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. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SAFE Banking Act Reintroduced as Momentum for Cannabis Reform Continues to Grow

Landmark, bipartisan legislation passed U.S. House multiple times in last two years

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) reintroduced his landmark legislation to reform federal cannabis laws and reduce the public safety risk in communities across the country. The bipartisan Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2021 – authored by Perlmutter and sponsored by Reps. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY-07), Steve Stivers (R-OH-15), and Warren Davidson (R-OH-08) and cosponsored by more than 100 members – would allow marijuana-related businesses in states with some form of legalized marijuana and strict regulatory structures to access the banking system. The SAFE Banking Act is seen as the first of many cannabis reforms Congress needs to address.

Forty-seven states, four U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia – representing 97.7 % of the U.S. population – have legalized some form of recreational or medical marijuana, including CBD. Yet current law restricts legitimate licensed marijuana businesses from accessing banking services and products, such as depository and checking accounts, resulting in businesses operating in all cash. This is a serious public safety risk for our communities, inviting theft, robberies, burglaries, or worse, as Colorado saw with the murder of Travis Mason in June 2016 and Michael Arthur in Portland, Oregon in December 2020.

“The genie is out of the bottle and has been for many years. Thousands of employees and businesses across this country have been forced to deal in piles of cash for far too long, and it is the responsibility of Congress to step up and take action to align federal and state laws for the safety of our constituents and communities. The public safety need is urgent, and a public health and economic need has also emerged with the pandemic further exacerbating the cash-only problem for the industry,” said Congressman Perlmutter. “In many states, the industry was deemed essential yet forced to continue to operate in all cash, adding a significant public health risk for businesses and their workers. As we begin our economic recovery, allowing cannabis businesses to access the banking system would also mean an influx of cash into the economy and the opportunity to create good-paying jobs. Thank you to Reps. Velázquez, Stivers and Davidson for their continued support and input on the bill, and I look forward to working with Senators Merkley and Daines to get the SAFE Banking Act passed in the Senate and signed into law.”

“The cannabis industry has been operating with great success, with many of these businesses deemed essential as the coronavirus pandemic took hold,” said Congresswoman Velázquez. “However, without the ability to safely utilize the banking system, cannabis-related businesses are left behind and stuck resorting to tactics that can threaten public safety and economic success. That’s why I am proud to join to Reps. Perlmutter, Stivers, and Davidson in introducing the SAFE Banking Act, to allow these business in states that have legalized cannabis to access to the banking system, just as any other business currently enjoys. Doing so will help create jobs in communities throughout America, while stimulating the economy as we recover from the fallout of the pandemic.”

“We have a responsibility to legislate for the reality we live in, and the reality is that legal businesses in thirty-three states, including Ohio, are being denied access to the banking system and forced to assume huge risks as a result of operating solely in cash,” Congressman Stivers said. “The SAFE Banking Act is about keeping people safe, something that 321 of my colleagues recognized last year. I look forward to seeing this bill make it all the way to the President’s desk this Congress.”

“I’m excited we’re reintroducing SAFE Banking, again with bipartisan support. This bill is an important hedge against financial cancellation, and it will protect businesses and industries that find themselves out of favor with the latest trends of the day,” said Congressman Davidson. “Today we’re talking about banking cannabis, hemp, and firearms, but tomorrow there could be another industry that has its access to the banking system threatened by statute or by public opinion. With SAFE Banking, as long as its legal in the jurisdiction, no bank should be compelled to cancel their customers by a mob saying, ‘You aren’t going to bank THOSE people are you?’ Sadly, that has already happened too often in American history and it must end.”

“No one working in a store or behind a register should have to worry about experiencing a traumatic robbery at any moment. That means we can’t keep forcing legal cannabis businesses to operate entirely in cash—a nonsensical rule that is an open invitation to robbery and money laundering,” said Senator Merkley (D-OR). “Let’s make 2021 the year that we get this bill signed into law so we can ensure that all legal cannabis businesses have access to the financial services they need to help keep their employees safe.”

“The ‘SAFE Banking Act’ will help Montana small businesses, create jobs, boost local economies, and improve public safety,” stated Senator Daines (R-MT). “I’m glad to be working on this bipartisan legislation to provide certainty for small businesses in Montana. Montana business owners should have the ability to freely use banks, credit unions and other financial institutions without the fear of punishment.”

In the 116th Congress, 206 members cosponsored the SAFE Banking Act and it passed the U.S. House in a broad bipartisan vote of 321 to 103, with 91 Republicans and one Independent voting in support. The bill also passed as part of the Heroes Act, an earlier COVID relief package which was approved by the House on two separate occasions. In February 2019, the SAFE Banking Act prompted the first-ever congressional hearing on the issue of cannabis banking.

