Florida Archives - Green Market Report

AvatarHeather AllmanMay 26, 2020
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15min9510

Reprinted with permission from Cannabis Law Report

10 Questions with Hannah Lewis, Senior Director of Operations, GrowHealthy in Florida

In April, in the midst of the current COVID-19 chaos, GrowHealthy bloomed under exceptional circumstances. This Florida dispensary has also flourished in Northwest Florida— but more on that throughout and in my endnotes.

With two new dispensaries open in Pensacola and Tallahassee, GrowHealthy is expanding its retail footprint and doing so using some innovative approaches. As announced by PRNewswire on April 8, 2020, GrowHealthy Expands to North Florida with Store Openings in Tallahassee and Pensacola, which are their first “Emerald Coast” locations:

With continued growth in the pipeline, GrowHealthy moves towards two-pronged expansion in Northwest Florida, with the openings of the brand’s first retail locations in Tallahassee and Pensacola. These dispensaries will allow patients within Florida’s panhandle access to premium quality cannabis products and expert brand representatives and resources.”

On April 26, 2020 Pensacola News Journal announced GrowHealthy opens new dispensary in Pensacola, offers curbside service: “What if businesses outside of food service also offered curbside services? What would that look like, and how would that open up even more opportunities for business growth? GrowHealthy, a new medical marijuana dispensary at 7817 N. Davis Highway in Pensacola, is poised to take on that challenge.”

On May 8, 2020, I had the opportunity to interview Hannah Lewis, Senior Director of Operations for GrowHealthy, Florida, and we discussed at length the brand’s newly opened stores in Tallahassee and Pensacola, its overarching mission, and its innovative patient programs implemented here in Florida.

CANNABIS LAW REPORT Q#1: Talk to me about your move into the Panhandle. Why choose Pensacola and Tallahassee in the Northwest Florida region as choices for the start of your planned 2020 retail footprint, a robust expansion that looks toward geographic growth with more than half a dozen stores planned through the first half of 2020.

In fact, in May alone, two additional stores opened in Cape Coral and Clearwater-Largo.

HANNAH LEWISThere is enough room in the Florida market for all of us and each dispensary and brand offers slightly different attitudes, products, and prices. Each brand has its own focus. 

We saw the need within our company for a large-scale logistics hub for our movement into the Northwest part of the state. GrowHealthy made its first move into the panhandle with the new 3,300 square foot retail space located in Tallahassee, Florida. 

The brand’s 14th dispensary in Pensacola will serve the patient population in the Pensacola area.

These two fledgling GrowHealthy locations serve perfectly to serve the continuously growing patient population of Northwest Florida. This is a population extending to the state’s vast veteran and aging patients who want quality, consistent products to be conveniently offered at an affordable cost.”

CLR Q#2: According to the brand’s website, “GrowHealthy has a state-of-the-art facility optimized with the tools and technology necessary to create all-natural medicinal treatments for patients.”

Sum up the GrowHealthy mission for me in your own words.

HL: To help people live their happiest and healthiest lives with high-quality medication. Also, we want to be advocates for self-health and alternative healing.”

CLR Q#3: You have set a precedent opening under these circumstances, and risen to the challenge indeed. You were the first brand to offer curbside pickup in the northwest Florida region and the only dispensary to offer same-day delivery in select areas. 

Please talk a bit about opening new stores under the current circumstances and offering only curbside delivery pickup at all of your locations

HL: “In medical cannabis, there is always room for a new approach, no matter the circumstances, and we’re up for the challenge. We decided to proceed with our planned location openings, simultaneously launching our curbside takeaway and our brand’s innovative new e-commerce platform.

We are striving to effectively shift storefront transactions to curbside or delivery via convenient online ordering.”

CLR Q#4: In what ways specifically are you shifting traditional in-store shopping to safer, contactless transactions?

HL: GrowHealthy is working diligently to ensure all patients are able to receive their medication while maintaining social distance by, as I mentioned earlier, shifting dispensaries to curbside takeaway or delivery only, removing any need for patients to enter stores. 

Products are available for call-in and online ordering via the new GrowHealthy site, which takes a quantum leap towards providing patients with the best online experience in medical cannabis. 

This new website and e-commerce platform offer numerous user-friendly experiences while providing patients with product details, including deeper insights and information about products, services, ingredients, THC levels, terpenes, and more. 

Patients can also easily place orders online for home delivery or curbside takeaway of products. In order to retrieve curbside pick-up orders, patients will call the dispensary to notify them of your arrival. When you are next in queue, a gloved staff member will step outside to accept payment and provide you with your purchased items.

Additionally, GrowHealthy offers free statewide delivery with no minimum cost of purchase.”

