Dan Bilzerian Archives - Green Market Report

StaffMarch 20, 2023


The Daily Hit is a recap of the top financial news stories for March 20, 2023.

On the Site

Aurora Seeks to Dilute Shares as Cannabis Capital Raises Remain Scarce

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (Nasdaq: ACB) (TSX: ACB) asked Canadian regulators on Friday to approve a plan to $650 million worth of stocks, debt, and other financial products over the next two years. Read more here.

Bilzerian’s Ignite Faces More Trouble Over Documents

Instagram celebrity Dan Bilzerian and his cannabis-focused company Ignite International Brands are in hot water with the courts for not turning over documents in a contract dispute case. According to Law360, the company was told on Feb. 28 that it had 10 days to produce 65 documents, which it failed to do. Read more here.

Michigan’s Gage Cannabis Pinches TerrAscend’s Earnings

TerrAscend said it effectively overpaid for both Ferndale-based Gage Cannabis and Morenci-based Pinnacle Emporium as the value in the Michigan market plummeted due to product oversupply and increased competition. The publicly traded company (OTC: TRSSF) recorded a $332.5 million loss in 2022, largely due to $311.1 million in impairment charges tied to the acquisitions. Read more here.

Housing Works Launches Legal Cannabis Delivery in ‘Select NYC Neighborhoods’

The first licensed recreational cannabis retailer in New York has now added home delivery to its options for customers, albeit in only a handful of areas within New York City. Housing Works, the nonprofit that launched adult-use marijuana sales in December, began offering home delivery a “few weeks” ago. Read more here.

Mississippi Legislature Tweaks Medical Marijuana Program

Mississippi lawmakers this week gave final approval to a bill that, on its face, contains a number of business-friendly provisions that may make life easier for the state’s medical cannabis operators. House Bill 1158, which both chambers passed as of last week, heads now to Gov. Tate Reeves for his signature. Read more here.

In Other News


Businesses across the recreational cannabis industry in Oregon are facing some of the worst economic conditions since marijuana was legalized over seven years ago. The average price per gram of marijuana has fallen to $4, a record low according to a recent state budget forecast. Read more here.

IGC Pharma

India Globalization Capital Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) becan operating under the new name IGC Pharma Inc., effective March 30, as part of a rebranding strategy that better reflects IGC Pharma’s strategic focus and vision for the future. Read more here.

Debra BorchardtMarch 20, 2023


Instagram celebrity Dan Bilzerian and his cannabis-focused company Ignite International Brands are in hot water with the courts for not turning over documents in a contract dispute case. According to Law360, the company was told on February 28, 2023, that it had 10 days in order to produce 65 documents. Apparently, the company didn’t do so and now the courts are threatening once again that Ignite will face more severe sanctions like daily fines. The company was given another five days to produce the documents.

Law360 reported that on Thursday, “U.S. Magistrate Judge Elayna J. Youchah ordered Ignite International Brands Ltd. to turn over the 65 documents in question within five days of the court’s order and to pay the attorney fees and costs incurred by defendant Consulting By AR LLC in filing its motion to compel.”

For its part, Ignite says the documents are privileged. The company was asked back in August to turn over the documents, but the company objected. The judge, however, said the objection didn’t change the due date and the motion to stay the order had not been ruled upon.

Thursday’s order stated, ”

Ignite has refused to do an act the Court has twice ordered. While Ignite moved to stay the August 12, 2022 Order, as explained on February 28, 2023, no stay was granted and, thus, to this date, Ignite also failed to comply with that Order as well. Ignite has neither moved to stay the February 28, 2023 Order, nor has it objected to that Order. The Court
finds an order to coerce compliance is appropriate at this time.

Law360 did note that Kimberly P. Stein of Flangas Law Group, representing Ignite Spirits Inc., a subsidiary of Ignite International said on Friday that they believe the order is a mistake and the company has complied with the court’s prior order. It reported, “Ignite International filed an objection and appeal to the order on Friday, arguing that it had updated its privilege log as directed by the court, and that the court therefore does not have authority to find it in contempt and levy sanctions.”

Original Case

The trouble started when Ignite Spirits Inc. sued Consulting by AR in Clark County Court in August 2021 over an agreement with Resorts World Las Vegas. Ignite says that Consulting by AR had agreed to secure a contract with Resorts World which would purchase Ignite’s products. The products would be available at kiosks and at the bar. In addition to that, Resorts would host a launch party. However, Ignite claims that by July 1, 2021, no agreement had been reached and Ignite did not pay Consulting by AR. However, Consulting by AR claims the opposite happened. It says it had been the one to approach Ignite Spirits and managed to secure terms even more favorable than what Ignite Spirits had asked for.

SEC Case

The fight with Consulting by AR is only one problem facing Ignite, which seems to have trouble providing documents. Last year, the SEC announced it was investigating potential accounting fraud at the company. On May 20, 2022, the SEC staff issued and served a document subpoena against Ignite International. The company was asked multiple times to provide the requested documents, but like the above-mentioned case – failed to provide them. Ignite argued that the SEC’s investigative subpoena should be “stayed” because criminal authorities were conducting a separate investigation into the company.

