October 2020 Content Calendar: CBD Event, Category Close-Ups + Investor Speed Dating – NOSH

See what’s coming up this October on BevNET & NOSH’s Content Calendar. Explore challenges and opportunities in the infused product space during “CBD Today and Tomorrow”, freshen up on sparkling water and ice cream with our Category Close-Up series, participate in investor speed dating and hear from entrepreneurs and experts during Office Hours, Elevator Talk and a new show from NOSH’s Editor Carol Ortenberg.

Take a look at what’s on the agenda:

CBD Today & Tomorrow Presented by SoRSE Technology will highlight leaders in the infused products space, explore challenges and opportunities for CBD and other cannabinoids in food & beverage, and dive into topics including product development, regulatory issues, consumer demand and more.

Speed Dating will return on Thursday, October 29th, connecting food and beverage brands with top CPG investors. Subscribing brands and investors are invited to participate in this virtual networking event.

Watch the next editions of Category Close-Up, our two-part category deep dive series, where our editors will provide an analytical outlook and positioning discussion one night, and highlight emerging and established brand leaders in each space to discuss their latest innovations and product news. This month’s Category Close-Ups are on the sparkling water category and the ice cream category.

Office Hours will feature the leaders of the recently announced Project Potluck program, allowing industry members to join the meeting, ask questions and participate in the discussion. This will have a live studio audience, so reach out to Officehours@bevnet.com to be in the (zoom) room.

NOSH’s Editor Carol Ortenberg will be hosting a new show offering in-depth conversations with leading entrepreneurs in the food business — and she’ll be starting off with some of its most important female executives.

Additional episodes of our regularly scheduled programming including Elevator Talk, where new and emerging brand leaders can share their story with the industry, and Office Hours, where experts help brand leaders find answers in uncertain times.

Be sure to check the calendar frequently for new shows and highlighted events, and to see what’s up in the months to come. Select “Learn More” for any event and find options to register, add it to your calendar or apply to participate.

Subscribe to BevNET and NOSH to access all articles, videos, special virtual events and networking opportunities.

5 Best CBD Lubes to Buy in 2020 – CBD Lubricants for Sex – Prevention.com

When you find “the one” you can just feel it—and you breathe a giant sigh of relief, because let’s face it: It’s hard to find a keeper. We’re talking here not about the perfect partner (ain’t no such thing!) but a go-to lubricant that makes sex, no matter how you have it or with whom, reliably more enjoyable.

And because CBD is in everything from dog treats to bath bombs, it was only a matter of time before it wound up in your privates. The question is, what do lubes containing CBD do and should you try one?

Let’s start with personal lubricants in general: Even if you don’t have a problem with vaginal dryness (hormonal changes as with breastfeeding or menopause can make things less-than-moist) or pain during sex (caused by various conditions), extra moisture can make sex more fun. Among other more romantic and esoteric things, “Sex is basically applied friction for pleasure, and lubrication can facilitate smoother interaction,” says Brandye Wilson-Manigat, M.D., an OB GYN in Pasadena, CA. You may generate your own wetness just fine, but “using a lube can change the sensation and will usually up the pleasure factor,” she says.

So how might CBD—short for cannabidiol, a compound found primarily in the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant that does not make you high — help make sex more comfortable and even give you better orgasms, as many women say they’ve found with some of these products? “CBD may increase the level of sensation, because it’s it causes vasodilation,” says Dr. Wilson-Manigat, meaning it widens the veins to bring more blood to the area. But CBD may also have antianxiety and anti-inflammatory properties, she says. “For women who are having trouble with things like vestibulitis and vaginismus, they might benefit from using that type of lube because it decreases sensation of pain,” she says.

Note the use of the word “may” in all of the above. That’s because „there really is no scientific research on CBD on being used in the vagina or as a personal lubricant,” says Stacia Woodcock, Pharm.D., a dispensary manger for Curaleaf who is steeped in the science. In fact, there hasn’t been much firm data on CBD for most almost any use, and people’s responses are highly individual. Woodcock says that women’s sexual pain issues don’t get nearly as much attention as they should, but while she’s glad women are seeing relief, it’s hard to separate the placebo effect from the effect of the CBD itself. „I would love to see real research behind it. If it is what people are saying, and we can know more about it, we can put it to use to better help women,” she says.

The other big unknown is CBD dosing—we don’t know much about how much people should take or even, Woodcock says, how or how much gets absorbed through mucous membranes like the vagina and the mouth. For that reason, you want to “start low and go slow,” the same advice you’d follow if you were taking CBD orally. CBD is thought to be safe; typically, “The biggest thing is that it can make you super drowsy and tired, and that will take a few hours go away,” says Dr. Wilson-Manigat. You’ll want to do a patch test on your arm to make sure you’re not allergic to any ingredient, and bear in mind that a lube may contain ingredients (such as capsaicin or peppermint) that can make things a too tingly or irritate your skin. (You’re advised to check with your doc before using CBD, as it can change your blood levels of certain medications, says Dr. Wilson-Manigat.)

Lastly, look for a brand that is transparent about ingredients and does third party testing, adds Woodcock. „It’s a sensitive area, and you don’t want to use a product that might have heavy metals or pesticides,” she says. „And just because it says „CBD lube” doesn’t mean there’s any CBD in there.” (All recs in this story are independently tested by a third party.)

Ready to dip in? Here are some brands to try.

1 Foria Intimacy CBD Lube

Foria

$50.00

Foria’s much-loved Intimacy Natural Lubricant with CBD is an added-fragrance-free coconut-oil based lubricant with only organic ingredients. It’s also vegan, gluten-free and safe to ingest (should it wind up on someone’s tongue!) and the company reports that its users have found relief from the pain of vaginismus and other conditions that can make intercourse painful and anxiety-inducing. “My vagina felt so warm and cozy and melty like a big hug 10 minutes after application and orgasm,” said one. “This feeling lasted for at least 30 min while I was moving on with my life and getting ready for a night out.” 

2 Smooth Operator CBD Lube

itsquim.com

$48.00

The word “quim” was used 100 years ago to insult women before the C-word became the absolute rudest, but with products like Smooth Operator (with 100mg of CBD per bottle) this company is reclaiming the word and imbuing it with positive connotations. Smooth Operator is a toy- and latex-safe water-based serum containing aloe vera and other plant extracts, designed to increase blood flow, promote pelvic relaxation, and decrease inflammation and pain, and is safe to use in the anus. It has a pleasant taste that’s hard to describe. One user says, “Holy shit that stuff is AMAZING!!”  

3 Water-Based CBD Lube

kushqueen.shop

$34.99

Kush Queen Water Based CBD Lube is a latex- and toy-safe formulation. “Works great, not messy to use and no taste,” one man testified on the company’s site. “I deal with vulvodynia and this has helped lessen my pain significantly. … It doesn’t mess up my pH balance either!” a woman raved. The company says the secret is the nanotechnology, meaning the CBD particles are tiny, which is supposed to speed up absorption. Several users said that while it works well, it dries quickly, which means you may need to reapply it.

4 „O” by Dani Pepper

Dani Pepper’s O uses nano (a.k.a. tiny) CBD particles “to increase tissue penetration leading to increased blood flow to erogenous zones which heightens orgasmic potential,” according to the company. It’s vegan and water-based, so is useable with sex toys and condoms, and has a slightly sweet-spicy taste, due to the cardamon, cinnamon and other spices that are said to have aphrodisiac effects. It’s a bit stickier than most, but users say it does the job and is a bargain for the price.

5 CBD + TCH Formulations

In states where recreational marijuana is legal, you can also try lubricants with both CBD and THC, the compound in cannabis that does get you high—quality ones include Hello Again (in suppository form) and several of Foria’s line. THC-containing lubes are said to be especially helpful if you suffer pain and menopausal symptoms. Hello Again’s literature explains that the product does not give you that stoned feeling, and Foria’s says that a majority of vaginal users do not feel high. But just as smoking or eating THC can get you high, Dr. Brandye wouldn’t entirely rule out the possibility of THC having more than merely a local effect, depending on the dose and the individual. Meaning, you might experience an all-over high, not just in your private parts, she says.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io

11 Massachusetts marijuana businesses participating in ‘Cultivating Talent’ cannabis industry job fair Oct. 9 – MassLive.com

Next month, a selection of Massachusetts cannabis businesses are showcasing a selection of jobs available in the marijuana industry.

The “Cultivating Talent” cannabis industry job fair will be held outdoors on Oct. 9 from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at Starlight Square in Cambridge’s Central Square neighborhood.

Participating companies include Revolutionary Clinics (medical); Northeast Alternatives (medical/adult-use); Ermont, Inc. (medical); PharmaCann (medical/adult-use); Core Cannabis (adult-use); Verilife (adult-use); Alchemy League (adult-use); INSA (medical/adult-use); Ethos Cannabis (medical); Holistic Industries (medical); and Alternative Therapies Group (medical/adult-use).

Some of the available opportunities include positions in customer service, security, patient services, cultivation, quality assurance, logistics and retail. Those interested are asked to register online. Resumes are preferred but not a requirement.

Attendees must be at least 21 years old, must wear face masks and must keep a 6-foot distance from others.

Organizers ask that people do no attend if they feel ill. Capacity will be regulated.

