🧾 Illinois Adult-Use Cannabis Sales of $122M in August, down 4.6% from $129M in July

Columbia Care Rebrands as Cannabist in FL. Ayr Wellness Launches Origyn Extracts in PA. TerrAscend Brings Valhalla Confections to NJ.

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🌿Industry

Merrill Lynch Relaxes Approach to Marijuana-Related Businesses. Revisiting the firm’s approach to clients with marijuana-related businesses ranked among a handful of initial items that Merrill Lynch Wealth Management executives have tackled in their Project Thunder initiative. The campaign, launched last week, is aimed at addressing frustrations and pain points endured by the brokerage’s financial advisors. Merrill executives unveiled plans for “streamlining” and adding more “flexibility” to the process of onboarding clients who own or invest in marijuana-related businesses, as part of the new initiative, according to an internal message sent by the executives to advisors on Wednesday. Advisors will now be able to seek approval for clients with marijuana-related businesses at the divisional level in “lower risk situations,” the message said, meaning they will no longer be required to secure a blessing from a New York-based executive in those instances. The policy change provides flexibility for clients who have a small part of their overall net worth connected to marijuana-related businesses, according to the company.

Illinois — $122M in August Adult-Use Cannabis Sales. Illinois adult-use cannabis sales reached $121.9 million in August, down 4.6% from $128.8 million in July and up 91% from a year ago. So far in 2021, adult-use sales of $875 million have increased 140% over the same period a year ago. Sales to non-residents continue to represent an increasing percentage of overall sales, reaching 33%, similar to last month.

Cannabis hopefuls up in arms as Costa Mesa’s application process rolls on without them. Two weeks after Costa Mesa began accepting pre-applications for retail cannabis businesses, staff have received at least 19 requests for dispensaries and are moving ahead in their review, even as one applicant seeks a restraining order to halt the process. Co-owners of RD x Catalyst-Costa Mesa LLC claimed in an Aug. 11 lawsuit the City Council unfairly delegated the creation of an application process to City Manager Lori Ann Farrell Harrison who, in turn, gave preferential treatment to certain applicants and edged others out. The suit alleges city staff talked behind-the-scenes with industrial cannabis operators — currently doing non-retail business in the city’s Green Zone under 2016 voter-approved Measure X — and crafted a process that prioritized them for dispensary approval.

Flower rules in BC, beverages fall flat as cannabis distributor ekes out CA$13.6M profit. British Columbia’s cannabis distributor posted net income of 13.6 million Canadian dollars ($10.8 million) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, rebounding from a loss of CA$5.3 million in the previous year thanks to a surge in adult-use sales, according to new government data. The newly released annual report from the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) shows that adult-use cannabis sales jumped 140% in the province. Price compression continued throughout the year. The price per gram of dried flower fell by almost 25% compared to the previous year, making legal adult-use marijuana products more competitive with illicit products. Prices were driven down because of the growing popularity of dried flower in larger packages. The province was busy adding private- and public-sector stores in fiscal 2020-21. In the private sector, roughly 127 new stores opened their doors, bringing the total number of privately owned retailers to 305. Meanwhile, the addition of 10 new publicly owned cannabis shops brought the number of government-owned stores to 25.

British Columbia cannabis, Flower rules in BC, beverages fall flat as cannabis distributor ekes out CA$13.6M profit

💵Deals

InterCure — Continues Medical Cannabis Consolidation Strategy, Acquires Cannomed Pharmacy Chain. According to the agreement, the Company will acquire Cannomed's holdings; 55% of “Max Pharm” (which operates two medical cannabis dispensing pharmacies), 100% of a pharmacy in the process of receiving its license and 51% of 'Hello Pharm' a medical cannabis patient support center. The companies will partner in Cannomed innovative e-commerce platform for medical cannabis products. InterCure's medical pharmacy chain, 'GIVOL', will onboard this new platform throughout its various locations, adding a complementary e-commerce operation to GIVOL’s extensive retail footprint. The online platform is expected to go live, pending approvals from applicable Israeli regulatory authorities. The acquisition expands InterCure's sales and distribution channels in response to the growing demand for its branded products and the consistent increase in the number of medical cannabis patients in Israel, currently estimated at a growth rate of 4% per month.


