WeedMD Makes Changes To Leadership, Names George Scorsis Interim CEO

CANADA:  WeedMD, a medical cannabis licensed company operating in Strathroy, Ontario, has a new leader at its helm.

WeedMD announced that George Scorsis will take over as the organization’s Interim CEO. Since 2019, Scorsis has served as WeedMD’s Executive Chairman.  Currently, the company owns and operates a 158-acre state-of-the-art greenhouse and processing facility.

“As we continue on the path of executing our new product strategy and building an expanded distribution network, we are initiating a leadership transition that will position us strongly for this next phase. Additionally, the organization will focus on optimizing all aspects of the business,” Scorsis commented.

During his time at WeedMD, Scorsis has served in a variety of roles and has led initiatives and managed relationships with members and key stakeholders. He has over 25 years of business experience and was instrumental in restructuring Red Bull Canada, growing the company to $150 MM in revenue and also acted as President of Mettrum, a licenced producer.

In addition to this news, most recently, WeedMD announced the expansion of its Cannabis 2.0 product portfolio, with the introduction of terpene-infused vapes to be sold under its Saturday Cannabis branded line-up.  The flavored strains, which come in lemon haze and sour pineapple, are available to consumers through the Ontario Cannabis Store.

The launch of flavored vapes is another way the company is executing on its commercial growth plans.

“We are kicking off 2021 with a focused approach on increasing market share and commercial growth of our Color Cannabis and Saturday brands, while expanding our medical footprint through our Starseed portfolio. This includes an aggressive plan to transition WeedMD into a consumer-facing model of excellence. Ultimately becoming hyper-focused on driving meaningful results, while optimizing the organization for future success to deliver shareholder value,” George Scorsis commented.

The Saturday-branded vapes are produced at WeedMD’s extraction hub in Aylmer, Ontario and  join its line of Color Cannabis.

The debut comes after WeedMD began selling Black Sugar Rose to the Ontario Cannabis Store for adult-use earlier in December. WeedMD is the first cultivar to carry a terpene profile listing.  Black Sugar Rose is an indica-dominant hybrid whose whole flower product is currently available with a terpene profile of 3.6 per cent and THC level of 20 per cent.

Scorsis: “With Black Sugar Rose, we wanted to respond to the call for new cultivars, flower integrity, greater product diversity while responding to consumers’ request for less packaging.  Selling the product is just another way WeedMD is enhancing its appeal and accommodating an ever-evolving, national consumer base.”

Curtis Wallace, Head of Cultivation at WeedMD, added, “Cultivating and releasing Black Sugar Rose in Ontario is a proud achievement and pays homage to WeedMD’s cultivation pedigree and tradition for excellence.”

Terpenes are natural organic compounds that exist in all plants found in nature, including cannabis. They play a key role in aroma and flavour of individual cultivars and can be consumed in combination with cannabinoids.

WeedMD also made the decision to display total terpenes on its packaging at a time when cannabis users, and those who are new to cannabis, are looking for more information.

In an interview, Curtis Wallace said: “We now share full visibility on total terpenes, just like cannabinoids. Consumers and patients that are purchasing Color and Starseed flowers will value this new data point. From our perspective, a flower’s total terpene percentage is another number that matters, and knowledge is power.”

As WeedMD progresses into its next stages, George Scorsis will continue to work closely with the team to enhance customer experience, broaden distribution and work to increase sales on a national level.

 

Curved Papers & Empire State NORML Kick Off ‘Do The Right Thing, New York’ PSA Campaign

NEW YORK: This week Curved Papers and the New York State Chapters of NORML kicked off Do The Right Thing, New York, a PSA marketing campaign designed to raise awareness and support  for The Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA), one of two competing bills to legalize adult use in what will be the sixteenth or seventeenth state to do so.

As part of the campaign, Curved Papers produced a 7-page primer called “Seven Points About Legalization In New York State 2021,” which explains with pictures, why the MRTA is vastly preferable for cannabis community members, the consumer, the industry and the general public.

