Cannabis Industry Daily News

Casa Verde invests $3.5M in Berlin-based cannabis firm Sanity Group

By MJBizDaily Staff

Venture capital firm Casa Verde Capital invested $3.5 million (3 million euros) in Berlin-based cannabis startup Sanity Group.

Sanity Group said Wednesday it finalized the follow-on investment, representing a second closing of the company’s $45 million Series A financing round.

Advertisement

The total funds raised to date, $76.5 million, is the highest level of funding attained by any European cannabis startup, Sanity Group said in a news release.

The release also said it was the first investment in Germany – the largest medical cannabis market in Europe – by Los Angeles-based Casa Verde.

Germany is the second-biggest federally regulated medical cannabis market in the world, after Canada.

Key insights to inform decisions: MJBizFactbook 

Say hello to marijuana business data, curated by the editors of MJBizDaily to help cannabis industry leaders make informed decisions.

  • U.S. marijuana industry financials
  • Licensing, funding and investment trends
  • State-by-state guide to regulations, taxes and opportunities
  • Insights for business and investment strategy

Finn Hänsel, founder and managing director of Sanity Group, said the investment is “evidence of growing momentum in the European market as more countries move to initiate pilot projects to legalize and improve access to medical cannabis programs.”

Sanity said it will use the additional cash to advance research into medical cannabis and expand its business, including developing and distributing medical cannabis and finished medicinal products.

Illinois marijuana workers for PharmaCann, Curaleaf vote to unionize

By MJBizDaily Staff

Employees at two retail marijuana operations owned by PharmaCann in the Chicago area and at Curaleaf Holdings’ store in Mokena, Illinois, are joining labor unions.

Cannabis sales consultants and inventory specialists at PharmaCann’s Verilife retail stores in Arlington Heights and Chicago’s River North area voted to join Teamsters Local 777, an 84-year-old union representing workers in various industries.

Advertisement

PharmaCann is a cannabis multistate operator based in Chicago.

The Verilife workers join employees from Modern Cannabis’ Logan Square and River North locations who voted to join Local 777 earlier this year.

In late October, Verilife workers in New York ratified a three-year union contract with the Local 338 Retail, Wholesale, Department Store Union (RWDSU)/United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

Growing is all about the lighting: MJBizDaily Lighting Buyers Guide 

Read our exclusive guide for strategies and tips from expert cultivators who have amassed decades of experience studying horticulture lighting. Curated by MJBizDaily.

Inside:

  • Horticultural professionals debunk 8 common lighting myths in cannabis
  • How cannabis extraction companies can reduce energy costs
  • Why experts say the future of horticultural lighting is in LED technology
  • Cannabis lighting Glossary of Terms
  • Buyers checklist

Meanwhile, Curaleaf retail workers in the Joliet suburb of Mokena voted to join Local 881 of the UFCW.

That move comes after Curaleaf retail employees in Worth, Illinois, voted last month to also join Local 881 of the UFCW.

Curaleaf is a cannabis MSO headquartered in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

Nevada cannabis grower fined $565,000 for alleged violations

By MJBizDaily Staff

A cannabis cultivation company in Nevada was fined $565,000 for allegedly failing to tag its plants for the state-mandated seed-to-sale tracking system and operating with expired licenses, among other violations.

The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board disciplined Green Cross of America for allegedly violating several rules after conducting a routine inspection of the Pahrump-based business in August, Law360 reported.

Advertisement

The company’s cannabis cultivation license was suspended that month after regulators called the operation a “threat to public health and safety.”

The compliance board said in the recent complaint, filed Oct. 26 and obtained by Law360, that:

  • Green Cross continued medical and recreational cultivation operations even though its cultivation licenses expired in 2019.
  • More than 400 untagged cannabis plants were found at the Green Cross facility.
  • The company’s attorney and a contractor falsely told regulators the facility was not in operation and housed no cannabis.
  • During the inspection, regulators found other violations, including security cameras not in use, unlocked rooms in the facility and wires to the alarm system that were cut.
  • Only one of the six owners had active marijuana registration cards.

