New Study Finds People Turned to Cannabis During the Pandemic to Feel Happier

COLORADO: A 2021 survey finds a positive correlation between the number of COVID-19 cases and demand for medical cannabis; more than half of patients said they used cannabis “to feel happy.”

— 55% of medical cannabis patients primarily use to feel ‘happy’

— Patient desire to feel ‘happy’ via medical cannabis use grew 46% in the past year

— Study suggests exogenous shocks like COVID-19, elections, protests and riots positively influence medical cannabis demand

Did the stressors of COVID-19 drive more Americans to use medical cannabis as an alternative tool for managing their mental health? A new national study exploring this question found a positive correlation between national demand for medical cannabis and the national number of COVID-19 cases; in other words, as cases increased, so did medical cannabis use. And whereas the most common reason for obtaining a medical card has historically been for chronic pain, the majority of medical cannabis patients who applied for medical cards over the past year cited psychological purposes, with 55% of patients saying their main reason for using cannabis was “to feel ‘happy.”

These findings are part of a national study conducted by Veriheal, the healthcare enterprise behind the nation’s largest medical marijuana application platform, in partnership with graduate research scholars from the London School of EconomicsUniversity of Southern California and University of Maryland; and the CREA (Cultivating Research Education and Advocacy) Group, a business development and research firm dedicated to psychoactive drugs like cannabinoids, psychedelics, and entheogens. The findings were officially presented to the American Chemical Society, a congressionally chartered non-profit leading research in the global chemical enterprise, at their April 2021 national conference.

Conducted between January 2020 and March 2021, the study investigated medical cannabis interest and adoption by desired effect across region, sex and age group, in relation to COVID-19 cases in America as reported by the official COVID-19 CDC data tracker.

Patient data was obtained from surveys on the Veriheal telemedicine platform, which connects prospective cannabis patients to state-certified cannabis doctors to facilitate and streamline the medical marijuana (MMJ) card application process.

American Cannabis Company, Inc. Receives Approval from Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) and the City of Colorado Springs to Acquire, Own, and Operate Naturaleaf™ in Southern Colorado

COLORADO:  American Cannabis Company, Inc. announced that on April 30, 2021, Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) and the City of Colorado Springs granted regulatory approvals for the Company’s acquisition and operation of Medihemp, LLC, and its wholly owned subsidiary SLAM Enterprises, LLC, and Medical Cannabis Caregivers, Inc., all doing business as Naturaleaf™, a long-standing vertically integrated cannabis business.

As a result of the regulatory approvals and the closing of the asset purchase, the Company acquired Naturaleaf’s three medically licensed retail stores, and a 10,000 square foot cultivation and extraction facility located in the metropolitan area of Colorado Springs. Naturaleaf™ has earned a strong reputation for its quality products and customer experience, having served its loyal and growing patient base since 2009. 

“We are incredibly happy to have completed this acquisition, and this is only the beginning,” said Terry Buffalo, Chief Executive Officer of American Cannabis Company. Buffalo continued, “With the approval from the regulatory bodies now behind us, this is where the real work starts. Brand integration is key for success, and our team is working diligently to dial in processes and procedures, as well as implementing ACC’s company culture and core values, while also maintaining Naturaleaf™ brand integrity. We look to expand production capacities by revamping the cultivation operation, adding technology and equipment, including our proprietary cultivation methodologies and ‘just add water’ all-natural potting mix, SoHum Living Soils®, to effectively grow a consistent, high-value flower product. In addition to the modifications we plan to make in the back of the house, we also aim to elevate the retail experience by adding best-in-market products, new retail equipment and technologies to maximize customer/patient experience, as well as maintain consistent inventories. With this acquisition we anticipate over $2mm+ in gross revenue, and we look to increase upon that. For more details, please read the Company’s most recent 8-K filings.”

Scott Saunders, owner of Naturaleaf™, commented: “We are happy to have been acquired by American Cannabis Company. Since 2009 Naturaleaf has been pioneering the local medical market. The staff is excited to transition under the ownership of a public company, and I am excited for the people of Colorado Springs to see what American Cannabis Company is going to bring to the local community.”

