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Aurora Cannabis Announces Fiscal 2021 Fourth Quarter Results

#1 Canadian LP in Global Medical Cannabis; Total Medical Cannabis Net Revenue Rose 9% Compared to Prior Year; Strong Adjusted Gross Margin before FVA of 68%
Business Transformation Plan on Track; Reiterates Annual Cost Savings.




  • #1 Canadian LP in Global Medical Cannabis; Total Medical Cannabis Net Revenue Rose 9% Compared to Prior Year; Strong Adjusted Gross Margin before FVA of 68%
  • Business Transformation Plan on Track; Reiterates Annual Cost Savings of $60 Million to $80 Million , Providing Clear Pathway to Adjusted EBITDA Profitability
  • Balance Sheet Remains Strong with $440.9 Million of Cash at June 30, 2021 ; Working Capital Improves by $404.3 Million Compared to Prior Year
  • Adjusted EBITDA Loss, Excluding Restructuring Costs, Narrows to $13.9 Million , a $17.6 Million Improvement Compared to Prior Year
  • Total Cannabis Net Revenue, Net of Provisions, of $54.8 Million Compared to $55.2 Million in the Prior Quarter, and $67.5 Million in the Year-Ago Period

 Aurora Cannabis Inc. (the “Company” or “Aurora”) (NASDAQ: ACB) (TSX: ACB), the Canadian company defining the future of cannabinoids worldwide, today announced its financial and operational results for the fourth quarter and full year fiscal 2021 ended June 30, 2021 .

“We are very pleased with our strategic and financial progress in growing our high-margin medical revenue, rationalizing expenses, strengthening our balance sheet, and reducing our cash burn during fiscal year 2021. Given ongoing challenges in the Canadian adult recreational market, our broad diversification across domestic medical, international medical, and adult recreational segments provides us with underlying strength, stability, and growth opportunities in an evolving industry for global cannabinoids. Additionally, our enviable leadership position as the #1 Canadian LP in global medical cannabis by revenue on a trailing twelve-month basis, supported by regulatory and compliance expertise, is a tailwind that we expect to enable us to ultimately expand into global adult recreational as medical regimes evolve” stated Miguel Martin , Chief Executive Officer of Aurora Cannabis.

“During the quarter, we delivered another strong yet steady performance in domestic medical, the largest federally regulated medical market globally, exceptional year-over-year growth in our high-margin international medical segment, where we remain the #2 Canadian LP by revenue on a trailing twelve-month basis, and quarterly sequential growth in adult recreational which included higher sales of premium cultivars. We are now delighted to announce a long-term supply agreement with Cantek in Israel that we expect to provide us with a steady stream of high-margin revenue that could also evolve into a larger partnership over time. We further believe our Canadian adult recreational segment is poised for recovery due to our product portfolio enhancements coupled with an acceleration of new store openings and rising consumer demand,” he continued.

“We have positioned ourselves for long-term success by delivering further improvement in our industry-leading Adjusted gross margin and substantially narrowing our Adjusted EBITDA loss compared to the year-ago period. With annual cost savings of approximately $60 to $80 million across selling, general and administrative (“SG&A”), production cost, facility and logistic expenses, we have a clear pathway to achieve Adjusted EBITDA profitability. Importantly, our considerable cash balance of $440.9 million , substantial improvement in working capital, and strong balance sheet support our organic growth and can be utilized for opportunistic M&A, particularly in the U.S,” he concluded.

Fourth Quarter 2021 Highlights
(Unless otherwise stated, comparisons are made between fiscal Q4 2021 and Q4 2020 results and are in Canadian dollars)

Medical cannabis:

  • Medical cannabis net revenue 1 was $35.0 million , a 9% increase from the prior year period. The increase was primarily attributable to continued growth in the international medical business, 88% over the prior year comparative period, as the Company continued to grow new, high margin medical markets.
  • Adjusted gross margin before fair value adjustments on medical cannabis net revenue 1 was 68% versus 64% in the prior year, as a result of overall reduction in production costs due to the closure of non-core facilities as part of our business transformation plan and higher sales coming from our international sales, which yield higher margins.

Consumer cannabis:

  • Consumer cannabis net revenue 1 was $19.5 million ( $20.2 million excluding provisions), a 45% decrease from $35.3 million ( $37.1 million excluding provisions) in the prior year. This was due primarily to a reduction in orders from Provinces in response to slower consumer demand, reflecting the impact of lockdown restrictions related to COVID-19. Sequentially, consumer cannabis net revenue increased 8% over the prior quarter mainly due to completion of the transition of our fixed sales force to Great North and a $2.5 million reduction in actual net returns, price adjustments and provisions as the company completed its product swap initiative to replace low quality product with higher potency product at the provinces.
  • Adjusted gross margin before fair value adjustments on consumer cannabis net revenue[1] was 31% vs 36% in the prior year period. This was primarily driven by an increase in cost of sales due to under-utilized capacity at Aurora Sky as a result of the scaling back production (expected to partially reverse in future quarters), offset by an increase in the consumer cannabis sales mix attributed to our core and premium brands, contributing to an increase in our average net selling price per gram of dried cannabis.


  • Adjusted gross margin before fair value adjustments on cannabis net revenue1 was 54% in Q4 2021 versus 49% in the prior year period and 44% in Q3 2021. The increase in Adjusted gross margin compared to Q4 2020 is due primarily to a shift in sales mix towards the medical market which commands higher average net selling prices and margins.
  • Adjusted EBITDA 1 loss improved to $19.3 million in Q4 2021 ( $13.9 million loss excluding restructuring charges) compared to the prior year Adjusted EBITDA loss 1 of $33.3 million ( $31.5 million loss excluding restructuring charges) primarily driven by the substantial decrease in SG&A and R&D expenses and an increase in gross margins.
  • Q4 2021 total cannabis net revenue 1 was $54.8 million , essentially flat sequentially, and a 19% decrease in over fiscal Q4 of the prior year.
  • Reflecting the shift in mix toward our medical businesses, the Q4 2021 average net selling price per gram of dried cannabis 1 increased to $5.11 per gram from $3.60 in Q4 2020 and $5.00 in Q3 2021. This excludes the impact of bulk wholesale of excess mid-potency cannabis flower at clear-out pricing.

Selling, General and Administrative (“SG&A”) :

  • SG&A, including Research and Development (“R&D”), was $44.8 million , excluding $5.2 million in severance and restructuring costs ( $49.9 million reported), down $19.1 million or 30% from the prior year as a result of our business transformation plan.

Operational Efficiency Plan, Balance Sheet Strength, & Working Capital Improvement

Aurora has identified cash savings of $60 million to $80 million . We expect to deliver $30 million to $40 million of annualized cash savings within the next year, and the remainder by the end of Q2 fiscal 2023.



These terms are non-GAAP measures, see “Non-GAAP Measures” below.

Approximately 60% of the savings are expected to be driven out of our network through asset consolidation, and operational and supply chain efficiencies. In fact, last week we announced the centralization of much of our Canadian manufacturing processes to our River facility in Bradford, Ontario and the resultant closure of our western Canada manufacturing facility. The remaining 40% of savings are intended to be sourced through SG&A a portion of those savings will be via insurance structures that are already partially executed.

These cash savings will be reflected in our P&L either as they occur for SG&A savings, or as inventory is drawn down for production-related savings.  These efficiencies are incremental to the approximately $300 million of total cost reductions achieved since the announcement of the Company’s business transformation plan in February 2020 .