The SEC complaint stated, ” Several categories of documents called for by the May 20, 2022 subpoena have never been produced, including, for the fiscal years 2020 and 2021: Respondent’s accounting records; any purchase orders, invoices, and other documentation related to sales of Respondent’s products; and Respondent’s communications with its auditor. ”

Ignite History

Ignite had been a publicly traded company using the symbols BILZ for the Canadian Securities Exchange and BILZF for the OTC Markets Group. The symbol took its lead from the company’s controversial leader Dan Bilzerian. However, the company went private in August 2022 as the company’s legal problems began. Bilzerian, a one-time professional poker player started Ignite as a company that sold CBD products and vapes. He has over 30 million followers on Instagram and he became famous for his Instagram photos featuring lots of guns and scantily clad models. He most recently posted a photo in December 2022 where he was in South America.

The company continues to sell its products and still features its muscled leader and bikini models on the website.

Debra BorchardtSeptember 1, 2022


Cannabis bad boy Dan Bilzerian and his company Ignite Brands (CSE: BILZ) have asked the Securities & Exchange Commission for a break while it faces criminal charges. The SEC has just said no and is now suing the company.

In a case filed earlier this week, the SEC is suing Ignite Brands Ltd. for failing to produce documents as it attempts to pursue an accounting fraud investigation. Ignite wants the investigative subpoena “stayed” as the criminal authorities conduct a criminal investigation. The SEC argues that just because the company is facing multiple investigations, it can’t ask the SEC to stand down. The SEC’s case exposed that Ignite confessed it it under a criminal investigation. 

According to the SEC case, “SEC staff have uncovered information indicating that Respondent may have filed public financial statements that include false or misleading representations regarding revenues earned and recognized in the company’s fiscal year ending December 31, 2020.” 

In May of 2022, the SEC told Ignite’s counsel that the company needed to provide certain documents. The company said it would comply by June 15, but then asked for an extension to July 15. On June 30, some documents were sent to the SEC, but it wasn’t everything they had asked for while the company described it as a meaningful start. 

According to the complaint, the SEC asked for documents relating to Ignite’s accounting policies on revenue recognition and other accounting issues; Ignite’s internal financial reporting; Ignite’s internal audit work papers; communications between Ignite and its external auditor on revenue recognition; Ignite’s sales forecasts and budgeting; Ignite’s general ledgers and journal entries for certain sales transactions; and the underlying sales documentation for Ignite’s revenue-generating businesses. Instead Ignite sent copies of third-party agreements for various services related to Respondent’s products, Board meeting minutes, and internal organizational charts.

Then Ignite asked for another extension to August 1 and ultimately, the SEC agreed to an extension to August 23. Instead of complying, Ignite asked for a pause in the investigation. The SEC’s response was to ask a court th force the company to deliver the requested documents. 

Troubled Background

Ignite was founded in 2017 by Dan Bilzerian who made a splash with his social media posts of beautiful sexy women, guns, and his own muscular frame. Bilzerian initially became known for being a winning poker player, but some claimed his winnings were embellished. According to Bloomberg, in July 2020, former Ignite president Curtis Heffernan sued Bilzerian for wrongful termination. Heffernan claimed that he was fired for criticizing Bilzerian’s misappropriation of company funds for his lavish lifestyle. Bilzerian spent a million dollars to appear in the film Lone Survivor and then sued the filmmakers because his screen time was cut from the agreed-upon eight minutes to one minute.

The company reversed course from being a publicly traded stock and went private as of August 29. The company said in a press release, “Ignite’s shares are thinly traded and offer little opportunity for liquidity for shareholders; b) the expenses of being a public company outweigh the benefits; and c) the proposed Consolidation provides shareholders, other than shareholders who will remain following the Consolidation, with a meaningful liquidity event that provides an opportunity to realize the value for their shares at a significant premium to current market prices.”

William SumnerApril 16, 2019


Advertising in the cannabis industry is difficult. In most U.S. states where cannabis is legal, rules regarding cannabis advertising are complicated and extremely restrictive. For example, in California, businesses can only run ads in areas where “71.6 percent of the audience is reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older.” The advertising landscape online is even far less forgiving. Most online ads platforms, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads, explicitly prohibit the advertisement of cannabis products.

In the absence of reasonable advertising regulations for the cannabis industry, many business owners have turned to a new and rapidly growing form of advertisement: Social Media Influencers.

What is a Social Media Influencer?

A social media influencer is a person that uses their large social media following (which can range thousands to millions of followers) to promote certain products or services. Outside of the cannabis industry, one of the most successful social media influencers is Kylie Jenner, who companies will often pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for single social media post promoting their product.

Does Influencer Marketing Work?

While some may balk at the idea of paying a person thousands of dollars to promote a product on Instagram, the numbers do not lie – influencer marketing works. Approximately 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations. Companies that use influencer marketing earn on average $6.50 for every dollar spent.  By 2020, the influencer market is expected to grow to $10 billion.

Why Are Cannabis Companies Turning to Influencers?

