Medical Marijuana, Inc Subsidiary HempMeds Brasil Sponsors Autism Event At Rice University In Houston

 CALIFORNIA: Medical Marijuana, Inc., the first-ever publicly traded cannabis company in the United States that launched the world’s first-ever cannabis-derived nutraceutical products, brands and supply chain, announced today that its subsidiary HempMeds Brasil, in partnership with the Consulate General of Brazil in Houston, sponsored “Autism Together We Are Stronger” at Rice University on February 22.

“We see events like this one as prime opportunities to educate people on what cannabidiol, or CBD, is and its potential benefits,” said HempMeds® Brasil Vice President Caroline Heinz. “CBD can be legally imported in Brazil and is even subsidized by the Brazilian government for many indications including autism. We want to do everything we can to help bring awareness to current research that is being conducted on how CBD can be used by people around the world.”

In addition to sponsoring the event, HempMeds® Brasil shared the event stage with two researchers who the Company has worked with frequently in the past, Dr. Alysson Muotri, Professor at the School of Medicine, University of California in San Diego, and Dr. Abram Topczewski, Neuropediatrician and Enuresis Clinic Director at the Albert Einstein Hospital.

“Education is the most important thing when it comes to helping the world become more accepting of cannabis and its compounds,” said Medical Marijuana, Inc. CEO Dr. Stuart Titus. “We’re proud to be able to sponsor events like these and work with such prestigious doctors such as Dr. Muotri and Dr. Topczewski to help further medical research around the world.”

iAnthus Expands Nevada Footprint With Agreement To Acquire Vertically Integrated Northern Nevada Operator

NEVADA:  iAnthus Capital Holdings, which owns, operates, and partners with best-in-class regulated cannabis operations across the United States, announced that its U.S. subsidiary has entered into an agreement to acquire WSCC, Inc. (“Sierra Well“), a leading Nevada-based vertically licensed cannabis company with two dispensary locations and over 20,000 square feet of cultivation/production facilities in Reno and Carson City.

The acquisition will enhance iAnthus’ presence and accelerate growth efforts in Nevada, which represents an approximately US$640 million adult-use and medical cannabis market growing at over 20% annually, based on data made publicly available by the Nevada Department of Taxation. In conjunction with its current operations, iAnthus’ footprint will be as follows:

  • 6 dispensary Nevada licenses across the state, which includes two currently operating dispensaries under the Sierra Well brand.
  • 50,000 square feet of Nevada cultivation and processing capabilities to further capitalize on strong production and distribution capabilities in the state (MPX-branded products, including award-winning concentrates and recently launched edibles, are currently sold in over 40% of dispensaries in Nevada).
  • Pro forma open dispensary count of 29 stores nationwide.

Sierra Well was founded in 2014, and opened its Reno location in 2015 and its Carson City location in 2016. On an unaudited standalone basis (prepared in accordance with US GAAP), Sierra Well’s last quarter annualized revenue was approximately US$16 million with an EBITDA (non-IFRS) margin above 20% and positive net income.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2020, subject to customary regulatory approvals including approval of the license transfers by the Nevada Department of Taxation. Upon closing of the transaction, the Sierra Well dispensaries will be renamed under the Company’s Be. brand, which is being launched nationwide in October 2019.

“Strengthening our foothold in one of the most successful adult-use cannabis markets is consistent with our strategy to deliver iAnthus’ nationally recognized products in premier markets,” said Hadley Ford, CEO of iAnthus. “This strategic transaction will allow us to scale our Nevada operations, add talent, and solidify both our retail and brand presence in both the Northern and Southern portions of the state.”

“We’re excited to join the iAnthus team and look forward to expanding our business with the expertise of a tried and tested multi-state operator,” said Steven Nightingale, Chairman of the Board of Sierra Well. “We at Sierra Well see this partnership as a perfect fit, one that will allow our dynamic workforce to deepen their ability to provide top-notch service and products to the communities of Reno and Carson City.”

