Editor-in-Chief

Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJuly 21, 2020
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5min1240

Organigram Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: OGI) (TSX: OGI) reported its third-quarter net revenue fell to $18.0 million from last year’s $24.8 million for the same time period ending in May. The net loss increased 783% to $89.8 million from last year’s net loss of $10 million.

“Since the onset of the global pandemic, the priority for us has been protecting the health and safety of our employees,” said Greg Engel, Organigram CEO. “This prioritization led to a significantly reduced workforce which contributed to a number of product launch delays, including our initial large format value offering, which affected opportunities to potentially capture significant market share and sales in dried flower, the largest product segment of the recreational market. Since then, we have launched a number of new products and line extensions with more to come. Furthermore, we believe we have right-sized our workforce and even before doing so, we were able to generate positive cash flow from operations in Q3 2020 as we continue to remain focused on building a business that delivers an attractive return on investment for shareholders.”

What Went Wrong

The company noted that several things went wrong which led to the drop in revenue. Organigram said in its statement, “Lower flower sales volumes and a lower average net selling price driven by increased competition and as the large format dried flower value segment of the recreational market grew in Q3 2020 while there was a delay launching Organigram’s large-format value product due in part to a reduced workforce from COVID-19 and earlier delays in packaging material and equipment.

Fickle customer preferences resulted in returns and price adjustments on the slow-moving aged products to the tune of $3.0 million was recognized during the third quarter. Write-offs of excess and unsaleable inventories of $19.3 million, of which $11.9 million was related to excess trim and concentrate. The company also took a $2.7 million in inventory write-down to net realizable value to reflect the declining price.

The third quarter resulted in a negative gross margin before fair value changes to biological assets and inventories of $26.4 million compared to positive $12.3 million in Q3 2019.

Organigram cut its workforce by ~25% or ~220 employees in June. However, it took $7.9 million in charges related to a reduced workforce due to COVID-19 comprised of $5.0 million in plant culling, $2.0 million in unabsorbed fixed overhead as a result of lower production volumes, and $0.9 million mostly related to lump-sum payments paid to temporarily laid-off workers.

New Value Products

Organigram had already planned to launch new value products and it seems those items are now on the shelves. The value segment strategy includes dried flower offerings launched in larger format sizes of 7g and 15g under the Trailblazer brand in mid-July 2020. The Trailblazer value brand offers higher THC levels versus what was offered when originally launched near the start of adult-use cannabis legalization, at a competitive price point such that the company believes it has the ability to compete in the growing large format value segment of the market.

The company said it expects to start shipping new core strains with higher potency THC during Q4 Fiscal 2020 and began rolling out further line extensions, including new size formats and three-pack pre-rolls of its most popular strains, such as Limelight and Blue Velvet, in June 2020.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJuly 21, 2020
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3min1540

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (CSE: CURA) (OTCQX: CURLF)closed on a C$34 million offering that was announced on July 2, 2020. The company said proceeds of the offering will be used to fund Grassroots’ high-return expansion projects, replenish its working capital as well as for general corporate purposes.

Joseph Lusardi, CEO of Curaleaf, said, “Our successful completion of this private placement further strengthens Curaleaf’s balance sheet and provides additional flexibility to support our future expansion initiatives as we look to extend our leadership position in the fast-growing U.S. cannabis market.”

Deal Terms

The company said in a statement that under the initial tranche, subscribers purchased an aggregate of 3,541,429 subordinate voting shares of the Company at a price of C$7.70 per Subordinate Voting Share for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately C$27,269,003.  Subsequent to setting the initial tranche, the Company secured a second tranche investment, which is part of the Offering closing today.  Under the second tranche, a subscriber purchased 842,269 Subordinate Voting Shares at a price of C$8.058 per Subordinate Voting Share for gross proceeds of approximately C$6,787,003.

In aggregate, the Offering generates approximately C$34,056,007 in gross proceeds for the Company in exchange for 4,383,698 Subordinate Voting Shares at an average price of approximately C$7.77 per Subordinate Voting Share.

