Grow, Gift, Repair

This Week In Weed

• Entrepreneurs in the marijuana industry are getting absolutely crushed right now. Funding was already scarce before the markets and economy collapsed this month, thanks to a crummy 2019 in the cannabis sector. Now, things are truly brutal. A small cannabis processing startup in Massachusetts that’s about to get regulatory approval to begin operations told me that many of the retail customers it had lined up have now cancelled their commitments. And a consultant who makes her living helping operators set up their retail operations reported that she was dropped by nearly every one of her clients within a single 48-hour period, as firms cut back nearly all discretionary spending. And Holyoke Community College was forced to shutter its marijuana training and apprenticeship program, after its industry partners bailed.

• Bigger cannabis corporations are suffering too. 4Front Ventures, which operates retail marijuana shops and medical dispensaries under the “Mission” brand, reportedly cut a significant number of non-operational positions in part because of the crisis.

• Some lobbyists are pushing the Cannabis Control Commission to temporarily allow firms already conducting medical marijuana deliveries to also offer recreational drop-offs. I’d speculate it’s somewhat unlikely the agency will assent, since it had reserved such permits for certain disenfranchised applicants and was preparing to boot up the program later this year. Then again, a lot of things we would have never predicted are happening right now, so don’t hold me to that one.

• Let’s just quickly get something straight: Marijuana doesn’t cure coronavirus, and it doesn’t protect against infection. Ditto for CBD or any other cannabis-derived compounds. It might help you relax, but that’s it. There’s also no reason for anyone to be hawking infused hand-sanitizer (there aren’t enough eye-roll emojis in the world), nor to send me pitches about your client’s “signature strain” pre-rolls that are “perfect for this time spent at home.” On all accounts: No. Just stop.

• Jurisdictions in California and elsewhere that have issued “shelter-in-place” orders have exempted marijuana operations as “essential,” since many patients rely on cannabis to treat serious disorders. Advocates in Massachusetts are hoping state authorities here will do the same if they do issue a lockdown order.