Cannabis PE Firm Merida Capital Partners Exceeds $50 Million In Assets Under Management

NEW YORK:  Merida Capital Partners, a private equity fund targeting fundamental growth drivers underpinning the rapid development of the cannabis industry, announced it has crossed $50MM in assets under management and closed transactions in nine companies in its second Fund. With the full deployment of Merida’s first tranche of Fund II and the opening of the firm’s second investment tranche, Merida Fund II will continue its focus on high-conviction investments in leading companies that have crossed the ‘fragmentation gap’ yet need strategic capital to profoundly accelerate their respective growth curves. Merida will also focus on businesses implementing capex-lite models in the traditionally capital-intensive verticals of cultivation, dispensing, and life sciences.

“Merida continues to see an acceleration of institutional interest in our core strategy,” said Mitch Baruchowitz, Managing Partner of Merida Capital Partners. “As cannabis evolves as an agricultural product, a natural plant-based medicine, a constituent in medical-grade formulations, and an adult-use consumer product, Merida will capitalize on its data, informational edge, and deep relationships in the cannabis space to make high-impact investments that deliver value to investors.”

“People always talk about taking the ‘right money’ or ‘smart money,’ and Merida has proven to be the epitome of a true value-add investor in the cannabis space,” said CEO of Kush Bottles Nick Kovacevich. “From the first day we accepted their funds they have been involved in directly impacting our strategy and growth at Kush Bottles.”

“Merida has supported us in every way,” Marion Mariathiasan of Simplifya. “The firm has given us the resources we needed to broaden our footprint in providing cultivation and dispensary compliance, which ultimately leads to a more stable cannabis industry ecosystem.”

To date, Merida has closed lead investments in: Kush Bottles, a leading supplier of cannabis packaging and production logistics; GrowGeneration, an industry leader in commercial equipment sales and large-scale grow support with hydroponic supply locations in CA, CO, MI, RI, NV and WA; New Frontier Data, an independent, technology-driven analytics company specializing in vetted data, actionable business intelligence and risk management solutions for investors and participants in the cannabis industry; Simplifya, a technology company helping businesses of all sizes track cannabis compliance through industry-leading self-audit and reporting tools; Steep Hill Labs, an analytical testing company for licensed cultivators, producers, and manufacturers of cannabis; Canndescent, a California-based cultivator of ultra-premium cannabis; Valley Agriceuticals, one of only 10 New York-state licensed cannabis cultivators and manufacturer of medical-grade medicinal cannabis treatments and herbal medicines; Mainstem, a business-to-business (B2B) solution that consolidates cultivators, manufacturers, retailers and dispensaries into one comprehensive marketplace, connecting buyers directly to sellers via a MainStem Affiliate Partners program; and Emerald Scientific, a B2B leader in cannabis science supplies, equipment, and information.

Shango Brand Expands To California, New Jersey And Michigan

OREGON: Rexroad Marquis Corporation has announced major initiatives for expansion of the Shango Premium Cannabis brand into the legal cannabis markets in California, New Jersey and Michigan, according to a company press release.

Rexroad Marquis Corporation (RMC) holds the intellectual property and brand licensing rights to Shango Premium Cannabis, a leading cannabis cultivator, wholesaler and retailer based in Portland, Oregon, which expanded into the Las Vegas market two years ago.

“RMC is actively pursuing expansion of the Shango brand into these three emerging markets,” Rexraod said. “We will be announcing geographical location additions soon, as well as the expansion of our product base.”

RMC has licensed the Shango brand to production, processing and sales operations in Oregon, Washington and Nevada. The Nevada licensee has continued to enhance its branded cultivation facilities, wholesale and retail sales. Recreational marijuana sales in Nevada began last July 1, 2017.

“These additions show our stability in moving forward with the vision we conceptualized four years ago,” Rexroad said. “The knowledge we gained in working into the cannabis market in two states will certainly help us going forward. This will allow us to more aggressively and effectively position RMC and Shango for success as new cannabis markets begin to open,” Rexroad said. “They will also help us secure the investment capital necessary to grow Shango into a nationwide brand.”

Rexroad will spearhead RMC’s efforts to secure cannabis cultivation, processing, wholesale and retail licenses, license company-owned production facilities and stores, and sub-license retail operations to qualified, licensed organizations that have sought to align themselves with the Shango brand.

