04 January 2022 |

Cannabis For Programming

By Matthew O'Brien

Cannabis For Programming

Why software engineers love to consume cannabis when building products…

A once best kept secret of silicon valley?

Software engineers love to consume cannabis to enhance their ability to produce the code that powers the software applications we all use each day.

New data…

It’s long been known that consuming cannabis is a very effective means to enhance one’s creativity.

Recently, researchers at the University of Michigan wanted to understand how some of the most sought after talent in the world (software engineers) were incorporating cannabis into their work routine.

To answer this question, they asked 803 software engineers to detail how cannabis fits into their day to day workflow.

The results…

Of the 803 software engineers surveyed, 35% of the participants said they had consumed cannabis while working as it helps “promote creativity” and allows them to get into the “programming zone”.

The most common reported reasons for consuming cannabis were:

  • To make programming-related tasks more enjoyable (61%)
  • To think of more creative programming solutions (53%)
  • General wellness related reasons such pain and anxiety (30%)

Additionally, 91% of the participants said they support the legalization of cannabis for medical and adult-use purposes.

This is much higher than the national average of 68% in the United States.

Talent shortages…

One of the primary motivations of the study is that drug testing policies remain all too common for software engineers in the U.S.

“This prohibition of cannabis use in software engineering has contributed to a widely-reported hiring shortage for certain US government programming jobs,” the study says.

Looking forward…

In 2021, Amazon which is the 3rd most valuable company in the world updated its policies to allow Amazon employees to consume cannabis.

“In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use. However, given where state laws are moving across the U.S, we’ve changed course.

We will no longer include marijuana in our comprehensive drug screening program for any positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation, and will instead treat it the same as alcohol use.”

— Dave Clark, CEO, Worldwide Consumer @ Amazon

Why this matters… 

Amazon’s motive to make this move was clear, disqualifying people for consuming cannabis was a sure strategy to ensure they could not hire the people they need to continue to grow as a company.

In the case of software engineers consuming cannabis, it’s very likely we will see a wave of companies following Amazon’s lead such that they can maximize the likelihood of retaining and attracting talent to their organizations.

Lessons From Cannabis M&A

What we can learn from the cannabis M&A in 2021 for the year ahead…

One of the big themes in cannabis in 2021 was the consolidation of cannabis companies across North America.

In today’s edition we will be breaking down the lessons we can learn from the 5 largest cannabis acquisitions in 2021.

All figures are denominated in USD.

1) GW Pharmaceuticals: $7.2 billion

In February, Irish based Jazz Pharmaceuticals agreed to acquire U.K based GW Pharmaceuticals to make one of the largest medical cannabinoid companies in the world for a cool $7.2 billion.

This is the largest deal to date in cannabis.

The lesson? Medical cannabis is still a massive opportunity, and despite the fact that the adult-use market continues to command nearly all of the attention, we shouldn’t underestimate the size of the medical cannabis market.

2) Harvest Health: $2.1 billion

In May, Florida based Trulieve agreed to acquire Arizona-based Harvest Health & Recreation for $2.1 billion dollars.

The lesson? Large U.S cannabis companies will continue to pursue acquisitions as a means to expand into new markets as opposed to solely focusing on securing licenses in these states.

3) Redecan: $776 million

In June, Quebec based Hexo agreed to acquire Ontario based Redecan in a deal initially valued at $776 million, however, Hexo’s stock price has since declined by close to 90% in the time since.

The lesson? Large Canadian cannabis companies need to acquire smaller competitors to retain their market share, however, for the smaller cannabis companies the initial results suggest they are better off remaining independent.

4) Gage Cannabis: $545 million

In September, TerrAscend agreed to acquire Michigan based Gage cannabis in a deal valued at $545 million.

The lesson? Gage is the best example of a cannabis company leveraging the success of existing cannabis brands (Cookies) to stand out and ultimately succeed in markets these brands don’t have a presence in.

5) Supreme Cannabis: $346 million

In April, Canadian cannabis giant Canopy Growth announced its acquisition of Supreme Cannabis in a deal that initially valued Supreme at $346 million.

The lesson? Once again, large Canadian cannabis companies will continue to acquire smaller cannabis companies to retain market share, and it looks very likely we will continue to see this trend in 2022.

Decriminalizing Cannabis

Breaking down the data on the impact of decriminalizing cannabis…

Why was cannabis made illegal?

If you ask someone unfamiliar with the history of cannabis the most likely response is that consuming cannabis is dangerous, and this policy was adopted to protect the public’s health.

If you ask this same question to someone who is familiar with the history of cannabis they will inform you that this policy was put in place as a means to arrest members of very specific communities in America.

New data, old findings…

To understand the impact decriminalizing cannabis has on reducing the racial disparity for cannabis related arrests researchers at the University of California San Diego analyzed all of the available FBI data from 2000 — 2019.

The study was published in the academic journal Social Science & Medicine, with the data coming from 37 states.

Different communities…

The number of people arrested for cannabis possession declined over 70% among adults, and over 40% among youths after cannabis was decriminalized.

Additionally, the racial disparity among adults decreased by 17% arrest rates between black and white people.

“Cannabis decriminalization seemed to be particularly beneficial to blacks, who were suffering the most from the adverse consequences of criminal penalties.” — the study’s authors wrote.

Room for improvement…

Unfortunately, this reduction was limited to adults as this reduction in the racial disparity in arrests between black and white people for cannabis did not occur for minors living in America.

Why this matters…

Understanding the past is essential to create the right policies in the present to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself.

If every policy marker were to truly understand the history of cannabis, I can’t imagine any outcome that doesn’t result in a complete rewrite of our current laws to allow adults to access cannabis products.

We likely have a long way to go before reaching this point and it remains essential that we continue to examine & reexamine the data to understand how we can improve upon the current policies in place.