Blogs & News Articles
EDMONTON, AB, Jan. 21, 2021 /CNW/ - PRESS RELEASE - Aurora Cannabis Inc., a Canadian cannabis company, has announced that it has entered into an agreement with a syndicate of underwriters led by BMO Capital Markets and ATB Capital Markets, under which the underwriters have agreed to buy on bought deal basis 12,000,000 units of the company at a price of US$10.45 per unit for gross proceeds of approximately US$125 million. Each unit will be comprised of one common share of the company and one half of one common share purchase warrant of the company. Each warrant will be exercisable to acquire one common share of the company for a period of 36 months following the closing date of the offering at an exercise price of US$12.60 per warrant share, subject to adjustment in certain events.
The company has granted the underwriters an option, exercisable at the offering price for a period of 30 days following the closing of the offering, to purchase up to an additional 10% of the offering to cover over-allotments, if any. This option may be exercised by the underwriters for additional units, common shares, warrants or any combination of such securities.
The net proceeds of the offering will be used for general corporate purposes, which may include opportunistically reducing debt. The company believes that the offering fits with its broader strategy to have a strong balance sheet while maintaining maximum flexibility to invest and build towards being a leader in global cannabinoids.
The closing of the offering is expected to take place on or about Jan. 26, 2021 and will be subject to customary conditions, including approvals of the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.
A prospectus supplement to the company's short form base shelf prospectus dated Oct. 28, 2020 will be filed with the securities commissions or securities regulatory authorities in each of the provinces of Canada, except Quebec, and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) as part of the company's registration statement on Form F-10 under the U.S./Canada Multijurisdictional Disclosure System. The Prospectus Supplement, the Base Shelf Prospectus and the Registration Statement contain important detailed information about the company and the proposed offering. Prospective investors should read the Prospectus Supplement, the Base Shelf Prospectus and the Registration Statement and the other documents the company has filed for more complete information about the company and this offering before making an investment decision.
The limitation on the number of licensed operators made it difficult for medical cannabis to make a notable impact in the state.
"As the author of the original Compassionate Care Act, which is the medical program, I'm not surprised that it hasn't had that great of an economic impact, simply because the governor at the time was not a big fan," New York State Sen. Diane Savino said of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been in his executive role since 2011. "He was very skeptical about legalizing cannabis for medical purposes and he was greatly concerned that the program could lead to all sorts of problems, but he's obviously changed his position since then."
Savino said that the program's original limitations created restrictions on a whole host of things—most importantly, patient access.
With only 20 operating medical dispensaries in a state with over 19 million people, it is no surprise that there was limited patient access at first. Since 2016, it has been expanded to 10 license holders, with 40 dispensaries statewide, she said.
Among other things, the 2020 U.S. election cycle ushered in another wave of cannabis legalization.
Five states—Arizona, Montana, Mississippi, New Jersey and South Dakota—voted in favor of legalizing cannabis in some form, adding to an already growing list of 33 states and further demonstrating that attitudes are becoming more progressive and less taboo.
The advertising industry is eager to do its part to ensure this billion-dollar business can thrive to its fullest potential. However, the barriers to entry are significant. Many media channels, particularly online, still will not accept cannabis ads.
With options limited, brands have turned to out-of-home (OOH) advertising, which has enjoyed a disproportionately large percentage of the cannabis advertising share. Nearly half of all ad spend to promote cannabis businesses went to this sector in the first four months of 2020. To place this into context, the industry average share for OOH is just 4%.
This week, lawmakers in New Mexico, Virginia and Connecticut set to work considering adult-use cannabis legalization proposals, while a Nebraska lawmaker introduced legislation to legalize medical cannabis. Elsewhere, in Massachusetts, a group of dispensaries has sued the state over its new delivery regulations.
