There is a darker side to the marijuana industry that isn’t always revealed to the public or investors. Here are three digital publications shining a light on the weed industry underbelly.
The marijuana industry is booming during and post lockdown. Investors are starting to look again at the industry with dreams of finding the cannabis version of Amazon, Apple or Google. But while retailers and product companies are profitable, other parts of the industry are struggling with profitability or finding a workable business plan.
Over $20 billion has poured into the industry and multiple companies have gained unicorn status by going public at $1 billion or more. But as companies like Medmen, High Times, MassRoots and others show, there is a darker side that isn’t always revealed to the public or investors.
“When I talk to investors, especially family offices interested in the space, they want to know the full, unvarnished story. Companies that try to hide negative or damaging news only hurt the industry as a whole” says Noa Kahner, founder of Kahner Global, the highly respected cannabis investor summit series.
Mainstream media, like Politico and the New York Post, are quick to share the scandals, but most cannabis media tend to shy away from negative business coverage. MJBiz.com, the largest B2B media in the space, trails others in unpleasant news. Luckily for investors and the industry itself, three mavericks expose the honest and unvarnished truth.
The editorial process of Green Market Report, founded by former Wall Street executive Debra Borchardt, is based on a review of SEC filings, investigative reporting, and interviews with sources. They mostly report on publicly traded companies as the SEC filings are a wealth of information. Their background gives the advantage of being able to quickly analyze complicated financial documents and pick up on details that other reporters may not catch. The Fresh Toast syndicates some of their content.
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All sources are verified, and do not rely on documents unless a reporter has been able to obtain a copy. They do not accept anonymous sources and will not use source material like emails, court cases, or other financial records without seeing the actual documents. They also ask companies for comment when reporting difficult stories in order to make sure the company has a chance to clear up any details or get their side of a story told.
Unlike many sites, Green Market Report does not provide sponsored posts as they feel it is a conflict of interest and would hurt journalistic integrity.
Cannabis.net founder Curt Dalton says, “We are an amalgamation of National Lampoon, the Wall Street Journal, and Barstool Sports. Writers have editorial freedom to give opinions, use a swear or two, and take a stand against the greed and corruption that has plagued the early years of the legal cannabis industry.”
He shared that his publication’s secret sauce is hardly a secret, as most of their content is responses or opinions about publicly posted information via filings, social media and press releases. Independently funded, they have no ties in the industry that could color coverage.
Dalton worries about the importance of company transparency, especially after the recent cannabis stock market crash. “The cannabis stock market crash exposed some shady dealings and back door deals in the marijuana space, and we just hope to be a voice of honesty and integrity in a niche that is having a hard time gaining legitimacy in the public’s eye, and for good reason.
“With any new industry, greed and dishonesty took over in many back alleyways of the early industry as people tried to make a quick buck at shareholder or investor expense. We use our text and video platforms at Cannabis.net to expose some of those characters, bring a laugh to a few faces, and always try to give the reader something to think about or ponder as they finish reading our articles,” said Dalton.
L.A. Cannabis News is in the middle of the hub of the U.S. marijuana industry. They cover local, hyper-local business news and national stores. Founder Brian Weiss is from a noted Angeleno family, giving him extensive contacts who provide the insider take.
“As the cannabis industry continues to grow globally on a daily basis there is a lot of news to cover and not always good news. I feel many publications are afraid to cover the people/companies that are not always doing right by the industry, but we have no problems doing that.” – Brian Weiss, Cofounder & CEO, L.A. Cannabis News.
Their goal is to ultimately cover all local markets where cannabis is legal or becoming legal around the world under CN Media which stands for CannaNation.
It seems the wild wild west of the marijuana industry has at least three good folks who watch out for the public’s best interest.
As Dalton said, “This plant is doing so much good in the world and helping so many people, we want to highlight those facts and be a force pushing for its legalization and acceptance.”