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This sorry debacle in south county Dublin should be a learning moment. We use cookies to personalise content, target and report on ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. For more information see our Cookie Policy. John Gibbons , Sophie Gibbons.

Environmental stewardship Their positions both reflect and amplify the political lacuna that engulfs almost every effort at meaningful environmental stewardship in Ireland. Topics: Climate change. More from The Irish Times Opinion. Sponsored First-time buyers' event puts Cork on the map with record number of new schemes. Time to make a bold budget statement.


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The Occupied Territories Bill. Down with plastic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people to stop vaping THC products as the death toll from a lung disease rose again with no sign of abating. The lawsuit alleges the state's congressional maps unfairly benefit Republicans, and aims to have them redrawn ahead of the elections and redistricting process. Shares of Alibaba and other Chinese companies plunged in a sudden move after reports the White House is considering ways to limit U.

MedMen is the best-known cannabis retailer in the United States. Yet, in what could be a warning for the American marijuana industry, it is racing to raise cash to cover its mounting losses. Financial statements released in February showed that MedMen risked running out of money within months unless it raised more money. The terms of the financing are onerous — MedMen must repay it at 6 percent over Libor and issue warrants — but the fresh cash will buy the company time. Its shares, which had fallen almost 60 percent since October, have risen slightly since the announcement.

Still, MedMen's struggles show the challenge that cannabis companies face in operating in states where high taxes and dispensary restrictions have driven up prices for legal marijuana. In California, MedMen's core market, highly regulated legal companies are struggling to compete for customers with illicit dealers who charge far less.

In fact, legalized dispensaries and regulators have begun to call for greater enforcement against the illegal market in California, raising the potential that legalization may actually lead to a new wave of cannabis-related arrests. Meanwhile, MedMen has had limited success in its efforts to attract new or infrequent users, raising questions about how big that market may be. With 16 stores at the end of , California-based MedMen has aggressively tried to market cannabis to new users.

Some dispensaries — the industry's term for stores — compete for existing marijuana users on price or product strength. But MedMen aims to become a national retail chain and brands itself as offering an upscale experience with stylish stores. To that end, the company recently released a two-minute ad called "The New Normal" — which conjures up the acronym for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws — to extoll legalized cannabis.

The ad, from the director Adam Spiegel — aka Spike Jonze — ends with a suburban couple carrying a distinctive red MedMen bag home. That money is already gone. That is four months of cash, based on how quickly it lost money last fall. In its most recent financial report, issued on Feb. To give itself more time, MedMen has sold off some properties, including dispensaries.

But that strategy has limits. MedMen has already sold much of its best real estate, and when it sells assets, the company further drives up its costs, because it must now pay rent to the new dispensary owners.

In a sign of just how tight the finances have become, MedMen can roll its first-year interest payments into the loan rather than paying cash. Asked by CNBC for comment, the company said, "Improving MedMen's financial profile and cash flow has been one of our top priorities, and we've already made significant improvements as we've implemented smarter spending initiatives. On Jan. Parker alleged it forced him out because of his concerns about spending and unprofessional behavior by its two top executives, Adam Bierman and Andrew Modlin.

Both showed "disdain for compliance with the law in general," as well as regulations covering cannabis companies, according to the lawsuit. It said Bierman regularly came to the office "high," and both tolerated cocaine use by employees.

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MedMen also engaged in schemes to keep its stock price up, Parker claimed. MedMen denies those allegations and calls the suit baseless. MedMen's problems also point to bigger issues in the legal cannabis industry — especially in California and Massachusetts, which have heavily regulated and high-cost markets. On Feb. Excise taxes are collected on sales of medical and recreational cannabis, meaning that overall legal sales actually dropped. One promise of legalization was that regulated cannabis would lure consumers away from illegal sales. But legalization has hardly dented California's huge illegal cannabis market.

The illicit trade includes everything from farms in the state's rural north to unregulated dispensaries that operate in plain sight to delivery services that bring marijuana to users' doors. The black market providers don't face regulatory, insurance, or tax expenses and can thus undercut prices at legal operators like MedMen.

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Tom Adams, managing director of industry analytics for BDS Analytics, which covers the cannabis industry, said high taxes and limits on legal dispensaries have damaged the California market. Taxes and regulators mean that legal marijuana can cost nearly double black-market prices, Adams said. Even worse for legalized operators, cannabis consumption is concentrated among a small group of heavy users, the 1-in-5 users who get high every day.

Because they use so much, they are price sensitive and appear happy to buy through black market suppliers. BDS does not comment on specific companies.

As a result, BDS estimates that the illicit market still provides about 80 percent of all California sales, and dispensaries only 20 percent. The problem is so severe the head of the state's cannabis regulatory commission is now calling for increased law enforcement activity against illegal suppliers. Some of the other states to legalize, like Colorado and Oregon, pursued a different strategy, liberally granting dispensary and farm licenses. In those states, retail legal prices have plunged, and dispensaries now account for about 60 to 70 percent of all sales.

But profit margins are tighter in those states.