Curaleaf Completes Acquisition Of EMMAC And Secures $130 Million Investment From A Single Strategic Institutional Investor

EMMAC brings vertically integrated operations in Europe with a presence in key medical cannabis markets, including the UK, GermanyItalySpain, and Portugal

MASSACHUSETTS:  Curaleaf Holdings, Inc., a leading international provider of consumer products in cannabis has successfully completed the previously announced acquisition of EMMAC Life Sciences Limited, the largest vertically integrated independent cannabis company in Europe, for base consideration of approximately US$50 million in cash and 17.5 million shares of Curaleaf, with additional consideration to be paid based upon the successful achievement of performance milestones. Curaleaf has simultaneously established Curaleaf International Holdings Limited in Guernsey to hold the EMMAC investment and further its European expansion.

To accelerate the expansion of Curaleaf International, Curaleaf has secured an investment of US$130 million from a single strategic institutional investor in exchange for 31.5% equity stake in Curaleaf International, implying a $413 million Post Money valuation, with US$80 million in cash available to spend. The subscription will fund the entire cash portion of the EMMAC acquisition consideration of US$50 million with the remaining US$80 million to be used to fund Curaleaf International’s current capital expenditures plan through 2022, as well as its pipeline of potential acquisitions. This infusion of outside capital into Curaleaf International significantly accelerates Curaleaf’s expansion plans in Europe by fully funding Curaleaf’s cash outlay for the EMMAC acquisition and providing the capital required to support Curaleaf International’s near-term European rollout. With its foreseeable expansion budget fully funded, Curaleaf’s new international business can focus on executing its further European expansion.

Curaleaf and the strategic investor have entered into a shareholders’ agreement regarding the governance of Curaleaf International pursuant to which Curaleaf will have control over operational issues as well as raising capital and the ability to exit the business. In addition, the strategic investor’s stake is subject to put/call rights which permits either party to cause the stake to be bought out by Curaleaf for Curaleaf equity starting in 2025.

Boris Jordan, Executive Chairman of Curaleaf, stated, “The successful completion of our acquisition of EMMAC, and the formation of our new Curaleaf International business, marks a transformational launching point for our entrance into the European cannabis market. Building on our market leading position in the U.S., this transaction establishes Curaleaf as the global, pure play, cannabis market leader by revenue and geographic reach. With our single strategic institutional investor, we have set a strong foundation for Curaleaf International’s future growth trajectory. On behalf of the Curaleaf Board of Directors and management team, we are thrilled to welcome Antonio Costanzo, co-founder and CEO of EMMAC, as the CEO of Curaleaf International, and the entire EMMAC team to Curaleaf.”

The new Curaleaf International platform includes cultivation, EU GMP-certified processing, distribution, and R&D operations across several key European medical cannabis markets, including the United KingdomGermanyItalySpain and PortugalTerra Verde, Curaleaf International’s European market cultivation facility in Portugal, is one of the oldest licensed cannabis growing facilities in Europe with approximately 2 hectares of cultivation area and is an industry leader on the cannabis production cost efficiency front. The Portugal based cultivation facility provides Curaleaf International with the potential to serve customers across key European medical cannabis markets as well as supporting exports to countries such as Israel, among others. Curaleaf International plans to significantly increase its cultivation capacity in 2021, and to exceed 10 tons per year by 2022, in order to accommodate future growth related to the expansion of access to cannabis across the major European medical and adult-use, as well as export markets. Curaleaf International also has an operational presence and partnerships in European Union countries that are enacting new medical cannabis access programs. Curaleaf International will also serve as the platform for other possible acquisitions in Europe and adjacent areas, and for its participation in pilot adult use programs.

Joseph Bayern, CEO of Curaleaf, commented, “As the consumer and political liberalization trends around cannabis that are sweeping the U.S. are increasingly taking hold across Europe, our expansion into the international cannabis market presents tremendous new long-term growth opportunities for Curaleaf. With the European population of nearly 748 million1, the potential European addressable market is more than twice the size of the U.S. addressable market2. With the ability to operate our new European business across country borders, with one or two cultivation sites and one manufacturing center to serve the entire region in most cases, combined with our ability to leverage the strength of our consumer packaged goods strategies and innovations from our U.S. operations, we see enormously positive implications for our ability to quickly and efficiently scale the business across Europe.”

Following the successful completion of the transaction, Mr. Antonio Costanzo has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of Curaleaf International, with the former EMMAC management team continuing to lead Curaleaf’s new European presence as well as driving local European strategy and day-to-day operations.

Antonio Costanzo, CEO of Curaleaf International, commented, “This is an important day for the European cannabis market as EMMAC transitions to Curaleaf International. I look forward to working closely with the Curaleaf team to shape the future of cannabis for our patients and customers around the world. We will retain our science-led approach to continue to deliver best in class cannabis products for Europe’s growing medical cannabis market, and will work closely to leverage the consumer packaged goods experience and innovation from the U.S. to capitalize on the emerging adult-use market as legislation allows. We are now very well positioned to realize our aggressive growth ambitions.”

