Editor-in-Chief

Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtMarch 31, 2021
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6min5790

Cannabis accessories e-commerce company Greenlane Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: GNLN)  reported financial results and announced a merger with KushCo sending the stock higher in early trading. Greenlane stock was up over 17% on news of the merger as the company missed revenue estimates for the fourth-quarter ending in December.

Net sales grew approximately 50.5% to $7.8 million, or 21.4% of total net sales in the fourth quarter versus $5.2 million or 13.8% of net sales in the fourth quarter of 2019. Core revenue grew 11.3% to $33.9 million in the quarter versus $30.5 million for the same time period in 2019. Greenlane missed the average analyst estimate which was for revenue of $36 million according to Yahoo Finance. Core revenue is defined as all non-nicotine revenue and Greenlane Brand revenue is inclusive of Eyce figures. The net loss for the quarter grew 8.9% to $10.8 million.

For the full year, total revenue was $138.3 million versus $185.0 million for the fiscal year 2019. The full-year 2020 core revenue (defined as non-nicotine revenue) grew 12.7% to $125.2 million versus $111.1 million in 2019. The net loss grew 19.8% to $47.7 million over last year’s net loss of $39.8 million. The decrease in sales was driven by a strategic decision to move away from sales of higher volume, lower margin merchandise to higher-margin revenue opportunities, including the Greenlane branded products.

“Though this year has been very challenging, I am incredibly proud of how the Greenlane team has aligned to accomplish all we have achieved in 2020,” said Aaron LoCascio, Greenlane’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Together, we successfully refocused our strategic efforts to grow our portfolio of owned brands, brought in new senior leaders, and took decisive steps to move away from lower-margin revenue categories that has positioned us for sustained, long term growth.”

Mr. LoCascio added, “As we enter 2021, Greenlane will continue to innovate and adapt to meet the demands of the rapidly evolving Cannabis industry by executing on our growth strategy. This includes continuing to improve our revenue mix with a focus on Greenlane branded products, further optimizing our organizational structure to reduce costs where appropriate and leveraging our best-in-class global distribution platform to launch innovative new products into the market. We have made great progress thus far, and recently announced our acquisition of the Eyce, the world leader in premium silicone smoking products and a Greenlane partner for over seven years.”

KushCo Merger

Along with the announcement of earnings, Greenlane also said it was merging with cannabis packaging company KushCo (OTC: KSHB). The exchange ratio is expected to result in KushCo stockholders owning approximately 49.9% of the combined company’s common stock and Greenlane stockholders owning approximately 50.1% of the combined company’s common stock. The company said the deal is expected to generate approximately $15 million to $20 million of annual run-rate cost synergies within 24 months from the closing.

KushCo’s Co-Founder, current Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer, Nick Kovacevich, will lead the combined company as Chief Executive Officer, and an Independent Chairman of the Board will be appointed at a later date. Greenlane’s Bill Mote will serve as Chief Financial Officer, with Greenlane Co-founder Aaron LoCascio serving as President and Greenlane Co-founder Adam Schoenfeld serving as Chief Strategy Officer. The combined company will be headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida with a significant footprint in Southern California.

“This transformative transaction is expected to create a broad and complementary platform that we expect to deliver substantial synergies at an important inflection point in the cannabis industry,” said Aaron LoCascio, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Greenlane. “As an industry leader, the combined company will be well positioned to grow profitability and maximize value for all stockholders while also providing enhanced product offerings and expanded ancillary services to our valued customer bases. We are thrilled to be working with the talented and experienced KushCo team, and together we will continue to drive innovation and excellence in the space. Since Greenlane’s founding in 2005, we have been at the forefront of the cannabis industry, and today we take the next step in our continued evolution.”

“We’re excited to create a leading, innovative supplier of cannabis ancillary products serving the most valuable segments of the supply chain,” said Nick Kovacevich, KushCo’s Co-founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer. “For more than 10 years, KushCo has proudly pioneered this industry, creating substantial value for our customers, employees, partners, and stockholders. Now, we have reached a critical time in our industry where the leading operators are increasingly looking to partner with companies in the ancillary space who can reliably support their rapid expansion for years to come. We greatly admire the product portfolio that the Greenlane team has built, and we are excited to work with them to cross-sell to our complementary customer bases and execute on the attractive growth opportunities ahead.”


