Crain Communications Acquires Financial News Brand Green Market Report

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.

Ayr Wellness Enters the Cannabis-Infused Beverage Market with Proposed Acquisition of Levia

NEW YORK: Ayr Wellness Inc., a leading vertically integrated cannabis multi-state operator (“MSO”), has announced that it has entered into a binding letter of intent to acquire Cultivauna, LLC, the owner of Levia branded cannabis infused seltzers and water-soluble tinctures.

“Ayr wants something exciting to offer every cannabis consumer of today and the future cannabis customer of tomorrow. Infused beverages, done right, will be game changing to the mainstreaming of cannabis in the U.S., providing an approachable and sessionable form factor to new and existing customers. The acquisition of Levia brings Ayr into this rapidly growing segment with delicious, market-leading infused seltzer. We are excited to have Levia join Kynd premium flower and Origyn extracts in Ayr’s suite of premier national brands,” said Jonathan Sandelman, CEO of Ayr Wellness.

“With a formula that provides consistently great flavor and zero calories in an infused beverage experience, we believe Levia has enormous potential as an alcohol alternative. In just six months since its initial launch in Massachusetts, Levia has become the top selling THC beverage. As we finalize our updated national brand portfolio to address all segments and form factors, Levia will play a marquee role in each market where we operate,” Mr. Sandelman concluded.

Ayr intends to purchase 100% of the equity interests of Cultivauna, LLC. The terms of the transaction include $20 million in upfront consideration, made up of up to $10 million in cash with the remainder in stock. An earn-out payment of up to an additional $40 million will be paid in shares based on the achievement of revenue targets in 2022 and 2023.

Levia Cannabis Infused Seltzers provide for rapid onset of the effects of THC, typically 15-20 minutes, allowing for a more consistent consumption experience than many edible products. Levia is currently available in Massachusetts in three experiences and flavors:

  • “Achieve” Raspberry Lime (Sativa)
  • “Celebrate” Lemon Lime (Hybrid)
  • “Dream” Jam Berry (Indica)

Each flavor is available in 12-ounce slim cans and contains 5 mgs of THC. Levia is also available in water soluble tinctures in the same formulations.

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, as well as the execution of a binding definitive agreement. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of 2021.

Happy Munkey Co-Founder Ramon Reyes: ‘From Legacy to Legal’

NEW YORK: As a young man, Ramon Reyes travelled to Amsterdam to visit the famous cannabis cafes. While exploring the Dutch city’s many cultural offerings, Reyes was moved by the art work of Vincent Van Gogh.  Not just the amazing passion of works like Starry Night, but the drama and struggles of the man himself. 

His experiences on this trip inspired the creation of New York City’s Happy Munkey, a cannabis lifestyle brand that has successfully made the transition from ‘Legacy to Legal” markets, providing its members an entrance to the New York cannabis lifestyle through its many events, media and merchandise. 

These are heady times for Happy Munkey, and for the partners who started it.  Reyes and co-founder Vladimir Bautista have more than 20 years in the legacy cannabis scene.  Their collaboration started when the two began organizing underground ‘speakeasy events’ that combined music, marijuana and good vibes.

The street credibility and buzz generated for the brand by these early events encouraged the duo to explore other Munkey Biz, which led to an explosion of offshoots, including The HM Podcast, MunkeyTV, and an extensive line of Munkey merchandise. 

When the national media attention turned to the legalization of cannabis in New York, and its social equity implications, Happy Munkey took centerstage.  Featured in mainstream media organs like USA Today, Bloomberg and Forbes, Happy Munkey quickly morphed from underground NYC brand into a national mainstream lifestyle brand.

Always on the cutting edge, the hip canna brand’s latest happening promises to be a ‘one-of-a-kind” cannabis experience, as Happy Munkey mixes marijuana, music and an incredible immersive art experience with two exclusive ‘After Hours’ nights at the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibition on August 11th and August 18th 2021.

In an exclusive interview with MJNews Network’s David Rheins, Ramon encourages Marijuana Channel One viewers to “Buy the ticket and enjoy the ride” — indulging in the special after hours experience of seeing the Immersive Van Gogh exhibition from a higher perspective, all in keeping with the brand’s motto: “You know you want to choose Happy!”

