The Biden Presidency Looks To Be Installing Several Pro-Cannabis People Into Key Roles In Government

The Biden Presidency Looks To Be Installing Several Pro-Cannabis People Into Key Roles In Government

After Kamala Harris was nominated to be President Elect Joe Biden’s running mate, we knew that brighter days were ahead for the cannabis industry……..and the market seemed to agree with us.

After Joe Biden was projected to win the election, the cannabis sector recorded strong moves to the upside for almost two months. Although the sector has come off its recent highs, we believe the recent additions to President Elect Joe Biden’s cabinet send a very bullish sign to the cannabis industry.

During the last month, President Elect Joe Biden has announced several key cannabis-friendly additions to his cabinet. When you combine the democrats winning two key senate seats in Georgia (and became the majority of both the House of Representatives and the Senate) with the recent additions to the cabinet, we believe that the US cannabis industry is going to flourish.

Most recently, President elect Joe Biden selected former South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison to lead the Democratic National Committee (DNC). He is a strong supporter of cannabis legalization and will be responsible for coordinating Democrats’ national political activities. Harrison still needs to be confirmed by party leaders, but we are confident that he will.

When Harrison ran for a Senate seat in South Carolina, he said that the US should legalize, regulate and tax cannabis like alcohol and tobacco. We are favorable on his appointment and believe that his views on cannabis will be reflected in the Democrats’ national political activities.

While we can hope for the legalization of cannabis the federal level, we believe the new administration (and government) will quickly pass cannabis decriminalization legislation. If we see cannabis decriminalized, we believe that companies will quickly notice significant margin appreciation. If cannabis is decriminalized, 280 E should be revoked, and this would prove to be a substantial catalyst for companies.

280E is the worst legislation we have ever seen in any industry. The rule does not allow companies to deduct basic business expenses and makes it much more challenging for operators to reach profitability. We believe the revoking of 280E is inevitable and is something that our readers should be aware of.

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Authored By

Michael Berger

Michael Berger is Managing Partner of StoneBridge Partners LLC. SBP continues to drive market awareness for leading firms in the cannabis industry throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Published at Wed, 20 Jan 2021 12:53:39 +0000

Virginia Governor Unveils Cannabis Legalization Proposal, Mexico Publishes Medical Cannabis Regulations: Week in Review

Virginia Governor Unveils Cannabis Legalization Proposal, Mexico Publishes Medical Cannabis Regulations: Week in Review

East Fork Cultivars | eastforkcultivars.com

Joel Fischer, a co-owner of Oregon-based East Fork Cultivars, was known as the company’s Ambassador of Happiness. 

Ambassador of Happiness wasn’t just a nickname, or some informal moniker used around his inner circle of close friends and colleagues, but rather it was the official and legal title for Joel Matthew Fischer, a co-owner of Oregon-based East Fork Cultivars. For IRS purposes, he was literally the company’s Ambassador of Happiness.

Along with his fellow co-owners – Nathan Howard, Aaron Howard and Mason Walker – Fischer was part of a quartet known as the East Dorks on East Fork Ranch in Takilma, about 40 miles southeast of Medford, where their cannabis and hemp business launched in 2015. They own about 40,000 square feet of canopy along with 12 acres of craft hemp.

East Fork Cultivars | eastforkcultivars.com

Clockwise from lower left: Nathan Howard, Aaron Howard, Joel Fischer and Mason Walker, co-owners of East Fork Cultivars, enjoy time together on their ranch a few months ago in Takilma, Ore.

Also a licensed realtor, real estate investor and personal finance coach, Fischer died unexpectedly Jan. 8, at age 37, leaving his East Fork family devastated. Fischer is survived by his wife, Tricia Chin, mother, Terry Fischer, and brothers Mike Fischer and Dave Fischer.

“His death has broken me,” Nathan Howard said in a post on social media. “When I’m able to put myself back together, I hope to do so with his spirit, love and approach to life as guideposts.”

Howard described Fischer as a “magical” person who went through life with “surreal zest” and passion that is legendary among his friends and family.

Fischer, who grew up in Portland, built and developed an ability to impact those around him through his belief that people are capable of so much more than they think.