Grassroots Acquisition

Curaleaf had announced in July 2019 that it was buying Grassroots or GR Companies Inc. in a deal valued at $875 million. The deal was to be made up of 108.8 million shares and $75 million at the closing which was expected in early 2020. “With the acquisition of Grassroots and the pending acquisition of Select, Curaleaf is the world’s largest cannabis company by both revenue and operating presence,” said Joseph Lusardi, CEO of Curaleaf. “With a combined 68 open dispensaries, this transaction significantly accelerates our expansion strategy and strengthens our reach across the medical and adult-use markets. In addition, it enhances the depth of our retail and wholesale platform across the country. By leveraging our scale, as well as our market-leading capabilities and expertise, we will continue to deliver value for our shareholders.”

The company currently operates in 18 states with 57 dispensaries, 15 cultivation sites, and 24 processing sites. Curaleaf employs over 2,200 people across the United States.

 

 

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJuly 20, 2020
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5min4330

GenCanna, one of Kentucky’s largest hemp companies, filed for voluntary Chapter 11 reorganization with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Kentucky earlier this year in February. One problem with GenCanna’s bankruptcy filing though was that MariMed (OTC:MRMD) was one of the largest shareholders in the company. It had a $34 million claim against the company sparking a battle over control of the company.

Last week, Law360 reported that MariMed lost a round over the efforts to gain control over the company. The website said that U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gregory Schaaf of Kentucky found MariMed had acted improperly when it attempted to replace members of GenCanna’s board of directors and force out GenCanna’s president and chief executive officer.

The Fight Begins

In any bankruptcy cases, debtors are first in line over equity holders. In the process of working through its bankruptcy, GenCanna made a deal to sell the bulk of its assets for $75 million. MariMed was against the deal and had its own plan to reorganize the company, but apparently couldn’t come up with the money needed for the plan. According to the Law360 reporting, the court records demonstrated that GenCanna went with the offer it had.

The court records said that MariMed’s president and chief executive officer Robert Fireman, who also sits on GenCanna’s board of directors, teamed up with another board member, Michael Falcone, to form a voting bloc controlling 52% of GenCanna’s parent company’s shares. The two apparently pulled GenCanna Chief Executive Officer Matty Mangone-Miranda, GenCanna President Steve Bevan, and one other member of the board of the parent company, and installed Fireman as chairman, according to court records.

The court filings stated that Fireman and Falcone appointed a new CEO of the parent company, and directed him to get the bankruptcy case dismissed. The new director of GenCanna USA’s board was told to develop a plan to liquidate the company within 30 days.

The ousted executives, Mangone-Miranda and Bevan asked Judge Schaaf to step in claiming MariMed’s actions violated board rules. The Judge agreed saying, “Using an equity position that has no chance of recovery to object to a settlement that is not even filed is an obvious attempt to exercise control over the case and enhance the creditor interests,” Judge Schaaf wrote. “Further, this also suggests clear abuse of the governance process that would warrant action in this court if an injunction was requested. For now, that analysis is not required.”

Basically, since the assets were sold, there is nothing left for the equity owners like MariMed. Since there’s nothing left for MariMed, they have no power to make these types of decisions at the company. GenCanna said it is in settlement negotiations with its senior secured lender and buyer to resolve claims from the committee of unsecured creditors. The settlement is expected to generate roughly $1 million, but the claims are much higher than that.

The assets were sold to New York-based MGG Investment Group, a private lender, and one of the company’s creditors.

GenCanna’s Pain Inflicted On MariMed

GenCanna’s bankruptcy filing also weighed on the shares of MariMed. In April, MariMed’s fourth-quarter 2019 financial results included a one-time charge of $30.2 million as a result of a write-off of its investment in GenCanna. CEO Jon Levine said, “Despite GenCanna’s Chapter 11 filing, we believe that it will emerge with a restructured capital and operational structure that will allow GenCanna to restore its position as a leader in the hemp industry. If this occurs, we believe there will be an opportunity for the value of the assets to be recaptured at a later date.  We expect to continue our strong relationship with GenCanna and jointly pursue opportunities in the evolving hemp industry.”

MariMed’s shares have dropped from 40 cents in February before the GenCanna bankruptcy and were lately selling at 13 cents.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJuly 17, 2020
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5min1940

1933 Industries Inc.  (CSE: TGIF) (OTCQX: TGIFF) reported that it has agreed upon a non-brokered financing of up to C$5,000,000. 1933 said that the offering will consist of the sale of up to 66,666,666 units at a price of C$0.075 per Unit. The offering is expected to close on or about August 14. The stock was lately selling at C$0.07. The proceeds will be used for ongoing business development and general working purposes.