Aurora materially improved its balance sheet during fiscal year 2021 through a number of purposeful actions including repaying the credit facility in full in June 2021 , which resulted in interest and principal repayment reductions of approximately $25 million annually. The Company views a strong balance sheet as critical to operating the business, executing its strategic plans, and pursuing growth opportunities in an unconstrained manner, including within the U.S.

At June 30, 2021 Aurora has a cash balance of approximately $440.9 million , comprised of $421.5 million of cash and cash equivalents and $19.4 million in restricted cash, no secured term debt, and access to US$1 billion of capital under its shelf prospectus.

The Company’s focus on realizing operational efficiencies and ability to manage cash has greatly improved operating cash flow; reducing the need for incremental capital. In Q4 2021, Aurora managed cash flow tightly using $7.8 million in cash to fund operations, including working capital investments and restructuring and severance payments of $5.1 million . Cash inflow from capital expenditures, net of $17.5 million disposals and government grant income, in Q4 2021 was $6.2 million versus $32.8 million of cash used in Q4 2020 and $12.2 million of cash used in Q3 2021. Cash used in operations and for capital expenditures are crucial metrics in Aurora’s drive toward generating sustainable positive free cash flow, and both have improved significantly over the past year. The Company’s ongoing business transformation, with the additional cost efficiency savings described earlier, is expected to move the operating cash flow metric in a positive direction over the coming quarters.

Fiscal Q4 2021 Cash Use

The main components of cash source and use in Q4 2021 were as follows:

($ thousands)

Q4 2021

Q4 2020 (4)

Q3 2021 (4)

Cash Flow

Cash, Opening




Cash used in operations including working




Capital expenditures, net of disposals and
government grant income




Debt and interest payments

($90,141) (3)



Cash use




Proceeds raised from sale of marketable
securities and investments in associates




Proceeds raised through debt

Proceeds raised through equity financing



$172,153 (1)

Cash raised




Cash, Ending



$520,238 (2)


Includes impact of foreign exchange rates on USD cash raised from financing


Includes restricted cash of $50.0M for Q3 2021 held as cash collateral under the BMO Credit Facility.


Includes $88.7 million full principal repayment on the BMO Credit Facility. As of June 30, 2021, the BMO Credit Facility has been fully settled and discharged.


Previously reported amounts have been retroactively recast for the biological assets and inventory non-material prior period error. Refer to the ” Significant Accounting Policies and Judgments ” section in Note 2(h) of the Financial Statements.

Refer to the “Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows” in the “Consolidated Financial Statements” for our cash flow statements prepared in accordance with IAS 7 – Statement of Cash Flows.

($ thousands, except Operational Results)

Q4 2021

Q4 2020 (5)(6)

$ Change

% Change

Q3 2021 (5)(6)

$ Change

% Change

Financial Results

Total net revenue (1)










Cannabis net revenue (1)(2a)










Medical cannabis net revenue (2a)










Consumer cannabis net revenue (1)(2a)










Adjusted gross margin before FV adjustments
on cannabis net revenue (2b)













Adjusted gross margin before FV adjustments
on medical cannabis net revenue (2b)













Adjusted gross margin before FV adjustments
on consumer cannabis net revenue (2b)













SG&A expense










R&D expense










Adjusted EBITDA (2c)










Balance Sheet

Working capital










Cannabis inventory and biological assets (3) (2)(3)(7)










Total assets










Operational Results – Cannabis

Average net selling price of dried cannabis
excluding bulk sales (2)










Kilograms sold (4)











Includes the impact of actual and expected product returns and price adjustments (Q4 2021 – $0.7 million; Q3 2021 – $3.2 million; Q4 2020 – $1.9 million).


These terms are defined in the ” Cautionary Statement Regarding Certain Non-GAAP Performance Measures ” of the MD&A. Refer to the following MD&A sections for reconciliation of non-GAAP measures to the IFRS equivalent measure:

a. Refer to the ” Revenue ” section for a reconciliation of cannabis net revenue to the IFRS equivalent.

b. Refer to the ” Cost of Sales and Gross Margin ” section for reconciliation to the IFRS equivalent.

c. Refer to the ” Adjusted EBITDA” section for reconciliation to the IFRS equivalent.


Represents total biological assets and cannabis inventory, exclusive of merchandise, accessories, supplies and consumables.


The kilograms sold is offset by the grams returned during the period.


As a result of the Company’s dissolution and divestment of its wholly owned subsidiaries, Hempco Food and Fiber Inc. (“Hempco”), Aurora Larssen Projects (“ALPS”), Aurora Hemp Europe (“AHE”), the operations of Hempco, ALPS and AHE have been presented as discontinued operations and the Company’s operational results have been retroactively restated, as required. Refer to Note 12(b) of the Financial Statements for more information about the divestitures.


Amounts have been retroactively recast for the biological assets and inventory non-material prior period error. Refer to the ” Significant Accounting Policies and Judgments ” section in Note 2(h) of the Financial Statements.

Conference Call

Aurora will host a conference call today, September 27, 2021, to discuss these results. Miguel Martin, Chief Executive Officer, and Glen Ibbott , Chief Financial Officer, will host the call starting at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time / 3:00 p.m. Mountain Time . A question and answer session will follow management’s presentation.

Conference Call Details


Tuesday, September 27, 2021


5:00 p.m. Eastern Time | 3:00 p.m. Mountain Time


Investors may submit questions in advance or during the conference call itself through same weblink listed above. This weblink has also been posted to the Company’s “Investor Info” link at under “News & Events”.

About Aurora

Aurora is a global leader in the cannabis industry serving both the medical and consumer markets. Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta , Aurora is a pioneer in global cannabis dedicated to helping people improve their lives. The Company’s brand portfolio includes Aurora, Aurora Drift, San Rafael ’71, Daily Special, MedReleaf, CanniMed, Whistler, and Reliva CBD. Driven by science and innovation, and with a focus on high-quality cannabis products, Aurora’s brands continue to break through as industry leaders in the medical, performance, wellness and adult recreational markets wherever they are launched. For more information, please visit our website at .

Aurora’s common shares trade on the NASDAQ and TSX under the symbol “ACB” and is a constituent of the S&P/TSX Composite Index.

Forward Looking Statements

This news release contains certain statements which may constitute “forward-looking information” and “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Canadian securities law requirements (collectively, “forward-looking statements”). These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this news release and the Company does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update these forward-looking statements, except as required under applicable securities legislation. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect Company management’s expectations or beliefs regarding future events. In certain cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will be taken”, “occur” or “be achieved” or the negative of these terms or comparable terminology. In this document, certain forward-looking statements are identified by words including “may”, “future”, “expected”, “intends” and “estimates”. By their very nature forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. The Company provides no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this news release include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to: :

  • pro forma measures including revenue, Adjusted gross margin before fair value adjustments, expected SG&A run-rates, and grams produced;
  • the Company’s ability to execute on its business transformation plan and path to Adjusted EBITDA profitability;
  • planned cost efficiencies, including the execution of the Company’s costs savings plan, including, but not limited to, asset consolidation, supply chain efficiency and other reductions in SG&A expenses;
  • the recovery of the Company’s domestic adult recreational segment;
  • growth opportunities, including the expansion into additional international adult recreational markets;
  • the continued supply of product to Israel and associated revenue growth;
  • product portfolio enhancements and innovation;
  • future strategic plans and growth, including, but not limited to, M&A in the United States ;
  • expectations regarding production capacity, costs and yields; and
  • product sales expectations and corresponding forecasted increases in revenues.

