Insider Cannabis: US cannabis execs say the industry is heading for a turnaround — Compass Pathways going public — Cannabis users prefer regular old weed

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Happy Friday readers,

We have some exciting news here on the home front this week: Yeji Jesse Lee, our stalwart former editorial fellow, has rejoined BI as a full-time reporter after a stint at the Globe and Mail. She'll be reaching out to many of you to get up to speed on the industry, and look out for some of her reporting in the next newsletter!

Beyond that, I spoke with execs at seven of the biggest US cannabis companies to see what's in store for the rest of this year and next. Things are turning around — expect to see more deals, investment dollars, and more cannabis reform on the state and federal level.

Let's get to it.

-Jeremy

Here's what we wrote about this week:

We spoke to top execs at 7 of the biggest US cannabis companies, and they said the industry is headed for a rebound, M&A is set to ramp up, and a Democratic win in November could be 'jet fuel' for the sector

US cannabis companies posted strong earnings as the coronavirus pandemic boosted sales in the second quarter.

I spoke with executives at 7 of the biggest US cannabis companies, including GTI, Curaleaf, and Trulieve, to understand what's in store for the industry after a disappointing 2019 and a challenging start to 2020.

They predicted that a Biden win — and Democrat control of the Senate — would pour 'jet fuel' on the industry. On top of that, they predicted lots of M&A activity in the next year.

Cannabis helped former NBA player Larry Sanders manage his mental health — and now it's part of his business portfolio. He explains how he's investing his time and money in the industry.

Larry Sanders, formerly of the Milwaukee Bucks, became a strategic advisor and investor for the Southern California cannabis oral spray brand CLICK in June.

Sanders said that cannabis was a huge part of his own mental health treatment while he was in the NBA, so joining the industry felt like a natural fit.

Executive moves

  • Former MedMen and Shryne Group communications pro Daniel Yi has joined Inanna Manufacturing as a managing partner and chief strategy officer.
  • Psychedelics company Cybin has appointed pharma veteran Doug Drysdale as CEO

Budtender Varv Pavlova wears gloves while posing for photos handling marijuana samples under a magnifying glass at The Mission Cannabis Club dispensary in San Francisco, Thursday, March 19, 2020.(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Deals, launches, and IPOs

  • Delic Corp., a psychedelic media platform, raised $3.5 million in a private placement round. The company says it intends to go public via a reverse takeover.
  • Cannabis delivery service and dispensary chain Eaze is expanding its equity menu, which promotes Black- and POC-owned cannabis businesses, and provides support to social equity license holders. 
  • Cannabis data platform Headset raised a $3.2 million bridge funding round. Investors include Canopy Rivers, Poseidon Asset Management, and others.
  • Newsletter exclusive: Cannabrand founder Olivia Mannix is launching Psilocybrand, a marketing and communications firm dedicated to the hot psychedelic space. Psilocybrand is the US's first psychedelics communications firm, though Alan Aldous serves the Canadian market.
  • The Peter Thiel-backed psychedelic firm Compass Pathways filed with the SEC to go public on the Nasdaq. Compass Pathways mainly works on researching psilocybin-based therapies for depression. 
  • Cannabis recruiting startup Vangst is partnering with 70 Million Jobs, a for-profit platform that helps Americans with criminal records find jobs, in order to help place job applicants in the cannabis industry. 

Cool cannabis research

  • In the journal PLOS ONE, researchers looked at various cannabis compounds — including lesser-known cannabinoids like CBG and CBN — and found that the cannabis industry consistently misnames strains. 
  • Psychologists at Arizona State University found that a vast majority of cannabis users — 77.5% of participants in a 574 person study — prefer marijuana flower over concentrates and other derivative cannabis products. Participants who smoked regular old pot reported stronger, subjective "positive effects" than those who used concentrates.

What we're reading

The DEA told us it's aware of the CBD industry freaking out, looking at policy options (LA Weekly)

DIY firefighting in California (NPR)

For these ancient warrior women, cannabis was a part of everyday life (Leafly)

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