1933’s CEO Paul Rosen said, “1933 Industries has the assets in place to build a self-sustaining and profitable business. Our new cultivation facility in Las Vegas is now running at full capacity and we have launched new hemp and CBD wellness products and opened up new sales channels, including through Amazon and Walmart. We have cut our public entity expenses by 68% and our non-operating expenses by 46% since November 2019, and we continue to move aggressively to control costs. This financing will strengthen our balance sheet and provide additional cash reserves to manage COVID-19 related uncertainty while we execute on our strategy.”

The company has two subsidiaries and controls all aspects of the value chain with cultivation, extraction, processing, and manufacturing assets supporting its diversified portfolio of cannabis brands and licensing partners. 1933 owns 91% of Alternative Medicine Association, LC (AMA), and 100% of Infused MFG LLC.

Brands include: AMA flower and AMA concentrates, as well as CBD-infused Canna Hemp™, Canna Hemp X™, and Canna Fused™ products. Partners under licensing agreements include: Birdhouse Skateboards™, Blonde™ Cannabis, Bloom™, Denver Dab Co., Grizzly Griptape, OG DNA Genetics, The Pantry Company, PLUGplay, and The Original Jack Herer®.

Wal-Mart

1933’s Canna Hemp announced earlier this week that it has made its products available for sale through the retail giant, Walmart.com. Walmart currently occupies one of the top spots in the hierarchy of online retail, as one of the largest online retailers for supplements and natural health products. Health products have been a major seller within Walmart.com’s online marketplace, and Walmart expects online sales to grow by more than thirty percent by the end of 2020.

“Walmart has been the next natural move for Canna Hemp, as the brand continues its expansion throughout 2020. Understanding the online marketplace and maintaining a stable e-commerce presence is vital for success in today’s web-based economy. Currently, Canna Hemp’s products are available through its website, cannahemp.com, as well as a host of other e-commerce sites, with more to come as the brand continues to grow.”

Deal Terms

Each Unit will consist of one common share of the Company and one half of one transferable share purchase warrant. Each whole share purchase Warrant will entitle the holder to acquire one Common Share at an exercise price of C$0.125 per share for a period of 24 months following the closing date of the Offering. The net proceeds of the Offering will be used to fund the Company’s ongoing business development and general working capital.

Each Warrant is subject to an accelerated expiry. If the closing price of the company’s common shares exceeds C$0.25 per share for a period of 10 consecutive trading days, the company may provide notice of acceleration, after which holders of the Warrants will be entitled to exercise their Warrants for a period of 30 days. All securities in respect of the Offering will be subject to a four month and one day hold period commencing on the Closing Date.

The company recently announced amendments to its convertible debentures, including the deferral of interest payments to the maturity date in September 2021 (refer to news release dated June 29, 2020).


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJuly 16, 2020
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10min6241

The dispensary credit card fraud scheme that has ensnared the delivery company Eaze is set to move forward.

In March, Ruben Weigand and Hamid “Ray” Akhavan were charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud over charges that occurred between 2016 and 2019. They are alleged to have created a bunch of fake companies to trick banks into processing credit and debit payments for marijuana products from legal sellers. The two asked the court to dismiss the indictment saying that no one was harmed in the scheme.

[The major credit card companies have refused to work with the cannabis industry as it is still federally illegal. This has caused major difficulties for retailers whose customers are accustomed to using debit and credit cards for most transactions. Numerous workarounds have been devised like installing ATM machines in dispensaries or creating a transaction where the buyer is making a debit transaction versus a credit card transaction.]

The two also argued that in addition to no one being harmed, “the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, a rider on a congressional appropriations bill that bans the U.S. Department of Justice from using its funding to prosecute businesses engaged in a state’s legal medical marijuana industry.”  Law360 has reported that “on Wednesday, the government said the amendment has nothing to do with charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. The allegations center on the pair’s efforts to mislead the banks, which is a crime no matter what industry is involved.”

“The indictment clearly alleges facts showing that the issuing banks maintained a property interest in the funds they used to settle credit and debit card transactions for their cardholders, and that the banks issued such payments as a direct result of the deceptive scheme outlined in the indictment,” the prosecutors wrote.