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtMarch 30, 2021
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3min4640

Namaste Technologies Inc.  (OTCMKTS: NXTTF) reported its financial results for the year ended November 30, 2020. Gross revenue for the fourth quarter ended November 30, 2020, was $8.0 million versus $4.0 million in the same period last year. Namaste trimmed its net losses in the fourth quarter to $6.4 million versus a net loss of $29.7 million for the fourth quarter in 2019. The company attributed the  $3.3 million improvements in net revenue for the fourth quarter to the increased revenues from the sale of cannabis products.

For the full fiscal year, the company had revenue of $27.1 million versus $16.4 million in the 2019 fiscal year, representing an increase of  65% from the prior year, respectively. The net loss for the fiscal year was $26.4 million versus a net loss of $63.2 million in the 2019 fiscal year. The company said in a statement that it is committed to maintaining these positive trends.

“We are pleased with the progress made by the team to achieve the highest recorded quarterly revenue for the company to date,” said Meni Morim, CEO of Namaste. “We achieved significant year-over-year growth of revenue as cannabis sales through CannMart’s distribution channels made an important contribution to the revenue stream. The Company is in a strong financial position today made possible from the considerable work undertaken in 2020 to lay the foundation for long term growth as Namaste continues its evolution to be the world’s foremost personalized wellness marketplace.”

The company’s working capital position remains strong at $16.5 million as of November 30, 2020. Since the year-end, Namaste successfully closed a $23 million bought deal offering.

Namaste also noted in a statement that it has launched CannMart.com into the USA offering Americans hemp-derived CBD and smoking accessories. It announced the addition of leading licensed producers to the CannMart.com platform: Auxly Cannabis Group, Hexo Corp and The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings (TGOD). Plus, it received a standard processing license from Health Canada for CannMart Labs Inc., its state-of-the-art BHO extraction facility.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtMarch 30, 2021
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7min10891

The cannabis industry has seen some players make big bets on beverages, but so far it hasn’t paid off. The market is definitely growing, just not at the rate many had hoped for. Plus, the slow growth of this form factor is not an indication that it won’t continue to increase and eventually gain even more market share. Cannabis tracking firm  Headset recently released a report on the cannabis beverage industry and found that in the US, “The beverage category’s market share has held fairly steady between 0.85% and 1.1% over the last several years. In fact, market share to the category was slowly decreasing through late 2019 and early 2020 before maintaining just below 0.9% during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Despite the consumers tapping the brakes on beverages, the category has begun a turnaround and Headset believes the products are poised to reach an all time high as pandemic restrictions ease. The report also noticed that consumers are at least giving the products a try as basket data is showing more people are tossing some beverages in the bag. The report said, “We can see a relatively steady march upwards over time rising from 1.6% in January 2018 to 2.8% in February 2021. Even though market share hasn’t drastically increased, Beverages are making their way into more and more baskets each month, indicating that more customers than ever are trying THC-infused Beverages.” Only a little over 20% of the shopping carts are filled with only cannabis beverages, meaning the other almost 80% are adding beverages to a larger order. By contrast, a third of edible consumers are buying just edibles when they go to the dispensaries. 

It’s A Girl Thing 

What has been learned is that women are the big buyers of cannabis beverages. In every single age category, women outspent men when buying cannabis-infused beverages. So, hands down, the main consumer for cannabis-infused beverages are women.

Where things get even more interesting in the report is when Headset dives into dosage. The two main categories for purchases are on either side of the spectrum – either low like a microdose or very high for maximum effect. The report stated, “In fact, most of the growth in the 10mg or lighter section over the last few years has come from the 0-5mg ‘microdosed’ cohort of Beverages, which has risen from 14.4% category share to more than 18% of sales this year to date.” For example, so far in 2021 beverages with over 100mg accounted for 59.8% of the market share, while products with less than 5 mg were the second-largest category with a 19.5% market share. 

California Drinking

The report stated that “California Beverage sales in January 2021 clocked in at $15.5M, nearly six times greater than the $2.7M recorded during January 2018, the first month of recreational sales.” Also, since the competition is heating up and there are more beverages to choose from, the top three selling in 2018 brands have seen their market share decline. The data showed that some brands, like Kikoko and Cannabis Quencher have held firm in the market even though new brands have entered the space. “Legal Beverages, on the other hand, was unable to keep up, falling from the third top selling Beverage brand in 2018 to a market exit in 2020.” 