Overall Transaction Background

On December 10, 2020, American Cannabis Company announced that it had executed a non-binding letter of intent to acquire all three (3) Naturaleaf™ medical marijuana centers along with its ten thousand (10,000) square foot commercial cultivation facility that also includes non-volatile extraction facilities.

On March 11, 2021, American Cannabis Company announced that it had executed the official Asset Purchase Agreement (APA) and on April 20, 2021 the Company received a contingent approval letter from Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED), outlining the change of ownership.

After now having obtained final regulatory approval transferring the Naturaleaf™ licenses to the Company, and finalizing the closing of the asset purchase transaction as of April 30, 2021, the Company plans to acquire additional local and national cannabis assets and brands, with the goal of creating a portfolio of cannabis assets elevating the consumer experience through a commitment to wellness, quality products, and cleaner green practices.

For a complete disclosure of the asset purchase agreement, see the Company’s Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission:

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/945617/000172186821000142/f2sammj8k031121.htm

For a complete disclosure of the acquisition for Naturaleaf™ and the received regulatory approval, see the Company’s Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission:

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/945617/000172186821000254/f2sammj8k043021.htm

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.

Congressman Blumenauer Lauds House Passage of Federal Legislation to Give Cannabis Businesses Access to Banking Services

Under SAFE Banking Act, cannabis businesses would not have to operate in cash, which has made Portland-area stores and workers a target for violent robberies.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: On April 19th, 2021 the U.S. House of Representatives passed federal legislation to provide legitimate cannabis businesses access to banking services, an issue that has long been championed by U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. The bipartisan passage of the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act in the 117th Congress comes as Portland-area cannabis businesses and their workers continue to be targeted with violent robberies that have been linked to a system that forces cannabis businesses to deal almost exclusively in cash.

“Cannabis will soon be a $20 billion industry and is overwhelmingly supported by the American public. The insane prohibition on banking services serves no one’s interest, except for money launderers, tax evaders, or those who are going to rob these cash-rich businesses,” Blumenauer said. “As we continue to push forward with full legalization, addressing this irrational, unfair, and unsafe denial of banking services to state-legal cannabis businesses is a top priority. This is a critical element of reform that can’t wait, and I urge our cannabis champions in the Senate to take up this legislation as soon as possible.”

Under the federal prohibition on cannabis, banks and credit unions are currently prohibited from serving cannabis businesses, even with financial products as simple as savings accounts or payroll checks. Notwithstanding the financial and practical hardships facing legal cannabis businesses, forcing these businesses to operate on a cash-only basis creates a public safety risk and makes tracking revenue more difficult for tax purposes.

The cash-only nature of cannabis businesses also makes them easy and frequent targets for robberies, which puts workers at risk. According to a March 2021 report by Willamette Week, in the preceding 10 months, Portland cannabis shops were robbed, burglarized, or looted 95 times – often at gunpoint – resulting in one tragic fatality.

The legislation passed in the House would prohibit federal regulators from taking punitive measures against depository institutions that provide banking services to legitimate cannabis-related businesses and ancillary businesses like the electricians, plumbers, and the landlords that serve them. The SAFE Banking Act also requires a GAO study and annual regulator reports to Congress to ensure equal access to credit and to reduce barriers to marketplace entry for potential and existing minority- and women-owned cannabis-related businesses.

Full text of the SAFE Banking Act can be found here.

Ganja Pioneer Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion Commemorates 4/20 with New Jersey Celebration and Miami Expansion

NEW JERSEY: While “Weed Day” 4/20/21 marks a luminous occasion for longtime marijuana activist and entrepreneur, Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion, in his home state of New Jersey, per the recent legalization of cannabis, the victory is somewhat bittersweet for him.

