OHIO: The Ohio Board of Pharmacy has posted the First Round Question and Answer Responses. The responses may now be found under the heading DISPENSARY APPLICATIONS – RFA II at www.medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov/dispensaries.
ARIZONA: 4Front Ventures Corp., a vertically-integrated, multi-state cannabis operator and retailer, today announced that it has signed definitive agreements on October 6, 2021, to acquire New England Cannabis Corporation (“NECC”), a best-in-class cannabis cultivator, with state-of-the-art facilities based in Holliston, Massachusetts (the “Transaction”). Upon closing, the Transaction is expected to be significantly accretive to the Company’s EBITDA expectations for 2022 and will immediately scale 4Front’s presence as a dominant wholesaler and producer in the State.
Massachusetts’ competitive adult-use cannabis market is rapidly growing and 4Front has already introduced its full suite of popular brands in the State which have achieved wide-scale consumer support. The Company expects the acquisition of NECC to significantly expand 4Front’s strategic position and enable broader market penetration of 4Front’s diverse range of low-cost, high-quality products and brands.
Expected to add significant accretion to 2022 EBITDA and beyond
More than doubles 4Front’s total flower canopy in important limited-license state of Massachusetts
Fully operational 55,000 sq. ft. cultivation facility adds scale and depth in the State
Cash consideration fully financed following closing of US$15 million convertible note offering led by Navy Capital
Closing is subject to approval by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission
As a technological leader within the industry and one of the newest independent cannabis companies in Massachusetts, NECC’s fully operational 55,000 sq. ft. licensed cultivation facility strengthens 4Front’s expanding footprint in this important limited-license state. The Transaction will more than double 4Front’s total flower canopy in Massachusetts to over 30,000 sq. ft, with further expansion potential for up to an additional 10,000 sq. ft. of canopy, and will approximately triple 4Front’s kitchen, processing and distribution space. The NECC facility will supplement the products sold through 4Front’s existing “Mission” dispensaries and further strengthen the Company’s presence in the Massachusetts wholesale market.
“The acquisition of New England Cannabis reinforces our core thesis of bringing scaled, low-cost production and operational depth to attractive, nascent, adult-use cannabis markets” said Leo Gontmakher, Chief Executive Officer of 4Front. “The addition of NECC’s impressive operations will increase our canopy, kitchen capacity, and add to our extraction capabilities overnight, greatly bolstering our position in the Massachusetts market to become a leading wholesaler of our full suite of products and brands. This acquisition firmly anchors our foothold in the Northeast, and NECC’s state-of-the-art facility will help to drive our growth in the years ahead as we execute on our goal of achieving dominant market share in every geography we operate. I look forward to working with NECC’s seasoned team and leveraging their extensive operational experience as we continue to scale.”
Transaction Terms & Approvals
4Front has entered into agreements to acquire 100% interest of NECC for total consideration of US$55 million. The purchase price will be funded through the issuance to the seller of 25 million subordinate voting shares of the Company (“SVS”) and US$25 million of cash. The cash portion will be funded through proceeds raised from a US$15 million convertible notes offering, led by Navy Capital, a vendor take back note and balance sheet cash.
The convertible notes have a maturity date of 36 months following their date of issuance and bear interest at a rate of 6.0% per annum, payable annually.
Investors can elect at any time to convert their outstanding balance into SVS at a conversion price equal to US$1.03.
Subject to receipt of regulatory approval and the satisfaction or waiver of customary closing conditions, the Transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Fort Capital Partners acted as sole financial advisor to 4Front on the Transaction. Evmarc Advisors acted as financial advisor to NECC on the Transaction.
The People’s Group Fund Aims to Provide Growth Capital for Diverse and Competitive BIPOC and Women-led Cannabis Businesses
Despite efforts to repair the damage of the War on Drugs and its disproportionate impact on BIPOC communities, less than 10% of cannabis business owners are BIPOC. The People’s Group (TPG) led by Christine De La Rosa, one of the most influential women in cannabis, aims to change that with its $50 million nationwide fund. The fund will invest in BIPOC- and women-led cannabis businesses with the goal of breaking the pattern of oppression and creating a representative future for the growing industry.
