Verano Archives - Green Market Report

StaffMarch 15, 2023


This story was republished with permission from Crain’s Chicago and written by Laura Bianchi.

Sammy Dorf is co-founder of Chicago-based Verano Holdings (OTC: VRNOF), one of the largest cannabis companies in the nation, boasting more than 120 dispensaries in 13 states, 14 cultivation and production facilities, and nearly 4,000 employees. Dorf, 38, and his wife live in the Gold Coast neighborhood and just had their first child, a boy, in late February.

Photo by Stephen J. Serio.

How did you get into the cannabis business?

In 2009, I was researching pain remedies for my parents, who both had cancer, and I came across cannabis. Around that time, a college buddy opened a dispensary in Colorado, and I was following the industry growth. I thought, “Holy shit, this is going to be game-changing.”

How do people react to your chosen field?

Initially, they would say, “Are you in a band?!” But now that cannabis is more accepted, most people are just intrigued.

Are you optimistic that Congress will pass the SAFE Banking Act, allowing banking services and financing for cannabis companies?

I hope to see some form of legislation this year or next. I am encouraged by the support from both parties and the momentum in the country. Some states that never had legal cannabis now have medical licenses. Some states with medical programs added recreational sales. No state has gone backwards.

A major turning point?

Winning my first cannabis license in 2014 at 29 years old. A lot of people thought I was crazy. They said, “You’re not politically connected. You don’t have the capital.” But it worked out all right.

An embarrassing career moment?

When I was 17, my dad got me a job at a Chicago-based hedge fund, but I flunked the drug test and got fired because I had very high THC in my hair. I really dreaded making that call to my dad.

How did he react?

He was pretty cool about it. He asked me what I had learned. I told him I would never apply for a job again that requires a cannabis test!

What sparked your entrepreneurial spirit?

My dad. He was a trader at the Chicago Board of Trade for 31 years, which is entrepreneurial in a sense, and he owned currency exchanges. I clerked for him (at CBOT) during summers. Plus, growing up in Deerfield, I knew a lot of people who started their own businesses.

Worst job ever?

When I was 16, I worked at a car wash in Highland Park. They made me clean the toilets and all the big SUVs. I quit after three weeks.

Do you ever clean toilets now?

My wife would say, “Hell no.”

On what do you splurge?

I collect pop and abstract art, mostly from Chicago-based artists, such as Ty Nitz and Lefty Out There. Nitz recently created a personalized mural for us, including our second home in New Buffalo, (Mich.) and the band, Phish.

StaffDecember 5, 2022


The Daily Hit is a recap of cannabis business news for Dec. 5, 2022.


Biden Signs Historic Marijuana Research Bill, Lawmakers Push Additional Measures

After months of policy debates and trading barbs on Capitol Hill, a U.S. president has finally sent through the first piece of meaningful marijuana legislation since The Controlled Substance Act of 1970. Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) also last week filed a bill that would create a federal commission to help outline the ways in which federal agencies approach implementation of eventual legalization. Read more here.

Crain’s Chicago Releases City’s Largest Cannabis Companies List

Chicago is home to a few of the cannabis industry’s leading players, including publicly traded Cresco Labs, Verano, and Green Thumb Industries, and privately held PharmaCann. They dominate Crain’s new list of Chicago’s Largest Cannabis CompaniesRead more here.

Planet 13 Confirms Consumption Lounge Win

Planet 13 Holdings Inc. (CSE: PLTH) (OTCQX: PLNHF) confirmed that its subsidiary MM Development Company Inc. received approval for a Nevada consumption lounge from the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board. The Nevada CCB announced the winners of the consumption lounge license lottery. Read more here.

A Rhode Island Grower Won a Cannabis Competition, the State Fined it $10,000

As Rhode Island commenced adult-use sales last week, growers will look to compete against those vying for cultivation notoriety. However, one operator’s experience serves as a reminder for those operating in the nascent market. Read more here.

Survey: Cannabis-Based Medicine Epidiolex Works ‘Across Age Groups’

Ireland-based Jazz Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: JAZZ) announced that its anti-epileptic over-the-counter cannabis drug, Epidiolex, has been found to be effective “across age groups,” not just young children, according to a survey of caregivers presented recently at a gathering of the American Epilepsy Society. Read more here.


Grown Rogue International Inc.

