What’s next for hemp and cannabis in Florida • Acreage Holdings’ multimillion dollar boost • & more…


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The frostier the buds, the more potent. 

Cannabis flowers with the “most mushroom-shaped hairs pack the biggest cannabinoid and fragrance punch,” or in other words, were the most potent, according to new research out of the University of British Columbia. The research was published in The Plant Journal

To examine the cannabis plants, UBC researchers used both chemical profiling and advanced microscope techniques to “examine the internal structures and development of individual trichomes.” 

Under UV light, researchers found that “stalked trichomes,” which are larger, gave off a bright blue-ish hue, and “contained a large, distinctive pie-shaped disc of cells.” Conversely, the smaller trichomes, which don’t have a stalk, gave off a reddish color, and had “smaller secretory discs, and produced fewer fragrant terpenes.”

Researchers concluded that UV lights could prove a useful tool in monitoring for “optimal harvest times.” “We saw that stalked glandular trichomes have expanded ‘cellular factories’ to make more cannabinoids and fragrant terpenes,” co-lead author Sam Livingston said. 

But the research went even further, identifying possible impacts for the future of cannabis cultivation.  

“We found a treasure trove of genes that support the production of cannabinoids and terpenes,” said principal investigator Anne Lacey Samuels. “With further investigation, this could be used to produce desirable traits like more productive marijuana strains or strains with specific cannabinoid and terpene profiles using molecular genetics and conventional breeding techniques.”

University of Alabama partners with hemp company The Wemp Co. 

The company, which has a licensed 20-acre industrial hemp farm in the state of Alabama, will sponsor the work of assistant professor of biological sciences Lukasz Ciesla. Specifically, Ciesla will test the company’s hemp for things like pesticides and, of course, CBD levels, as hemp is defined as cannabis with .3% THC or less.

“The only thing anyone cares about right now is the level of THC, so we can know if it’s legal,” Ciesla said in the announcement, which you can read in full here.

MedMen’s revenue and losses more than doubled in 2019.

While the company’s revenue more than doubled from 2018, to $130 million, its losses remain staggering, according to its Q4 earnings released last night. The company’s net loss is $277 million, up from $113.9 million last year. 

MedMen has had a roller coaster year as executives have departed and lawsuits have been mounted. Still, they raised hundreds of millions this year, much of it from Gotham Green Partners. In a statement, CEO Adam Bierman said that “changing macroeconomic conditions have led us to refocus our strategy,” so it remains to be seen whether that strategy leads to a better FY 2020.

A resignation from CannTrust.

Board director John Kaden has resigned after just one year with the company. In July, Kaden was part of a special committee of directors formed to look into various internal issues that resulted in Health Canada’s enforcement action against the company due to non-compliance. Kaden’s resignation follows news last week, which Cannabis Wire covered in our newsletter, that the company will lay off 140 people. (Which, in turn, followed news that the company would destroy millions of dollars worth of product.)

Harborside’s comings and goings.

President andCEO Andrew Berman will be departing from the company, and the interim CEO will be Peter Bilodeau, who is currently the board chair. 

The company noted its reasoning in the announcement: “Given the changing and challenging market conditions, the Board believes a new and broader leadership team is necessary to accelerate the growth of the Company.” 

The company promoted Greg Sutton to COO of cultivation; hired as chief retail officer Lisah Poore, who was previously an SVP at Dosist; and hired as head of HR Mireille Duclos, who will work with Sutton on a “cost cutting program.”

This news follows a major announcement from the company last week: After a years long battle with the IRS regarding Revenue Code Section 280E, which does not allow cannabis companies the same deductions as other businesses, a US Tax Court has ruled that Harborside owes $11 million (for years 2007-2012). Harborside, one of the oldest cannabis brands and shops in the country, was previously looking at $36 million. Harborside plans to appeal some aspects of the ruling.

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