The group is fueled by a powerhouse of sought-after industry experts with diverse backgrounds. TPG is led, directed and advised by BIPOC women, queer people, the disabled, veterans and people with chronic illness as a catalyst for community empowerment. The fund will draw attention to the lack of social equity, capital and investment opportunities within the field. It also will work toward eliminating the barriers of prosperity and unlocking efficient pathways to profitability. The fund’s mission is to deploy its total capital by 2024. This allows for advisory, management services and enhanced technology to be distributed across diverse and competitive companies over the course of the next 10 years.
“The cannabis market is projected to be a $70 billion industry by 2028, and BIPOC continues to struggle to benefit from this lucrative field,” explains De La Rosa. “Recently, initiatives have been established to contribute to minority-owned cannabis business growth. However, many programs have failed due to the lack of access to capital, business spaces and technical support provided to this demographic. Through this fund, our objective is to break this cycle by supplying minority-owned cannabis companies with the capital they need to bring their companies to probability and the mentorship required to contribute to a more diverse cannabis industry. Our social equity initiatives will also shed light on unjust laws that have been disproportionately affecting minority communities.”
TPG has additional strategies to take advantage of immediate market opportunities via new product and license investments through proven models, offering growth capital and debt facilities to expedite the transition to profitability, acquisition of off-market assets that need a cash infusion to become profitable and to provide an abundance of job opportunities.
“For over 50 years, lives have been taken, time has been lost, and communities have been devastated due to the disparate enforcement of policies attached to the war on drugs. Use of the term ‘social equity’ must be more than a cliché,” says Frederika Easley, the director of strategic initiatives at The People’s Ecosystem. “We are committed to advocating for the creation and implementation of policies and practices that hold systems of power accountable and support the repairing of harm to individuals and communities.”
De La Rosa founded The People’s Group to address the lack of support for minorities that she experienced first-hand when starting her own business in the industry in 2016. She saw the endless potential in a type of fund that understands how to value and support such founders and their teams in an ample amount of beneficial and meaningful ways.
For more details and updates on The People’s Group, please visit https://thepeoplesgroup.fund/
NEW YORK: Clever Leaves Holdings Inc., a leading multinational operator and licensed producer of pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids, announced today the exportation of 30 kg of high-THC cannabis flower from its Portugal facility to Biopharmaceutical Research Company (“BRC”), a DEA-licensed pharmaceutical company that develops federally compliant active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) for plant-based therapeutics in the United States. Not only does this fortify Clever Leaves’ entrance into the U.S. and solidify BRC’s ability to transact internationally, but it positions the two organizations as some of the first companies ever to commercially ship dried cannabis flower from Portugal to the U.S.
Under the agreement, Clever Leaves’ product, which meets strict pharmaceutical standards, will be used for BRC’s pharmaceutical development projects. In addition to this shipment of dried cannabis flower, BRC and Clever Leaves have built a strong partnership over the past year through their collaboration in Project Change Lives, an initiative announced earlier this year to contribute up to USD$25M in medical cannabis products to help advance scientific research in the U.S.
“Exporting THC flower to BRC, a DEA-licensed company located in the U.S., not only represents an important commercial milestone for Clever Leaves, but it demonstrates our capabilities to determine and execute upon a viable regulatory pathway to enter the U.S., the largest cannabis market in the world,” said Kyle Detwiler, CEO of Clever Leaves. “By becoming one of the first companies to commercially export THC flower to the U.S., we are paving Clever Leaves’ path into the U.S. medical cannabis industry through a partner such as BRC. We are honored to provide BRC the high-quality product they need to advance in their research, development, and production.”