Eaze Not Named

Prosecutors said Weigand and Akhavan worked with executives at an online marijuana marketplace company to facilitate the sales, although they haven’t named the business. Eaze, an online company offering delivery from dispensaries, was the subject of a lawsuit last year that alleged it worked with Akhavan to utilize shell companies to process credit card payments.

While Eaze was not specifically named in the case by the prosecutors, only an unnamed online marijuana marketplace was mentioned, a connection has been made. Eaze was not charged in this case against the two.

The Eaze Connection

In a lawsuit filed in 2019, Herban accused Eaze of ongoing, pervasive criminal activity. It should be noted that this case was dismissed by parties in January 2020 according to Law 360. Eaze was not charged.

 To gain an unfair competitive advantage in the California cannabis delivery market, Eaze is directing,
coordinating, and participating in a scheme to defraud credit and debit card companies and financial
institutions into processing cannabis transactions in violation of a host of criminal laws, including
prohibitions against: (1) wire fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343); (2) bank fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1344); and (3)
criminal fraud (Cal. Pen. Code § 532). By running a business that avoids the constraint of California
and federal laws, Eaze has obtained an unfair advantage over its competitors, including Herban,
who have been harmed and continue to be harmed by Eaze’s ongoing criminal acts.
To perpetrate these frauds, Eaze created or partnered with Cyprus- and U.K.-
based shell corporations that purport to sell these seemingly innocuous products but in fact exist
solely or primarily for the purpose of misrepresenting the nature of the underlying transactions (the
“Eaze Shell Companies”).
Herban owned Chill, a group of former Eaze employees that split off to create a competing platform. Back in April 2019, the company DionyMed terminated its contract with Eaze and claimed that “Based on review by outside counsel, DYME could not confirm that the processing procedure meets California regulatory requirements.” The company said it was going to invest in its own delivery service called “Chill.” DionyMed through its dispensary store Hometown Hearts claimed that Eaze was using shell accounts to create fraudulent charges and payment processing, which was the excuse it needed to terminate a three-year contract.
Eaze countersued and claimed in its countersuit that Hometown Heart knew that the payment processors it accused of fraud, were its own processors, not Eaze’s. Eaze has said repeatedly, “It doesn’t process claims.”
In its customer delivery receipts, Eaze tells its customers that they will see the charge for their purchase through Eaze on their card statement, and that the charge will be associated with some entity other than the actual merchant from whom they purchased the product. The customer delivery receipts reflect an express promise by Eaze to submit false information into the credit and debit card payment system, which Eaze does, on information and belief, to ensure that the transactions are not flagged or caught by the Payment Card Companies as Precluded Activities.
The complaint went on to say:

Eaze worked with an individual named Hamid “Ray” Akhavan (“Akhavan”) in an effort to restart credit and debit card processing on the Eaze Platform. Eaze directed several cannabis dispensaries, including some of its largest partners, to

meet with Akhavan in Calabasas, California regarding a new credit and debit card solution. In or around March or April 2018, at Eaze’s direction, representatives from various dispensaries attended the meeting with Akhavan in Calabasas (hereinafter the “Akhavan Meeting”). On information and belief, when the representatives for the dispensaries arrived at the meeting
location, Akhavan’s ostentatious purple Lamborghini was parked outside.

Are The Dispensaries Guilty?

Eaze quit accepting payments of this nature in mid-2019. However, the allegations don’t end because the transactions ended. The dispensary owners are no doubt nervously watching the outcome of this case. They could also be dragged into this for committing bank fraud. The case uses the term “conspiracy,” indicating that it isn’t just these two and that others could be involved. If the dispensary owners knew that Vias and Mastercard would not accept payments for cannabis transactions and they still pursued a scheme that managed to make that happen, are they guilty?
At least while cannabis foe Attorney General Bill Barr is at the top of the Department of Justice, the dispensaries are probably right to be worried. Some dispensaries tried to back out of the Eaze deal and were refused by Eaze who told them they had to meet certain volume goals.

In a statement, Eaze said the company is aware of the case and is “fully cooperating with the relevant authorities. Eaze transitioned to supporting new payment systems over a year ago, and this matter does not impact the current customer experience.”

 

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJuly 14, 2020
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5min4262

Mydecine Innovations Group Inc. (CSE: MYCO) (OTC: MYCOF) has entered into an agreement to buy Canadian-based NeuroPharm Inc. in a deal valued at roughly $6.3 million. NueroPharm is a  developer of natural psychedelic-based treatments for mental health disorders. Mydecine recently signed an agreement with Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation (API), a translational commercial drug institute at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences as it makes fast progress in the psilocybin world.

