Maryland Archives - Green Market Report

Debra BorchardtJune 6, 2022
blair-sign.png?fit=444%2C297&ssl=1

7min1370

Maryland cannabis dispensary company Blair Wellness Center is firing back at a disgruntled worker’s allegations according to a report on Law360. The court document filed on 6/2/2022 in the United States District Court in the District of Maryland is counter-suing former employee Kamille Jones.

Jones was employed by Blair Wellness from October 21, 2019, to November 5, 2020. Blair says that during the pandemic, it decided to restructure its business and eliminated Ms. Jones’s job as assistant inventory manager, but offered her a similar job and payment. Blair says that Jones wasn’t happy with the new job offer and began public complaints about the company. They say in their complaint, that Jones, “contacted Jazz Baker, a publisher of a cannabis blog called “Black Cannabis Matters” concerning the operations of Blair Management and Blair Wellness and concerning Mr. Blair including that: (i) in a couple of cases black managers were fired without cause;( ii) it was likely that black managers were fired because Mr. Blair suspected that they were supporters of a recent unionization effort at Blair Wellness and more.” She went on to complain that black employees were talked down to, expected to work for free in short-staffed hours, and were exploited.

Jones sued Blair Wellness and then Blair asked for the case to be dismissed. However, a judge denied the dismissal saying Jones had pointed out multiple instances of discrimination as well as pointing out a white employee who was in a similar situation but was treated better.

Workplace Theft Alleged

Blair says in its complaint that after Jones began talking publicly and negatively about the company, it rescinded its employment offer. The company also said it was going to offer her a severance package, but an audit determined she and other employees had been buying medical cannabis, but grossly undercharging each other. During the month of October 2022, the complaint stated, “For example, a portion of the transactions relating to Ms. Jones established that on October 22, 2020, she purchased $35 worth of medical cannabis for which she only paid $3.50; on September 15, 2020, she purchased $108.50 worth of medical cannabis for which she only paid $10.80; on September 10, 2020, she purchased $219.00 of medical cannabis for which she only paid $11.00; and, on September 3, 2020, she purchased $104.27 worth of medical cannabis for which she only paid $10.42.” There is video surveillance in the store that added to the theft documentation.

Blair says it is required to investigate any thefts and report them to the MMCC (Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission). The MMCC told Blair to report it to the Baltimore police. The complaint states, “As a result of the Baltimore City Police Department’s independent investigation, the Baltimore City Police Department instituted criminal charges against three Blair Management employees, including Ms. Jones.”

Jones had also on June 3, 2021, caused a temporary peace order to be issued against Mr. Blair in the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City (Case No. 0101SP049192021). However, she was denied relief because she couldn’t prove the accusation. Blair Wellness was upset because as Jones was filing the peace order it was in the midst of negotiating a sale of the company to Cresco Labs.

Cresco Labs

In August 2021 as the accusations were flying back and forth, Cresco Labs (CSE: CL) (OTCQX: CRLBF) announced it was buying Blair Wellness. The deal was supposed to close in the fourth quarter of 2021, but in January 2022, it backed out of the deal. “We have terminated the purchase agreement with Blair Wellness due to the failure of certain closing conditions to be met prior to our specified termination date,” said Charlie Bachtell, Cresco Labs’ CEO & Co-founder. “We will continue to look for other avenues to expand our footprint in Maryland, and execute our strategy of going deep in meaningful, material states.”

Blair Goes To Prison

Likely the termination had something to do with the announcement from the Department of Justice that Matthew Blair “pleaded guilty today to payment of illegal remunerations to encourage independent marketers to refer federal health care related business to Blair’s pharmacy.” The charge was unrelated to the cannabis dispensary. It stated, “Blair, the owner and operator of a compounding pharmacy called the Blair Pharmacy, paid illegal remunerations to independent marketers to induce them to refer business to Blair Pharmacy. In order to increase prescription referrals to his pharmacy, maximize reimbursement amounts and thereby increase profits, Blair sought these independent marketers to solicit and refer prescriptions to his pharmacy.” Blair is to pay $3.1 million in restitution and in February 2022 was sentenced to one year and a day in federal prison.

Ella Blair is currently listed as the owner of Blair Wellness and the company’s website shows a diverse group of employees. It only has one location in the state. Blair is asking for $5,000 for the cost of the inventory and public relations expenses, along with other damages.