Related Content:

Royal CBD Review + Our Best Rated CBD Brands – Influencive

This Royal CBD review has been medically reviewed by Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD and was written by the team at CBDStudy, a CBD research publication.

According to their website, Royal CBD is committed to producing a high-quality product, while being transparent and open about the ingredients and processes they use. They say that they want everyone to “read them like a book.” They claim to grow with organic methods, using non-GMO industrial hemp. They use a CO2 extraction method to create their oil.

CBDStudy’s Top 5 Brands

1. Penguin CBD – EDITOR’S CHOICE (Best CBD Oil Out of 50+ Lab Tests)

2. NuLeaf Naturals

3. Ananda Hemp

4. Lazarus Naturals

5. cbdMD

Royal CBD Overview

Royal CBD say they want to deliver the “gold-standard of quality” when it comes to both customer service and their products, and they encourage anyone who has questions about dosing, consumption methods and product selection to get in contact.

The company offers full-spectrum CBD oil and explains that “numerous studies have found that full-spectrum cannabis products can help users maximize the effects of CBD; this way, you can personalize your experience with Cannabidiol.” Customers can choose from an array of CBD oil, capsules, gummies and CBD pet products.

The ingredients they have listed for their full-spectrum CBD oil are hemp oil extract, MCT oil, natural flavors and terpenes. We wish they would expand a little more on what exactly they mean by natural flavors. They have a few different flavors of their full-spectrum CBD oil to choose from, so natural flavors could mean just about anything.

The Good:

  • Organically grown and non-GMO hemp
  • Open about growing methods and extraction processes
  • 30-day satisfaction guarantee
  • Highly rated customer service
  • Accurate labeling backed by third-party lab results paid for by CBDStudy

The Bad:

  • Third-party lab results are not on the website
  • Products are slightly more expensive than average
  • Limited options—only full-spectrum products are available
  • Unknown specifics with the ingredient “natural flavors”

Who Is Royal CBD?

Royal CBD was founded in 2017 by Justin Hamilton, and is headquartered in Anaheim, California.[1] The brand started out as a small, artisan CBD company focused on impeccable quality service and customer care while providing the best products available.

Their aim is to be a transparent, truthful and high-quality CBD brand that cares about their customers. As their website says: “Long story short, with Royal CBD, you get the best of all worlds.”

Their Approach

Royal CBD uses organic and non-GMO industrial hemp grown in Colorado to create their CBD products. The company explains how hemp is a bioaccumulator, meaning it draws things like heavy metals and chemicals from the soil, so they want to use organic methods for that reason.

It is hard to verify these claims due to hemp farm regulations nationwide, but our lab results indicate they don’t have heavy metals or pesticides in them. This is definitely a plus for Royal CBD. It is also helpful that this information is immediately available on the website without having to track down customer service and verify their growing methods.

Royal CBD uses a CO2 extraction method to manufacture their CBD products, which is a heatless and solventless method of extraction, to ensure the “maximum potency and purity of the final product.” Research indicates this to be a fairly accurate description of the CO2 extraction method.[2]

Royal CBD claims to be third-party tested a few different times throughout their website. We were not immediately able to find any third-party lab results, or any lab results at all, on the site. CBDStudy sent off a sample of the brand’s 500 milligram tincture for testing and found their labeling to be accurate for the most part, so it doesn’t appear they are trying to conceal their results.

A simple message to customer service may yield the COAs you need, especially since quality customer service is one of the things the brand prides themselves on.

Royal CBD: Product Highlights

Royal CBD offers a diverse range of products, which is a great way to target a large customer demographic. As we mentioned before, all of the products are full-spectrum, which does dampen their reach a little bit.

Royal CBD customers can choose between full-spectrum oils, capsules, gummies, topicals and CBD pet products. They also have a point system to earn products and a monthly subscription plan to save 15 percent.

CBD Oils

Royal CBD offers their full-spectrum oil in four dosages: 250, 500, 1,000 and 2,500 milligrams. You can choose between berry, vanilla, mint and natural flavors. The price for this oil ranges from $59 to $289, which is a bit more expensive than the average CBD oil with the same dosages.

CBD Capsules

Royal CBD only offers one dosage for the softgels, which could turn away people who are looking for variety. The bottle’s total dosage is 750 milligrams, with 25 milligrams in each capsule. There are 30 capsules in each bottle, so it is about one month’s supply, depending on how much you use.

The brand offers a “subscribe and save” deal where, if you order your products on a monthly autoship, you get 15 percent off. If you choose to order just one time, you’ll pay $84, but the subscribe and save price is $71, so it is definitely worth it if you intend to be a monthly user. The website also says you can cancel at any time.

CBD Edibles

Royal CBD offers two different dosages for gummies so that customers can take their pick. The gummies come in 10 and 25 milligrams per gummy, totaling 300 milligrams and 750 milligrams of CBD per bottle, respectively.

You can purchase the 25 milligram gummies for $67/month if you choose to sign up for their subscribe and save program. Those who only want to buy one bottle can do so for $79. The 10 milligram gummies retail for $54 but you can do the monthly subscribe and save program for $46.

The 10 milligram bottle has an option to choose “dots” or “drops.” We believe this to be the way the gummy itself is shaped, but the website doesn’t tell us for sure. Choosing between dots or drops doesn’t change the price, but it does change the packaging, which indicates a potential size difference between the two. There are three different flavors: strawberry, orange and grape.

CBD Topicals

Royal CBD offers two kinds of topicals: a roll-on and a more traditional balm. Roll-ons are great for people who are active and on the go, while balms are great for people who may only use the product once or twice a day and usually at home or in a less fast-paced setting.

The balm has 500 milligrams of CBD per jar and the roll-on has 350 milligrams of CBD, so if you require a higher dosage you probably want to stick with the balm. However, if you’re an active individual, tossing a roll-on in your gym bag and using the balm when you’re at home might be a good option. The roll-on can be purchased one time for $59 or you can subscribe to their monthly program and pay $50 a bottle.

Aside from CBD, the roll-on has a pretty extensive ingredient list: mentha (menthol) USP, Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf extract, Arctium lappa (burdock) extract, Arnica montana (arnica) flower extract, boswellia (frankincense) oil, Calendula officinalis (calendula) extract, Camellia sinensis (green tea) extract, carbomer, glycerin, Ilex paraguariensis (yerba mate) leaf extract, isopropyl alcohol, Cannabis sativa (hemp) oil extract, isopropyl myristate, Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) leaf extract, silica and purified water. There is nothing immediately concerning about the ingredient list, and the additional plant-based ingredients may improve the efficacy of this product.

The ingredient list is available on the website along with the ingredient list of the other products, so customer accessibility is definitely there.

The CBD balm comes in a 3 oz container and has a pretty clean, plant-based, no-nonsense ingredient list. You can purchase the CBD balm one time for $74, or subscribe and save for $63 a month.

Other Products

Royal CBD also offers pet owners CBD treats. Each bag comes with 30 treats, which is a bit smaller than some of the other brands we’ve seen, but not outlandishly so. There’s an option to buy one, two or three bags in one purchase, and the choice to bundle your products is present across the entire product line.

Customers can choose between three flavors: active, calming and hearty. It seems that the different flavor choices are geared more toward the formula of the product than the taste of it, so read the ingredient list and determine if it is right for your animal before selecting a flavor. The bags say the active flavor is for joint and mobility, the calming flavor is to reduce stress and anxiety, and the hearty treats are for heart and immune health.

Our Lab Findings

We sent a sample of Royal CBD’s 500 milligram tincture to a third-party lab to verify their claims. The oil has a little more than the label indicates; however, a variance of about 10 percent is considered normal. Royal CBD falls into that category.

The label reads at 500 milligrams and our third-party lab results tested out at 555 milligrams.

We would like to see a more potent and richer cannabinoid profile from a company that labels their product as full-spectrum. According to our CBDStudy lab results for Royal CBD, the product contains no CBN and only 3 milligrams of CBG, 12 milligrams of CBC and 3 milligrams of THC.

Shipping and Returns

Royal CBD offers free shipping on all orders, which is amazing because a lot of (and maybe even most) CBD companies require you to purchase a minimum amount to qualify for free shipping. This definitely supports Royal CBD’s goal of putting the customer first. There’s no option to expedite shipping, unfortunately, so that might be a problem if you are trying to get your CBD quickly.

We were surprised by how fast our order came. The full-spectrum CBD oil was ordered on a Tuesday, shipped the following day and delivered by Thursday. Royal CBD offers a money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with your product, which provides great peace of mind for new customers.

Our Verdict on Royal CBD

We are impressed with Royal CBD’s company as a whole. The products are straightforward and the company seems to be transparent. The lack of third-party results on the website are a bit of an inconvenience, but based on our third-party lab results, the company has nothing to hide.

The products are more expensive than average and the cannabinoid profile is perhaps less robust than advertised, but they have plenty of satisfied customers, so it doesn’t seem to be impacting them.

We appreciate the company’s efforts to create a good customer experience. They want their customers to feel welcomed and appreciated, and do so by putting an emphasis on a quality customer-service team.

References

[1] Royal CBD. (2020). Royal CBD Debuts Redesigned Product Line & New CBD Cream Topical. PRNewswire.com. Retrieved from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/royal-cbd-debuts-redesigned-product-line–new-cbd-cream-topical-301051311.html

[2] Simone Rochfort et al. (2020). Utilisation of Design of Experiments Approach to Optimise Supercritical Fluid Extraction of Medicinal Cannabis. Sci Rep. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7272408/

All of our reviews are 100% impartial and medically reviewed, and we may receive a commission when you purchase through the links in the article.

