Wana CEO Whiteman exiting cannabis edibles company; Hodas will take reins

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

Nancy Whiteman, the co-founder and CEO of Wana Brands cannabis edibles company, will relinquish the top post in May to focus on philanthropic endeavors.

Whiteman will be succeeded by Wana’s chief marketing officer, Joe Hodas, who’s been at the company for four years and in the cannabis industry for 12 years, according to a news release.

Whiteman to remain on Canopy USA board

An industry vanguard who established one of the largest edibles brands in the industry in 2010, Whiteman said in a LinkedIn post that she would “remain involved as a strategic advisor to Joe and the leadership team and to assist the team in Wana’s international expansion.”

In 2021, Whiteman entered into a $297.5 million deal that positions Wana for a sale to Canopy Growth, a deal contingent on the U.S. government legalizing marijuana.

She added in the LinkedIn post that her “… transition is happening close to the formation of Canopy USA (CUSA) which will enable Canopy to exercise its option to purchase Wana and bring its three US entities – Wana, Jetty and Acreage – into one integrated company.

“When we completed our transaction with Canopy almost 2½ years ago, we never suspected that it would take this long to get to the point, but we are finally here and are looking forward to unlocking the power of bringing these three companies together.”

Canopy USA is an American holding company of Ontario, Canada-based Canopy Growth Corp.

As for what Whiteman will do outside the executive suite, she said, “I am looking forward to being able to devote more time to the Wana Brands Foundation.

“While we have already made almost $5 million in donations to over 150 organizations, I’m excited to learn more about the issues that the Foundation supports so we can increase our impact and be more effective in making the world a better place.”

Successor says he’s ready

Hodas said he’s prepared lead the company in the role of president after having worked closely with Whiteman.

“I am so honored and privileged to have been part of Wana’s history, learning from Nancy and being inculcated in her vision, and to now be tapped to take that vision into the future,” he said in a statement.

“My commitment to Nancy and to the entire Wana team is that I will always honor the legacy and integrity of our mission to enhance lives and communities with our products and our actions.”

The Wana Brands portfolio includes The Cima Group, Mountain High Products and Wana Wellness.

The company’s products are sold in more than 3,000 stores in 17 states as well as Puerto Rico and nine Canadian provinces and territories.

Wana Brands generates nearly $300 million in annual sales.