The above and other aspects of the Company’s anticipated future operations are forward-looking in nature and, as a result, are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on them as actual results may differ materially from the forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are estimates reflecting the Company’s best judgment based upon current information and involve a number of risks and uncertainties, and there can be no assurance that other factors will not affect the accuracy of such forward-looking statements. These risks include, but are not limited to, the ability to retain key personnel, the ability to continue investing in infrastructure to support growth, the ability to obtain financing on acceptable terms, the continued quality of our products, customer experience and retention, the development of third party government and non-government consumer  sales channels, management’s estimates of consumer demand in Canada and in jurisdictions where the Company exports, expectations of future results and expenses, the availability of additional capital to complete construction projects and facilities improvements, the risk of successful integration of acquired business and operations, management’s estimation that SG&A will grow only in proportion of revenue growth, the ability to expand and maintain distribution capabilities, the impact of competition, the general impact of financial market conditions, the yield from cannabis growing operations, product demand, changes in prices of required commodities, competition, and the possibility for changes in laws, rules, and regulations in the industry, epidemics, pandemics or other public health crises, including the current outbreak of COVID-19,and other risks as set out under “Risk Factors” contained herein. Readers are urged to consider the risks, uncertainties and assumptions carefully in evaluating the forward-looking statements and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such information. The Company is under no obligation, and expressly disclaims any intention or obligation, to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as expressly required by applicable securities law.

Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying factors or assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described in forward looking statements. Material factors or assumptions involved in developing forward-looking statements include, without limitation, publicly available information from governmental sources as well as from market research and industry analysis and on assumptions based on data and knowledge of this industry which the Company believes to be reasonable.

Although the Company believes that the expectations conveyed by the forward-looking statements are reasonable based on the information available to the Company on the date hereof, no assurance can be given as to future results, approvals or achievements.  Forward-looking statements contained in this news release and in the documents incorporated by reference herein are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.  The Company disclaims any duty to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this news release except as otherwise required by applicable law.

Non-GAAP Measures

This news release contains certain financial performance measures that are not recognized or defined under IFRS (termed “Non-GAAP Measures”). As a result, this data may not be comparable to data presented by other licensed producers of cannabis and cannabis companies. For an explanation of these measures to related comparable financial information presented in the consolidated financial statements prepared in accordance with IFRS, refer to the discussion below. The Company believes that these Non-GAAP Measures are useful indicators of operating performance and are specifically used by management to assess the financial and operational performance of the Company. These Non-GAAP Measures include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Cannabis net revenue represents revenue from the sale of cannabis products, excluding excise taxes. Cannabis net revenue is further broken down as follows:
    • Medical cannabis net revenue represents Canadian and international cannabis net revenue for medical cannabis sales only.
    • Consumer cannabis net revenue represents cannabis net revenue for consumer cannabis sales only.
    • Wholesale bulk cannabis net revenue represents cannabis net revenue for wholesale bulk cannabis only.
    • Ancillary net revenue represents non-cannabis net revenue for ancillary support functions only

Management believes the cannabis net revenue measures provide more specific information about the net revenue purely generated from our core cannabis business and by market type.

  • Average net selling price per gram and gram equivalent is calculated by taking cannabis net revenue and removing the impact of cost of sales net against revenue in agency relationships, which is then divided by total grams and grams equivalent of cannabis sold in the period. Average net selling price per gram and gram equivalent is further broken down as follows:
    • Average net selling price per gram of dried cannabis represents the average net selling price per gram for dried cannabis sales only, excluding wholesale bulk cannabis sold in the period.
    • Average net selling price per gram of international dried cannabis represents the average net selling price per gram for international dried cannabis sales only, excluding wholesale bulk cannabis sold in the period.
    • Average net selling price per gram and gram equivalent of Canadian medical cannabis represents the average net selling price per gram and gram equivalent for dried cannabis and cannabis derivatives sold in the Canadian medical market.
    • Average net selling price per gram and gram equivalent of medical cannabis represents the average net selling price per gram and gram equivalent for dried cannabis and cannabis derivatives sold in the medical market.
    • Average net selling price per gram and gram equivalent of consumer cannabis represents the average net selling price per gram and gram equivalent for dried cannabis and cannabis derivatives sold in the consumer market

Management believes the average net selling price per gram or gram equivalent measures provide more specific information about the pricing trends over time by product and market type. Under an agency relationship, revenue is recognized net of cost of sales in accordance with IFRS. Management believes the removal of agency cost of sales in determining the average net selling price per gram and gram equivalent is more reflective of our average net selling price generated in the marketplace.

  • Gross profit before FV adjustments on cannabis net revenue is calculated by subtracting (i) cost of sales, before the effects of changes in FV of biological assets and inventory, and (ii) cost of sales from non-cannabis ancillary support functions, from total cannabis net revenue. Gross margin before FV adjustments on cannabis net revenue is calculated by dividing gross profit before FV adjustments on cannabis net revenue divided by cannabis net revenue. Management believes that these measures provide useful information to assess the profitability of our cannabis operations as it excludes the effects of non-cash FV adjustments on inventory and biological assets, which are required by IFRS.
  • Adjusted gross profit before FV adjustments on cannabis net revenue represents cash gross profit and gross margin on cannabis net revenue and is calculated by subtracting from total cannabis net revenue (i) cost of sales, before the effects of changes in FV of biological assets and inventory; (ii) cost of sales from non-cannabis ancillary support functions; and removing (iii) depreciation in cost of sales; (iv) cannabis inventory impairment; and (v) out-of-period adjustments. Adjusted gross margin before FV adjustments on cannabis net revenue is calculated by dividing Adjusted gross profit before FV adjustments on cannabis net revenue divided by cannabis net revenue. Adjusted gross profit and gross margin before FV adjustments on cannabis net revenue is further broken down as follows:
    • Adjusted gross profit and gross margin before FV adjustments on medical cannabis net revenue represents gross profit and gross margin before FV adjustments on sales generated in the medical market only.
    • Adjusted gross profit and gross margin before FV adjustments on consumer cannabis net revenue represents gross profit and gross margin before FV adjustments on sales generated in the consumer market only.
    • Adjusted gross profit and gross margin before FV adjustments on wholesale bulk cannabis net revenue represents gross profit and gross margin before FV adjustments on sales generated from wholesale bulk cannabis only.
    • Adjusted gross profit and gross margin before FV adjustments on ancillary net revenue represents gross profit and gross margin before FV adjustments on sales generated from ancillary support functions onl

Management believes that these measures provide useful information to assess the profitability of our cannabis operations as it represents the cash gross profit and margin generated from cannabis operations and excludes (i) out-of-period adjustments to provide information that reflects current period results; and (ii) excludes the effects of non-cash FV adjustments on inventory and biological assets, which are required by IFRS.