Survey Finds Changing Cannabis Consumer & Consumption Habits

MASSACHUSETTS:  A new survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Curaleaf Holdings, Inc., a leading U.S. provider of consumer products in cannabis, finds that 42% of adults aged 21+ who have ever consumed cannabis have started or increased their consumption since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to the survey by the independent pollster, conducted online in October 2020 among nearly 2,000 U.S. adults aged 21+, the main reasons many Americans have chosen to start or increase their cannabis consumption since the pandemic began include:

  • to reduce stress and anxiety (54%; women (64%) and men (47%))
  • to relax (50%; women (50%) and men (49%))
  • to help them sleep (48%; women (52%) and men (45%))

This shift in consumption habits extends to parents of children under 18 (“parents”). In fact, more than half (52%) of parents who have ever consumed cannabis say they have started or increased their cannabis consumption since the beginning of the pandemic, compared to 33% of those who are not parents of children under 18. These moms and dads of children under 18 are also more likely to consume cannabis primarily for medical use (58% vs. 44%).

The survey also found that more than half (57%) of parents with children under 18 who have ever consumed cannabis have reduced or replaced their alcohol consumption with cannabis since the start of the pandemic.

Overall, amongst all adult cannabis consumers aged 21+, 45% say they have reduced or replaced their alcohol consumption with cannabis, and one-third (33%) of those who consume cannabis for adult use say they prefer cannabis to alcohol.

“Educating consumers around cannabis consumption is so important,” said Stacia Woodcock, PharmD and Dispensary Manager for Curaleaf in New York. “Curaleaf’s pharmacists and committed dispensary associates make it a priority to educate our patients and consumers and help them find the right products to make cannabis a part of their lives.”

The survey results come as the cannabis industry continues to become destigmatized and evolve into an increasingly mainstream role within society. Governors across the country designated the industry an “essential service” throughout the pandemic, acknowledging the important role cannabis plays serving the health and wellness needs of consumers. In November, voters in five states approved ballot measures expanding access to cannabis. Medicinal cannabis will be available in 36 states and adult-use in 15 states and Washington D.C.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen an increase in new consumers at our dispensaries with more people exploring cannabis,” said Joe Bayern, President of Curaleaf. “The liberalization of the plant — and the increasing diversity among consumers who enjoy it — will continue as the general public become more interested in incorporating cannabis into their health and wellness routines.”

The survey also found similarities in cannabis consumption regardless of educational level or marital status, and across different regions of the country.

Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission Approves Final Adult Use, Medical Use of Marijuana Regulations and Rescinds Colocated Regulations

MASSACHUSETTS: The Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) today approved new medical- and adult-use regulations and phased out 935 CMR 502, Colocated Adult-Use and Medical-Use Marijuana Operations, after bringing sufficient parity to the medical- and adult-use regulations.

“I’m excited that the revised medical- and adult-use regulatory revisions poise the Commission to make significant progress in our mission and statutory mandates on equity, patient access, and public health and safety,” Chairman Steven J. Hoffman said. “While we’ve made tremendous headway over the past three years, we now turn to critical work to implement new provisions, including; the increased caregiver/patient ratio, development of guidance documents, rollout of the Delivery Operator application, and a host of provisions establishing a more equitable and safe industry.”

In the coming weeks, the final regulations will be filed with the Secretary of State’s Regulation Division for promulgation and published on the Commission’s website.

Approved policies include:

Medical Use of Marijuana Program

  • Optimizing Patient access and preserving public safety by:
    • Allowing Caregivers to care for up to five Patients with a Canopy not in excess of 500 square feet;
    • Clarifying that Caregivers may seek a waiver to care for more than five Patients but cannot exceed the 500-square-foot limitation;
    • Preventing perceived risk of diversion by requiring Caregivers to create a log-of-growing and make that log available to the Commission upon request;
    • Broadening the types of physicians who can serve as the second physician making the recommendation for pediatric patients;
    • Requiring Certifying Health Care Providers (Providers) to have a plan to provide discounts to low-income Patients;
    • Allowing Patients with certain hardships to renew every two years instead of one year;
    • Permitting Patients to cultivate up to 12 flowering plants without hardship cultivation, and if more are needed, requiring hardship cultivation;
    • Allowing certain out-of-state Patients to be certified and registered as a Patient in Massachusetts; and
    • Restricting Caregivers from participating in paid advertising.

Equity Programming

  • Promoting a more inclusive and diverse industry by:
    • Waiving all Delivery application and license fees for Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants (EEA) and Social Equity Program (SEP) participants in their first year of licensure under the exclusivity period;
    • Reducing annual license fees by 50%, or to $2,500, for EEAs and SEP participants upon renewal and all subsequent years for applicants;
    • Expanding SEP eligibility to certain categories of individuals and EEAs;
    • Requiring majority ownership by SEP participants in order to access license-related benefits, and potentially expanding these program benefits to microbusinesses and minority-owned, veteran-owned, and women-owned businesses; and
    • Clarifying that individuals who are EEAs, whether on their own or as part of a business entity, can apply as part of a new entity with EEA status so long as it continues to meet three or more of the six criteria, at least one of which shall be a majority-equity-ownership criterion.

