Would Bruce Linton Go Back to Canopy Growth if They Wanted Him Back?

Would Bruce Linton Go Back to Canopy Growth if They Wanted Him Back?

bruce linton back at canopy growth

Canopy Growth stock has taken a pounding since Bruce left; would you go back now?

Bruce Linton was fired from Canopy Growth and since then the entire cannabis sector has taken a nosedive with some cannabis stocks down over 70% from their previous highs.  Did Bruce Linton’s firing begin the recession in cannabis stocks? I got to ask him this as well as if he would take the phone call from Canopy Growth to come back and be CEO. 

Those that follow Cannabis.net will remember this viral story we put out, “Bruce Linton Built a Cannabis Empire and Then Made One Mistake”.  The premise of the story was that Bruce actually did everything right after receiving $ 5.2 billion from Constellation Brands, he went out and bought a ton of assets at 30% to 40% off since the other G7 countries could not bid on any cannabis-based assets or businesses.  The article argued that his biggest mistake was that since he is used to being and uber-entrepreneur, he did not communicate his plan well to the public of not making money for a long time but building a cannabis empire that could last 10 or 20 years.  Entrepreneurs are terrible at communication since they have to wear all the hats of the company and once and find it easier to “just roll up my sleeves and do it myself”.

I got to ask Bruce about the article and his feelings about it in Jamaica at CanEx in the article titled, “Does Bruce Linton Wish He Was Still CEO of Canopy Growth?”.  Bruce is not only very bright but also super honest and answered yes.  You can watch the interview in the story link above.  He explained about how Canopy was such a special time and space, with the right people, that he missed it.

This lead to our latest interview which begs the question, if Canopy stock is down over 60% since you left, would you consider going back if Constellation Brands or the board of Canopy Growth called and said, “We made a big mistake, will you come back?”

Here is the interview and transcript of his answer.  (Hint: He said YES)

Curt:
There we go.

Jimmy Young:
That was a little fun we had down at New England Cannabis Convention in Portland, Maine. Hi everybody. Welcome back to Weed Talk Live. I’m Jimmy Young in the cohost chair.

Curt:
I am Curt from Cannabis.net in the other chair.

Jimmy Young:
And we also still have Tito Jackson with us-

Curt:
Hanging out.

Jimmy Young:
… from Verdant Medical and former Boston City councilor, and he was so entertaining, there was just no way I was going to ask him to leave, and I appreciate you hanging out with us, Tito.

Tito Jackson:
I appreciate being here.

Jimmy Young:
And Curt, I appreciate the fact that you do have a relationship with this guy, Bruce Linton, who was so kind to sit down with me, and he also kept a straight face when I put it on my Bob Marley.

Curt:
Put it on again.

Jimmy Young:
I got it again. I got it again.

Curt:
He’s putting on the rastas, Bruce. He’s put on the rastas.

Jimmy Young:
But I do believe that Bruce is on the phone with us. So Curt, you can take it away as I go into my rasta mode here.

Curt:
Bruce, are you there? Can you hear us?

Bruce Linton:
I can hear you guys. I’m just being quiet because I’m afraid.

Curt:
Yeah, it’s a rowdy show tonight, I got to tell you. So I have to lead off right now. You left Canopy Growth. As you said, “No, I was fired.” The entire cannabis stock market crashed. Did you cause that?

Bruce Linton:
Well, I didn’t fire myself, so I don’t think so.

Curt:
But it was your leaving Canopy Growth that seems to have set the entire industry into a lack of confidence.

Bruce Linton:
Well, but let’s remember, who owns the stocks? Retail investors. Retail investors want to have confidence. They want to make sure the headlines have some positive stuff, so even today when I saw a lot of the Canadian stocks go up and stocks generally in the sector, why? Media was all over the fact it’s the first anniversary of Canada regulating it so there’s something brighter coming in the new year and retail said, “Hey, I forgot about that. I want to buy some stock again.” They don’t like when headlines say a person who we know fired, or companies that are supposed to be following rules cheat. That makes them sell stock.

Curt:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Which has happened in Canada. Now, I asked you in Jamaica on a viral video that millions have seen, “Would you still want to be the Canopy Growth CEO?” And you had kind of said yes. It was a moment in time with great people, with great energy. If Mr. Sands at Constellation called you up or left a message with Olivia and said, “Bruce, I made a terrible mistake. Please have him call me,” without knowing anything about renumeration or what it’s about, would you call them back and listen?