The bitter is that his current “Citizen’s Dispensary” operates as a black-market operation as he continues to battle for inclusion within the legal arena. The sweet is not only a huge in-store and online celebration party this 4/20, but also the announcement of his expansion, with a 420-themed lounge opening soon in Miami, Florida, entitled, The Joint of Miami. (photo credit: Dr. Boogie)

New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham Legalizes Adult-Use Cannabis

NEW MEXICO: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday formally enacted adult-use cannabis legalization in the state of New Mexico, signing into law an historic measure approved by the state Legislature after the governor called them into a special session for that purpose late last month.

“The legalization of adult-use cannabis paves the way for the creation of a new economic driver in our state with the promise of creating thousands of good paying jobs for years to come,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “We are going to increase consumer safety by creating a bona fide industry. We’re going to start righting past wrongs of this country’s failed war on drugs. And we’re going to break new ground in an industry that may well transform New Mexico’s economic future for the better.”

New jobs, new revenue

The sales of adult-use recreational cannabis could amount to $318 million in the first year, creating over several years what could be more than 11,000 new jobs, according Dr. Kelly O’Donnell, independent economist and public finance expert. Preliminary estimates are that the excise tax will raise at least $20 million for the general fund in the first full fiscal year, with significant growth in subsequent years. Local governments will also benefit from the added revenue.

“As we look to rebound from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, entrepreneurs will benefit from this great opportunity to create lucrative new enterprises, the state and local governments will benefit from the added revenue and, importantly, workers will benefit from the chance to land new types of jobs and build careers,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham.

“Today, New Mexico seized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to establish a multi-million industry with a framework that’s right for our state and will benefit New Mexicans for generations to come,” said Rep. Javier Martínez. “Not only are we launching a burgeoning industry that will strengthen our economy, create jobs and generate tax dollars, but we are doing so in an equitable way that will curb the illicit market and undo some damage of the failed war on drugs.”

A well regulated industry spurs economic activity, creates revenue for state and local government and protects the public

The governor’s signature today launches an administrative process that will culminate in the launch of commercial sales for adults no later than April 1, 2022. The issuance of licenses to conduct commercial cannabis activity will begin no later than Jan. 1, 2022.

“This is a major new program for the state that will have a positive impact on job growth and the economy, but it does require smart regulation in order to protect the public and entrepreneurs seeking to get into the business,” said Sen. Katy Duhigg. “I’m proud of the work we did to ensure that we are creating a fair and equitable program that has a low barrier to entry. At the same time, proper regulation and oversight will keep our successful medical cannabis program intact and help new businesses grow while keeping consumers safe.”

Gross receipts tax and local taxes apply to the value of the adult-use purchase.

“This is the right model for New Mexico because it creates a local, sustainable and regulated industry while at the same time protecting what’s near and dear to all us, including public health, road safety and the well-being of our youth,” said Superintendent Linda M. Trujillo of the state Regulation and Licensing Department, which will oversee and manage the new industry.

New Mexico becomes the latest state in the U.S. to legalize adult-use cannabis, and is only the fifth state to enact it through its state Legislature.

“The standardization and statewide regulation that comes with a bona fide industry will protect consumers,” said Trujillo. “In addition, local jurisdictions will be able to enact reasonable zoning, land use and other business requirements.”

Protecting public safety, health, consumers and N.M. youth

The legislation creates a Public Health Advisory Board to monitor cannabis use and data pertaining to the health effects of legalizing cannabis. In addition, the Department of Health is required to provide annual reports, including information on youth access, driving and road safety, workplace safety, consumer and product safety and emergency room visits involving cannabis.

“Protections for our children are an essential part of this plan and include strict restrictions of packaging, labeling and advertising, as well as stiff penalties for anyone selling cannabis to persons younger than 21,” said Sen. Linda Lopez.

The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Javier Martinez, Rep. Andrea Romero, Rep. Debbie Armstrong, Sen. Linda Lopez and Sen. Katy Duhigg.