“Not only does the MRTA better address core issues of concern to the citizenry across New York State, equity, justice, home grow and sustainability,” Michael O’Malley, Curved Papers Founder told MJNews, “the CRTA is actually a poor solution, and moves all these issues in the wrong direction, or perpetuates problems the MRTA solves.”

Curved Papers is a licensee of NORML, and supports NORML with a royalty on its NORML Curved Papers, made from 100% organic hemp.

Curved Papers was granted the first Corporate Social Responsibility Award at the first NYC NORML Awards in 2019 and takes that honor seriously. A New York company founded by a guy from Brooklyn, the time is now for our home state.

Curved Papers and MJBA share the concept of “cannafest destiny,” the green wave of legalization moving from the West to the East which is finally really crashing on our New York shores. Time to do the right thing, New York!

If you’re a New Yorker, please use this convenient tool to reach out to your representatives in the Senate and the Assembly, and to the Governor, and let them know you support equity, justice, home grow and sustainability. Pass the MRTA now!

DTRTNY will be sharing this link during live online events for the next four Mondays! This Monday join a WATCH PARTY ACTION, featuring “Grass Is Greener,” the seminal film by Fab Five Freddie, a New Yorker if there ever was one.

Cresco Labs Closes Acquisition of Verdant Creations’ Four Dispensaries, Reaches Maximum Retail Licenses in Ohio

ILLINOIS:  Cresco Labs, one of the largest vertically integrated, multi-state cannabis operators in the United States, announced today the closing of its acquisition of Verdant Creations dispensaries in Cincinnati, Chillicothe, Newark and Marion, Ohio (collectively “Verdant”). These acquisitions give Cresco four additional dispensaries, bringing the Company’s dispensary presence in Ohio to five – the maximum allowed by the state.

The Verdant acquisition is aligned with Cresco’s strategy of building meaningful, material market positions in the states that matter most. As the seventh most populated state in the U.S., Ohio has a registered medical patient count that more than doubled in 2020 from roughly 78,000 patients to 160,000, in addition to 52 operational dispensaries statewide and 2020 annual cannabis sales of nearly $220 million1. Cresco Labs is well positioned in the market with the largest type of cultivation license allowing 25,000 sq. ft. of cultivation, a full processing facility currently under expansion, and now the maximum number of retail locations allowed by the state. Additionally, the Company distributes its flower product to 88% of Ohio’s dispensaries and is excited to bring its full House of Brands to market following the completion of it’s processing and manufacturing facility later this year.

“In 2020, we demonstrated the growth and leverage that can be created by focusing only on the most strategic markets, executing high-quality cultivation at scale, distributing our branded products onto every shelf and focusing on targeted, consumer-focused, high-volume retail. In 2021, we’re using the same playbook to go deeper in strategic states, including Ohio,” said Charlie Bachtell, Cresco Labs’ CEO and Co-founder. “The Verdant acquisition significantly deepens our position in Ohio, a market that looks structurally similar to Illinois and Pennsylvania in the early years of those medical markets. We are thrilled to be amplifying our operations in Ohio this year and look forward to bringing our brands to more patients throughout the state.”

Cresco Labs’ five Ohio dispensaries are located in Cincinnati, Chillicothe, Marion, Newark, and Wintersville. The Company also has a cultivation and processing facility in Yellow Springs.

Guidance For OLCC Marijuana Licensees Impacted By Natural Disasters (Power Outages & Ice)

OREGON: Natural disasters throughout Oregon can affect us in a moment’s notice. Business owners should be aware of potential disasters and plan ahead. If you have lost power due to the recent storms, this message is to provide guidance on how to record and notify the OLCC of your situation.

It is important to remember your safety and the safety of others is the first and foremost importance.

Notification Requirements: Recording Sales & Transfers

Notification: Once you are able to connect to the internet, email the OLCC at marijuana@oregon.gov with the following information:

  • License number, outage times, address of your licensed premises so we are aware of the situation, and can track the regional impact.
  • For camera outages, please complete this form.

