🎫 IL Governor announces Lottery Dates for 185 Cannabis Dispensary Licenses

Dale's Pale Ale Founder invests in & takes active leadership role at Veritas Fine Cannabis. Pure Beauty raises $5M. AFC Gamma $15.5M Debt Deal for MD-based Cannabis Cultivator, Evermore.

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🌿Industry

Gov. Pritzker Announces Lottery Dates for 185 Cannabis Dispensary Licenses and Notifies Over 200 Awardees of Craft Grow, Infuser, and Transporter Licenses. Governor JB Pritzker today announced three lotteries to distribute 185 licenses to operate adult-use cannabis dispensaries will be held in July and August. Additionally, over 200 people across the state have qualified to receive Craft Grow, Infuser, and Transporter licenses, the first set of licenses to be awarded under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA). Of those eligible to receive the licenses for craft grow, infuser and transportation, 67 percent identify as non-white and 100 percent are qualified social equity applicants. The Governor also signed HB 1443, technical legislation that establishes additional avenues to include more eligible social equity applicants in the new cannabis industry. The announcements build on the administration's efforts to provide Illinois residents from diverse backgrounds with equitable access to the newly established cannabis industry.

Lottery Dates. The Illinois State Lottery will conduct a total of three lotteries for adult-use dispensary license applicants this year. The lotteries will be held on:

  • July 29th: lottery for qualifying applicants who received who received a score of at least 85% of the 250 application points will be held for the 55 licenses in that category
    • August 5th: the lottery for social equity justice-involved applicants who received a score of at least 85% of the 250 application points and are located in a disproportionately impacted area or have an eligible conviction will be held for the 55 available licenses in that category.
    • August 19th: the final lottery will be held for top scoring, tied applicants for the original 75 licenses outlined in the CRTA 

Dale Katechis (Dale's Pale Ale) invests in and takes active leadership role at Veritas Fine Cannabis. Veritas Fine Cannabis is a boutique wholesaler specializing in cultivating and selling premium cannabis. Katechis' move signals a further intermingling of beer and cannabisThe two sectors have drawn frequent comparisons to each other for their grassroots growth, consumer base, competitive pressures and heavily regulated nature. "When I got a peek inside of Veritas, around every corner, it just whacked me in the head: It reminded me of the early days of Oskar Blues," Katechis said, noting the Colorado-based brewery he started, first as a restaurant and later as a beer-brewing operation, in 1997. Katechis, a "fan of the space," was intrigued by the parallels with the craft beer business. In addition to touting flavors and aromas similar to cannabis strains, Oskar Blues' beers were branded with plenty of not-so-subtle nods to weed.

Private-sector BC cannabis delivery launches, bringing new opportunities, challenges for retailers. New rules in British Columbia allowing privately owned cannabis retailers to offer home delivery take effect Thursday. Industry sources say the move could help level the playing field between legal retailers and B.C.’s entrenched illicit market, which until Thursday enjoyed limited competition for home delivery.
However, several retailers said they’ve been scrambling to find solutions in the face of a short timeline, after the announcement of the new regulations was made less than one month ago. Previously, only the government-run BC Cannabis Stores was allowed to offer home delivery. British Columbia is the first large market in Canada to allow privately owned stores to offer delivery on a permanent basis. (Ontario has temporarily allowed privately owned stores to offer delivery as part of its COVID-19 protocols, but that measure has not been made permanent.) Roughly 347 privately owned cannabis stores were licensed to open across British Columbia as of June 1.

West Cape May, NJ the latest to OK cannabis sales. The three-member governing body unanimously approved the ordinance, which will allow cannabis cultivation, retail sales and delivery services in the borough. That makes West Cape May the second Cape May County town to say yes to cannabis sales, joining Lower Township, which approved its own ordinance July 6. Under the state law legalizing cannabis possession and licensed sales, towns have until Aug. 22 to decide whether to allow sales. If there is no decision by then, the sales will be allowed by default. Most towns in the county have opted out, some vehemently, others reluctantly. Neighboring Cape May has said no to cannabis sales, while nearby Middle Township had considered their potential but decided there was not yet enough information from the state, which is working through rules for a new market.

Akerna Flash Report — 4th of July preparation brings in second highest cannabis retail sales day in 2021. Friday, July 2nd, the beginning of 4th of July weekend, was the second largest sales day for the cannabis industry in 2021 with $89,600,000 in retail sales, only falling behind 420's sales.


💵Deals

Pure Beauty — Raises $5M From Timbaland, Nas, Tom Kuntz, Gron Ventures, Subversive Capital. Pure Beauty, a California-based boutique cannabis brand that combines art, culture and style with sustainable and social justice practices, announced it has successfully raised $5 million in a convertible note fundraising round. Founded in 2017 by entrepreneurs Imelda Walavalkar, Tracy Anderson and Irwin Tobias Matutina, Pure Beauty is committed to environmental responsibility within its cultivation sites by reprocessing its water using HVAC and dehumidifiers. It also donates soil to public parks and uses environmentally conscious packaging to minimize waste. The funds from this latest raise will support the brand’s expansion into new markets, as well as building out the product development team to further support growing customer demand. Pure Beauty is currently available for purchase throughout California and will expand to Michigan, its first additional market, this fall in partnership with Gage.