Cannabis Real Estate Firm Bangi Appoints Destiny’s Child Founder Chief Marketing Officer

CALIFORNIA: BANGI, INC, a diversified investment vehicle that acquires and leases specialized real estate assets in the cannabis, hemp and CBD industries, today announced the appointment of Dr. Mathew Knowles to the newly created position of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), effective immediately.  Founder of Destiny’s Child, Dr. Mathew Knowles, is an author, professor, public speaker, entrepreneur, music executive, artist manager and founder of Music World Entertainment, a 25-year entertainment company with over $450 million in record sales.  Dr. Knowles was recently featured in an interview with Forbes Magazine which can be found here.

As the CMO for BANGI, Dr. Knowles will be responsible for developing and overseeing the launch of BANGI’s global marketing campaign, including advertising, branding, communications, content, creative services, digital strategies, press events, social media and the web.  

“As one of the world’s most successful music and entertainment pioneers, Mathew is a relentlessly innovative and creative marketing leader whose experience will ensure our success in the rapidly-growing and dynamic cannabis industry,” said Dr. Neil Parsan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BANGI, Inc.  “Under his leadership, we are looking forward to launching and developing one of the strongest and most trusted brands in the cannabis industry based on our ability to deliver real value to our tenants, partners and shareholders,” concluded Dr. Parsan.

“I have been blessed throughout my career to work with various artists and companies at defining moments in their histories, which is why the opportunity to lead the marketing program at BANGI was so compelling,” said Dr. Knowles.  “BANGI has a strong culture and strategic foundation, and I look forward to leveraging my extensive network and experience to building upon the Company’s momentum through innovative and breakthrough marketing strategies that are designed to achieve sustainable growth and profitability,” concluded Dr. Knowles. 

Innovative Industrial Properties Acquires California Property Portfolio And Enters Into Long-Term Leases With Licensed Operator

Acquisition Represents IIP’s Second Investment in California, Expanding Footprint to 18 Properties in 11 States

CALIFORNIA: Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc., the first and only real estate company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: IIPR) focused on the regulated U.S. cannabis industry, announced today that it closed on the acquisition of a five-property portfolio in southern California, which comprises approximately 102,000 square feet of industrial space. This acquisition marks IIP’s second investment in California, following on IIP’s acquisition in Sacramento earlier this year.

The purchase price for the southern California portfolio was approximately $27.1 million in the aggregate (excluding transaction costs). Concurrent with the closing of the purchase, IIP entered into a long-term, triple-net lease at each property with a licensed operator, which intends to continue to operate the properties as licensed cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, processing and distribution facilities in accordance with California regulations.

As the pioneering real estate investment trust (REIT) for the medical-use cannabis industry, IIP partners with experienced medical-use cannabis operators and serves as a source of capital by acquiring and leasing back their real estate assets, in addition to offering other creative real estate-based capital solutions.

“We are excited to forge this new tenant relationship with one of the preeminent licensed operators in southern California,” said Paul Smithers, President and Chief Executive Officer of IIP. “This operator is a true innovator in the industry, developing a strong brand that is recognized for its consistent high quality, and we are thrilled to team with them as their long-term real estate partner. The California regulated cannabis market is poised for explosive growth in the coming years, as the regulated program continues to roll out and a focus is made on transitioning illicit sales to the regulated marketplace.”

The operator is licensed for cannabis cultivation, nursery, manufacturing, processing, delivery and distribution. With its advanced growing techniques, state-of-the-art facilities and research and development for the creation of new proprietary genetics, the tenant has developed a distinguishing brand in the southern California market, including botanicals, concentrates and accessories.

As of April 16, 2019, IIP owned 18 properties located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, totaling approximately 1,230,000 rentable square feet (including approximately 159,000 rentable square feet under development/redevelopment), which were 100% leased with a weighted-average remaining lease term of approximately 14.9 years. As of April 16, 2019, IIP had invested approximately $191.3 million in the aggregate (excluding transaction costs) and had committed an additional approximately $34.7 million to reimburse certain tenants and sellers for completion of construction and tenant improvements at IIP’s properties. IIP’s average current yield on invested capital is approximately 14.9% for these 18 properties, calculated as (a) the sum of the current base rents, supplemental rent (with respect to the lease with PharmaCann LLC at one of IIP’s New York properties) and property management fees, divided by (b) IIP’s aggregate investment in these properties (excluding transaction costs and including aggregate potential development/redevelopment funding and tenant reimbursements of approximately $34.7 million).