Grow better: MJBizDaily Greenhouse Components Buyers Guide 

Maximize your output and quality with the right equipment. Curated by the editors of MJBizDaily, our new, free Greenhouse Components Buyers Guide helps you choose wisely and covers irrigation, automation and ROI.

Inside:

  • Cannabis greenhouse buyers checklist
    Keep track of everything you need.
  • Pros and cons of common benching systems
    Help weigh out the best choice for your greenhouse benching system with this overview.
  • Cannabis greenhouse Glossary of Terms
    What is evaportranspiration? Download the guide to find out and learn more technical jargon unique to greenhouse and the cannabis industry.

 

The alleged violations could lead to Green Cross losing its license.

The business has 20 days to respond and may demand a hearing in front of the board.

Election night fallout for marijuana industry

By MJBizDaily Staff

(This story has been updated with additional election results from Massachusetts, Montana and Virginia.)

This year’s off-year election was a decidedly mixed bag for marijuana businesses across the country.

There were a number of victories – such as the failure of a new marijuana tax in Colorado – but also some setbacks, mostly instances where voters decided to ban recreational and medical cannabis sales in parts of Michigan, Montana and Massachusetts.

Advertisement

In Colorado, voters shot down a proposed statewide tax hike on adult-use marijuana sales, Proposition 119, which lost 55% to 45%. A similar measure in Denver, Initiated Ordinance 300, was also defeated, 60% to 40%.

In Billings, Montana, voters rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed recreational marijuana stores within city limits, 55% to 45%. But local taxes on both recreational and medical marijuana were approved by Yellowstone County voters, Billings TV station KTVQ reported.

Key insights to inform decisions: MJBizFactbook 

Say hello to marijuana business data, curated by the editors of MJBizDaily to help cannabis industry leaders make informed decisions.

  • U.S. marijuana industry financials
  • Licensing, funding and investment trends
  • State-by-state guide to regulations, taxes and opportunities
  • Insights for business and investment strategy

In Michigan, the city of Lapeer went the opposite direction, with voters approving a ballot measure to allow recreational marijuana shops within city limits, MLive.com reported. But the Detroit suburb of Clawson voted down a similar measure, prohibiting adult-use sales.

In Massachusetts, the town of Methuen rejected a ballot measure that would have legalized recreational marijuana businesses, including retailers, growers and transportation, The (North Andover) Eagle Tribune reported. The measure lost 57% to 43%.

In Philadelphia, voters easily approved a symbolic resolution supporting full marijuana legalization, 73% to 27%. Though the measure, Question 1, does not have any effect on local or state law, it was intended to send a message to state lawmakers about how voters feel on cannabis.

And in Virginia, where GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin beat Democratic ex-Gov. Terry McAuliffe, cannabis stakeholders might be worried that the incoming governor will be an obstructionist for the upcoming recreational marijuana market, given that Youngkin has been vocally anti-cannabis.

But Youngkin’s campaign stated over the summer that he will “not seek to repeal” the legalization bill that was signed into law in April by the current governor, Democrat Ralph Northam, the Virginia Mercury reported.

JPMorgan Chase to restrict purchases of cannabis-related stocks, report says

By MJBizDaily Staff

Banking giant JPMorgan Chase & Co. informed its brokerage clients they’ll no longer be allowed to purchase cannabis-related stocks and securities starting Nov. 8.

Reuters on Tuesday cited an internal JPMorgan letter to brokers that said, in part, “J.P. Morgan (JPMS) has introduced a framework that is designed to comply with U.S. money laundering laws and regulations by restricting certain activities in the securities of U.S. Marijuana Related Businesses.”

Advertisement

The New York-based bank’s restriction applies to any company that has a “direct nexus to marijuana-related activities,” even those that aren’t traded on major exchanges such as the Nasdaq, New York Stock Exchange or Toronto Stock Exchange.

After Nov. 8, JPMorgan clients with positions in marijuana companies will be allowed to liquidate their shares, according to the bank’s letter.

