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Cannabis George Archos
A 14-state footprint and coveted brands set this Chicago-based cannabis company apart
The steady hand wins the race in this cannabis company’s playbook
For Ayr, success is the outcome when everyone buys into a great strategy
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR • 6
CANNABIS INVESTOR SERIES • 10
TUNE IN • 8
Spanning culture, social equity issues, and the global markets, the cannabis industry offers unprecedented challenges and opportunities
Stay up to date on all the latest content created by the CSE
SPOTLIGHT: ENTREPRENEURS OF THE CANNABIS INVESTOR SERIES • 12 Hear from influential visionaries who are shaping the evolving global cannabis industry 4 | THE CANNABIS ISSUE
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GROUP PUBLISHER Hamish Khamisa EDITOR-IN-CHIEF James Black EDITORS Peter Murray Nikki Manthey
RED WHITE & BLOOM BRANDS Strong brands and acquisitions underpin rapid growth strategy in the cannabis space
4FRONT VENTURES A "House of Operators" focusing on the sweet spot in the cannabis value chain
ART DIRECTOR Elisabeth Choi DESIGNER Nicole Yeh WRITERS Uttara Choudhury Angela Harmantas Jon Hopkins Peter Murray Nikki Manthey ILLUSTRATOR Annik Lemire
CSE STAFF ON THE CANNABIS INVESTOR SERIES • 36 The CSE team shares perspectives and behind the scenes moments from this incredible event SPOTLIGHT ON BARRINGTON MILLER • 38 A discussion about business, moving toward the future, and remembering to laugh along the way
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CANADIAN SECURITIES EXCHANGE MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2021 | 5
Letter from the Editor As the Exchange for Entrepreneurs, we thrive on change. In a year that has been characterized by exceptional change, we have witnessed so many entrepreneurs demonstrate resilience by successfully navigating shifting economic, social, and health landscapes. Despite the dizzying pace of change this year, it is also an historic one for the Canadian Securities Exchange. With more than 700 listings on the CSE and the strongest six-month period in our history in both monthly trading volume and value, it is immensely gratifying to see an efficient, modern marketplace for accessing capital continue to grow at an astonishing clip. The events of the past 18 months have shown us that our collective future depends on leadership, commitment, and agility. It is fitting, then, that as we find ourselves in the midst of so much change, we unveil an important change of our own to carry us into the future: the update of this publication’s name to Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine. This new name for our magazine is a reflection that our company identity, and the trailblazing entrepreneurs whose stories are featured within these pages, are synonymous with innovation, agility, and evolution. Our brand is the destination for change-makers, and our publications give their stories a chance to be told. One clear example is the cannabis industry. As an Exchange that has been there from the beginning, we have played a visible role in this sector’s progression from seed to diverse industry in markets around the world. This unique proximity to the sector enabled us to produce and launch the Cannabis Investor Series, a four-episode virtual exploration of cannabis and investing. Featuring incredible thought leaders from the space, this series provided in-depth coverage of topics such as what’s ahead for US cannabis, social equity and criminal justice reform, and the role of cannabis culture in the capital markets. I highly recommend checking out the full playlist on our YouTube channel. One theme that became apparent during the Cannabis Investor Series was the diverse range of innovative solutions employed by industry leaders to effect massive change in the sector. The CSE-listed companies featured in this issue are prime examples of this type of leadership, using unique combinations of strategy, branding, and business acumen to capitalize on opportunities and move the industry forward. The remarkable opportunities that have been cultivated in the cannabis industry over a relatively short period of time, driven largely by the leadership of cannabis companies listed on the CSE, proves that, in more ways than one, the future is green. Stay safe, and enjoy this inaugural issue of Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine.
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6 | THE CANNABIS ISSUE
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WEEKLY MARKET RECAP Stay on top of what’s happening in the capital markets. The CSE’s Anna Serin and Bruce Campbell from StoneCastle Investment Management provide insight into the most interesting and impactful stories from the stock market. Tune into the livestream on CSE TV every Friday for the latest developments.
