Insider Cannabis: Aurora's disastrous quarter — Israeli medical marijuana — People prefer plain old weed

 

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Happy Friday readers,

With the House vote on the MORE Act delayed, all eyes in the cannabis world were on Aurora's dismal earnings. 

The first earnings call under new CEO Miguel Martin was a tough one — the company lost close to $1.9 billion (CAD) in the quarter — and analysts say the company has a long way to go to turn things around. You can read my full story on the earnings here. 

Elsewhere in public markets, psychedelic medicine company Compass Pathways had a stellar week of trading. Expect to see lots of psychedelic companies, of varying quality, try and pile into the market, piggybacking off of Compass Pathways' success.

Will we see a rehashing of the reverse takeover boom in cannabis companies from late-2018 — given how that played out for investors? Time will tell, and you bet we'll be covering it.

-Jeremy

Here's what we wrote about this week:

Most marijuana enthusiasts prefer plain old weed, and it's pushing cannabis companies to focus on cheap flower over vapes or edibles

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Cannabis consumers in US states where the drug is legal and in Canada still vastly prefer regular old marijuana over fancy new products like edibles, vaporizers, and concentrates, according to new data from cannabis analytics startup Headset exclusively shared with Business Insider.

Aurora just had one of the most disastrous quarters ever for a cannabis company, and analysts say it has an uphill climb to turn things around

Coming off one of the most disastrous quarters ever for a cannabis company, financial analysts say Aurora Cannabis' new CEO faces a long, uphill battle to turn the company around.

In total, Aurora has lost over $3.3 billion in the 12 months through June, losing ground in the consumer cannabis market to other Canadian pot behemoths like Canopy Growth. Aurora's Q4 losses are the largest in the short history of cannabis stocks. Canopy Growth lost $1.28 billion in Q1 2020. 

Canadian cannabis companies are setting their sights on Israel as the country develops into a hotbed for medical-marijuana research

Executives at three major Canadian cannabis companies — Cronos Group, Organigram, and Aurora Cannabis — say Israel is emerging as the next big market for medical cannabis.

Israel has long been a popular place for medical-cannabis research, thanks to friendly regulations and government support, and cannabis companies are racing to sign partnerships and export deals with Israel.

Cannabis salaries are soaring. Here are the 24 jobs where you can take home a 6-figure salary in the $31 billion industry.

Salaries are rising in the cannabis industry. There are 24 non-executive roles in cannabis that offer six-figure salaries, according to a recent report by CannabizTeam. They range from roles like cultivation manager to director of compliance to director of IT.

Executive moves

  • THC-infused beverage startup Cann has hired Chelsea Bedard as Chief Revenue Officer. Bedard was previously at Dell.
  • Greenlane Holdings hired tobacco and CPG veteran Michael Cellucci as President of Sales and Marketing North America.
  • CBD-infused sports drink company DEFY has named Megan Bushell as its new CEO. Bushell joins the company from Direct Sports Network.
  • Denver-based insurance broker IMA, Inc has hired Michael Hennessey as a VP, in order to expand the firm's national cannabis practice. 

Deals, launches, and IPOs

  • Psychedelic medicine company Compass Pathways began trading on the Nasdaq on Friday, popping 71% after shares started trading. 
  • MindMed, another psychedelic medicine company, is seeking to follow Compass Pathways' lead, applying to uplist on the Nasdaq from Canada's NEO Exchange.
  • WeedMD landed a $30 million loan from LiUNA Pension Fund and pushed back its Q2 earnings until September 30. 
  • Cannabis company MediPharm Labs signed a new supply deal with XLR8 Brazil, marking MediPharm's second distribution agreement in Latin America.
  • Khiron Life Sciences began shipping medical cannabis to Peru on Thursday.
  • Canadian cannabis company Neptune Wellness announced a distribution partnership with CPG giant Unilever.
  • Petalfast launched this week as a sales and marketing agency for the cannabis industry. 

Policy Moves

  • The Hemp Industries Association, a national trade group, and RE Botanicals, a South Carolina hemp company, have filed a federal lawsuit against the DEA over what they say is the DEA improperly establishing authority over legal hemp production and sale. At the heart of the issue is that the DEA still classifies any cannabis containing over 0.3% THC as a Schedule I substance, even though hemp commonly exceeds that during processing. 

Chart of the week

Flower still dominates the US and Canadian cannabis markets, according to data from analytics startup Headset. Vapes, while still popular, fall far short, making up just about one-third that of flower sales. Read Jeremy's article about it here.

What we're reading 

California's largest-ever fire threatens cannabis farms worth millions. Many won't evacuate (LA Times)

Chaos and cannabis (Searchlight New Mexico)

Delta-8-THC promises to get you high without the paranoia or anxiety (Discover Magazine)

The FDA wants to help cannabis businesses advance research (Cannabis Wire)

A bet on magic mushrooms made one investor $316 million richer (Bloomberg)

Extreme weather patterns force cannabis growers to rethink cultivation strategies (Marijuana Business Daily)

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