  • Adjusted EBITDA is calculated as net income (loss) excluding interest income (expense), accretion, income taxes, depreciation, amortization, changes in fair value of inventory sold, changes in fair value of biological assets, share-based compensation, acquisition costs, foreign exchange, share of income (losses) from investment in associates, government grant income, fair value gains and losses on financial instruments, gains and losses on deemed disposal, losses on disposal of assets, restructuring charges, onerous contract provisions, out-of-period adjustments, and non-cash impairments of deposits, property, plant and equipment, equity investments, intangibles, goodwill, and other assets. Adjusted EBITDA is intended to provide a proxy for the Company’s operating cash flow and is widely used by industry analysts to compare Aurora to its competitors, and derive expectations of future financial performance for Aurora, and excludes out-of-period adjustments that are not reflective of current operating results. Adjusted EBITDA increases comparability between comparative companies by eliminating variability resulting from differences in capital structures, management decisions related to resource allocation, and the impact of FV adjustments on biological assets and inventory and financial instruments, which may be volatile and fluctuate significantly from period to period.

Non-GAAP measures should be considered together with other data prepared accordance with IFRS to enable investors to evaluate the Company’s operating results, underlying performance and prospects in a manner similar to Aurora’s management. Accordingly, these non-GAAP measures are intended to provide additional information and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS.

Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures

Net Revenue

Three months ended

June 30, 2021

June 30, 2020 (1)

March 31, 2021

Medical cannabis net revenue




Consumer cannabis net revenue




Wholesale bulk cannabis net revenue



Total cannabis net revenue




Total net revenue





As a result of the Company’s dissolution and divestment of its wholly owned subsidiaries Hempco, ALPS and AHE, the operations of Hempco, ALPS and AHE have been presented as discontinued operations and the Company’s results have been retroactively restated, as required. Refer to Note 12(b) of the Financial Statements for information about the divestitures.

Adjusted Gross Margin

($ thousands)




Bulk Cannabis



Three months ended June 30, 2021

Gross revenue





Excise taxes




Out-of-period revenue adjustments (4)



Net revenue





Cost of sales





Gross profit (loss) before FV adjustments (1)










Inventory impairment and out-of-period adjustments in
cost of sales (4)




Adjusted gross profit (loss) before FV adjustments (1)





Adjusted gross margin before FV adjustments (1)










Three months ended June 30, 2020 (2)(3)

Gross revenue





Excise taxes




Net revenue





Cost of sales





Gross loss before FV adjustments (1)









Inventory impairment in cost of sales





Adjusted gross profit (loss) before FV adjustments (1)





Adjusted gross margin before FV adjustments (1)










Three months ended March 31, 2021 (2)(3)

Gross revenue





Excise taxes




Net revenue





Cost of sales





Gross loss before FV adjustments (1)










Inventory impairment in cost of sales




Adjusted gross profit (loss) before FV adjustments (1)





Adjusted gross margin before FV adjustments (1)











These terms are defined in the “Cautionary Statement Regarding Certain Non-GAAP Performance Measures” of the MD&A.


Amounts have been retroactively recast for the biological assets and inventory non-material prior period error. Refer to the ” Significant Accounting Policies and Judgments ” section in Note 2(h) of the Financial Statements.


As a result of the Company’s dissolution and divestment of its wholly owned subsidiaries Hempco, ALPS and AHE, the operations of Hempco, ALPS and AHE have been presented as discontinued operations and the Company’s results have been retroactively restated, as required. Refer to Note 12(b) of the Financial Statements for information about the divestitures.


Included in out-of-period adjustments is a $5.5 million Q4 2021 cost of sales adjustment related to a catch-up of prior year raw material count reconciliations and a $0.9 million out-of-period revenue adjustment to reclassify prior period rebates against net revenue.

Adjusted EBITDA

($ thousands)

Three months ended

Year ended

June 30, 2021

March 31, 2021 (1)(2)

June 30, 2020 (1)(2)

June 30, 2021

June 30, 2020 (1)(2)

Net (loss) income from continuing operations






Finance costs






Interest (income) expense






Income tax expense (recovery)






Depreciation and amortization












Changes in fair value of inventory sold






Unrealized gain on changes in fair value of
biological assets






Share-based compensation






Acquisition costs





Foreign exchange loss (gain)






Share of loss from investment in associates






Government grant income




Losses (gains) on financial instruments (3)






Loss on loss of control of subsidiary


Losses (gains) on deemed disposal of
significant influence investment





Gains (losses) on disposal of assets held for
sale and property, plant, and equipment




Restructuring charges





Onerous contract provision


Out-of-period adjustments (4)




Impairment of deposit, inventory, investment in
associate, property, plant and
equipment, intangibles, and goodwill






Adjusted EBITDA (5)







Amounts have been retroactively recast for the biological assets and inventory non-material prior period error. Refer to the ” Significant Accounting Policies and Judgments ” section in Note 2(h) of the Financial Statements.


As a result of the Company’s dissolution and divestment of its wholly owned subsidiaries Hempco, ALPS and AHE, the operations of Hempco, ALPS and AHE have been presented as discontinued operations and the Company’s results have been retroactively restated, as required. Refer to Note 12(b) of the Financial Statements for information about the divestitures. Including the results of Hempco, AHE, and ALPS, Adjusted EBITDA loss would have been $19.5 million and $115.4 million for the three and twelve months ended June 30, 2021, respectively, and $36.5 million and $205.2 million for the three and twelve months ended June 30, 2020, respectively.


Includes fair value changes on derivative investments, derivative liabilities, contingent consideration, loss on induced conversion of debentures, and (gain) loss on the modification and settlement of debt. Refer to Note 22 of the Financial Statements.


Included in out-of-period adjustments in Q4 2021 is (i) a $5.5 million cost of sales adjustment related to a catch-up of prior year raw material count reconciliations, (ii) a $0.9 million out-of-period 2021 revenue adjustment to reclassify prior period rebates against net revenue; offset by (iii) a $6.4 million other gain relating to prior periods identified through our period end reconciliations (year ended June 30, 2021 – $5.5 million raw materials cost of sales adjustment; offset by a $4.2 million other gain relating to prior periods identified through our period end reconciliations).


Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial measure and is not a recognized, defined, or standardized measure under IFRS. Refer to ” Cautionary Statement Regarding Certain Non-GAAP Performance Measures ” section of the MD&A.

Included in the Q4 2021 Adjusted EBITDA loss is $5.1 million (Q3 2021 – $3.2 million ; Q4 2020 – $1.0 million ) related to restructuring charges, severance and benefits associated with the business transformation plan, $nil (Q3 2021 – $2.2 million ; Q4 2020 – $0.8 million ) legal settlement and contract termination fees, and $0.3 million (Q3 2021 – $1.9 million ; Q4 2020 – nil) in revenue provisions as a result of our Company initiated product swap to replace low quality product with higher potency product at the provinces. Excluding these impacts, Adjusted EBITDA loss is $13.9 million (Q3 2021 – $16.5 million ; Q4 2020 – $31.5 million ).

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You’ll have to forgive the truncated newsletter this week. Turns out I brought more back from Chicago than a couple of robot stress balls (the one piece…



You’ll have to forgive the truncated newsletter this week. Turns out I brought more back from Chicago than a couple of robot stress balls (the one piece of swag I will gladly accept). I was telling someone ahead of the ProMat trip that I’ve returned to 2019 travel levels this year. One bit I’d forgotten was the frequency and severity of convention colds — “con crud,” as my comics friends used to call it.

I’ve been mostly housebound for the last few days, dealing with this special brand of Chicago-style deep-dish viral infection. The past three years have no doubt hobbled my immune system, but after catching COVID-19 three times, it’s frankly refreshing to have a classic, good old-fashioned head cold. Sometimes you want the band you see live to play the hits, you know? I’m rediscovering the transformative properties of honey in a cup of tea.