Headset also determined that there are some newer success stories like Lagunitas Brewing Company’s ‘Hi-Fi Hops’ which sells only products containing 10mg of THC or less per serving. Heineken (OTC: HEINY) owns Lagunitas and so the beer is no longer considered a “craft beer”. “Keef Cola, a legacy brand originating way back in the medical cannabis markets, was relaunched in California in 2019 and quickly rose to a prominent position by offering affordable soda, mocktail, and flavored water products in both 10mg and 100mg package sizes.” 

Just like the alcohol industry has seen a big move towards hard seltzers, cannabis beverages have also dipped into the bubbly category. CANN Social Tonics has made a quick splash by using celebrity investors to get attention. The report stated that “Despite extremely high EQ (price per milligram of THC) prices, and with less than a year and a half in the market, CANN has pulled away as California’s top Beverage brand by an increasingly wide margin.” That doesn’t mean it’s alone in the space, Pabst Blue Ribbon recently launched a 5mg seltzer in California, and cannabis-infused wine-like product Rebel Coast left the vineyard to focus on canned seltzer products. 

In Closing

The cannabis beverage is still only a tiny part of the market, but it is slowly growing. Women seem to be the dominant consumer along with gen-Xers. The desired dose is either maximum effect or just a light buzz. The in-between products aren’t generating as much interest and cannabis seltzers could become just as big as alcoholic seltzers. 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtMarch 27, 2021
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10min5712

Editors Note: This is a guest post. 

 

In 2017, anxiety disorders affected 3.8 % of the worldwide population. CBD is being used to combat this growing problem.

A mental disorder affects one out of ten people. Out of the different disorders, anxiety is the most prevalent, surpassing depression. Many individuals are beginning to use CBD (Cannabidiol) products to alleviate their mental illnesses instead of traditional prescription medication. 

Is CBD Effective Against Mental Illnesses?

CBD has been shown in research to help treat medical conditions like multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, epilepsy, sleep problems, and anxiety. CBD products, such as CBD agents, patches, and topical drugs, have become more available as a result. You can buy CBD oil with a wide range of products. Some of them don’t have to be taken orally but instead applied to the body in the form of oil, patches, or creams.

CBD products have become essential products for the treatment of social anxiety and anxiety disorders. Even the FDA approved the use of CBD to treat epilepsy. A recent clinical trial showed that CBD could effectively reduce anxiety.

According to a study published in The Permanente Journal, 79% of participants experienced less anxiety when treated with CBD. As a result of these preliminary findings, mental health experts are considering CBD for anti-anxiety purposes.

Although it is not yet fully understood how CBD treats anxiety disorders, it has not stopped millions of people who need to relieve symptoms from using it. According to the 2019 Gallup poll, 14% of Americans use CBD.

In another survey, 37% of CBD users said they used it for anxiety disorders and reported that it was very effective. It is clearly evident that CBD reduces stress, for many Americans suffering from social symptoms of anxiety, by its natural interaction with the nervous system.

How CBD Supports Mental Health

While more research is required to ascertain the potential impacts and benefits of CBD, it is said to be beneficial in various circumstances and for some severe diseases as mentioned above.

Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety is a widespread issue that affects many individuals. Every year, nearly 19.1% of American adults suffer from anxiety disorders. CBD has been shown in several studies to help alleviate its symptoms. One study investigated the possible neurological substrates for CBD’s ability to relieve the symptoms of clinical depression.

According to a poll held in 2017, 41% of cannabis users moved from anti-anxiety medications, and 40% of them demonstrated that CBD is more effective in treating health issues like anxiety.

Most people with anxiety disorders cannot find the proper treatment because treatment is expensive in the United States. Low-cost treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy cost about $100-$120 or more per hour.

Middle-class citizens with anxiety disorders and minimum wages may struggle to cover appointment fees. More importantly, not all medical insurance companies provide coverage for specific drugs, making it more difficult for people with anxiety disorders to manage their symptoms.

Therefore, many people with anxiety disorders would instead refuse medication and cognitive therapy and turn to CBD to manage and treat their anxiety disorders.

However, CBD was previously considered unsafe by health regulatory agencies because its psychoactive cannabis counterpart, THC, is a compound that makes people feel “high.” Luckily, thorough research has disproved previous misconceptions about CBD, demonstrating that it can be used to treat patients safely.

