Analysts and investors continue to help expand the psychedelics industry.
Analysts and investors continue to help expand the psychedelics industry.
The Daily Hit is a recap of the top cannabis business stories for July 12, 2022.
MariMed Begins Trading On The CSE
MariMed, Inc. (CSE: MRMD), (OTCQX: MRMD) began trading its common shares on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) today, July 12, under the ticker symbol MRMD. MariMed’s shares will continue to trade on the OTCQX under the ticker symbol MRMD. MariMed believes trading on the CSE will increase liquidity for shareholders and provide easier access to Canadian retail and institutional investors, in addition to U.S. investors on the OTCQX market. Read more here.
New York Has Potential To Be Number One, If It Can Beat Illicit Dealers
New York is often considered a likely major player in the US cannabis market. While reasonable, the state’s immense unlicensed consumption habits have some wondering if it will face problems as California has. If so, what might happen to New York’s licensed operators, including social equity license holders, a priority component of the state’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act. Read more here.
Netflix Launches Psychedelic Pollan Series
Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) has launched four episodes of “How to Change Your Mind” based on the Michael Pollan book of the same name. The four-part docu-series was executive produced by Alex Gibney and directed by Alison Ellwood. The series is based on The New York Times best-selling book and it dives into the science of psychedelics while touching on consciousness, dying, addiction, depression, and transcendence. Each episode targets a different mind-altering substance: LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, and mescaline. Read more here.
The Dangers of Popularizing Psychedelics
So much good news from trusted sources about psychedelics today has really made the topic part of the zeitgeist of a world looking for help, as we all struggle to deal with many mental health and wellness issues within the context of a worldwide pandemic showing new signs of continuing. Read more here.
Cryomass Technologies Inc.
OTC Markets Group Inc. (OTCQX: OTCM), operator of regulated markets for trading 12,000 U.S. and international securities, today announced Cryomass Technologies Inc. (OTCQX: CRYM), a company preparing to manufacture and operate field-mobile equipment for the handling of harvested cannabis, hemp and other high-value plant material, has qualified to trade on the OTCQX® Best Market. Cryomass Technologies Inc. upgraded to OTCQX from the OTCQB® Venture Market. Read more here.
Jushi Holdings Inc.
Jushi Holdings Inc. (CSE: JUSH) (OTCQX: JUSHF), a vertically integrated, multi-state cannabis operator, announced that Ed Kremer has resigned from his position as Chief Financial Officer to accept a role at a competing large cannabis multi-state operator. Mr. Kremer’s resignation will take effect today, July 12, 2022. Mr. Kremer is party to an employment agreement with Jushi, which, among other things, prohibits him from working for a competitor for a 12-month period. While Jushi is appreciative of Mr. Kremer’s hard work to support the timely filing of audited financials, the Company takes such post-employment obligations seriously and will take steps to enforce its contractual rights. Read more here.
AmeriCann Inc. (OTCQB:ACAN), a cannabis company that develops cultivation, product manufacturing and distribution facilities, today provided financial and operational updates for its Massachusetts cannabis cultivation, product manufacturing and distribution campus. The company achieved a significant increase in year-over-year quarterly revenue, increasing over 36% for the quarter ended June 2022 relative to the quarter ended June 2021, an increase of $213,902. Read more here.
Medical Marijuana, Inc., Kannaway® Japan
Medical Marijuana, Inc. (OTC: MJNA), a publicly traded cannabis company in the United States that has launched cannabis-derived nutraceutical products, brands, and supply chain, announced today that in June, its subsidiary Kannaway® has achieved its largest revenue month in the company’s history for its Japan division. Read more here.
Akanda Corp., Tetra Bio-Pharma
Akanda Corp. (NASDAQ: AKAN) and Tetra Bio-Pharma (TSX: TBP) (OTCQB: TBPMF) (FRA: JAM1), today jointly announced that Akanda will supply Tetra with pharmaceutical grade cannabis flower in a microdose cap form, for use in a Storz & Bickel Mighty Medic Vaporizer for global commercialization of Tetra’s QIXLEEFTM and related products. In addition, Akanda will act as a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) for Tetra’s clinical drug and commercial supply programs. With this project, Akanda becomes a CDMO in addition to being an EU GMP cannabis manufacturer, marking Akanda’s first entry into cannabinoid drug development. Read more here.
China Infrastructure Construction Corp., Cannabis Bioscience International Holdings, Inc.
China Infrastructure Construction Corp., a company traded on the OTC Markets Pink tier under the symbol CHNC, announces that, in addition to completing its public audit on March 21, 2022, its independent registered public accounting firm, PWR CPA LLP, has completed its review of the company’s financial statements for the first three quarters of the fiscal year that ended May 31, 2022. This review is a significant step in the prompt completion of audited financial statements for the fiscal year then ended, as well as in preparing for the change of the company’s corporate name to Cannabis Bioscience International Holdings, Inc., which it plans to accomplish as soon as it is able to comply with regulatory requirements. Read more here.
Rodedawg International Industries, Inc.