The SAFE Banking Act provides protections from money laundering laws for any proceeds derived from these state-legal marijuana businesses. This will get cash off the streets and into the financial system which is built to root out fraud and illicit activity. This bill also includes protections for hemp and hemp-derived CBD related businesses, which still struggle in accessing financial services despite the legalization of hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill. The current version of the bill has been updated slightly to include minor technical changes to the safe harbor, strengthened hemp provisions, and other technical updates.

The U.S. cannabis industry continues to grow at a rapid rate, with the current value estimated at $17.7 billion, a substantial amount of which remains unbanked. As of January 2021, the legal cannabis industry supports 321,000 jobs across the country. Over the 2018-2028 period, job growth in this market is projected to climb 250%, the fastest rate for any sector in the U.S. Bringing in this cash will make the industry safer and give banks and credit unions more capital to lend during the economic recovery as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cresco Labs Closes Acquisition of Verdant Creations’ Four Dispensaries, Reaches Maximum Retail Licenses in Ohio

ILLINOIS:  Cresco Labs, one of the largest vertically integrated, multi-state cannabis operators in the United States, announced today the closing of its acquisition of Verdant Creations dispensaries in Cincinnati, Chillicothe, Newark and Marion, Ohio (collectively “Verdant”). These acquisitions give Cresco four additional dispensaries, bringing the Company’s dispensary presence in Ohio to five – the maximum allowed by the state.

The Verdant acquisition is aligned with Cresco’s strategy of building meaningful, material market positions in the states that matter most. As the seventh most populated state in the U.S., Ohio has a registered medical patient count that more than doubled in 2020 from roughly 78,000 patients to 160,000, in addition to 52 operational dispensaries statewide and 2020 annual cannabis sales of nearly $220 million1. Cresco Labs is well positioned in the market with the largest type of cultivation license allowing 25,000 sq. ft. of cultivation, a full processing facility currently under expansion, and now the maximum number of retail locations allowed by the state. Additionally, the Company distributes its flower product to 88% of Ohio’s dispensaries and is excited to bring its full House of Brands to market following the completion of it’s processing and manufacturing facility later this year.

“In 2020, we demonstrated the growth and leverage that can be created by focusing only on the most strategic markets, executing high-quality cultivation at scale, distributing our branded products onto every shelf and focusing on targeted, consumer-focused, high-volume retail. In 2021, we’re using the same playbook to go deeper in strategic states, including Ohio,” said Charlie Bachtell, Cresco Labs’ CEO and Co-founder. “The Verdant acquisition significantly deepens our position in Ohio, a market that looks structurally similar to Illinois and Pennsylvania in the early years of those medical markets. We are thrilled to be amplifying our operations in Ohio this year and look forward to bringing our brands to more patients throughout the state.”

Cresco Labs’ five Ohio dispensaries are located in Cincinnati, Chillicothe, Marion, Newark, and Wintersville. The Company also has a cultivation and processing facility in Yellow Springs.

Kaycha Announces Three New Labs In Massachusetts, Nevada & Oregon

With locations across the U.S., Kaycha Labs is establishing a national network of Cannabis and Hemp labs that provides essential product quality and safety information

FLORIDA: Kaycha Labs, a leader in Cannabis and Hemp testing technologies and methods, is adding three new states to its national network of labs. The company’s nine labs are in California, Colorado, Florida (Fort Lauderdale/Davie and Gainesville), Massachusetts, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Tennessee.

In recent weeks, Kaycha has acquired Evio Labs in Medford, Oregon, signed a definitive agreement to acquire DB Labs in anticipation of Clark County and Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board approvals, and received a provisional license to open and operate a lab in Natick, Massachusetts. Both the Oregon and Nevada labs were early entrants to their respective markets; Evio Labs Medford commenced operations in 2014 and DB Labs was organized in 2014 and operates its ~11,500-square-foot lab several blocks away from the Las Vegas Strip. The Massachusetts lab is a new build and is strategically located in Natick near major interstate highways within a couple hours driving time to all major customers.

James Horvath, CEO of Kaycha Labs, commented, “We know that the Cannabis industry is rapidly consolidating and that national Cannabis companies are working hard to build national brands. As they grow, we appreciate that there is a need for a testing partner who can provide and apply a uniform and consistent process.  Furthermore, all Kaycha labs will be equipped with back-up instrumentation so that client testing is not interrupted by an outage.” Chris Martinez, Kaycha Labs’ President, added, “We know clients value quality testing, fast turnaround times, and attractive pricing. And by adding to our network, we will be achieving even more scale, which will allow us to continue to lower our cost structure and pass these savings along to our clients.”

Guidance For OLCC Marijuana Licensees Impacted By Natural Disasters (Power Outages & Ice)

OREGON: Natural disasters throughout Oregon can affect us in a moment’s notice. Business owners should be aware of potential disasters and plan ahead. If you have lost power due to the recent storms, this message is to provide guidance on how to record and notify the OLCC of your situation.