As a result, CBD-based medications are now being used to treat a wide range of illnesses in many countries. Compared with traditional treatment methods, this makes CBD as a treatment option highly versatile and inexpensive. You can also obtain a medical cannabis license to purchase CBD products from authorized licensed sellers.

Epilepsy

CBD seems to have many advantages for neurological disorders, including the reduction of epileptic seizures – both the intensity and frequency. Some of these disorders, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, may be resistant to traditional antiepileptic medications. In recent years, CBD therapy, which effectively alleviates epileptic seizures, has gone viral on social media.

Depression

As per the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is among the most prevalent mental illnesses in the United States, resulting in an estimated 17.3 million Americans each year. It has grown significantly in recent years.

Research has been conducted on the potential antidepressant effects of CBD. Some antidepressants operate by interacting with the brain’s serotonin receptors. Low serotonin levels may play a role in the initiation of anxiety. CBD has been shown in animal models to impact these receptors, resulting in antidepressant benefits.

More Research Required

However, it should be noted that more research is required to determine the long-term impacts of CBD on mental health. There have been no long-term symptoms discovered so far, but this does not mean that there won’t be any in the future.

Although most people do not experience severe side effects from using CBD, some people are sensitive to it and experience fatigue or diarrhea after using it. Some people experience side effects due to CBD products that do not contain the claimed CBD levels.

Self-medicating with CBD or other supplements can cause treatment delays, which can make your symptoms worse. CBD may also exacerbate particular symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, and psychosis.

Although CBD is very popular, you still need to understand how it works. Take this into consideration when considering it to reduce depression or any other mental disorder.

Realize that CBD cannot replace antidepressants or antipsychotics. If you are taking prescription drugs, please continue to take them until your healthcare provider tells you otherwise.

Even if you are assured of the efficacy of CBD, we still recommend that you consult your healthcare provider before using CBD products, as it may interact with medications you are already taking.

Conclusion

If you are experiencing a mental health condition, you can see a psychiatrist or a mental health expert about CBD. 

If you want to include more CBD in your traditional therapies, consult with a healthcare provider who will help you track your symptoms. Based on your symptoms and the drugs you are taking, your doctor may suggest products and dosages suitable for you. Beware of any potential adverse side effects, and always consult your doctor before stopping taking CBD.

 

 

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtMarch 25, 2021
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3min4252

Aleafia Health Inc. (OTC: ALEAF) reported net revenue of $15.4 million in the fourth quarter versus $6 million for the same time period in 2019. The net loss though was a whopping $217.3 million versus last year’s net loss of $9.8 million. Aleafia wrote-down $176.0 million of goodwill associated with the acquisition of Emblem Corp., and $1.4 million of goodwill associated with the acquisition of Canabo Medical Corp.

For the full year, Aleafia Health reported net revenue of $44.5 million versus $16.3 million in 2019. Due to the losses in the fourth quarter, the full-year net loss clocked in at $247 million versus 2019’s $39.6 million.

The company said that the net loss was primarily due to non-cash items including fair value changes in biological assets and changes in inventory sold expense of $11.1 million for the quarter and $29.1 million for the full year. Included in the full year amount is a $17 million write-down to net realizable value of saleable inventory to reflect declining wholesale prices.

Aleafia Health CEO Geoffrey Benic said, “Notwithstanding certain non-cash, one-time expenses, our focus on disciplined, profitable growth has paid dividends with our first year of positive adjusted EBTIDA. The commercialization of our business is rapidly accelerating with the shift in revenue mix towards the sale of highly profitable packaged cannabis products providing a sustainable source of continued growth.”

Wholesale Business Climbs

The company said that the net bulk wholesale revenue received from sales to cannabis licensed producers for the quarter and full year was $10.0 million and $29.9 million, an increase of 256% and 783% respectively, over the same periods in the prior year. The increase was primarily due to the sale of flower harvested at the Port Perry Facility’s outdoor cultivation site to other LPs, and a larger harvest in 2020 relative to the prior year, yielding 31,200 kgs of dried flower.

Write Downs

Aleafia said that during the quarter, it incurred a $22.1 million write-down of intangible assets expense. This included a $10.6 million write-off associated with its 51% interest in the Flying High Brands joint-venture. The company said it is now primarily developing its brands and products in-house, rather than licensing them from other cannabis companies.