“There’s room for everyone to be further empowered in their lives, and they really just need a mentor,” Howard said of Fischer’s ideology. “So, a cornerstone to Joel’s approach to everything was that if people believed they can do it, they can. And if people have been traumatized or beaten down or bullied or told by others that they can’t do it, it’s the worst thing if they internalize that, because that makes it all the more likely that they won’t change their lives or do what they want to do.”

East Fork Cultivars | eastforkcultivars.com

One of Joel Fischer’s “trademarks” was passing out little, blue vials of organic lavender to people he’d meet. 

In addition to empowering others to follow their passions, Fischer was big on giving away small gifts, like organic lavender that he’d buy in bulk and put in small, blue vials to keep in his pocket and hand out to people he’d meet for the first time.

Not to mention, Fischer would often help counsel others for free, whether it came to buying a house or just financial planning in general. His generosity earned him the nickname, “Patron Saint of East Fork Cultivars.”

“It was small and big stuff,” Howard said. “But the Ambassador of Happiness title was really about helping other people find more happiness in their lives.”

According to his obituary, Fischer made a point of making those around him feel loved. He was always up for an adventure and spent much of the last few years traveling the world. His presence in Oregon’s cannabis community, and in his own community, was extensive.

“The impact he’s had on people across Oregon and the world is spectacular,” Howard said. “And [it’s] only becoming more clear in his death. His accomplishments, personal and professional, are similarly striking.”

Nathan and Aaron Howard also experienced the grief of losing a loved one when their other brother, Wesley Howard, died in 2017 from complications associated with a severe case of neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition that causes tumors to form on nerve tissue such as the brain, spinal column and nerves.

Wesley’s condition is what sparked the Howards to start growing medical cannabis at their southern Oregon home, a former llama breeding ranch, in an effort to help their brother manage his pain and other ailments.

When his brother Wesley died, Nathan Howard said Fischer was there for him.

“Joel and I were together at a business meeting, working to build what’s become East Fork, when I got the call that my older brother Wesley had suddenly passed away,” Howard said. “Joel drove me to Wesley’s apartment, hugged me, stayed with me while saying goodbye to his body, and helped my family make all the post-death arrangements that we’re now making for Joel. He shared essential wisdom he had gained after losing his father far too soon.”

But Fischer didn’t leave behind just his tight-knit community of about 25 co-workers at East Fork Cultivars. On a memorial website created for Fischer, those who knew him from all walks of life shared their condolences and memories.

Before joining East Fork, Fischer, who earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Oregon State University, spent 12 years working in Oregon politics. Oregon state Sen. Sara Gelser and former Oregon House Speaker Dave Hunt paid tribute to Fischer with their testimonials.

“My heart is broken,” Sen. Gelser said. “I began working with Joel early, early, early in my legislative career. He was always so bright and funny and cheerful and flexible and charismatic. To all who were lucky to have him be part of your regular life, please know how deeply admired he is, how loved he is and that you are wrapped in love in this time of sorrow.”

Hunt wrote on Fischer’s memorial page that they both grew up as sons of American Baptist preachers, but they really got to know each other when Fischer started his political journey on former state Rep. Chris Edwards’ legislative campaign in 2006 in Eugene.

“Although Joel and Chris were both proud Beavers, it was fun to watch him hide his ‘colors’ and find success in the heart of Duck country,” Hunt said about Fischer being an Oregon State graduate working in the same city as the University of Oregon. “His successful journey then continued in and outside the [Oregon] Capitol. He demonstrated his ultimate commitment to equity and justice at [Oregon Business Industry] in 2018.”

Hunt continued and said, “Joel and I both lost our fathers about 15 years ago. We shared many conversations since then about how much we missed our dads and struggled with their premature deaths. May God bring comfort to Joel’s wife, mom Terry Sue, family and friends during these tragic days.”

Early on in Fischer’s political career, he was the policy adviser for current Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, whom he helped redesign the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program – which is designated to help low-income families with children achieve economic self-sufficiency – and guide it through the political process, according to Fischer’s LinkedIn page.