“The legalization of cannabis is ultimately a public health measure. When we regulate the industry, we can control the product quality, protect consumers, and bring down the dangerous illicit market in our state,” said Rep. Debbie Armstrong. “This law includes dozens of necessary safeguards to protect our youth, ensure adequate supply for the medical program, and will bring in additional funds for programs, services, and research to support the health and wellbeing of New Mexicans.”

Expungement of convictions

Surrounded by legislative sponsors and advocates outside the state Capitol, Gov. Lujan Grisham, who has advocated for legalization since taking office, signed legislation that will authorize the expungement old low-level cannabis convictions from the record of what is expected to be tens of thousands of New Mexicans and make possible the potential early release of low-level convicted cannabis offenders who are currently incarcerated.

“Thousands of people, and a disproportionate number of them from communities of color, have been wronged by this country’s failed war on drugs,” said Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino. “We will all benefit from our state’s smart, fair and equitable new approach to past low-level convictions.”

“For decades, our communities of color have been discriminated against for minor cannabis offenses, so we must ensure that those who would not be arrested today do not continue to be incarcerated or held back by criminal records for acts that are no longer crimes,” said Rep. Andrea Romero. “By ensuring equity and social justice in our cannabis legalization, we are saying ‘enough’ to the devastating ‘War on Drugs’ that over-incarcerated and over-penalized thousands of New Mexicans.”

This important social justice measure was sponsored by Sen. Lopez, Sen. Duhigg, Rep. Martinez, Rep. Romero and Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino.

“The signing of the cannabis legalization and expungement package will ensure equitable opportunities for farmers and other small businesses, and long overdue justice – including automatic expungement – for those with past cannabis arrests or convictions,” said Emily Kaltenbach, Senior Director, Resident States and New Mexico, Drug Policy Alliance. “We thank the Governor and our legislative allies for not taking ‘no’ for an answer and stopping at nothing until we were able to get justice for New Mexico communities – particularly Hispanic/Latinx, Black, Native and Indigenous – that have been immensely harmed by cannabis prohibition.”

***

“This legislation is a major, major step forward for our state,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “Legalized adult-use cannabis is going to change the way we think about New Mexico for the better – our workforce, our economy, our future. We’re ready to break new ground. We’re ready to invest in ourselves and the limitless potential of New Mexicans. And we’re ready to get to work in making this industry a successful one.”

The governor’s signature on the final bills to have reached her desk from the special session caps an incredibly productive spring 2021 legislative season, during which the Legislature and governor delivered a series of significant policy achievements, including many that were either campaign promises and/or longstanding priorities of the governor.

On top of the passage of a constitutional amendment ballot measure that would authorize an additional portion of the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund for early childhood education, and in addition to long-sought social welfare measures, the Legislature authorized and governor enacted almost $1 billion in direct pandemic relief for individuals and businesses across the state, including $200 million in small business grants, $500 million in small business loans, a tax holiday for hospitality businesses and restaurants, a $600 tax rebate for working families and a sweeping tax overhaul that will amount to a significantly boosted tax rebate for tens of thousands of New Mexico middle-class families.

OLCC Commission Modifies Cannabis License Violations

Changes reflect industry maturation, OLCC regulatory evolution

Commissioners get glimpse of cannabis equity legislation impact on agency

OREGON:  The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has taken additional action to ensure that recreational marijuana license violations better reflect the current cannabis regulatory environment compared to regulations put in place five years ago when the cannabis industry launched in Oregon. At its regular monthly meeting on April 8, 2021, the Commission also formally approved streamlining changes to processing marijuana licenses, an approach OLCC staff have already begun implementing.

In addition OLCC Commissioners learned about likely impacts affecting the agency if cannabis social equity legislation is approved by the Oregon legislature and signed into law by Governor Brown. Commissioners also approved three stipulated settlements for recreational marijuana license violations.

OLCC regulations approved in 2016, at the onset of adult-use cannabis in Oregon, aligned with guidance in the since rescinded U.S. Department of Justice Cole Memorandum, and served as appropriate guard rails for an emerging industry. The changes just approved by the Commission better reflect the regulatory oversight needed for a maturing industry.

