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MedMen CEO Adam Bierman resigns, Arizona medical marijuana sales jump by over a third in 2019, Missouri reveals MMJ shop licensees and appeals seem likely – and more of the week’s top cannabis business news.

Bierman leaves MedMen

Adam Bierman, co-founder of marijuana retailer MedMen Enterprises, resigned as chief executive. He also gave up his voting control.

In a news release, MedMen said co-founder Andrew Modlin also has agreed to give up his super voting shares by December 2020.

Takeaway: “The biggest takeaway is they surrendered their super voting shares,” said Mike Regan, an equity analyst at Marijuana Business Daily’s Investor Intelligence.

Many industry watchers said they weren’t surprised with Bierman’s departure because even he admitted recently that the company has experienced significant problems, including stock slumps and employee layoffs.

Arizona MMJ sales bump last year

Statistics from the state of Arizona show that medical cannabis stores there sold more than 165,000 pounds of product in 2019, which marks almost a 36% increase from the nearly 122,000 pounds purchased by patients in 2018.

Takeaway: The increase in medical marijuana sales are interesting to note given that Arizona is considered one of the states that could legalize adult-use cannabis in 2020 via a ballot measure.

Two initiatives are in play on the recreational side, including one that calls for an 18% excise tax. Passage of either remains uncertain, however.

Missouri dispensary licenses announced

Missouri regulators awarded all 192 medical marijuana store licenses in the state. MMJ sales are expected to begin in the spring, according to the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services.

Takeaway: Missouri received more than 1,100 medical cannabis dispensary applications, and many of those rejected applicants are expected to file appeals.

Appeals could potentially result in the state granting additional dispensary licenses.

It’s unclear whether the challenges also could delay the launch of MMJ sales in the state.

Canadian cannabis firms eligible for government funding

Medical cannabis companies based in Canada are eligible to receive financial aid and other forms of support from the federal government to explore international business opportunities. That support comes via the “full menu” of services offered by the Trade Commissioner Service, which is funded by the government.

Takeaway: The TCS can provide services if a federally licensed marijuana business seeks to do business in a country that is party to United Nations drug treaties and has a legal framework for the medical or scientific use of cannabis.

Support for nonmedical businesses is not offered. This is a major development for Canadian companies, which have long been advocating for government support. The TCS network spans more than 160 cities around the world, which should help Canadian companies compete globally.

Small marijuana ETF to shutter

Canadian fund manager The Evolve Funds Group, which has more than 630 million Canadian dollars ($478 million) under management, revealed it would close a poorly performing marijuana mutual fund and an even smaller exchange-traded fund (ETF) that also invests solely in cannabis companies.

Takeaway: With marijuana stock prices down substantially, the effects are not only felt by cannabis companies themselves but on other ancillary companies, including Evolve.

As cannabis stocks fell over the past several months, far fewer investors bought cannabis ETFs.

TerrAscend, Gravitas Nevada deal is off

Canada-based cannabis company TerrAscend said it was terminating a previously announced deal to buy Gravitas Nevada for $33.5 million.

Takeaway: Cancellations of previously announced M&A deals have become more typical in in the marijuana sector recently as MJ stock prices have fallen and a shortage of outside capital has become a fact of life during the past several months.

TerrAscend, which paid $3 million to Gravitas as required under the purchase agreement, is no longer liable for the remaining $30.5 million and 625,000 company shares as proposed in the deal.

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