When it came to cannabis legislation, Howard said Fischer was involved in the work that led to the passing of Ballot Measure 91, which legalized adult-use cannabis in the state in 2014.

Oregon state Sen. Michael Dembrow, whose district Fischer resided in for a long time, will be introducing a bill in the upcoming legislative session to honor Fischer’s memory, legacy and all of his political contributions on the floor of the upper chamber, Sen. Dembrow confirmed. “Joel was a great guy, much loved and respected by those he worked with at the [Oregon] Capitol,” Sen. Dembrow said.

While Fischer’s political impact extended to all corners of the state, back on the ranch at East Fork is where he found his favorite original cultivar – sour pineapple. Mentally, Fischer said in his company bio that it picked him up when he was down and settled him down when he was up. Physically, he said it is excellent for post-workout recovery and general relief. Those who also enjoy East Fork’s sour pineapple can do so with a connection to Fischer.

Since last Friday, Howard said he’s spent a lot of time with Fischer’s family and friends at Fischer’s home trying to wrap their minds around the fact that he’s gone.

“We spoke most days for the past five years,” Howard said. “Many of my favorite memories from recent life are with Joel. We didn’t say goodbye to each other when we were done hanging out or hopping off the phone – we said, ‘I love you.’”

Published at Sat, 16 Jan 2021 13:00:00 +0000

2 Marijuana Stocks To Watch Before The Presidential Inauguration

2 Marijuana Stocks To Watch Before The Presidential Inauguration




2 Marijuana Stocks To Watch Before The Presidential Inauguration | Marijuana Stocks | Cannabis Investments and News. Roots of a Budding Industry.™

























Published at Sun, 17 Jan 2021 20:31:06 +0000

2 Top Canadian Marijuana Stocks To Watch Right Now

2 Top Canadian Marijuana Stocks To Watch Right Now




2 Top Canadian Marijuana Stocks To Watch Right Now | Marijuana Stocks | Cannabis Investments and News. Roots of a Budding Industry.™
























Published at Thu, 14 Jan 2021 13:55:15 +0000

Will psychedelic mushroom vacations come to the U. S.?

Will psychedelic mushroom vacations come to the U. S.?

The palm-fringed beachfront and breezy cabanas at MycoMeditations are the stuff of glossy travel brochures, but the barefoot vacationers roaming the Jamaican retreat center this winter are seeking a different kind of trip entirely.

They’re here for facilitated sessions using psychedelic psilocybin mushrooms. One of a handful of established psilocybin retreat centers in the world, MycoMeditations was founded in 2015, and in the years since has seen surging interest in the reputed mental health benefits of psychedelics. Often, it’s from people surprised to find themselves seeking help from a mysterious fungus at all.

“In my life I had never done any psychedelic,” said Jessica Young, a 41-year-old executive from Atlanta, who flew to Jamaica for a MycoMeditations retreat in November 2019. “It’s pretty out of character for me.”

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Published at Thu, 07 Jan 2021 20:34:13 +0000

Minnesota Moves Closer to Cannabis Legalization

Minnesota Moves Closer to Cannabis Legalization

Minnesota is still pushing for legalization and planning to try again during this legislative session, although they are still facing some resistance from the state Senate. 

“Public support is growing for legalizing and expunging criminal records for cannabis,” House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler said regarding the new, proposed legislation. He plans to sponsor another bill for legalization this time around. “We want to create a safe, regulated marketplace where people can buy cannabis, know what they’re getting, where law enforcement knows where cannabis is coming into the community.” 

“There are obviously big racial biases in the criminal justice system, very different arrest rates, very different incarceration depending on your race,” he added, regarding some of the other reasons for legalization in Minnesota. “The big hurdle is not really trying to convince people that cannabis is good. Nobody is trying to say that. What we’re saying is, the current system fails every test of a good, public response to a drug that has some adverse effects and has some positive benefits.” 

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Published at Thu, 07 Jan 2021 22:22:33 +0000

North America Psychedelic Drugs Market Could Exceed $6.8 Billion By 2027

North America Psychedelic Drugs Market Could Exceed $6.8 Billion By 2027

PALM BEACH, Fla., Jan. 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — In the few places where cannabis is legal, it can be incredibly lucrative. In 2019, the nascent worldwide cannabis sector pumped out approximately $15 billion in sales.