CLR Q#5: On that note, tell me about GrowHealthy’s new, free, rapid delivery program TrailBlazer™ that promises safe, same-day delivery via GrowHealthy.com? 

HL: “TrailBlazer™ is a fast, convenient, and transparent method for patients in need of rapid relief. We had our recent launch of TrailBlazer™ in Orlando where it is now being pilot tested, with plans to expand to additional markets soon.

TrailBlazer™ is an easy-to-use service that dramatically reduces wait times by delivering products to patients on the same day they order. No waiting for relief. No need to travel.”

CLR Q#6: Patient feedback on TrailBlazer™ so far?

HL: Patients loving the same day convenience, which is reflected in our 95% 5-star Patient Experience Rating.”

CLR Q#7: Your hopes for this store within the community, or what do you want to offer the Florida market that’s new or innovative?

HL: We want consistent, proven experience, taking our time, refining this process of rapid delivery through TrailBlazer™ before implementing it in all of our dispensaries throughout the state.

Systemwide, we are activating curbside first, then TrailBlazer™. The goal is not to be first but to be the best option for the location. The goal is effective, consistent medication when a patient needs it, not days later.

Once the state opens back up to normal in the future, after the COVID-19 crisis, we do have plans to interact with the various Florida communities we serve through collaborations with veteran groups, condition-based support groups, and other civic organizations.

We have plans to hold events that will teach medical cannabis education and awareness to patients and the public. GrowHealthy also plans on participating in various community events that help strengthen Florida and our patients.”

CLR Q#8: GrowHealthy offers a wide variety of medical cannabis products. You carry the popular, effective RSO and your limited edition Signature Blend Series.

What caught my attention was the distinctly tiered price structure, with lower prices and smaller product sizes being offered. Was this an intentional move?

HL: “Yes, that decision absolutely intentional. We wanted to offer trial sizes that are more individualized —not to play into a ‘new market’ but to offer patients economical variety to try for their condition. This gives our GrowHealthy brand a broader consumer base appeal due to both accessibility and affordability.

A healthy variety of size options and price points allows for patients to try a product for efficacy and consistency before purchasing a large amount.

Diversity is very important to us. The brand’s reasoning is that we can create loyal patients who benefit from lower price points and smaller product sizes while simultaneously garnering new patient interest— because all patients will have options and choices. Their health and wellness is back in their control. 

Again, there truly is enough room in the Florida cannabis market for a different approach and we are different.”

CLR Q#9: What specific goals does GrowHealthy have in mind for Florida’s medical cannabis program and registered patients?

HL: Partially, by eliminating waste for patients. We have tiered prices and varied sizes which equals no wasted money or additional expense for patients. They can purchase a smaller size, in milligrams, of our product at a lower cost to them. If the product works for them, the larger sized options are also available. 

Also, TrailBlazer™, our rapid/same-day delivery will equal no wasted time for patients who need fast, effective medical cannabis relief.”

CLR Q#10: Can you give me a future sustainability goal for GrowHealthy— what are your brand’s plans to reduce the collective cannabis [carbon] footprint?

HL: “An important future goal of ours is to reduce overall cannabis waste by moving to 100% paperless, electronic transactions, with all product educational materials and receipt put together and sent to the registered patient in one email or message notification.

That means no wasted trees and that’s a good thing for all of us, in Florida and beyond.”

CLR AUTHOR ENDNOTES:

¹ According to the Florida Office of Medical Marijuana’s Weekly Updates for May 2020, GrowHealthy has steadily improved sales throughout the state which has 14 medical cannabis licensees. Since opening the two Northwest Florida locations, GrowHealthy has drastically moved up in the Florida state dispensary ranking.

The latest figures show GrowHealthy’s product milligram sales are currently growing faster than other companies, such as Liberty Health Sciences and VidaCann. GrowHealthy ranked #8 on the interview date of May 8, 2020, but currently rank #5 as of the latest May 22, 2020 figures.

² iAnthus Capital Holdings entered the state of Florida market more than a year ago with the acquisition of GrowHealthy; they are publicly traded under OTCMKTS: ITHUFGrowHealthy Website.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtOctober 31, 2019
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Liberty Health Sciences Inc. (CSE: LHS) (OTCQX: LHSIF) reported net sales of $10,627,656 for the second quarter ending August 31, 2019, versus $2,219,290 for the quarter for the same time period in 2018. Liberty Health delivered net income for the quarter of $22,884,261, turning the corner over last year’s net loss of $5,605,355 and besting many cannabis companies that only seem to deliver net losses.