Here, we’ve rounded up the top 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.Federal: A diverse group of North America’s cannabis cultivation and manufacturing experts has announced that they have come together to form the Sustainable Cannabis Coalition (SCC). The SCC will work proactively with industry cultivation and manufacturing peers and vendors to promote proven sustainability best practices that can be implemented at scale across the cannabis market. Read moreNebraska: Sen. Anna Wishart has introduced legislation to legalize medical cannabis in the state after supporting a medical cannabis ballot initiative that was ultimately rejected by the Nebraska Supreme Court for violating the state’s single subject rule. Wishart has also introduced a constitutional amendment to clarify the single subject rule and help eliminate uncertainty for future ballot initiative campaigns. Read moreNew Mexico: Democrats in the state legislature are planning an adult-use cannabis legalization proposal as the state’s 60-day legislative session kicks off. Although the legislature has failed to pass adult-use legalization bills the past two years, voters did not reelect some more conservative Democrats who opposed the issue in the 2020 election, and lawmakers now see a path forward for policy reform efforts. Read moreCalifornia: Vertically integrated cannabis operator Harborside has announced the departure of Chief Operating Officer Greg Sutton, effective Jan. 15. Peter Bilodeau is now the company’s interim CEO. Read moreThe California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA), a statewide nonprofit that promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry, is offering its members exclusive access to banking through the North Bay Credit Union (NBCU). CCIA’s 400 cannabis industry members will qualify for membership in the credit union and access to banking services such as checking accounts, online bill payment, wire transfers and ACH processing, and employees of CCIA members are also welcome to join as individual members of the credit union. Read moreArizona: Beginning Jan. 21, the Arizona Marijuana Industry Trade Association (MITA) will offer a free, weekly, virtual course for prospective social equity applicants looking to enter the state’s forthcoming adult-use cannabis industry. MITA’s course will focus on specific aspects of Arizona’s medical cannabis program and the cannabis industry more broadly, while welcoming speakers from in and around the industry. Read moreColorado: Colorado-based, cannabis-focused payroll and HR solutions company Wurk has announced the passing of its founder and CEO, Keegan Peterson. “Keegan will be remembered for his fierce advocacy in the cannabis space and the company he built to support the industry that he cared about deeply,” the company’s executive chairman, Scott Kenyon, wrote in a letter announcing Peterson’s death. Read moreMassachusetts: A group of cannabis dispensaries is suing the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) over the state’s new delivery rules, arguing that the regulations, which allow only social equity applicants to receive cannabis delivery licenses for the first three years, violate state law. The Commonwealth Dispensary Association filed the lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court Jan. 13 to ask the court to declare the regulations invalid. Read moreVirginia: The Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Subcommittee voted this week to approve an adult-use legalization bill, advancing it to the nest committee for consideration. The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin and Senate President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas, and backed by Gov. Ralph Northam. Read moreConnecticut: Gov. Ned Lamont has introduced a draft bill to legalize adult-use cannabis in the state, following an announcement in his Jan. 6 State of the State address that he is making legalization a priority this year. Lamont’s administration is currently seeking feedback on the legislation, and it remains to be seen whether Lamont will incorporate the proposal into his state budget, which is due to lawmakers next month. Read more
To have the biggest footprint, one must lace up the biggest shoe.
In the cannabis industry, multistate operator Curaleaf spent the past five years building itself a massive network with a 23-state foundation, and has no plans on slowing down as it continues to acquire licenses and increase capacity. Based out of Wakefield, Mass., the vertically integrated company’s operation includes 96 dispensaries, 23 cultivation sites and more than 30 processing sites.
This past July, Curaleaf closed on an approximately $700-million deal to acquire Grassroots Cannabis, making it the largest cannabis company in the world, based on its anticipated $1 billion annual revenue at the time.
With that groundwork established, Curaleaf is now gearing for its next wave of growth by putting focus toward executing on that platform, said new CEO Joe Bayern, who started his role Jan. 1.
“One of the things that’s tied to my transition into the new role is going and looking at what we’re calling Curaleaf 2.0, which is really the next growth spurt for Curaleaf,” he said.
“Simply Pure will continue as being a dispensary model that we’ll be looking at franchising across the U.S. and working with social equity partners to be able to give them a turnkey operation,” said Wanda James, Simply Pure’s CEO and owner.
It’s all part of an effort to welcome people of color, women and veterans into the industry as owners and support their success, said James, who herself is Black, a woman and a former Naval Intelligence officer. More than 10 years ago, James founded the Denver-based cannabusiness with her husband, chef and restaurateur Scott Durrah. It has since grown into a formidable operation with cultivation, dispensary and manufacturing verticals.
Just as McDonald’s has been able to provide an existing business structure, products and brands that franchisees use for their stores—and in turn, create generational wealth—James said the goal with Simply Pure’s franchise model is the same.
Tentative locations include California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Texas, she said.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has introduced a draft bill to legalize adult-use cannabis in the state, according to The CT Mirror.
Lamont announced during his Jan. 6 State of the State address that legalization is a priority this year, and his administration is currently seeking feedback on the draft legislation, although it remains to be seen whether Lamont will incorporate the proposal into his state budget, which is due to lawmakers next month, The CT Mirror reported.
Lamont’s proposal would tax dry cannabis at $1.25 per gram, trimmed cannabis plants at $0.50 per gram and wet cannabis at $0.28 per gram, according to the news outlet, and would also levy a 6.35% sales tax on adult-use sales. A 3% surcharge would also be added, with part of these funds going to local municipalities.