It is important to remember your safety and the safety of others is the first and foremost importance.

Notification Requirements: Recording Sales & Transfers

Notification: Once you are able to connect to the internet, email the OLCC at marijuana@oregon.gov with the following information:

  • License number, outage times, address of your licensed premises so we are aware of the situation, and can track the regional impact.
  • For camera outages, please complete this form.

Sales: please keep a detailed log of all sales/transfers as required by 845-025-7500 (8) Seed-To-Sale Tracking — CTS Requirements so that you can update your CTS account once you have regained power.

Transfers: If you transferred product (refrigerated items) to another licensee, do not request it to be transferred back until your buildings and cameras are operational, and your licensed premises can function according to OLCC rules.

  • For example, if you are a producer planning to transfer product to another licensee, make sure you know how your product will be separated from the other licensee(s) and the care it will receive. It also may be helpful to have any terms or agreements in place prior to the actual emergency evacuation.

Senators Booker, Wyden, Schumer Joint Statement on Cannabis Reform Legislation

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) issued the following joint statement regarding comprehensive cannabis reform legislation in the 117th Congress:

“The War on Drugs has been a war on people—particularly people of color. Ending the federal marijuana prohibition is necessary to right the wrongs of this failed war and end decades of harm inflicted on communities of color across the country. But that alone is not enough. As states continue to legalize marijuana, we must also enact measures that will lift up people who were unfairly targeted in the War on Drugs.

“We are committed to working together to put forward and advance comprehensive cannabis reform legislation that will not only turn the page on this sad chapter in American history, but also undo the devastating consequences of these discriminatory policies. The Senate will make consideration of these reforms a priority.

“In the early part of this year, we will release a unified discussion draft on comprehensive reform to ensure restorative justice, protect public health and implement responsible taxes and regulations. Getting input from stakeholder groups will be an important part of developing this critical legislation.”

Jazz Pharmaceuticals To Acquire GW Pharmaceuticals, Creating An Innovative, High-Growth, Global Biopharma Leader

UNITED KINGDOM: Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc and GW Pharmaceuticals announced the companies have entered into a definitive agreement for Jazz to acquire GW for $220.00 per American Depositary Share (ADS), in the form of $200.00 in cash and $20.00 in Jazz ordinary shares, for a total consideration of $7.2 billion, or $6.7 billion net of GW cash. The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.

Upon close of the transaction, the combined company will be a leader in neuroscience with a global commercial and operational footprint well positioned to maximize the value of its diversified portfolio.

GW is a global leader in discovering, developing, manufacturing and commercializing novel, regulatory approved therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform to address a broad range of diseases. The company’s lead product, Epidiolex® (cannabidiol) oral solution, is approved in patients one-year and older for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), Dravet Syndrome and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC), all of which are rare diseases characterized by severe early-onset epilepsy. Epidiolex was the first plant-derived cannabinoid medicine ever approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product has also been approved, under the tradename Epidyolex®, by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in patients two years of age and older for the adjunctive treatment of seizures associated with LGS and Dravet syndrome in conjunction with clobazam and is under EMA review for the treatment of seizures associated with TSC. In addition to the approved indications for Epidiolex, there are considerable opportunities to pursue other indications within the epilepsy field, including other treatment-resistant epilepsies where significant unmet needs of patients exist.

Beyond Epidiolex, GW has a scientific platform and deep innovative pipeline of cannabinoid product candidates, as well as highly specialized manufacturing expertise, developed over two decades of pioneering and building leadership in cannabinoid science. This pipeline includes nabiximols, for which the company is in Phase 3 trials to seek FDA approval for treatment of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, as well as earlier-stage cannabinoid product candidates for autism and schizophrenia.

“Jazz is proud of our leadership position in sleep medicines and rapidly growing oncology business. We are excited to add GW’s industry-leading cannabinoid platform, innovative pipeline and products, which will strengthen and broaden our neuroscience portfolio, further diversify our revenue and drive sustainable, long-term value creation opportunities,” said Bruce Cozadd, chairman and CEO of Jazz Pharmaceuticals. “We are joining two teams that share a passion for, and track record of, developing differentiated therapies that advance science and transform the lives of patients. This will help facilitate a successful integration and bring added capabilities to Jazz. Given the strength of our balance sheet and the meaningful financial drivers of the transaction, we are confident in the value we can deliver to both companies’ shareholders and patients. We look forward to welcoming the GW team to Jazz to build an even stronger company.”