Delivery

  • Increasing adult-use access and evolving the Delivery license type by:
    • Approving the Delivery Operator license type, which allows licensees to purchase wholesale Finished Marijuana Products with stringent requirements to warehouse;
    • Clarifying the statutory allowance of up to three Retail licenses and the regulatory allowance of up to a combined total of two Marijuana Courier and/or Delivery Operator licenses;
    • Extending the initial exclusivity period to three-years;
    • Allowing Third-Party Technology Platform Providers to contract with an unlimited number of Delivery Licensees;
    • Authorizing Delivery Operator Licensees to white label, or affix a product label that includes the branding (name and logo) of a specific Marijuana Establishment (ME) to a finished marijuana product that was previously produced and packaged by a licensed Product Manufacturer, Cultivator, Microbusiness, or Craft Marijuana Cooperative for sale to consumers;
    • Allowing Delivery Licensees to sell marijuana accessories and ME-branded goods and non-edible items directly to consumers; and
    • Automatically converting existing Pre-Certified “Delivery-Only” applicants to Delivery Courier Applicants.

Ownership & Control

  • Tightening stringent ownership and control measures further by:
    • Requiring EEAs to report to the Commission all changes of ownership and control and upon renewal and certifying to the Commission that the requisite ownership and control has been maintained by the requisite class of people identified on the EEA’s certification;
    • Preventing monopolies with the addition of safeguards between Third-Party Technology Platforms and Delivery Licensees by explicitly prohibiting:
      • monopolization or attempts at monopolization;
      • inducements;
      • direct or indirect investments from Third-Party Technology Platforms; and
      • restricting determinations of product and licensee placement on an app to objective, customer-oriented criteria.
    • Updating the definition of Persons or Entities with Direct Control by encompassing the equivalent of a Director in a business entity such as a Limited Liability Company, which has Managers in lieu of a Board of Directors, and setting a specific dollar amount with respect to what the Commission considers “significant contracts;” and
    • Confirming that EEAs hold majority ownership (51% or more) over the license to maintain priority status.

Product Database

  • Ensuring that the public is knowledgeable of the hallmarks of legally sourced products, preventing underage access, and lowering the risk of purchasing illicit products by adopting a requirement that Marijuana Establishments, including Delivery Operators, and MTCs comply with the Product Database requirement, just as adult-use licensees must.

Advertising and Branding

  • Modifying advertising and branding regulations by:
    • Allowing of branding sponsorships at certain events, with continued prohibitions on activities that target underage participants or entrants; and
    • Approving targeted advertising through mechanisms such as geofencing, provided they retain documentation of audience composition data related to these marketing activities.

Testing

  • Increasing testing accountability for licencees by:
    • Allowing marijuana products that fail initial contaminant screens to be:
      • Reanalyzed;
      • Remediated and retested by at least the original Independent Testing Laboratory, and a different Independent Testing Laboratory; or
      • Licensees may attempt remediation of a batch that has failed a second test prior to disposal or destruction.
    • Adding new pesticides to the list of pesticides currently required of Independent Testing Laboratory protocols; and
    • Requiring continued testing for vitamin E acetate and a secondary screen for heavy metals from finished vapes.

Video recordings of the Commission’s previous policy discussions and public hearings regarding the new regulations are available on Facebook and YouTube.

Massachusetts Marijuana Retailers Surpass $1 Billion In Gross Sales

Milestone reached nearly two years after adult-use sales started in Massachusetts; progress continues to achieve industry goals

MASSACHUSETTS: Adult-use Marijuana Retailers in Massachusetts have now tallied more than $1 billion in gross sales, according to information reported in the state’s mandatory seed-to-sale tracking system, the Cannabis Control Commission announced Tuesday.

At close of business on Friday, October 30, aggregate data recorded in Metrc by 80 Marijuana Retailers operating statewide reached $1,000,521,905, coming nearly two years after the first two adult-use stores on the East Coast opened their doors November 20, 2018.

“This sales milestone represents licensees’ ability to successfully support a safe, accessible, and effective adult-use industry, and I am pleased the resulting tax benefits will have a significant impact on communities throughout the Commonwealth,” Commission Chairman Steven J. Hoffman said. “These numbers also speak to Commission licensing and enforcement staff working around the clock to make sure these businesses and their products comply with all of our regulations, especially the health and safety provisions. Each year, as this marketplace matures, the public will continue to see progress on state mandates and Commission objectives, including our commitment to equity, and the steps we have taken in 2020 are evidence of that.”