Rodedawg International Industries, Inc. (OTC Pink: RWGI) announced the acquisition of Tree Moguls™, a premium cannabis lifestyle brand based in Southern California. Christopher Swartz, CEO, states, “This acquisition is an immediate revenue producing opportunity and allows Rodedawg to enter into the $6 billion dollar California cannabis market through licensing and distribution opportunities. As part of the acquisition, Rodedawg also acquires a deep technology stack which includes Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) embedded branding for the Tree Moguls™ brand.” Read more here.
Zoned Properties®, Inc.
Zoned Properties®, Inc. (OTCQB: ZDPY), a real estate development firm for emerging and highly regulated industries including legalized cannabis, today announced the company has secured an initial debt facility of up to $4.5 million. Read more here.
Pacific Stone, a seed-to-sale company producing 6.5 percent of the licensed California market’s cannabis flower, announces its ongoing partnership with RIP Medical Debt and participating California retailers with the goal of alleviating $3 million in medical debt for families across the state of California. Read more here.
Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) has launched four episodes of “How to Change Your Mind” based on the Michael Pollan book of the same name. The four-part docu-series was executive produced by Alex Gibney and directed by Alison Ellwood. The series is based on The New York Times best-selling book and it dives into the science of psychedelics while touching on consciousness, dying, addiction, depression, and transcendence. Each episode targets a different mind-altering substance: LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, and mescaline.
Pollan told Deadline, “The current renaissance in psychedelic research has been the most compelling and hopeful story I’ve covered in thirty years as a journalist. But it’s one thing to describe the powerful effects of these substances in a book, and quite another to evoke that experience, and its incredible potential for healing, on the screen, as the Netflix adaptation of How to Change Your Mind has masterfully done.” Deadline wrote, “With Pollan as a guide, viewers will journey to the frontiers of the new psychedelic renaissance – and look back at the almost-forgotten historical context – to explore the potential of these substances to heal and change minds as well as culture.”
Pollan also wrote the books This Is Your Mind On Plants, Cooked, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and The Botany of Desire. Cooked was adapted as a TV series that is also streaming on Netflix and The Botany of Desire and In Defense of Food premiered on PBS.
It is this literary pedigree that has given Pollan’s book a lot of weight within the psychedelics industry. However, a recent podcast called “Cover Story” from New York Magazine delved into the dark side of the psychedelic industry and one episode featured a conversation with Pollan. Episode 8 titled “Who AmI Fooling” questioned whether Polan’s cheerleading of psychedelics ignored the downsides of these powerful drugs. The podcast hosts fear that the book will make the psychedelic experiences entice many people without any warning of the negatives.
Host Lily Kay Ross said,
Michael listened to the people who called him, he forwarded their letters and put them in touch with key people. They all told us that. And he’s also included more footnotes of caution in his interviews and talks.But it doesn’t compare to the roar of celebration.
Pollan’s show isn’t the only psychedelics program on Netflix that cuts from the mainstream. Gwyneth Paltrow’s series “The Goop Lab” features an episode on a magic mushroom retreat in Jamaica. It’s lighthearted and cheerful with lots of laughter in a beautiful setting. Then there’s “Have a Good Trip” which features numerous celebrities discussing psychedelics in an original documentary with live-action and animation. So, Pollan’s is just the latest to feature psychedelics on Netflix.
There is a huge disconnect between how cannabis consumers use social media sites like Facebook (FB) and how social media sites treat cannabis users. Polls have shown over 60% of Americans approve of legalization, making it one of the few things that many Americans agree upon. This is a formidable group of people that are also users of social media channels.
In survey data from Consumer Research Around Cannabis, 2.4 million over the age of 21 said they had bought or used marijuana in the past month. Of that group, 83% had logged on to Facebook. However, Facebook is very resistant to cannabis companies having pages on the site. The company regularly states that cannabis pages are promoting illegal drug use even if they are businesses that don’t even touch the plant. Many companies have complained about their pages being shut down with no warning and little recourse other than asking for an appeal from a vague link.
“I talked to the Facebook people about two years ago and tried to explain that a lot of businesses in the industry are using social media to inform and educate medical marijuana patients,” said Olivia Mannix Co-founder of cannabis marketing company Cannabrand. “If pages are shut down, then patients can’t get information about products in the stores, or find networks like cannabis patients group.” Cannabrand, like other cannabis companies, has learned that by avoiding the use of hot words like marijuana, cannabis, and weed to name a few and making sure that images don’t contain pot leaves posts can get by Facebook’s watchdogs.
Facebook didn’t respond to a request for a comment, but it seems steadfast in its approach to the cannabis community, no matter the size of the group. Cannabis company pages are generally allowed but boosted posts or ads are not.
Instagram And Cannabis
Instagram, which is owned by Facebook had been more permissive towards cannabis companies with regards to allowing cannabis posts, yet tougher when it came to allowing the profiles. According to Consumer Research Around Cannabis, only 56% of cannabis consumers even log into Instagram. Cannabis companies might be able to make these posts to reach their clientele, but then they learn the accounts disappear when Instagram decides it wants to shut them down.