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8 | THE CANNABIS ISSUE
VIRTUAL MARKET OPENS Tune in online to celebrate the start of the trading day at the CSE’s virtual Market Opens. Leaders and team members from some of our most recently listed companies have joined us from all over the world to virtually kick off the day’s trading. Celebrate with us by watching these Market Opens on CSE TV.
CANNABIS INVESTOR SERIES The CSE hosted an incredible, four-week virtual exploration of cannabis and investing during the month of May. Over the course of four episodes, more than 70 trailblazing influencers and experts from this rapidly evolving space gave insights into opportunities and challenges ahead as global acceptance of cannabis continues to rise. This series covered a diverse range of topics that spanned the globe, from answering the question of “What’s next?” for the US cannabis sector, to discussing what happens when cannabis culture and the capital markets meet, to providing updates on legalization in markets around the world. It also explored the diverse landscape of investment opportunities in cannabis health and wellness, including cannabinoid treatments for the brain and mental health, cannabis in professional athletics, and more. Plus, the speakers delved into current and hot-button topics such as regional competition in the US, the continuing fight for social equity in the sector, and criminal justice reform. Thank you to all of our incredible speakers, sponsors, and everyone who attended for making the Cannabis Investor Series a success.
Watch the full Cannabis Investor Series on our YouTube channel: youtube.com/CSETV
10 | THE CANNABIS ISSUE
RICHARD CARLETON on the Cannabis Investor Series The rise of the legal cannabis industry over the past several years has been remarkable. At the CSE, we’ve had a front-row seat to observe the sector’s evolution. It has been wonderful to see so many entrepreneurs capitalizing on a rapidly changing regulatory environment to pursue diverse opportunities across the industry. This conference [has demonstrated] that the cannabis sector continues to evolve in new and unpredictable ways, creating tremendous opportunities for investors. This excerpt was taken from the press release CSE Presents the Cannabis Investor Series. Read the full release at thecse.com. Plus watch Richard explore key facets of the cannabis industry in Episode 1: go.thecse.com/Investingin-American-Cannabis-Replay
Four Episodes. One Incredible Month of Cannabis and Investing.
The Cannabis Investor Series provides a first-hand glimpse into current and hot-button topics from across the sector. Hear from 70 influential speakers who are helping shape this evolving industry as global acceptance of cannabis continues to rise. Topics from this four-week series include US legalization, cannabis culture and the capital markets, health and wellness, global markets, social equity, and much more.
Watch the full series on CSE TV now! YOUTUBE.COM/CSE_TV
ENTREPRENEURS OF THE CANNABIS INVESTOR SERIES
CANNABIS CULTURE AND THE CAPITAL MARKETS
Hear from inﬂuential visionaries who are shaping the evolving global cannabis industry
INVESTING IN US CANNABIS
KIM RIVERS CEO of Trulieve Cannabis (CSE:TRUL)
“[There’s] massive opportunity ahead on the growth curve in the state of Florida, and we really like the position of having such scale in the southeast.”
CHARLES BACHTELL CEO of Cresco Labs (CSE:CL)
“What you’re seeing is a very robust adultuse market develop in a very short period of time because of the thoughtfulness and also the level of execution... in the state [of Illinois].”
Watch Episode 1
12 | THE CANNABIS ISSUE
VLADIMIR BAUTISTA AND RAMON REYES Co-Founders of Happy Munkey LLC
“The culture is going to play a bigger role in the New York cannabis industry than any other market in the country... When you’re coming in as an MSO, as an investor, if you don’t collaborate with the Vlads and Ramons of the world, it’s going to be very difficult for you to catch up.”
EMMA ANDREWS Director of Marketing at Nextleaf Solutions (CSE:OILS)
“The accessibility and the variety of products that we have available allows a wider breadth of consumer to come into the category. I deeply believe that there’s a form of cannabis that is right for everyone.”
Watch Episode 2
Canadian Mixed Martial Artist
Founder of the Last Prisoner Project
“I knew the end goal would allow my medicine to be recognized, but also to create precedent, not only for myself but all other athletes... I was able to be an agent of change for plantbased medicine.”