“Our partnership with Clever Leaves continues to yield exciting research opportunities that will one day make a difference in the lives of patients,” said George Hodgin, CEO of Biopharmaceutical Research Company. “Both companies share the same values when it comes to DEA compliance—we take it seriously—which is why we believe this partnership is only getting started. We are thrilled to partner with Clever Leaves once again and are eager to begin working with this premium quality product.”
Clever Leaves’ Portuguese cultivation facility is located on approximately 9 million square feet of land and consists of approximately 110,000 square feet of high technology greenhouse facilities with expansion to approximately 270,000 square feet nearly complete. The facility was granted a license from INFARMED I.P., the Portuguese regulatory authority with oversight over the pharmaceutical industry in Portugal, for importing, exporting, and cultivating cannabis. Our state-of-the-art sophisticated facilities in Portugal, which are Good Agricultural and Collecting Practice (GACP) certified, are currently operational and commercially active, with successful exports to various countries, including Australia.
Regular viewers of Marijuana Channel One will be well familiar with Kerri Accardi. We’ve had the pleasure of speaking with the founder of 420MEDIA and Cannected.TV many times over her canna-career. We thought it only proper then that we brought Kerri back to commemorate a milestone: the successful launch of her Cannected.TV app across all the major streaming services, including AppleTV, ROKU and Goggle Play.
Tune into this exclusive 1:1 as Kerri ‘walks us through’ the Cannected.TV app, giving Marijuana Channel One viewers a sneak peak at the programming and advertising opportunities that are currently available to cannabis and hemp brands on the big screen.
Viewers will want to be sure to check out the debut of the CannaGuide: an online product directory built especially for medical cannabis, adult use cannabis, hemp and CBD brands. For more information visit: Cannected.TV
Cannected.TV App “Walk Thru” with Founder Kerri Accardi
NEW YORK—Crain Communications has acquired Green Market Report, a digital media brand that covers financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Green Market Report was launched in 2017 by co-founders Debra Borchardt, a financial journalist and former Wall Street executive, and Cynthia Salarizadeh, a seasoned public relations expert and legal cannabis industry insider. The acquisition will be finalized on Sept. 30, 2021.
“We are excited to add Green Market Report to our now 21-brand portfolio,” said KC Crain, president and CEO of Crain Communications. “They focus on the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry, so it’s a natural fit with our other business brands.”
Green Market Report, which includes a network of freelance journalists and garners 150,000 monthly page views, is led by Borchardt and located in New York.
“Crain is one of the highest quality business news organizations in the country,” said Borchardt, CEO and co-founder of Green Market Report. “Their team, resources, and respected journalism will make the perfect partner as Green Market Report continues into the future. The combination of Crain’s experience and Green Market Report’s expertise will turn us into a leader in the industry, and I’m personally excited to be a part of that growth.”
This deal comes two years after Crain’s acquisition of GenomeWeb — an online news organization covering trends in genome sequencing — in 2019, both contributing to the company’s overarching goal of portfolio diversification.
Green Market Report will join Crain Communication’s family of brands that spans across 10 offices and includes 650+ employees, with headquarters in Detroit and additional main offices in Chicago and New York.
What Happened, and Where Do We Go From Here?
Where do I start? Many questions may come to mind for a lot of you disgruntled hemp or cannabis farmers reading this, but I intend to lay out my perspective on what jostled the market a while ago. For those of you reading this and not wanting to accept the truth, I am writing this to digest and forewarn those in or about to enter the hemp industry. The takeaway? It’s risky, and you should have a solid plan and know the facts before you enter in the market. What I’m writing will dispel any myths you may hear or not hear in our business, and no, the numbers I am presenting are not fictitious, they are coming from a wholesale perspective as I am putting the story through my own sunglasses here in Kentucky. Not Oregon, Washington State, Michigan, or Texas. Take everything I say with a grain of salt, I think we have seen the worst that has come.