 

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtMarch 25, 2021
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5min4270

Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc.  (OTCQX: CWBHF) looks like it has been able to regain some ground after the pandemic caused the company a lot of disruption as retailers were closed for some time. Charlotte’s Web reported revenue increased 17.9% to $26.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 versus $22.8 million for the same time period in 2019. The company said DTC (direct-to-consumer) sales increased 21.2% year-over-year, contributing $17.4 million or 64.8% of the fourth-quarter revenue. While it was a positive turn of events, the company missed revenue estimates of $27.5 million according to Yahoo Finance.

For the full year, total net revenue increased to $95.2 million vs. $94.6 million in 2019. The company said DTC eCommerce sales grew 27.6% in 2020 contributing 67.0% of total revenue, substantially offsetting a decline of 29.5% in B2B sales impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We turned a challenging start to 2020 into a strong finish, taking multiple actions and outperforming much of the competitive set to extend our brand and market share leadership,” said Deanie Elsner, CEO of Charlotte’s Web. “We filled product and channel gaps with competitive offerings and advanced the science of hemp CBD through CW Labs and collaborative studies with top-tier institutions. We have now protected our intellectual property with 5 patents awarded for our proprietary cultivars and have defended our trademarked Charlotte’s Web brand through a recent judgment.”

E-Commerce Business Builds

During 2020 Charlotte’s web said it implemented a competitive pricing realignment strategy across its product portfolio resulting in increased unit sales and expanded market share in the second half offsetting some of the headwinds created by COVID-19.  B2B net sales increased 12.4% year-over-year supported by expanded topical product offerings. DTC net sales grew by 21.2% year-over-year supported by the pricing realignment and higher conversion rates through ongoing marketing and social media programs. Year-over-year new consumer acquisitions increased 52% and conversion rates increased 98%.

Cutting Expenses

Charlotte’s Web also made headway as it cut Operating expenses by 10.4% to $23.6 million from $26.4 million. The company noted that the high operating expenses were due to its investments in capacity expansion and transition to a consumer-packaged-goods (“CPG”) operating company capable of supporting mass retail channel growth. In response to lower B2B retail sales growth during the pandemic, management said it took actions to better align operating expenses through an expense optimization program successfully achieving reductions of more than 10% of the consolidated expense run rate by the end of 2020. “This was achieved despite the addition of the CW Labs R&D division and the Abacus acquisition during the year. As a percent of revenue operating expenses improved from 136%, to 113% and 88% for Q2, Q3 and Q4, respectively in 2020.”

The company said it used $5.1 million of cash in operations during the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to $8.6 million of cash used in operations during the fourth quarter of 2019. Charlotte’s Web cash and working capital at December 31, 2020, were $52.8 million and $113.6 million, respectively, compared to $68.6 million and $116.9 million on December 31, 2019.

Elsner added, “In 2021 we are positioning for long-term growth and shareholder value creation as we evolve towards establishing Charlotte’s Web as a leading global botanicals wellness company by expanding into cannabis wellness where federally permissible. To support our international growth we have an exclusive agreement with one of Israel’s largest medical cannabis producers, and in the U.S. we secured future optionality through a strategic option to acquire Stanley Brothers cannabis business pending US federal legalization of cannabis.”


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtMarch 25, 2021
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3min4120

Cresco Labs Inc. (OTCQX: CRLBF) released its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2020. Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2020 was $162.3 million, an increase of $9.0 million or a 6% increase over the third quarter of 2020. Cresco Labs reported a net loss for the fourth quarter of $23 million versus last year’s net loss of $45 million. The company beat the Yahoo Finance analyst estimate for revenue of $161 million in the quarter.

For the full year, Cresco delivered revenue of $476.3 million, an increase of $347.7 million or a 271% increase over 2019’s revenue of $128 million. The company said that growth was driven by cultivation expansion in Illinois and Pennsylvania as well as strong sequential same-store growth. Cresco trimmed the net loss from $65 million in 2019 to $36 million in 2020.

“2020 was a remarkable year for Cresco Labs. We dedicated our resources to the most strategic markets, grew our leadership as the number one wholesaler of branded cannabis products, executed high efficiency retail, and generated substantial operating leverage as we scaled. We laid out our objectives at the beginning of the year and we executed on what we set out to accomplish, resulting in the largest year-over-year revenue growth among tier one MSOs,” said Charles Bachtell, Co-founder and CEO of Cresco Labs. “In 2021, cultivation expansions are underway and we are executing accretive M&A as we repeat our playbook in more states. Our best-in-class execution was on display in 2020 and it’s what you can expect from Cresco Labs for years to come.”

