The much-anticipated Reverse Takeover for Harborside Health began trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange using the symbol HBOR on Monday. The plan to go public was originally announced back in August of 2018. At that time, Toronto-based Lineage Grow Co. said it would acquire Oakland-based FLRish – which manages Harborside’s retail and dispensary operations – in exchange for newly issued common shares of Lineage worth roughly 200 million Canadian dollars or $152.2 million.
Harborside was a pioneer in the medical marijuana world. It made the first legal cannabis sale in California and has been serving over 300,000 patients and generating over $400 million in sales since those early days. Harborside currently commands 3% of the entire CA retail market, which is by a landslide the biggest market in the country.
The company has previously completed a $26 million Series B funding round and a $14.6 million Series C. Founder Steve DeAngelo’s tireless, decades-long cannabis advocacy has made Harborside the most trusted and respected name in the game.
When Steve DeAngelo and Dress Wedding ( yes, his real name) founded Harborside in Oakland in 2006, they had the distinct purpose of providing patients with a safe, trusted source for high-quality medical cannabis products. The San Jose location is one of the first dispensaries in the city. In late 2016, the company acquired a cultivation facility in Salinas, allowing it to grow its own flower, which helped expand the product offerings and increase margins. The company currently employs 250 people in total and they are currently planning the expansion of Harborside locations throughout the Bay Area and eventually to San Leandro and more.
One issue clouding the IPO was the tax case that Harborside fought with the government over the 280e business deduction claim. DeAngelo said, “We did not seek this fight with the federal government, but don’t shrink from standing up for our rights and the rights of the cannabis industry when we think they are under threat. Our tax case began in 2009 when we challenged the right of the government to apply 280e to state-legal cannabis businesses. The case has wound through the courts since then, with wins and losses on both sides. Most recently, at the trial court level, the IRS won on the underlying judgment, while we won on the imposition of penalties.”
He went on to add, “We have appealed that ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, historically one of the most favorable appeals courts for cannabis cases. We hope for a better ruling there. No matter what, our intention is to pursue this case until we either win or all legal avenues are exhausted. Unless the IRS decides to voluntarily dismiss its case, that process is expected to take several more years.”