Jimmy Young:
Great question.

Bruce Linton:
Oh, for sure. This is something where for six years, you place every thought and energy and as much focus as you can. So these are not things where you just … It’s not a post-it note experience. This is a biography of what you did with your life for six years.

Curt:
We have some streamers and some listeners. Just give everybody … I think it’s four projects that you’ve officially announced, maybe five now. Give us a quick rundown of the five things now that you’re involved with post Canopy.

Bruce Linton:
Yeah, so it’s getting stretched out a little bit more geographically and sort of topically, so that’s the furthest away. Cannabis 4.0 I think is when cannabis becomes a more curative agent rather than a sort of management agent, and so I’m in the midst of setting up a venture capital pool based from a structural perspective in Luxembourg operated out of Paris with a bunch of folks that are from ag, chemical, PhD researcher types, so that’ll have … target’s 100 million euros and it’s going to look at really sort of advanced IP-driven stuff.

Bruce Linton:
And then when you come down a layer from there, the Better Choice Dog Food Company … sounds kind of like dog food, but it really is a tie-in to people who care most about their animals. We have a good revenue model there already, and what we’re doing is bringing in research so that we can actually give dosage-driven, really results-oriented care products for people who care about their dogs and then we’ll extend to other mammals with four legs. You move a little bit sideways from there and you get into what’s called the [inaudible 00:04:15] and it’s essentially how do we take the potential things under prohibition that have been called hallucinogenics, put them into clinical trials, as necessary amend the molecule set so they can become FDA regulated, society benefiting clinical products, not party products.

Bruce Linton:
So that’s a pretty big topic. Then as you get a little kind of more near term, in Michigan, they’re going to transition from single purpose, two purpose state in 2020 and so I’m involved quite actively with a thing called gauge. Gauge also looks after cookies for the state. I have a brand house called Slang and it’s a good investment because I think you’ll pick them up across all US states that are active. They do really well in the tough states, so they’re strong in places like Oregon and Colorado. And then the final one is that DNA genetics, which is more of the regional sort of breeder guys that moved to do that work over in the Netherlands and have come back to California. I think they’re [inaudible 00:05:18] by now.

Jimmy Young:
Bruce, this is Jimmy Young. First of all, thank you so much for joining us and also sitting down with me when we were down in Jamaica. It was very, very enjoyable and I can’t believe you kept a straight face when I put on my little hat and just in your honor, I put it back on for the show. I don’t know if you heard the news out of Massachusetts today, but Curaleaf received its final approval from Massachusetts, the Cannabis Commission, to open their first recreational marijuana store in the state. I want to ask you about as you look forward into your crystal ball, as the cannabis industry expands, not just out of the state, but internationally, you’ve got three products, you’ve got a hemp product, you’ve got CBD, and you’ve got our favorite MJ product, let’s just say. Of those three, is the hemp and CBD market going to be three, four, five times bigger than the MJ market? What’s your read on that?

Bruce Linton:
I think the way people are tackling now it isn’t, but I think if they start thinking about, “How do I get whole plant value?” You know, how do I actually get into the business that’s not just CBD, but CBD is one of three or four products. The disruptive nature of the plant in terms of how it could disrupt cotton, how it could become part of automotive production, how it can become a very actively available nutrient. All these things I think could make hemp a gigantic crop. Especially if you’re sort of saying like, “Well, can we see the protein tendency to drive dairy milk production?” Would that be a thing we could do? Because that could be quite disruptive. But I’m not hearing enough of that conversation. I’m hearing everybody should have like, 10,000 milligrams of CBD a day because that’s what we’re going to produce. I don’t think that’s a great plan.

Bruce Linton:
As far as the MJ part, I think it’s way bigger than people expect. But we got to start turning it into … I’ll call it cohort to care. So if you said, “Well, what would Japan adopt?” Japan has a lot of geriatric people and they care quite a bit about them. If we actually started to have evidence-based indications that you have less diminished cognitive function if you had a combination of cannabinoid products that actually help people be old elegantly, I think that’s an enormous market that is so underserved and underrepresented in the numbers people calculate. It might be the basis upon a place like a Japan adopting cannabis. So really, at the end of the day, I think it’s more about the imagination of the people curating the products than it is the specific plants they originate from.

