Welcome to Four PM — a newsletter that provides cannabis industry news & insights from cannabis industry leaders.
In Today’s Issue 💬
→ Leafly Is Going Public.
→ California Cannabis In Mexico.
→ Building One Cannabis Brand.
Leafly’s Public Listing
A decade after Leafly was founded — the company is going public.
In March 2010, 3 friends recognized the need for a resource that could help them navigate the complex journey of purchasing the right cannabis products.
With this Scott Vickers, Brian Wansolich, and Cy Scott decided to build Leafly.
Less than 2 years later, Leafly was acquired by Privateer Holdings in a deal that made Brendan Kennedy (former CEO of Tilray) Leafly’s president.
During this time Leafly was receiving 180,000 website visitors each year with some 9,500 product reviews — without ever having to spend a dime on marketing.
In the time since Leafly has solidified its position as being one of the most popular online resources for cannabis consumers.
Today Leafly employs 164 people, and in May of this year, Leafly received a staggering 17.02 million visitors to their website — the highest number of any cannabis-specific site (as per Similar Web analytics).
Additionally, Leafly has developed a catalog of over 1.7 million cannabis products with over 1.3 million product reviews available to consumers.
Courtesy of this, Leafly generated $36 million USD in total revenue in 2020 and is currently on track to reach $46 million in 2021.
The Business Model…
Despite receiving more traffic than any other cannabis website, Leafly has room for improvements when it comes to the monetization of its platform.
Leafly generates the far majority of its revenue via listings — similar to Yelp.
4,600+ cannabis retail stores across North America are currently listed on Leafly — generating an average of $700 per customer each month.
In addition to helping consumers purchase the right cannabis products, Leafly has also expanded into becoming a marketplace.
Despite having very strong competition, $420 million USD worth of cannabis was sold through Leafly’s marketplace in the last year.
Like any startup, Leafly has no shortage of challenges.
Despite doubling the number of cannabis retail stores listed on Leafly in the last year, revenue only increased by 27%.
Leafly will face an ever-increasing level of competition in building a cannabis marketplace from both Dutchie & Weedmaps.
Dutchie secured a $1.7 billion dollar valuation in March and raised $200 million USD from one of the leading VCs — Tiger Global.
Additionally, Weedmaps went public earlier this year and is currently valued at well over $2 billion USD.
With this ever-increasing level of competition cannabis retailers now have a long list of choices available to them when determining which cannabis marketplaces they would like to list on.
Leafly is a very valuable cannabis digital media brand, however, the big question on my mind is can Leafly compete with Dutchie and Weedmaps?
With this transaction, Leafly will have access to a war-chest of capital which will allow them to aggressively expand into new markets, and with better monetization, there’s certainly room to grow.
California Grown Cannabis Is In High Demand
In Mexico, California grown cannabis is proving to be an extremely popular product from locals.
Mexico has long had the reputation for exporting large quantities of illegal drugs into America.
Today, however, these tides seem to be turning for the first time in history.
As per the Washington Post, the most sought-after cannabis being trafficked across the U.S vs Mexico border is cannabis coming from the United States.
Late last year, the Mexican Senate passed a bill that would legalize cannabis for adult-use purposes with a very comfortable margin of victory.
Fast forward over 8 months later, and Mexicans still can’t purchase legal cannabis products, a delay that has consequently created a very high demand for cannabis grown in California in Mexico.
According to one cannabis dealer in the region, some 60% of all the cannabis he sells in Mexico city is coming from California.
Just Like Celebrities ⭐
“It’s aspirational for many of my clients. They want to be seen smoking the best stuff, the stuff rappers brag about smoking.” said one dealer.
To capitalize on this opportunity, the people selling cannabis in Mexico place “IMPORTADO” in bold lettering on menus
Cookies is said to be some of the most popular of all the cannabis brands being trafficked into Mexico, with their products now available in most major Mexican cities for a 200% to 300% markup.
More Than Just Flower….
One of the primary advantages of having a legal cannabis industry is the ability for companies to invest in R&D to develop new cannabis products.
Cannabis has seen no shortage of improvements in the types of products being made available — many of which aren’t yet available in illicit markets.
As such, there is a high demand for cannabis vapes & edibles in Mexico, and without having the means to purchase these products — many consumers are turning to the illicit market.
How Much Cannabis?
The Mexican customs agency doesn’t publish all of the data regarding the quantity of cannabis being sized, however, we do have some info.
Earlier this month, agents confiscated some three pounds of cannabis: 10 cartridges and 14 vape pens, and in a separate case, they confiscated 619 cartridges of cannabis oil.
Looking Forward ⏩
Mexicans are patiently waiting for cannabis to be fully legalized in the region.
Cannabis is now decimalized in Mexico such that consumers can now grow their own cannabis.
That said, many of the 127 million people living in Mexico don’t have the means to cultivate their own cannabis plants.
I expect to see the adult-use cannabis market in Mexico taking off in 2022.
With this, we can expect to see a significant decline in the demand for U.S grown cannabis products, and additionally, I can't see it being very long until brands like Cookies make moves into Mexico.
Pure Farms Hits Another Home Run In Canada
The company is proving that Canadian cannabis companies can be profitable.
The Canadian cannabis market has a big problem.
Despite an ever-increasing level of consumer demand, producers continue to increase many multiples more cannabis than what is needed.
In fact, it’s estimated that Candian cannabis producers are producing well over 5x the quantity of cannabis that’s currently needed.
There’s no shortage of ambition in the Canadian cannabis industry today, however, much of this ambition hasn't materialized as many had hoped.
Many producers made promises that they would sell a gram of cannabis for very high price points.
In reality, without being able to produce the quality of cannabis consumers expect at these prices — these promises have since been revised.
As such, many Canadian cannabis producers have been forced to make very large cuts back in recent years.
More = Less
A majority of Canadian producers want to build a “portfolio” of brands.
For some such as Truss beverages, this strategy seems to work well, however, for others they might be better focusing on building just one brand.
Pure Sun Farms made the decision to focus on building one brand alone.
This focus is paying off for Pure Sunfarms who booked $3.2 million in net income in the last quarter.
For an LP of their size, this is a very unique approach to focus to have, however, it offers many advantages.
It is incredibly difficult to build a single cannabis brand, never mind a portfolio of cannabis brands.
By focusing all of its resources on this single brand — Pure Sunfarms has earned itself a great reputation across Canada.
They are viewed by many as being one of the leaders in producing high-quality cannabis for sale at price points consumers are willing to pay.
Pure Sun Farms is demonstrating that Canadian producers can produce both cannabis and profits.
As capital continues to flow into cannabis, Pure Sun Farms is showing itself to be a very valuable example of what success can look like.
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