StaffNovember 6, 2020
Curaleaf.png?fit=1200%2C675&ssl=1

3min980

 Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (CSE: CURA, OTCQX: CURLF) sells a pair of planned asset divestitures in Maryland for a combined $31.5 million in total proceeds as the company looks to supersize its Maryland operations. The company announced that it sold its interests in the smaller HMS cultivation and processor for $27.5 million to TerrAscend Corp. (CSE:TER, OTCQX: TRSSF). Instead, Curaleaf wants to buy Maryland Compassionate Care and Wellness, LLC, which operates a 55,000 square foot co-located cultivation and processing facility in Taneytown, MD, and a dispensary in Gaithersburg, MD under the Herbology brand. The company also closed its sale of a Cumberland, MD processor for $4.0 million. 

“The asset sales we announce today will allow us to optimize Curaleaf’s vertically integrated presence in Maryland within the regulation which limits operators to a single grow and single processor,” said Joseph Lusardi, Chief Executive Officer of Curaleaf. “Overall, the Maryland market continues to see impressive growth with over 115,000 certified cannabis patients. The actions we are taking aim to further strengthen Curaleaf’s position as a leading cannabis operator in Maryland as well as reaffirm our commitment to best serving our customers across the state.”

Transaction Details

Curaleaf sold its rights to the HMS Health LLC and HMS Processing LLC in Maryland to TerrAscend for a total consideration of $27.5 million. The company said that the HMS asset sale included the divestiture of operations in a 22,000 square foot co-located cultivation and processing facility in Frederick, MD. The deal includes $25 million in cash due at closing as well as a $2.5 million interest-bearing note due and payable to Curaleaf on April 30, 2022. The transaction is expected to close pending customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.

Curaleaf also sold Curaleaf Maryland, Inc., which holds a processing license in Cumberland, MD, for $4.0 million. This divestiture closed on November 1, 2020, and supports Curaleaf’s strategy for optimizing its vertically integrated presence in Maryland. Curaleaf currently operates in 23 states with 95 dispensaries, 23 cultivation sites, and over 30 processing sites, and employs over 3,000 team members across the United States.

 


William SumnerDecember 12, 2018
Alaska.jpg?fit=960%2C640&ssl=1

4min950

Earlier this week, the cannabis technology platform LeafLink released its 2018 Wholesale Cannabis Pricing Guide and the company learned that Alaska and Maryland are the two most expensive states to buy legal cannabis, followed by Nevada and California.

Examining the wholesale landscape of some of the most mature cannabis markets in the United States, the guide looks at the average wholesale price of cannabis in eight states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. The product types covered by the report include concentrates, cartridges, edibles, flower, and pre-rolls.

Although the report does not dive into the specifics of why one state is more expensive than another, the authors speculate that the Alaska and Maryland’s high prices are due to the states having a low number of cannabis cultivators. In the two states where cannabis is cheapest, Washington and Oregon, there is currently a glut of cannabis cultivators; leading to low prices and oversupply.

“As the standard wholesale marketplace for the industry’s leading brands, we are able to provide crucial market information to cannabis retailers and brands, which will help inform their plans for 2019,” said LeafLink Co-Founder and CEO Ryan G. Smith in a statement. “As more states like Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Michigan continue to establish wholesale operations, we will be able to provide a larger scope of market activity to further empower the LeafLink community, as well as the industry at large.”

Nationwide, the average price for a pound of cannabis flower is $2,124 per pound, while a gram of pre-rolls costs around $5.66 per gram. The average price for cannabis concentrates costs approximately $26.07 per gram and cartridges are priced at around $39.55 per gram. Edible cannabis products, on average, cost around $0.20 per milligram.

When taken on a state-by-state level, cannabis prices start to vary. With regards to cannabis consumer preferences, the report found that consumers prefer products in the lowest 25% price range. The exception to this was pre-rolls. On average, consumers preferred pre-roll products in the 25%-49.99% price range.

The report also examined the relationship between pricing and discounted sales. On average, approximately 16% of the products sold through LeafLink’s platform have a discounted price. Across all eight states examined, discounted products generated 3% more sales than regularly priced products.

The discount effect is magnified when combined with larger sales campaigns. During the last year, LeafLink ran two sales promotions, one in the month leading up to 4/20 (dubbed 3/20) and one in July called 7/10; which is a considered an industry-wide “holiday” for concentrates.

When combined with those larger sales campaigns, discounted products generated 37% more sales on 3/20 and 38% more sales on 7/10. This seems to suggest that cannabis retailers stand to significantly boost their sales numbers by combining sales promotions with discounted cannabis products.