Opinions expressed here are the opinions of the author. Influencive does not endorse or review brands mentioned; does not and can not investigate relationships with brands, products, and people mentioned and is up to the author to disclose. VIP Contributors and Contributors, amongst other accounts and articles, are professional fee-based.

Published September 30, 2020

Cannabis revenues to drop – Ceres Courier

Yet another developer agreement for a cannabis retailer was amended by the City Council on Monday in light of a more local competition which will result in less revenue for the city.

The Ceres City Council voted 3-2 to approve changes to the agreement that allows Pacafi Cooperative, Inc., to pay less in fees to operate its Patient Care First dispensary at 1442 Angie Avenue in Ceres.

At the time of the first developer agreement was inked, the Patient Care First began operating in December 2017 with only selling cannabis to medicinal patients. But it later began selling recreational marijuana after California voters approved recreational cannabis use among adults. In the past three years, other jurisdictions like the city of Turlock and Stanislaus County also followed Ceres’ example and began allowing dispensaries, which have cut into sales.

“The market has changed locally,” explained City Manager Tom Westbrook. “In 2017 this was one of the first development agreements by any city within Stanislaus County so we didn’t necessarily know how it would go.”

On Sept. 8 the Ceres Planning Commission gave its approval to the proposed changes.


The new agreement for Patient Care First is valid for a longer time – 10 years instead of the three-year duration – and lowers the payment structure “to be more reflective of the current cannabis business market conditions,” said Senior Planner James Michaels.

The three-year agreement, which is expiring in November, requires payment to the city of a monthly fee of $40,000 if the firm earns $500,000 or less in gross receipts per month. The fee jumped to $50,000 per month for gross receipts between $500,001 and $800,000; $75,000 per month for sales of $800,001 to $1.1 million; and $100,000 monthly for sales more than $1,100,001.

“Because there’s more competition in the marketplace,” said Westbrook, “the applicant has suggested … if they cap threshold could be lowered from $100,000 to $70,000. Staff is okay with that reduction in the cap.”

The new structure lowers the base amount of $20,000 per month or five percent of gross receipts, whichever is greater, and sets a cap of $70,000 per month. The gross receipts factor is modeled on a similar framework utilized by the state for tax purposes.

Westbrook suggested the new agreement be for a 10-year period “as an assurance that if they’re going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix the building and the parking lot to best utilize and benefit their business, they want to know that they can be there for a period of time.”

The agreement also reflects the state Bureau of Cannabis Control allowing delivery from cannabis retailers.

“They’re just requesting to be able to deliver from their location which staff is not opposed to,” said Westbrook.

Vice Mayor Linda Ryno expressed concern about cannabis deliveries with the potential for thieves stealing packages off the porches or robbing delivery drivers or home customers.

“I just don’t think it’s safe to allow home delivery of cannabis,” said Ryno. “I like the fact that we can control the retail aspect by having security but once they leave that building what’s to say that someone isn’t going to stake them out because the word will get out. And again, now you’ve brought that into residential areas. I’m not comfortable with home delivery.”

She also expressed concern about a 10-year agreement because Kase Manufacturing asked for a 15-year contract and was given five years.


Mayor Chris Vierra noted that cities cannot ban deliveries of cannabis to their residents from retailers such as Amazon or others located outside the city limits.

Councilman Channce Condit supported the 10-year period but insisted on an earmark for public safety despite the fact that cannabis revenues go into the general fund of which 80 percent is spent on police and fire. This time, however, Condit specified that he wants the funds earmarked to help retain public safety employees.

Councilman Mike Kline said he is “scared” of Condit’s idea for earmarks, saying when revenues decrease it must be taken out of public safety. He said with earmarks of 70 percent, the recent changes to the developer agreements would have reduced revenues to police and fire by $252,000 annually.

“With no earmark in it we have the latitude, as a council, to take that $30,000 deduction and reduce where we feel that we can work with and not make a big impact on public safety,” said Kline.

Devin Stetler of Pacafi said deliveries are already happening to Ceres customers from outside and if the council restricted Ceres cannabis retailers from delivery that would mean a loss of revenue. Another Pacafi representative, Rob Roberts, thanked the council for taking the lead years ago which has benefited city revenues.

Mayor Chris Vierra, and Councilmen Bret Durossette and Mike Kline voted in favor of the amendment while Condit and Ryno voted no.

In April the city also amended its developer agreements with Mike Reynolds who operates Kase Manufacturing. The three-year agreement with Kase expired and was replaced with a new agreement for a period of 15 years with the fee paid to the city “more reflective of the current cannabis business market conditions,” according to a city staff report.

Previously Kase was paying the city a monthly fee of $40,000 when the firm earned $500,000 or less in gross receipts that month. The fee was set at $50,000 per month for gross receipts between $500,001 and $800,000; $75,000 monthly for sales of $800,001 to $1.1 million; and $100,000 monthly for sales more than $1,100,001.

The new agreement is now moving to a base amount of $25,000 per month or five percent of gross receipts, whichever is greater.

The legal sale of cannabis is subject to a cannabis specific state excise tax, the standard sales tax, and any local excise tax such as Ceres’ Measure H. The retail sale of medicinal cannabis is not subject to the cannabis specific state excise tax. 

Reynolds said when he entered the agreement in 2017 it was a “blind stab” at what sales would be.

“We took a blind guess on the amount of money that we would pay per month. Knowing where the cannabis industry was at then to where it is now has drastically changed,” said Reynolds, who called the agreement one of the most lucrative for any city in California.

“In all honesty if we continued at $100K there would be no discussion in talking about future revenue (to the city) because I wouldn’t be able to stay open,” Reynolds told the council in April. He said during October and November 2019 the cannabis market took a crash “because you have a lot of bad actors and you have a lot of people who aren’t playing by the rules.”

He said with a floor of $25,000, or 5 percent, the city is still getting a generous deal given that some cities settle for as low as three percent.

THC-free CBD Oil: Types and Best Products – Healthline

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

According to a 2019 Gallup poll, about 14 percent of Americans say they use cannabidiol (CBD) products, while about 35 percent are totally unfamiliar with CBD.

If you’re part of this group that’s new to CBD, it may be difficult to venture into all the terminology and figure out what to look for. But, don’t worry — we can walk you through what you need to know.

While full-spectrum CBD products contain small amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), you also have options if you’re looking for THC-free CBD. Let’s take a look at what THC-free CBD is, as well as some of the best THC-free oils available.

CBD is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Research on CBD is in the early stages, and still ongoing. But some studies so far show that it has therapeutic potential. People may use CBD to help with pain, anxiety, insomnia, and more.

There are two types of THC-free CBD oil you can choose from: isolate and broad-spectrum.

Isolate CBD oil contains only CBD, which means you’ll have a form that’s completely free from THC. No true isolate oil should contain any THC or any other cannabinoid besides CBD.

Broad-spectrum CBD oils also lack THC, but they do contain other cannabinoids and cannabis compounds like terpenes and flavonoids.

Terpenes are aromatic compounds that may have therapeutic benefits. Similarly, flavonoids, which are naturally found in all sorts of plants, may have therapeutic benefits as well.

All types of CBD products may have potentially beneficial effects. But one particular benefit of broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate is that they shouldn’t contain any THC. That can be a plus for people who want to try CBD, but want to avoid THC.

On the flip side, a disadvantage of THC-free CBD oils is that they miss out on some or all of the benefits of the entourage effect. The entourage effect is a theory that CBD works better when it’s combined with other cannabis compounds, like THC.

However, that doesn’t mean that THC-free CBD oil isn’t effective. Some research suggests that CBD may still have therapeutic effects on its own.

Lastly, some people prefer CBD isolate because it’s taste- and scent-free. “Natural” or unflavored full-spectrum and broad-spectrum products have an earthy taste that some people dislike. However, it’s worth noting that you can find flavored varieties of all three types of CBD, which should mask any earthiness.

A note on drug testing

Even though CBD isolate and broad-spectrum products are “THC-free,” there’s always a slight chance they may contain trace amounts of THC. In rare cases, this may result in a positive drug test. If you’re concerned about this, you may want to avoid CBD products altogether.

Healthline

We chose these THC-free CBD oils based on specific safety and quality criteria. Each oil in this article:

  • is made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
  • is made with U.S.-grown hemp
  • contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
  • is free of pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA

We also considered:

  • company certifications and manufacturing processes
  • product potency
  • overall ingredients
  • indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:

Lastly, we chose a mix of both broad-spectrum and isolate oils so you can choose what’s best for you.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $40
  • $$ = $45–70
  • $$$ = over $70

Joy Organics Premium CBD Oil

  • Price: $$$
  • CBD type: broad-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 900 milligrams (mg) per 30-milliliter (mL) bottle

This broad-spectrum oil is a great introduction to THC-free CBD oils. Unlike tinctures, which are alcohol-based, this oil is made with extra-virgin olive oil as the base.

It comes in four flavors — mint, orange, lemon, and natural, a pure hemp-flavored extract.

Buy Joy Organics Premium CBD Oil online. Use code “healthcbd” for 15% off.

