MOVING TO NY
The Green Rush in New York has begun
To illustrate the rush to snag one of 60,000 jobs estimated to be created by legalization in the state of New York, the NYT magazine profiled a couple from Tampa, Florida who moved to Brooklyn to try grow their legacy edibles and cannabis business. But so far, they’re focused on the underground cannabis world, hosting pop-ups and giveaways in stores and members only cannabis clubs.
While the adult-use cannabis market is still being planned, New York’s Senate has approved a progressive bill that will require public health insurance plans to cover medical cannabis, per Marijuana Moment. Under the legislation, medical cannabis will be covered like any other prescription drug.
And in another sign that New York is taking a more progressive approach to legalization than other states: During Game 1 of the NBA Finals last week, a PSA aired about how Black and Latino New Yorkers have been vastly disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition and policing. You can watch that here.
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How Scotts Miracle-Gro became a cannabis company
Through a subsidiary, the 154-year-old Scotts Miracle-Gro garden company has become “quietly entrenched” in cannabis, per CNN.
Hawthorne Gardening Company, which is owned by Scotts, has made several acquisitions of companies who supply cannabis cultivation gear such as lighting.
And now, the company is becoming involved in lobbying for federal legalization and investing in consumer-facing assets, too. “It’s our belief, and this is not a grand revelation by any stretch: Federal legalization is obviously going to happen; the question is when and how,” said Chris Hagedorn, executive vice president of Scotts and division president of Hawthorne.
“When it does, what are the most valuable assets going to be in a post-legalization world? I think anybody who thinks about it for a while says consumer-facing brands [that make and sell cannabis products] will be the most valuable.”
Alimentation Couche-Tard SVP takes the helm of Fire & Flower
As of last Thursday, former SVP of operations at Alimentation Couche-Tard Stéphane Trudel has taken over the CEO role of cannabis retailer Fire & Flower, reports MJBizDaily.
The Quebec-based convenience store chain also plans to raise its stake in the retailer from 20% to 35%.
“Over the past four years we built Fire & Flower from the ground-up into one of the world’s largest licensed cannabis retailers, powered by our unique Hifyre retail and consumer technology platform,” said out-going CEO Trevor Fencott in a statement. “We also secured and deepened our strategic partnership with Alimentation Couche-Tard, one of the world’s largest retailers, to provide us with capabilities to expand globally.”
Ontario Cannabis Store under fire
Longtime Canadian cannabis industry insiders like David Hyde, CEO of security consultancy Hyde Advisory & Investments in Toronto say the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) needs to address its recent data leak head-on, reports MJBizDaily.
“To maintain their reputation and credibility, I’d think the OCS wants to identify and address any root cause issues of this firstly and then send out other communications to appropriate parties, stores included, to reassure them that those have been addressed,” he said.
The OCS was also criticized for its “Soviet-style” cannabis monopoly last week in an op-ed in Financial Post. As the sole wholesaler in the province, the authors pointed out that Quebec’s margin on flower is 14.9% compared to Ontario’s 39.4% margin. And according to the Government of Ontario’s salary disclosure website, it has more than 200 employees, and 103 of whom made more $100,000 in 2021.