The draft bill also includes expungement provisions, The CT Mirror reported, which would automatically clear convictions for the possession of less than 4 ounces of cannabis that occurred before Oct. 1, 2015, as well as allow those convicted after that date to petition the state for expungement.
The legislation also includes marketing limitations to ensure youth are not targeted in cannabis advertising, as well as increases the number of trained drug recognition experts in state and municipal police departments, according to The CT Mirror. The draft bill would also update Connecticut’s Clean Air Act to include cannabis and vaping within the state's existing restrictions on secondhand smoke, the news outlet reported.
A Virginia Senate panel approved an adult-use cannabis legalization bill Jan. 20, advancing it to the next committee for consideration, according to a local WRIC report.
The Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Subcommittee voted 4-3 to approve the legalization measure, which is sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and Senate President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), and backed by Gov. Ralph Northam.
The legislation, as proposed by Northam, would allow adults 21 and older to legally purchase cannabis starting in 2023, and would establish a regulatory framework overseen by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority and a seven-member Cannabis Control Advisory Board, WRIC reported.
At an initial hearing Jan. 19, the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Subcommittee recommended creating a new, independent agency to oversee an adult-use cannabis market in the state, according to the news outlet, and recommended delaying the proposed 2023 launch six months to a year to allow more time to establish regulatory oversight.
The bill now advances to the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee for consideration, WRIC reported.
TORONTO, Jan. 21, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PRESS RELEASE -- Unifor and Aleafia Health Inc. have entered into an exclusive 10-year agreement to support union members, retirees and their eligible dependents who receive medical cannabis insurance coverage through Unifor’s collective bargaining agreements.
"Unifor members across the country deserve access to the benefits of medical cannabis coverage through their benefits. As a union, we will support our local bargaining committees to add this coverage where possible," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
The agreement supports a historic breakthrough in access to legal cannabis in Canada.
Aleafia brings unique national scale, organization and expertise to provide union members, retirees and their eligible dependents with access to medical cannabis product insurance reimbursement and physician-led cannabinoid therapy.
“This agreement will provide thousands of union members and their families with improved and affordable access to medical cannabis care, and ultimately be one of the largest breakthroughs in patient access since the early days of legalization in Canada,” said Geoffrey Benic, Aleafia Health CEO. “Our dedicated team of medical professionals and program managers are excited to begin working directly with Unifor members and launching this program.”
The new administration has been sworn in, the Senate gavel has been passed to the Democrats, and the country’s leadership is almost fully set. One major step remains: the Cabinet nomination and approval process.
As we saw from the previous administration, Cabinet members can have a massive impact on the direction of the country, especially as it relates to cannabis policy. With a thin Democratic majority in Congress and a longtime moderate in the White House, the battle for fair cannabis laws is far from over.
Advocates are now looking to Biden’s Cabinet for clues on how the incoming administration will handle cannabis laws. Like the president they’ll be working under, the group doesn’t have a strong positive or negative stance on the plant. But taking a closer look at the previous records of the cabinet members announced so far can provide clues as to what we can expect from the incoming executive branch on cannabis laws.
Attorney General: Merrick Garland
Before 2021, Garland was best known for being President Obama’s nominee to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court of the United States in 2016. After his Senate hearing was blocked by Republicans, Garland became an early symbol of the kind of Trump-era partisanship that still divides the country today. It appears Garland will get the chance to serve at the highest level of the federal government, but in a different branch: Biden announced his nomination as AG in the first week of January.
Garland, a Democrat who served as Washington, D.C.’s chief judge from 2013 to 2020, hasn’t come out directly against or in favor of cannabis. The closest definitive opinion was in 2013, when the industry trade group Americans for Safe Access sued the Drug Enforcement Administration in an effort to remove cannabis from Schedule I. Garland was one of three D.C. federal judges who ruled in favor of the DEA, on the grounds that they were the ones who had done the research. “We’re not the scientists. They are,” he said during the case’s 2012 hearing.
After hearing firsthand from the grow teams in Michigan and Nevada how they had increased yields over HPS by 31% and 100% respectively, Howard knew he had to get Fohse lighting into The Grove—and fast!
The Grove, a vertically integrated cannabis business with dispensary, cultivation, distribution and production licenses, has been producing, sourcing and selling high quality edibles, cartridges and recreational cannabis products since 2015. Their 26,600-square-foot growing and production facility is state-of-the-art and eco-friendly. They strive to recreate the conditions that cannabis would find in nature and use only all-natural growing media and inputs as well as biological measures to control any pests or diseases. It only makes sense then that they would seek out and select Fohse products—the best lighting fixtures in the business—to match The Grove’s exacting standards.