Kanibi CBD Pure Isolate, Skittles flavor

  • Price: $$$
  • CBD type: isolate
  • CBD potency: 750 mg or 1,500 mg per 30-mL bottle

You’ll find only two ingredients in this CBD oil from Kanibi: medium chain triglycerides (MCT) oil and natural flavors, making it free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

It comes in three flavors, but the Skittles version offers something new from the typical citrus or mint choices other CBD companies offer.

Buy Kanibi CBD Pure Isolate, Skittles flavor online. Use code HEALTHLINE10 for 10% off.

Lord Jones Royal Oil

  • Price: $$$
  • CBD type: broad-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 1,000 mg per 30-mL bottle

This unique oil can be used topically or taken sublingually (under the tongue).

With only two ingredients — grapeseed oil and CBD — it’s great for those that don’t want any fancy flavorings or scents. Grapeseed oil is also good for your skin and overall health.

This CBD oil is vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, and alcohol-free.

Buy Lord Jones Royal Oil online.

Penguin CBD Oil, Strawberry

  • Price: $$
  • CBD type: broad-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 250, 600, or 1,000 mg per 30-mL bottle

This Oregon-based company makes its oil using broad-spectrum CBD and coconut-based MCT oil. If you’re not sold on strawberry, it also comes in four other flavors — mint, citrus, natural, and cookies and cream.

Penguin uses a CO2 extraction process to make its products. It’s a solventless extraction method that some say results in a “cleaner” overall product.

Buy Penguin CBD Oil, Strawberry online.

Liftmode Hemp Extract Oil, Purified Mint Flavor

  • Price: $
  • CBD type: isolate
  • CBD potency: 1,500 mg per 30-mL bottle

Liftmode’s CBD oil includes coconut-based MCT oil and natural mint essential oil.

According to the website, this CBD oil can be used in smoothies, juices, desserts, and curries. You can also take it sublingually.

Buy Liftmode Hemp Extract Oil, Purified Mint flavor online.

Social CBD Cinnamon Leaf Broad-Spectrum CBD Drops

  • Price: $
  • CBD type: broad-spectrum
  • CBD potency: 375, 750, or 1,500 mg per 30-mL bottle

This CBD oil is vegan and sweetened with stevia instead of sugar. Like other CBD oils, it can be added to drinks or food or taken orally.

Social CBD offers a rewards program for extra discounts.

Buy Social CBD Cinnamon Leaf Broad-Spectrum CBD Drops online.

If you’re looking for a THC-free CBD oil, you’ll want to focus on CBD isolate or broad-spectrum CBD products. Avoid full-spectrum CBD oils, as those will contain a little bit of THC.

As with all CBD products, it’s extremely important to do your research before buying a product. The FDA doesn’t regulate CBD products the same way as drugs or supplements, so there are some mislabeled products out there.

To avoid these, be sure you’re buying from a reputable company. Look for those that include comprehensive, up-to-date certificates of analysis (COAs) from a third-party lab. You can usually find this information right on the company’s website. Sometimes, you may need to request it by email.

The COA might look confusing at first, but it’s easy to learn to read them. Mainly, you’ll want to check the CBD and THC content (make sure it matches the product’s label) and double-check that the product isn’t contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, or molds.

Finally, make sure to only purchase CBD from companies that are open about where they grow their hemp, as well as how they make their products.

One common question people have about CBD is how much to use. The quick answer is, it depends. The appropriate dosage can vary based on individual factors.

The best thing you can do when trying CBD is to start slow and work your way up to higher doses depending on how you feel.

As for how you can use CBD oil, it’s best to check the label. Some products are designed to be used topically — like as a body oil — while others are intended to be taken orally.

If the product is intended to be taken orally, you can either put it under your tongue or you can add it to food or drinks.

While research suggests that CBD is generally considered safe, people may experience some side effects, including:

  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • change in appetite
  • change in weight

Before you try CBD, it’s important to talk with your doctor, especially if you’re taking any medications. CBD may interact with certain medications.

Lastly, be careful if you’re ingesting CBD products along with high-fat meals. One study found that CBD blood concentrations dramatically increased when CBD was taken alongside high-fat meals. This can increase the risk of side effects.

If you’re interested in trying THC-free CBD oil, look for an isolate or broad-spectrum product. There are lots of choices that vary by flavor, potency, and brand.

CBD oil may have the potential to alleviate pain and anxiety, but it may also cause side effects. Talk with your doctor before trying CBD, especially if you’re taking any medications.

Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.

Read The Viridian Cannabis Deal Tracker Report For The First Half Of 2020 – Benzinga

The Viridian Cannabis Deal Tracker is an information service that monitors capital raise and M&A activity in the legal cannabis industry. Each week the Tracker analyzes/aggregates all closed deals and allocates each transaction to one of twelve key industry sectors in which the deal occurred (from Cultivation to Brands), the region in which the deal occurred (country or U.S. state), the status of the company announcing the transaction (public vs. private) and the type of deal structure (equity vs. debt).

The Viridian Cannabis Deal Tracker provides the deal data/terms/valuations/structures and market intelligence that cannabis companies, investors, and acquirers utilize to make informed decisions regarding capital and M&A strategy. Since its inception in 2015, the Viridian Cannabis Deal Tracker has tracked and analyzed more than 2,500 capital raises and 1,000 M&A transactions totaling over $45 billion in aggregate value. Find it exclusively on Benzinga Cannabis every week!

Below is a summary of the first half of 2020.

After a brutal 2019 during which global cannabis stocks lost approximately 70% of their value, the beginning of 2020 was relatively benign, but as the impact of COVID-19 became clear, global cannabis stocks traded off another 62%, finally bottoming out around March 18. 

The stock decline further exacerbated the cannabis capital crunch, bringing capital raises for earlier stage companies and most M&A activity to a virtual halt. 

Stock prices and market conditions have improved significantly since the bottom, but cannabis stock prices are still about 25% down since the beginning of the year. The partial recovery has brought back a bit of vigor to the capital raise and M&A activity in the industry. 

Cannabis was classified as an “essential” business by most states, allowing continued albeit altered operations. Cannabis sales volume has held up remarkably well and recent data suggests an acceleration of the growth trajectory despite general economic weakness. 

Canadian LPs and several large U.S. MSOs continue to retrench, restructure and divest non-core operations.  U.S. companies have generally fared better, and several large MSOs are now positive EBITDA and successfully consolidating their market positions.

Some of the largest cannabis M&A deals ever closed during 1H’2020, including Curaleaf/Select and Cresco/Origin House and another major transaction, Curaleaf/Grassroots closed in July 2020.

The unbridled and undisciplined pace of M&A activity from 2016 to 2019 is over.  Tighter capital and lower public company valuations are mandating M&A strategies that are much more accretive financially and strategically.

Cannabis SPAC IPO’s raised more than $2.6 billion in the last year, and more than $700 million in 1H’2020,  as institutional investors recognized the opportunity to acquire distressed/discounted assets in the industry.

The U.S. cannabis marketplace has become the dominant focus of both investors and acquirers.

1st Half 2020: Capital Raise Summary

Capital raise transactions decline

We tracked 166 capital raises in the first half of 2020 that raised a total of $2.6 billion, a decline of 67.5% versus the first half of 2019, and a decline of 32.2% versus the second half of 2019.

Sales-leasebacks and SPACs tilt capital allocation ratios

Of the 12 industry sectors we actively track, Cultivation & Retail continues to lead with 55% of all invested capital, although down from 66% in the first half of 2019. The two other leading capital raising sectors were Real Estate (18% of invested capital, up from 4% in the previous year) and Investments/M&A (13% of invested capital, up from 7% in the previous year).  These two sectors highlight the growing role of sales-leaseback financing and SPACs.

Public capital raises have become more dominant

Public companies represented 89.2% of the money raised and 80.7% of the number of transactions, significantly higher than the 70.3% of capital raised and 67.8% of the number of transactions registered for the first half of 2019.  As in any distressed/uncertain environment, investors chase liquidity that public companies can provide.

Equity raises represented a similar percentage of total capital raises compared to the first half of 2019 

Equity deals represented 70.5% of the number of capital raises and 67.5% of total capital raised versus 70.2% of the number of capital raises and 68.7% of total capital raised in the first half of 2019. Debt financing and debt providers have become much more active in the industry providing an additional source of financing.

Convertible debt shrinks as straight debt becomes a larger part of the landscape in the U.S.

Canadian companies utilized straight debt in 61% of their debt capital raises in the first half of 2020 versus 36.3% for U.S. companies.  Historically straight debt has been confined to ancillary, non-plant touching sectors of the U.S. market, but this is beginning to change.  Late 2019 and 2020 to date have seen several large straight coupon debt issuances by U.S. MSOs and we expect this trend to continue as more of them become free cash flow positive.

Capital Raises Recovering with Stock Prices

Cannabis capital raise activity, particularly equity raises, are quite sensitive to cannabis stock price levels.  

Between the end of the second quarter of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, cannabis stocks declined 43%, adding to the damage from earlier in the year decreases.

The market traded off an additional 45% between the beginning of 2020 and its bottom on March 16, as the full impact of COVID-19 became apparent. The total market decline from the end of the Q2’2029 through the market bottom was approximately 69%.