“There is absolutely no question about where Mexico is headed, and once it completes this process, a sleeping giant will awaken... Mexico will become the largest legal cannabis market in the world.”
CANNABIS HEALTH AND WELLNESS
ROSS REBAGLIATI Co-Founder of Ross’ Gold
“Athletes have always been part of a health movement in one way or another, and cannabis has definitely been part of that movement all along, from the very beginning.”
Watch Episode 3
THE GLOBAL CANNABIS ECONOMY
LORENA BELTRAN CEO of CannabiSalud
“It’s a summit that really put myself and my team on the international map by bringing speakers from all over the world, especially doctors, scientists, and health professionals. We continue that work of education, not only through CannabiSalud, but then in Congress.”
Watch Episode 4
Check out the full Cannabis Investor Series to hear from CEOs of companies featured in this magazine, including Ayr Wellness, Gage Growth, and Red White & Bloom Brands: go.thecse.com/The-Cannabis-Investor-Series-Playlist
CANADIAN SECURITIES EXCHANGE MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2021 | 13
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Verano Holdings A 14-STATE FOOTPRINT AND COVETED BRANDS SET THIS CHICAGO-BASED CANNABIS COMPANY APART By Uttara Choudhury
16 | THE CANNABIS ISSUE
Chief Executive Officer
Verano Holdings Corp.
CSE Symbol VRNO
February 17, 2021
erano Holdings (CSE:VRNO) Chief Executive Officer George Archos has connected the dots of opportunity to create one of the biggest cannabis companies in the US. Based in Chicago, the vertically integrated, multi-state operator was valued at around $3 billion when it went public in February of this year. The 42-year-old serial entrepreneur, who also co-founded the Wildberry Pancakes & Café chain, was inspired to start Verano after seeing the potential of medical cannabis. “I looked at the medical marijuana opportunity that came up in my home state of Illinois and saw it was a strong challenge. I also saw that it offered the benefit of helping people. I had an uncle that had multiple sclerosis and I think that he could have benefited from it when he was suffering,” says Archos. “We applied for a license in 2014 and were selling product a year later. We started off small with less than 10 employees and we scaled over the years as the markets grew.” From its roots in Chicago, Verano has evolved into a broad-based powerhouse with a 14-state footprint. It has cultivation, production and dispensary licenses across several states, lending it multiple revenue streams. Verano has 28 retail locations under the Zen Leaf banner and 50 additional operating dispensaries, with plans to open around 10 more this year. It also has 340 active dispensary wholesale partnerships.
Verano was doing well before the pandemic and its strong growth shows no sign of slowing down. For the first quarter ended March 31, Verano revenue soared 117% to US$143.3 million compared to the first quarter a year earlier. “Verano has massive upside over the next few years and for the long term as a cannabis green wave continues to sweep across the country,” says Archos. “We are seeing more daily-use consumers, besides more and more medical patients coming online every single day. Sales have been strong this year and we anticipate good sales in the back half of the year as well.” The Verano boss chalks up being able to execute well on mergers and acquisitions to going public earlier this year. “Going public has given us access to capital, which has allowed us to transact on the M&A front.
“I LOOKED AT THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA OPPORTUNITY THAT CAME UP IN MY HOME STATE OF ILLINOIS AND SAW IT WAS A STRONG CHALLENGE. I ALSO SAW THAT IT OFFERED THE BENEFIT OF HELPING PEOPLE.
CANADIAN SECURITIES EXCHANGE MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2021 | 17
“WE HAVE BUILT ON SOME
VERY STRONG ACQUISITIONS TO THE VERANO PLATFORM, WHICH HAS GIVEN US ACCESS TO MARKETS LIKE FLORIDA, ARIZONA AND PENNSYLVANIA.