Source: Cannabis Control Commission’s Open Data Platform

Over the first year of adult-use sales, from November 2018 to November 2019, 33 Marijuana Retailers generated $393.7 million in gross sales, before licensees ultimately tallied $444.9 million for the full calendar year of 2019.

Since January 1, 2020, Marijuana Establishments have already surpassed those figures, generating $539 million in gross sales despite two months of closures as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency in Massachusetts. During the pandemic, the Commission has implemented numerous protocols, including social distancing requirements, sanitation measures, and curbside service at licensed locations throughout the state that put first the health and safety of employees, patients, and consumers, while also supporting Marijuana Establishments’ ongoing operations. Read more at MassCannabisControl.com/COVID19.

Licensing, Agents, and Equity

Since Massachusetts’ first two Marijuana Retailers opened in 2018, 82 more have received notices from the Commission to commence operations statewide and are in the process of opening. Another 201 Marijuana Retailers with provisional or final license approval are completing the Commission’s inspection and compliance procedures towards that end.

In total, the Commission has licensed 688 Marijuana Establishments, including Cultivators, Product Manufacturers, Independent Testing Laboratories, Microbusinesses, and more. Currently, 40 Cultivators are open for business, with the capacity to grow up to a maximum of 1.26 million square feet of canopy in the Commonwealth.

The Commission is also in the process of finalizing changes to its adult-use regulations that will support home delivery of marijuana and marijuana products, after launching the initial license applications for adult-use Delivery-Only operators in May. To further the agency’s mission of ensuring industry participation by communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition, the evolving Marijuana Courier and Marijuana Delivery Operator license types will be exclusively available to certified Economic Empowerment Applicants (EEAs) and Social Equity Program (SEP) Participants for a minimum of three years. So far, the Commission has issued two Delivery-Only—or Marijuana Courier—licenses to such applicants and pre-certified 47 more who are interested in offering delivery services in Massachusetts.

To date, two EEA licensees, two SEP licensees, and five Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) – or state-certified minority-, woman-, or veteran-owned companies – have opened. Additionally, the Commission has issued provisional licenses to 14 more EEAs, 21 more SEP Participants, and 87 DBEs that represent they have attended the state’s Supplier Diversity Office class and received expedited review from the Commission. Another four provisional licenses have gone to applicants who maintain both EEA status and participate in SEP, while seven more provisional licenses have gone to SEP Participants who are also DBE certified.

As of October, across all categories of licenses, the adult-use cannabis industry in Massachusetts consists of nearly 10,300 active Marijuana Establishment Agent registrations, up from 6,700 in November 2019. Of those, approximately 33 percent identify as female and 66 percent identify as male, while 74.2 percent of registered and proposed agents identify as White, 6.7 percent identify as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish, and 5.9 percent identify as Black or African American.

This spring, the Commission’s first cohort of 143 SEP Participants received technical assistance and training across four teaching tracks. For the second cohort, 285 applicants qualified and now have access to technical assistance and training that started in July and continues through this winter. Participants who are approved for the program based on three criteria receive automatic program benefits, such as expedited application review by the Commission’s licensing team, certain fee waivers, and exclusive access to license types such as the Marijuana Courier and Marijuana Delivery Operator licenses.

Public Health, Safety, and Research

Throughout 2020, the Commission has continued to lead on initiatives that prioritize the public health and safety of Massachusetts residents and increase patient and consumer awareness. As part of its multimillion-dollar campaign, More About Marijuana, which has traditionally focused on responsible use and preventing youth access, the Commission has incorporated new educational materials about the dangers of home manufacturingCOVID-19 safety tips for cannabis consumers, and the risks of vaping, in response to statutory requirements and recent health emergencies.

The Commission issued three industrywide emergency orders over the past year in response to reported occurrences of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) in the Commonwealth and across the nation. Staff also surveyed licensees to understand the ingredients and sources of additives used in licensed products, published multiple sets of testing results pertaining to regulated vapes—effectively clearing their use of Vitamin E acetate—and issued new packaging, labeling, and testing requirements, including the testing of finished vaping products to protect consumers against hazardous additives and contaminants. This summer, the Commission’s Second Amended Quarantine Order Applying to Vaporizer Products provided several options for licensees to address previously quarantined products manufactured prior to December 12, 2019:

  • Voluntarily disposing of vaporizer products;
  • Releasing vaporizer products from quarantine for sale if first retested or remediated; or
  • Repurposing quarantined vaporizer products into other marijuana products after reclaiming marijuana oil from the quarantined product.

The Commission continues to develop a product database that will enable law enforcement, state and local officials, such as school administrators, and parents, to determine whether products that may be illegally diverted into the hands of youth and/or the public came from a licensed source or the illicit market.

Finally, the Commission released five comprehensive research reports in the past year which focus on youth usagepreliminary industry assessmentthe impact of legalizationthe state of the data, and the effectiveness of the Commission’s public awareness campaign. Work is underway to conduct a baseline assessment of impacts to the healthcare system, adult-use cannabis behaviors, the utility in using public safety data to assess social equity provisions, legal and illicit market cannabis use behaviors, cannabis-related disciplinary actions in schools, as well as continuing the primary collected surveys included in the Marijuana Baseline Health Study.