Some of the changes assign a different category to a violation if the violation was unintentional instead of intentional. For instance, now if a surveillance camera fails licensees have more time to inform the OLCC about the problem. Another change eliminates the compounding effect of a single violation when a producer fails to notify the OLCC of a marijuana harvest; previously the OLCC assessed a separate violation each additional day the producer failed to tell regulators.

The Commission also ratified changes in the marijuana license application process designed to speed up approvals. Those changes include boosting the ownership threshold for an applicant from 10 to 20 percent, allowing more flexibility for approving business structure changes, and eliminating the pre-licensing inspection requirement prior to issuing a license.

Oregon House Bill 3112 redresses criminal and economic consequences suffered by Black, LatinX and Indigenous Oregonians related to cannabis criminalization. A member of the coalition supporting The Oregon Cannabis Equity Act outlined for Commissioners how the measure would create economic opportunity for previously disenfranchised populations by reducing regulatory costs, and establishing an equity license for individuals who have previous marijuana criminal convictions, or are from Black, LatinX or Indigenous groups.

HB 3112 would create two other license types: a delivery license and a social (on-premises) consumption license. The delivery license would allow deliveries outside the city or county of a delivery business’ location, and it would also allow delivery to a hotel, both activities that are currently prohibited.

Commissioners also ratified the following violation fines and suspensions based on stipulated settlements (detailed information on specific cases can be found here on the OLCC website):

NEBULA CANNABIS in Portland will pay a $1,155 fine OR serve a seven day recreational marijuana retailer license suspension for one violation.

Licensee is: Haramkhor, LLC; Krishna Kumar, Member.

ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS in Portland will pay a $5,280 fine OR serve a 32-day recreational marijuana retailer license suspension for two violations.

Licensees are: Alternative Solutions 1, Inc.; Donald VanWormer, President/Director/Stockholder; Brenda Lingle, Secretary/Director.

GRIZZILLA FARMS will surrender its marijuana producer license on the date the transfer of ownership of the business is completed or on July 30, 2021, whichever is earlier.

Licensees are: Grizzilla Farms, LLC; Mark Aguilar, Manager/Member.

Governor Phil Scott Announces Appointments To Vermont Cannabis Control Board

VERMONT: Governor Phil Scott announced today that he has appointed James Pepper of Montpelier, Julie Hulburd of Colchester and Kyle Harris of Montpelier to the Cannabis Control Board (CCB).

“The Board will play a critical role in ensuring public safety, equity and fairness while implementing this new market,” said Governor Phil Scott. “James, Julie and Kyle bring diverse and relevant experience to the CCB and I’m confident they will hit the ground running when they get to work in the coming days.”

Stopthedrugwar.orgThe CCB was created by Act 164 of 2020 for the purpose of safely, equitably and effectively implementing and administering the laws and rules regulating adult-use cannabis in Vermont. It is responsible for establishing, administering and regulating a cannabis regulatory system for commercial cannabis cultivators, wholesalers, product manufacturers, retailers and testing laboratories.

The CCB will also take over responsibility for the regulation of medical cannabis dispensaries and the administration of the medical cannabis registry, currently administered by the Vermont Department of Public Safety.

About the appointees:

James Pepper, Chair

James Pepper currently serves as a deputy state’s attorney for the Department of State’s Attorneys and Sheriffs. In this role, Pepper has worked on several criminal justice reform initiatives, including bail reform, expungement eligibility, Justice Reinvestment, use of force standards for law enforcement officers, and the expansion of juvenile jurisdiction.

Pepper also serves on the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel, the CHINS Reform Advisory Panel, the Juvenile Justice Advisory Panel, the Act 148 Working Group, and the Sentencing Commission. Prior to joining the Department, Pepper worked for former Governor Peter Shumlin as director of intergovernmental affairs and senior policy advisor, where he worked on relevant cannabis issues.