We have built on some very strong acquisitions to the Verano platform, which has given us access to markets like Florida, Arizona and Pennsylvania,” says Archos. “It’s really helped us deepen our footprint and bring some high-quality operators to the Verano family.” In February, Verano closed a key merger with Florida-based Alternative Medical Enterprises that gave it access to 34 active retail locations in Florida, with more planned by the end of 2021, and one retail location in Phoenix. It also boosted the company’s cultivation facilities to 220,000 square feet in Florida and 30,000 square feet in Arizona, with expansion of an additional 60,000 square feet currently underway. The company has also engaged in significant M&A activity in Florida, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio, increasing assets such as dispensary locations and grower/processor sites. Verano has completed the acquisitions of Territory Dispensary, Emerald Dispensary and The Local Joint, giving the company the third-largest retail footprint in Arizona, with six active storefronts and two cultivation facilities.
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Verano has also expanded its dispensary footprint through M&A with TerraVida in the Philadelphia metropolitan area and acquired three dispensaries in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area through the Healing Center. “M&A has been a part of our story and we will continue down that path when we find assets and people that make sense for Verano. We like to transact so we do see more M&A in our future,” says Archos. “We are well funded for expansion of M&A activities so we’re in a very good position.” Verano had $111.6 million in cash and equivalents as of March 31, and recently completed a $100 million upsizing of its credit facility to $130 million, for total liquidity of roughly $241.6 million. “Given both its strong cash position, and strong free cash generation, the company is well positioned to fund both organic (supported by in excess of $100 million in CAPEX in 2021) and acquisition driven growth,” said ATB Capital Markets. Significantly, Verano’s cash flow from operations for the first quarter was $42 million, and free cash flow totaled $4 million.
Through its 10 cultivation and production facilities, Verano produces a suite of artisanal cannabis products sold under its portfolio of brands: Avexia, Verano, Encore and MÜV. These are positioned as premium brands, so the company enjoys premium pricing and higher margins. “When Verano started off, we positioned ourselves as a premium producer, that’s just how we built our facilities,” says Archos. “That’s how we marketed our products, and it goes into the hand trimming and level of detail that we put into every jar, and every product that we put onto the shelves.” By blending cannabinoids (THC and CBD), the firm’s Avexia Medical Cannabis brand has a portfolio of balms and lotions for pain relief, an Epsom salt soak, and a line of micro-dose tablets. Separately, the Verano brand has handy “swift lift” pre-rolls, refined vapes, and concentrates, while Encore Edibles produces handcrafted chocolates, mints, gummies, hard candies and caramels. Meanwhile, MÜV has received multiple patents for its award-winning products that provide high-quality, reliable medical cannabis for patients. “We consistently add cultivation as markets scale, so we are constantly under construction in almost every market, adding flower capacity and
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AND WE WILL CONTINUE DOWN THAT PATH WHEN WE FIND ASSETS AND PEOPLE THAT MAKE SENSE FOR VERANO.
manufacturing capacity because every market is growing,” says Archos. “Verano sometimes is as much a construction company as we are a cannabis company.” Verano has opened three Zen Leaf dispensaries in New Jersey, where the expansion of its 120,000 square foot cultivation facility is underway in anticipation of the onset of adult-use sales in the state. “Being profitable and cash flow positive was important to us, so we have been very good stewards of our capital,” Archos concludes. “We have deployed funds where we thought we could get the quickest return on investment.”
Uttara Choudhury is a Senior Journalist at Proactive and has reported on financial markets, foreign policy and business from North America, Asia and Europe. She has worked for Agency France Presse, Forbes India, Business Standard and the Financial Times in London. Uttara is a contributing author of “Bazaar at Work: Women Who Write Their Own Rules,” published by Harper’s Bazaar.