The company attributed the significant year-over-year increase in revenue to the opening of new dispensaries and delivery locations, as well as experiencing an upsurge in same-store sales volume and an uptick in the registered patient base for Medical Marijuana Use in Florida.

“The second quarter of fiscal year 2020 proved to be the largest sales revenue quarter in the history of our Company,” said Victor Mancebo, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Liberty. “Liberty’s continued growth directly ties to the strategic initiatives we have set in place, which has been increasing our Florida production, retail base, and delivery footprint along with expanding our product portfolio and brand partnerships. We continue to work on numerous marketing strategies that will complement our expansion plans and simultaneously provide our patients a more educational, personalized and accessible experience.”

Liberty said it was one of the first companies in Florida to rollout whole flower products in all of its dispensaries, Liberty has reached monthly sales, including smokable medical marijuana, of more than $4.6 million in August 2019. In the heat of the vape crisis, flower has become a consumer favorite. The company said it expects its sales to continue to grow steadily as it expands its dispensary footprint and product offerings. Those product offerings include  Liberty Health Sciences, Zentient, Pretty Pistil, Papa’s Herb, Mary’s Medicinal, PAX, Werc Shop, and Lemon and Grass.

As of August 31, 2019, Liberty said it had $23,884,434 of cash and term deposits. The company currently has 19 operational dispensaries.

In The Pipeline

Liberty finished construction on its new 387-acre state-of-the-art Liberty-360 facility comprising 300,000 square feet of greenhouse processing and production space resulting in the company being the lowest cost and consistent producer in Florida. The company has lease agreements in place for another 10 locations and is further negotiating another seven.

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtFebruary 19, 2019
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Fresh off its successful IPO, SLANG Worldwide (CNSX: SLNG) has formed a strategic partnership with Florida-based Trulieve Cannabis (OTC: TCNNF) to offer cannabis patients in Florida access to leading cannabis brands in Trulieve’s dispensaries across the state. As part of the agreement, Trulieve will have an exclusive license to SLANG’s extensive portfolio through its U.S. subsidiary, National Concessions Group, Inc. better known as Organa Brands.

Florida is quickly establishing itself as a significant cannabis market in the U.S.  The state has registered over 180,000 medical cannabis patients, a number that has tripled since 2017. According to the Florida Department of Health, Trulieve is responsible for consistently producing and distributing between 60% and 80% of cannabis in the state. The company has 24 dispensaries and home delivery available throughout the state.

“Great partnerships and collaboration are foundational to SLANG’s culture, scalability, and growth strategy,” said SLANG’s CEO Peter Miller. “Not only does Trulieve operate one of the most impressive cannabis cultivation and distribution businesses in Florida, they also share SLANG’s commitment to bringing leading cannabis products to consumers. Every year, SLANG products deliver millions of high-quality cannabis experiences to consumers around the world and, in partnership with Trulieve, we look forward to providing those same exceptional cannabis products to Florida’s patients.”

As a result of the partnership, SLANG will introduce the O.penVAPE, Bakked, District Edibles, and Magic Buzz product lines to Florida medical patients. The company said that the availability of edible products will be subject to regulatory approval by the Florida Department of Health. As part of the agreement signed by the two groups, SLANG will collaborate with Trulieve with regard to the production and distribution of the SLANG portfolio of products, offering in-house training to staff in preparation for production and distribution exclusively through Trulieve.

“SLANG operates with the same goals as Trulieve, working to expand patient access and create products that are high-quality, consistent, and reliable,” said Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers. “SLANG’s expansive portfolio ranges from vaporizer cartridges to edibles to concentrates, all products that will provide Florida’s patients with the effective, natural relief they’re seeking in ways that are innovative and fresh.”

According to an Arcview report titled the State of Legal Marijuana Markets, Florida is estimated to have 550,000 legal potential consumers by 2022. It is projected to reach $1.7 billion in legal spending by the year 2022. The report also stated that medical cannabis sales are expected to reach $456 million in 2018, up from $192 million in 2017.

 

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtOctober 23, 2018
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Ontario-based Scythian Biosciences (OTC: SCCYF) is selling its Florida operation called 3 Boys Farms and using that money to become a multi-state operator.

In July, Scythian sold its Caribbean assets to Aphria (OTC: APHQF)  in a deal valued at $193 million. Scythian spent $136 million to purchase CannCure Investments Inc, which is an Ontario-based company that is itself in the process of acquiring an interest in the Florida-based 3 Boys Farms, along with The Healthcare Organization. That deal was supposed to close on October 15.