The pivot by JPMorgan follows a similar move earlier this year by global investment firm Credit Suisse Group, which told clients it was calling off all transactions involving marijuana-related companies in the United States.

That decision by Credit Suisse Group reportedly led to a huge selloff of cannabis stocks.

Solvent or Solventless? We can help.
MJBizDaily Cannabis Extraction Buyers Guide 

Get strategies and tips from expert processors on choosing cannabis extraction systems, costs, safety precautions and more. Curated by MJBizDaily.

Inside:

  • How to choose between solvent-based and solventless extraction methods
  • Learn which strains are most efficient for each extraction process
  • Tips on safety precautions from design to training to protective equipment

U.S. Cannabis Council CEO Steve Hawkins called JPMorgan’s decision “beyond disappointing.”

“JPMorgan’s new policy is regressive and at odds with the majority of Americans, who want legal, regulated cannabis. What’s more, it’s self-defeating,” Hawkins said in a statement. “The end of federal cannabis prohibition is within site, and the industry is already growing rapidly.

“I imagine more than a few JPMorgan customers will take issue with being blocked from one of the hottest industries on the market today. JPMorgan is on the wrong side of history on this and will come to regret its decision.”

Mississippi governor seeks to limit medical marijuana amounts for patients

By MJBizDaily Staff

A working medical marijuana market in Mississippi is still on hold as the state’s governor pushes to limit the amount of cannabis that patients can buy.

Mississippi voters approved a business-friendly medical marijuana program a year ago, but the state Supreme Court struck down the measure.

Advertisement

State lawmakers then decided to draft a measure creating an MMJ program and move it through the Legislature.

The Legislature called for a special session to work on such a measure.

But, according to Jackson TV station WAPT, Gov. Tate Reeves said he won’t allow that to happen until he works out a compromise with lawmakers.

Reeves wants to set a limit on how much medical marijuana a patient can purchase as well as the THC content in MMJ products.

Key insights to inform decisions: MJBizFactbook 

Say hello to marijuana business data, curated by the editors of MJBizDaily to help cannabis industry leaders make informed decisions.

  • U.S. marijuana industry financials
  • Licensing, funding and investment trends
  • State-by-state guide to regulations, taxes and opportunities
  • Insights for business and investment strategy

A draft bill would limit a patient to 4 ounces of medical marijuana per month, an ounce lower than the law voters approved.

Sources say Reeves also wants to restrict who can recommend medical cannabis, WAPT reported.

Early versions of the program allowed physician assistants and nurse practitioners to recommend medical marijuana.

No recreational cannabis business permits until 2023, NY regulator says

By MJBizDaily Staff

The recreational cannabis market in New York won’t get off the ground for at least another 18 months, meaning the program won’t launch until mid-2023, the state’s top marijuana regulator said.

According to Rochester-based City News, New York Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright disclosed last week she doesn’t expect the agency to finish crafting regulations or begin issuing business licenses for an additional year and a half.

Advertisement

Wright added it could be longer until adult-use businesses are operational, that her estimate is only the timeline for when the board will be finished writing industry policy.

“What we do control is getting (cannabis retailers) licensing and giving them all the tools so they can work within our systems,” Wright said told City News.

“That’s what we are saying will be achieved in 18 months. Not that they’re open, not that they’ll be full-blown operations, because we don’t know that.”

The news is likely a disappointment to many in the industry, since the state law signed earlier this year legalizing adult-use sales had pinpointed the launch could happen as soon as April 2022.

Growing is all about the lighting: MJBizDaily Lighting Buyers Guide 

Read our exclusive guide for strategies and tips from expert cultivators who have amassed decades of experience studying horticulture lighting. Curated by MJBizDaily.

Inside:

  • Horticultural professionals debunk 8 common lighting myths in cannabis
  • How cannabis extraction companies can reduce energy costs
  • Why experts say the future of horticultural lighting is in LED technology
  • Cannabis lighting Glossary of Terms
  • Buyers checklist

But the Cannabis Control Board itself wasn’t finalized until September, leaving the members with a heap of policy work in front of them.

