Vol. 9, No. 24 - May 5, 2023 - Edited by Dr. Lloyd Covens
MINNESOTA SET TO BECOME RMJ STATE #23-- Former pro-cannabis Minnesota Governor (above) is reportedly delighted to have his state vote this week (by one vote) to advance the bills which will make his home state number 23 in the national legalization universe. After serving as governor from 1999 to 2003, Ventura wrote his 2016"Marijuana Manifesto" with a no-holds barred" bluntness about the injustice surrounding this helpful herb. Here is a book excerpt: "The fact is Big Pharma just can't duplicated what this plant is capable of doing. And the fact that our government continues to deny sick people access to this plant is truly a crime against humanity. Who knows when you might need medical MJ?
Every month and every year that goes by, we find out more positive things about MJ. The list is getting longer and longer and longer to the point where I question why they kept all this information from us. Why was MJ demonized all those years when this plant has a great deal of positive attributes-- not only medical-- it's also a renewable resource."
Green Thumb Grows 2.4% in 2021; Invests In Itself for 2023 Growth
Expecting to add 15 new MJ stores with more than adequate cash, Green Thumb Industries chair Ben Kovler said he doesn't see any acquisitions which are stronger than building out his current markets. May 3rd's quarterly report ($249Mil., revenues, $75Mil cash flow) found Green Thumb set to launch adult-use in Maryland(July 1) and New Jersey, with new MED stores set for VA, PA, MN, NV and possibly New York. The nation's second largest cannabis firm expects to end 2023 by growing annual revenue just past $1Billion, as it did in 2022, with executives projecting annual sales to grow into the 5 to 7 percent range.
"Better to spend our own capital on our own businesses," said Kovler, saying he saw little available competitor acquisition of high value. While agreeing that many consumers are trimming their MJ purchases, Kovler says GTI is continually creating more "value-priced" products to deliver better buyer options.
GTI welcome long-time drug policy crusader Ethan Nadelmann (founder, Drug Policy Alliance)f to the board. In Maryland, incoming governor Wes Moore (D-Maryland) put his estimated $1.1Mil. stock position into a blind trust-- just a day before signing Maryland's MJ implementation bill.
GTI's other 1Q performance metrics included: Adjusted EBITDA of $76.2Mil; 2.4% growth versus first quarter-2022; total debt of $278Mil; cash on hand: $185Mil; and quarterly net income of $9.1Mil, (4cents per share) down from $28.9Mil in Q1, 2022.
In other GTI news, labor unions are hoping to make gains in Illinois a permanent wage increase. A 13-day Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike led by Teamsters Local 777 members at two Rise Cannabis dispensaries in Joliet, Ill. and one in Niles, Ill. forced GTI to raise wages by 50 percent during the strike. The workers are now returning to their jobs and demanding that the wage increases be made permanent.
“GTI broke the law, and we will hold them accountable legally to make sure they pay,” said Peter Finn, Teamsters Vice President and Food Processing Division Director. “Whether it’s direct action, or a legal battle, the 1.3 million members of the Teamsters Union will continue to stand with cannabis workers in this historic fight.”
Federal labor law suggests if an employer makes a unilateral wage increase during collective bargaining, those wage increases are precedent-setting. The company also committed additional ULPs during the ULP strike, including unlawful surveillance and the promise of promotions for those who crossed the picket line.
ABOVE: More than 18 state legislatures are debating how to regulate delta-8 and other intoxicating cannabinoids. Colorado is allowing certain CBD makers to follow strict export rules and only ship delta-8 products to state's where they are not illegal. In Kentucky,. Tennessee and Alabama new rules will allow regulated sales of D8-- and other major states which set out to create bans for delta-8 --like Florida, Georgia and Indiana-- are letting current rules remain un-changed. Arkansas and Virginia have further banned delta-8 and Texas and North Carolina have yet to decide how they will regulate. Join West420 News as we host a special Webinar on "D8-CBD- State By State Update," with special guest lead cannabis/hemp attorney Rod Kight, Kight Law and Eric Steenstra, Vote Hemp, on Fri. May 5 at 1:30pm EST. Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/95683429497?pwd=MnYyR3ZhYVJRY2Q5NzFHSzZxdENNUT09 or enter: Meeting ID: 956 8342 9497 --- Passcode: Rty32R
ABOVE: With more than 6 major cannabis reform bills now introduced in Congress, the 11th annual gathering of "Citizen Lobbyists" will head to member offices, May 16-18 in DC. NCIA members and industry professionals will be paired with appointments to promote the MJ agenda. Register at: https://thecannabisindustry.org/ncia-events/industry-socials/
Above: New Frontier Data reports a rising number of adults who report they would consider trying cannabis(15%) while 42% say they would consumer again. Just 30% of the survey said they "never used" and won't be future users. Find this and other in-depth consumer insights in part two of "Cannabis Consumers of America: An Overview of Consumers Today at: https://bit.ly/3VB1y51
Cannabis News Breifs... President Joe Biden has made the lives of atleast four cannabis prisoners better. Last week he commuted the sentences of 31 drug-selling offenders, including four who have been serving time for non-violent drug sales. Biden's earlier October 6, 2022 directive to expedite the consideration of release or sentence reduction remains largely untouched-- as Last Prisoner Project estimates some 38,000 non-violent cannabis offenders remain in prison. Four of those pardonrecipients—Kevin Lee Burdock, Samuel Gemple, Rogelio Murillo, and Ricky Lee Newton—are currently serving time for cannabis charges.
Link-of-the-Week -- Brightfield Group released its latest estimates of consumer sales of CBD. The research firm includes the sales of JAZZ Pharmaceutical drug, Epidiolex, as a CBD product component, and for 2022 estimated total global sales at $4.4Bill. Brightfield said sales through 2028 could double that figure (to a project $10.3Bil) if there is movement at the FDA to regulate the sale of CBD products as food additives and dietary supplements. One graph below is part of the free report, linked at: https://global-uploads.webflow.com/596691afde3c5856d866ae50/6452ccccae90a38883422ad1_Marketing_CBD%20Report_Final.pdf
GAUGING LIKELY-CLOSE FOR THE CRESCO/ COLUMBIA CARE DEAL West420: What is the biggest head-wind beyond the lower value of both ColCare and Cresco? Would it be the excessive cost to carry the acquisition funding? They are both good companies.... but are they a good fit given the complexity of merging and losing many assets which must be spun off (Combs Global MSO deal--Chicago, Boston, NY-- still a GO?)
Jessie Redmon of
Water Tower Research--
A: Combs Global deal was announced before NY put out the onerous MSO terms. They also have additional overlapping assets they need to sell. Since the merger, most cannabis assets are down 50-75% and they may be having trouble finding a buyer for the additional divestments. Meanwhile, the debt ($1b + between the two) has stayed the same, or gotten more expensive. So, with less equity to pay down the debt, there will be a much higher interest expense. There are synergies (Cresco distribution with Columbia's retail) and I hope it works out, but with a 92% spread on a deal they expected to close in two months, the market is skeptical.
---------------------------------- Embattled Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan is resigning over her acceptance of a $10,000-per-month contract with Veriede Holdings, an affiliate of cannabis chain La Mota,-- even as her office was auditing the state’s marijuana program. Fagan was elected to the statewide post-- which pays $77,000-- in 2020 and admitted she had entered into the contract which included additional bonuses of $30,000 for each license Fagan helped the affiliate of La Mota obtain outside the states of Oregon and New Mexico.