Happy Munkey After Hours @ Immersive Van Gogh NYC August 11 & 18th, 9pm – 11pm. 299 South St, New York, NY 10002, USA Tickets are available at: https://www.happymunkey.com/

Happy Munkey Immersive Van Gogh Exhibition August 11 & 18 in NYC

NEW YORK:  New York City canna-lifestyle brand Happy Munkey is taking over the Original Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit in downtown New York City for a once-in-a-lifetime Cannabis experience!  The 70,000 sq. Original Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit , will be home to the Happy Munkey Tribe for 2 extravagantly smoked filled nights! The cannabis, art and music immersive experience ‘Happy Hours’ take place Wednesday 8/11 and Wednesday 8/18  at Pier 36., 299 South Street.

According to promoters, ticket sales have been brisk to this historical combination of high-end art meets high-end cannabis hospitality event, with many music, art and cannabis industry insiders expected to make the scene.

All guests must be 21 years of age or older.  Feel free to ”BYOC” (Bring your own cannabis)


Happy Munkey Co-Founder Ramon Reyes: ‘From Legacy to Legal’

Be sure to check out Marijuana Channel One‘s exclusive interview with Happy Munkey co-founder Ramon Reyes.

 

 

St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Files in Tribal Court to Close Unlicensed Pot Shops

NEW YORK: On Ohiarihkó:wa/July 1, 2021, three (3) days after adopting its Adult Use Cannabis Ordinance, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe filed civil actions in Tribal Court naming seven (7) cannabis dispensaries that have illegally opened to sell recreational marijuana without being licensed or regulated from the Tribe.

The seven (7) named dispensaries located under the Tribe’s jurisdiction are: “Smoke Show Dispensary” located on 2761 State Route 95; “Bud Ease Dispensary” located at 16 McGee Road; “Good Leaf Dispensary” (property with no street address) located on State Route 37; “Sasta Budz Dispensary” at 220 State Route 37; “Native Flower Dispensary” located at 640 State Route 37; “Golden Nugget Dispensary” located at 42 Herne Road; and “Best Budz Dispensary” located at 775 State Route 37. The Tribe’s complaints allege that the dispensaries are in violation of tribal law by operating without a Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal License.

A Tribal Community Referendum held in December 2019 authorized the Tribe to legalize adult use (recreational) cannabis through the adoption of regulations that controls its commercial use, sale, processing, and cultivation on tribal territory. The rules include strict regulations on inventory control, labeling, testing and security requirements at all licensed facilities. The main purpose is to ensure the health and safety of the community, particularly our youth. Notably, the community referendum did not approve the adoption of regulations by any entity other than the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe.

On June 28, 2021 the Tribe enacted the Adult Use Cannabis Ordinance following New York’s legalization of cannabis at the end of March. The individual dispensaries proceeded to open however, and began selling cannabis after the State approved it, not waiting for the Tribe to formally adopt its own ordinance. As a result, the Tribe issued Cease and Desist Orders, which granted time for each establishment to close within thirty (30) days.

In the Adult Use Cannabis Ordinance, those dispensaries that continued to operate outside of tribal law were provided a “last chance” to close, while they submit a Tribal License Application. They were provided a deadline of Thursday, July 1, 2021 to comply and close their operation. Regrettably, the seven dispensaries continue to operate without a tribal license, so the only course of action was to file enforcement action in Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Court.

The Tribe’s Legal Complaint and accompanying Motions for Temporary, Preliminary, and Permanent Injunctions seeks enforcement of the Cease and Desist Orders in Tribal Court. It seeks an order from the Court for the dispensaries to be closed and vacated, as well as imposing a civil fine of $1,000 for each day that they failed to obey the Cease and Desist Orders.

As of today, the Tribe’s Compliance Office has reported another three (3) dispensaries have illegally opened without obtaining a tribal license. As a result, they have been served with Cease and Desist Orders and, if the dispensary owners fail to comply, the Tribe will be filing similar Complaints and Motions for Injunctions against those businesses.

Perception Is Reality Now With Rolling Stone/Curaleaf Licensing Deal

“What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been!”

By Stu Zakim

The recent press release announcing that Rolling Stone and MSO Curaleaf have formed a licensing deal for a branded Rolling Stone strain, to steal one of the many cliches about rock n roll, for those of us who grew up with the magazine, shows “What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been!”

When Jann Wenner published the first issue in November of 1967, not only did he change journalism, he changed the way that advertisers and subscribers interacted with a publication; to attract early new subscribers, Rolling Stone, embracing their readers love of Cannabis, offered a roach clip as a gift with purchase as Wenner knew his audience better than anyone.