Additional information about the Commission’s sales, licensing, and equity data is available by visiting MassCannabisControl.Com, by contacting the Commission by phone (774-415-0200) or email (Commission@CCCMass.Com), or following the agency on Facebook and Twitter.

Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission Approves Policy Changes To Proposed Regulations for Adult Use Delivery in Massachusetts

MASSACHUSETTS:  Following a public comment period that closed October 15, the Cannabis Control Commission  on Tuesday approved additional policy changes to its draft regulations that establish two Marijuana Establishment types authorized to provide limited delivery services to adult-use cannabis consumers in the Commonwealth. A final vote on all modifications to Massachusetts’ adult and medical use of marijuana regulations will occur at a subsequent public meeting slated for October 29.

Previously referred to as Limited Delivery Licenses and Wholesale Delivery Licenses, the newly categorized Marijuana Courier and Marijuana Delivery Operator license types discussed Tuesday aim to further the Commission’s mission to ensure meaningful participation in the legal cannabis industry by communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and to satisfy consumer demand that is currently being met by illicit market participants. The Commission’s draft delivery regulations specify that both license types will be exclusively available to Certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants (EEAs) and Social Equity Program (SEP) Participants for a minimum of three years, with the exclusivity period beginning once the first Marijuana Delivery Operator commences operations.

To that end, among the additional delivery changes approved Tuesday, Commissioners put in place operations restrictions, modified caps on ownership and control, and limits to financial relationships with third-party technology platform providers in order to prevent entities from dominating this emerging delivery market segment. They include:

  • Requiring that marijuana products out for distribution by a delivery licensee will be associated with a specific, individual order to prevent entities from operating as mobile warehouses or retail stores;
  • Deeming a third-party technology platform provider with any financial interest— including but not limited to, a delivery agreement or other agreement for services—in a delivery license as a person or entity having direct control over that license, and limiting such control by those providers to one delivery license;
  • Preventing a single entity from holding direct or indirect control over more than two Marijuana Delivery Operator or Marijuana Courier licenses, under the Commission’s three Marijuana Retailer or Delivery License cap, and restricting a single Marijuana Delivery Operator to maintaining one warehouse as their principal place of business or operations;
  • Underscoring that the Commission shall maintain on its website its publicly available and searchable source of information about all operating licensees and include delivery licensees; and
  • Revisiting the provisions for Marijuana Delivery Operators two years after the first entity commences operations in the Commonwealth to study the competitiveness and concentration of the license type, and if necessary, responding with further regulatory changes or guidance.

The Commission also approved policy changes that bring the adult-use delivery regulations in line with sister state agency requirements for commercial vehicles and tax collection, including:

  • Requiring that commercial vehicles used to transport or deliver marijuana or marijuana products must comply with applicable Registry of Motor Vehicle (RMV) requirements, but may not include any additional external marking that indicates the vehicle is being used to transport or deliver marijuana or marijuana products;
  • Clarifying that although Marijuana Delivery Operators are not considered Marijuana Retailers under the Commission’s regulations, they must register as a vendor with the Department of Revenue (DOR) and collect and remit marijuana retail taxes in accordance with DOR regulations.

The Commission’s development of Marijuana Courier and Marijuana Delivery Operator licenses follows the promulgation of a Delivery-Only, Delivery Endorsement, and pre-certification licensing process in 2019 which received substantial public feedback during the agency’s current regulatory review period. The Marijuana Courier model represents an evolution of the Delivery-Only License the Commission had previously approved in 2019, and maintains those policies and provisions in order to keep barriers to industry entry low and support participation by applicants with limited capital.

In direct response to public comment received during the initial 2020 regulatory review period, the Commission approved the Marijuana Delivery Operator license authorizing businesses to purchase marijuana and finished marijuana products at wholesale from Cultivators, Craft Marijuana Cooperatives, Product Manufacturers, and Microbusinesses, and sell individual orders directly to consumers. By expanding the delivery operations available to licensees, the Commission also has adopted additional compliance requirements for Marijuana Delivery Operators pertaining to wholesaling, warehousing, white labeling, and sales.

During Tuesday’s meeting the Commission acknowledged the important role of municipalities allowing for delivery licensees to operate within their borders, including the local control provisions in state law. Under the Commission’s draft regulations, licensed delivery service will be able to occur within:

  • A municipality which the delivery licensee has identified as its place of business;
  • Any municipality which allows for adult-use retail within its borders; or
  • Any municipality which, after receiving notice from the Commission, has then notified the Commission that delivery may operate within its borders.

Marijuana Retailers and Micro businesses with Delivery Endorsements will be required to inform their host municipality law enforcement authorities, including police and fire departments, about plans to deliver marijuana and marijuana products directly to consumers.