Colonel (Ret’d) Pucci, CEO of NeuroPharm said, “Our mission is to develop and bring to market treatments addressing the mental health conditions frequently experienced by veterans, including PTSD, depression, and anxiety.  We understand the unique circumstances of the veteran community and are devoted to treating these substantial unmet needs.  Our collaborative partnership with Mydecine will accelerate our ability to address the enormous challenge of restoring the overall wellness in the veteran, EMS and frontline personnel communities.”

NeuroPharm said in a statement that it is focused on developing unique and proprietary technologies to treat various mental health conditions frequently experienced by veterans and frontline workers such as PTSD, depression, addiction, anxiety, and panic disorders as well as migraine and cluster headaches. The team is a combination of critically acclaimed scientists and military personnel boasting extensive drug development experience and deep, embedded relationships within the Canadian and U.S. militaries.

It has also established valuable partnerships with leading research organizations in both North America and the EU, and is poised to initiate a series of unique clinical trials this summer.  In conjunction with a preeminent university in the EU, NeuroPharm will be initiating veteran-based clinical trials for the treatment of PTSD with microdosed MDMA/psilocybin formulations.  This inceptive trial will serve as the basis for follow-on trials conducted in Canada and the United States. NeuroPharm’s veteran focus allows for fast-track “adaptive pathways” which should significantly reduce time to market.  

“According to recently published data, as many as 20 veterans on average commit suicide per day in the U.S. alone, and, to me, this is a heart-breaking staggering statistic that unfortunately is overlooked by so many. We owe everything to our veterans, EMS and frontline personnel, yet the best solutions for their long-term mental health are currently non-existent. Aligning ourselves with the amazing team at NeuroPharm affords us the ability to make a positive change,” said Josh Bartch, CEO of Mydecine.

NeuroPharm said it will oversee all areas of the product life cycle, including medical mushroom cultivation, drug delivery system development, clinical trial execution, all the way through to product commercialization. The acquisition will help establish Mydecine plant its flag in psychedelic-based therapies and research.

Deal Terms

Mydecine will give NueroPharm $500,000 when the deal closes and has agreed to fund further capital requirements of NeuroPharm for the 18-month period following closing. Otherwise, it is an all-stock deal. Nine million common shares of Mydecine at a deemed value of $0.70 per payment share will be exchanged with some limitations. The statement said that the Payment Shares issued for seed shares of NeuroPharm shall be subject to restrictions on resale for a period of 24 months from the closing of the acquisition, and will be released in four 25% tranches. The balance of the Payment Shares issuable to NeuroPharm shareholders shall be subject to restrictions on resale for a period of 60 days from the closing of the acquisition. 

Mydecine shall also issue 10 million performance warrants that will be provided to designated officers, employees, and consultants of NeuroPharm and will be paid in tranches when the following goals are met: (i) the successful completion of up to six clinical trials designed to study psilocybin in Veterans suffering from PTSD; and (ii) upon the filing by NeuroPharm of up to five patent applications in Canada and/or the United States relating to the business of NeuroPharm.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJuly 13, 2020
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3min4950

According to the state Department of Revenue data, Colorado’s cannabis dispensaries sold almost $192.2 million worth of marijuana products in May. the state reported $42.9 million in medical marijuana sales and $149.1 million adult-use cannabis sales.

Sales shot up 23% over April, which is typically the biggest month for sales due to the 420 holiday. That’s an 11% increase over the all-time high of $173.2 million, set in August of 2019. Denver County alone accounted for $43.9 million in sales.

The slump for medical cannabis seemed to be over as the category staged a comeback in May setting a monthly record. Sales for medical marijuana had been bumping along at $26.6 million in February prior to COVID-19. Then the lockdowns began and the quarantine’s started causing lots of nervous anxiety for the population pushing sales to almost $43 million in May.

Marijuana sales for 2020 from January to May have already reached $779 million. At this rate, the state is sure to top last year’s sales of $1.7 billion.

Tax Data

So far the state has collected $167 million in tax revenue in 2020 from January to June. If the tax collection remains consistent, the state could end up collecting roughly $334 million in taxes for 2020. This would also top 2019’s tax collection of $302 million.