He also knew what he didn’t know and that was how to work with advertisers outside of the music industry, who until then, had comprised the majority of of the magazine’s advertiser base. Lucky for him, as the core reader entered the workforce and started earning serious discretionary income, he brought in the kind of ad sales/marketing pros like Joe Armstrong and Kent Brownridge to break into more lucrative ad categories like cars, fashion, beauty, high end consumer electronics and film and television.

The breakthrough was creating what has become an iconic B2B ad campaign called “Perception/Reality.”  While acknowledging where their readers came from on the Perception side, such as the classic execution with on the perception side was an old VW bus and a very hippyish looking person, the Reality side had them driving a high end foreign import with clever copy lines celebrating the Boomer generation as it aged.  There were many variations of that which targeted key ad categories and played a very vital role in growing the brand.  It’s also in the Advertising Hall of Fame.

At that point in the company’s history, however, the one thing Jann stayed away from was maximizing the value of its name through licensing and merchandising opportunities that would have generated millions for him.  Thinking it would cheapen the integrity and credibility he had built, during my 6 and a half years there, he walked away from opportunities that other publishers would have died for.

Reality took on a different meaning a few years ago when after selling Us Weekly and Men’s Journal to American Media as the publishing world went digital, the writing was also on the wall for Rolling Stone.  Selling to Penske Media and leaving his son Gus to operate it, Rolling Stone started stretching its power; tv productions, the creation of a new revenue stream with the Rolling Stone Culture Council – in full transparency, I’m a member – and now the ultimate tie in with this Curaleaf deal.

Advertisers always loved Rolling Stone branded promotional items, from t-shirts to hats to getting their picture on the cover.  But now, you can bet those ad reps are going to be asked by clients in legal states the definitive premium long associated with the Rolling Stone brand.  Perception has become reality and it’s about time!


Stuart Zakim is a President of Bridge Strategic Communications, MJBA Communications Chief, and member of the Rolling Stone Culture Council.  He is a frequent contributor to MJNews Network.

NYC NORML Issues Open Letter To Governor Cuomo Opposing Nomination of Executive Director of Cannabis Programs

NEW YORK: Interim Executive Director of NYC NORML Ryan Lepore issued the following open letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, detailing the advocacy group’s opposition to elevating Norman Birenbaum from Director of Cannabis Programs to Executive Director of the newly formed Office of Cannabis Management.

 

May 20th, 2021

We have recently learned of the intent to nominate New York’s current Director of Cannabis Programs, Norman Birenbaum to Executive Director of the incoming Office of Cannabis Management under our new Cannabis Law.  The legislative intent behind the legal passage of cannabis in New York will be abolished if this candidate is formally nominated and appointed into leadership roles of the incoming program, particularly  the role of Executive Director.

As a potential nominee for this integral position, Mr. Birenbaum’s regulatory history is plenteous with policymaking and regulations that are antithetical to the legislative intent of the “Marijuana Taxation & Regulation Act” (MRTA) passed into Law. Within his current position of New York’s Director of Cannabis Programs,  Mr. Birenbaum has repeatedly encouraged culturally insensitive policies into the proposed framework of New York’s incoming program and deployed tactics in his previous regulatory role that resulted in documentable public distrust and harm towards the existing patient community of that state. Many of his regulatory policies are widely known within the industry to encourage predatory practices, monopolization, and further systemic racism. Our role in New York demands attunement towards the diversity of New York State & our ambitious goals for social equity.

Examining Mr. Birenbaum’s tenure in Rhode Island revealed his history of aggressive tactics, including the use of law enforcement to carry out regulatory compliance, many of which are described as openly hostile to their vulnerable patient community. This is truly worrisome as one of the revered foundations of justice within our law’s intent is to break the pattern of re-criminalization of cannabis patients and consumers. It should also raise concern that he enacted additional policies in Rhode Island which resulted in patient privacy and HIPAA violations, legal issues, as well as protests and rallies against his leadership.   This track record of harmful regulatory strategies in a state of considerably smaller size and population stands as a stark warning about the potential impact of his leadership in a state as large and diverse culturally, economically, and racially as New York – we are the Empire State.

The MRTA provides an improved framework to ensure success in the context of justice and social equity. The magnitude of this landmark endeavor requires a candidate with not only experience on both of these priorities but also an open mind towards exploring new strategies in partnership with criminal justice and social equity experts. It is important to note that in 2017, Mr. Birenbaum was not chosen for the Executive Director role by Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission for many of the misgivings mentioned (as well as having true integration in the already established cannabis community that another candidate already held). Research from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission public meeting minutes underscores the hesitancy in approving this candidate who did not have the humility necessary to successfully run an ambitious Cannabis Program. Based on multiple conversations and the candidate’s demonstrated lack of concern, it‘s clear that he has not historically been amenable  to adopting social equity-focused provisions and even furthermore has been characterized as closed-minded towards ideas other than his own on this issue. This is all while holding zero credibility behind his lack of action behind implementing or supporting social equity parameters in the past.