The good news for me is that (and, hopefully, you) is I’ve got a trio of interviews from ProMat that I’ve been wanting to share in Actuator. As I said last week, the trip was really insightful. At one of the after-show events, someone asked me how one gets into tech journalism. It’s something I’ve been asked from time to time, and I always have the same answer. There are two paths in. One is as a technologist; the other is as a journalist.

It’s obvious on the face of it. But the point is that people tend to enter the field in one of two distinct ways. Either they love writing or they’re really into tech. I was the former. I moved to New York City to write about music. It’s something I still do, but it’s never fully paid the bills. The good news for me is I sincerely believe it’s easier to learn about technology than it is to learn how to be a good writer.

I suspect the world of robotics startups is similarly bifurcated. You enter as either a robotics expert or someone with a deep knowledge of the field that’s being automated. I often think about the time iRobot CEO Colin Angle told me that, in order to become a successful roboticist, he first had to become a vacuum salesman. He and his fellow co-founders got into the world through the robotics side. And then there’s Locus robotics, which began as a logistics company that started building robots out of necessity.

Both approaches are valid, and I’m not entirely sure one is better than the other, assuming you’re willing to surround yourself with assertive people who possess deep knowledge in areas where you fall short. I don’t know if I entirely buy the old adage that there’s no such thing as a dumb question, but I do believe that dumb questions are necessary, and you need to get comfortable asking them. You also need to find a group of people you’re comfortable asking. Smart people know the right dumb questions to ask.

Covering robotics has been a similar journey for me. I learned as much about supply chain/logistics as the robots that serve them at last week’s event. That’s been an extremely edifying aspect of writing about the space. In robotics, no one really gets to be a pure roboticist anymore.

Q&A with Rick Faulk

Image Credits: Locus Robotics

I’m gonna kick things off this week with highlights from a trio of ProMat interviews. First up is Locus Robotics CEO, Rick Faulk. The full interview is here.

TC: You potentially have the foundation to automate the entire process.

RF: We absolutely do that today. It’s not a dream.

Lights out?

It’s not lights out. Lights out might happen 10 years from now, but the ROI is not there to do it today. It may be there down the road. We’ve got advanced product groups working on some things that are looking at how to get more labor out of the equation. Our strategy is to minimize labor over time. We’re doing integrations with Berkshire Grey and others to minimize labor. To get to a dark building is going to be years away.

Have you explored front-of-house — retail or restaurants?

We have a lot of calls about restaurants. Our strategy is to focus. There are 135,000 warehouses out there that have to be automated. Less than 5% are automated today. I was in Japan recently, and my meal was filled by a robot. I look around and say, “Hey, we could do that.” But it’s a different market.

What is the safety protocol? If a robot and I are walking toward each other on the floor, will it stop first?

It will stop or they’ll navigate around. It’s unbelievably smart. If you saw what happened on the back end — it’s dynamically planning paths in real time. Each robot is talking to other robots. This robot will tell this robot over here, “You can’t get through here, so go around.” If there’s an accident, we’ll go around it.

They’re all creating a large, cloud-based map together in real time.

That’s exactly what it is.

When was the company founded?

[In] 2014. We actually spun out of a company called Quiet Logistics. It was a 3PL. We were fully automated with Kiva. Amazon bought Kiva in 2012, and said, “We’re going to take the product off the market.” We looked for another robot and couldn’t find one, so we decided to build one.

The form factors are similar.

Their form factor is basically the bottom. It goes under a shelf and brings the shelf back to the station to do a pick. The great thing about our solution is we can go into a brownfield building. They’re great and they work, but it will also take four times the number of robots to do the same work our robots do.

Amazon keeps coming up in my conversations in the space as a motivator for warehouses to adopt technologies to remain competitive. But there’s an even deeper connection here.

Amazon is actually our best marketing organization. They’re setting the bar for SLAs (service-level agreements). Every single one of these 3PLs walking around here [has] to do same- or next-day delivery, because that’s what’s being demanded by their clients.

Do the systems’ style require in-person deployment?

The interesting thing during COVID is we actually deployed a site over FaceTime.

Someone walked around the warehouse with a phone?

Yeah. It’s not our preferred method. They probably actually did a better job than we did. It was terrific.

As far as efficiency, that could make a lot of sense, moving forward.

Yeah. It does still require humans to go in, do the installation and training — that sort of thing. I think it will be a while before we get away from that. But it’s not hard to do. We take folks off the street, train them and in a month they know how to deploy.

Where are they manufactured?

We manufacture them in Boston, believe it or not. We have contract manufacturers manufacturing some components, like the base and the mast. And then we integrate them together in Boston. We do the final assembly and then do all the shipments.

As you expand sales globally, are there plans to open additional manufacturing sites?

We will eventually. Right now we’re doing some assemblies in Amsterdam. We’re doing all refurbishments for Europe in Amsterdam. […] There’s a big sustainability story, too. Sustainability is really important to big clients like DHL. Ours is an inherently green model. We have over 12,000 robots in the field. You can count the number of robots we’ve scrapped on two hands. Everything gets recycled to the field. A robot will come back after three or four years and we’ll rewrap it. We may have to swap out a camera, a light or something. And then it goes back into service under a RaaS model.

What happened in the cases where they had to be scrapped?

They got hit by forklifts and they were unrepairable. I mean crushed.

Any additional fundraising on the horizon?

We’ve raised about $430 million, went through our Series F. Next leg in our financing will be an IPO. Probably. We have the numbers to do it now. The market conditions are not right to do it, for all the reasons you know.

Do you have a rough timeline?

It will be next year, but the markets have got to recover. We don’t control that.

Q&A with Jerome Dubois

Image Credits: 6 River Systems

Next up, fittingly, is Jerome Dubois, the co-founder of Locus’ chief competitor, 6 River Systems (now a part of Shopify). Full interview here.

TC: Why was [the Shopify acquisition] the right move? Had you considered IPO’ing or moving in a different direction?

JD: In 2019, when we were raising money, we were doing well. But Shopify presents itself and says, “Hey, we’re interested in investing in the space. We want to build out a logistics network. We need technology like yours to make it happen. We’ve got the right team; you know about the space. Let’s see if this works out.”

What we’ve been able to do is leverage a tremendous amount of investment from Shopify to grow the company. We were about 120 employees at 30 sites. We’re at 420 employees now and over 110 sites globally.

Amazon buys Kiva and cuts off third-party access to their robots. That must have been a discussion you had with Shopify.

Up front. “If that’s what the plan is, we’re not interested.” We had a strong positive trajectory; we had strong investors. Everyone was really bullish on it. That’s not what it’s been. It’s been the opposite. We’ve been run independently from Shopify. We continue to invest and grow the business.

From a business perspective, I understand Amazon’s decision to cut off access and give itself a leg up. What’s in it for Shopify if anyone can still deploy your robots?

Shopify’s mantra is very different from Amazon. I’m responsible for Shopify’s logistics. Shopify is the brand behind the brand, so they have a relationship with merchants and the customers. They want to own a relationship with the merchant. It’s about building the right tools and making it easier for the merchant to succeed. Supply chain is a huge issue for lots of merchants. To sell the first thing, they have to fulfill the first thing, so Shopify is making it easier for them to print off a shipping label.