Market disruption from COVID-19 brought fundraising in the cannabis market to a virtual standstill in May before it began to bounce back in response to a strong recovery of stock prices which have increased 92% from the bottom

2nd Half Outlook for Capital Raises

We Foresee Renewed Growth In Capital Raise Activity Based on Current Market Dynamics

Valuation levels have stabilized after a significant bounce off the bottoms.

Reduced overall valuation levels will drive increased investor interest.

Companies will continue to require growth capital as the industry shows increasing growth rates.

Consolidation/roll-up initiatives underway across the industry will require both acquisition and operating capital.

COVID-19 induced budgetary shortfalls will give more states an incentive to pass Medical and Adult-Use legislation in the November 2020 elections.

Potential for landmark changes in federal regulation of cannabis if Democrats win control of the White House and Senate in addition to retaining the House.

1st Half 2020: M&A Summary

M&A activity continued to fall from an already low level in the second half of 2019

We tracked 39 M&A transactions in the first half of 2020, down 81% from the 205 recorded in the first half of 2019. The drop in M&A activity directly relates to the dramatic decline in cannabis stock prices as most industry transactions are predominantly stock-based.

Sector Rotation

Cultivation & Retail, consistently the largest M&A sector,  recorded 25 M&A transactions in the first half of 2020, down 79% from the 117 recorded in the first half of 2019 and 61% from the 64 recorded transactions in the second half of 2019.  Significant declines in activity also occurred in Hemp, and Infused Products and Extracts.  The Biotech/Pharma sector saw the largest increase in M&A activity.  

Going-public deals recoil from their peak in the second half of 2019

We recorded 5 going-public transactions in the first half of 2020, raising a total of $504 million.  This number of transactions was 62% lower than the 13 recorded in the second half of 2019 and the capital raised was 63% lower than the $1.35 billion raised in the second half of 2019.  The change was largely due to the virtual cessation of RTO transactions (1 versus 6) and a lower amount of SPAC capital raised.  The second quarter of 2019 figure was heavily influenced by two large SPAC IPOs (Bespoke and Subversive) that together raised $925 million.

Corporate M&A strategy evolves

The unbridled and undisciplined pace of M&A activity from 2016 to 2019 is over.  Tighter capital and lower public company valuations are mandating M&A strategies that are much more accretive financially and strategically.

2nd Half Outlook for Mergers & Acquisitions

We Foresee a Pick-Up in M&A Activity Based on Current Market Dynamics

SPACs should begin to announce/close deals. 

Reduced valuation levels for private companies will drive buyer demand.

Companies that can’t raise growth capital will pursue M&A exits.

Distressed companies will be sold as ongoing operations or in pieces.

The U.S. cannabis marketplace will remain the dominant focus of both investors and acquirers.

Capital Raise Activity 

1st Half 2020 Capital Raise Key Figures

Total Capital Raised: $2.55 Billion

YoY Growth: -65.75%

# of Raises: 166

YoY Growth: -50.89%

Largest Raise: $300 Million

Most Active Cannabis Sector: Cultivation & Retail

Most Active Region: U.S.

Q2 2020 Capital Raise Key Figures

Total Capital Raised: $908.8 Million

YoY Growth: -73.01%

# of Raises: 87

YoY Growth: -54.92%

Largest Raise: $174 Million

Most Active Cannabis Sector: Cultivation & Retail

Most Active Region: U.S.

COVID-19 Impact on Cannabis Capital Markets

We compared data from the Viridian Cannabis Deal Tracker for June 2020 (4th full month of COVID-19) vs. the prior months of Q2’2020, the prior quarter (Q1’2020) and prior yearly period (Q2’2019).

Financing Activity Still Weak But Improving

Total capital raises were down in June 2020 versus May 2020 but still 86.8% higher than in March 2020, the weakest month we have recorded.

Equity issuance is up strongly since March, due in part to the recovery in stock prices.

Debt issuance has remained weak since the onset of COVID-19 as more conservative debt investors ponder the sustainability of the industry’s robust performance in the face of severe economic disruption.

Public vs. Private Company Capital Raises

Public companies represented 85.0% of all capital raises in the second quarter of 2020, down from 91.5% for Q1’2020 but up from the 61.7% for Q2’2019. The turbulence in global markets in general, and the cannabis markets in particular, will continue to drive investors to seek liquidity.  The capital crunch in the cannabis industry is acutely impacting private companies.

Capital Raise Activity: Public versus Private

Viridian Capital tracked 166 capital raises in the first half of 2020 that raised a total of $2.6 billion.

Public companies represented 89.2% of the money raised and 80.7% of the number of transactions. These are significantly higher than the 70.3% of capital raised and 67.8% of the number of transactions registered for the first half of 2019.

Total capital raised in the first half of 2020 declined 67.5% versus the first half of 2019 and 32.2% versus the second half of 2019. Public company capital raises faired slightly better, with capital raised in the first half of 2020 decreasing  58.9% from the first half of 2019, but only 7.1% versus the second half of 2019.

The stock price decline and capital crunch is a result of investor realizations that prior valuation metrics were unsustainably high, particularly given the fact that cannabis companies have repeatedly performed below analyst expectations.

Capital Raise Activity: Equity vs Debt

After strong growth in 2019, the number of debt deals, and the total debt capital raised fell in the first half of 2020.  Canadian companies accounted for the largest share of the decline. In the first half of 2020, Canadian companies raised $257.6 million in 37 transactions, down 82.6%, and 47.9% respectively from the $1,481.9 million in 71 transactions in the first half of 2019. U.S. companies raised $567.1 million in 11 transactions, down 37.5%, and 56.0% respectively from the $907 million in 25 transactions in the first half of 2019.

Equity deals represented 70.5% of the number of capital raises and 67.5% of total capital raised versus 70.2% of the number of capital raises and 68.7% of total capital raised in the first half of 2019.

Debt deals represented 29.5% of capital raises and 32.5% of capital raised in the first half of 2020 versus 29.8% of the number of capital raises and 31.3% of the total capital raised in 2019.

We expect debt deals to reaccelerate in the second half of 2020 as more companies achieve positive EBITDA and free cash flow status, demonstrating the capacity to service debt.

1st Half 2020: Convertible vs. Straight Debt

Convertible debt has historically made up the bulk of debt issuance in the cannabis market.  In the first half of 2019 convertibles represented 61.0% of the debt transactions and 65.1% of total debt capital raised. 

The dramatic fall in the cannabis equity market shifted this emphasis in the second half of 2019 with convertibles representing only 50% of the issues by number and 29.4% of total capital raised.  Convertibles bounced back in the first half of 2020, representing  63.3% of the issues and 56.3% of total debt capital raises.

Canadian cannabis companies have greater access to banks and traditional financing sources, and this is mirrored in the debt composition.  In the first half of 2020, Canadian companies raised 39.0% of their total debt capital via convertible debt compared to 63.7% convertibles for U.S. companies.

Late 2019 and early 2020 saw the first sizeable straight debt issues by stronger U.S. MSOs including Curaleaf, and Cresco.  Other strong credits, including Green Thumb and Trulieve, were able to close transactions with relatively modest warrant coverages (in the 20% range).  We expect more straight debt transactions for the top tier of U.S. cannabis credits (similar to the recent Verano deal).

One interesting structure that we have seen quite frequently since the capital crunch is secured convertible debt with additional warrants.  Total warrant coverage (including the 100% from the convert) has been observed as high as 250%, offering investors an attractive upside in a gapping upward market move such as might be experienced with federal legalization.

1st Half 2020 Top 10 Capital Raises

Capital Raises by Industry Sector – 2019/2020

Cultivation & Retail continues in its historical role as the largest capital raising sector, but its relative percent of capital raised fell to 55% in the first half of 2020 versus 66% in the first half of 2019.

The Investments/M&A sector has increased in importance and took the top position in the second half of 2019, reflecting IPOs by cannabis SPACs.  The sector represented 13% of capital raised in the first half of 2020 versus 7% in the first half of 2019.

A major trend is the growth in capital raised by the Real Estate sector which is up 53.0% from the first half of 2019 and represents 18% of total capital raised versus 4% in the first half of 2019.  The main impetus for this increase is the rise of real estate SPACs and REITs both offering advantageous sales-leaseback financing.

Agriculture Technology Capital Raises

Sector DescriptionProviders of controlled environment agriculture (CEA) and other cultivation technologies.

The Agriculture Technology sector had no new capital raises in the first half of 2020, down from 11 transactions for a total of $38.6 million in the corresponding period in 2019.

More than ½ of the dollar amount of transactions in the first half of 2019 was attributable to two large deals: GrowGeneration ($12.8M) and Arcadia Biosciences Inc. ($7.5M).

The last half of 2020 looks promising for this sector with one transaction for $15M already on the books in July.

Biotech/Pharmaceuticals Capital Raises

Sector Description:  Companies pursuing clinical development of cannabinoid-based drug candidates through the FDA, the EMA, or a similar regulatory body.

The Biotech/Pharmaceuticals sector saw a 92.3% increase in the number of transactions and a 76.1% in the total capital raised in the first half of 2020 vs. the corresponding period in 2019.

A large portion of the increase in capital raised in the first half of 2020 is due to the $42.4 million increase in debt raised, most of which is accounted for by two transactions: $27.9M by MediPharm Labs, and $10M by Pharmhouse in Q2: 2020.