Two years into his tenure, New York’s regulatory successes should be apparent to the wider community and indisputable to the industry, as seen in other state programs with policy changes within similar timeframes. He has no experience incorporating any policies that help communities of color or the legacy market transition into the legal framework. Instead, there is a demonstrated history of ignorance when it comes to the cannabis community and its already established marketplace. This becomes even more problematic because New York’s legacy market is debatably one of the largest in the nation, and insensitive regulation in other markets towards legacy transition have hindered the ability to maximize participation from its consumers and collect tax revenue for impactful social equity programs in other states.

Communities harmed and inhibited by prohibition are the core populations that the MRTA seeks to empower and transition. Having public trust from these constituencies who have been traditionally harmed by prohibition and are already integrated with the community, is essential to the successful execution of this groundbreaking legislation.  Public distrust of this suggested executive director will discourage engagement and recreate the same societal dilemmas the law seeks to resolve.

His appointment is an unnecessary liability towards New York’s cannabis industry leadership  and a regressive assault on true social progress. His leadership will quickly tarnish any positively construed legacy that we are collectively vested in implementing in our state. We swiftly urge the consideration of different candidates for the incoming leadership roles and ask the Governor to consider other appointments recommended by the activists and community stakeholders who supported passage of the MRTA. Instead of a controversial figure with a questionable record of leadership, we call upon the Governor to select a BIPOC or culturally competent candidate who understands the full context of prohibition and the ensuing need for social equity as the program’s Executive Director.

Sincerely,

Ryan Lepore

Interim Executive Director of NYC NORML

 

Tilray & Aphria Announce Closing of Transaction That Creates the “New” Tilray – a Global Cannabis Leader

Operational Efficiencies Expected to Generate Approximately US$81 Million Annual Pre-Tax Cost-Saving Synergies for New Tilray Within Eighteen Months

NEW YORK & CANADA: Tilray, Inc. and Aphria Inc. today announced the completion of the previously announced business combination, ushering in a new era in the global cannabis industry. The combined company, which will operate as Tilray (the “Company”), brings together two highly complementary businesses to create the leading cannabis-focused consumer packaged goods (“CPG”) company with the largest global geographic footprint in the industryThe combined company had a market cap of approximately US$8.2 billion based on the closing stock prices on April 30, 2021.

 

The Company’s class 2 common stock (“Tilray Shares”) will continue to trade on the Nasdaq Global Select Exchange under the ticker symbol “TLRY” and will commence trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “TLRY” on May 5, 2021. As previously announced, each Aphria shareholder received 0.8381 of a Tilray Share for each Aphria common share (each an “Aphria Share”) held on April 30, 2021, the effective time of the transaction. Holders of Tilray Shares prior to the completion of the transaction continue to hold their Tilray Shares with no adjustment as a result of the transaction. An early warning report in respect of the Company’s acquisition of all of the outstanding Aphria Shares pursuant to the transaction will be filed on SEDAR and will be ‎available under Aphria’s issuer profile at www.sedar.com.‎

Irwin D. Simon, the Company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Our focus now turns to execution on our highest return priorities including business integration and accelerating our global growth strategy. Covid-19 related lockdowns have presented unique challenges across Canadian and German markets. As these markets begin to re-open, Tilray is poised to strike and transform the industry with our highly scalable operational footprint, a curated portfolio of diverse medical and adult-use cannabis brands and products, a multi-continent distribution network, and a robust capital structure to fund our global expansion strategy and deliver sustained profitability and long-term value for our stakeholders.”

Mr. Simon continued, “Our global team is laser-focused on turning potential into performance and addressing consumer and patient needs for safe, innovative, and high-quality products. We are eager to get to work and want to thank both the Aphria and the Tilray Boards of Directors and especially Brendan Kennedy for his spirit of partnership and irrepressible belief in the art of ‘what’s possible.’ We will benefit enormously from his legacy and continued service on the Tilray Board.”

We expect that the business combination will provide, among others, the following financial and strategic benefits:

World’s Largest Global Cannabis Company. The combination of Aphria and Tilray brings together two highly complementary businesses to create the leading cannabis-focused CPG company with the largest global geographic footprint in the industry.