Colorado depends heavily on the tourist trade for the state’s income. Many of the ski resorts had ended their seasons early when the virus began. Now the crucial summer season is underway. The state has encouraged in-state travel this summer as a way to help boost its hospitality industry. The state is running ad campaigns saying that there would be no quarantine efforts against travelers.

While indoor bars are still closed, many cooped up tourists are ready to have some active outdoor fun. The state offers so much in the ways of outdoor sporting activities that can be done with social distancing that many are opting to head to Colorado for fun and to escape depressive pandemic locations. Plus, a trip to the dispensary can ease that anxiety and make for a much better vacation.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJuly 13, 2020
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3min3060

 Jushi Holdings Inc. (OTCQX: JUSHF) announced $15.25 million in debt financing. To date, The company said it has received cash proceeds of $16.325 million and additional binding subscriptions, for a pro forma total issuance of $17.425 million of 10% senior secured notes and warrants to acquire a subordinate voting share. The company also received non-binding indications of interest for up to an additional $10 million of financing.

The money will be used for the cash portion of a previously announced Pennsylvania grower-processor permit holder transaction.  Last month the company said it was planning on buying Vireo Health’s (OTC:VREOF) Pennsylvania Medical Solutions in an effort to strengthen its position in the state’s market. Jushi was to pay Vireo $16.3 million in cash, a $3.8 million seller note, and assume a $17 million facility associated with a long-term lease obligation. The $37 million deal is expected to close by the end of August 20.

Debt Terms

The company said in a statement that all Notes would mature on January 15, 2023, and will bear interest of 10.0% per annum payable in cash quarterly. Jushi’s obligations under the Notes are secured by the assets of Jushi and certain of its subsidiaries (subject to certain exclusions) and are also guaranteed by certain subsidiaries of the Company and rank pari passu with the currently outstanding 10% senior secured notes of the Company.  In connection with the Offering, the purchasers of the Notes will also receive Warrants to acquire subordinate voting shares of the Company at 75% coverage with an expiry date of December 23, 2024, at an exercise price equal to US$1.25 (~CAD$1.70 as of 7/10/20).  The Warrants contain a cash-less exercise (net settlement) option available 12 months after issuance.

Jushi’s Chairman & CEO Jim Cacioppo subscribed for US$1.5 million of the Notes with other insiders and management subscribing for US$3.475 million of the Notes.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJuly 10, 2020
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5min3740

Law 360 reported that the Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission handed down hefty fines to three cannabis companies doing business in the state. 4Front Ventures Corp. (FFNTF) and Garden remedies were fined for using pesticides on plants, while Acreage Holdings Inc. (OTC:ACRGF) was fined for failing to disclose its relationship with two license holders.

4Front Ventures

4Front Ventures fined $350,000 settlement over pesticides used at its Georgetown, Massachusetts, facility. According to Law360, the settlement included a statement that 4Front Ventures admitted hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and other pesticides were used at the facility, which is not approved for use on marijuana. The commission reportedly said that the company received test results that showed the plants contained a banned pesticide in June or July 2019 but didn’t alert the commission until August. Company CEO Leo Gontmakher said the company has made changes to ensure the violations do not happen again. “Patients were protected and no one was harmed,” Gontmakher said.

Garden Remedies

A $200,000 settlement was reached with cannabis company Garden Remedies over its Fitchburg, Massachusetts, facility. Like 4Front, Garden Remedies also noted in its settlement that it acknowledged using unapproved pesticides and altering its financial records to hide the purchase.

Company CEO Karen Munkacy said in a statement that the company has fired the employees involved in the falsified documents and ended its relationship with the vendor that provided the pesticides in question.

“While the product we used is permitted to be used in cannabis cultivation in many other states and is not an externally applied pesticide that puts anyone in danger, it is not permitted in Massachusetts and the situation was mishandled,” Munkacy said. “The company and I will continue to strive to ensure that ethical and regulatory violations never again occur.”

Acreage Holdings

Law360 also reported that The Botanist, an Acreage Holdings subsidiary agreed to pay a $250,000 fine for failing to disclose its parent company’s controlling relationship with two medical marijuana licensees. Massachusetts had passed a law when its program was established that limited license holders to just three so that there would be no monopolies and more companies would share in the industry.