📝 The Company is actively looking for a GM for its business, let me know if you or someone you know is interested.

AFC Gamma — Leads $15.5 Million Debt Deal for Maryland Cannabis Cultivator Evermore. Evermore is currently Baltimore City’s only licensed medical cannabis cultivator and processor. The credit facility is designed to provide Evermore with additional capital for the expansion of its cultivation and manufacturing facility in Baltimore, Maryland and to consolidate and streamline its ownership structure. AFC will hold $10.075 million of the credit facility and $5.425 million was syndicated to an affiliate, which consists of a first-lien term loan.

Jones Soda Co. — Signals Transformation With Planned Strategic Entry Into the Cannabis Sector. Jones, the original craft soda known for its unconventional flavors and user-designed label artwork, has issued to SOL Global Investments Corp, a $2,000,000 unsecured convertible debenture and has entered into a non-binding term sheet dated July 14, 2021 with Pinestar Gold, a Canadian Reporting Issuer, and SOL. Jones intends to use the proceeds of the Convertible Debenture and transactions outlined in the Term Sheet exclusively for transaction costs and the expansion of Jones’ business to the production and sale of cannabis-containing beverages, edibles and related products. Jones intends to operate its planned cannabis operations through one or more subsidiaries that are separate from its craft beverage business.

Harvest Health & Recreation — Divestiture of Utah Assets. A local operator acquired Harvest's cultivation and processing operations located in Ogden, Utah for an immaterial amount of cash. Following the sale, Harvest no longer has operations in Utah.   

Jushi — Completes Acquisition of Licensed Cultivator in Ohio. Jushi paid OhiGrow, one of 34 licensed cultivators in Ohio, $5.0 million in cash, inclusive of an ~10,000 sq. ft. facility and 1.35 acres of land. OhiGrow will complement the 8,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art Ohio medical cannabis processing facility located in Columbus, OH that has recently commenced operations, to which Jushi provides operational and consulting services. OhiGrow is expected to supply biomass to the Processing Facility to create manufactured medical marijuana products, including Jushi’s suite of permissible branded products, to be sold at licensed medical marijuana dispensaries throughout Ohio. Ohio is the seventh largest state in the U.S., with ~11.7 million residents. The Ohio medical cannabis program is a limited license market with distinct licenses for cultivation, processing, and retail. As of July 9, 2021, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program reported 207,105 registered medical patients. As reported by the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, from April 2019 through July 5, 2021, the state generated ~$464 million in total medical cannabis product sales.

Fluence Partners with GrowGeneration as Premier LED Horticulture Lighting Provider. Fluence, a leading global provider of energy-efficient LED lighting solutions for commercial cannabis and food production, has partnered with GrowGeneration, the nation's largest chain of specialty hydroponic and organic garden centers, as GrowGen’s premier LED horticulture lighting provider.

High Tide and Halo — Closing of Sale of KushBar Assets to Halo. Under the Asset Sale, High Tide sold its three (3) operating KushBar retail cannabis stores to a wholly-owned subsidiary of Halo (Halo KushBar) for $5.7 million.


📄Company Updates / Earnings

Dark Heart Industries — Opens New Advanced Cannabis Biotech Lab. Dark Heart Industries, California’s leading cannabis genetics company, has opened its new cannabis biotechnology research and innovation laboratory in Davis, CA, near the main campus of the University of California. The new lab will enable Dark Heart to deliver advanced science-based solutions and innovations to its customers while also creating jobs and development opportunities for scientists interested in working in cannabis. The lab is a key asset in Dark Heart’s plan to develop and introduce modern commercially improved genetics into the cannabis space, including stable, hybrid cannabis seed. The lab will help Dark Heart maintain its leading position in the emerging field of cannabis AgTech, a field that is expected to generate billions of dollars in value for cannabis farmers over the coming decade. The company also opened a new 70,000 sq. ft. production and research facility in 2020. Located in Half Moon Bay, CA, the campus houses one of the state’s largest cannabis nurseries, from which more than one million plants were produced last year, representing nearly 10% of all cannabis grown legally in California.

Glass House Brands — OTC Symbol Change to GLASF and GHBWF. Effective immediately, it has changed its tickers on the OTCQX in the United States from MRCQF and MRCWF to GLASF and GHBWF, respectively. No action is required by existing shareholders with respect to the trading symbol change.

Ayr Wellness — Receives Provisional Licenses to Sell Adult-Use Cannabis at Greater Boston Dispensaries in Somerville and Watertown. The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) has granted its local partner Sira Naturals provisional licenses for the sale of adult-use cannabis at its Somerville and Watertown locations in Greater Boston and a provisional license for cultivation and production for its M3 cultivation facility, located in Milford, Massachusetts. The Company’s M3 90,000 sq. ft. cultivation and production facility, currently being built, will triple Ayr’s cultivation capacity in the state. This will bring the Company to the maximum 100,000 sq. ft. of canopy allowed under its license and significantly increase its capacity to supply the Massachusetts wholesale market as well as internally source the expected increase in retail demand from its new adult-use locations.

