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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.

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Hello all,

You’re catching us writing this newsletter from home this week as all of Business Insider has started WFH. Here’s your daily reminder to wash your hands and moisturize.

This week Jeremy got the scoop on MedMen’s quiet cuts to 128 positions in February after digging through the company’s securities filings. That brings our ongoing record of layoffs in the cannabis industry to over 2,800 people. Jeremy also got the scoop on a key executive departing vape and accessories company Greenlane Holdings, which laid off 31 employees in February. 

Meanwhile, Yeji talked to five edibles companies eyeing the 2.0 industry in Canada and profiled California-based Flow Kana. Flow Kana said it’s planning to raise another round of funding soon, given the difficult times in the industry.

While cannabis news is certainly not of crucial importance in these trying times, we’ll still be working full-time to keep you all updated. On that front, we’ll have a look at how the industry is preparing for — and reeling from — the pandemic next week. 

And we’re still open for tips — you can find the best ways to reach us at the bottom of this newsletter.

Stay safe out there, everyone. 

-Jeremy and Yeji

Here’s what we wrote about this week:

Canada’s cannabis market may balloon to $2.8 billion this year. Despite strict packaging rules, top edibles companies say they’re racing to get a foot in the door.

The packaging on Canadian cannabis edibles is far from attractive. It’s plastered with yellow health-warning labels and prohibited from having images or fluorescent colors.

But that hasn’t stopped some of the most popular US edibles brands from saying they still find the market attractive. Business Insider talked to CEOs at five edibles companies in the midst of setting their strategies for the Canadian market. 

Embattled cannabis retailer MedMen quietly terminated 128 people in February, filings reveal

MedMen terminated 128 employees and made 15 new hires in February, for a net loss of 113 jobs, according to a securities filing reviewed by Business Insider.

The layoffs come amid a months-long restructuring plan put into place by the company’s board and former CEO Adam Bierman, who stepped down from his role on February 1. MedMen has engaged a turnaround firm, FTI Consulting, to assist with the process. 

A key executive departed cannabis-vaporizer company Greenlane Holdings two days after the company laid off 31 workers

A key executive at cannabis-vaporizer and accessories company Greenlane Holdings resigned from the company on February 20, two days after the company laid off 31 employees in its Florida and California offices, per a securities filing reviewed by Business Insider.

The executive, former chief marketing officer Sasha Kadey, officially left the company on February 28, the filing says. Kadey told Business Insider over the phone that he’ll stay on as a strategic advisor to Greenlane for six months, focused on brand-building.

A buzzy cannabis startup that partners with local farmers in the Emerald Triangle is seeking to raise fresh cash from investors

While most cannabis companies are trying to compete with the cannabis growers in the Emerald triangle, Flow Kana has raised $175 million to team up with them instead.

The company, which is one of the hottest startups in cannabis, according to investors we surveyed, is gearing up to raise more funds within the next two quarters of this year, according to CEO Mikey Steinmetz.

Capital raises, M&A activity, partnerships, and launches

  • Tilray announced on Friday the pricing of a $90.4 million registered offering, with Canaccord Genuity acting as the sole bookrunner. Tilray’s stock has dropped 32% on Friday.
  • Canopy Growth is lending TerrAscend $80.5 million (CAD) to fund TerrAscend’s Canadian operations. 
  • SōRSE Technology acquired part of cancer research group Pascal Bioscience to develop clinical trials for Pascal’s cannabinoid research program.
  • Vireo Health raised $10.5 million in a private placement round, 

Executive moves

Chart of the week

Data for Canada’s first year of adult-use cannabis shows three provinces leading the pack. Ontario made $249.7 million from cannabis sales in the country’s first year of legalization, followed by Quebec and Alberta who made $223.9 million and $224.1 million respectively: 

first year adult use cannabis sales in canada chart



Shayanne Gal/Business Insider


What we’re reading

Federal prosecutors investigate California marijuana companies in wide-ranging probe (MarketWatch)

Does the Hotel Industry Benefit from Cannabis Legalization? Research Suggests So. (Cannabis Wire)

Canada defends marijuana legalization in response to international skepticism (The Boston Globe)

Did we miss anything? Have a tip? Just want to chat? Send us a note at cannabis@businessinsider.com or find Business Insider’s cannabis team on twitter: @jfberke & @jesse_yeji. You can also reach Jeremy on encrypted messaging app Signal on at (646) 376 6002. 

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