Snoop Dogg To Speak At C2 Montréal 2018

CANADA: C2 Montréal is proud to announce that Snoop Dogg will be a speaker at the 7th edition of its flagship event, which will be held from May 23 to 25, 2018 in Montreal, Canada at the Arsenal. The artist turned entrepreneur will take centre stage in the Big Top to discuss his entrepreneurial vision for the cannabis industry. Joining Snoop Dogg for the talk is Ted Chung, a media entrepreneur and Snoop’s business partner at Casa Verde Capital and co-founder of Merry Jane.

Snoop creates opportunities in a new industry
Snoop is the founder of the venture capital firm Casa Verde Capital, which makes early-stage investments in startups in the ancillary cannabis industry. Casa Verde has funded several major marijuana ventures in the agtech, financial services, health, technology, media sectors, among others. One of Snoop’s recent high-profile investments includes $2 million in funding for Canadian cannabis inventory management company Trellis.

Building a cannabis content empire
Snoop’s sizeable entrepreneurial footprint, however, extends well beyond the venture capitalist aspect. He is also the co-founder of Merry Jane alongside business partner Ted Chung. Offering editorial content focused on marijuana news, politics, business and culture, Merry Jane speaks for and to the global mainstream cannabis community. Strategic brand partnerships (with the likes of VICE, MTV, Reddit, Complex and more) are key to the creation and sharing of original news and video content, such as VH1’s popular Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party TV series, featuring C2 Montréal 2016 alumni Martha Stewart.

With the impending legalization of marijuana in Canada, and the opening of the cannabis market in several jurisdictions across the U.S., Snoop Dogg has positioned himself as a leading voice on matters related to the business of cannabis.

 

California — Now The Largest Cannabis Market In The World — Has No Product to Sell

CALIFORNIA: According to a report in the Los Angeles TimesCalifornia is facing a serious shortage of legal cannabis, caused by a number of factors, including the recent fires that devastated the state, and the lack of city licensing approvals.

“Nearly a month after legal sales began for adults in the nation’s most populous state, the longstanding medicinal and illegal marijuana markets are still transitioning to a multibillion-dollar regulated system, estimated to eventually reach $7 billion in value,” the Times reported. “So far, one of the biggest challenges is having enough growers.”

One company,  Micro Lab Farms, is addressing the marketplace need by providing an innovative solution — fully automated indoor growing environments that can be placed virtually anywhere. The turn-key system utilizes specially sealed shipping containers, outfitted with the most advanced technology in the world, which provide greater efficiencies, increased crop yields, and lower costs than other comparable method of cultivation.  Compared to outdoor cultivation, the Micro Lab Farms’ system can produce as many as twice the number of crop cycles per year.

The fully transportable systems from Micro Lab Farms can alleviate these obstacles by allowing businesses to locate their growing facility virtually anywhere. Additionally, the patent-pending system provides the perfect growing environment, so crops can be harvested far quicker than by other conventional means.

Legislation Key For The Legal Cannabis Market

NEW YORK: The global legal cannabis market was valued at $14.3 billion in 2016 and is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 21.1% between 2017 to 2024, reaching $63.5 billion by 2024, according to a report by Ameri Research.

The market is going through a period of robust growth thanks to increasing legalization and decriminalization of cannabis products across North America and Europe. The report specifies that due to the complex regulatory structure at state and federal level, the full probable value of the market is not yet clear. A recent report published by Arcview Market Research explains that growth of the legal cannabis industry will reaccelerate beginning 2018, as adult use sales rise in CanadaCalifornia, and Massachusetts along with medical sales in Florida.

Major markets for the cannabis industry such as the state of California, where legal sales of recreational products have begun on January 1st, are expected to become examples of how to manage the new and growing cannabis industry. Giadha Aguirre de Carcer, New Frontier Data CEO, explained, “Significant changes are already underway in California for medical cannabis and adult use laws, which we see will have major implications for the cannabis industry, including ecommerce and delivery services in the state… As the largest state in the country – and the largest potential market for cannabis products – the implications for the growth of the industry because of California’s adult use market cannot be overstated.”

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.