Curt:
Bruce, I’d be remiss without mentioning it’s the one year anniversary, as you mentioned earlier, with the stocks going up. Looking back one year now, not counting you leaving Canopy, what did you get right in the last 12 months and what did Canada get right and what did they get wrong looking back?

Bruce Linton:
I think what they got right was to keep it simple out of the gate, essentially extend basically the medical products into the recreational market. Think of that like driving a car in the first year in first gear, and now what’s happening is the second year, they’re going to make a little bit more and quite diverse products, so it’s going to go a little faster. But they’re already going to have laid down all the stores and many of the stores, there’s more coming, they’re going to have laid down the tax structures, they’re going to lay down roadside enforcement and things like that. So I think they got that right.

Bruce Linton:
What they probably didn’t get right was it could have been more bold on packaging. They could have been more enforcement, in terms of getting the provinces or the states to get the stores up and running so there’s a more uniform platform. But really, in the first year, any wrinkle they came to, they ironed out pretty quickly. To me it feels like it’s time to shift to second gear. But at no point in time during the first year did anybody contemplate that they should take it out of gear and stop.

Curt:
Gotcha. We had a group, the pro-pot … Vote Pro Pot guys on earlier from DC and you had done an interview with Kevin at Acreage when your deal was announced with them. You were kind of on the 18 month to 24 month you thought the federal law would change. That’s why the Canopy/Acreage deal was kind of announced. Where are you at that now in the US? What’s your gut feeling or what do you think? Where are you putting your chip on US federal legalization?

Bruce Linton:
The key is to remember we don’t … that deal doesn’t rely on federal legalization. It’s federally permissible, which I think depending on how they would do states’ rights would be sufficient. So I think states’ rights, as an enactment of a … it’s kind of a non-decision that gives you a waiver as a federal politician. We now agree with whatever you agree with. That, I think, is still going to be [inaudible 00:10:09] 2020.

Tito Jackson:
I absolutely agree. As a former elected official and someone who voted on how much the taxes were going to be, on a states’ rights level, most states are actually going to want to be able to tax it at the wholesale level, the processing level, as well as the retail level. Bruce, this is Tito Jackson and I have followed you, I’m a new CEO. I was a former Boston City councilor and also ran for mayor. I did that without being under the influence of anything. But I guess my question would be for a small guy who’s starting out, what’s your advice to a new CEO who is seeking to break into this industry and to scale their company?

Bruce Linton:
Well, your job is to be in charge, which doesn’t mean your job is to listen to everybody and do what they ask you to do. Doesn’t matter if it’s the board or investors, because if they knew what they wanted done, they would be the CEO. So I don’t know how old you are, but there’s a benefit of getting older. At some point in time, you spend quite a bit of time listening and more time listening to yourself. It’s better to get fired for having implemented a plan that failed that was yours than to get fired for implementing a plan that wasn’t yours.

Curt:
Well, you speak from experience so that that’s true.

Tito Jackson:
That’s what’s up.

Bruce Linton:
Yeah, but you know, it’s at the end of the day, what you want to be able to do is reflect upon what you implemented and sleep at night knowing that you actually thought it through and it was your idea. I’m not saying you’re pigheaded, but you have to listen and then implement. I would say what I learned through a few cycles of starting businesses and being CEO is I probably spent 15 or … 10, 15 years taking a lot of inputs and thinking about how should I incorporate those versus do I want to? The effect is sometimes if you spend too much time incorporating other people’s idea, what you create is the Australian beauty called the Platypus. Doesn’t look like anything you comprehend, so get fired for doing your own plan.

Jimmy Young:
That’s a great piece of advice.

Curt:
The phone lines are lit up with Platypus supporters.

Jimmy Young:
That’s a great, great piece of advice. Bruce, is a CEO more like a coach on a sports team where he’s trying to put his staff in positions to succeed and almost be self aware of their own weaknesses and stay out of the way?

Bruce Linton:
Yeah. Well, I guess it depends on the person. I think I would distinguish more between, there’s a material difference between leadership and management and what you have to determine is what are you good at? Because leadership and management aren’t necessarily similar. I’m not particularly great at management, but I think I’m pretty good at leadership. So you need to create an organization that reflects what you are and what you aren’t, and then be quite comfortable. People always say, “Hire people better than you.” Well, I think that’s kind of a weird thing to say. I would hire people who are better at things than I am, but if they are better at the core function I do than me, than I should fire myself and get out of the way.