CANADIAN SECURITIES EXCHANGE MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2021 | 19
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Verano Holdings CEO George Archos is joined by his team as they open the day's trading session on February 17, 2021 – watch on youtube.com/CSETV
“M&A HAS BEEN A PART OF OUR STORY
Gage Growth THE STEADY HAND WINS THE RACE IN THIS COMPANY’S PLAYBOOK By Angela Harmantas
20 | THE CANNABIS ISSUE
hen it comes to cannabis in the state of Michigan, Gage Growth1 (CSE:GAGE) is the name an increasing number of consumers are turning to. Still a young company, having been in operation for just over 18 months, Gage has nonetheless amassed one of the largest asset portfolios in the state. Experience at the leadership level is key to this success. Gage’s Chief Executive Officer, Fabian Monaco, is a former lawyer and investment banker who was actively involved in the evolution of the cannabis industry. He was a key member of the team that transacted the first cannabis acquisition, Tweed (now known as Canopy Growth)’s purchase of Bedrocan, and also the first-ever cannabis IPO. Also on the team is cannabis impresario Bruce Linton, who serves as Chairman. Another big name is TerrAscend’s Executive Chairman Jason Wild, who has a large stake in the company. What is it about Gage that attracts some of the most successful executives in the cannabis industry? For one, Gage is on track to be Michigan’s number one operator by the end of 2021, with 14 facilities either in operation or planned. Its first set of financial statements as a public company showed a big quarter-over-quarter jump in revenue, and a corresponding increase in its profit margin. Clearly, the decision to start things off in Michigan was a good one. “One of our founders is from Michigan and the other founder has a strong connection to Michigan through family,” says Monaco. “The biggest reason we chose the state, though, is that it had the second-largest medical cardholder system behind California for many years. Their caregiver program was introduced in 2008, and thanks to that, individuals have been going to dispensaries for over a decade.” Monaco goes on to explain that close to 75% of the population in Michigan is of age to consume, and that after December 1, 2019, which was the first day of adult-use sales in the state, cannabis commerce skyrocketed. Michigan was outside the top 10 states by revenue at the time, but quickly vaulted to sixth, just behind Illinois. Today, it surpasses Illinois consistently and ranks third.
“WE REALLY FOCUS ON EVERY
PART OF THE VALUE CHAIN OF THE BUSINESS, FROM SEED TO SMOKE.
“It’s been playing out pretty much as we thought it would,” says Monaco. In a market that size, there is bound to be healthy competition. But Gage has established some important points of differentiation and leverages them to the fullest. “We really focus on every part of the value chain of the business, from seed to smoke,” says Monaco. “We’re constantly hunting, looking for new cultivars to bring to the table for patients and for consumers. A lot of producers out there – especially some of the publicly traded ones – don’t really grow a lot of varieties, and we pride ourselves on having 40, 50, sometimes even 60 different flavours within our retail locations for people to choose from.” Monaco says that post-production processes are just as important, and that Gage hang-dries its
1. On September 1, 2021, TerrAscend Corp. (CSE:TER) announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all issued and outstanding subordinate voting shares of Gage Growth Corp. Gage shareholders will receive 0.3001 of a common share in the capital of TerrAscend for each Gage share (or equivalent) held, representing total consideration of approximately US$545 million.
CANADIAN SECURITIES EXCHANGE MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2021 | 21
Chief Executive Officer
Gage Growth Corp.
April 6, 2021
product, trims it, and packages it. “We have this fun, bright, engaging packaging as well for our flower that people enjoy, and we manage most sales through our own retail channels.“ In addition to having identified a prime jurisdiction in which to operate, Gage also knows who it’s targeting to buy its products. “In general, we’re going after the former medical user – a refined consumer, someone who has been consuming the product for many, many years,” Monaco explains. “We have a really wide variety of customers.”
“IN GENERAL, WE'RE GOING AFTER
THE FORMER MEDICAL USER – A REFINED CONSUMER, SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN CONSUMING THE PRODUCT FOR MANY, MANY YEARS. WE HAVE A REALLY WIDE VARIETY OF CUSTOMERS.
The Gage business strategy calls for vertical integration and establishing operations strongly in a single state before taking its proven model and applying it in other states. “We’re going to focus on one market for the better part of 2021, although we do anticipate doing something outside of Michigan near the end of the year,” Monaco says. “We’re trying to follow that Trulieve (Trulieve Cannabis; CSE:TRUL) model where you execute really well in one state and use that as a springboard to enter other states. Once we feel comfortable with where we’re at, especially as we approach the end of the year, you’ll see us branch out into other states.”