As alluded to earlier, advertising in the cannabis industry is difficult. Not only are advertising regulations for cannabis complex, but also traditional means of advertisements are expensive. Buying ad space on television, radio, or a billboard can cost companies thousands of dollars with little guarantee of success. In contrast, influencer marketing is loosely regulated (for now) and less expensive.

It is also easier to target specific demographics by relying on influencers that appeal to your core audience. Cannabis business owners may not know who is going to view their highway billboard, but they do know what kind of person is going to visit Snoop Dogg’s Instagram page.

Who Are The Leading Cannabis Influencers?

The question of who the cannabis industry’s leading influencers are is a topic for debate. Unlike other industries where the practice more prevalent, influencer marketing in the cannabis industry is still relatively new. Consequently, it is difficult to say who is the “top cannabis influencer.” However, there are at least a few cannabis influencers that stand out from the pack. Here’s five cannabis influencer that have turned their social media following into big business:

Seth Rogen

Comedian Seth Rogen has built a career off of starring in stoner comedies like Pineapple Express and This Is The End, so it is only natural that he would use his talent and fame to spread the word about cannabis. With 6.6 million followers on Instagram, Rogen might not be the world’s most widely followed celebrity, but he has built up a strong and loyal social media following. Hoping to capitalize off of his reputation as a cannabis connoisseur, Rogen and his fried/business partner Evan Goldberg have teamed up with the world’s largest cannabis company, Canopy Growth, to launch a new hemp and cannabis company called Houseplant. Understanding the power of social media, Rogen announced the brand by leaving a cryptic message asking people to follow the Houseplant’s Instagram page.

Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson at Planet 13 Cannabis Entertainment Complex. (CNW Group/Planet 13 Holdings Inc.)

Not content to be the World Heavy Champion of Boxing, sports legend Mike Tyson has dived headfirst into the cannabis industry. Like Seth Rogen, Tyson has leveraged his fame to turn himself into one of the industry’s leading advocate. Tyson has partnered with the upscale cannabis dispensary Planet 13 to be the exclusive launch partner of his 40-acre cannabis resort, dubbed Tyson Ranch. In addition to Tyson’s 7.6 million Instagram followers, Tyson has a popular cannabis podcast called Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson, which has close to 90,000 followers.

“Tyson Ranch, consists of a team with 100+ years of industry experience focusing on quality to make premium cannabis products. We are all about going the extra step to offer truly great cannabis. The Planet 13 Cannabis Entertainment Complex offers customers an ultra-premium cannabis experience that dovetails perfectly with Tyson Ranch’s belief that not all cannabis is created equally,” said Mike Tyson.

Dan Bilzerian

Dan Bilzerian, owner of the cannabis brand Ignite, is perhaps one of the biggest influencers in the cannabis industry. Often a polarizing figure within the industry, Bilzerian’s social media pages are filled with bikini-clad models in various states of undress, exotic locations, and more often than naught firearms. While some may characterize his social media presence as the epitome of toxic masculinity, with more than 26 million followers on Instagram, it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t have a strong following.

Bilzerian became one of the world’s most successful professional poker players, winning over $50 million in a single year. Despite not adhering to any social norms — and continuing to be unapologetically himself — he developed a reputation within the gambling community for always doing what he said he would do, a mindset that he’s carried with him into numerous investment opportunities, business ventures, and personal pursuits — creating an empire. Now, he’s dedicated to building a brand in the cannabis industry to live the Ignite lifestyle.


Big Mike

Michael Straumietis, also known as Big Mike, is the CEO of the cannabis fertilizer company Advanced Nutrients. Straumietis has built a career off of developing cannabis-specific nutrients and has leveraged that fame into an Instagram following of almost 3 million. Unlike Dan Bilzerian, Straumietis positions himself more as a cannabis thought leader than a globe-trotting playboy.

In 1996, BigMike took $25,000 he’d made from a small illegal grow in Temecula, California, snuck into Canada with a fake passport and built a growing organization 200 people strong. He then used his growing and business expertise to start his company, Advanced Nutrients. Today, Advanced Nutrients is the maker of the #1 selling cannabis-specific nutrient line in the world, with over $110 million a year in sales from 93 countries. Advanced Nutrients also lends seed money to individuals in developing countries who dream of starting a small business, but lack the means to do so. BigMike‘s charity Holiday Heroes feeds over 30 thousand people in need, each Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Charlo Greene

Charlo Greene is a former journalist turned cannabis entrepreneur that gained overnight fame after she announced live on television that she was quitting her job to pursue a career in cannabis. Greene is a somewhat controversial figure in the cannabis industry after running afoul of regulators in Alaska for launching eponymously named Alaska Cannabis Club. With approximately 214,000 followers on Instagram, Greene is what is called a “Micro-Influencer,” which is someone that has a small but dedicated social media following. Nevertheless, Greene has carved out a niche for herself in both the cannabis industry and the wider entrepreneurial community.


The world of cannabis influencers may still be new, but it is rapidly developing. Even if cannabis advertising regulations relax over the coming years, don’t expect cannabis influencers to go away. Influencer marketing is an incredibly powerful form of advertising, regardless of the industry.


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