In the meantime, a so-called “gifting” market has sprung up in New York where entrepreneurs sell highly marked-up items such as T-shirts or lighters to customers, who, in turn, receive marijuana as a gift.

That’s a practice Wright pledged to crack down on, telling City News that businesses that engage in such commerce will be subject to “severe financial penalties.”

New Jersey dispensaries ready to start selling adult-use marijuana

By MJBizDaily Staff

Medical cannabis dispensaries in New Jersey have enough supply to start selling adult-use marijuana without disrupting access to MMJ patients, a state trade association says.

Dispensaries in the state “have been working non-stop and investing substantial time, money and resources into expanding their operations to prepare for recreational sales – hiring more staff, building more distribution centers, expanding cultivation sites,” the New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association said in a news release.

Advertisement

“They are ready to open for adult-use sales today.”

But that’s not the position held by New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission, NJ.com reported.

In October, when New Jersey regulators awarded 14 new medical cannabis business licenses, the commission’s executive director, Jeff Brown, said the state’s cannabis supply isn’t keeping up with the increasing patient pool.

Key insights to inform decisions: MJBizFactbook 

Say hello to marijuana business data, curated by the editors of MJBizDaily to help cannabis industry leaders make informed decisions.

  • U.S. marijuana industry financials
  • Licensing, funding and investment trends
  • State-by-state guide to regulations, taxes and opportunities
  • Insights for business and investment strategy

The number of patients buying medical cannabis has grown from 3,200 in 2017 to 5,300 currently.

The commission has a deadline of February 2022 to set a date for when adult-use sales might begin, but the panel has already missed other key deadlines.

Arkansas recreational cannabis campaign begins push for 2022 ballot

By MJBizDaily Staff

A grassroots campaign in Arkansas has begun collecting signatures to place a ballot measure before voters next year, in the latest attempt to legalize recreational cannabis in the state.

The organization – Arkansas True Grass – has begun gathering the 89,151 signatures of registered voter signatures needed to qualify for the 2022 ballot. The deadline for signatures is July 8, the Arkansas Times reported.

Advertisement

Under the proposed measure, the state would launch a new unlimited-license adult-use market for entrepreneurs, similar to how some other rec states are structured, such as Colorado and Oregon.

That’s a stark contrast to the existing medical marijuana regulatory framework, which allows only up to 40 dispensaries (38 currently are operational) and eight cultivators (five are operating). Medical cannabis home grows are prohibited.

If the adult-use measure is ultimately victorious, however, anyone 21 or older would be allowed to purchase up to 4 ounces of marijuana per day and home-grow up to 12 plants of their own.

Solvent or Solventless? We can help.
MJBizDaily Cannabis Extraction Buyers Guide 

Get strategies and tips from expert processors on choosing cannabis extraction systems, costs, safety precautions and more. Curated by MJBizDaily.

Inside:

  • How to choose between solvent-based and solventless extraction methods
  • Learn which strains are most efficient for each extraction process
  • Tips on safety precautions from design to training to protective equipment

Recreational marijuana would be subject to an 8% state excise tax and a 5% local sales tax, the Arkansas Times reported.

But a spokesperson for Arkansas True Grass argued that the campaign’s free-market approach would drive down prices overall for consumers and patients.

Arkansas True Grass has tried twice before to make the statewide ballot, however, and failed both times – in 2016 and 2020.

TGOD, eyeing US marijuana market, acquiring Galaxie for CA$21 million

By MJBizDaily Staff

(This story has been updated with information about Galaxie’s joint venture in Canada.)

Mississauga, Ontario-based The Green Organic Dutchman reached a definitive agreement to acquire Galaxie Brands Corp., a licensed producer specializing in marijuana  pre-roll manufacturing, edibles, vapes and oils.

The deal is for CA$21 million in Green Organic Dutchman stock plus an additional CA$15 million in shares if financial milestones are achieved by Dec. 31, 2022, according to a news release.

