🍃 Pot's panic-buying pop

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

Corporate America mobilizes for the virus fight

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Hey Snackers,

You've probably heard about some terrible Zoom meeting gaffes recently, but one live video mistake is bringing joy to people's hearts: this Italian priest left Facebook AR filters on while live-streaming his mass.

The Dow enjoyed its best day since 1933, surging 11% on stimulus hopes. While the $2T stimulus deal is reportedly near the finish line, Congress hadn't locked it in by market close yesterday.

1. Project Apollo: Ford, GE, and 3M lead America’s corporate mobilization war on COVID-19

Corporate America puts on its war cape... In World War II, Ford produced B-24 bombers to help the war effort. Today we're fighting a very different battle against an invisible foe: COVID-19. Now, Ford and its corporate peers are stepping up to try and provide the "weapons" we need to virus-fight.

  • Doctors and nurses need to be healthy to treat and help sick people. To protect them, we need filtering masks and respirators — but there's a serious shortage.
  • To treat really sick people having trouble breathing, we need ventilators — but there's a more massive shortage of those. NY has just 7K of the 30K ventilators it expects needing to treat a surge in hospitalized patients.

Reducing the supply gap... American corporations are teaming up to help slash the shortage for respirators and ventilators:

  • 3M and Ford will produce a new Powered Air-Purifying Respirator to protect healthcare workers from the virus. They'll also boost production of 3M's current respirator product.
  • Fiat will produce up to 1M masks to donate to emergency personnel, while Ford is creating disposable respirators from 3D printers (could produce at least 1K/month once approved).
  • Ford is working with GE to boost production of GE Healthcare ventilators, while GM will team up with Ventec Life Systems to majorly increase ventilator production.
  • PS: Ford's calling this "Project Apollo", because the Apollo 13 mission had to build ventilators in a life-or-death emergency (kind similar to right now).

The Defense Production Act is the next step... The DPA gives the federal government power to force and incentivize businesses to produce goods required for national defense. The White House used the DPA for the 1st time during the COVID-19 pandemic yesterday, to get 60K testing kits. Despite corporate America's voluntary efforts, we might need a lot more DPA-usage to get the ventilators and respirators we need.


If it helps people stay glued to the couch... that's one way to fight the COVID-19 spread. North American weed producers are seeing a major sales boom. As lockdowns continue across the US and Canada, panicked pot buyers are stocking up on their brownies, gummies, and smokeable weed products in particular. All this panic even though...

  • Cannabis stores have been listed as "essential services" (not mandated to close) in over 12 states. Others that can't remain open are shifting to delivery/pickup.
  • On Monday, the Mayor of Denver ordered all recreational weed stores to close — then he reversed the ban just a few hours later on widespread outrage.

Hitting new highs, after years of disappointment... Since recreational weed was legalized in parts of the US and Canada, sales slowed. Demand was over-hyped and producers ended up over-producing: shares of Canadian cannabis giants Aurora Cannabis, Tilray, and Canopy each started 2020 down ~60% from their 2018 highs. But now...

  • +50% = How much recreational weed sales across the key markets of California, Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska were up last week.
  • +150% = Spike in weed sales in the SF Bay Area after the "stay-at-home" order was issued (compared to same time last year).
  • +100% = How much online cannabis sales on Canada's gov-run Ontario Cannabis Store jumped in only 2 weeks.
  • One guy even purchased enough weed for 9.5 years of daily joint-smoking.

This probably won't change long-term weed demand... The surge in sales is giving pot stocks a boost — in the last 5 days, Canopy is up 35% and Tilray is up 43% (though both are still down over 70% from a year ago). Still, the bump in sales will likely dwindle when things get back to normal. And if people have a lot hoarded, it may actually hurt cannabis companies more in the long-run (they'll lose out on future sales).

What else we’re Snackin’
  • Snacky: Snack giant Mondelez (maker of Oreo and Ritz) will hire 1K workers to meet increased snacking demand from virus lockdowns.
  • Postpound: The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be postponed likely to 2021, according to Olympic Committee member Dick Pound.
  • InstaDistance: Instagram launches a Co-Watching feature so you can scroll its feed together with friends during a video chat (and feel less lonely).
  • Cola: Coca-Cola will suspend its production in India, as the country orders a complete lockdown for its 1.3B people.
  • RT: Twitter warns about its profits as reduced coronavirus spending cuts into its ad sales.
Snacks Daily Podcast

PSA to everyone thinking of launching a cat startup: the name "Cat Person" is now taken.

Harry’s Labs (the one behind Harry's Razors) just launched a new, not-at-all shaving related startup... for your cat. It's transitioning the Direct-to-Consumer play from a biz model to a launch strategy:

  • Launch online-only to build brand loyalty.
  • Then expand to big retail like Target and Walmart (as quickly as possible).

Tune into our 15-minute daily pod right meow to learn more.


Disclosure: Authors of this Snacks own shares of Twitter

ID: 1129750

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