By 2024, that number is expected to triple. Not bad for an industry that, less than a decade ago, was entirely illegal almost everywhere on Earth and is still outlawed in most countries. Now, startups and investors are positioning to profit from psilocybin, LSD and other psychedelics. Despite Covid-19, a crashing economy and formidable legal obstacles, a growing number of entrepreneurs and investors are betting that medicines derived from psychedelic drugs can become a real business and more importantly…heal millions of people. They are joining the researchers, activists, philanthropists and journalists the who until now have been driving what’s been called the psychedelic renaissance. An article in Medium.com said that a dozen or more startup companies are developing medicines from psilocybin, MDMA, ibogaine and LSD, all of which are illegal in the US, as well as from ketamine, a legal anesthetic with hallucinogenic properties. They hope to treat a surprisingly wide range of mental conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, addiction, even Alzheimer’s disease. 

A growing body of research into the therapeutic use of psychedelics is delivering promising results, almost across the board, particularly when the drugs are accompanied by talk therapy. Last year, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and Imperial College in London launched the world’s first research centers devoted to psychedelics.  Active companies in the markets this week include: Mind Cure Health Inc. (OTCQB: MCURF) (CSE: MCUR), MindMed (OTCQB: MMEDF) (NEO: MMED), Numinus Wellness Inc (OTCPK: LKYSF) (TSX-V: NUMI), Cybin Inc. (OTCPK: CLXPF) (NEO: CYBN), Field Trip Health Ltd (OTCPK: FTRPF) (CSE: FTRP).
 

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Published at Wed, 06 Jan 2021 16:31:38 +0000

Why Digital Marketing is the Heart of the Bull Market (CRM, DOX, GEGR, TTD)

Why Digital Marketing is the Heart of the Bull Market (CRM, DOX, GEGR, TTD)

The stock market has been in “Full Bull” mode for the better part of the past decade. But no phase of that run has been as aggressive as we have seen in recent weeks when it comes to investor enthusiasm, especially when considers options market activity. Call option bets from retail market participants have started to verge on all-time records as the retail audience asserts itself perhaps for the first time since the late 1990’s.

And one of the key ideas driving that strength is how new technologies are transforming old industries, with marketing and advertising sitting near the center of that narrative.

While you may not have noticed it, digital marketing and advertising stocks have been lighting up the scoreboard, offering brands increasing value as companies search for new and innovative ways to engage with end market consumers.

With that in mind, we take a look at some of the most compelling opportunities in the space, including: Amdocs Limited (NASDAQ:DOX), salesforce.com inc (NYSE:CRM), Gaensel Energy Group (OTMKTS:GEGR), and Trade Desk Inc (NASDAQ:TTD).

Amdocs Limited (NASDAQ:DOX) bills itself as a company that partners with the leading players in the communications and media industry, enabling next-generation experiences in 85 countries.

Its cloud-native, open, and dynamic portfolio of digital solutions, platforms and services brings greater choice, faster time-to-market, and more flexibility to better meet the evolving needs of our customers as they drive growth, transform and take their business to the cloud. Listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, Amdocs had revenue of $4.2 billion in fiscal 2020.

Amdocs Limited (NASDAQ:DOX) announced that Vodafone Romania and Amdocs partnered to jointly develop the Digital Experience platform for digitalizing the retail experience. This will give Vodafone Romania a 360-degree view of its customers across a number of touchpoints while integrating fixed and mobile communication products into a converged retail product. The project included moving several key components and capabilities into the AWS cloud.

The project is a key milestone in Vodafone Romania’s journey towards a technology communications company where strong internal software engineering capabilities enabled a new partnership model with Amdocs. Through the digital transformation of its retail experience, Vodafone Romania can now better understand its customers’ journeys by leveraging smart systems to interact with its customers in a more focused, tailored and effective way.

Even in light of this news, DOX hasn’t really done much of anything over the past week, with shares logging no net movement over that period. Shares of the stock have powered higher over the past month, rallying roughly 5% in that time on strong overall action.

