The Money Map folks have decided that it’s time to go “all in” on cannabis, and for them that means starting a new investment research business that they call the National Institute for Cannabis Investors, and selling memberships in that group by teasing their favorite “special reports” on some appealing marijuana stocks that they’ll give you once your credit card payment goes through.
It’s not a terribly expensive membership, as these things go, so we should consider this to be their “entry level” deal — their real goal, I imagine, is to build up their list of people who are interested in pot stocks so they can sell a “bigger, better” super-premium service next time around… but that’s just how the newsletter marketing business works, “entry level” $39 or $79 subscriptions that get funneled into $2,000 or $4,999 subscriptions where the real profits are. Nothing different here, except that instead of selling Dr. Kent Moors oil stocks or Ernie Tremblays biotech ideas, they’re selling someone’s cannabis picks.
And whose are they? Well, Michael Robinson and Ernie Tremblay are both on the “advisory board” of this group, and I would assume they’ll headline the stock selection since they’re both newsletter pundits with Money Map already (and have both written about marijuana plenty in the past), but the name they’re using most aggressively to sell the service is John Boehner, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives who famously changed tack on marijuana after leaving office and now favors legalization (and, not coincidentally, works for a marijuana investment fund called Acreage Holdings) — along with Danny Brody, who is an “industry representative” on the board (he runs Investor Relations for The Green Organic Dutchman and had a similar role at Emblem, both fairly large Canadian cannabis companies).
The “Cannabis Summit” is mostly John Boehner, Mike Ward and Danny Brody talking up the huge potential of cannabis in general, but they do also flog four “special reports” on particular companies that they think will be good investments… so that’s what I was interested in, the teases and hints about those four companies. I’ll skip over the big picture stuff about removing Marijuana from the DEA’s Schedule 1, changing tax laws, opening up banking to pot companies, pushing more legalization, etc, but if you want to see all that chatter you can check out the transcript of the “Summit” here.
For us, we’re interested in stocks — so let’s see if we can name the ones they’re teasing, shall we?
They open this part of the “summit” by saying that…
“… we’re also going to examine the three cannabis investment opportunities our viewers should consider immediately….
“The next generation of billion-dollar cannabis companies are ripe for the picking.”
And then the clues for our first stock:
“SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: We believe we’ve got somebody who is ready to capture a big piece of the $1.1 trillion pharmaceutical industry.
“Cannabis is just starting to break into this market.
“The FDA approving GW Pharmaceutical’s epilepsy treatment was only a sign of things to come.
“Cannabis drugs for epilepsy could be a $5 billion opportunity….
“We believe the company we’re recommending has an even better treatment.
“And it’s not just for epilepsy….
“The guys we’re looking at were one of the first to prove CBD could be used to stop epileptic seizures.
“Now, if you’re taking cannabis purely for medical reasons, you are going to want something with as little THC as possible – but the purest dose of CBD you can get.”
THC is the psychoactive stuff, the fun part of marijuana — CBD is, many folks believe, the potential health-altering stuff, and the stuff that people seem to be a lot more comfortable giving to their children. And you’ve probably seen hemp or CBD supplements, for sale in health food stores or online, so you know it’s not nearly as controlled as the stuff that gives you a high (even if a lot of that stuff in health food stores is in a bit of a grey area and might technically be illegal, more on that in a moment).
“The firm we’re targeting has created:
- 12 liquid versions of their CBD treatment at different strengths.
- Four pill-based products.
- Four topical creams and lotions.
- They even have two different CBD treatments for dogs.
“And here’s an enormous competitive advantage.
“You need a prescription for GW’s drug.Are you getting our free Daily Update
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“All of our firm’s products are available over the counter.”
And also a lot cheaper than prescription drugs, we’re told, at $99 a month. We get a bit more talk about how CBD oil and/or marijuana are also important to helping fight the opioid epidemic, both because they can work on pain and because they’re helpful in addiction treatment, and that they also have a huge potential market in non-prescription sleep aids that don’t have the side effects of Ambien and other sleeping pills.
“… the firm we’ve identified is set to capture the lion’s share of this market.
“I think we should stress again that they can sell their products over-the-counter, without a prescription.
“They’re already on the shelves at 2,700 retail stores across the country.
“And year-over-year, their revenue has jumped 172%.
“But there is a great deal of room for growth still.
“We’ve learned they’ve been talking to Target.”
Other clues? They went public recently, with an IPO “a couple months ago” … and that’s about it. They call the “special report” on this one “Prescription-Free CBD:
The Firm Set to Disrupt the $1.1 Trillion Pharmaceutical Industry.” Ready?
The Thinkolator was a little slow to start up this morning, with a bit of frost on the dust ruffle, but a few sharp pulls got us going… and a few shovels full of those clues got our answer, hot and fresh: This is Charlotte’s Web Holdings (CWEB.CX on the CSE in Canada, CWBHF OTC in the US), a Colorado maker of CBD oil and similar extract products that was founded by the Stanley brothers a few years ago.
The Charlotte name is an important part of their branding, but she’s also a real person — they have lots of background info on their website, which is very branding-focused, including the back story of how the Stanley Brothers developed this low-THC strain of cannabis that became widely used in alternative remedies. Charlotte Figi was a girl who was treated for her Dravet syndrome using this strain, apparently, and saw her seizures improve dramatically, and her story was a high-profile part of the legalization of medical marijuana starting about five years ago (she was in a CNN documentary). Charlotte’s Web is both the name of the company now, and the name of the cannabis strain that was developed to be high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). There may well be other strains that are similar now, I have no idea, but there’s certainly a lot of marketing now behind this Charlotte’s Web product.
And it’s pretty impressive, particularly for those of us who think that marketing and branding will be the most important thing to watch for the next several years of “normalization” of marijuana and cannabis in the US (and Canada, though Canada is obviously a few jumps ahead of us with full recreational legalization). They do say they have their hemp extract oil product in 2,700 stores now, with lots more distribution planned, and their products were briefly in Target stores before Target was contacted by the DEA and stopped selling them last year… which is probably the largest risk here, that their hemp extract oil is in a legal and regulatory grey area — they’d like to market it as a dietary supplement, which means they can sell it almost anywhere as long as they don’t make specific medical claims, but there seems to be some pushback that this should be part of the marijuana legalization/distribution industry, which would add a lot more friction to the sales process.