Strategic Footprint and Operational Scale. We believe that the Company has the strategic footprint and operational scale necessary to compete more effectively in today’s consolidating cannabis market with a strong, flexible balance sheet, strong cash balance, and access to capital, which we believe will give the Company the ability to accelerate growth and deliver long-term sustainable value for stockholders.

Low-cost, State-of-the-Art Production & the Leading Canadian Adult-Use Cannabis Producer. The demand for the Company’s products will be supported by low-cost state-of-the-art cultivation, processing, and manufacturing facilities, and it will have a complete portfolio of branded cannabis 2.0 products to strengthen its leadership position in Canada.

Positioned to Pursue an Accelerated International Growth Strategy. The Company is well-positioned to pursue international growth opportunities with its strong medical cannabis brands, distribution network in Germany, and end-to-end European Union Good Manufacturing Practices (“EU-GMP”) supply chain, which includes its production facilities in Portugal and Germany.

Enhanced Consumer Packaged Goods Presence and Infrastructure in the U.S. In the United States, Tilray has a strong consumer packaged goods presence and infrastructure with two strategic pillars, including SweetWater, a leading cannabis lifestyle branded craft brewer, and Manitoba Harvest, a pioneer in branded hemp, CBD and wellness products with access to 17,000 stores in North America. In the event of federal permissibility, the Company expects to be well-positioned to compete in the U.S. cannabis market given its existing strong brands and distribution system in addition to its track record of growth in consumer-packaged goods and cannabis products.

Substantial Synergies. The Company expects to deliver approximately US$81 million (C$100 million) of annual pre-tax cost synergies within eighteen months and plans to achieve cost synergies in the key areas of cultivation and production, cannabis and product purchasing, sales, and marketing, and corporate expenses.

Tilray’s new leadership team and board of directors will provide a strong foundation for the Company to accelerate growth and capitalize on the business combination’s many benefits.

Effective on closing, the senior management team and Board of Directors of the Company were reconstituted as follows:

  • Irwin D. Simon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
  • Carl Merton, Chief Financial Officer
  • Denise Faltischek, Head of International and Chief Strategy Officer
  • Jim Meiers, President, Canada
  • Jared Simon, President, Manitoba Harvest and Tilray Wellness
  • Rita Seguin, Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Dara Redler, Interim Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary
  • Berrin Noorata, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer
  • Lloyd Brathwaite, Chief Information Officer
  • Freddy Bensch, Chief Executive Officer, SweetWater

Board of Directors:

  • Irwin D. Simon, Chairman
  • Renah Persofsky, ICD.D, Vice-Chair (Lead Director) and Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee, Independent Director
  • Jodi Butts, Nominating & Governance Committee Member, Independent Director
  • David Clanachan, Newly Appointed Independent Director
  • John M. Herhalt Chair of the Audit Committee, Independent Director
  • David Hopkinson, Nominating and Governance Committee & Compensation Committee Member, Independent Director
  • Brendan Kennedy, Current Director and Former CEO, Tilray
  • Tom Looney, Audit Committee & Compensation Committee Member, Independent Director
  • Walter Robb, Chair of the Compensation Committee & Audit Committee Member, Independent Director

New Tilray Branding

The new Tilray logo blends both Aphria and legacy Tilray’s branding into a design that reflects the new Company’s growing portfolio of brands across cannabis-lifestyle and wellness product categories, including medical, adult-use, hemp foods, and beverages. The continued use of “Tilray” as the Company’s name evokes hard work and hope – til shortened from tilling the soil and ray as in a ray of sunshine. Tilray is a pioneer navigating toward the end of prohibition and built to deliver on the collective wellbeing of the Company’s employees, consumers, patients, partners, and local communities.

Columbia Care Brings Scale To New York Cannabis Program Through Acquisition Of One Of The Largest Operating Greenhouse Sites On East Coast

New site expands Columbia Care’s cultivation and production footprint by approximately 1M square feet; offers flexibility to scale with increasing market demand; supports potential use for future social equity partnerships and adult-use sales

 

NEW YORK: Columbia Care Inc. announced today it has acquired a 34-acre cultivation site in eastern Long Island, New York. The Company’s first harvest and sales from this property for the state’s medical marijuana program is expected in Q4 2021, pending regulatory approvals.

