Marijuana operator Tilt Holdings ends ties with social equity brands

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Tilt Holdings, a Phoenix-based diversified marijuana company, has cut ties with three social equity brands and paused a joint venture with the Shinnecock Indian Nation in New York.

According to Green Market Report, the new leadership at Tilt has severed relationships with:

  • Her Highness, a women-focused cannabis brand based founded by Laura Eisman and Allison Krongard.
  • Highsman, a cannabis lifestyle brand founded by former NFL running back and Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams.
  • Black Buddha Cannabis, a social impact-driven lifestyle and wellness brand launched by Roz McCarthy, the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Minorities for Medical Marijuana.

“TILT is evaluating and rationalizing our brand and product portfolio as we refine our strategy,” Tim Conder, Tilt’s interim CEO, said in a statement, according to Green Market Report.

“In doing so, we came to the hard realization that Her Highness, Highsman, and Black Buddha are not the right long-term fit given the direction we are headed, and we really are not the right partner for them given the support they need to build their brands.

“We are working collaboratively with these brands’ respective teams through this transition to ensure that we support them the best way we can as they offboard from our platform.”

Conder was appointed as interim CEO in April after the resignation of Gary Santo.

Tilt’s partnership with Black Buddha came together under Santo’s leadership.

McCarthy, Black Buddha’s CEO and founder, was surprised by Tilt’s sudden change of heart and criticized the company’s decision to end ties with Her Highness and Highsman, according to Green Market Report.

“You kept other brands that weren’t diverse, so what are you trying to say here?” McCarthy said.

“You got rid of the woman-owned, the black-owned, and then the woman- and black-owned brand. How do I take that?

“I never want to hear from Tilt that they are focused on social equity.”

Green Market Report also reported that Tilt disclosed during an earnings call this week that the company’s joint venture with the Shinnecock Indian Nation was “undergoing a deep analysis.”

Tilt and the Shinnecock Nation divulged in 2021 that they planned to create a vertically integrated marijuana company on Long Island called Little Beach Harvest.

Under the partnership, Tilt was slated to provide construction and management services as well as funding worth up to roughly $18 million.

During Tilt’s earnings call, Conder said that “construction has been put on hold” while the company weighs “the future prospects of this partnership.”

According to Green Market Report, Conder attributed the decision to “challenges in New York, including unlicensed operators selling cannabis on Shinnecock land and the inability to bring in cannabis products from New York state license holders or sell cannabis products to New York state license holders.”

In a statement, the tribe said it would “move forward with construction of our dispensary.”