Amdocs Limited (NASDAQ:DOX) generated sales of $1.1B, according to information released in the company’s most recent quarterly financial report. That adds up to a sequential quarter-over-quarter growth rate of 2.7% on the top line. In addition, the company is battling some balance sheet hurdles, with cash levels struggling to keep up with current liabilities ($983.9M against $1.2B, respectively).

salesforce.com inc (NYSE:CRM) trumpets itself as a company that develops enterprise cloud computing solutions with a focus on customer relationship management. The company offers Sales Cloud to store data, monitor leads and progress, forecast opportunities, and gain insights through analytics and relationship intelligence, as well as deliver quotes, contracts, and invoices.

It also provides Service Cloud, which enables companies to deliver personalized customer service and support, as well as a field service solution that enables companies to connect agents, dispatchers, and mobile employees through a centralized platform, which helps to schedule and dispatch work, and track and manage jobs in real-time. In addition, the company offers Marketing Cloud to plan, personalize, and optimize one-to-one customer marketing interactions; Commerce Cloud, which enables companies to enhance engagement, conversion, revenue, and loyalty from their customers; and Community Cloud that enables companies to create and manage branded digital destinations for customers, partners, and employees.

salesforce.com inc (NYSE:CRM) most recently announced that it has collaborated with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to help Gavi manage critical information to equitably distribute approximately two billion COVID-19 vaccines to 190 countries by the end of 2021.

According to the release, fair, rapid and equitable access to vaccines is critical to ending the global pandemic. Public-private partnerships, such as Gavi, which are focused on getting vaccines to some of the world’s poorest countries, need to be armed with data and technology to facilitate distribution at scale. The ability to manage huge volumes of country data is essential.

Even in light of this news, CRM has had a rough past week of trading action, with shares sinking something like -3% in that time. That said, chart support is nearby, and we may be in the process of constructing a nice setup for some movement back the other way.

salesforce.com inc (NYSE:CRM) pulled in sales of $5.4B in its last reported quarterly financials, representing top line growth of 20.1%. In addition, the company is battling some balance sheet hurdles, with cash levels struggling to keep up with current liabilities ($9.5B against $12.2B, respectively).

Gaensel Energy Group (OTMKTS:GEGR) us an interesting name in the space because of its cheap price and recent powerful transition toward a new holding company model pursuing a diversified model with growing strategic interests in the Energy, Manufacturing, Software, and Technology markets.

The company has recently been rolling up properties toward the establishment of a market leading framework in the digital marketing, technology, and advertising space. Its recent moves suggest the potential to make serious waves in the industry, with ties to top global firms and a vision that includes the establishment of a cross-Atlantic powerhouse market position.

Gaensel Energy Group (OTMKTS:GEGR) recently announced the acquisition of Suite 110 SRL, providing dynamic solutions for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), with annual revenues in excess of $8,000,000 USD.

According to the release, Suite 110 SRL that provides an all-in-one CRM management, sales and marketing system, encrypted cloud storage for secure documents, project management, invoicing and accounting, warehouse, logistics and inventory optimization, connectivity for multi-bank and cash management, and a number of other features that provide businesses with a platform that streamlines operations in one secure platform.

The company’s founder and Director Helmut Gaensel stated, “This is one of a number of active acquisition targets we have and continue to be negotiating and today we are pleased to have finalized the acquisition of this additional Company. Our management team has identified a number of companies and Intellectual Property ripe for acquisition and expansion as a result of the pandemic.”

This dovetails with another acquisition that appears to be in the works with a company that has clients spanning the highest orders of the blue-chip ranks. As such, it isn’t surprising that the stock has been acting well over recent days, up something like 8% in that time. Shares of the stock have powered higher over the past month, rallying roughly 7% in that time on strong overall action.

Gaensel Energy Group (OTMKTS:GEGR) had no reported sales in its last quarterly financial data. In addition, the company is battling some balance sheet hurdles, with cash levels struggling to keep up with current liabilities ($455 against $463K, respectively).