Advertisement

Green Organic Dutchman said the deal will provide exposure to the edibles category via Galaxie’s exclusive joint venture in Canada with Wyld, a cannabis edibles maker based in Oregon.

The Mississauga company said the acquisition will combine its organic cultivation capabilities with Galaxie’s “product development expertise and formulation lab capabilities” to expand its product portfolio.

The company’s portfolio will expand from 157 to 215 listings across Canada, the release noted.

Galaxie has a 26,000-square-foot facility in Ontario.

In the release, Green Organic Dutchman said Galaxie’s “strategic U.S. partnerships and existing industry relationships” are expected to accelerate the company’s entry into the American market.

However, few details were provided, except for some personnel changes:

  • The current CEO of Galaxie, Angus Footman, will join TGOD’s board as chair.
  • Galaxie President Olivier Dufourmantelle will join TGOD’s board, in addition to taking up the position of president of U.S. operations.
  • TGOD’s current chair, Jeff Scott, will remain on the board as an independent director.

Key insights to inform decisions: MJBizFactbook 

Say hello to marijuana business data, curated by the editors of MJBizDaily to help cannabis industry leaders make informed decisions.

  • U.S. marijuana industry financials
  • Licensing, funding and investment trends
  • State-by-state guide to regulations, taxes and opportunities
  • Insights for business and investment strategy

Footman previously founded Park Lane Farms, an early producer of medical cannabis in Canada, before selling the company to Canopy Growth Corp. in 2014.

At Canopy, Footman served as managing director and president of Tweed Farms, formerly Park Lane, until 2018.

Dufourmantelle was previously chief operating officer of Canopy Rivers and Canopy Growth.

The companies say the deal is expected to result in “significant” cost synergies.

“The acquisition of Galaxie will allow TGOD to expand by increasing scale, innovation, and operating capabilities, with the addition of exciting brands in Canada,” TGOD Chief Executive Officer Sean Bovingdon said in a statement.

“We believe our complementary brands and consumer bases will result in stronger revenues and overall financial performance for TGOD, while preparing for a future expansion to the U.S.”

The acquisition is scheduled to close around Nov. 15, 2021.

The Green Organic Dutchman trades as TGOD on the Canadian Security Exchange.

AFC Gamma raising $100 million to finance loans to cannabis companies

By MJBizDaily Staff

AFC Gamma priced an offering of $100 million aggregate senior notes to qualified institutional investors, the West Palm Beach, Florida-based company said Friday.

AFC Gamma said it will use the proceeds from the offering to fund loans to existing borrowers and for companies operating in the cannabis industry.

Advertisement

The notes, which have an interest rate of 5.75%, mature on May 1, 2027.

AFC Gamma structures and underwrites senior secured loans and other types of loans in states that have legalized and regulated medical or adult-use cannabis.

An example is the company’s role in helping fund a $120 million loan to Verano Holdings Corp. in October.

New Frontier to acquire Skylight Health marijuana division for $8.6 million

By MJBizDaily Staff

Washington DC-based analytics firm New Frontier Data said Friday that it’s agreed to acquire the marijuana division of Canadian company Skylight Health Group for $8.6 million in cash.

Advertisement

New Frontier will be acquiring Canna Care Docs and Relaxed Clarity from Skylight Health, a Toronto-based health care services and technology company.

Canna Care Docs is headquartered in Massachusetts and Relaxed Clarity in Colorado.

The deal is expected to close by the end of November.

Key insights to inform decisions: MJBizFactbook 

Say hello to marijuana business data, curated by the editors of MJBizDaily to help cannabis industry leaders make informed decisions.

  • U.S. marijuana industry financials
  • Licensing, funding and investment trends
  • State-by-state guide to regulations, taxes and opportunities
  • Insights for business and investment strategy

New Frontier CEO Gary Allen said in a news release that the company will use the acquisition to “spotlight medical cannabis consumption trends” through the data the transaction will provide.

Skylight Health trades as SLHG on the Nasdaq and on the Toronto Stock Exchange. New Frontier Data is privately held.