Now, if you’ve got to do 100 shipping letters a day, you’re not going to do that by yourself. You want us to fulfill it for you, and Shopify built out a fulfillment network using a lot of third parties, and our technology is the backbone of the warehouse.

Watching you — Locus or Fetch — you’re more or less maintaining a form factor. Obviously, Amazon is diversifying. For many of these customers, I imagine the ideal robot is something that’s not only mobile and autonomous, but also actually does the picking itself. Is this something you’re exploring?

Most of the AMR (autonomous mobile robot) scene has gotten to a point where the hardware is commoditized. The robots are generally pretty reliable. Some are maybe higher quality than others, but what matters the most is the workflows that are being enacted by these robots. The big thing that’s differentiating Locus and us is, we actually come in with predefined workflows that do a specific kind of work. It’s not just a generic robot that comes in and does stuff. So you can integrate it into your workflow very quickly, because it knows you want to do a batch pick and sortation. It knows that you want to do discreet order picking. Those are all workflows that have been predefined and prefilled in the solution.

With respect to the solving of the grabbing and picking, I’ve been on the record for a long time saying it’s a really hard problem. I’m not sure picking in e-comm or out of the bin is the right place for that solution. If you think about the infrastructure that’s required to solve going into an aisle and grabbing a pink shirt versus a blue shirt in a dark aisle using robots, it doesn’t work very well, currently. That’s why goods-to-person makes more sense in that environment. If you try to use arms, a Kiva-like solution or a shuttle-type solution, where the inventory is being brought to a station and the lighting is there, then I think arms are going to be effective there.

Are these the kinds of problems you invest R&D in?

Not the picking side. In the world of total addressable market — the industry as a whole, between Locus, us, Fetch and others — is at maybe 5% penetration. I think there’s plenty of opportunity for us to go and implement a lot of our technology in other places. I also think the logical expansion is around the case and pallet operations.

Interoperability is an interesting conversation. No one makes robots for every use case. If you want to get near full autonomous, you’re going to have a lot of different robots.

We are not going to be a fit for 100% of the picks in the building. For the 20% that we’re not doing, you still leverage all the goodness of our management consoles, our training and that kind of stuff, and you can extend out with [the mobile fulfillment application]. And it’s not just picking. It’s receiving, it’s put away and whatever else. It’s the first step for us, in terms of proving wall-to-wall capabilities.

What does interoperability look like beyond that?

We do system interoperability today. We interface with automation systems all the time out in the field. That’s an important part of interoperability. We’re passing important messages on how big a box we need to build and in what sequence it needs to be built.

When you’re independent, you’re focused on getting to portability. Does that pressure change when you’re acquired by a Shopify?

I think the difference with Shopify is, it allows us to think more long-term in terms of doing the right thing without having the pressure of investors. That was one of the benefits. We are delivering lots of longer-term software bets.

Q&A with Peter Chen


Image Credits: Covariant

Lastly, since I’ve chatted with co-founder Pieter Abbeel a number of times over the years, it felt right to have a formal conversation with Covariant CEO Peter Chen. Full interview here.

TC: A lot of researchers are taking a lot of different approaches to learning. What’s different about yours?

PC: A lot of the founding team was from OpenAI — like three of the four co-founders. If you look at what OpenAI has done in the last three to four years to the language space, it’s basically taking a foundation model approach to language. Before the recent ChatGPT, there were a lot of natural language processing AIs out there. Search, translate, sentiment detection, spam detection — there were loads of natural language AIs out there. The approach before GPT is, for each use case, you train a specific AI to it, using a smaller subset of data. Look at the results now, and GPT basically abolishes the field of translation, and it’s not even trained to translation. The foundation model approach is basically, instead of using small amounts of data that’s specific to one situation or train a model that’s specific to one circumstance, let’s train a large foundation-generalized model on a lot more data, so the AI is more generalized.

You’re focused on picking and placing, but are you also laying the foundation for future applications?

Definitely. The grasping capability or pick and place capability is definitely the first general capability that we’re giving the robots. But if you look behind the scenes, there’s a lot of 3D understanding or object understanding. There are a lot of cognitive primitives that are generalizable to future robotic applications. That being said, grasping or picking is such a vast space we can work on this for a while.

You go after picking and placing first because there’s a clear need for it.

There’s clear need, and there’s also a clear lack of technology for it. The interesting thing is, if you came by this show 10 years ago, you would have been able to find picking robots. They just wouldn’t work. The industry has struggled with this for a very long time. People said this couldn’t work without AI, so people tried niche AI and off-the-shelf AI, and they didn’t work.

Your systems are feeding into a central database and every pick is informing machines how to pick in the future.

Yeah. The funny thing is that almost every item we touch passes through a warehouse at some point. It’s almost a central clearing place of everything in the physical world. When you start by building AI for warehouses, it’s a great foundation for AI that goes out of warehouses. Say you take an apple out of the field and bring it to an agricultural plant — it’s seen an apple before. It’s seen strawberries before.

That’s a one-to-one. I pick an apple in a fulfillment center, so I can pick an apple in a field. More abstractly, how can these learnings be applied to other facets of life?

If we want to take a step back from Covariant specifically, and think about where the technology trend is going, we’re seeing an interesting convergence of AI, software and mechatronics. Traditionally, these three fields are somewhat separate from each other. Mechatronics is what you’ll find when you come to this show. It’s about repeatable movement. If you talk to the salespeople, they tell you about reliability, how this machine can do the same thing over and over again.

The really amazing evolution we have seen from Silicon Valley in the last 15 to 20 years is in software. People have cracked the code on how to build really complex and highly intelligent looking software. All of these apps we’re using [are] really people harnessing the capabilities of software. Now we are at the front seat of AI, with all of the amazing advances. When you ask me what’s beyond warehouses, where I see this really going is the convergence of these three trends to build highly autonomous physical machines in the world. You need the convergence of all of the technologies.

You mentioned ChatGPT coming in and blindsiding people making translation software. That’s something that happens in technology. Are you afraid of a GPT coming in and effectively blindsiding the work that Covariant is doing?

That’s a good question for a lot of people, but I think we had an unfair advantage in that we started with pretty much the same belief that OpenAI had with building foundational models. General AI is a better approach than building niche AI. That’s what we have been doing for the last five years. I would say that we are in a very good position, and we are very glad OpenAI demonstrated that this philosophy works really well. We’re very excited to do that in the world of robotics.

News of the week

Image Credits: Berkshire Grey

The big news of the week quietly slipped out the day after ProMat drew to a close. Berkshire Grey, which had a strong presence at the event, announced on Friday a merger agreement that finds SoftBank Group acquiring all outstanding capital stock it didn’t already own. The all-cash deal is valued at around $375 million.

The post-SPAC life hasn’t been easy for the company, in spite of a generally booming market for logistics automation. Locus CEO Rick Faulk told me above that the company plans to IPO next year, after the market settles down. The category is still a young one, and there remains an open question around how many big players will be able to support themselves. For example, 6 River Systems and Fetch have both been acquired, by Shopify and Zebra, respectively.

“After a thoughtful review of value creation opportunities available to Berkshire Grey, we are pleased to have reached this agreement with SoftBank, which we believe offers significant value to our stockholders,” CEO Tom Wagner said in a release. “SoftBank is a great partner and this merger will strengthen our ability to serve customers with our disruptive AI robotics technology as they seek to become more efficient in their operations and maintain a competitive edge.”