Trade Desk Inc (NASDAQ:TTD) is a cloud-based advertising-buying platform. Ad buyers can value each impression like traders value stocks, using first and third party data to decide which impression to buy and how much to pay. Its platform enables advertising clients to purchase and manage digital advertising campaigns across various formats, including connected TV (CTV), mobile, video, audio, display, social and native, on a multitude of devices, including smart TVs, computers, and mobile devices.

As the company frames itself, it provides a self-service omnichannel software platform that enables clients to purchase and manage data-driven digital advertising campaigns in the United States and internationally. The company’s platform allows clients to manage integrated advertising campaigns in various advertising channels and formats, including connected TV, mobile, video, audio, display, social, and native on various devices, such as smart TVs, computers, and mobile phones and tablets. It serves advertising agencies and other service providers for advertisers.

Trade Desk Inc (NASDAQ:TTD) recently announced that Nielsen (NYSE:NLSN) is supporting the industry-wide initiative to develop and deploy Unified ID 2.0.

According to the release, with initial development led by The Trade Desk, Unified ID 2.0 is a new industry-wide approach to internet identity that preserves the value of relevant advertising, while putting user control and privacy at the forefront. The ID is an upgrade and an alternative to third-party cookies.

Even with that news, the action hasn’t really heated up in the stock, with shares moving net sideways over the past week.

Trade Desk Inc (NASDAQ:TTD) pulled in sales of $216.1M in its last reported quarterly financials, representing top line growth of 31.6%. In addition, the company is battling some balance sheet hurdles, with cash levels struggling to keep up with current liabilities ($557.3M against $1B, respectively).

This article is part of JournalTranscript.com Networks. Read the JournalTranscript.com Networks Disclaimer.

Published at Wed, 16 Dec 2020 07:58:40 +0000

Village Farms International, Inc. (VFF) to Present at ICR Conference on Wednesday, January 13,

Village Farms International, Inc. (VFF) to Present at ICR Conference on Wednesday, January 13,




Village Farms International, Inc. (VFF) to Present at ICR Conference on Wednesday, January 13, | Marijuana Stocks | Cannabis Investments and News. Roots of a Budding Industry.™
























Published at Tue, 05 Jan 2021 13:48:22 +0000

U.S. Senate Approves Legislation to Expand Medical Cannabis Research, Missouri Judge Rejects Lawsuit Over State’s Cultivation License Cap: Week in Review

U.S. Senate Approves Legislation to Expand Medical Cannabis Research, Missouri Judge Rejects Lawsuit Over State’s Cultivation License Cap: Week in Review

Cannabis-infused beverages may only represent a small portion of the overall legal market in the U.S. and Canada now, but there are several reasons to believe that may change, and quickly.

Several companies—from cannabis giants like Canopy Growth and Acreage Holdings to historic, household brands like Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR)—have placed their bets on cannabis-infused beverages, announcing releases (or plans to) in Q4 2020.

In the case of PBR, which agreed to allow the independently operated Pabst Labs to use its brand for its new THC-based drink, the company is not subbing alcohol for THC and creating a beer, like Lagunitas Brewing Company (and parent brand Heineken) did in the case of Hi-Fi Hops. Instead, PBR Labs and many others are fueling a growing niche within the cannabis beverage niche–THC-infused tonics.

And if the popularity of sparking water brands like La Croix and alcohol-based hard seltzers are any indication, these bubbling beverages may be the drink that takes this edibles segment to the next level.

Poised for Growth

The edibles market represents 15% of all cannabis sales in the U.S., according to a recent webinar hosted by industry research firm BDSA, and beverages make up just a small portion of edibles sales at 5%. In Canada, those figures are 6% and 3%, respectively, according to BDSA. But there is evidence of growing interest.

Of U.S. cannabis consumers, nearly a fifth consume beverages and 8% prefer them, according to BDSA.

A Brightfield Group Q2 2020 survey of 3,500 U.S. cannabis consumers showed similar trends, as ​22% reported consuming a cannabis-infused drink. That’s compared with 57% consuming flower and 41% consuming gummies, according to Brightfield. 