Pepper received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Johns Hopkins University and his J.D. from Vermont Law School. He and his wife Aly live in Montpelier with their identical twin boys, Beau and Wesley.

Julie Hulburd

Julie Hulburd currently serves as the human resources director at the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation and has over twenty years of Human Resources experience, including 12 years in municipal government. In her last municipal government role, Julie worked closely with leadership on the city’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

Hulburd was appointed to the State Ethics Commission in 2018 and has served as its chair since 2019. She has also served as a member of her local parks and recreation advisory board, a justice of the peace and on the select board.

Hulburd has a bachelor’s degree from Northern Vermont University-Johnson. She also holds a Professional in Human Resources Certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute and is a Certified Professional with the Society for Human Resources Management. She regularly volunteers for the Vermont Brain Injury Association’s Walk for Thought, at the local Night to Shine event and the Miss Vermont Scholarship Organization.

Kyle Harris

Kyle Harris has served as an agriculture development specialist at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) since 2019. In this role, he has focused on emerging issues and economic development. His work has focused on dairy innovation, maple initiatives and hemp business development. He has worked closely with the Agency of Commerce and Community Development as a liaison between agencies to facilitate policy and economic discussion throughout Vermont’s agriculture portfolio. Most recently, he aided in development of Vermont’s Agriculture and Food System Strategic Plan 2021-2030.

Previous to his role with VAAFM, Harris served as the associate counsel for environmental affairs at the Corn Refiners Association in Washington, DC, where his work focused on improving the environmental footprint at both ends of the supply chain, from grower relations to growth in plant-based products and 21st century uses for agricultural feedstocks

Harris has a bachelor’s degree in history from the College of Charleston, and a J.D. & Master of Environmental Law & Policy from Vermont Law School. He has a license to practice law in Maryland. He lives in Montpelier with his wife Cate.

Canopy Growth to Acquire The Supreme Cannabis Company

CANADA: Canopy Growth Corporation and The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc. are pleased to announce that they have entered into a definitive arrangement agreement under which Canopy will acquire all of Supreme Cannabis’ issued and outstanding common shares in a transaction valued at approximately $435 million on a fully-diluted basis.

Under the terms of the Arrangement Agreement, Supreme Cannabis shareholders will receive 0.01165872 of a Canopy common share (the “Exchange Ratio”) and $0.0001 in cash in exchange for each Supreme Cannabis Share held. The Transaction provides Supreme Cannabis shareholders with a premium per Supreme Cannabis Share of approximately 66% based on the closing prices of the Supreme Cannabis Shares and Canopy common shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange (the “TSX”) as of April 7, 2021.

The Transaction is expected to provide several benefits to both Canopy and Supreme Cannabis shareholders. Notably, following completion of the acquisition, Canopy will possess a strengthened brand portfolio including one of Canada’s leading premium brands, 7ACRES. Brand growth is anticipated with distribution supported by Canopy’s robust sales and distribution network as well as superior consumer insights and R&D capabilities. In addition to receiving a market premium, Supreme Cannabis shareholders will also benefit from Canopy’s US CBD business and conditional positioning for continued exposure to the US market expansion. Further value will be derived through the scalable Kincardine, Ontario production facility, which has a demonstrated record of producing premium flower at low cost.