Biotech/Pharmaceuticals sector stock prices have been buoyed by COVID-19 vaccine and treatment expectations

Consulting Services Capital Raises

Sector Description:  Providers of various consulting services, including management, operations, strategy, compliance, licensing, et al.

The Consulting Services sector saw a 50.0% increase in the number of transactions but an 86.4% decrease in total capital raised in the first half of 2020 vs. the corresponding period in 2019.

2019 figures were skewed by the inclusion of the $50M 4Front Holdings LLC term loan which accounted for 91.6% of total capital raised in the sector during the first half of 2019

Consumption Devices Capital Raises

Sector Description:  Manufacturers and downstream sellers of various consumption devices, such as vaporizers, rigs, glassware,  etc.

The Consumption Devices sector saw a 75.0% decrease in the number of transactions and a 98.3% decrease in total capital raised in the first half of 2020 vs. the corresponding period in 2019.

First half 2019 results were skewed by two large equity raises: Pax Labs Inc. ($420.0M) and Greenlane Holdings ($102.0M).

The vape scare, beginning in the 3rd quarter of 2019, substantially undercut interest in the sector, particularly in the U.S. with an only slight recovery in the 2nd quarter of 2020.

Cultivation & Retail Capital Raises

Sector Description:  Companies that grow, distribute, or sell cannabis and cannabis-derived products.

The Cultivation and Retail sector saw a 43.5% decrease in the number of transactions and a 71.7% decrease in total capital raised in the first half of 2020 vs. the corresponding period in 2019.

Cultivation and Retail continues to be the largest capital raising sector, accounting for 47.0% of the total number of cannabis capital raises and 54.5% of capital raised.

The decline in capital raised began in the third quarter of 2019 and accelerated through the 1st quarter of 2020 before recovering slightly in the 2nd quarter of 2020 based on increased stock prices and stronger financial performance in the sector.

Hemp Capital Raises

Sector Description:  Companies that grow, distribute, or sell hemp and hemp-derived products.

The Hemp sector saw a 78.6% decrease in the number of transactions and a 66.0% decrease in total capital raised in the first half of 2020 vs. the corresponding period in 2019.

Hemp acreage planted has grown more than 70% since the 2018 Farm Bill causing an oversupply and dramatic decline in raw CBD prices.

Growth in the industry remains highly uncertain as the entrance of large CPG companies into the ingestible CBD market has been stalled by delays in FDA regulation.

Several large hemp processors have filed for Chapter 11 and others are also experiencing distress.  A significant increase in restructuring activity is expected in this sector in the second half of 2020.

Infused Products & Extracts Capital Raises

Sector Description:  Companies that extract and refine cannabis/hemp derived oils as well as develop and sell cannabis/hemp – infused foods, drinks, cosmetics,  and other products.

The Infused Products & Extracts sector saw a 66.1% decrease in the number of transactions and a 94.1% decrease in total capital raised in the first half of 2020 vs. the corresponding period in 2019.

Activity in the sector began to decline in the second half of 2019 and has not recovered. 

Several brands have begun to coalesce, particularly in the edible segment of the market however, the state-by-state nature of branding in the industry has prevented the emergence of any truly dominant brands.

Investments/M&A Capital Raises

Sector Description:  Financial service firms, investment funds, holding  companies, and other capital providers targeting the cannabis industry.

The Investment/M&A sector saw a 53.7% decrease in the number of transactions and a 66.3% decrease in total capital raised in the first half of 2020 vs. the corresponding period in 2019.

Two U.S. listed SPAC issues (Collective Growth Corp $150M and Greenrose Acq. Corp $150M) accounted for 93.2% of total capital raised in the sector in the first half of 2020.  Collective Growth is the first SPAC specifically targeted towards the U.S. Hemp sector.

Activity in the sector in 2019 was also heavily influenced by SPACs with 2 larger SPAC issues (Mercer Park Brand Acq $402.5M and Tuscan Holdings $276.0M) accounting for 71.0% of total capital raised.

Miscellaneous Ancillary Capital Raises

Sector Description: Service or product companies, such as testing  laboratories, specialized packaging, branding, and labeling companies, and cannabis-focused recruitment firms, that fall outside the other ancillary sectors.

The Miscellaneous Ancillary sector saw a complete absence of activity in the first half of 2020 vs. 14 deals for a total of $74.3M in the first half of 2019.

The $34 million equity issue by KushCo Holdings in January 2019, made up 45.8% of the sector’s total capital raised in the first half of 2019.

Real Estate Capital Raises

Sector Description: Companies that own, lease, develop, or license commercial properties for cannabis operators.

•The Real Estate sector saw a 70.0% decrease in the number of transactions but a 53.0% increase in the total capital raised in the first half of 2020 vs. the corresponding period in 2019.

•Two large issues by Innovative Industrial Properties ($250M) and Subversive Real Estate Acquisition REIT LP ($200M) together accounted for 99.4% of capital raised in the sector during the first half of 2020. Subversive was the first cannabis real estate SPAC. These issues demonstrate the dramatic rise of cannabis sales-leaseback financing which has been extensively utilized by MSOs as one of the lowest cost financings that is available.  

Software & Media Capital Raises

Sector Description:  Companies that develop and provide technology, software, data, and media solutions such as seed-to-sale tracking, delivery, enterprise software, etc.

The Software & Media sector saw a 35.3% decrease in the number of transactions but a 29.9% increase in total capital raised in the first half of 2020 vs. the corresponding period in 2019.

A majority (68.7%) of the increased capital raised in the first half of 2020 was made up of one innovative $17M convertible debt issue by Akerna Corp. which included a 12% original issue discount and monthly principal payments but no regular interest payments.

Capital Raises: International

While the majority of deals we have tracked have been closed by companies in the U.S. or Canada, we continue to see increased activity by companies in South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia as cannabis liberalization proceeds in those markets. International deals accounted for a record 12.4% of financing in the last half of 2019 but have returned to a more usual 3.4% of capital raised in the first quarter of 2020.

Financing activity is shifting from Canada to the U.S. and we anticipate this trend continuing as more states pass medical or adult-use measures and the prospects for federal legalization increase

1st Half 2020 Capital Raises by State

California and New York continue to top the list, but newly adult-legalized states of Massachusetts and Illinois have taken the number three and four slots as capital demand for new growth facilities and dispensaries accelerates.

We anticipate greater capital demand in states that are pushing to turn recreational, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

M&A ACTIVITY

1st Half 2020 M&A Key Figures

Q2 2020 M&A Key Figures

COVID-19 Impact on Cannabis Capital Markets

M&A

Public Companies Dominate Buy-side M&A Activity

Public companies represented 94.4% of buy-side acquisition activity in the second quarter of 2020, up from 90.5% in Q1’2020 and 80.2% in Q2’2019.

Even with depressed market caps, public companies remain the only viable acquirers.

Inability to raise capital, along with the lack of marketable securities to pay for an acquisition, have taken the private company out of the buy-side M&A market.

Private Companies Dominate Sell-side M&A Activity

Private companies represented 88.9% of sell-side acquisition activity in the June 2020 quarter, down from 95.2% in Q1’2020 and 90.0% in Q2’2019.

The depressed valuations of private companies makes them attractive acquisition targets.

The closing of the IPO/RTO window makes sell-side M&A the primary path to a liquidity event for private companies.

M&A Activity: Public vs. Private

M&A Activity: Public vs. Private

Overall M&A activity has leveled off but not recovered from its 2019 levels. The 39 closed transactions in the first half of 2020 are 59% lower than the 95 closed deals in 2019’s second half and 81.0% below 2019’s first-half total of 205.

Two of the largest U.S. Cannabis M&A transactions ever completed occurred in the first half of 2020: the $950 million Curaleaf/Select deal, and the $400 million Cresco/Origin House deal.  Cannabis companies also canceled several noteworthy transactions in the first half of 2020, including the $850 million Harvest/Verano deal. 

Public acquisitions of private companies continue to be the prevailing transaction model in the industry, accounting for 94.9% (2 out of 39) in the first half of 2020, up from 69.3% (142 out of 205) of the deals in the first half 2019.

Acquisition activity is expected to increase in the second half of 2020 buoyed by SPAC activity and opportunistic distressed acquisitions by the stronger industry players.

1st Half 2020 Top 10 M&A Transactions

M&A Activity: Acquirer Sector Breakdown

Companies in the Cultivation & Retail sector have been the dominant acquirers expanding into new markets but increasingly concentrating on building scale in existing markets. 

Cultivation & Retail M&A activity is expected to increase in the second half of 2020 and into 2021 as new states open for both medical and recreational cannabis.

Biotech/Pharma companies were the second most active acquirers in the first half of 2020 and the only sector to experience more deal flow than in the 1H’ 2019.

M&A Activity: Target Sector Breakdown

Cultivation & Retail remains the favorite target sector as MSOs continue to expand into new markets and build scale in existing markets.

The Hemp sector, which was negatively impacted by sharp price declines, bankruptcies of large competitors, and continued delay in FDA rulemaking, had no transactions in the first half of 2020.

The decline in Non-Cannabis-Related transactions stems from the collapse of RTOs which accounted for 21 deals in the first half of 2019, 3 deals in the second half of 2019, and 0 deals in the first half of 2020.