Jimmy Young:
That is awesome.

Curt:
Yep.

Jimmy Young:
Your reputation proceeds you, Bruce, I could listen to you for hours and hours and hours and I so appreciate the fact that you take time to hang out with Curt Dalton despite his ability to book guests and then they disappear and then they come back and then they blow us all away. So again, thank you so much.

Curt:
Bruce, was it awkward?

Bruce Linton:
Curt, I did wear my new shirt to the gym on Saturday.

Curt:
No picture!

Bruce Linton:
I apologize for no picture.

Curt:
I have the shirt on right now on camera, buddy.

Bruce Linton:
I’ll get that this Saturday. I do have people thinking I’m pushing the boundaries on good taste as far as cannabis shirts going out.

Curt:
Oh no, I’ve seen that Tweed one. Don’t worry, you’re safe.

Tito Jackson:
I need to get him a Tito shirt. And also I need one of those in double XL because I know Bruce’s is not a double XL like mine.

Curt:
No, no.

Jimmy Young:
That’s right. And Bruce, I know you liked the Legal Seafood shirt, too and I’ve already put in a request as a gift.

Bruce Linton:
I loved that. That was a classic.

Jimmy Young:
It’s coming your way in the mail. Just don’t put me on a deadline or anything, but we’ll take care of that for you, too. Thank you so much again for joining us, Bruce.

Curt:
Thanks, Bruce.

Tito Jackson:
Thanks so much, Bruce.

Bruce Linton:
Have a good night, bye.

Jimmy Young:
Wow. I’ll tell you what.

Tito Jackson:
That’s awesome.

Jimmy Young:
Curt, you are 100% right. He’s the real deal.

Curt:
Brilliant, brilliant. You know, there’s a funny story that I think I’ve told at one of the shows where we talked about doing a podcast and I said, “Well, I’d have to call my solo one Third Smartest Guy in the Room because I thought I was pretty smart until I bet someone like Bruce Linton and that, I mean, you just listened, I [inaudible 00:14:55] this is ridiculous, how smart he is.

Tito Jackson:
No. So, and for me, that’s awesome, to be able to actually have direct contact with someone who has run a multibillion dollar company and is also really at the forefront of the industry. And actually when you listen to all of the things that he’s touching in this space, it really makes you think about how vast the cannabis industry as a whole is. Some of the stuff he’s talking about is ancillary products, but a lot of the things around how do we actually do the science part of this, which I come from … I did pharmaceutical sales, I worked for Johnson & Johnson, worked for Eli Lilly and … What? Okay, okay.

Curt:
Big pharma guy, he’s coming out!

Tito Jackson:
I do have to let John know that. I won’t tell y’all what products I [crosstalk 00:15:40]

Curt:
Big pharma to cannabis [inaudible 00:15:41].

Tito Jackson:
But you know, this issue of dosing is a really huge issue in our space, right?

Jimmy Young:
[crosstalk 00:15:48]

Curt:
[inaudible 00:15:48] conversation.

Tito Jackson:
So the other component is how do we use some of the technologies, because understand, when you actually … The technology connected to quote unquote “Oxycontin”, right? Oxycontin is actually the same thing as Percocet, but what they’re actually selling there is the content, which is the continuous release system, right? Which is actually sadly what got a lot of folks hooked.

Jimmy Young:
Hooked on it.

Tito Jackson:
Because there is what they refer to as a dose dump, in the first 45 minutes you get 40% of the dose because the product was originally set up for people to come out of a hospital. So we need to know that context. But the question is transdermal patches, potentially, obviously the tinctures, but how do we get this issue of dosing right? I think there’s a lot that we can think of in this space.

Jimmy Young:
You know, Dr. Uma calls that titration. Right? I give her credit for that, because I’ve learned quite a bit from not just her but from other people like yourself, Tito, from Bruce Linton, I mean, I’ve gotten such an education over the first 18, 20 months of this.

Curt:
Curt Dalton. The legends, legends!

Jimmy Young:
Yeah, I’ve learned quite a bit from you, too.

Tito Jackson:
I learned from Curt.

Curt:
Yeah?

Jimmy Young:
Absolutely.