It comes as no surprise that 2020 and 2021 were filled with adjustments for many within the cannabis and hemp industries. For a lot of us, the signs started to show at the end of 2019 that our great industry we helped cultivate from the ground up back in 2014 was becoming a little too big for our own boots. The golden years of our promising industry in 2016, 2017, and 2018 showed great growth and commitment on the end of our small business backbone that started this great industry.
2019 came, and corporate greed and governance took over our industry and small family farms. Many small companies that were poised to make it, felt that the only way to compete is to overspend their means of production and resources. Overfilling contracts that could not be kept, and empty commitments based on broken promises to family farmers and greenhouses. Many overzealous businessmen that put projections over realistic growth, many of which did not have any hands-on experience in commercial farming or the hemp industry. When the bubble popped, experienced farmers and business owners saw a little of it coming, but even couldn’t fathom $15/lb. pricing (on a low-end projection, I heard some gullible farmers actually think they were going to get $50/lb. on a high end) going to less than $2/lb. for their crop. That was obviously sped up to that price point (going from $10, $8, $6) when Covid-19 peaked its’ ugly head around the corner in March of 2020.
When the pandemic happened, a lot of us in the industry that had been established didn’t have any good answers to struggling farmers and business owners. Add in the fact that retail stores were closed (or modified service) until June, it was a really dark time for all of us. For other people in other industries complaining on how tough it was for them, that was such an overstatement compared to those that were in the shoes of a hemp farmer or processor during this time. Investors were pulling out their money from a lot of small processors that had contracts and commitments for farmers under contract from 2019, it was such a mess. Luckily, the bond and kinship from all this that transpired made connections happen between farmers and out-of-state buyers that were at least offering split agreements or sales from the fallout to get something out of their crop.
There were many, how you say, opportunists that also entered the market when this happened, and some did get taken advantage of. It should go without saying that anything that sounds too good to be true in business, 99% of the time, is. The same can be said for those promising $15/lb. returns on their crop, that was never realistic when Isolate Kilos were going below $1,000/kg wholesale. Any references that these buyers COULDN’T give were also not merited because of the desperation at play. A lot of them were sorted out by the end of 2020. A lot of that biomass did find a home by that time, but the prices were still not near to cover the cost of growing the crop.
There is a lot to talk about for regulations that are pending or will pass, but a lot of what we went by, and still go by today, is based off the 2018 US Hemp Farm Bill passed by our own Senator Mitch McConnell. We have been constantly advocating with his office, as well as Rand Paul’s office, and congressmen Andy Barr and Tom Massie’s offices to relay our advocacy to what needs to happen federally for this crop to fully develop and succeed. There have been claims that smokeable or consumable floral material is grey area along with Delta-8 THC or Delta-10 THC. According to the law at hand, federally both are legal, and we intend to promote that as the Kentucky Hemp Association. We intend to protect ALL businesses in and out of the state of Kentucky by any means possible. Small business owners should not be punished for the current legalities based on existing laws. In our state, what has been an effective means to being profitable in the hemp industry has been to sell into the floral material markets by way of greenhouse or indoor flower cultivation. Our state, currently, does not recognize this as legal to do in our own state, but explicitly says we can sell into other states pending it passing for THC requirements (isn’t that a funny take on legality?). So, farmers have figured out how to do so and remain profitable by legally doing this in other states.
That is one example of our ingenuity in Kentucky, but I think the motto of the industry now is to produce quality over quantity to really make it and be sustainable. Gone are the days of 150-acre hemp grows, I see it really mirroring the tobacco model of growth in the southeast to keep this industry going and making way for a small farmer to still make it in the industry. For those of you not aware of this, tobacco companies set a quota to fill by allotments in the southeast. There is a cap on how much you can grow, and if you overproduce there is a great chance that the excess crop will not be bought. That is the way it must go for this to remain successful, and eliminate the corporate farming, and major greed, from the industry. The carved-out niche of greenhouse or indoor-grown flower is also going to be apparent as we go forward. That is a great way for a small family to net $200-500/lb. for wholesale material in the future, possibly more if we can recognize that smokeable hemp should be recognized across 50 states and out of the country.