But, “the category has seen significant growth year over year. In Q3 2019, only 14% of cannabis consumers were using drinks,” Bethany Gomez, managing director of Brightfield Group, said in an email to Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary. “We do expect this growth trajectory to continue year over year, but given that products are generally sold as a single serve product, the percentage of the overall market is quite low.”

That’s one problem that cannabis beverage brands are trying to solve by offering drinks in multipacks, similar to soda and beer.

The brand Cann Social Tonics, which is available in California, Nevada and Rhode Island, sells its products in six-packs and 24-can “party packs.” The idea was to make a drink that looks and feels just like any other beverage you’d take to a party and share with others, mimicking other consumer packaged goods, said Cann co-founder Luke Anderson in an interview with Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary in September.

“I think carbonated beverages are having a moment,” Anderson said. “The sparkling water market’s evolution over the last few years is a sign of people looking for something that has a little bite to it and a little bit of texture. So we want [Cann] to integrate in the same social settings and have people think about them the same way they do a beer, a light beer, a hard seltzer or a craft cocktail in a can.”

Part of the challenge was making something that wasn’t overly sweet taste good, and not relying on “hundreds of calories to mask the taste of cannabis,” said Cann co-founder Jake Bullock. They also wanted to create a beverage that allowed people to control their dosages more easily and where they could enjoy a couple and not be overly intoxicated.

“If you think about products like other mild intoxicants—caffeine, alcohol—we consume them in a beverage, and most importantly, in that beverage, we consume them in a microdose,” Bullock said. “We’re not running around drinking eight shots of espresso or Everclear grain alcohol. When you bring the dosing way down, it becomes approachable for new consumers, it becomes social, it can integrate and behaves as the same strength as a glass of wine or a light beer.”

Cann offers flavors such as lemon lavender, grapefruit rosemary and blood orange cardamom, and each can contains 2 mg of THC and 35 calories, one of the lowest in both categories in the cannabis beverage market. According to BDSA, Cann is now the third highest-selling cannabis beverage in legal markets in the U.S. 

“That’s really our vision is just to continue to produce approachably dosed, nothing more than five milligrams, THC beverages that welcome in a whole new wave of consumers,” Anderson says.

Familiar Brands Fuel Acceptance

Combining cannabis with a familiar “form factor,” beverages are one avenue to further destigmatize cannabis use and can attract consumers who may not be comfortable with smoking, vaping or other consumption methods. When you integrate a brand that’s been around for 175 years with cannabis, that can encourage people who may be unfamiliar with cannabis or had a bad experience in the past to try again, said Austin Stevenson, chief innovation officer of Vertosa, which helped develop Lagunitas Hi-Fi Hops and Pabst Blue Ribbon Cannabis-Infused Seltzer. 

“PBR is over 175 years old, and so what having a brand like PBR does is it crosses generations of cannabis consumers,” Stevenson said. “We know, aside from millennials, that people over the age of 55 are one of the fastest-growing segments of cannabis consumers, and to be able to have your 20-something-year-old get a PBR and go home to their grandparents and say, ‘Look, here is the brand that you grew up consuming,’ but now with a cannabis function, it only helps to normalize and destigmatize the industry.”

Mark Faicol, brand manager of Pabst Labs, which was founded by a group of beverage experts and former PBR employees, said although one target customer is brand loyalists, he sees PBR further contributing to the wider acceptance of cannabis.

“We have a unique—call it competitive, advantage—but really a history in the market, being around for so long … as a trusted well-respected brand,” Faicol said, adding that Pabst Labs has the opportunity to leverage that.

PBR launched in California with one simple, “easy to understand” flavor – lemon, which is also part of the company’s strategy to appeal to a diverse, wide audience. Each can contains 5 mg of THC, 4 grams of sugar and just 25 calories, and they come in four-packs. Although more flavors may be introduced, Faicol said the initial goal was to, “Do one thing, and do it well, and really be very simple and approachable. Lemon is [a flavor] that is very sessionable and most widely accepted, at least that’s what our data pointed toward.”

Responsible dosing was another focus for the company, Faicol said. Although many consumers still purchase based on price per milligram in an attempt to get the most value out of products, that can lead to negative experiences. He also points out that while people may have had one – or many – bad hangovers, they continue to drink alcohol, but one bad cannabis experience can drive a consumer away for good.