Sales: please keep a detailed log of all sales/transfers as required by 845-025-7500 (8) Seed-To-Sale Tracking — CTS Requirements so that you can update your CTS account once you have regained power.

Transfers: If you transferred product (refrigerated items) to another licensee, do not request it to be transferred back until your buildings and cameras are operational, and your licensed premises can function according to OLCC rules.

  • For example, if you are a producer planning to transfer product to another licensee, make sure you know how your product will be separated from the other licensee(s) and the care it will receive. It also may be helpful to have any terms or agreements in place prior to the actual emergency evacuation.

Kerri Accardi Is On A Mission To Educate The World About Cannabis

NEW YORK: Kerri Accardi wants to educate the world about cannabis. She’s been on a personal and professional mission since 2014, when a close relative passed away after an agonizing battle with cancer, suffering the brutal effects associated with chemotherapy and radiation — a battle Accardi believes might have been won had legal cannabis been available.

Her mission to the Staten Island, NY native to the canna-friendly West Coast right at the time when legalization movement was gaining momentum, where she connected with the advocates, growers, caregivers and community leaders who were at the center of California, Oregon and Washington’s quasi-legal medical marijuana movement.

With an activist’s eye and a passion for the plant, Accardi and her team at 420MEDIA have now created A New Cannabis Channel (ANewCannabisChannel.com), an omni-channel media play debuting April 20, 2021 (4/20).  Initial programming will include three original series: “5th Quarter” hosted by NFL Super Bowl Champion and cannabis activist Marvin Washington; “Nurse Talk” hosted by Nurse Heather Manus Sobel, founder of the Cannabis Nurses Network; and “Faces of Cannabis” intimate conversations with cannabis industry thought leaders, and will be available on ROKU, Amazon Fire Stick, Android, and iOS.

 

An ad-supported platform, A New Cannabis Channel is offering permanent commercial placement with integrated marketing, in-video shopping, social media and PR packages for the three inaugural series.

 

Listen in as MJNews founder David Rheins and Kerri Accardi catch up in this MJChannelOne Exclusive Interview:

Jazz Pharmaceuticals To Acquire GW Pharmaceuticals, Creating An Innovative, High-Growth, Global Biopharma Leader

UNITED KINGDOM: Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc and GW Pharmaceuticals announced the companies have entered into a definitive agreement for Jazz to acquire GW for $220.00 per American Depositary Share (ADS), in the form of $200.00 in cash and $20.00 in Jazz ordinary shares, for a total consideration of $7.2 billion, or $6.7 billion net of GW cash. The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.

Upon close of the transaction, the combined company will be a leader in neuroscience with a global commercial and operational footprint well positioned to maximize the value of its diversified portfolio.

GW is a global leader in discovering, developing, manufacturing and commercializing novel, regulatory approved therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform to address a broad range of diseases. The company’s lead product, Epidiolex® (cannabidiol) oral solution, is approved in patients one-year and older for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), Dravet Syndrome and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC), all of which are rare diseases characterized by severe early-onset epilepsy. Epidiolex was the first plant-derived cannabinoid medicine ever approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product has also been approved, under the tradename Epidyolex®, by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in patients two years of age and older for the adjunctive treatment of seizures associated with LGS and Dravet syndrome in conjunction with clobazam and is under EMA review for the treatment of seizures associated with TSC. In addition to the approved indications for Epidiolex, there are considerable opportunities to pursue other indications within the epilepsy field, including other treatment-resistant epilepsies where significant unmet needs of patients exist.

Beyond Epidiolex, GW has a scientific platform and deep innovative pipeline of cannabinoid product candidates, as well as highly specialized manufacturing expertise, developed over two decades of pioneering and building leadership in cannabinoid science. This pipeline includes nabiximols, for which the company is in Phase 3 trials to seek FDA approval for treatment of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, as well as earlier-stage cannabinoid product candidates for autism and schizophrenia.