Aurora Cannabis — Delivers $8 Million Shipment of Cannabis to Israel. The sale is a significant step in advancing the Company's international medical business, a key strategic priority for Aurora as a global cannabis company. With leadership in both Canada and Europe, Aurora is uniquely positioned to be a partner of choice in countries like Israel, where THC recreational markets are expected to be around the corner, and non-THC cannabinoids, such as CBD, are advancing toward legalization. The Company, which has a strategic supply agreement with Cantek Global Ltd., one of Israel's leaders in the medical cannabis field, intends to supply a minimum of 4,000 kg of bulk dried flower annually to Israel.


🏬Retail / 🚗Delivery

Ayr Wellness — Opens New Dispensary in Hollywood, Florida, the City’s First. The Liberty Health Sciences Hollywood location is the Company’s 38th open dispensary in Florida. The 3,300 sq. ft. location sits on the main thoroughfare between I-95 and the Hollywood central business district. LHS Hollywood will become the first dispensary to open in the city of Hollywood, located on Florida’s east coast between Fort Lauderdale and Miami with a population of over 150,000. 

Harvest — Opens Eleventh Florida Dispensary in South Miami Beach. Additional Harvest dispensaries in Florida are located in Gainesville, Jacksonville, Kissimmee, Lehigh Acres, Longwood, North Miami Beach, North Port, Olympia Heights, Tallahassee, and West Palm Beach.

Santa Monica’s First Medical Cannabis Dispensary Could Be Coming to Wilshire Blvd. CPC Compassion inc plans to open on Wilshire blvd in December of 2021 if approved by the planning commission of Santa Monica. 

Lantern — Launching in Massachusetts in partnership with Freshly Baked and We Can Deliver. Lantern launched in May 2020 with delivery services to medical patients. Now, the company says it will become the first recreational delivery marketplace to launch in the state. Incubated out of Drizly, a delivery service for alcohol, Lantern is partnering with Freshly Baked and We Can Deliver, two companies in the state Cannabis Control Commission’s social equity program, to get cannabis products to the doorsteps of consumers in Greater Boston. Freshly Baked is a cannabis microbusiness based in Taunton and owned by veterans. We Can Deliver is a cannabis delivery courier that has launched through Lantern’s Cannabis Delivery Incubator Program.


🌱Product

Toast — Partners with Jimmy Haber, owner of international BLT Hospitality to work on cannabis lounges in NY Market. Lounge owners are seeking brands that fit their clientele, and Toast is already finding its home amongst upscale eateries by striking a deal with New York-based BLT Hospitality founder Jimmy Haber, who is planning a lounge dedicated to a luxury cannabis experience in New York City. Toast launched its hemp-based CBD line in New York back in 2018 with vegan restaurant group, by Chloe, a relationship which Toast Co-Founder and CEO Punit Seth says was the perfect way to bring Toast into the New York scene. Since then, Toast has partnered with high-end retail outlets like Higher Standards in Chelsea Market, Zadig & Voltaire in SoHo, and Brooklyn-based chocolatier Fine & Raw, all in an effort to cement the Toast brand in the eyes of the New York consumer. Toast recently announced a strategic partnership with New York-based Topical Biomedics, a 25+ year topical pain company, to tap into its distribution network of over 40,000 locations and explore other ways to collaborate.

8th Wonder Brewing — Debuts New Seltzer Infused With Chill-Inducing Cannabis Ingredients. Plenty of Houston breweries have hopped on the seltzer fad in the past year, but 8th Wonder Brewery has taken the trend a step further with a brand new line of “herbal” seltzers that are infused with two purportedly relaxing cannabis derivatives. Instead of being made with cane sugar like most seltzers, the brewery’s new Wonder Waters are infused with Delta-8 THC and CBD, both derived from hemp. The seltzers, available starting on August 8 at the brewery’s taproom at 2202 Dallas Street, do not contain alcohol and have zero calories. Delta-8 Wonder Water is infused with 10 milligrams of hemp-derived Delta-8 THC. CBD Wonder Water contains 25 milligrams of hemp-derived CBD, or cannabidiol. According to the brewery, the seltzers are also flavored with citrus, and have a subtle, herbal taste.


🧔People

MedMen — Permanent Appointment of Tom Lynch as CEO. Lynch has served as the interim Chief Executive Officer since March 2020.

The Green Organic Dutchman — Gayle Duncan joins as Chief Growth Officer. Duncan most recently provided consultative marketing services through her private practice to companies like Hydro One Telecom and Tim Horton's, where she oversaw the Tim Card portfolio across North America and led the launch of the CIBC Tim Horton's Double Double Visa Card. She has held executive positions at agencies like Consumer Impact Marketing and Maritz Loyalty Marketing, and consulted with consumer brands such as IMAX, Bell Canada, and Green Gruff, a brand of CBD infused pet products sold in the United States.


🎙️Interviews

Nat Shaul of springbig on Helping Cannabis Brands With Marketing


👋 Newsletter curated by Dai Truong.