Welcome to Cultivated, our weekly newsletter where we’re bringing you an inside look at the deals, trends, and personalities driving the multibillion-dollar global cannabis boom.
We’ve got a full plate of stories for you this week.
Perhaps emblematic of the growing interest in the world of psychedelics from the cannabis community, we have two articles focused on the world of psychedelics: Jeremy got an exclusive look at Field Trip’s pitch deck. Field Trip raised $8.5 million to build out a network of clinics for psychedelic-assisted therapies. And Yeji wrote a profile on ATAI Life Sciences, a biotech platform company that’s raised $100 million to turn psychedelics into treatments for depression and anxiety.
Acreage and MedMen also released earnings this week. We listened in on MedMen’s call with investors Wednesday afternoon, where interim CEO Ryan Lissack said the company would continue to cut costs and focus on what they do best: retail.
Cannabis stocks — much like the broader public markets, due to coronavirus fears — have had a really tough week. Cowen released a note reducing expectations and warning against investing in Canadian cannabis companies. We also got the scoop on a round of job cuts at Acreage, after the company posted disappointing Q4 earnings.
And on that front, embattled cannabis producer CannTrust came out with rough news releases Thursday night and Friday morning, indicating it had terminated a “significant” portion of their employees, and that its NYSE listing was in jeopardy for falling below the 30-day $1 price threshold.
-Yeji and Jeremy
Here’s what we wrote about this week:
Cannabis shops in border towns are raking in sales from neighboring states, and it could push more states to legalize marijuana
The governor of Illinois has recently taken to gloating about an unusual tax he’s able to impose on citizens of neighboring states like Wisconsin and Indiana.
That’s thanks to Illinois’ decision to legalize recreational cannabis sales for adults, starting on January 1, and the ample number of people from those states who have since flooded Illinois to buy marijuana legally.
Illinois isn’t the only state benefiting from out-of-staters looking for medical treatments, or just recreational products. Thomas Winstanley of Theory Wellness, a Massachusetts-based cannabis company with a dispensary just miles from the borders of New York and Connecticut, told Business Insider that he’s seen customers from all 50 states in the US represented in his store.
Wall Street’s top cannabis analyst just leveled a stark warning. Here are the 3 stocks to avoid, and 1 to buy instead.
Wall Street just leveled a stark warning against investing in Canadian cannabis stocks and said investors should shift their attention to emerging US names, instead.
In a Monday morning note, Cowen analyst Vivien Azer downgraded a group of major Canadian cannabis companies after a few disappointing quarters.
Azer and other analysts still picked Canopy Growth as the industry leader in Canada, though they said Canadian companies are lagging behind their US cannabis counterparts. Her top pick in the US: Green Thumb Industries.
Field Trip raised $8.5 million to take psychedelic medicine mainstream. We got an exclusive look at the pitch deck that helped make it happen.
Toronto-based Field Trip Psychedelics recently closed an $8.5 million Series A funding round to build out a series of clinics for psychedelic therapies, starting in Toronto, New York, and Los Angeles. The company also hopes to complete what it calls the first legal cultivation facility for psilocybin-containing mushrooms at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.
Take a look at the deck Field Trip used to raise $8.5 million from investors.
Cannabis retailer MedMen just posted downbeat earnings, and the new CEO said selling factories and shuttering stores might help turn things around
California cannabis company MedMen posted downbeat earnings for the final three months of 2019. Revenue, at $44.1 million, fell short of every analyst estimate collected by Bloomberg.
The company has faced a tough year, like many others in the cannabis industry. MedMen’s CEO stepped down on February 1, and MedMen laid off about 40% of its corporate workforce in November and December.
MedMen’s interim CEO Ryan Lissack emphasized the pivot the company is taking as he acknowledged the challenges it faces. Lissack said the company would continue to cut costs and focus on what they do best: retail.
ATAI has raised $100 million to turn psychedelics into treatments for depression and anxiety. Now the unusual biotech is gearing up to raise millions more for the next phase of human testing.
Florian Brand helped start ATAI Life Sciences with one vision in mind: to effectively treat mental health disorders by turning psychedelics into medicines.
The way to do that? By bringing psychedelics through clinical trials and getting approval from regulatory agencies.
Prominent backers like Mike Novogratz, Peter Thiel, Thor Bjorgolfsson, and Steve Jurvetson have come on board with this vision, investing over $100 million in ATAI. More recently, traditional biotech and pharmaceutical investors have shown interest as well.
Cannabis company Acreage just cut 40 jobs following a strategic review, and it’s the latest sign of a tough environment for cannabis sellers
Acreage Holdings eliminated 40 positions earlier this week in a strategic reassessment of its spending, a source familiar with the matter said.
The source added that the job cuts were across the organization and not concentrated in one specific team or department.
Capital raises, M&A activity, partnerships, and launches
Chart of the week
Perhaps the novelty of legalization hasn’t yet worn off in Illinois. Shoppers in that state spent $116 per cannabis transaction — the most in the US — according to Headset. This comes as little surprise considering the state made $39.2 million in its first month of adult-use sales, around 22% of which came from out-of-state residents. Maryland and Massachusetts came in second and third place at $97 and $82 per transaction respectively.
What we’re reading
Netanyahu vows to erase criminal records of marijuana offenders (The Times of Israel)