“Jazz is proud of our leadership position in sleep medicines and rapidly growing oncology business. We are excited to add GW’s industry-leading cannabinoid platform, innovative pipeline and products, which will strengthen and broaden our neuroscience portfolio, further diversify our revenue and drive sustainable, long-term value creation opportunities,” said Bruce Cozadd, chairman and CEO of Jazz Pharmaceuticals. “We are joining two teams that share a passion for, and track record of, developing differentiated therapies that advance science and transform the lives of patients. This will help facilitate a successful integration and bring added capabilities to Jazz. Given the strength of our balance sheet and the meaningful financial drivers of the transaction, we are confident in the value we can deliver to both companies’ shareholders and patients. We look forward to welcoming the GW team to Jazz to build an even stronger company.”

“Over the last two decades, GW has built an unparalleled global leadership position in cannabinoid science, including the successful launch of Epidiolex, a breakthrough product within the field of epilepsy, and a diverse and robust neuroscience pipeline. We believe that Jazz is an ideal growth partner that is committed to supporting our commercial efforts, as well as ongoing clinical and research programs,” said Justin Gover, CEO of GW Pharmaceuticals. “We have a shared vision of developing and commercializing innovative medicines that address significant unmet needs in neuroscience and an approach of putting patients first. Together, we will have an opportunity to reach and impact more patients through a broader portfolio of neuroscience-focused therapies than ever before.”

Oregon Cannabis Social Equity Bill Introduced

OREGON:  Repairing the harm from decades of inequity from the War on Drugs is the goal of the Cannabis Social Equity Act introduced this week by a coalition of legislators in the Oregon State Legislature. HB 3112 is the culmination of months of work led by former State Rep. Akasha Lawrence Spencer including numerous cannabis companies, the NuLeaf Project, the Oregon Cannabis Association, the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association, the City of Portland, Urban League, and law students from Willamette University.

“We came together with a common purpose – to undo and repair some of the harm caused by cannabis criminalization on Black, Indignenious and Latinx communities in Oregon,” said Rep. Lawrence Spence. “This legislation uses cannabis tax revenue to invest in Oregonians who have been unjustly targeted for decades by law enforcement, in an effort to repair some of the generational harm done to their communities.”

Chief sponsors of HB 3112 include Representatives Janelle Bynum, Ricki Ruiz, Mark Meek, Julie Fahey and Senators Lew Frederick and Kayse Jama. Current sponsors include Representatives Karin Power, Pam Marsh and Maxine Dexter.

Jeanette Ward Horton, executive director of NuLeaf Project, has been working with the coalition since its inception eight months ago. NuLeaf Project receives funding from City of Portland cannabis tax revenues and private donations to aid cannabis start up companies with funds, technical assistance and job placement/training.

“We’ve seen the harm to far too many families to not address this issue. Cannabis convictions bring challenges that ripple through families and cause hardship for the children of children whose parents were disproportionately arrested. The loss of jobs, education grants, housing and more that can all stem from a minor cannabis conviction have impacted communities of color for generations. Today Oregon has the chance to undo some of that harm,” said Ward-Horton.

The bill contains three major provisions:

  • Direct investment in cannabis businesses owned by Black, Indigenious, and Latina/o/x people, as well as people convicted of cannabis crimes. Creates investment in home and land ownership, job training, health care, education and other areas determined by the Cannabis Equity Board.
  • Free, automatic expungement of eligible cannabis criminal convictions paid for by cannabis tax revenues as needed. Previous legislation saw less than 200 of 28,000 eligible Oregonians successfully complete expungement.
  • Equity licenses for Black-, Indigenous-, and Latina/o/x  owned cannabis companies with reduced fees and modified requirements to initially qualify. Provides for funding of two OLCC positions to aid in the licensure process, and includes the addition of three license types beneficial for the small businesses owner.

Chief Sponsor and State Rep. Ricki Ruiz said fixing the expungement process is a critical piece of the legislation.

“Less than 200 out of 28,000 Oregonians eligible for expungement were able to successfully complete the process in the past two years. We need to do better,” said Ruiz. “This bill provides us the path and the funding we need to efficiently remove previous cannabis crimes from people’s records and provide them the opportunity to repair their lives from the harm caused by cannabis criminalization. It is a critical step toward restoring the health of these individuals and the communities where they reside.”