 

Mentor Capital Adds Three Cannabis Investments in Two Months

CALIFORNIA: Mentor Capital announced that its investment in G FarmaLabs Limited has increased to $2,700,000 following yesterday’s seventh investment tranche delivered to G Farma of $250,000 from Mentor for additional leased equipment and working capital. In addition to receiving consulting fees, repayment, interest, and lease payments, Mentor has captured a $1 option for a 3.75% equity interest in the G Farma Family of Businesses. Nicole Gonzalez, Founder of G FarmaBrands, comments, “With financial backing from Mentor Capital, G FarmaLabs has hit its benchmarks on the way to building cannabis efficient facilities and production lines.” Ata Gonzalez, Co-Founder of G FarmaLabs concludes, “Chet provides both money and a wealth of knowledge. We feel blessed to have this strategic relationship.”

“Mentor Capital focuses new investment from shareholders and other investors on larger cannabis companies, like G Farma, that have the potential to go public and who may be incubated by Mentor along that path,” explained Mentor Capital, Inc. CEO, Chet Billingsley. “We look to act as a holding company of operating entities, not an investment company, and have no plans to buy cannabis shares from the public market at normal market prices. However, on 24-hour notice and hence at a significant discount, Mentor will buy public shares from marijuana-related consultants, institutions, or accredited investors that Mentor has known for years.”

The Company reports that in the last two months, Mentor has increased its holding in SolisTek to 300,000 shares by the purchase of an additional 90,000 common shares. Mentor recently has purchased 400,000 shares of GB Sciences, Inc. plus an extra 400,000 of their warrants. Mentor also holds from earlier buying activity approximately a combined $240,000 in shares of GW Pharmaceuticals, Plc. and Kush Bottles, Inc.

MassRoots Files Suit Against Former CEO

COLORADO: MassRoots, Inc., a leading technology platform for the legal cannabis industry, announced that on November 14, 2017 it filed a lawsuit in District Court in Denver, Colorado against its former CEO, Isaac Dietrich. The complaint alleges, among other things, that Dietrich intentionally misappropriated Company funds and engaged in self-dealing by causing MassRoots to make unauthorized payments to him and third parties on his behalf, for his personal benefit, in various amounts totaling in excess of $250,000, which also constituted a wrongful conversion and civil theft of Company funds, and that Mr. Dietrich has been unjustly enriched as a consequence of the foregoing.  The complaint also alleges that Dietrich has intentionally violated the Separation Agreement he signed with the Company.

Scott Kveton, MassRoots CEO, stated “The days of Isaac Dietrich treating this Company like his personal piggybank are over.  It is not surprising to us that only a few days after we filed our lawsuit against him, he filed a preliminary proxy statement with the SEC with the intent to remove the Board and retract the lawsuit against him.  I have faith that the shareholders of this Company will see through this ruse and recognize the folly of putting Dietrich back in charge.”

Kveton continued, “Our last fiscal quarter was the worst quarter MassRoots ever recorded, and it was all Isaac Dietrich’s doing.  Moreover, misappropriation of Company funds and illegal drug use at the workplace are unacceptable on any level.  We intend to enforce the standstill provisions of the Separation Agreement as we believe engaging in a protracted proxy contest now would be a huge waste of our Company resources and a diversion by Isaac Dietrich to avoid the potential consequences of his wrongdoings. We have also been in touch with the appropriate local and Federal authorities on these matters.”

Marapharm Is Building A Third Facility In Las Vegas

CANADA: Marapharm Ventures Inc. has announced construction plans for a third building which will be 65,635 square feet on the 7 acre property located in Las Vegas, adjacent to 2 existing cultivation buildings. The ground prep pad is ready to build on, most infrastructure is designed and in place and building plans go for bid in October 2017. Construction will begin soon thereafter. This building is slated to be the first 3 story cannabis building in the state of Nevada.