Acreage Holdings came under fire for bragging that it had numerous licenses in the state. The commission’s investigation found that Acreage’s contracts with two affiliate medical marijuana treatment centers in the Bay State gave it a controlling relationship over them. Despite the ruling, the commission can approve two provisional retail licenses for The Botanist Inc.

“We want to express our thanks to the CCC for their professional approach as we worked through today’s resolution,” Acreage general counsel James Doherty said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to focusing all of our energies on what we do best, which is deliver great products to the citizens of Massachusetts.”

It seems the original agreements had been entered into while Massachusetts had a medical-only program and the regulations at the time were not so specific about control and ownership. The commission went on to clarify the rules about ownership limits at which time the commission said Acreage should have realized it had too many.

The commission did state that The Botanist “cooperated with the commission’s investigation into ownership and control interests and engaged in good-faith efforts to comply with the regulations after being notified of possible control issues.”

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJuly 8, 2020
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5min4080

KushCo Holdings, Inc. (OTCQX:KSHB) reported that its net revenue dropped 46% in its fiscal third-quarter ending May 31, 2020. The net revenue of $22 million was also lower than what the company has forecast in March when it told investors that it would be roughly $30 million. Analysts according to Yahoo Finance had estimated that revenue on the low end would be $29 million.

The company attributed the drop to the adoption of the 2020 Plan, which meant tighter credit terms being extended to smaller customers. the company is focused on larger, more financially healthier customers.

In addition to that, the drop in revenue was also driven by lower sales from vape and natural products, as well as order lumpiness from KushCo’s larger customers. Compounding the quarter’s decision to tighten credit, COVID-19 caused travel and regulatory restrictions in the markets that the company operates.

Net losses increased to $13.5 million versus last year’s $10.6 million in the same time period for last year. The basic loss per share was $0.11 compared to $0.12 in the prior-year period. This also missed analysts’ estimates, which averaged at a loss of -$0.10.

Nick Kovacevich, KushCo’s CEO said, “We substantially reduced our cost structure, consolidated our vendors and warehouses, vastly improved our inventory to align with our actual sales, ramped up our collections activity, stemmed the cash burn, and drove meaningful operating leverage. Revenue for the quarter came in lower than we anticipated due to regulatory and travel restrictions in various markets in which we operate due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as order lumpiness from some of our larger customers who pushed out their orders due to a general lack of visibility in their businesses.”

The company said it finished the cost-cutting initiatives as part of the 2020 plan and as such the SG&A dropped more than 50% sequentially from $27.2 million in the second quarter to $12.7 million in the fiscal third quarter. The decrease was driven by reductions in headcount, executive salaries, consulting spend, and travel and entertainment expenses, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Despite the sequential decline in revenue, however, we have started Q4 on the front foot with a healthy level of purchase orders secured thus far, leading us to believe that Q3 will be the bottom in terms of revenue for fiscal 2020,” said Kovacevich. “More importantly, we continue to focus on the things we can better control, such as gaining more efficiencies in our business, significantly right-sizing the organization, and reducing our overall cash burn.”

Balance Sheet Moves

The company strengthened its balance sheet and liquidity by proactively converting 18.5%, or $5 million, of the total principal amount of the Company’s senior note due April 2021 into equity with limited dilution and zero warrants. Cash was approximately $11.1 million as of May 31, 2020, compared to approximately $11.4 million as of February 29, 2020, and $3.9 million as of August 31, 2019.

Looking Ahead

KushCo said it expects net revenue for the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2020 to be between $24.0 million and $26.0 million. In addition, the company said it expects cash SG&A to be between $6.5 million and $7.5 million, and adjusted EBITDA to be between ($1.0) million and $1.0 million.

“Looking ahead, we expect to realize revenue growth in Q4 not just by recognizing the customer orders that were pushed out, but also by signing additional supply agreements with our customers and focusing more on the areas that we believe we are good at, such as our core businesses of vape, packaging, and energy,” said Kovacevich. “We are also going to be focusing even more on controlling our costs and deploying a prudent capital allocation policy, so that we can continue to support the business with the cash and liquidity resources currently at our disposal. The end result of these efforts should lead to what could be a pivotal Q4 for KushCo, and one in which we can achieve our goal of positive adjusted EBITDA.”

KushCo stock moved higher by 10% on the day’s trading ahead of the earnings announcement and was lately selling at $0.82 . The average analyst price target is $2.50.

 



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