Agriculture Technology M&A Activity

Most transactions in 2019 and 2020, where the target was a company in the Agriculture Technology sector, have been completed by other companies in the same sector. We expect this to change over the next year as cultivators seek increased yields, greater operating efficiency, and lower costs.

Since the beginning of 2019, GrowGeneration Corp. has completed 80% (8 out of 10) of the transactions where the acquirer was an Agriculture Technology company.

Biotech/Pharmaceuticals M&A Activity

•Biotech/Pharmaceuticals sector M&A activity is up in the first half of 2020 versus both the first half of 2019 and the second half of 2019.

•We expect to see continued strong activity in this sector as research steps up to address the uses and efficacy of the “lesser” cannabinoids like CGG and CBN as well as potential COVID-19 applications of cannabinoid-derived drugs.

Consulting Services M&A Activity

The first glimmer of activity in this sector since 2018 occurred in the first half of 2020 with the purchase of a small consulting company by Harvest Health and Rec. and the acquisition of a small Biotech company by Osoyoos Cannabis, a Canadian contract tolling extraction services company.

This sector could see an upswing if, as we expect, COVID-19 budget shortfalls foster increased state legalization efforts.

Consumption Devices M&A Activity

The Consumption Device sector saw a 71.4% decrease in the number of transactions by buyers and sellers. 

The attractiveness of the sector as an acquisition target collapsed and no transactions occurred in the first half of 2020.

Negative influences included tariffs on Chinese goods and the vape scare both of which appear to be resolved.

Cultivation & Retail M&A Activity

Combined buy and sell transaction volume of 25 deals in the first half of 2020 was down 60.9% versus the 2H’ 2019 and 78.6% versus the 1H’ 2019.

The decrease in M&A activity is directly related to the collapse of cannabis stock prices.  An index of U.S. Cannabis companies was 83.6% from the end of the first quarter of 2019 through the end of the first quarter of 2020.  The market performed strongly in the second quarter of 2020, increasing by approximately 41.0% from its end of March levels and spurring an increase in both capital raises and M&A volume in the second quarter and beyond.

The Curaleaf/ Grassroots deal, valued at approximately $700 million and ranked as one of the largest U.S. cannabis acquisitions, closed in the third quarter of 2020.  The transaction will require divestiture of around $100 million of assets in Illinois, Maryland, and Ohio to conform with local licensing restrictions.

Hemp M&A Activity

Hemp sector M&A activity has essentially ground to a halt with no transactions targeting the industry in the first half of 2020 compared to 27 in the first half of 2019.  A similar decline has been seen concerning transactions where hemp companies were the acquirers.

The decline relates to the economic disarray in the industry with lower pricing and profitability than experienced in the year-earlier period.

The entrance of CPG companies into the CBD ingestible market has been indefinitely delayed by a lack of FDA regulatory action, which does not appear to be likely in the next several quarters.

Collective Growth Corp., the first Hemp SPAC, completed its $150 million IPO on 5/1/20 which should produce future M&A activity in the sector.

Infused Products & Extracts M&A Activity

Combined buy and sell activity of 6 transactions in the first half of 2020 was down 87.8% from the first half of 2019 and 78.6% from the second half of 2019.

This segment continues to have the potential for much higher activity fostered by two trends: 1) cannabis demand is shifting from flower consumption to vapes, edibles and other extracted/infused forms and 2) the cannabis and hemp businesses will eventually evolve into true CPG businesses which will present significant opportunities for acquirers to consolidate the fragmented industry through acquisitions.

Investments/M&A M&A Activity

Activity in the Investment/M&A sector declined 86.7% from 30 transactions in the first half of 2019 to 4 transactions in the first half of 2020.

A significant amount of the 2019 activity that was not repeated in 2020 was from SPAC investments including 4 separate acquisitions by Cannabis Strategics Acquisition Corp. that together created AYR Strategies, and the acquisition of assets by Cannacord Genuity Growth Corp. that formed Columbia Care.  C21 investments also completed 3 acquisitions that helped form the integrated Oregon and Nevada cannabis company.

We expect this sector to heat up as an acquirer as roughly $3 billion of SPAC money now on the books is deployed.

Miscellaneous Ancillary M&A Activity

Combined buy and sell interest in this sector continues its downward path after peaking in 2018.

A significant part of the 2019 transaction volume consisted of acquisitions by CB2 Insights, a leader in clinical operations, technology, and analytical research services.

Physical Security M&A Activity

The Physical Security sector has seen no M&A transactions since the first half of 2019 and no capital raise transactions since 2018.

Real Estate M&A Activity

The Real Estate sector saw a 50%  decrease in M&A activity in the first half of 2020 versus the first half of 2019.

Despite the lower M&A transaction volume, total capital raised in the sector increased significantly due to the equity raised for real estate SPACs and REITs providing sales-leaseback financing to the Cultivation and Retail sector.

Software & Media M&A Activity

The Software & Media sector saw a 76.5% decrease in M&A activity.

GOING-PUBLIC ACTIVITY

Going-Public Transactions – 2019/2020

The total number of IPOs and RTOs has declined in virtually every quarter since the first quarter of 2019. Total IPO/RTO activity in the first half of 2020 was 82.8% lower than in the first half of 2019 and 61.5% lower than the second half of 2019.

The decreased volume is particularly striking in the Reverse Mergers/ Takeovers category.  There were 11 RTOs of Canadian companies and 9 of U.S. companies in the first half of 2019 and this has fallen to only 1 Canadian RTO in the first half of 2020.

The IPO transactions in the table include a large representation of SPAC IPOs.

Investors have been stung by the sharp decline of cannabis stock prices with virtually every investor who bought at RTO levels now well underwater. Baring complete federal legalization, these RTO levels seem unlikely to return.  Investors have become distrustful of repeatedly lowered broker projections and are now waiting for a clear demonstration of paths to profitability while focusing heavily on company liquidity amidst the ongoing capital crunch. 

1st Half 2020 Reverse Takeovers Key Figures

1st Half 2020 IPOs Key Figures

1st Half 2020 SPAC Transactions Key Figures

SPAC Transactions

The rise of Cannabis SPACs has been one of the most important trends in the last year.

SPAC IPOs since the third quarter of 2019 have raised over $2 billion of capital.

SPACs have replaced IPOs as the main takeout opportunity for mid to large private cannabis companies.

SPACs generally have 18 months to make a qualifying acquisition, so most of them still have ample time to pursue deals.

Outstanding SPACs are approximately evenly divided between those with Canadian listings and those with U.S. listings. The importance of the distinction is that NYSE and NASDAQ listed SPACs are prevented from pursuing acquisitions of plant-touching companies, which is expected to increase M&A activity in ancillary sectors.

SPACs are also expected to be aggressive bidders for distressed assets.

The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

  • Lead image by Ilona Szentivanyi. Copyright: Benzinga.

© 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

Cannabis influencers: He’s the even-keeled adviser, who’s all about freedom – NJ.com

This story is part of a series of profiles, The CannaInfluencers: The people shaping the cannabis industry in the Garden State. Written by NJ Cannabis Insider reporters, the profiles will publish the weeks leading up to the Nov. 3 election, when New Jersey voters will decide whether to legalize recreational, adult-use cannabis.

Some people figure out at an early age what they should do with their lives.

Fruqan Mouzon, 50, knew at age 7 he would become a lawyer — primarily because that’s what his aunt said he should do.

“I got in trouble at my aunt’s house — I was playing catch with my sister and we broke a lamp,” Mouzon said. On the spot, he said, “I had a perfect argument” about why it was actually his aunt’s fault for insisting they play inside long after the rain stopped and his sister’s fault for missing his “perfect” throw.

“My aunt said, ‘You are better than Perry Mason.’ I don’t think I knew what that meant,” he said.

“When I was growing up, there was pressure (about) what you are going to be when you grow up, and you better have an answer. It’s something you had to start thinking about in the 1st and 2nd grade,” said Mouzon (whose names are pronounced FROO-kwan mooz-ON). “So I started saying I am going to be a lawyer and I never stopped saying it.”

Twenty years after graduating Seton Hall University School of Law, the Newark native served as assistant counsel to Gov. Jon Corzine. He was named president of the Garden State Bar Association, the state’s African-American bar, in 2012. He made partner at Gibbons P.C., one of the largest and most influential legal and lobbying firms in the state. He was general counsel to the Senate Majority Office from 2013 to 2019.

Along the way, Mouzon also became one of the most influential figures in New Jersey’s tortured marijuana history. He counseled state Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, as they drafted marijuana legalization.

“We started with a shell of the legislation that was 60 pages and we thought we had accounted for everything,” Mouzon said. When it was amended and grew to 200 pages, “I thought we had it right.”

Mouzon said he intended to stay in the public sector to see the legalization bill through, but the socially conservative members of the Democratic caucus would not budge. Sweeney decided in March 2019 to delay a vote on the bill, and in November, announced voters would decide whether to legalize cannabis.

Mouzon left the Senate Majority Office in June 2019 to chair the Cannabis Practice Group at McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter.

Scutari calls Mouzon “a trusted adviser and friend.”

“As an African-American man growing up in this country, he brought a perspective to the discussion of updating our marijuana laws and melded that perspective with his educational and legal experience and his keen intellect and down-to-earth personality,” Scutari said. “He was on the ground not only for the marijuana debate but also a variety of other issues to come before the Senate Judiciary committee.”