The dry Las Vegas air makes for a challenging indoor growing environment for cannabis. Fohse fixtures operate at much cooler temperatures than standard HPS fixtures.
At The Grove, this means that the humidifiers and cooling systems don’t have to work as hard, and that an equilibrium between temperature and humidity level can be more easily achieved and maintained. This has led to some of the record harvests being seen regularly at The Grove.
Looking at how Fohse’s A3i 1500-watt fixtures compare to standard 1000-watt DE HPS fixtures in an “apples to apples” comparison reveals just how in sync these intelligent fixtures are with cannabis. The numbers from a recent, late fall harvest tell an impressive tale:
The latest set of regulations makes several highly requested changes to the interim final rule (IFR) that are seen as favorable to both hemp producers and regulators.
Still, contentious aspects of the IFR remain, but some industry members are hopeful there is still time to amend them.
“Overall, the final rule’s contents in some ways show progress and demonstrate the USDA has looked into the industry as part of its public comment process,” Garrett Graff, managing partner of Hoban Law Group, tells Hemp Grower. “In another way, the final rule remains stagnant.”
The final rule made several changes to sampling that should reduce burdens on both growers and regulators.
First, the rule increased the sampling window, which is currently 15 days. Samples for testing now need to be taken up to 30 days before a farmer plans to harvest, giving regulators more time to get into fields. Many stated in public comments that 15 days was far too little time to collect an appropriate amount of samples from each producer in the state.
A group of cannabis dispensaries is suing the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) over the state’s new delivery rules, as first reported by the Boston Business Journal.
The Commonwealth Dispensary Association filed the lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court Jan. 13, according to a MassLive.com report. The plaintiffs argue that the regulations, which allow only social equity applicants to receive cannabis delivery licenses for the first three years, violate state law, the news outlet reported.
The CCC approved the regulations in November to create two types of delivery licenses: one that allows companies to purchase product wholesale and to warehouse product for delivery, and one that allows individuals to partner with adult-use dispensaries to deliver product to customers, according to MassLive.com.
Both license types are available exclusively to social equity and economic empowerment applicants for a period of three years, the news outlet reported.
“Keegan will be remembered for his fierce advocacy in the cannabis space and the company he built to support the industry that he cared about deeply,” the company’s executive chairman, Scott Kenyon, wrote in a letter announcing Peterson’s death.
Peterson passed away Jan. 14 at the age of 33.
Since its launch, Wurk has grown to employ more than 60 people and serve clients across 33 states.
Peterson was a longtime advocate for the cannabis industry, serving as an associate producer for Weed the People, a documentary about the medical benefits of cannabis. He also mentored other entrepreneurs in the industry at Canopy Boulder and Canopy San Diego through a mentorship-driven, early-stage investment program for business startups.
While much of the curriculum for the 16-week Social Equity Applicant Mentorship Program is complete, MITA Executive Director Demitri Downing told Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary that the association would still welcome industry members who are willing to provide education free of charge.
“We so want people to get involved. ... There’s room for other people to add their expertise, and we would love to have them on board,” Downing said.
MITA’s course will focus on specific aspects of Arizona’s medical cannabis program and the cannabis industry more broadly, while welcoming speakers from in and around the industry.
Speakers such as Tahir Johnson, membership manager and diversity, equity and inclusion manager at the National Cannabis Industry Association, and Dr. Bobra Crockett, a business professor at Scottsdale Community College, will discuss the first week’s topic, “Social Equity Licensing, What is the Opportunity and Why?”
Multistate cannabis operator Cresco Labs announced Jan. 14 that it will acquire Bluma Wellness, a vertically integrated company with operations in Florida, in a transaction that company executives say combines two like-minded companies with similar business models.
For Cresco CEO Charlie Bachtell, the acquisition is “the culmination of a multi-year evaluation of how to get into the Florida market the right way.”
“We wanted to make sure we [entered the market] in a very thoughtful and appropriate way, and Bluma really presented that perfect opportunity for us, so we’re really happy with it,” Bachtell tells Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary.
Bachtell describes Cresco as a more traditional, consumer packaged goods (CPG)-focused organization with a “product-first” approach that prioritizes the creation and distribution of branded products into as many retail stores as possible. This differs from other companies’ retail-first business models, he says, which prioritize the opening of as many dispensaries as possible.
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- PRESS RELEASE -- The California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA), a statewide nonprofit that promotes the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry, is offering its members exclusive access to banking through the North Bay Credit Union (NBCU).
