Insider Cannabis: Merida Capital raising $250 million — Civilized is relaunching — Top lawyers on M&A

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Welcome to Insider Cannabis, our weekly newsletter where we’re bringing you an inside look at the deals, trends, and personalities driving the multibillion-dollar global cannabis boom.

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Happy Friday,

I had an interesting chat with Cronos Chairman Michael Gorenstein and Gingko Bioworks CEO Jason Kelly about their new cannabinoid partnership.

I’m far from a Ph.D. — and my knowledge of biosynthesis is scant-to-nonexistent — but what struck me about the partnership is that we could be moving into a world where we don’t need actual marijuana plants to produce the active compounds known as cannabinoids.

The partnership will first focus on synthesizing CBG, a rare cannabinoid that’s thought to have benefits for sleep and pain relief. Regular old marijuana plants produce CBG in low quantities, so if you are a consumer company — or a pharmaceutical giant — and you want to mass produce CBG, you need to find cheaper ways to do it.

That’s where brewer’s yeast comes in. 

“You need to grow a big field of cannabis plants to get this vanishingly small amount of these key cannabinoids,” Kelly told me. “And we said: Why don’t we take that DNA code from the cannabis plant and move it over into an easier to grow organism like brewer’s yeast.”

From there, Kelly says you put in a tank, brew it up, “and instead of beer coming out, you get CBG.”

Expect to see more scientific developments and patents coming out of this space. And, if you’ve been paying attention to our reporting, you’d know that IP is a hot commodity for acquisitions. 

Other cannabis happenings from around the wide world: 

If you missed my chat with Sundial CEO Zachary George at last week’s Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, you can watch it here. I also spoke at the GCI Summit with a panel of excellent folks about the changing face of drug policy in the US and the collateral consequences of cannabis convictions.

New York Magazine asked mayoral candidates how much weed they smoke regularly in an Instagram video. It’s hilarious and worth a watch.

Sen. Bernie Sanders asked Politico’s cannabis policy reporter Natalie Fertig: “Are you stoned right now?” To which Fertig responded: “I am not stoned right now.” Listen to the exchange here.

Freelance cannabis writer and Insider contributor Andrew Ward released his new book, The Art of Marijuana Etiquette, this week. I’m super excited to get my hands on a copy, and you can get yours here. 

Let’s get to it. 

– Jeremy Berke (@jfberke) & Yeji (@jesse_yeji)

If you like what you read, share this newsletter with your colleagues, friends, boss, spouse, strangers on the internet, or whomever else would like a weekly dose of cannabis news. 

Here’s what we wrote about this week:

The CEO of hot cannabis firm Sundial shares how he capitalized on a wave of interest from Wall Street Bets to raise hundreds of millions of dollars and turn the company around

Sundial …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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