Unlike the Kiva deal that set much of this category in motion a decade ago, SoftBank maintains that it’s bullish about offering BG’s product to existing and new customers. Says managing partner, Vikas J. Parekh:

As a long-time partner and investor in Berkshire Grey, we have a shared vision for robotics and automation. Berkshire Grey is a pioneer in transformative, AI-enabled robotic technologies that address use cases in retail, eCommerce, grocery, 3PL, and package handling companies. We look forward to partnering with Berkshire Grey to accelerate their growth and deliver ongoing excellence for customers.

Container ships at dock

Image Credits: John Lamb / Getty Images

A healthy Series A this week from Venti Technologies. The Singapore/U.S. firm, whose name translates to “large Starbucks cup,” raised $28.8 million, led by LG Technology Ventures. The startup is building autonomous systems for warehouses, ports and the like.

“If you have a big logistics facility where you run vehicles, the largest cost is human capital: drivers,” co-founder and CEO Heidi Wyle tells TechCrunch. “Our customers are telling us that they expect to save over 50% of their operations costs with self-driving vehicles. Think they will have huge savings.”


Image Credits: Neubility / Neubility

This week in fun pivots, Neubility is making the shift from adorable last-mile delivery robots to security bots. This isn’t the company’s first pivot, either. Kate notes that it’s now done so five times since its founding. Fifth time’s the charm, right?

Neubility currently has 50 robots out in the world, a number it plans to raise significantly, with as many as 400 by year’s end. That will be helped along by the $2.6 million recently tacked onto its existing $26 million Series A.

Model-Prime emerged out of stealth this week with a $2.3 million seed round, bringing its total raise to $3.3 million. The funding was led by Eniac Ventures and featured Endeavors and Quiet Capital. The small Pittsburgh-based firm was founded by veterans of the self-driving world, Arun Venkatadri and Jeanine Gritzer, who were seeking a way to create reusable data logs for robotics companies.

The startup says its tech, “handles important tasks like pulling the metadata, automated tagging, and making logs searchable. The vision is to make the robotics industry more like web apps, or mobile apps, where it now seems silly to build your own data solution when you could just use Datadog or Snowflake instead.”

Image Credits: Saildrone

Saildrone, meanwhile, is showcasing Voyager, a 33-foot uncrewed water vehicle. The system sports cameras, radar and an acoustic system designed to map a body of water down to 900 feet. The company has been testing the boat out in the world since last February and is set to begin full-scale production at a rate of a boat a week.

Image Credits: MIT

Finally, some research out of MIT. Robust MADER is a new version of MADER, which the team introduced in 2020 to help drones avoid in-air collisions.

“MADER worked great in simulations, but it hadn’t been tested in hardware. So, we built a bunch of drones and started flying them,” says grad student Kota Kondo. “The drones need to talk to each other to share trajectories, but once you start flying, you realize pretty quickly that there are always communication delays that introduce some failures.”

The new version adds in a delay before setting out on a new trajectory. That added time will allow it to receive and process information from fellow drones and adjust as needed. Kondo adds, “If you want to fly safer, you have to be careful, so it is reasonable that if you don’t want to collide with an obstacle, it will take you more time to get to your destination. If you collide with something, no matter how fast you go, it doesn’t really matter because you won’t reach your destination.”

Fair enough.

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch


Here you go, way too fast. Don’t slow down, you’re gonna crash. Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na. (Subscribe to Actuator!)



Asking the right dumb questions by Brian Heater originally published on TechCrunch

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FDA approval of over-the-counter Narcan is an important step in the effort to combat the US opioid crisis

The Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Narcan will make the lifesaving drug more widely available, especially to those who might be likely to…




The use of naloxone administered by nasal spray can be a lifesaving drug with minimal side effects. TG23/iStock via Getty Images Plus

On March 29, 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Narcan for over-the-counter sale. Narcan is the 4-milligram nasal spray version of naloxone, a medication that can quickly counteract an opioid overdose.

The FDA’s greenlighting of over-the-counter naloxone means that it will be available for purchase without a prescription at more than 60,000 pharmacies nationwide. That means that, for 90% of Americans, naloxone nasal spray will be accessible at a pharmacy within 5 miles from home. It will also likely be available at gas stations, supermarkets and convenience stores. The transition from prescription to over-the-counter status is expected to take a few months.

We are pharmacists and public health experts who seek to increase public acceptance of and access to naloxone.

We think that making naloxone available over the counter is an essential step in reducing deaths due to overdose and destigmatizing opioid use disorder. Over-the-counter access to naloxone will permit more people to carry and administer it to help others who are overdosing. Moreover, increasing naloxone’s over-the-counter availability will convey the message that risks associated with substance use disorder warrant a pervasive intervention much as with other illnesses.

Deaths from opioid overdoses across the U.S. have increased nearly threefold since 2015. Between October 2021 and October 2022, approximately 77,000 people died from opioid overdoses in the U.S. Since 2016, the synthetic opioid fentanyl has been responsible for most of the drug-involved overdose deaths in America.

Naloxone can be a lifesaving intervention from opioids and other drugs that are laced with the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

What is naloxone?

Naloxone reverses overdose from prescription opioids like fentanyl, oxycodone and hydrocodone and recreational opioids like heroin. Naloxone works by competitively binding to the same receptors in the central nervous system that opioids bind to for euphoric effects. When naloxone is administered and reaches these receptors, it can block the euphoric effects of opioids and reverse respiratory depression when opioid overdose occurs.

There are two common ways to administer naloxone. One is through the prepackaged nasal sprays, such as Narcan and Kloxxado or generic versions of the drug. The other method is via auto-injectors, like ZIMHI, which deliver naloxone through injection, similar to the way epinephrine is delivered by an EpiPen as an emergency treatment for life-threatening allergic reactions.

The FDA will review a second over-the-counter application for naloxone auto-injectors at a later date. Although no interaction with a health care provider will be needed to purchase over-the-counter naloxone, when naloxone is purchased at a pharmacy, a knowledgeable pharmacist will be able to help people choose a product and explain instructions for use.

Research shows that when people who are likely to witness or respond to opioid overdoses have naloxone, they can save patients’ lives. This also includes bystanders as well as first responders like police officers and paramedics.

But until now, people in those situations could intervene only if they were carrying prescription naloxone or knew where to retrieve it quickly. Friends and family of people who use opioids are often given prescriptions for naloxone for emergency use. Over-the-counter naloxone will help make the drug more accessible to members of the general public.

Naloxone works on a variety of opioids, including fentanyl.

Reducing stigma and saving lives

Naloxone is a safe medication with minimal side effects. It works only for those with opioids in their system, and it’s unlikely to cause harm if given by mistake to someone who’s not actively overdosing on opioids.

Since approximately 40% of overdoses occur in the presence of someone else, we believe public access to naloxone is extremely important. People may wish to have naloxone on hand if someone they know is at an increased risk for opioid overdose, including people who have opioid use disorder or people who take high amounts of prescribed opioid medications.

Community centers and recreational facilities may also keep naloxone on hand, similar to the placement of automated external defibrillators in public spaces for emergency use when someone has a heart attack.

There’s a long-held public stigma that suggests addiction is a moral failing rather than a chronic yet treatable health condition. Those who request naloxone or who have an opioid use disorder experience stigma and often aren’t comfortable disclosing their drug use to others, or seeking medical treatment. Removing naloxone’s prescription requirements by making it over the counter could decrease the stigma experienced by individuals since they no longer must request it from a health care provider or behind the pharmacy counter.