The company is on solid ground financially with current assets at the end of December at $361.8 million, including cash and cash equivalents of $136.3 million. The company had a working capital of $167.1 million and total debt, net of issuance costs of $184.5 million.

Acquisitions

Following the end of 2020, Cresco has been busy building its cannabis empire with numerous acquisitions. In January 2021, Cresco agreed to buy Bluma Wellness Inc. (OTCQX:BMWLF), a vertically integrated operator in Florida. On February 16, 2021, the company closed its acquisition of four Ohio dispensaries previously operated by Verdant Creations, LLC and its affiliates. On March 18, 2021, Cresco said it would acquire all of the issued and outstanding equity interests in Cultivate Licensing LLC and BL Real Estate LLC, a vertically integrated Massachusetts operator.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtMarch 25, 2021
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9min7490

Word came out of Albany late Wednesday afternoon that legislators had reached an agreement on the language of legislation regarding the legalization of adult-use cannabis. There are two competing bills for the law – the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (CRTA) and the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). The word is that the bill that was agreed upon included the contentious home grow issue, delivery, social consumption, and the removal of the license auction. However, there is no confirmation on the actual language that was included which could receive a vote next week. It is expected that it will take at least one year before sales can take place.

“I believe New York is the progressive capital of the nation—not just because we say it is but because we perform that way. And legalizing cannabis is this year’s priority to be the progressive capital of the nation,” Cuomo said in a briefing with reporters on Wednesday. “We won’t be the first, but our program will be the best.”

The legislation will still need to be written into the budget and it could still be changed and be rewritten. “It is my understanding that the three-way agreement has been reached and that bill drafting is in the process of finishing a bill that we all have said we support,” state Senate Finance Committee Chair Liz Krueger told Bloomberg Government on Wednesday.

Medical marijuana is already legal in New York, but this legislation would legalize recreational cannabis use for adults 21 years old and up. Krueger said that there would be a 13% sales tax, 9% of which would go to the state and 4% to the localities. Distributors additionally would collect an excise tax of as much as 3 cents per milligram of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, with a sliding scale based on the type of product and its potency.

One of the biggest issues holding back negotiations was the ability to grow cannabis in the home. The rumor was that six plants per person would be allowed with 12 plants per household. Home grow wouldn’t begin until 2024. Another issue is that localities would be able to deny delivery, retail and home grow.

Krueger also said that there would be no changes would be made to the taxes already imposed on marijuana sold for medical purposes. Some of the additional  discussed aspects of the law included:

  • The state Health Department would be required to study devices that are supposed to test saliva to determine if a person is impaired from marijuana, though there’s skepticism among lawmakers about the effectiveness of such technology.
  • Police would be allowed to use the odor of cannabis to identify impairment, though they could not use it to justify a search a vehicle.
  • Driving while impaired from marijuana would result in a violation, rather than a misdemeanor. However, that component may be further revised before the final bill is released.
  • The state’s existing medical cannabis program would also be changed to expand the list of qualifying conditions and allow patients to smoke marijuana products. Patients could also obtain a 60-day, rather than 30-day, supply.

The governor’s office estimates that a legal cannabis program could pull in about $350 million a year once fully implemented. Existing medical dispensaries could add four additional sites under the proposal, two of which would have to be in underserved areas, she said. Registered medical marijuana organizations would be able to add two adult-use dispensaries, Krueger said.

Matt Hawkins, Founder and Managing Partner of cannabis-focused PE firm, Entourage Effect Capital said, “Great news that a three-way agreement for adult-use cannabis has been reached in the state of New York. This potential $2.5B marketplace will have a similar monumental impact on the industry as California’s adult-use passage in 2016. We at Entourage Effect Capital look forward to investing in the state upon legalization.”

Many believed that the language from the MRTA was the predominant language in the negotiated bill. The social equity issue looks to be addressed in the creation of a fund versus specific licenses, but that could still be changed.