“Current pricing and comparable facilities in Nevada indicate that revenue from the new 3 story building will potentially be $50 million gross and $30 million net, after operating costs, for the first year (source Kurt Keating). We will be at about 20% build out with regard to the square footage of the licenses we have.  Marapharm is the largest marijuana license holder in Nevada.” Linda Sampson, CEO, Marapharm.

Marapharm engaged Kurt Keating to do the evaluation of this project. Kurt won 2 High Times Cannabis Cups in 2014 while cultivating medical cannabis and he has been consulting, evaluating and growing cannabis for several years. The market price for this type of marijuana at present is approximately $2300 wholesale per pound in Nevada. The evaluation for the three floors is 22,600 pounds per year.

Cannabis Companies Can Earn Positive Media Coverage And Attract New Business

By Bill Bongiorno

Earning positive media coverage by being a source to the media builds credibility and visibility for cannabis companies. Being quoted in a newspaper, magazine or being a guest on TV as an expert source carries a lot of weight with the public.

The media acts as a third-party endorsement. It’s also the best and fastest way to reach a mass audience.

Here are some ways for cannabis companies to earn positive media coverage:

  • News releases – even simple news sent to local media can result in coverage.  For example, a cannabis company announcing a new deal that involves a local company. These two pieces of information can be shared with local regional newspapers and business journals.  These also will find their way on the Internet. Earning positive media coverage will aid search engine optimization to get found by potential consumers and investors.
  • Interviews with reporters covering cannabis are another tool for cannabis companies to be quoted in news stories. Reading current cannabis news and paying attention to who the writers are is essential.  There is cannabis news on a daily basis and cannabis company executives can offer to be expert sources supplying information, guidance and opinion.  Often the writers contact information is available at media websites.
  • Byline articles are another great way for cannabis companies to help the investing public and showcase their financial knowledge.  If you have a regular newsletter or cannabis commentary you send to clients, rework it to get published to a wider audience as a byline piece or guest blog.  Writing articles and letters to the editor that get published in media read by a cannabis company target audience, positions the company as a thought leader.  It displays the value proposition to customers and investors.
  • Follow cannabis writers on Twitter and LinkedIn and interact with them.  Sometimes they post what stories they are working on and the types of sources they need.  This is another way in today’s social media world, to stay connected. It helps to build a relationship to say you’ve read their stories and comment on them. A retweet or sharing a link on LinkedIn and FB is always welcome, particularly with cannabis reporters.
  • Develop news hooks based on the time of year to earn positive media coverage.  With Halloween coming, a story hook on infusing the day with cannabis would be a good topic. When the Christmas season is upon us, a story about a gift that keeps giving, cannabis, would be cool, not to mention as a stocking stuffer.  TV loves these kinds of stories because it offers great visuals. This is another avenue for cannabis companies to gain some positive media coverage. Often having been quoted in the media and having had articles published will help cannabis execs get on TV.  Typically, TV follows print in the stories it covers. Look at the news of the day in print and offer to be a guest talking about a top cannabis news story.

By employing some of these media tactics, cannabis companies can be positioned as experts along with their value propositions. While increasing name recognition, credibility and visibility to attract customers and investors.  Think about earning positive media coverage for your cannabis company today.


 

Bill Bongiorno is President of Blue Chip Public Relations, Inc., a firm specializing in working with financial and alternative investment companies including the cannabis industry. 

 

Cannabis Financing Companies Need To Infuse Good PR

By Bill Bongiorno

With the passage on the ballots in nine states last Fall, cannabis is now legal in some form in 29 states.  Everyone wants to get into the game and the cannabis rush is on.  This includes more traditional bankers and Wall Street executives.  The trend is growing of more leaving the tired landscape of stocks and bonds for a different kind of green – financing cannabis companies in the U.S. that are in desperate need of capital.  Why?  Because cannabis is still federally illegal.  Typical bankers, investment firms, accountants, lawyers and the usual suspects of consultants are now entering the scene as well as financial advisors.