Mike Coleman, Dir of Marketing for Medical Marijuana Inc. (MJNA) said, “Instagram has been more aggressive in policing cannabis. Facebook doesn’t seem to shut down pages even if they don’t allow ads.” He added, “I’ve heard of companies building a following on Instagram only to wake up and have it shut down. Its a tough place for a marketer to go.” Businesses are estimated to have spent $36 billion in social media advertising according to eMarketer, so it’s a significant place for companies to reach their customers.
Twitter (TWTR) is another marijuana friendly social media channel. Companies are given the green light for profiles and free rein on what messages they want to send out. Still, only 52% of cannabis consumers logged on to Twitter in the past month, while only 48% use Snapchat. So, the sites that seem to tolerate cannabis consumers, aren’t the sites where they are spending time. Even fewer cannabis consumers log on to LinkedIn with only 41% choosing to visit this platform.
CBD (cannabidiol) products get caught up in this marijuana blacklist. Mannix mentioned several hemp-based CBD companies, whose products are legal, but have experienced getting blackballed on the internet. Amazon (AMZN) has over 9,000 listings to purchase CBD products. Facebook allows Amazon to keep its page, even though by its own standards Amazon is promoting illegal drug use by selling CBD products, whereas a consulting firm for the cannabis industry that sells no products is considered to be promoting drug use. 73% of cannabis consumers logged on to Amazon in the past month according to the Consumer Research’s data. Making this one of the few places where cannabis users aren’t tossed aside.
Cannabis Consumers Prefer Google
Moving on to search engines, cannabis consumers are overwhelmingly on Google (GOOG) as 85% have logged on in the past month versus 44% for Bing. Yahoo is apparently not a choice at all. Jeffrey Stein of Consumer Research Around Cannabis said, “Yahoo was not included in the survey because it hasn’t been deemed relevant by our database subscribers. The primary search engines they are currently interested in are Google and Bing. If there is a sudden surge in demand for Yahoo, we would, of course, consider adding it back into our questionnaire.” “Google also has a hot list of ad words they do not allow,” said Kyle Porter, President of CMW Media. “Even in metadata or in the description you can’t use the words marijuana or cannabis. This makes it hard to reach the consumer with a new brand. For publishers, it’s hard to monetize content or reach consumers through traditional digital marketing plays.”
Porter noted that for some businesses, these “hot” words are found in the company name makes it even more difficult to use Google as a way to steer customers to the business. Porter did point out there are several websites that have been created to help the cannabis community get around these roadblocks. The drawback to these sites is that marketers aren’t able to reach fresh customers. They are already “singing to the choir.”
Internet Radio Allows Drugs In Songs But Not In Ads
Music seems to be a bigger pleasure with 54% logging into Pandora (P), while 50% choose Spotify. I Heart Radio is at 45%. Only 19% chose Google Play Music and 8% listened to Slacker Radio. While music sites regularly play songs that sing about drugs, they aren’t so happy about running ads for cannabis companies. “We’ve avoided Spotify and Pandora as well because we can’t target them,” said Porter. The irony is that The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers found in a study, “116 of the 279 unique songs (41.6%) had a substance use reference of any kind. Ninety-three songs (33.3%) contained explicit substance use references.” In other words, its okay for the artists but not the advertisers.
Netflix And A Preroll?
Cannabis consumers do love their entertainment with 74% enjoying streaming video and TV shows. Netflix is the provider of choice with 58% using that service. Amazon Prime was used by 29% and Hulu was used by 27%. Only 18% used iTunes. Maybe Netflix is the channel of choice because of its embrace of the community. Netflix has created original programming around Columbian drug lords in Narco, a light comedy based in a dispensary called Disjointed and a drama simply titled Cannabis. Netflix also created its own collection of cannabis strains with names that pay homage to shows like Orange Is The New Black. The collection was sold at the Alternative Herbal Health Services in West Hollywood last summer. Netflix obviously doesn’t have the same issues that Facebook does.
Just Send Me A Text
Really, the best way for businesses to reach consumers is through their phones. The vast majority of Americans – 95% – now own a cellphone of some kind. The share of Americans that own smartphones are now 77%, up from just 35% in Pew Research Center’s first survey of smartphone ownership conducted in 2011. So since most people own smartphones, that means most cannabis consumers own smartphones. Loyalty programs from companies like Baker push out promotional notices to customers through text messaging. Dispensaries just skip the middlemen and go directly to the consumer. Coleman said, “We have engaged in push marketing and it’s been effective. It’s a great way to build a contact list.”
All of the marketers believe that at some point all of these social media channels will change their policies and begin to be more friendly to cannabis companies. Once cannabis is legalized, they will probably change their policies to accept some form of advertising. For now, none want to run afoul of federal law and are opting to take a conservative approach. The question will be whether cannabis companies will feel they need these outlets when that time comes. Most have been forced to work around them for years and may have little desire to dance with them once they are ready.
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