Key Transaction Highlights

  • Solidifies Canopy’s leadership position in the Canadian recreational market, well-positioned for growth: The Transaction combines Canopy’s preeminent position with Supreme Cannabis’ Top-10 position in Canada to create a pro forma Canadian recreational market share of 6%(1), including 7ACRES holding Canada’s number one premium flower brand position, number one in PAX vapes, and Top-5 in pre-rolled joints(2).
    • Combined pro forma market share estimated to be 23.3% of the premium flower segment in Ontario and 21.4% in British Columbia(3).
  • Adds premium brands to Canopy’s portfolio: The addition of Supreme Cannabis’ premium brands, 7ACRES and 7ACRES Craft Collective, complement Canopy’s current consumer offering and will strengthen Canopy’s brand portfolio, with both brands expected to continue to grow with further investment and expansion. Supreme Cannabis’ Blissco and Truverra brands also add breadth to Canopy’s market presence in both the recreational and medical markets.
  • Brings a premium, low-cost and scalable cultivation facility to Canopy’s production capabilities: Supreme Cannabis’ hybrid-greenhouse cultivation facility at Kincardine, Ontario has a demonstrated capability of consistently producing premium flower from sought-after strains at low cost with significant potential for scaling.
  • Secures an immediate attractive premium for Supreme Cannabis shareholders: The Transaction provides Supreme Cannabis shareholders with a premium per Supreme Cannabis Share of approximately 66% based on the closing prices of the Supreme Cannabis Shares and Canopy common shares on the TSX as of April 7, 2021.
  • Participation by Supreme Cannabis shareholders in the future of Canopy: The Supreme Cannabis shareholders will receive Canopy common shares pursuant to the Transaction and will have access to Canopy’s consumer insights, advanced R&D and innovation capabilities as well as the opportunity to participate in the future growth of the US market based on the Company’s conditional positioning for rapid market entry. Post-Transaction, Canopy’s industry-leading balance sheet and cash position of approximately $2.5 billion positions the company for further expansion and product development.
  • Opportunity to achieve potential cost synergies estimated at approximately $30mm within two-years: Canopy anticipates post-Transaction cost synergy opportunities across both cost of goods sold and sales, general and administrative expenses, as it optimizes and integrates Supreme’s operations and shared services.

“As we continue to expand our leading brand portfolio, we’re excited to reach more consumers through Supreme’s premium brands and high-quality products, further solidifying Canopy’s market leadership,” said David Klein, Chief Executive Officer of Canopy. “Supreme’s deep commitment to superior genetics, top-tier cultivation and strict quality control, paired with Canopy’s leading consumer insights, advanced R&D and innovation capabilities, is expected to create a powerful combination that aligns with our strategic focus to generate growth with premium quality products across key categories.”

“This transaction is a testament to the value created by all the teams at Supreme and will be beneficial to all of our stakeholders,” added Beena Goldenberg, President and CEO of Supreme Cannabis. “We have been successful at delivering great products that achieved strong customer loyalty, and operating at levels of efficiency that are industry-leading. We have also built a highly sought-after premium brand in 7ACRES. Combining Supreme Cannabis with Canopy – a Canadian market leader with exposure to the United States – presents a significant value creation opportunity for both companies. We look forward to working with Canopy to complete this transaction.”

Transaction Details

The Transaction will be effected by way of a court-approved plan of arrangement under the Canada Business Corporations Act, requiring the approval of at least two-thirds of the votes cast by the shareholders of Supreme Cannabis voting at a special meeting of shareholders to consider the Transaction expected to be held in June 2021. Canopy has entered into voting support agreements with certain of Supreme Cannabis’ directors and officers pursuant to which they have agreed, among other things, to vote their Supreme Cannabis Shares in favour of the Transaction.

In addition to shareholder and court approvals, the Transaction is subject to applicable regulatory approvals including, but not limited to, TSX approval and approval under the Competition Act (Canada) and the satisfaction of certain other closing conditions customary in transactions of this nature. The Arrangement Agreement includes customary provisions, including non-solicitation, “fiduciary out” and “right to match” provisions as well as a termination fee of $12.5 million payable by Supreme Cannabis to Canopy in certain specified circumstances.

Assuming timely receipt of all necessary court, shareholder, regulatory and other third-party approvals and the satisfaction of all other conditions, closing of the Transaction is expected to occur by end of June 2021.

A full description of the Transaction will be set forth in the management information circular of Supreme Cannabis (the “Circular”), which will be mailed to Supreme Cannabis shareholders and filed with the Canadian securities regulators on the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (“SEDAR”) at www.sedar.com.

