Insider Cannabis: Law firms eyeing psychedelics — Flowhub scoops a senior Glassdoor exec — Cannabis in the COVID relief bill

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Happy Friday readers,

I hate to be cliche, but we are living in monumental times — with President Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis, it's impossible to know what will happen next.

Despite the crush of the news cycle leading up to November, life still goes on, and Yeji and I still have a ton of cannabis news for you all.

Let's get to it.

-Jeremy

Here's what we wrote about this week:

Lawyers who specialize in cannabis are eyeing the burgeoning psychedelics industry as companies studying magic mushrooms go public

Lawyers who specialize in the cannabis industry say they're getting inquiries from a new kind of client: psychedelics companies.

The calls started coming in around a year to a year and a half ago, as the psychedelics industry began to ramp up and garner more investor dollars, half a dozen cannabis lawyers told Business Insider. Some firms say they're diving headfirst into the psychedelics industry. Others say they're watching the industry closely from the sidelines, waiting for more regulatory changes before they take on the new client base.

Flowhub just scooped up a senior exec from Glassdoor, and it's the latest sign that the cannabis tech space is heating up

Stephanie Jenkins, formerly an exec at the job-hunting site Glassdoor, made the jump into the cannabis industry recently as Flowhub's senior vice president of sales. Flowhub is a cannabis tech company that helps dispensaries track inventory and process sales. The startup — backed by $27 million in funding so far — was named to Business Insider's list of the 15 buzziest startups in cannabis. 

The move sends a strong signal that investors and executives from inside and outside of cannabis think that the tech side of the industry has a lot of growth potential. 

Executive moves

  • Agrify Corporation names former Ocean Spray Cranberries exec Richard Stamm as new General Counsel and Corporate Secretary.
  • Flowhub brings on former Glassdoor executive Stephanie Jenkins as SVP of sales. 
  • Ontario Cannabis Store appointed Thomas Haig as its new interim president on Monday. Haig previously served as an exec at Hudson's Bay Company and Giant Tiger Stores, a discount chain. 
  • Billionaire investor Nelson Peltz is out at Aurora, resigning as a senior advisor to the company. 
  • Troubled cannabis company Green Growth Brands announced the departure of its CEO, Randy Whitaker, who took the top job in May. There will be no immediate replacement. 
  • Cannabis accessories company Greenlane Holdings hired a pair of former tobacco execs, Michael Cellucci and Michael Ouwendijk, to head up sales in North America and Europe respectively. 

Deals, launches, and IPOs

  • Canopy Growth is launching THC-infused beverages in Illinois and California through its partnership with Acreage Holdings next summer.
  • Ayr Strategies enters the Ohio market, expanding the cannabis company's presence to the Midwest.
  • Cannabis company ManifestSeven began trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange on Wednesday. 
  • Cannabis company Jushi Holdings reported Q3 revenue of $24 million.

Policy Moves

  • House Democrats passed a sweeping stimulus bill that included the SAFE Banking Act, a piece of legislation that would allow state-legal cannabis businesses to access banking services much like any other business. It's not likely to pass the Senate, however. My colleague Kimberly Leonard has what you need to know. 

Research and reform

  • A University of Montana study found that legalizing and taxing cannabis in the state could generate $236 million in tax revenue by 2026. 
  • Pot-for-potholes is not a panacea, says the Tax Foundation in a new blog post. Excise taxes from legalizing cannabis will not likely fill budget gaps, though the taxes from new businesses and job creation will still be a boon for states that do choose to legalize. 
  • According to new data from the FBI, marijuana arrests in the US declined for the first time in four years. The bad news is that marijuana arrests still outpaced arrests for all other violent crimes combined. 
  • 43% of 19-to-22-year-olds in the US used marijuana in the past year, according to a NIDA study. Prescription opioid and amphetamine abuse among the same age bracket continues to decline. 

Chart of the week

Wholesale cannabis sales skyrocketed in states like California, Arizona, and Colorado this August, compared to the same month last year, according to data from LeafLink Insights. The cannabis software company told Business Insider that year-over-year, between Aug 2019 to Aug 2020, gross merchandise value (GMV), the total value of merchandise sold, increased 132%.

Michigan, with a 112% increase, saw the biggest uptick, though that's in large part to recreational sales coming online last December. Nevada — with a market heavily dependent on cannabis tourism — was the only state of the six surveyed to see a decline in sales year-over-year.

What we're reading 

A political mystery: The cannabis money pushing to keep the US senate red (Cannabis Wire)

Cannabis vape companies are experiencing a sales boom during the pandemic (Tech Crunch) 

Gone to pot: New Zealand cools on legalising cannabis (The Guardian)

Mexico, plagued by cartel wars, on cusp of legal cannabis 'green rush' (Reuters)

Aurora Cannabis execs saw raises, bonuses despite multibillion-dollar loss (Marijuana Business Daily)

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