The MRTA:

  • Under the MRTA there are still two arrestable offenses: sale to a person under the age of 21 and the unlicensed sale of over a pound of marijuana.
  • The MRTA establishes 21 as the legal age of use for marijuana and marijuana products.
  • The MRTA establishes the Bureau of Marijuana Policy to assume regulatory responsibility of the marijuana industry. The Bureau will be housed within the existing State Liquor Authority and will undertake the similar purpose of providing oversight, promulgating regulations, and issuing licenses.
  • Under the MRTA, individuals over the age of 21 are allowed to cultivate up to 6 plants at home and retain the fruits of those plants.
    People who have been convicted of low-level possession (including possession in public view) and low-level sale will have that conviction vacated from their record.
  • Under the MRTA, the Bureau of Marijuana Policy will award licenses to produce, process, test, dispense, distribute, and deliver marijuana.
  • The MRTA restricts vertical integration to provide the maximum amount of space for new companies to develop and contribute to a New York-focused market.
  • Tax revenue will be used to conduct studies analyzing the impacts of marijuana legalization on public health, public safety, youth use, the state economy, the environment, and on the criminal justice system. Additional funds will be distributed to study the efficacy of New York’s regulations and their success in ensuring diversity and inclusion in licensing
  • The MRTA does not touch the Compassionate Care Act and the medical marijuana program that it established

The CRTA:

  • The CRTA would establish the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) within the Division of Alcohol Beverage Control. The OCM would be governed by a five-member Cannabis Control Board, appointed by the governor, to oversee the adult-use, medical, and cannabinoid (CBD) hemp industries. Under the governor’s proposal, the governor would appoint all five members and the chair, who would also serve as the board’s executive director.
  • The CRTA removes delivery licenses and mandates that cultivators and/or processors wholesale adult-use products through licensed distributors.
  • The CRTA mandates the OCM to establish a Social and Economic Equity Plan (the Equity Plan) that “actively promotes racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in the adult-use cannabis industry and prioritizes applicants who qualify as a minority and women-owned business, social equity applicant, or disadvantaged farmer and which positively impacts areas that have been harmed through disproportionate enforcement of the war on drugs.”
  • The CRTA sets forth a local opt-out provision whereby all counties and cities with a population of 100,000 or more residents would have the opportunity to pass a local law, ordinance, or resolution by a majority vote of their governing body to opt out of the adult-use cannabis program. Local governments that participate in the adult-use cannabis program will be able to further regulate the time, place, and manner of cannabis operations through zoning powers.

Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtMarch 24, 2021
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MariMed, Inc. (OTCQX: MRMD) reported financial and operating results for the three and twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2020, after the market closed on Tuesday. MariMed’s cannabis revenues increased 292% in the fourth quarter to $20.4 million versus $5.2 million for the same time period in 2019. 

Core cannabis revenues increased 207% to $50.9 million in 2020 versus $16.6 million in 2019. The company attributed the increase to the full-year consolidation of Illinois and the results from Massachusetts which began operations in December 2019. MariMed’s revenues also benefited from the robust adult-use markets in both of those states as well as the growth of our managed cannabis businesses in other states.

The net income for 2020 was $2.4 million for the quarter versus a net loss of $81.9 million in 2019. Excluding the net impact from the one-time hemp seed sales in 2019, the 2019 net loss was $30.8 million. The profit improvement results primarily from the consolidation of the company’s operations in Illinois and Massachusetts.

“This was an exceptional year for MariMed as we accomplished several important milestones while making significant progress executing on our strategic growth plan. In 2020, we achieved record revenue and saw improvements in profitability resulting from the inclusion of consolidated revenues from our Massachusetts and Illinois businesses.  Revenue and profitability also benefitted from the continued success of our Branded Products which remain top sellers in their respective state markets.” said Bob Fireman, CEO of MariMed. “With the Hadron financing, we have strengthened our balance sheet and secured the necessary capital to further execute on our consolidation strategy and position ourselves for accelerated growth in the industry.  We have improved our liquidity and capital resources and are profitable and tracking to continued revenue growth from the established businesses we have in place.  We intend to continue to implement our strategic plan to acquire and consolidate the businesses we organically built into our public company and are poised to become one of the leading fully integrated and profitable multi-state operators in the cannabis industry.”

Outlook

MariMed is initiating the full year 2021 revenue guidance of $100 million and EBITDA guidance of $30 million. the company said in a statement that over the last year it anticipates accelerated growth in 2021 driven by adding additional dispensaries and continued focus on consolidating key assets under management as well as facility expansion in Delaware and Maryland. In addition, MariMed said it will expand the licensing of its branded products into other states.

