Floridians Stocked Up On Cannabis Ahead of Hurricane Ian

Third quarter gets a boost, but the fourth quarter might get pinched.

Florida operators that had to temporarily shutter last week amid Hurricane Ian’s wrath are coming back online, though some companies are still reeling from its violent landfall.

With the Sept. 30 cutoff date for the fiscal third quarter, some companies could see some additional padding to earnings reports, as patients throughout the state flocked to stores early last week to stock up on medicine ahead of the storm’s arrival.

Despite a slew of stores closing earlier than usual, a glance at the most recent weekly update from the state’s Office Of Medical Marijuana Use shows notable upticks in the amount of product purchased between Sept. 23 – 29.

Last week’s sales could stretch third-quarter earnings, while the subsequent closures may deflate fourth-quarter numbers a bit.

Trulieve, (OTC: TCNNF) the state’s largest operator, said that most of its 121 stores have reopened — though three remain closed in Cape Coral, Englewood, and Fort Myers South as of press time, according to its updated blog posts. CEO Kim Rivers said in a Monday tweet that the storm had “Zero impact to grows or processing.”

A spokesperson for Trulieve declined to provide more detail on damages retail stores may have sustained, instead pointing to the company’s website where it posts updates on store re-openings.

Verano president John Tipton told The Green Market Report that all of its MÜV employees have been accounted for and that its vertical operations are back online, with damage “limited to three dispensaries” in Cape Coral, Fort Myers Beach and Port Charlotte, which are still closed “due to the storm’s lingering impacts.”

“We are proud of our team for their exceptional efforts in the face of this challenging situation, and the company is providing support to employees who incurred damage to their homes or property as a result of the storm,” Tipton said. “Additionally, we will also make a donation to a Florida relief fund to support community recovery efforts across the state in the wake of this devastating storm.”‘

A Curaleaf spokesperson said that three out of its 52 dispensaries in the state will stay closed as of Oct. 5 “due to impact from Hurricane Ian.”

“All cultivation, processing and distribution facilities were able to reopen without delay after the storm,” the Curaleaf spokesperson added. “The safety and well-being of our patients and all team members is of the utmost importance to Curaleaf and we are working to support our Florida community in its time of need.”

Sevi Borrelli, vice president of retail in Florida for Ayr Wellness, told the Green Market Report that four of its 51 retail locations are still closed, but added that its Bonita Springs store will reopen on Friday.

“Thankfully, we sustained no damage to our Gainesville cultivation campus,” Borelli said. “In our effort to ensure medical marijuana patients have access to medicinal treatments, we are actively working to reopen our locations in Cape Coral, Port Charlotte, and Sebring once it is safe and compliant to do so.”

Borrelli also said that 700 of its employees in the state are accounted for, “and their safety will continue to be a top priority over the coming days and weeks.”

“Our hearts go out to our fellow Floridians who have been impacted by Hurricane Ian,” he added.

Surterra Wellness, which is owned by Parallel and controls 45 dispensaries in Florida, did not respond to a request for comment — though Surterra’s website says that three of its stores in North Port, Bonita Springs, and Ft. Myers are still closed.

The Green Market Report was greeted with an automatic response confirming the three closures when the outlet called Surterra’s Ft. Meyers store.

Cris Rivera, Florida regional president at Cresco Labs, said that two out of the five Sunnyside stores it had temporarily closed for the storm “experienced significant damage.”

“Hurricane Ian has made a devastating impact to the communities surrounding Bonita Springs and Cape Coral,” he said. “We were fortunate to have opened our Bonita Springs and Cape Coral dispensaries on Tuesday.”

As many local dispensaries remain closed, Rivera added, the company has seen “nearly three times the demand in our stores as patients are desperately trying to find a source for their medicine.”

“All of our team members are safe but many of their homes were severely impacted. Cresco Labs is working with them for short term housing, alternative payroll delivery and emergency pay to support our team members through this difficult time.”

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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