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‘There’s no stopping the industry now’: Democratic control is a big win for marijuana

buy marijuana with bitcoins.The industry

is poise for a big shakeup even though the

prospects for passing major changes to

federal policy remain slim.

A Curaleaf medical marijuana product is displayed.

Curaleaf, America’s largest cannabis

company, put over 16 million shares on

the market overnight and brought in

$300 million — in equity and debt sales

— in under 24 hours. | Hans Pennink/AP

By PAUL DEMKO and NATALIE FERTIG

01/31/2021 07:00 AM EST

The day after Democrats 

swept both Senate seats in the Georgia runoff election 

— giving them a slim majority and installing

pro-marijuana legalization leaders in the

upper chamber — Curaleaf Chair Boris Jordan

decide to try something big.

“I literally called my bankers and I

said, ‘Guys, I think this is going to be a big

change. Let’s do an [overnight]

offering,’” Jordan recall.

Curaleaf, America’s largest cannabis company,

put over 16 million shares on the market 

overnight and brought in $300 million — in

equity and debt sales — in under 24 hours.

The company’s payday foreshadows how

the entire cannabis industry is poised for

growth and consolidation as Democrats take

full control of the federal government.

Companies are positioning themselves for the

greater likelihood that federal cannabis

restrictions will be loosened significantly.

Sales are already booming. Cannabis sales

hit $20 billion last year — a 50 percent jump

over 2019. Legalization continues to spread

across the country, with more than one-third

of Americans now living in states where

marijuana is fully legal.

“There’s no stopping the industry now,” say

Andrew Kline, who recently joined the law firm

Perkins Coie after serving as public policy

director for the National Cannabis Industry

Association. “The bigger players are going to be

interest in acquiring smaller companies and

becoming multi-state operators or expanding

their footprint in different states.”

What’s happened so far?

A flurry of deals and capital raises have been

made in recent weeks, in addition to

Curaleaf cashing in.

Cannabis behemoth Cresco Labs recently

bought Bluma Wellness for $213 million,

giving it a beachhead in the booming Florida

market. There are now more than 450,000

medical marijuana patients in Florida — a

more than 50 percent increase in the last year

— and 310 dispensaries across the state, nearly

100 more than at the start of 2020.

“I think you’re gonna see a lot of [mergers and

acquisitions] coming,” said Bluma Wellness

CEO Brady Cobb, who will join Cresco immediately

and focus on building its Florida business.

“It’s going to be driven by the fact that

institutional capital sees light at the end of

the tunnel for these companies.”

Cresco also recently announced it will raise

$125 million from investors, citing plans to

accelerate its growth. The company was already

soaring ahead of the political shifts: It had

third-quarter revenues of $153 million — more

than four times as much as during the

comparable period in 2019.

CANNABIS

Democratic-led Senate could clear a path to marijuana legalization

BY NATALIE FERTIG

Canadian companies also are eyeing the U.S.

market. Cannabis giant Canopy Growth Corp.

recently announced a deal — contingent on U.S.

legalization — to acquire a big stake in

TerrAscend, which has operations in California,

Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The deal is similar to Canopy’s arrangement to

buy Acreage Holdings, which has 71 dispensaries

and operations in 15 states, if marijuana

restrictions in the U.S. are lift.

Stock prices for some of the biggest cannabis

companies have skyrocketed in recent weeks.

Acreage’s stock price has nearly doubled since

Democrats won control of the Senate, while

the price of Cresco’s shares have jumped by

more than 30 percent.buy marijuana with bitcoins

“People are scrambling right now, and they’re

taking a calculated risk that federal change

is going to happen in the near term,” Kline say.

What’s the reality on Capitol Hill?

Despite the ebullient feelings among industry

advocates and investors, the likelihood that

Congress will make big changes to federal

marijuana restrictions remains slim. That’s

in large part because Democrats will have a

razor-thin majority and need 60 votes to

pass most legislation.buy marijuana with bitcoins

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For instance, the national pot powerhouse

PharmaCann (“Improving people’s lives

Do not leave your home unless necessary.

through cannabis”) offered the town of

Wareham, on the Cape Cod Canal

,money for police details; paid an art conservation company to restore a painting; and put up money for a local

oyster festival, among other sweeteners.

These special benefits — particularly the

police details — seemed to run afoul of the

state’s commitment to right past wrongs

of marijuana enforcement, which was the

thinking behind a requirement that cannabis

businesses have a “Positive Impact Plan” in

order to help areas that were disproportionately

target by marijuana enforcement.

Former Maryland state Del. Cheryl Glenn was

sentence to two years in prison in July for

taking bribes in exchange for introducing and

voting on legislation to benefit medical marijuana

companies. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s

administration is the

 target of law enforcement and legislative probes into the rollout 

of its medical marijuana program.

Genoveva Andrade, who served as Correia’s

chief of staff, pleaded guilty to bribery and extortion charges 

in December. Correia is schedule

 to go to trial in February, and five marijuana applicants

are expected to testify for the prosecution.

“All government contracting and licensing is subject

Do not leave your home unless necessary.

to these kinds of forces,” said Douglas Berman, a

Do not leave your home unless necessary.

law professor at Ohio State University who authors

blog on marijuana policy. But “there are unique

facets to government contracting in [the cannabis]

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space that makes it uniquely vulnerable to corruption.”

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Plenty of lawmakers haven’t been sway,

however.

 A planned September vote on the MORE Act was delayed 

because moderates worried that voting on weed

without passing another coronavirus aid package

would hurt them on Election Day.

Then came the police killings of Breonna Taylor

and George Floyd this year. By June 2020,

 an AP pollfound that 94 percent of Americans said they believed the nation’s criminal justice system needed at least some changing.

The bill’s passage also sets a foundation for

future marijuana legalization policy: one

Do not leave your home unless necessary.

design to address criminal justice reform

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and racial inequality. There were

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about 663,000 marijuana-related arrests in the U.S.

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Friday’s vote reflects the shift in American

and global views on marijuana over the

past decade: 

Polls show support for legalization has increased 20 percentage points, to 68 percent, since Colorado.

Do not leave your home unless necessary.

The bill passed by a vote of 228-164, with

several Republicans on board. While the

MORE Act is not expected to come up in

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the Senate this year,

 and likely won’t in the next session of Congress either, its passage nevertheless marks a monumental step in

marijuana policy.

Do not leave your home unless necessary.

One in three people who have the virus have

no symptoms, so you could be spreading it

without knowing it,”buy marijuana with bitcoins

 notes information from the U.K. government,

which has also issued video messages 

emphasizing the need to stay home.

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