Tito Jackson:
That’s my [inaudible 00:16:57]. Okay. [crosstalk 00:16:59]

Jimmy Young:
There’s another guy that we’ve talked about briefly here that we learned a little bit about and it has to do with CBD and the company CBD Medic. The CEO was Perry Antelman. I got a chance to sit down with him in Jamaica and I learned something about Rob Gronkowski who is his endorser. So we’d like to take a look at that now-

Tito Jackson:
Awesome.

Jimmy Young:
… on the show.

Jimmy Young:
Okay. Will he come back this year? You know, there was all sorts of rumors just because he retired. He wants to get his body healed. That was the whole point of the retirement announcement in the off season. We all get this if you follow the Patriots, everybody wants to know is he going to come back? What’s your feeling, Perry?

Perry Antelman:
Okay, so I’m going quote Rob. Okay? I’m not going to put any words in my own … Okay. So first of all, and he’s even mentioned, “Oh, wait till week 14,” right? He’s been saying that. Then even actually when we were traveling around Israel last week and he was saying, “Well, I’m feeling …”

Jimmy Young:
[inaudible 00:17:54] Rob Gronkowski in the promised land. You got to hang with him in the promised land, right?

Perry Antelman:
Six amazing, incredible days and we’ll have footage coming out with that soon.

Jimmy Young:
That’s great.

Perry Antelman:
It was amazing. Trip of a lifetime.

Jimmy Young:
Love it.

Perry Antelman:
It was really, really, really incredible.

Jimmy Young:
So is he coming back? What’s the deal?

Perry Antelman:
So when he was even joking around, he’s saying, “This is working so good. Maybe it’s now week eight!” He was moving it up. Look, first of all, let’s talk about legalities here. Okay? He is officially banned from coming back to the NFL because he’s endorsing and he’s working with a CBD company.

Jimmy Young:
Now, that’s an interesting story. I don’t think I’ve heard that. Very good. I love getting a little exclusive stuff. Okay.

Perry Antelman:
Yes. So if you endorse and a company that’s alcohol, tobacco, or now CBD, even though CBD isn’t written, by the way, in the rule book of the NFL, it’s cannabis, okay. It’s marijuana. But because that still is a component and it’s not fully, everybody understand …

Jimmy Young:
Well, 10 years ago when they wrote that, they didn’t have as much knowledge as they have now.

Perry Antelman:
No question, no question. That’s why this is going to be reviewed and most likely, this will be passed. Again, they’re all about helping the health and pain of their …

Curt:
Did you just break news? Is this going to be on the news tomorrow?

Perry Antelman:
… of the athletes.

Jimmy Young:
Was it news breaking? No, because he had already admitted on radio earlier in Boston this week that he was not coming back. But now you have an idea of why he can’t or doesn’t want or doesn’t want to deal with it.

Curt:
I didn’t hear that when they said he hasn’t filed his retirement papers. I didn’t hear anything about the CBD endorsement.

Jimmy Young:
Yes, they had.

Tito Jackson:
[crosstalk 00:19:25]

Jimmy Young:
That was definitely in the-

Tito Jackson:
So the game prep for the … Well, Curt and Jimmy, that’s ridiculous.

Jimmy Young:
Oh, of course it is.

Tito Jackson:
That you have a sport that has issues like CTE … I played football, it’ll rain today, my right knee and my left shoulder hurts. Right? You have all of these things …

Jimmy Young:
CBD Medic. [crosstalk 00:19:42]

Tito Jackson:
No, no, no, understand.

Jimmy Young:
CBD Medic.

Tito Jackson:
I got, I actually, I do need to go and get some CBD Medic because I actually … They gave me some little sample packets. That stuff works.

Curt:
Oh, it’s good.

Jimmy Young:
I know it does.

Curt:
It does.

Jimmy Young:
It does. It’s amazing. It is amazing. But I’m also getting the old wrap-up, so I want to thank my producer Dan French. I want to thank Mike [Zotos 00:20:02].

Tito Jackson:
My man Dan.

Jimmy Young:
Tito Jackson for hanging out with us.

Curt:
[crosstalk 00:20:05] Yep.

Jimmy Young:
And of course, Curt Dalton from Cannabis.net

Tito Jackson:
Curt boogie, and Jimmy.

Jimmy Young:
For my entire executive committee and everybody here at Pro Cannabis Media, thanks for watching and-

Speaker 6:
We are Pro Cannabis Media.

BRUCE LINTON, CANNABIS PIONEER, READ THESE…

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BRUCE LINTON FIRED AT CANOPY, WHY? READ THIS.

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