Since California legalized cannabis, operators have faced significant struggles with banking and payment services given the federal government's continued ban on cannabis products. CCIA's goal in partnering with NBCU is to alleviate the banking obstacles that cannabis operators face, so they can focus on their core business.
CCIA's 400 cannabis industry members will qualify for membership in the credit union and access to banking services such as checking accounts, online bill payment, wire transfers and ACH processing. Employees of CCIA members are also welcome to join as individual members of the credit union.
The cannabis market in California generates annual revenues of $5.6 billion, which accounts for more than 10% of the entire $52 billion national cannabis market. And sales in California are projected to reach $7.2 billion by 2024. Additionally, the industry employs nearly 40,000 people in California at some 7,400 cannabis businesses.
CCIA Executive Director Lindsay Robinson said this partnership presents a huge benefit to CCIA members. "Our goal is to alleviate the challenges that small businesses in the cannabis space face when it comes to banking. We look forward to working with the North Bay Credit Union to ensure our members receive the banking services they need to conduct business safely and efficiently."
TORONTO, Jan. 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PRESS RELEASE -- WeedMD Inc., a federally licensed producer and distributor of medical-grade cannabis, has announces it is kicking off 2021 with the development of new extract products featuring live resin and solventless hash, and rosin concentrates. The company’s newest Cannabis 2.0 extract products are expected to debut during the second quarter of 2021, under WeedMD’s Color Cannabis and Saturday Cannabis adult-use brands.
“WeedMD’s genetic library boasts unique strains, with flavour and aroma profiles widely recognized throughout the industry and we are thrilled to announce we are now expanding into high-value, terpene-rich hash, live resin and rosin products,” said George Scorsis, executive chairman and interim CEO of WeedMD. “We are listening to our consumers and retail partners in developing these products and extending our portfolio. Our cultivation, commercial and product teams are now capturing these profiles in a variety of formats including solventless concentrates and extracts to deliver premium products under our Color and Saturday Cannabis brands. This expanded portfolio is tailor-made for consumers looking for richer cannabis concentrates and alternative cannabis consumption methods.”
Product development for both solventless cannabis concentrates (including bubble hash and rosin) and hydrocarbon (live resin) extract products is currently underway alongside WeedMD and its highly skilled third-party processors. This includes trialing processes to produce extracts which best capture and preserve the company’s most robust, trichome-coated flowers, including award-winning strains such as Pedro’s Sweet Sativa and Mango Haze.
The company has further developed a unique, in-house sub-critical CO2 extract post-processing methodology, which preserves the flower’s terpene profile and results in a malleable, semi-solid high-potency cannabis extract product. Trials to confirm scalability and product integrity are currently underway at the company’s Aylmer, Ontario processing and extraction hub.
BOSTON, Jan. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- PRESS RELEASE -- A diverse group of North America's cannabis cultivation and manufacturing experts has announced that they have come together to form the Sustainable Cannabis Coalition (SCC). The SCC will work proactively with industry cultivation and manufacturing peers and vendors to promote proven sustainability best practices that can be implemented at scale across the cannabis market.
The global legal marijuana market is predicted to reach $66.3 billion by the end of 2025. In order for cultivation and manufacturing producers to compete in a global market, they will be required to meet stringent sustainable and ethical business practices. The SCC will be a trusted resource providing foundational best practices to further promote economic benefits of sustainability as the industry continues to grow.
The SCC founders include CohnReznick, Anderson Porter Design, Valiant, Wholly H2O, Cloud Farming, Argus Controls, Conviron, Gro iQ, Trulieve, Byers Scientific, 365 Cannabis, GMP Collective, Omega Equipment and Supply, Simplifya, PathogenDx, Grow Generation, Outlaw Technology and BZAM Cannabis. These industry leaders are foremost experts in data driven business strategy, facility design, facility construction, water use, pathogen detection, energy consumption, waste disposal, economic and social impact, vertical farming, ERP and seed to sale systems, lighting, air emissions, extraction, packaging and data driven monitoring and optimization of environmental control systems.
"With investors across the industry incorporating Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors into the investment process, the creation of a coalition to address sustainability in this space is critical," said Peter Dougherty, CEO of Gro IQ and SCC co-founder. "The SCC is uniquely poised to impact the industry as it continues to rapidly evolve. As leaders in this space, it is our responsibility to provide data driven sustainability guidance to the industry while protecting both consumers and the environment."
Ira Weinstein, managing principal of CohnReznick, founding member of the coalition and author of the inaugural SCC blog, added, "ESG is a key business practice for CohnReznick and our customers. The ability to incorporate data driven best practices will help confirm for our customers both the long term economic impact on their business as well as position those companies as environmentally and socially responsible market leaders."