Tuesday’s session followed multiple public meetings and public comment periods held in June, July, August, and September covering proposed changes across both sets of Commission regulations. To review regulatory drafts, meeting summaries, or minutes from those discussions, visit MassCannabisControl.com. To access video recordings of previous meetings, visit the Commission’s Facebook or YouTube channels. After the Commission reconvenes October 29 to vote on the final adult and medical use of marijuana regulatory changes, those provisions will be submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office for their review and promulgation.

Burns & Levinson Hosts Fourth Annual State Of The Cannabis Industry Conference Virtually On October 29, 2020

Cannabis startups invited to apply for opportunity to present one-on-one to investors in “Capital Connection” program.

MASSACHUSETTS: Burns & Levinson will host its fourth annual “State of the Cannabis Industry” conference – which will be held virtually and will focus on critical issues in the multi-billion dollar cannabis industry – on October 29, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET. In addition to the event’s Q&A sessions, expert panels and keynote, Burns & Levinson is launching a new “Capital Connection” program to match cannabis industry startups with investors looking for early-stage companies to potentially fund or mentor. Cannabis startups will be selected through a competitive process to present their companies in private 20-minute online meetings with capital providers from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Emerging cannabis companies can apply here until October 16, but companies are encouraged to apply early.

The conference will feature an interview with Commissioner Steven Hoffman, Chairman of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, in an exclusive one-on-one Q&A with Frank A. Segall, co-chair of the Cannabis Business & Law Advisory Group at Burns & Levinson. Keynote speakers include: Joseph Lusardi, CEO of Curaleaf, and Mitchell Kahn, co-founder and CEO of Grassroots. Curaleaf, which is a leading medical and wellness cannabis operator in the U.S., closed a landmark $830 million acquisition of Grassroots in July 2020 – creating the world’s largest cannabis company.

The expert panels and Q&A sessions will tackle a wide range of issues impacting the cannabis industry including capital markets, M&A and investments, secured lending, workouts and restructurings, and developments in the hemp and CBD market.

“Despite the pandemic, we are still seeing significant business opportunities in the capital markets, investments and M&A areas to invest in and acquire cannabis, hemp/CBD and cannabis-related companies. We look forward to fostering these relationships through our Capital Connection program,” said Segall. “Even though we can’t physically be together like in previous years, we are very excited about this year’s conference and the opportunities for participants to make connections, develop partnerships and learn from our peers and industry leaders,” added Scott Moskol, who co-chairs Burns’ Cannabis Business & Law Advisory Group with Segall.

The conference sponsors include: Cohn Reznick, Hub International, GFA Federal Credit Union, Nucleus One, Green Check Verified, Paragon Payroll, and Elevate Northeast.

Burns & Levinson was the first major Boston corporate law firm to develop a cannabis business practice, and has been advising cannabis businesses, entrepreneurs and investors across the country for over seven years. The firm has unrivaled experience in cannabis and hemp/CBD business formation and corporate structuring, private placements, venture capital, M&A, securities, banking issues, fund formation, debt and equity financing, restructuring and receiverships, real estate acquisitions and leasing, intellectual property protection, 280E taxation issues, and cannabis litigation.

The firm is well-known for its role in the cannabis banking industry and has worked with multiple financial institutions to establish a framework that allows them to accept cannabis-derived deposits. Burns & Levinson is currently working with regulated financial institutions and non-regulated private funds to set up first-of-their-kind cannabis lending programs. The firm is also among the top law firms in the country handling high-level corporate and financing deals in the private and public markets in the cannabis market.

For more information about the conference and to register click here. For information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Kristen Weller at kweller@burnslev.com.

 

Mass Cannabis Control Commission To Host “Cannabis x Equity” Panel As Part Of Fierce Urgency of Now Festival

MASSACHUSETTS: The Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) is proud to again partner with the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and City Awake as part of their 2020 Fierce Urgency of Now (FUN) Festival by hosting a virtual panel titled “Cannabis x Equity” on Friday, September 18 at 1:00 p.m.

Interested individuals—especially those who have been disproportionately impacted by previous cannabis prohibition, arrests, and incarceration—are invited to register to attend through Eventbrite.

The panel, which will be emceed by the Commission’s Interim Director of Community Outreach Alyssa Flores, will provide attendees with a deeper understanding of Massachusetts’ regulated cannabis industry, the Commission’s equity programming, and entrepreneurial opportunities that are available in the evolving marketplace. Additionally, Friday’s conversation will help establish new connections to Commission staff and community members who are pursuing similar types of engagement in legal marijuana.

FUN “Cannabis x Equity” panelists will include participants of the Commission’s first-in-the-nation Social Equity Program and certified Economic Empowerment Priority Applicants, as well as Marijuana Establishment owners and founders who have been certified as “Minority-Owned Businesses” through the Commonwealth’s Supplier Diversity Office.

