News Fix: Carl’s Embraces 4/20; IPO Frenzy Hits Wall Street

Just in time for 4/20, Carl’s Jr. is jumping on the cannabis train.

The fast-food chain said it’s selling its new Rocky Mountain High: Cheeseburger Delight at one of its Denver locations today. The burger comes with a CBD-infused sauce.

Though the promotion is running for only a day, it’s not just a publicity stunt. The company is testing the product to see whether it belongs on its permanent menu.

“It is something that feels right for the brand,” Patty Trevino, senior vice president of brand marketing for Carl’s Jr., told CNN. “We are all about innovation.”

There you have it, folks. This is where we are today. We’re living in a time when a long-outlawed drug is gradually becoming legal… its potential medical benefits are just beginning to be discovered… and it’s slowly being integrated into more and more commercial products.

Could you imagine purchasing a burger with CBD sauce 50 years ago? 20? 10?

What about CBD oil for a sick child? Or a hemp-based drywall alternative?

This is an amazing time to be alive. And it’s not just because of the special sauce. (Though I am pretty hungry at this point.)

On to the News Fix…

Cannabis

Vape wholeslaer joins IPO rush: Zoom and Pinterest weren’t the only companies to go public Thursday. Greenlane Holdings, which supplies vapes and other cannabis-related hardware, debuted on the Nasdaq as well. Greenlane is one of the rare American cannabis companies that can be listed on American exchanges because it never touches the cannabis leaf. It supplies hardware and other material, which can be used in other sectors as well. Greenlane priced its IPO shares at $17 per share, which was above the initial range of $14 to $16 it was seeking (MarketWatch). It debuted at $29 and closed Thursday at $21.10.

Canopy Growth places big bet on U.S. legalization: Congress hasn’t legalized marijuana at the federal level yet. But when it does, Canopy Growth wants to be in position to enter (and dominate) the market right away. That’s why it has acquired the right to buy Acreage Holdings for $3.4 billion when marijuana is legalized at the federal level. Acreage is a large multistate cannabis operator. It currently does business in 20 states (CNBC).

Georgia legalizes sale of cannabis oil for medicinal use: Since 2015, it’s been legal for patients to use cannabis oil for medical treatment (as long it was prescribed by a doctor). But it has been illegal for people in Georgia to buy, sell or transport cannabis oil. Ridiculous, right? Georgia finally got around to fixing that problem this year. On Wednesday, Georgia’s governor signed into law legislation that allows Georgia residents to buy cannabis oil for medicinal reasons. The state also set up rules and regulations for growing medical marijuana. It will likely take at least a year before patients are able to buy state-approved medicinal cannabis oil. (Atlanta Journal Constitution).

Startups

Zoom IPO blasts off: It was money, money, money for Zoom’s investors on Thursday. The videoconferencing software company rocked its IPO on Thursday. Zoom priced its shares at $36 per share – above its initial $28 to $32 and $32 to $35 ranges. And it made its Nasdaq debut at $65 a share. It closed Thursday at $62 a share (up 72%) at a market cap of $15.9 billion (CNBC).

Zoom is actually profitable, which is a rarity for tech companies going public these days. And that helps explain why its share prices shot through the roof. Institutional investors who were able to invest in Zoom while it was private, or just before it went public, made a killing. Retail investors, however, who were able to invest in Zoom only after it went public won’t be seeing any of those big gains. (And frankly, that’s why we started Early Investing. We want to show how retail investors can invest in private companies and get the same sorts of returns investment banks and venture capital funds are getting on Zoom.)

Pinterest off to a good start as a public company: The popular social media company debuted at $23.75 per share on the NYSE. It had priced its IPO shares at $19 per share. It closed at $24.40 Thursday at a market cap of nearly $13 billion (CNBC).

More IPOs on the way: IPO fever isn’t ending with Zoom and Pinterest. In the last seven days, we’ve seen at least 14 more IPO filings (Nasdaq). Uber and Parsons were the two biggest companies that filed their paperwork.

Crypto

Coinbase adds crypto-to-crypto trading service: In the crypto universe, Coinbase is typically where people go to convert fiat (dollars, euros, yen, etc.) into crypto, and Binance is where people go to trade crypto (like bitcoin or ethereum) for other crypto (like litecoin or cardano). Coinbase is trying to change that now by building up its crypto-to-crypto trading services. The exchange is giving residents of 11 new countries access to crypto-to-crypto trading (Daily Hodl).

Bitcoin scavenger hunt off to an unusual start: So what happens when you challenge some of the brightest computer minds in the world to a bitcoin scavenger hunt? Apparently, the answer is they try to hack it. The way Satoshi’s Treasure is supposed to work is players are expected to collaborate to find private key fragments across the world. And there’s $1 million worth of bitcoin awaiting the winning team. But one player managed to hack the game and find the first three key fragments by himself. The Fix would like to say we’re surprised. But we’re not (TNW).

Lawyers racing to profit from blockchain technology: As the number of blockchain companies grows, so does demand for lawyers who understand the technology. Legal recruiters are struggling to keep up with the demand for blockchain-conversant attorneys. And blockchain tech has also created more demand for experts in privacy law (American Lawyer).

And The Fix knows quite well from personal experience just how few lawyers understand blockchain tech. It’s going to take more than recruitment to fix this problem. Tech-savvy lawyers are generally hard to find. Tech-savvy lawyers that understand privacy are even harder. Tech-savvy lawyers that understand privacy and intellectual property (IP) law are even more difficult to find. And tech-savvy lawyers that understand privacy and IP law and charge reasonable rates to startups are the absolute Holy Grail.

That’s your News Fix.

Have a great weekend.