In addition, we encourage health care providers and members of the general public to use less stigmatizing language when discussing addiction.

Questionable accessibility

Often, medications switched from prescription to over the counter are not covered by insurance. It remains unclear if this will be the case with Narcan. If so, the costs will shift to the patient, highlighting the reason continued support of programs that offer naloxone free of charge remains important.

What’s more, over-the-counter access could paradoxically cause a decrease in the drug’s availability. A rise in purchases could make it harder to buy naloxone if manufacturer supply does not keep up with increased consumer demand. The U.S. experienced such shortages of over-the-counter drugs in late 2022 during the nationwide surges in flu, respiratory syncytial virus and COVID-19.

Federal and state governments could lessen these potential barriers by subsidizing the cost of over-the-counter naloxone and working with drug manufacturers to provide production incentives to meet public demand.

The effects of nationwide access to over-the-counter naloxone on opioid-related deaths remain to be seen, but making this medication more widely available is an important next step in our nation’s response to the opioid crisis.

Lucas Berenbrok is part owner of the consulting company, Embarx, LLC.

Janice L. Pringle is affiliated with C4 Recovery.

Joni Carroll receives grant funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Overdose Data to Action.

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Spread & Containment

What will housing credit look like in next recession?

We need to understand the credit channels in the U.S. today and why they’re so different than the period of 2002-2008.



With the banking crisis spurring more talk of a recession, the question now is: What would housing credit look like in a recession? Many people predicted that the U.S. housing market would crash during the pandemic. One of the main reasons for that fear was that housing credit was about to get tight, meaning fewer people could buy homes with mortgages.

Even though housing data recovered by May 2020, people didn’t want to believe the data and assumed housing was going to fall more, especially with forbearance on the horizon.

How can we be sure not to make the same mistake that millions of people made by calling for housing to crash in 2020 and 2021? We can do it by understanding the credit channels in the U.S. today and why they’re so different than the period of 2002-2008.

Credit getting tighter

What we traditionally see going into recession and during a downturn is credit getting tighter. What does tighter credit mean for housing? It means certain mortgage products might not be offered, FICO score requirements might be raised, and it can mean pricing for certain loans goes up to account for the risk.

However, the current housing market is much different than the credit boom-and-bust cycle of 2002-2008, and it’s vital to understand why.

Credit availability was booming during the housing bubble years, then collapsed epically. The MBA chart below shows what a vast collapse it was then. Now, with new regulations in place since the financial crisis, that credit expansion and collapse will be a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Why is this so important? Over the years, one of my big talking points has been that we didn’t have a massive credit housing boom in the U.S. during the last few years, nor can we ever. Because of the qualified mortgage laws of 2010, we are lending to the capacity to own the debt, which means speculative credit cycles from primary resident homebuyers or even investors can’t occur in the same fashion as from 2002-2005.

The purchase application data below clearly shows this. We had many years of much higher credit growth during the bubble years and not that much credit in the past few years.


This is important because the existing home sales market was booming during the 2005 peak; that market needed credit to stay loose to keep demand high and growing. That is not the case today. We had a massive collapse in demand in 2022, not because credit was getting tighter but because affordability was an issue.

After rates fell recently, working from a shallow level, we saw one of the most significant month-to-month sales prints in history with the last existing home sales report.


This big bounce in demand came from a waterfall dive, and we needed at least 12 weeks of positive, forward-looking data to get this demand increase, but it happened as mortgage rates fell. Mortgage credit can get tight for jumbo loans, non-QM loans and home equity lines, but general conforming Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae loans, FHA, and VA loans should be steady during the next recession.

Spreads are getting wide again

What has happened recently with the banking crisis is that the mortgage-backed securities market has gotten more stressed, so rates are higher than they should be as the spreads between the 10-year yield and mortgage rates have widened again.

As you can see below, the spreads got much broader during the great financial crisis and COVID-19 recessionary periods. There is usually a 1.60%- 1.80% difference between the 10-year yield and 30-year mortgage rate, but now we are at 3%.

The chart below tracks the stress in the mortgage-backed securities market: the higher the spread between the 10-year yield and 30-year mortgage gets, the higher the line goes. This means the dance partners, while still dancing, are creating some space between each other.


The Federal Reserve doesn’t care about the U.S. housing market. The Fed is complaining mortgage rates are returning to 6% and people buying homes might make their job harder. The Fed will rush to save a bank, but won’t whisper a word for an entire housing market to improve spreads. 

So, the risk here is that when we have a job-loss recession, spreads get even worse, as the Federal Reserve doesn’t care. I would usually think the Fed might assist the economy, but with this Federal Reserve, you never know what they will and won’t do. I talked about this Wednesday on CNBC.

We need to be mindful of this when the recession hits. The housing market might not get any assistance, even though we are getting closer to the one-year call when I put the housing market in a recession on June 16, 2022.

Homeowner balance sheets look awesome this time around

As I said above, credit getting tighter in relationship to demand is not a thing because we didn’t have a massive credit boom like that from 2002-2005 to then have a bust from 2005-2008 due to credit getting tighter.

The mortgage market can get stressed because the spreads can get wider, meaning rates can be higher than at ordinary times. However, we aren’t going to see the credit availability collapse in the same way we did in 2008.

The most significant difference between 2008 and the last 13 years after the qualified mortgage laws were implemented is that we don’t see a surge in housing credit stress before a job-loss recession. If there is one chart I would show every day, it’s the one below: housing credit stress was easy to spot years before the job-loss recession happened. Today it’s much easier to see that we don’t have similar credit stress with homeowners.


Because the U.S. has no more exotic loan debt structures, we don’t have large-scale risk tied to homeowners and banks. Over time, the foreclosure data should get closer to pre-COVID-19 levels, but nothing like the credit stress we saw from 2003-2008.

Homeowner financial data looks awesome; fixed debt cost, rising wages, and cash flow look better and better over time. As you can see below, mortgage debt service payments as a percent of disposable personal income look excellent, much better than in 2008.


This means the cash flow looks excellent! Do you want to know why people aren’t giving up homes? A U.S. home with a 30-year fixed mortgage is the best hedge on planet earth. As inflation comes down, homeowners’ cash flow gets better. During inflationary periods, your wages grow faster, but as a homeowner, your debt costs stay the same.


Unlike 2008, we don’t have a major risk of loans recasting with payments that the homeowner can’t afford even if they were still working. We will see a rise in 30-day delinquencies, and over 9-12 months, we will see a foreclosure process work. However, in terms of scale, nothing like what we saw in 2008.

Hopefully, this gives you three different credit takes on the credit question when we go into recession.

Credit tightening concerning most loans being done today isn’t a significant risk because government agencies back most loans done in the U.S. However, the mortgage-backed securities market can stay stressed longer than most people imagine when the next recession happens.

We don’t have a rise in foreclosures as we did from 2005-2008 before the job-loss recession. However, we do have traditional risk, meaning that late-cycle homebuyers with small down payments can be a future foreclosure risk if they lose their jobs.

So, we have a different economic backdrop now than in 2008 and 2020. Both recessions were very different from each other, but this gives you an idea of some of the significant dynamics around housing credit, debt and risk whenever we go into the next recession.

As always, we will take the data one day, week, and month at a time and walk this path together.

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