The Commission’s mission is to honor the will of Massachusetts voters by safely, equitably and effectively implementing and administering the laws enabling access to medical- and adult-use marijuana. Equity provisions have been enacted to fulfill a legislative mandate that the Commission ensures people from communities disproportionately harmed by marijuana law enforcement are included in the legal industry. More information about the agency’s equity programming is available at MassCannabisControl.com/EquityPrograms.

Curaleaf’s Select Elite Live Cartridges Reach $1M Sales In Florida Within 30 Days

MASSACHUSETTS  Curaleaf Holdings, a leading vertically integrated cannabis operator in the United States, today announced that its line of Select Elite Live cartridges has reached $1 million in sales since launching in the Florida medical market on August 6.Select Elite Live features high quality, high potency oil with a wide variety of strain-specific flavor and effects. Curaleaf will unveil additional Select product offerings to Florida’s medical patients later this year, including the best-selling high potency broad spectrum Select Elite cartridges. As a recognized industry leader, Select is committed to maintaining the highest quality control standards and testing transparency and delivering the best experience possible.

“We are thrilled to have received such a positive response to Elite Live from our Florida patients, and look forward to continuing to provide innovative new products for their cannabis needs,” said Joe Bayern, President of Curaleaf. “The immediate success of Elite Live in Florida speaks to the power of the Select brand, and we are confident about our continued growth in the state.”

Select, known as America’s #1 Cannabis Oil Brand, has been on a path of rapid expansion since it was acquired by Curaleaf in February 2020. Select products are now available in over 950 independent dispensaries across 12 states, including ArizonaCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutFloridaMarylandMichiganNevadaOklahomaOregonMassachusetts and Maine. The Select brand will continue to expand across the U.S. with its launch into Ohio’s medical market later this month.

Curaleaf has continued its retail expansion in Florida, recently announcing the opening of its Clearwater and South Tampa locations and plans to open a new Brandon area dispensary later this month.

Curaleaf Opens New Cannabis Dispensary In Clearwater, Florida

New Location Marks Curaleaf’s 29th Storefront in Florida and 89th Nationwide

FLORIDA: Curaleaf Holdings, a leading vertically integrated cannabis operator in the United States and one of the largest cannabis operators in Florida, announced today that it has opened a new dispensary in Clearwater, Florida, marking its 29th retail location in the state.Curaleaf Clearwater, located at 2082 Gulf to Bay Boulevard, will carry a wide range of Curaleaf and Select brand products. Select, known as America’s #1 cannabis oil brand now available in 12 states, launched earlier this month in Florida with Select Elite Live, the brand’s new enhanced live resin product, which combines high-quality THC oil and live resin high-terpene extract. The company also recently launched the first-to-market Curaleaf sublingual tablets. The Clearwater location is the first of three new medical dispensaries the company plans to open in the market this quarter.

“Curaleaf remains committed to the Florida market and its patients by providing high-quality medical cannabis products and new consumption formats that make cannabis accessible for all,” said Joe Bayern, President at Curaleaf. “We are thrilled to open Clearwater and support the health and wellness needs of more Floridians.”

Florida’s continued growth in patient registration makes it one of the nation’s fastest-growing medical cannabis markets in the country. Currently, there are over 394,000 medical patients enrolled in the Florida program – about 1.8% of the state’s population – with approximately 5,000 new patients joining each week.

In response to COVID-19, Curaleaf continues to implement new policies and procedures, including curbside services and contactless and cashless payment through approved credit and debit card services, to keep patients, customers and employees safe during this time. To see Curaleaf’s dispensary locations in Florida, please visit www.curaleaf.com/locations/#florida.

Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission Issues Second Amended Quarantine Order for Vaporizer Products

Cannabis Control Commission Issues Second Amended Quarantine Order for Vaporizer Products

Following the agency’s three-phased testing and public comment period, licensees may retest and release, or destroy quarantined products subject to order requirements

MASSACHUSETTS:The Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) has issued a Second Amended Quarantine Order Applying to Vaporizer Products following three phases of testing and a public comment period which examined conditions that could allow for the retest and sale of vaporizer products that were previously quarantined since December. Under the second amended order, licensees may retest and release—or destroy—certain products with enhanced warning labels, depending on testing and remediation outcomes, and compliance with Commission regulations and policies. The order emphasizes that measured, transparent testing mitigates, but does not eliminate, all public health risks posed by quarantined vaporizer products.

This latest action modifies previous Commission quarantine orders issued in November and December 2019 and related investigative findings from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that identified vitamin E acetate (VEA) as a chemical of concern among people with e-cigarette, or vaping, product-use associated lung injury (EVALI). On December 12, 2019, the Commission issued the First Amended Quarantine Order authorizing licensees to sell newly manufactured vaporizer products, but requiring that more than 600,000 vaporizer products manufactured before December 12, 2019 remain subject to quarantine.

“Since the Commonwealth declared a vaping public health emergency last fall, the Commission has dedicated significant energy and resources to investigating the additives, hardware, and storage practices that licensees use to produce and sell cannabis vaporizer products,” Commission Executive Director Shawn Collins said. “Fortunately, repeat tests of licensed product samples did not return any detectable levels of VEA; unfortunately, they did establish that heavy metal contamination may increase in vaping products over time.