Grown Rogue International Inc. (CSE: GRIN) (OTC: GRUSF), a craft cannabis company operating in Oregon and Michigan, closed a non-brokered private placement of convertible debentures with an aggregate principal amount of $2 million. The convertible debentures bear an interest of 9% per year, paid quarterly, and mature 36 months from the date of issue. The principal use of funds will be to accelerate expansion efforts and for general corporate purposes. Read more here.

Halo Collective Inc. 

Halo Collective Inc. (NEO: HALO) (OTCQB: HCANF) (FSE: A9KN) reported year-to-date revenue of just over $11.7 million for 2022. Halo continues to strengthen its market share by penetrating the Eastern Oregon region and increasing territory sales. The company currently sells to over 450 dispensaries and wholesalers statewide, with a majority of accounts ordering on a monthly basis. Read more here.

Icanic Brands Company Inc.

Icanic Brands Company Inc. (CSE: ICAN) (OTCQB: ICNAF), a California-based extraction and manufacturing cannabis company, will change its corporate name to Leef Brands Inc., now that it received approval for the move from the Canadian Securities Exchange. In connection with the name change, the company’s common shares will trade under the new trading symbol, LEEF, as of Dec. 7. Read more here.

StaffOctober 27, 2022


Verano Holdings Corp. (CSE: VRNO) (OTCQX: VRNOF) has entered into a credit agreement to refinance its existing $350 million credit facility, extending the maturity date to October 30, 2026. Refinancing comes amidst the company’s new legal battles with its spurned acquisition of Goodness Growth. 

Verano said that the decision to refinance the debt would give the company more flexibility in how it manages its debt. For example, it has $120 million in third-party mortgages secured by real estate that is currently unencumbered. In addition to that, a $100 million accordion under the new credit facility is to be funded at the option of the existing lenders, and a $50 million third-party revolving credit facility upon the passage of cannabis banking legislation.

The refinanced indebtedness bears interest at a floating rate based on the prime rate, with a current rate of 12.75% per annum.

“We’re pleased to continue our partnership with Chicago Atlantic as our credit facility Agent and as a Lender, extending the maturity and securing terms we believe are favorable during this rising interest rate environment,” said George Archos, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the Company. “Importantly, we maintained flexibility around prepayments and the ability to incur additional debt which we believe adds significant value to the deal, especially given the legislative environment that has seen positive momentum build in support of cannabis policy and banking reform. Since Verano’s inception, we have taken a conservative approach to our balance sheet, including avoiding sale leasebacks, which has allowed us to leverage our real estate to bring down our blended cost of debt. This refinancing enables us to continue a selective approach to further strategic opportunities as we position our company for the future.”

Additionally, under the new credit facility, Verano can elect to prepay up to $100 million of outstanding indebtedness at any time by incurring a prepayment fee of $1 million.  Archos is participating in the credit facility as a lender.

The stock fell 2% on the news to lately sell at $5.38.


StaffOctober 26, 2022


This story was reprinted with permission from Crain’s Chicago and written by John Pletz

Verano Holdings’ (OTC: VRNOF) breakup with Goodness Growth looks like it’s going to be messy and expensive.

Chicago-based marijuana company Verano called off its planned $413 million purchase of Goodness Growth on Oct. 13, citing unspecified breaches of “covenants and representations.”

Goodness says Verano tried to back out of their deal without justification. Goodness Growth sued Verano in Canada, where both companies’ stocks are listed because cannabis remains federally illegal in the U.S. Goodness is seeking unspecified damages.

In late January, Verano announced the all-stock deal to buy Minneapolis-based Goodness Growth, which has licenses in New York and Minnesota. The two markets were seen as attractive additions for Verano, which, like its Chicago peers Cresco Labs and Green Thumb Industries, is among the biggest publicly traded U.S. marijuana companies and operates in multiple states.

Goodness Growth is a relative small fry, with a market value of just over $100 million before the announcement that its deal with Verano was off, which chopped the stock price by 60%. Verano has a market value of $1.7 billion.

Soon after the deal was announced, Verano got caught in a downdraft among marijuana stocks that was roughly twice as bad as the 25% selloff in the broader market.

“Verano began raising issues and taking positions suggesting it had buyer’s remorse,” Goodness Growth says in its lawsuit, adding that Verano tried to renegotiate the price or abandon the deal.

Verano declined to comment on the suit.

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