“In Massachusetts, we plan to identify and open two new dispensaries servicing both the medical and adult-use markets and the fourth dispensary in Illinois servicing the adult-use market. Growth will also result from having a full year of production from our New Bedford, Massachusetts facility. Additionally, the Company is reviewing plans to double the size of the New Bedford facility through expansion into the 65,000 square foot adjacent company-owned property, as well as further technology upgrades and expansion of extraction labs and production kitchens.

In Delaware, we are expanding cultivation and processing facilities.to meet the strong demand in that state. In Maryland, we will focus on cultivation and processing expansion and are currently receiving bids for the buildout of a dispensary facility in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, which we intend to open during 2021.”


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtMarch 23, 2021
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TerrAscend Corp.  (OTCQX: TRSSF) reported financial results for its fourth quarter and year ending December 31, 2020. Net sales for TerrAscend increased 152% to $65 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, as compared to $26 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. Net sales increased 28% sequentially. The net loss for the fourth quarter of 2020 was $109 million, largely impacted by a net increase in fair value of warrant and derivative liability of $124 million and a revaluation of contingent consideration of $5 million.

For the full year of 2020, the company reported net sales of %198.3 million versus 2019’s net income of $84.9 million. The net loss was trimmed to $154 million for 2020 versus 2019’s net loss of $219 million. TerrAscend said it continued to expand organically through an increase in cultivation capacity in Pennsylvania and California, the first sales into the New Jersey market, the continued growth and ramp-up at its three retail stores in Pennsylvania as well as two new store locations in California.

“In Q4, we drove strong revenue growth, margin expansion and cash generation by focusing on operational excellence, disciplined cost control, and effective allocation of capital,” said Jason Wild, Executive Chairman of TerrAscend. “I’m pleased to see how our team has executed in the quarter.”

Mr. Wild added, “Looking at our growth plans for 2021, we are well-positioned to continue our momentum.  The business is firing on all cylinders and we are only now just beginning to realize the benefits of our recently completed investments.  Sales from facility expansions in PennsylvaniaNew Jersey, and California are just starting to come to market, our acquisition in Maryland is expected to close imminently, and two additional retail stores are set to open in New Jersey .”

Outlook

TerrAscend said in a statement that it is raising its full-year 2021 guidance to exceed the high end of previously communicated ranges.  Additionally, the company is converting guidance into US dollars due to the anticipated change to USD reporting currency from CAD in the first quarter of 2021. TerrAscend expects full-year 2021 net sales to exceed $290 million and Adjusted EBITDA to exceed USD $122 million. TerrAscend said its 2021 outlook is driven by the company’s emphasis on organic growth through expansion in high-quality, limited license markets while continuing to maintain tight control on costs.

New Jersey

The company has big plans for the state of New Jersey. It received a permit to dispense medical cannabis at the first New Jersey dispensary in Phillipsburg. The company completed its second phase of the New Jersey 140,000 sq ft cultivation and manufacturing facility. It received a permit in New Jersey allowing for processing, extraction and manufacturing of cannabis products.

Sales from the Company’s 40,000 square foot greenhouse and 80,000 square foot indoor cultivation facilities are expected to ramp throughout 2021. TerrAscend’s Phillipsburg, New Jersey dispensary will achieve its first full quarter of sales in the first quarter of 2021 and the Company plans to open two additional dispensaries in the state in the second quarter and third quarter of 2021.

CEO Is Out

TerrAscend also announced that Jason Ackerman is stepping down from his role as CEO and Executive Chairman of the Company effective March 23Jason Wild, current Chairman of the Board, will assume the position of Executive Chairman with the senior management team reporting directly to him.  Additionally, Ed Schutter, current board member, has been appointed Lead Independent Director.

“On behalf of the entire team, I’d like to thank Jason Ackerman for his contributions as CEO and Board Member during his time with TerrAscend,” said Jason Wild, Executive Chairman. “Unfortunately, there were differences in philosophy over management style and culture, and the Board and I decided it is in the best interest of the company for us to part ways. We wish him the best in all his future endeavors.”

Richard Mavrinac, board member commented, “As the only TerrAscend Board member who pre-dates Jason Wild’s start as Chairman and lead investor in 2017, I have witnessed firsthand how he has shaped and grown TerrAscend into the innovative and profitable multi-state operator that it is today. With an extremely talented team in place and some of the best operational assets in the industry, I have every confidence that Mr. Wild will continue to lead the company to exciting new heights in his new and expanded role as Executive Chairman.”



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