Week in Review: Canopy Growth closes cannabis grows, COVID-19 reshaping MJ business models, MA rec shops take a hit & more

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

marijuana trimming

Canopy Growth’s new CEO said the once high-flying marijuana giant is shuttering additional cannabis cultivation facilities in Africa, Canada, Colombia and the United States.

MJBizDaily takeaway: The Canadian company’s retrenchment offers lessons for other cannabis operators with overseas aspirations: There are few federally regulated markets outside Canada that are fully functional today.

Most markets, including Germany’s and Australia’s – two of the largest outside North America – remain in an embryonic state.

That means any aggressive international drive might result in years of significant losses. Is your business willing and able to sustain those losses until markets develop? Canopy decided it was not – but only after investing more than $100 million.

New business approaches for marijuana

COVID-19 has changed the way the cannabis industry operates, as evidenced by curbside pickup at retail outlets, acquisitions, business failures, stalled legalization efforts and more.

MJBizDaily takeaway: The post-pandemic normal in the cannabis industry probably will include a smaller group of consolidated multistate operators, a reassessment if not revamping of supply chains and companies that are nimble, opportunistic and cash-sufficient.

Massachusetts rec stores hold out hope

Massachusetts recreational cannabis retailers might be losing nearly $2 million a day collectively because of the governor’s order to close because of the coronavirus.

A judge confirmed the governor’s authority to shutter the shops but indicated the issue could be resolved by limiting sales to Massachusetts residents and putting in place strong public health measures.

MJBizDaily takeaway: The closure has hit cannabis businesses hard – one cannabis operator told Marijuana Business Daily that it hasn’t been able to open its three newly licensed stores in Massachusetts.

Now, however, expect industry officials to use the judge’s decision to push Gov. Charlie Baker hard for permission to reopen the stores, with the caveat that sales be banned to out-of-state residents at least temporarily, and that curbside pickup be emphasized.

Boosting cannabis employees’ spirits

Cannabis businesses that are still operating during the coronavirus pandemic are using a variety of strategies to boost their employees’ morale.

MJBizDaily takeaway: Such businesses should be applauded for their morale-boosting measures, which include giving out bonuses, gift cards and perks such as Netflix subscriptions.

Respondents to an MJBizDaily poll said they most value extra money during these risky and uncertain times.

Salaries in hemp sector soar

Hemp legalization in the U.S. has resulted in salaries that outpace those in mainstream agriculture.

MJBizDaily takeaway: High salaries are being driven in part by a dearth of managers experienced in hemp cultivation, processing, testing and other fields.

It’s unclear how those dynamics will change as the industry matures, but, at least for the time being, it pays to be in the fast-growing hemp industry.

Marijuana Business Daily’s international editor, Matt Lamers, contributed to this report. 

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.