Scythian is selling its 100% interest in 3 Boys Farms, which is a strictly Florida operation to Verano in exchange for $100 million of Class B units in Verano. In exchange, Scythian will receive a substantial stake in Verano which will open the company up to key markets, including Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Florida, and Puerto Rico, with additional states to be added in 2019. All part of the company’s expansion strategy. Only four states are operational at this time.

“Scythian delivers on its promise to investors by identifying and investing in the most impressive emerging cannabis company in the U.S. marketplace, Verano,” said Scythian Chief Executive Officer Brady Cobb. “Verano brings strong, efficient and expansive operations to numerous U.S. markets. Its customer-centric dispensary experience that is filled with its diverse and high-quality products (150 SKU’s), cutting-edge cultivation facilities, innovative processing techniques, and seasoned executive/management team will fast-track its standing to the top of the U.S. cannabis industry.”

Deal Details

Scythian is investing $88 million in Class B units of Verano as part of a larger brokered private placement of securities of Verano to accredited investors for an aggregate amount of $100 million. Clarus Securities Inc. acted as the sole agent in the financing. The deal is expected to close on or about October 26, 2018. According to the company statement, Scythian also entered into a membership interest contribution agreement between Scythian and Verano, under which Scythian will acquire the remaining 40% of 3 Boys Farms and, when completed, sell and convey its entire interest in 3 Boys Farms to Verano in exchange for $100 million of Verano class B membership units.

Verano

Verano Holdings is a national, vertically integrated operator of licensed cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and retail facilities. Verano develops and produces a suite of limited edition, fashion-forward cannabis products, which offer medicinal therapies and inspirational product options. It designs, builds and operates the Zen Leaf™ branded dispensary.

Facilities include:

  • Illinois: one cultivation and production facility and three dispensaries;
  • Florida: one cultivation and production facility and up to 30 dispensary facilities under current law;
  • Maryland: one cultivation and production facility and two dispensaries;
  • Nevada: one cultivation and production facility and one dispensary;
  • Michigan: licenses under development;  
  • Ohio: licenses under development;
  • Puerto Rico: licenses under development

“This transformative investment will fast-track our long-term goal to dominate the most important growth industry in the United States,” stated George Archos, Verano’s Chairman, and CEO. “Even with our accelerated growth, we will remain focused on our core values of operational excellence with an unwavering commitment to producing safe, quality cannabis products for a consistent experience.”

 

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtSeptember 7, 2018
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MedMen Enterprises Inc. (MMNFF) entered into a letter of engagement with Eight Capital to purchase, as co-lead underwriter and joint bookrunner, along with Cormark Securities Inc. as co-lead underwriter and joint bookrunner, and a syndicate of underwriters 13,636,364 units of the company on a “bought deal” basis at a price per Unit of CAD$5.50 for gross proceeds of CAD$75,000,002. The deal is scheduled to close on or about September 28.

In addition to the C$75 million, MedMen has agreed to an over-allotment option to purchase up to an additional 15% of the units at the same price. If this option is exercised, then MedMen will get an additional C$11,250,000 bring the potential total gross proceeds to roughly C$86,250,000 million.

MedMen said it plans to use the proceeds for continued expansion of its retail footprint across attractive cannabis markets, development of its cultivation and production facilities, working capital and general corporate purposes. MedMen currently operates 19 licensed facilities in California, Nevada and New York.

The money will also go towards the newly announced Florida acquisitions. MedMen said it had secured prime retail locations with long-term leases in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami Beach, West Palm Beach, St. Petersburg and Key West. This is keeping with the MedMen strategy of entering premium retail districts with high visibility and heavy foot traffic.

“Our entry into Florida through this acquisition demonstrates our growing national footprint as well as our ability to execute,” said Adam Bierman, MedMen chief executive, and co-founder. “Our real estate team is hard at work preparing to put MedMen branded stores in the most coveted locations in Florida – locations in highly desirable and defensible market areas with high foot traffic and proximity to popular brand retailers.”

Going into Florida won’t come cheaply. MedMen will pay $53 million, half of that in cash. The rest according to a company statement will come from an issuance of 8,549,132 common units of MM Enterprises USA, LLC, a subsidiary of the company, which by their terms are ultimately redeemable for Class B Subordinate Voting Shares of the Company starting on January 1, 2019. The LLC has paid Treadwell Nursery US$6,625,000 in cash as of closing date, September 6, 2018, and will pay the same amounts in cash on each of the dates that are three, six and nine months after the closing date.

Florida is quickly becoming a popular state among cannabis companies. It is the third most populous state in the U.S. with a rapidly growing medical cannabis market and large potential adult use market. The state has high tourist activity and is home to the largest elderly community in the nation. According to ArcView, medical cannabis sales are estimated to be approximately US$1.4 billion by 2021.



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