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Happy Friday everyone,
September is officially upon us, which thankfully means cooler weather and the oft-cited “Fall Sprint” in media circles.
A bit of bad news, however: I was really excited for some big, quality hurricane-fueled surf out at Rockaway Beach this weekend — forecasts like this are once in a blue moon for the East Coast. Unfortunately, Mayor De Blasio’s office has other ideas and has closed all New York City beaches to surfing this weekend over concerns about rip currents.
Your friendly cannabis industry reporter is pretty bummed about that.
Anyway, let’s get to it:
On Thursday, we held our inaugural cannabis industry webinar with Headset CEO Cy Scott, joined by Poseidon Asset Management Partners Emily and Morgan Paxhia.
In the webinar, Scott walked us through his tips for crafting the perfect pitch deck to hook potential investors. Headset raised a $12 million Series A earlier this year, led by Poseidon.
In other news, vaping related illnesses and deaths continued to climb over the week. Regulators and doctors are still unsure of the root cause of these, but it appears that the illnesses stem from both nicotine-containing vapes, as well as THC-containing vapes.
And it’s not yet clear whether illicit vapes are solely to blame, as state health officials in Oregon confirmed that a middle-aged man had died after purchasing cannabis oil from a regulated dispensary. Former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb has an editorial in The Washington Post going over the dangers of vaping both nicotine and THC.
On the Canadian cannabis front, CannTrust’s woes continue. A recent report from BNN Bloomberg found that senior staff at CannTrust brought illicit cannabis seeds into their licensed production facilities, resulting in illegally-grown pot entering the regulated market.
The company has since laid off 20% of its staff— or 180 people — as it restructures in light of all the recent turmoil
In (slightly) more upbeat news, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Brendan Kennedy, Tilray’s CEO, in BI’s Manhattan offices on Wednesday where he laid out his view of the cannabis landscape. Cowen analyst Vivien Azer slashed her price target on Tilray by 60% but still maintained her outperform rating on the stock.
More stories from around the BI newsroom:
We spoke with the top recruiters in the booming cannabis business. Here are their 3 best tips for landing your dream job in the industry.
Cannabis companies are growing rapidly. They’re a great place to look for jobs, from entry-level retail positions all the way up to senior management.
To get a sense of how to best land a job in the booming industry, Business Insider spoke with some of the top recruiters in the cannabis world.
They told us their best tips — and explained why being passionate about cannabis isn’t enough to land a new role.
The CEO of cannabis-tech startup Headset told us why having a concise mission statement is crucial to successfully pitching investors
The CEO of Headset, a data-analytics provider for the cannabis industry, revealed his key advice for making a successful pitch to potential investors.
Scott emphasized the importance of having a clear and concise mission statement that “aligns everyone to the organization” and hooks investors.
The company recently brought in $12 million from its series A funding round.
The mysterious rash of vaping lung illnesses is hitting young marijuana users especially hard, and experts still don’t know why
This one is from my colleague Hilary Brueck on Insider’s science and health team, who has been doggedly covering the vape illness story all week.
On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said more than 450 “possible cases” of vaping-related lung illnesses have been tallied so far. At least four people have died after vaping.
Many of the cases involve vaping THC and other cannabinoids, but some happened after vapers inhaled only nicotine.
The safest thing to do, the CDC says, is “consider not using e-cigarettes.”
Capital raises, M&A activity, partnerships, and launches
- NASDAQ-listed Greenlane Holdings has entered into a partnership with Omura, a vape company, to distribute Omura vapes throughout the US and Canada.
- Canadian cannabis cultivator Aurora dumped its stake in The Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD), selling just over 28.8 million shares. The company did not disclose who it sold the shares too.
- Canopy Rivers, the venture capital arm of Canadian cannabis giant Canopy Growth, has received final approval to list on the TSX. It will start trading when markets open on September 9.
- California cannabis company Shryne Group names John Avidor as its new Executive Chairman. John, a former M&A lawyer who previously worked at Sullivan & Cromwell, previously served as the chair of Shryne’s board.
- Vertically-integrated cannabis retailer Glass House Group has appointed Jared Cohen as the firm’s chief investment officer. Cohen previously spent close to 10 years at Fortress Investment Group. The company has also appointed Groovy Singh, who has two decades of marketing experience, as its new chief marketing officer.
- Namaste Technologies appoints interim CEO Meni Morim to full-time CEO. The company came under attack from short-seller Andrew Left last year, as concerns over former CEO Sean Dollinger’s leadership came to light.
Chart of the week
It’s worth revisiting this chart in light of the vape-related illnesses, from a story we published back in April. In the story, we obtained exclusive results from one of California’s top cannabis testing labs, CannaSafe.
The lab found in a blind analysis that less than 15% of CBD products actually contained what the labels said. On top of that, some of the tested products had high levels of solvents and dangerous gases like ethylene oxide and ethanol that are particularly dangerous when vaporized and inhaled.
Check out the results of the study:
Stories from around the web
Psychedelic drugs draw some investor attention — and much skepticism (Wall Street Journal)
Cases of vaping-related lung illness surge, health officials say (New York Times)
The baffling legal gray zone of marijuana at the airport (Wall Street Journal)