“Over the last two decades, GW has built an unparalleled global leadership position in cannabinoid science, including the successful launch of Epidiolex, a breakthrough product within the field of epilepsy, and a diverse and robust neuroscience pipeline. We believe that Jazz is an ideal growth partner that is committed to supporting our commercial efforts, as well as ongoing clinical and research programs,” said Justin Gover, CEO of GW Pharmaceuticals. “We have a shared vision of developing and commercializing innovative medicines that address significant unmet needs in neuroscience and an approach of putting patients first. Together, we will have an opportunity to reach and impact more patients through a broader portfolio of neuroscience-focused therapies than ever before.”

Oregon Cannabis Social Equity Bill Introduced

OREGON:  Repairing the harm from decades of inequity from the War on Drugs is the goal of the Cannabis Social Equity Act introduced this week by a coalition of legislators in the Oregon State Legislature. HB 3112 is the culmination of months of work led by former State Rep. Akasha Lawrence Spencer including numerous cannabis companies, the NuLeaf Project, the Oregon Cannabis Association, the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association, the City of Portland, Urban League, and law students from Willamette University.

“We came together with a common purpose – to undo and repair some of the harm caused by cannabis criminalization on Black, Indignenious and Latinx communities in Oregon,” said Rep. Lawrence Spence. “This legislation uses cannabis tax revenue to invest in Oregonians who have been unjustly targeted for decades by law enforcement, in an effort to repair some of the generational harm done to their communities.”

Chief sponsors of HB 3112 include Representatives Janelle Bynum, Ricki Ruiz, Mark Meek, Julie Fahey and Senators Lew Frederick and Kayse Jama. Current sponsors include Representatives Karin Power, Pam Marsh and Maxine Dexter.

Jeanette Ward Horton, executive director of NuLeaf Project, has been working with the coalition since its inception eight months ago. NuLeaf Project receives funding from City of Portland cannabis tax revenues and private donations to aid cannabis start up companies with funds, technical assistance and job placement/training.

“We’ve seen the harm to far too many families to not address this issue. Cannabis convictions bring challenges that ripple through families and cause hardship for the children of children whose parents were disproportionately arrested. The loss of jobs, education grants, housing and more that can all stem from a minor cannabis conviction have impacted communities of color for generations. Today Oregon has the chance to undo some of that harm,” said Ward-Horton.

The bill contains three major provisions:

  • Direct investment in cannabis businesses owned by Black, Indigenious, and Latina/o/x people, as well as people convicted of cannabis crimes. Creates investment in home and land ownership, job training, health care, education and other areas determined by the Cannabis Equity Board.
  • Free, automatic expungement of eligible cannabis criminal convictions paid for by cannabis tax revenues as needed. Previous legislation saw less than 200 of 28,000 eligible Oregonians successfully complete expungement.
  • Equity licenses for Black-, Indigenous-, and Latina/o/x  owned cannabis companies with reduced fees and modified requirements to initially qualify. Provides for funding of two OLCC positions to aid in the licensure process, and includes the addition of three license types beneficial for the small businesses owner.

Chief Sponsor and State Rep. Ricki Ruiz said fixing the expungement process is a critical piece of the legislation.

“Less than 200 out of 28,000 Oregonians eligible for expungement were able to successfully complete the process in the past two years. We need to do better,” said Ruiz. “This bill provides us the path and the funding we need to efficiently remove previous cannabis crimes from people’s records and provide them the opportunity to repair their lives from the harm caused by cannabis criminalization. It is a critical step toward restoring the health of these individuals and the communities where they reside.”

Gabe Parton Lee, General Counsel at Wyld, spearheaded the design of the automatic expungement process

“What we clearly see is that those left in the destructive wake of cannabis prohibition have been helped the least by cannabis legalization. Instead, we see a rapidly-growing industry that has largely left behind people and communities who disproportionately suffered under cannabis criminalization,” said Parton Lee, general counsel for Wyld. “We are advocating for the use of cannabis tax dollars to help correct some of these long standing issues of inequity and provide for direct investment into people and neighborhoods most impacted by cannabis prohibition.”

State Rep. Julie Fahey helped drive the creation of the bill when she passed legislation in 2019 calling for a work group to develop a cannabis social equity program.

“This effort has brought together a diverse group of advocates, business owners, and industry partners to develop one of the most comprehensive equity bills in the country – breaking down barriers for BIPOC Oregonians and investing in the communities most harmed by cannabis criminalization. The cannabis industry is a driver of economic opportunity for entrepreneurs in our state, and this bill will help ensure that those harmed by the war on drugs have access to those opportunities,” said Fahey.

A coalition of cannabis companies and trade groups including the Oregon Cannabis Association, the Oregon Industry Progress Association, and the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association have all united around this legislation as the key cannabis related bill for the 2021 session. Major sponsors include Groundworks industries, Wyld, Wana and Dutchie with dozens of other cannabis companies, law firms and others supporting the effort.