Recorded at the Accelerate Cannabis event in Newark NJ.
Debra Borchardt, Editor, GMR
Slang and Organa Brands just recently did a merger/acquisition. How is it?
Chris Driessen, President, Organa Brands
Oh, it’s been great. It’s been great. It’s been an absolute dream come true. So Slang acquired Organa Brands, so now we’re part of Slang, and it’s been awesome. Our partners, Billy Levy and Peter Miller are great capital markets guys, a lot of experience coming out of Canada, plugged in with us, obviously on the cannabis distribution side, and so far it’s been a match made in heaven.
Borchardt: Now, Organa was already killing it. You guys did over $100 million in sales since 2014, so already a really strong company. What is Slang going to do for you at this point?
Driessen: You know, the ultimate reason we decided to go public and move forward with the transaction, when you looked at what was happening in Canada, and the multiples on these businesses, we really had an honest conversation between myself and my partners to say, “Gosh, we could run the best cannabis business in the world, and you’re just not going to be able to keep up with what’s happening in the public markets.” It was also something that gave us a lot of trepidation, because it’s something we knew little, if nothing, about. So we wanted to identify who was likely going to give us the best opportunity at success in that world. We were very confident, obviously, in what we do, and getting merged up with the partners we did, and Peter and Billy, as I said, it’s just been … it’s been great. It just allowed us really to capitalize yourself to execute on a strategic growth plan and continue expanding our empire.
Borchardt: And, you just signed a deal with Trulieve which is going to get you guys into Florida. So, this seems like a really great combination, because Trulieve already their flag planted in Florida, and you guys have the product, so …
Driessen: Yeah. They are the 800-pound gorilla in the room in Florida. They have, according to the Department of Health, a 60+% market share. And as you know, we go and we really do a lot of due diligence in vetting on our partners when we want to enter into a relationship, and over time it was just clear that their culture, their vision for the Florida market, the infrastructure, just the passion they share for bringing products to the patients in Florida really aligned with what we were trying to create. So it just seemed like a great fit, and over time I think that’s going to bear itself out.
Borchardt: So, do you have any new products on the pipeline, for Organa?
Driessen: We do. We’ve got a lot of fun stuff lined up for this year. One of the newest things that we’re going to be releasing is actually the week after next is the new reiteration of our reserve line. It’s a botanical and terpene-based value-based cartridge. Craft Reserve does great cannabis-derived dominant market share in pretty much every market we’re in. What we’ve identified is that there’s a huge section of the population out there that, you know, wants a quality product at a great price. So being able to provide that to patients and consumers everywhere is something we hold near and dear to us, and I feel really good about it. It’s a winner of a product.
Borchardt: Absolutely. With taxation so high in so many places, it’s really important for the cannabis companies to recognize that for the consumers that are already going to have to have this added expense on top of their purchase.
Driessen: Yeah, no doubt about it. We spend a lot of time segmenting out our products into different tiers, and then obviously doing different pricing segmentation within those tiers. But it’s all about the business of how do I match you up with the best product for what your individual situation is, and we do a pretty good job of that.
Borchardt: Alright, well, I’m excited. I can’t wait to see this new reserve product.