Approvals and Recommendation

The Transaction was approved by the board of directors of each of Canopy and Supreme Cannabis, and Supreme Cannabis’ board of directors recommends that Supreme Cannabis shareholders vote in favour of the Transaction.

Each of BMO Capital Markets and Hyperion Capital provided the Supreme Cannabis Board of Directors with an opinion, dated April 7, 2021, to the effect that, as of the date of such opinion, the consideration payable pursuant to the Transaction is fair, from a financial point of view, to the Supreme Cannabis shareholders, in each case, based upon and subject to the respective assumptions, limitations, qualifications and other matters set forth in such opinions.

None of the securities to be issued pursuant to the Transaction have been or will be registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “U.S. Securities Act”), or any state securities laws, and any securities issuable in the Transaction are anticipated to be issued in reliance upon available exemptions from such registration requirements pursuant to Section 3(a)(10) of the U.S. Securities Act and applicable exemptions under state securities laws. This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities.

Advisors and Counsel

Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP is acting as strategic and legal advisor to Canopy.

BMO Capital Markets is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Supreme Cannabis and provided a fairness opinion to the Supreme Cannabis board of directors. Hyperion Capital Inc. provided an independent fairness opinion to the board of directors of Supreme Cannabis. Borden Ladner Gervais LLP is acting as legal counsel to Supreme Cannabis.

  • Source: Provincial Boards; Headset Note: This market share data differs from Canopy’s internal market share data provided during Canopy’s previous earnings calls due to different methodologies and time periods. Market share data represents 01-Oct-20 through latest available data: Provincial Board data for ON online, PEI, NS (27/28-Mar-21) and NB (17-Mar-21); and Headset data for ON retail (28-Feb-21) and AB, BC and SK (31-Mar-21).
  • Market share data represents 01-Oct-20 through latest available data: Provincial Board data for ON online, PEI, NS (27/28-Mar-21) and NB (17-Mar-21); and Headset data for ON retail (28-Feb-21) and AB, BC and SK (31-Mar-21).
  • Internal Canopy Growth management estimate.

 To view the Investor Relations Presentation click here. 

Marijuana Seed Companies After Legalization

By Paul Morgan

It’s a controversial subject that has raised a lot of questions and debate. Should marijuana be legalized? Sixty three percent of Americans seem to think so. So, what will this mean for the already thriving seed business, or cannabis industry itself for that matter?

As of 2016, so far five states have legalized recreational use of marijuana. This is great news for cannabis users in Alaska, Colorado, Washington, the District of Columbia, and Oregon. Seed banks have been thriving under the thresholds of medical marijuana and overseas business for years, but now something new is happening in public opinion and the cannabis industry may come to your state too. Seed banks are already popping up all across the US, and people everywhere are starting to grow cannabis in these legal zones. It isn’t without its restrictions yet, but some seed banks are going as far as giving out free seeds just to get the movement of marijuana normalization well under way. There hasn’t been this much talk of marijuana in politics since the 1960’s.

It’s free to grow a certain amount of plants in some areas now, but how will this effect the neighboring states where marijuana is still illegal? Marijuana users in most states are still fighting for decriminalization. Perhaps this will broaden the view of marijuana in those prohibition states as well. As we learned from alcohol, once prohibition is overturned there is no going back. This might be difficult for some parents and leaders who fear this change, but it will no doubt work itself out in a way that everyone can be satisfied, as it has before. Once the industry is booming, it will be too costly to stop.

One day marijuana will be an indestructible source of revenue for our country. As for now, seed farmers and scientists are on the edge of their seat in non-legal states. Legalization will most likely make a difference in countless lives as the ones who have prepared so long for this, and those who have eagerly awaited the result, have their dreams come true. They know that their time is approaching, and that it will be good for cannabis growers and users alike. People everywhere are going to know what a marijuana seed looks like before long.

Paul is a marijuana enthusiast with 5 years worth of experience working in this industry. He started by trying to grow something for himself and now he is trying to educate people about marijuana seeds, stores, breeders and brands as a content manager at CannabisOwl.