Cynthia SalarizadehOctober 12, 2017
90.jpeg?fit=960%2C521&ssl=1

7min2411

For anyone who truly understands the art of influence, they understand that the most effective form of communication for any brand, idea or movement is grassroots based and best achieved through basic word of mouth, and ideally in person. That is the secret sauce to influential bodies for anything I can think of.  This is also what defines our nation’s capitol, Washington D.C. This is the heart of where our federal government resides and therefore where cannabis requires the most influence and lobbying effort on a federal level.

In our fourth study for the Green Economics series, analyzed in collaboration with our partner data provider Consumer Research Around Cannabis, we took a look at the consumer profile and opinions of those who live and operate in the D.C. Market. We dove into what the patterns and data provided on their opinions and behavior. What we found was a little more than interesting indeed.

The data that was collected used a sample size of 1,368 survey respondents within the D.C. Market that representing an estimated 5,187,362 adults and includes adjacent portions of Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia along with the District of Columbia. Of that group 8.0% of the market responded that they had purchased cannabis from a legal retailer/dispensary.

In response to what the numbers revealed for this market, Jeffrey Stein of Consumer Research Around Cannabis stated that, “I think it’s clear that the data debunks many of the negative connotations attached to cannabis use – whether for medicinal or recreational use.  They are well educated, have good jobs and are financially sound.  Cannabis consumer data like this should be a wake-up call to government officials and companies that have thus far ignored this growing consumer group.”

The legal cannabis consumer was 30% more likely to be employed full-time versus the average adult in the D.C. market. As far as the occupations for this consumer, we found that almost 32.3% are considered professional, 55.3 % are labeled “white collar” while only 7.5% were considered “blue collar”, 30.5% own businesses, are a partner in a business or are at the level of corporate officer. These are occupations that are far from what the old stereotype of a “stoner” was thought to be doing with their careers.

In regard to political affiliation, 48% of the D.C. market cannabis consumer consider themselves as Independents, which is 16% higher than the local DC market average.  They are less likely than average to have voted Democrat last time around (77 index, 23% less likely vs. the average DC market adult).  They are also slightly less likely to consider themselves liberals than the average (96 index, 4% less likely vs. the average DC market adult).

When looking at the income of cannabis consumers in the D.C. Market, we see that almost 76% of them make a household over $50,000 a year or more, with 37% saying they are making over $100,000. As far as education, the numbers were impressive. 68.3% have at least an undergraduate degree or more with 36.3% have advanced degrees, which is 47% higher than the market average for D.C.

What we found extremely interesting in this study, was that that 38% are more likely to have a government job than the average person. Of that amount of government employees, 64% approve of either legalized adult use or medical only regulation, with 11% disapproving of legalization of both. Almost 25% are of no opinion on the issue.

“Considering Washington DC is where our federal legislation is created, results that indicate a significant number of government employees favoring the legality of its consumption as well as consuming it themselves, is clear indication that prohibition is outdated,” said Stein.

Government employees represent 17.9% of cannabis consumers who use cannabis for relaxation when alone, 20.5% purchase cannabis to enhance their experiences on their free time and with friends, and 18.1% buy cannabis to use it for its ability to suppress depression and anxiety.

Of the people who visited a cannabis retailer or dispensary 3 or more times a month. 34.1% were government employees. This same group represented 31.2% of customers who visited 3 or more times a week. 37.3% spending between $100-299 on flower and 50% spending $300 or more on concentrates are government employees.

So, we can conclude that a large segment of the D.C market cannabis consumer is smart, comfortably employed, educated, a government employee or professional, and loves their concentrates! Let’s hope this sophisticated group can help influence on federal policy toward cannabis prohibition in a positive way. They are arguably positioned best to help influence advance the industry with better legislation best.


Choose Your News

Subscribe to the Green Market Report newsletter that gives you original content delivered straight to your inbox.

 Subscribe

By continuing I agree to your Privacy Policy and consent to receive relevant newsletters and other email communications on events, editorial features, and special partner offers from Green Market Report. I can unsubscribe or change my email preferences at any time.


About Us

The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


READ MORE



Recent Tweets

@GreenMarketRpt – 1 hour

Canopy Growth Raises Wager on US Expansion, Ups Stake in TerrAscend

@GreenMarketRpt – 2 hours

New York Releases Cannabis Delivery Rules, Pivots on Retail Regulations

@GreenMarketRpt – 3 hours

NYC Cannabis Parties Celebrate Holidaze

Back to Top

Choose Your News

Subscribe to the Green Market Report newsletter that gives you original content delivered straight to your inbox.

 Subscribe

By continuing I agree to your Privacy Policy and consent to receive relevant newsletters and other email communications on events, editorial features, and special partner offers from Green Market Report. I can unsubscribe or change my email preferences at any time.