Gabe Parton Lee, General Counsel at Wyld, spearheaded the design of the automatic expungement process

“What we clearly see is that those left in the destructive wake of cannabis prohibition have been helped the least by cannabis legalization. Instead, we see a rapidly-growing industry that has largely left behind people and communities who disproportionately suffered under cannabis criminalization,” said Parton Lee, general counsel for Wyld. “We are advocating for the use of cannabis tax dollars to help correct some of these long standing issues of inequity and provide for direct investment into people and neighborhoods most impacted by cannabis prohibition.”

State Rep. Julie Fahey helped drive the creation of the bill when she passed legislation in 2019 calling for a work group to develop a cannabis social equity program.

“This effort has brought together a diverse group of advocates, business owners, and industry partners to develop one of the most comprehensive equity bills in the country – breaking down barriers for BIPOC Oregonians and investing in the communities most harmed by cannabis criminalization. The cannabis industry is a driver of economic opportunity for entrepreneurs in our state, and this bill will help ensure that those harmed by the war on drugs have access to those opportunities,” said Fahey.

A coalition of cannabis companies and trade groups including the Oregon Cannabis Association, the Oregon Industry Progress Association, and the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association have all united around this legislation as the key cannabis related bill for the 2021 session. Major sponsors include Groundworks industries, Wyld, Wana and Dutchie with dozens of other cannabis companies, law firms and others supporting the effort.

Eaze Releases 2020 State Of Cannabis Report: “How Cannabis Consumers Responded To Crisis”

Analysis of consumer choices in 2020 across the world’s largest cannabis market offers important lessons for emerging markets nationally and globally

CALIFORNIA:  Eaze, California’s largest legal cannabis marketplace, today released its sixth annual Eaze Insights State of Cannabis Report. The 2020 report, “How Cannabis Consumers Responded to Crisis”, looks at aggregate consumer trends driving the world’s largest cannabis market in a year rocked by unprecedented cultural, economic and public health challenges.

The report aggregates Eaze’s proprietary data to illustrate the behavior of the over 400,000 consumers who purchased via the platform in 2020. With 6.5 million legal deliveries completed to-date, Eaze can offer unique insights into how 2020 impacted consumption, uncovering patterns that can be generalized to markets nationally and globally.

Key findings include:

  • Consumers relied on cannabis delivery during quarantine. Consumer demand driven by COVID-19 led to significant increases in the number of new deliveries and order size.
  • Calls for social justice elevated equity brands. 2020 saw a greater demand for social equity products, underscoring increased consumer awareness – especially among customers over age 30 – about the importance of BIPOC-owned brands.
  • Edibles won the year. Edibles became the most popular product category across major markets and age groups, reflecting the public health focus on COVID’s respiratory impacts. Cannabis drinks especially benefited from the shift to Zoom socializing.
  • A tough holiday season increased consumption. Consumers used more cannabis over the 2020 winter holidays, when many celebrated without their families.
  • Cannabis helped us stay sexy at home. Consumers increasingly relied on weed to increase their sexual satisfaction during stay-at-home orders.
  • Cannabis won the 2020 election. Cannabis legalization in Arizona, New Jersey, Montana and South Dakota united voters on both sides of the aisle and outpaced presidential candidates in key states. In Arizona, Mississippi and New Jersey, cannabis got more votes than either presidential candidate. Consumer anxiety, meanwhile, fueled a demand uptick as votes were tallied.

“In this crisis year, cannabis emerged as an essential product and a unifying political issue,” said Ro Choy, CEO of Eaze. “Consumers relied on delivery during the pandemic and policymakers in emerging markets should look at the data and anticipate how robust demand for legal delivery will work in their communities. The report also shows consumer excitement for social equity brands, affirming that putting money in the pockets of BIPOC entrepreneurs is good business and a direct way to address the War on Drugs.”

The full report can be found here.