The Long Island location offers supplemental cultivation and manufacturing capacity for Columbia Care’s existing Rochester facility that has served New York’s more than 120,000 medical cannabis patients since 2015, to meet the demand of a growing medical market, which, subject to regulatory approval, will include a number of newly approved additional form factors, including flower, in 2021. The new site also allows the Company to diversify its operations and open opportunities to create potential social equity business partnerships; a dedicated, federally-licensed global medical cannabis manufacturing and research hub in Rochester; and support the company’s entrance into the state’s adult-use program.

This facility currently has approximately 740,000 square feet of operational greenhouse space, which the Company plans to acquire upon phase two of the transaction, with 200,000 square feet of incremental grow capacity, situated perfectly for both retail distribution to Columbia Care’s three NYC and Long Island dispensaries and wholesale distribution to the most densely populated metropolitan area in the United States. The property’s infrastructure is fully developed for industrial scale and throughput and is currently used for growing ornamental flowers. Additionally, the existing owners have previously planted and successfully harvested industrial hemp on-site.

“As a company whose roots are in New York, it has been incredibly important that we build a scalable, vertically-integrated operation in the state that not only delivers the very best quality and prices to our patients and partners today, but also ensures that we can continue to deliver on our mission to New Yorkers through future legal cannabis programs. This is a commitment to our patients, communities, regulators, elected officials and social equity partners that we are here for the long term and intend to be the leaders who define cannabis in New York State – made in New York, by New Yorkers for New Yorkers,” said Nicholas Vita, CEO of Columbia Care. “We are eager to see New York’s regulated market emerge as one of the top global cannabis markets, with some market size estimates exceeding $5B by 2025 and more than 75,000 jobs created by 2027. We intend to continue to invest in opportunities that support this growth for all.”

Columbia Care will pay a total purchase price of $42.5M, which includes $15.0M in cash and $27.5M in Columbia Care stock. The initial payment of $30.0M has been made. The remaining $12.5M in stock payment will follow in August 2021 upon completion of the second phase of the transaction.

The Happy Munkey Says Farewell To New York Prohibition With 4/20 Celebration

By Stu Zakim

There are some dates that transformed New York: In 1858, Central Park opened; The Holland Tunnel’s opening in 1927; The Beatles playing at Shea Stadium in 1965; and the opening of Studio 54 in 1977.  The latest date that will surely find its way onto that list is April 20, 2021 – the day NYC’s legendary speakeasy, The Happy Munkey, hosted it’s “Farewell to Prohibition” celebration.

Happy Munkey founders Vladimir Bautista and Ramon Reyes are celebrities in the Cannabis community.  When they opened in mid 2017 at an “underground” location, they created a space that offered their invitation only guests a safe, comfortable atmosphere while hanging with very cool people all bonding over Cannabis; black, white, straight, gay, it didn’t matter as Vlad and Ramon often say, “It’s about the culture.” On any given night, you could share a joint with a NFL, NBA or MLB player, a hip hop or rap star, an actor or a famous singer, all there to share their love of Cannabis.

After having to close due to the COVID virus, Munkey fans from all over the world were left with no place to get together.  Sure, we had Zoom calls and more recently, Clubhouse chats, but nothing could compare to the in-person experience.  That all changed after New York State legalized Cannabis on April 1. With the success of people being vaccinated, Vlad and Ramon and David Hernandez decided what better way to celebrate this moment in time than doing what they do best.  And, to take it to another level, no more “underground” location; in typical Munkey style, they wanted to make a statement now that Cannabis was legal and they sure did – Bobby Van’s Steakhouse directly opposite the NY Stock Exchange building.  

What an evening.  The restaurant was COVID safe; tables were at least 6 feet apart, masks were required when not consuming or drinking and bottles of hand sanitizer on each table.  They turned a steakhouse into The Munkey – DJ, people mingling with each other, consuming responsibly, in this case, not sharing, and everywhere you looked was either an old friend or leaders in the weed space: Leo Bridgewater, Joy Beckerman, journalist Steve Bloom (who discovered the 420 phenomenon while a High Times editor), Curved Papers’ Michael O’Malley, Arnaud Dumas De Rauly and Sasha Aksenov of The Blinc Group, Fab Five Freddy, Phoenix Nutraceuticals Ruben Lindo and other notables were there, all rocking out and smoking through the party. 

Looking back on my Cannabis consumption through the years in New York City, I must agree with the cliche, you always remember your first, in this case, my first legal pot party!  What a rush and thanks to the Happy Munkey for all they have done to take the culture to the next level.  And, the best is yet to come.