“This new order seeks to strike a balance between those products that can be retested or remediated safely for sale or repurposing with proper warning to patients and consumers, and those that cannot. As the nation continues to learn more about the broader health implications of vaping in all forms, I urge patients and consumers to understand the risks when they choose to consume any cannabis vaporizer product.”

The Commission’s regulations require all marijuana products to undergo contaminant testing, including testing for heavy metals, by an Independent Testing Laboratory accredited to the International Organization for Standardization 17025 (ISO/IEC 17025: 2017) and in accordance with the Commission’s Protocol for Sampling and Analysis of Finished Medical Marijuana Products and Marijuana-infused Products.

Under the second amended order, previously quarantined products may be:

  • Disposed. Licensees may voluntarily dispose of previously quarantined vaping products at any time, subject to Commission disposal regulations.
    • Production batches that previously failed both Commission-initiated tests for heavy metals shall be deemed unable to be remediated and face mandatory disposal, if, after two attempts at remediation, the product does not pass testing for heavy metals. Respondents may dispose of such products voluntarily or upon receiving an order of destruction from the Commission.
  • Retested and Released. Previously quarantined products may be made available for sale if they are first retested and deemed compliant with the Commission’s regulations and policies, subject to conditions specified in the order.
  • Reclaimed. Previously quarantined products may also be repurposed into other products using the reclaimed marijuana oil, although any new product manufactured with that oil must undergo testing and include a statement indicating to the patient or consumer that the product was manufactured with previously quarantined material.

If, after two attempts at remediation, retested or reclaimed products do not pass testing for heavy metals, they will be considered unable to be remediated and must be disposed. Vaporizer products with original testing dates in excess of one year are considered expired and may not be dispensed, sold, transferred or otherwise conveyed until another screen for all contaminants, excluding pesticides, is conducted. In accordance with Commission regulations, licensees must notify the agency of any vaporizer product test result exceeding acceptable levels for heavy metals and describe the method for remediation or disposal.

The second amended order also specifies labeling requirements for all vaporizer products sold by licensees in the Commonwealth, including, but not limited to those products that are retested or reclaimed in accordance with the second amended order:

  • Labels on previously vaporized products that pass retesting and are made available for sale must disclose, “This product was previously quarantined. Passed retesting for heavy metals and Vitamin E Acetate. Store at room temperature.”
  • Labels on previously vaporized products that have their marijuana concentrate reclaimed for other marijuana products must disclose, “This product was produced using previously quarantined concentrate. Passed retesting for heavy metals and Vitamin E Acetate. Store at room temperature.”

Retailers and Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MTCs) must include in the sale of vaporizer products a disclosure that the patient or consumer may request to inspect a copy of the product’s associated testing results. Disposable and reusable vaporizer pens also must include a product insert that identifies the materials used in the device’s atomizer coil. Any quarantined vaping product that is resold also must include the item’s original packaging date.

The Commission has mandated that Marijuana Product Manufacturers retain certain records pertaining to marijuana vaporizer ingredients, additives, devices, component parts, or other materials purchased from any manufacturer or supplier; the name and business address of the manufacturer of any cartridge, battery, atomizer coil (and its materials used), hardware, or other component of marijuana vaporizer products; and the Certificate of Analysis for each thickening agent, thinning agent, and terpene infused or incorporated into a marijuana vaporizer device during production.

Starting last December, the Commission conducted three phases of testing into vaporizer products manufactured and sold by licensees. Results are available on the Commission’s website under MassCannabisControl.Com/Documents.

The Commission’s first two testing phases investigated VEA and heavy metal (lead) levels in samples of vaporizer products collected from geographically diverse locations. Phase III involved confirmatory tests of certain products that failed for heavy metal concentrations above the acceptable limits for inhalation (500 ppb), and found varying results, to suggest that heavy metal contamination may increase over time. Testing limitations identified during the investigation included limited sampling scope, product batch homogeneity, inconsistent extraction procedures for testing finished cartridge samples, and lack of known sources of metal contamination. VEA has not been detected in any Commission-initiated testing.

After testing methods precluded reliable results, the Commission determined further investigation and collaboration was necessary before issuing a second amended order pertaining to the quarantined vaping products. A survey was issued on July 2, 2020 to obtain public comment from government, industry, scientific, and public health stakeholders, among other constituents, including patients and consumers, to help identify the root cause of the heavy metal contamination, the health effects of elevated lead levels, and whether heavy metal content within vaporizer products could become more prominent without use over time or post-use. The survey closed on July 14, 2020 and public comments are currently available on the Commission’s website under MassCannabisControl.Com/Documents.

The Commission continues to research and evaluate information relative to vaporizer device product manufacturing processes and safety standards in furtherance of its obligation to ensure a safely regulated industry.