Emily Paxhia Leaves Ascend Wellness In Board Shake Up

Cannabis investment veteran Emily Paxhia has resigned from her post as board member of Ascend Wellness Holdings (CSE: AAWH.U) (OTCQX: AAWH).

The company on Wednesday said that Dan Neville, AWH’s interim co-CEO and CFO, as well as longtime investment strategist Joshua Gold, has been tapped to rotate into the board roster. Gold is a general partner of Boston firms Inverness LLC and Blue Flag Partners LLC. He served as a managing director at Jefferies & Co, as well as in various roles at Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns. Gold was also on the board of the San Diego cannabis boutique chain Urbn Leaf.

In a statement, AWH said that it would be reshuffling its board, “in connection with the company’s ongoing leadership transition.”

“On behalf of the Board and everyone at AWH, we would like to thank Emily for her contributions and dedication during her tenure here,” said former CEO and now executive chairman Abner Kurtin. “Emily was one of our earlier investors and has supported Ascend from the beginning. We wish her the very best in her continued leadership in the industry.” The company went on to say that Paxhia’s resignation letter indicated that her decision to resign from the Board was not the result of any disagreement with the corporation’s operations, policies, or practices.

The news comes weeks since the ex-chief was charged with battery after a witness told authorities that they saw him “striking” his girlfriend while they were parked in a car. Police arrested him later that day based on the witness statement and the marks officers observed on his partner’s head. State prosecutors decided to forgo pursuing criminal charges while Kurtin transitioned to a post as executive chairman of the board.

In a statement after the case dismissal, Kurtin thanked Miami Beach police and the “due process of law,” adding that the two “were involved in a verbal argument that was never physical at any point.”

Domestic violence charges can be dropped if there are questionable facts or if the victim decides not to pursue charges.

“I have apologized to her privately for my verbal actions, and we both moved on with our relationship in a positive manner,” Kurtin said at the time.

Mum was the word from the board of directors as the company launched an internal investigation into the circumstances around his arrest.

“As the company prepares to enter the next phase of its growth story, the board determined that now was the right time to initiate this transition,” the Sept. 6 statement read.


After the market closed on Tuesday, Ascend filed for an offering to issue  $100 million of shares. The use of proceeds is stated for general corporate purposes, but the company could use the money to make acquisitions. Currently, 36% of the common stock voting power is held by former CEO and Co-Founder Kurtin and the current interim Co-CEO Francis Perullo.

“While we do not have immediate plans to issue Securities under the Registration Statement or the Canadian Prospectus, we deemed it prudent to prepare ourselves to take advantage of markets should they evolve into a more accretive financing alternative,” said Dan Neville, Interim Co-CEO and CFO. “This filing allows us the flexibility to pursue additional financing opportunities should they become in the best interest of our shareholders.”

Adam Jackson

Adam Jackson writes about the cannabis industry for the Green Market Report. He previously covered the Missouri Statehouse for the Columbia Missourian and has written for the Missouri Independent. He most recently covered retail, restaurants and other consumer companies for Bloomberg Business News. You can find him on Twitter at @adam_sjackson and email him at adam.jackson@crain.com.

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