But how does a financial company, be it publicly traded in Canada or a private equity firm based in New York establish itself as credible, legitimate and viable in an industry that has a stigma of the stoner?

Enter public relations, which doesn’t have the barriers to entry or legal requirements of say an accounting or legal firm.   That is the beauty of it.  Traditional media have flocked to covering cannabis as the trend towards legalization is clear. The rise of cannabis journalism is also undeniable as Cannabis Now magazine recently wrote about it its latest issue.

Financial companies operating in the cannabis space are letting priceless marketing slip through their fingers as savvy companies such as iAnthus Capital Management swallows up the media attention, along with stock volume, investors, and deal flow.

The need for a clear and concise message, along with astute company positioning and a winning traditional and social media strategy are imperative as the business landscape in cannabis becomes ever more competitive.  A recent Forbes column by a great cannabis journalist Julie Weed points to the need to use social to drive a business or product:

So how does one go about getting this media attention?  It always comes down to telling a great story.  This is how you win your share of “ink.”  Also going to the right cannabis reporter at the right time with that right story is key.

Playing off the constant stream of news in the cannabis space is also an imperative.  Having the talking points and quotable quotes set to go to the right journalists when news is imminent or breaking is how you get into mainstream media, such as Bloomberg, US News and others.

Friday Night, Inc. is the perfect example of how our firm seized the opportunity around the full legalization in Nevada and the cannabis shortage news after implementation by securing national top tier media coverage:

The coverage secured helped the tiny public company trade above 3 million shares.

It’s great to be in Cannabis Now and Cannabis Business Daily and talking to people with an interest in the space, but for high impact, having a name brand household name media outlet cover you is like gold.

The articles become marketing material to use in pitch decks, investor meetings, and other business worthy endeavors when proving your business model and value proposition is paramount.

So, when planning your cannabis business strategy, don’t forget to get some hits in the mainstream media and infuse your growth with some public relations grow.


 

Bill Bongiorno is President of Blue Chip Public Relations, Inc., a firm specializing in working with financial and alternative investment companies including the cannabis industry. 

 

North Carolina Farmers Race To Plant Industrial Hemp aka “Carolina Gold”

NORTH CAROLINA: North Carolina farmers are picking up the pace in planting what they believe will be the next cash crop… industrial hemp. The “Carolina Gold,” as one North Carolina fourth generation farmer referred to industrial hemp, is expected to bring in a huge potential source of income among farmers in the state. Thus far, Hemp, Inc.’s licensed farming associates in North Carolina have secured over 150 pounds of CBD-rich hemp seeds which are currently being planted in order to be harvested by September/October. CEO of Hemp, Inc. Bruce Perlowin says that amount of CBD-rich hemp seeds along with the 17 acres of high-CBD clones they are planting in North Carolina and Colorado will be one of, or, the largest CBD hemp grows in the United States (approximately 550 acres total).

“Since North Carolina farmers can source domestic seed for planting industrial hemp, it’s almost a race in the Tar Heel state to see who can get the seeds and the clones in the ground first. Everyone wants to try their hand at the lucrative crop. And with Hemp, Inc.’s Hemp University educational symposiums, teaching farmers how to grow hemp for profit, the learning curve isn’t as massive as it once was,” said Perlowin.

As announced in Hemp, Inc.’s last press release, the company has already purchased its first industrial NuAxon Tech CO2 Supercritical extractor from NuAxon BioScience, the manufacturer and producer of the world class, large capacity CO2 Supercritical Extraction equipment. With the industry’s expanding CBD market and ever-increasing consumer CBD sales over the past few years, executives are set to purchase its second CBD Extractor this year as well. The Hemp Business Journal projects the CBD market will “grow to a $2.1 billion market in consumer sales by 2020 with $450-million of those sales coming from hemp-based sources.” David Schmitt, COO of Hemp, Inc.’s wholly owned subsidiary, Industrial Hemp Manufacturing, LLC (IHM), has been researching CBD extraction methods and manufacturers for the past 2 years and feels confident Hemp, Inc. will greatly benefit from the in-house CBD extraction method.