Emmy Award-Winning Executive Elizabeth Browde Joins A New Cannabis Channel As COO

NEW JERSEY: Emmy award-winning media executive Elizabeth Browde is taking her talents to cannabis media, joining as COO of A New Cannabis Channel, a mainstream omni-channel scheduled to debut on 4/20/2021.

Ms. Browde, whose vast experience includes significant roles in platform start ups, television programming, celebrity global brands, brand building, TV commerce, will join CEO Kerri Accardi in the venture, designed to bring a variety of cannabis-infused edutainment programming to the canna-curious.

“Our focus is on educating the mainstream through compelling content, high-quality production, innovative advertising, and easy accessibility,” Accardi told MJNews. “We are on a mission to educate the world about cannabis.”

Scheduled for a soft launch on the stoner holiday 4/20, A New Cannabis Channel, will feature original programming with the leading voices in cannabis business, science, sports, medical, growing, and consumer culture.  Super Bowl Champion Marvin Washington will host “5th Quarter: What Happens After the Game.”; Nurse Heather Manus will host “Nurse Talk: Nurses Take on Medical Cannabis”; while “Faces of Cannabis” will feature thought-leaders in legal cannabis and hemp.

“This isn’t your stoner channel.” Browde tells David Rheins, “It is really about showing people the many uses of cannabis, and providing them with the information and tools they need to make decisions about how and when to use cannabis.

Listen in on this Marijuana Channel One exclusive, as MJNews Network’s David Rheins talks to Elizabeth about the role of media in the cannabis cultural revolution; women-run enterprises and how they are changing the canna-business; and the programming that will soon be coming to a screen near you.

WSLCB Seeking Panelists, Participants & Listeners For Deliberative Dialogue Sessions

Topics Cover Cannabis Quality Assurance Testing

Three sessions will use deliberative dialogue to discuss issues related to new state quality assurance testing of cannabis.

What is deliberative dialogue?

In short, deliberative dialogue is a method of structured conversation that seeks to find increased understanding of all sides and perspectives of an issue. It seeks to discover the most important values that participants have about the topics being discussed and to build relationships among participants. Listening with empathy and ensuring equity among participants is foundational. Deliberative dialogue brings up and discusses the consequences, costs and trade-offs of various policy options, and working through the emotions and values as a necessary part of making recommendations and decisions, common ground can be established as decisions are made.

Deliberative dialogue can be helpful when used between Government and stakeholders and community members. WSLCB is charged with ensuring the safety of Washington state residents. WSLCB works with the public and licensees on key decisions that affect the safety of Washingtonians, and the agency has a central role in creating regulatory frameworks to support that work. WSLCB believes that Washingtonians have the capacity to be well informed just as experts have the capacity to better appreciate the concerns of the public. Both expert knowledge and the perspectives of the public are crucial to the formulation of wise policy. For more on deliberative dialogue click here.

How are the sessions formatted?

Each session is scheduled for three hours.

  • A panel will be scheduled for each session, comprised of:
    • Panel 1: Consumers (4 – 5 panelists; consumers, health care reps, and others)
    • Panel 2: Processors (5- 6 panelists; processors/producers from all tiers, indoor/outdoor growers, minority-owned business, and differing regions in state)
    • Panel 3: Labs (4 – 5 panelists, consisting of lab owners, employees, or both).
  • The moderator will open each forum with topic background, panel introduction, and ground rules.
  • Panelists may give a five minute opening statement covering their background, their interest and experience on the topic, and ideas or thoughts they’d like to talk about.
  • Questions sent in from the panelist recruitment will be posed to the panel members.
  • The rest of the meeting will be interactive (using the hand-raising feature in WebEx) to allow participants and listeners to pose questions to the panel.

How are Panelists Selected?

WSLCB began panel recruitment on January 6, 2021. We asked for those interested in being a panelist, participant or listener to contact us by close of business, or 5PM on January 20, 2021. We continue to need panelists. You can view the announcement and apply here.

How can I listen or participate in Deliberative Dialogue at WSLCB?
Sign up as a non-panelist participant or listener for:

Questions? Contact rules@lcb.wa.gov.