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.
Welcome to the weekend, Cultivated readers.
We’ve got a slew of fantastic stories for you this week (humble, I know…). First, I took a look at the state of cannabis media. In short, it’s not great. Publications from High Times to Cannabis Now have laid off employees, suspended print, and reined in costs across the board.
I also took a look at executive pay in the cannabis industry. There’s a lot of money going around there. Like other industries, executives are compensated with equity, options, and incentives based on their performance and the performance of their company’s stock. Some of it is pay they can’t spend right away.
Last, I chatted with Curaleaf’s CEO about closing the Grassroots deal, the M&A landscape for cannabis next year, and which states he expects will legalize marijuana in 2020.
Here’s what we wrote about this week:
Cannabis media companies are slashing costs, laying off employees, and suspending print as they reel from the pandemic and the cannabis industry’s downturn
Cannabis media companies from legacy outlets like High Times to digital outlets like Leafly are facing a reckoning from the triple whammy of the economic fallout of the pandemic, a downturn in the cannabis industry, and a broader media implosion.
They’ve been forced to rein in spending by laying off employees and assigning fewer stories to freelancers.
Tilray’s CEO pulled in over $31 million last year. Here’s the full list of the highest-paid cannabis execs who are raking in millions.
Cannabis executives brought in millions before the industry sharply corrected last year. Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy pulled in over $31 million in total compensation last year, including salary, equity, and stock options, according to a report from headhunting firm Bedford Consulting Group.
The report also showed only 8% of cannabis executives are women.
The CEO of Curaleaf said he expects less flashy marijuana M&A. Here’s what the $3.8 billion cannabis giant plans to do instead.
Curaleaf CEO Joe Lusardi told Business Insider the era of cannabis megamergers was coming to an end. Curaleaf closed its acquisition of Grassroots Cannabis on Thursday.
Lusardi said he expected Curaleaf to do smaller “bolt-on” deals to deepen its reach in the states it already operates in, as well as scoop up distressed assets.
- Grassroots Cannabis CEO Mitchell Kahn is joining the board of Curaleaf.
Deals, partnerships, and launches
- Curaleaf closed its $830 million deal to buy Grassroots Cannabis, a year after the deal was first announced. See our full story and interview with Curaleaf’s CEO, here.
- Cannabis tech startup LeafLink’s financial arm, LeafLink Financial, closed a $250 million debt financing on Wednesday.
- Four former High Times staffers are launching Northeast Leaf, a free monthly print magazine focused on the cannabis industry and community in the Northeast US. The first issue drops in September.
- Cannabis SPACs are still hot: European cannabis company EMMAC Life Sciences is going public on the Nasdaq through a business combination with the SPAC Andina Acquisition Corp. III. The firms have signed a nonbinding letter of intent.
Chart of the week
Less than 8% of the cannabis c-suite is made up of women, according to a report from Bedford Consulting Group. That’s a low figure, and the industry has a lot of work to do in raising that figure. Here’s what the breakdown looks like:
What we’re reading
Cannabis Lobbying Spend Continues to Decrease (Cannabis Wire)
High Times magazine faces competition from laid-off writers (New York Post)