“That’s something that the brands in beverages are really kind of working together on, to educate on proper dosing,” Faicol said. “And I think it will only help the category at large.”

While more consumers may be coming on board, there are challenges in distribution logistics and placement in dispensaries, especially in legacy markets that were built to merchandise flower, edibles and other traditional products, and may not be configured to include refrigerators displaying drinks, Stevenson said.  

“They weren’t built like a 7-Eleven for beverages,” Stevenson said. “They haven’t invested in it. They don’t have the floor space either because of regulations … or those investments haven’t been there.”

However, as newer markets in the Midwest and East Coast continue to grow, Stevenson says he sees new opportunities to encourage cannabis companies to build and develop dispensaries with beverages in mind—and get the buy-in from regulators, too.

“[Vertosa] is looking at Illinois, at Michigan, Massachusetts, these big beer-drinking markets where they’re getting cannabis regulation for the first time. When we have brands like Lagunitas like PBR, when we enter these new markets, we want to make sure that the consumer retail experience highlights these opportunities to have a more approachable type of product,” he said. “In these new markets, you’re going to build retail experiences that have cooler spaces that have displays. I work at both the state level and the local level on some regulatory policies to help promote and make consumers and business operators aware that cannabis beverage is here, but the retail channel needs to be able to support product placement like any other traditional retailer.”

Catering to Experienced Consumers

While low-dose beverages can serve as an entry point for those who are curious but hesitant to try cannabis, offering a wide variety of products is important to reach the more seasoned consumer, too, Stevenson said.

“For your introductory consumer, you’re going to go with a low-dose product, 5 milligrams of THC, and that can be had any time during the day,” Stevenson said. “Now how you differentiate is you look at the [Lagunitas] Hi-Fi Hops portfolio, and they have a THC product that is 10 milligrams, and then they also have a CBD product that’s 10 milligrams. And so the CBD product is more for the relaxation.

“And so by building a beverage portfolio, that’s how you start to address the different consumer functional needs by changing the different ratios of cannabinoids of THC versus CBD or high-dose versus low-dose.”

Brightfield Group’s Bethany Gomez said thinking about who your consumer is and how they want to experience your product is important when building a brand.

“If you are pitching [a] cannabis beverage as an alcohol substitute, it needs to be effectively positioned for the same occasions that people are using alcohol,” Gomez said in an email. “But many consumers use cannabis and alcohol quite differently, in different [times of day] or during different moments of consumption, [such as] before a workout or to inspire creativity, which makes it not a straightforward a substitute.”  

However, just because a beverage is marketed a certain way doesn’t mean that’s how it will be consumed. Take the example of Cann. Although the founders couldn’t predict the coronavirus pandemic nor the effect on sales of a drink they envisioned being a “social” tonic, it did not have a negative effect on company growth, Anderson said. 

“The toughest part of this company was the first year on market, our sales were relatively flat. Consumers loved the product, but they couldn’t really understand how to think about it because alcohol was dominating their social [lives] and bars were open,” he said. “You could have a Cann at a pregame. You could have a Cann on a weeknight, but come Friday, you’re trained to go out and you’re trained to just drink whatever is available to you on tap.”

Once states began instituting stay-at-home orders and closing bars, that’s when things changed, Anderson said. Sales increased 10 times what they were before the pandemic, he said. 

“This idea that people were buying a bunch of cannabis to ease their anxiety was the first wave of the sales spike,” Anderson said. “People were enjoying the fact they could feel a buzz and hang out and laugh and have a good time, but not feel like crap the next day.”

Paying attention to these consumer preferences and how they evolve is an important part of driving innovation and sales, Faicol said. 

“[PBR] made a conscious decision to change. We’re a beer brand through and through, but we made a decision many years back that, the consumer is going to want something else. And America is going to look very different … five years from now,” Faicol said. “But I think that’s going to be a critical driver, is the ability for brands to continue to innovate, and really keep it exciting, which we’re committed to do.”

Published at Sat, 26 Dec 2020 13:00:00 +0000