-- claiming there is no "incentive" to fund MJ resesearch trials.  An eye-opening analysis at" 

 Night Court co-star John Larroquette claims his first Hollywood job for moderating "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" was paid by its producer with a "matchbox" of pot.  In a Parade interview , the veteran actor confirmed that friend and  movie director Tobe Hooper paid him in weed for his feature film debut. Larroquette was in his 20s when he narrated the classic slasher as “a favor” to the rising filmmaker--and was paid (in cash) for subsequent reprisals of the cult classic.
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