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Cannabis news in the news plus MedMen, Wana and London

MJBizDaily sold to Emerald X

New York-based events company Emerald X has acquired MJBiz for $120 million, according to MJBiz Daily. The sale includes the cannabis industry’s biggest trade show, MJBizCon, in addition to the MJBizDaily, Hemp Industry Daily and MJBiz Magazine publications. 

The move aligns with Emerald X’s strategy and reflects the increasing normalization of cannabis in the mainstream. And while both companies took a major hit through the pandemic, both have made a comeback:

  • MJ Biz said their revenues were approximately $27 million in 2021, nearing pre-pandemic levels, and 
  • Emerald’s increased from $15 million in Q2 to $76.5 million in Q3 of 2021 (compared to $360.9 million in 2019)

Note: MJ Biz CEO Chris Walsh will join Business of Cannabis at the beginning of next week on BofC Live.

Enjoy Cannabis Daily each morning at 7 a.m.

MedMen terminates Ascend acquisition

Boston-based Ascend Wellness issued a press release accusing MedMen of materially breaching the terms of its acquisition deal by terminating their investment agreement, reports MJBiz Daily.

The timeline

  • The $63 million deal was announced last February
  • Ascend would take 86.7% stake in MedMen’s New York cannabis business with option to acquire the rest following the launch of the state’s adult-use market
  • Ascend announced on December 30 that it had been approved by regulators and it would close “imminently”

“MedMen had initially requested the New York State regulators approve the transaction in March 2021,” reads the release. “The regulators have since complied with their request, but now MedMen is disputing the Office of Cannabis Management’s unambiguous regulatory approval, is refusing to close and is attempting to terminate the transaction.”

In its own press release, MedMen confirmed the agreement had been terminated.

Wana’s cannabis for weight loss gets the Times treatment

Fit gummies, a new line of edibles by Colorado-based Wana Brands purports to help consumers lose weight with its THCV compound, but the New York Times isn’t sure the science backing the claim is sound — or existent. 

The claim

Wana’s website stated that, according to a 2021 clinical trial commissioned by ECS Brands, supported by the National Institutes of Health and under the guidance of the Mayo Clinic “found 100 out of 100 participants in the study lost weight without exercise or changing daily caloric output values.”

The problem

Neither the NIH nor the Mayo Clinic said they had the study in their records. Founder and CEO of ECS Brands called it a “paperwork issue,” stating that “we have full confidence that everything that we did is accurate and true.”

London plans to decriminalize youth cannabis offences

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is working on a plan that would decriminalize cannabis offenses (or offences) by those under the age of 25 by providing counselling rather than arrest, reports the Guardian.

The details:

  • The plan is based on a successful model created by Thames Valley police
  • Three boroughs would pilot the program 
  • Drugs would not technically be decriminalized
  • The pilot hasn’t yet been approved by the office for policing and crime

But Downing Street isn’t supportive of the move, with PM Boris Johnson’s spokesman stating that illegal drugs “destroy lives and fuel violence.”

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