Mouzon said he understood he brought a crucial social and economic justice perspective to the legalization bill deliberations — one that would include, for instance, micro-licenses that enable people “who don’t have $10 million in the bank” to vie for a piece of the cannabis industry and expunge past arrests and convictions.

“We did a lot to make sure people of color get included,” he said.

The fact that cannabis has become a focal point of his career is somewhat accidental. Mouzon said marijuana never personally or professionally interested him until Scutari declared legalization a priority. He said he considers his work on the Senate’s revamped sexual harassment policy among his most noteworthy achievements.

“I am more about freedom. I don’t know if I am more Libertarian than Democrat,” he said.

Mouzon is no political animal. He is one of the rare, high-level government appointees who did not get his start on a campaign. This and his “even-keeled” style has earned him trust and clout in Trenton, said Jay Redd, an attorney and director for government affairs at Gibbons.

“Folks would seek him out to get his counsel and unique perspective…He didn’t have the political weight that impacted his view,” said Redd, the former Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel to the New Jersey Senate Majority Office.

“During the whole process with (the legalization) bill, he was a steady force on it,” Redd said. “There were a lot of starts and stops, a lot of groups weighing in, but you never saw him upset. That is helpful, especially on an issue folks are so passionate about.”

Fruqan Mouzon with daughter

Mouzon pictured with his daughter Akilah in 2015.

Mouzon’s first name literally means “one who distinguishes between truth and falsehood.” His sense of order and fairness permeates into his hobbies. For a time, he was a boxer. “It shaped who I am – my desire to have a judge and a decision and an adversary.” he said. He replaced boxing with training his daughter, Akilah, who wanted to play softball. From the time she was 12 years old, “every vacation had to to do with going to tournaments and games,” he said.

Newlyweds Mouzon and his wife, Rohie, share a home in Harrison with his daughter, a 22-year-old recent college graduate who coaches softball and teaches pitching, he said.

Anyone who has worked closely with Mouzon knows what’s most important to him is his relationship with his daughter, Redd said.

„First and foremost, he is the biggest cheerleader for his daughter, a collegiate softball player. He was always trying to be there to support her. When the University of Illinois came out with softball cards, he showed everybody,” he said.

Mouzon’s pragmatic, zen style is an antidote to volatility that often surrounds the cannabis industry. He says he’s confident the ballot question will pass, and the bill he helped construct is a solid blueprint.

“It will become an accepted part of society,” he said of cannabis. “When I was In law school we were debating same-sex marriage in moot court. There was a large contingent of people who laughed at that. I feel the same thing now.”

Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to NJ.com.

Susan K. Livio may be reached at slivio@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @SusanKLivio.

Cannabis law firms start to eye the psychedelics industry – Business Insider

  • Over the years, boutiques and giant law firms alike have waded into the cannabis industry, helping companies navigate complicated laws and regulations, which are often in flux and vary from state to state.
  • Lawyers who specialize in cannabis say they’ve recently seen an uptick in inquiries from psychedelics companies.
  • Business Insider talked to some top law firms involved in the cannabis space to ask them about this trend.
  • Some firms say they’re diving headfirst into the psychedelics industry. Others say they’re watching the industry closely from the sidelines, waiting for more regulatory changes before they take on the new client base.
  • Subscribe to Insider Cannabis for more stories like this.

Lawyers who specialize in the cannabis industry say they’re getting inquiries from a new kind of client: psychedelics companies.

The calls started coming in around a year to a year and a half ago, as the psychedelics industry began to ramp up and garner more investor dollars, half a dozen cannabis lawyers told Business Insider. It’s accelerated in recent months as companies seeking to use psychedelic substances as medical treatments have gone public on US and Canadian stock exchanges.

Like cannabis, psychedelic substances like psilocybin and ibogaine are Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act in the US, which creates complications for businesses seeking to work with them. That helps create new clientele for cannabis lawyers, who have the expertise of helping cannabis companies navigate complicated laws and regulations over the years.

Read more: The top 7 law firms in cannabis, according to investors, startups and major companies in the booming industry

Boutique cannabis-focused law firms have been around for around a decade now as the drug became legal in Canada and in some US states. In recent years, bigger names like Reed Smith, Locke Lord, and Dorsey & Whitney have joined in, becoming more vocal about their cannabis clients and involvement in the industry, and in turn providing more validity for the industry as a legitimate field.

Now, a similar process is beginning in the psychedelics sector.

‚We get calls on this stuff almost every week’

„I would say we we get calls on this stuff almost every week,” Vince Sliwoski, managing partner at Harris Bricken, told Business Insider. Harris Bricken is a boutique law firm that has been taking on cannabis clients since 2010. Recently, it’s taken on psychedelics clients as well.

The inquiries have been varied, according to the lawyers Business Insider spoke with. They’ve come from decriminalization advocates, clinic operators, life sciences companies wading through Food and Drug Administration regulations, and investors interested in the space. Cannabis companies have also started to inquire about the industry, lawyers told Business Insider.

Some firms are diving headfirst into the psychedelics space. Others say they’re watching the industry closely from the sidelines, waiting for more regulatory changes before they take on any psychedelics clients. Business Insider talked to half a dozen law firms for this article and four said they’ve started to work with psychedelics companies.

The real uptick in interest began around 18 months ago, Sliwoski said, when Harris Bricken began to write about evolving psychedelics regulations on its company blog. The firms is currently working with a number of psychdelics companies, he said.

Read more: Meet the top 9 startups raising millions to use psychedelics to treat depression, anxiety, and more

Cannabis companies are ‚kicking the tires’ on the psychedelics industry

Many of the psychedelics-related inquiries are coming from current cannabis clients publicly traded on the Canadian market who are „kicking the tires” to see where the market opportunity may be in the space, he said.

Sliwoski says he expects that psychedelics clients will become a bigger part of Harris Bricken’s client base over the next few years and that he expects bigger international firms to get involved in psychedelics faster than they did for cannabis because they already specialize in services like helping companies gain FDA approval.

For now, many psychedelics companies are focused on running medical trials to show whether compounds like psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms) and MDMA can be used as treatments for mental health conditions like depression. Unlike cannabis companies, the majority say they’re not planning to sell the drugs for recreational use.

Some psychedelic or semi-psychedelic substances are already used in medical care. Ketamine, a somewhat psychedelic substance that’s used as a surgical anesthetic, is classified as a Schedule III substance in the US. Spravato, a nasal spray that’s similar to ketamine, is administered in clinics in the US and Canada to patients who have treatment-resistant depression.

Psychedelics companies are going public

The psychedelics company Compass Pathways said in 2018 that it got a breakthrough therapy designation from the FDA to study the use of psilocybin in treating people with depression that doesn’t get better with other therapies. The designation helps to accelerate the process of drug development and review. Compass Pathways is currently testing the treatment in medical trials. 

Compass Pathways is also among a wave of psychedelics companies that are going public. It held its initial public offering on the Nasdaq earlier this month and surged to a market value of $1.3 billion. New York-based Mindmed, which currently trades on Canada’s NEO exchange also announced last week that it would be applying to trade on Nasdaq.

Other psychedelics companies have also started trading or applied to trade on Canadian exchanges in recent months, including Vancouver-based Havn and Toronto-based Cybin.

Colorado based cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg has established a psychedelics practice group that works with advocates in shaping decriminalization regulations on the local level. The group also helps to advise ancillary companies to the psychedelics space as well as healthcare professionals looking to work with the substances.

Vicente Sederberg founding partner Josh Kappel, who heads the practice group, told Business Insider that the firm has been involved with psychedelics clients for a few years now but that he and his partners have seen more interest recently amid clinical trials and a wider movement to decriminalize psilocybin at the local level.

An expanding client base in psychedelics

The majority of the firm’s clients still come from the cannabis industry, but Kappel said he expects the firm’s psychedelics client base to grow as more scientific breakthroughs occur.

Unlike the cannabis industry, most psychedelics companies are working to bring their products to market after years of clinical trials and a rigorous approval process by the FDA. There is currently no legal recreational market for psychedelics substances in the US.

„Cannabis has never been allowed to move forward the way other psychedelics have had,” long-time drug policy attorney Noah Potter at Hoban Law Group told Business Insider. 

Potter says that non-cannabis psychedelics compounds have not faced the same resistance from the FDA and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on drug development, which means that psychedelics have a way to move faster toward legal access under federal law than cannabis did in the past.

Jeff Schultz, a partner at cannabis law firm Feuerstein Kulick, said that he and his partners are „really closely monitoring” the psychedelics space, though they have yet to dive into the industry. 

‚Our role is to keep a close eye on it’

So far, Schultz says his firm has taken on a ketamine therapy clinic as a client and is in talks with a venture capital fund focused on psychedelics.

Psilocybin has been decriminalized in a few jurisdictions in the US, but the substance — like most other psychedelics — is far from obtaining legal status on any state or federal level in the country.

„It’s important to distinguish between decriminalization and legalization,” Schultz said, pointing out that though a substance may be decriminalized, that does not mean a business is able to lawfully participate in selling the drug.

Schultz says that he doesn’t see Feuerstein Kulick representing any businesses actively involved in selling psychedelics until some sort of legalization, either medical or recreational, that takes palce.

„There will be an opportunity at some point to represent these companies,” he said. „We see something developing so our role is to keep a close eye on it.”