📄Company Updates

Unrivaled Brands — Management Agreement Pursuant to Acquisition of People’s First Choice. The company reported that its management of the People’s First Choice dispensary in Santa Ana, CA, as well as development of anticipated People’s dispensary sites in Los Angeles and Riverside, took effect on September 1, 2021.


🏬Retail

Columbia Care — Rebrands as Cannabist in Florida. Effective immediately, Columbia Care’s 14 dispensary locations across the state will be renamed to Cannabist. In addition to the 14 dispensary locations, Columbia Care has more than 100,000 square feet of cultivation and manufacturing capacity in the state, including more than 38,000 square feet of greenhouse space in Alachua that completed its first harvest in June.


🌱Product

Ayr Wellness — Launches Origyn Extracts in Pennsylvania. Sales of Origyn in Pennsylvania began September 1st, available exclusively in Ayr’s three Pennsylvania dispensaries – Plymouth Meeting, New Castle and Gibsonia. Wholesaling to other dispensaries throughout the state is expected to begin one month from now. Origyn Extracts was originally launched in Massachusetts in October 2020 and is now the leading concentrate brand in that state, with ~22% market share in concentrates, according to BDSA. The Company launched Origyn Extracts in Florida in May 2021 and in Arizona in August 2021. Ayr plans to roll out Origyn across its full operational footprint, including Nevada later this year. Pennsylvania has a robust and growing medical marijuana market with over 633,000 patients, 131 licensed dispensaries and 29 operational licensed cultivators/processors. Annual industry-wide statewide cannabis sales in Pennsylvania are expected to surpass $1 billion by 2024, according to BDSA.

TerrAscend — Brings Valhalla Confections to New Jersey. The THC-infused soft lozenges are exclusively available at the Company's two New Jersey Apothecarium dispensaries located in Maplewood and Phillipsburg. At launch, New Jersey medical patients will have access to three of the brand's most popular flavors: Blue Raspberry, Sour Watermelon and Sweet Orange. Each package contains 35 lozenges, providing 10mg of THC per lozenge.


🧔People | 💻Hiring

MJardin — Executive Team Changes. Effective immediately, Pat Witcher has resigned as the Company's Chief Executive Officer to pursue other interests. The Board has appointed Mr. Anthony Dutton, a current MJardin board member, as interim Chief Executive Officer of the Company while it completes its previously announced Sales and Investment Solicitation Process.

710 Labs — Marketing Manager (Beverly Hills). This position will require a hybrid of brand marketing and product marketing, and will sit in the Marketing Department, reporting into the Sr. Director, Marketing Operations. This role will work cross-functionally with Sales, DTC, Product Development, Merchandising, Creative and Operations departments. 

Weedmaps — Director, Strategy & Operations (Remote). Play a key role within the organization by using a data-driven approach to make strategic recommendations and drive understanding of Weedmaps’ fast-growing business.


🎙️Interviews

Cresco Labs CEO on developing market expansion and the merits of competing in Michigan and California

“With New York, it has a lot of fundamental similarities with Illinois. They are very proactive to make sure there is new opportunity for new ownership groups in a more inclusive way. They are going about it a little bit differently too. They don’t have the infrastructure that Illinois had to start with, so they have to think about it differently. There are currently only, I think, 36 open stores in the entire state of New York. So, you are talking about the fourth most populated state in the country with 20 million-ish people that only has 36 stores open right now. A lot more needs to be developed in the infrastructure side, let alone the production side. There is a fraction of the production in New York as there was in Illinois when it went full blown adult-use.”

Boris Jordan Interview with Jason Spatafora & Mike Edward (True Trading Group)

This Edibles Company Dominating the Oregon Market Is Expanding to More States. Grön Chocolate was launched in Oregon by former architect Christine Smith. Since its inception, the company has grown to be a leading edibles brand in the state. Grön CEO Smith spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about her company’s position in Oregon, its ambitions to be a national player and product innovation and branding.


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