As we near the end of 2021 and approach harvest, I know that many lessons have been learned by those that were in the hemp industry, and still are. Maybe a lot of people still waiting in the wings for their turn to give it a try. I have nothing but the utmost respect for those still in the game and trying to still blaze the trail to pioneer this industry. For those that may be waiting in the wings, good luck competing with those who have lived the ups and downs in the industry, together. The fiber industry is a great example of this, and its’ development will probably surpass any outdoor field cultivation for future grows. The row crop model is still alive and well for growing fiber and grain from hemp, but still very much under development. Once infrastructure and buying demands are figured out in the coming 2-3 years, we will be a leader in the world for this niche of hemp growth, especially as we continually adopt sustainable building and clothing materials from God’s Country.
The ones still hempin’ have a motto:”hempin’ ain’t easy.” I foresee good days ahead this fall and into 2022. Hopefully, hemp’s cousin, will see it’s way into legal farms in our state and across the southeast soon. When that happens, watch out. Our farmers will grow the best in the country, and I can’t wait to boast about their future successes. Join our cause at KYHA. We are working with the MJBA and other associations across the country and the world to figure this thing out. I’m optimistic as ever, and so should the grower or business leader reading this. Be the one to help change this industry for the better, and help us out in any way you can.
Mitchell ‘Tate’ Hall is the former President of the Kentucky Hemp Association, KYHA (formerly Kentucky Hemp Industries Association, KYHIA).
To: Cannabis Industry Members
From: Chandra Brady, Enforcement and Education Div. Director
Subject: Prohibited: conversion of CBD to delta-8 THC; purchase or sale of hemp-derived delta-8 THC
Enforcement Bulletin 21-03
This bulletin is offered in response to stakeholders who have requested additional guidance regarding delta-8 THC following the release of LCB Policy Statement #PS21-01 on April 28, 2021.
Policy Statement # PS21-01, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compounds other than delta-9 and the conversion of CBD, hemp, or both to delta-8 THC, delta-9
THC, or any other cannabis compound that is not currently identified or defined in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), or both.
Policy Statement #PS21-01 referenced that under RCW 69.50.204, delta-8 THC and synthetic equivalents are Schedule 1 controlled substances. Under current law, marijuana license holders are not allowed to produce or process delta-8 THC. Likewise, marijuana licensees may not buy or sell hemp-derived delta-8 THC. Engaging in this activity is a violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act (RCW 69.50.401).
What does this mean for licensees?
- Processors are not allowed to convert CBD or hemp into delta-8 THC.
- Processors are not allowed to buy or sell delta-8 THC products not legally produced.
- Retailers should not knowingly purchase products from processors which contain delta-8 THC converted from CBD. Nor should retailers sell such products to consumers.
How will WSLCB Enforcement and Education staff approach this in the field?
The Enforcement and Education team will approach this from an education-first perspective so we can help licensees achieve compliance. Our team has several tools to use to help; communication, basic education, administrative holds, warnings, notices to correct. If we identify licensees who are knowingly and intentionally violating rules and law or licensees who do not demonstrate a desire to achieve compliance, we will take appropriate enforcement action.
Are there any exceptions?
There are no exceptions.
If you have any questions, please contact your assigned compliance consultant or enforcement officer.
These numbers include:
- 331,273 Recommendations
- 202,666 Registered patients
- 14,039 Patients with Veteran Status
- 15,550 Patients with Indigent Status
- 866 Patients with a Terminal Diagnosis
- 125,298 Patients with both an active registration and an active recommendation
- 183,009 Unique patients who purchased medical marijuana (as reported to OARRS by licensed dispensaries)
- 23,472 Registered Caregivers
For the full list of program numbers, please visit the Program Update page.