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With expansion seemingly just around the corner, the question of where Gage will decide to go next is an obvious one. Monaco believes there is “phenomenal” opportunity throughout the United States and his team has already assessed several states this year. He says there is a lot to like. Plans call for focusing on some of the larger markets with Gage’s first few acquisitions. Massachusetts, Illinois, Ohio, Maryland, California and Pennsylvania are all in the running. “You’ll probably see us make a move into one of the larger states pretty soon,” says Monaco. Looking out over the next two or three years, Monaco says Gage is strongly positioned to take advantage of a wide range of opportunities that present themselves as the industry evolves. “We have a solid cash balance to execute our plans in Michigan and didn’t really take on any harsh payment obligations, in terms of sale leasebacks or debt, over the past couple of years,” Monaco explains. “Now we have the opportunity to tap into some of the lower cost of capital opportunities that cannabis companies are seeing these days. Because our cultivation assets are unencumbered, and we own our retail locations, it really affords us the opportunity to go after some debt to fuel growth without having to dilute shareholders.”
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WHERE WE'RE AT, ESPECIALLY AS WE APPROACH THE END OF THE YEAR, YOU'LL SEE US BRANCH OUT INTO OTHER STATES.
From an earnings perspective, Monaco believes Gage can both increase revenue and expand margins rapidly, because Gage products so frequently sell out. As for the higher goals, Gage is probably not all that far from achieving some of them already, though the walk before you run mindset remains firmly in place. “Personally, I’d love to be number one in Michigan, our home base, and then a top player in two or three other states. I think it’s important to remain focused in Michigan before we branch out. We’ll look to be one of the top three in each respective state we go to within the next 24 to 36 months.”
Angela Harmantas is a Senior Financial Journalist with Proactive. She has 10 years’ experience covering the equity markets in North America, with a particular focus on junior resource stocks. Angela has reported from multiple countries, including Canada, the US, Australia, Brazil, Ghana and South Africa. Prior to joining Proactive, she worked in investor relations and led the foreign direct investment program in Canada for the Swedish government. Angela currently resides in Toronto.
CANADIAN SECURITIES EXCHANGE MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2021 | 23
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gage Growth CEO Fabian Monaco is joined by his team as they open the day's trading session on April 6, 2021 – watch on youtube.com/CSETV
“ONCE WE FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH
Ayr Wellness SUCCESS IS THE OUTCOME WHEN EVERYONE BUYS INTO A GREAT STRATEGY By Peter Murray
Jonathan Sandelman Chief Executive Officer
Ayr Wellness Inc.
CSE Symbol AYR.A
August 19, 2019
24 | THE CANNABIS ISSUE
onathan Sandelman, Chief Executive Officer of Ayr Wellness (CSE:AYR.A), takes interviews in a decidedly different direction than most CEOs. Rather than highlighting his company’s assets and achievements, Sandelman prefers to talk about the thing that, in his mind, most determines commercial success: corporate culture. Ayr has big goals, and with nearly US$1.5 billion in assets on its balance sheet is well on its way to achieving them. The company expands organically thanks to exceptional product quality, and also through acquisitions, which can be tricky at the best of times. But at the end of the day, if everyone at Ayr embraces Sandelman’s philosophy, and everyone pulls in the same direction, that’s the edge needed to come out on top. It’s an old saying in the investment industry, where Sandelman rose to become President of Bank of America Securities, that if you can’t tell someone what your edge is in just a few seconds, you don’t have one. Sandelman knew what Ayr’s edge was the day he established the company. We connected with Sandelman in early July to discuss Ayr’s growth to date and the foundations of his confidence about its future. Ayr has a very clear vision of where it is going and how it intends to get there. Talk to us about Ayr’s mission as a company and the corporate culture you need to make it a reality.
Our goal and mission statement at Ayr is to be the largest scale producer of high-quality flower in the United States. We don’t mean to insinuate that there aren’t smaller, boutique growers that grow really high-quality flower. But in the large MSO arena, we think one of the things that differentiates our company is our cultivation of high-quality flower at large scale. Now, why is that important? First of all, in business you need to do something that differentiates your brand. In business school, we were taught about the unique selling proposition – what differentiates your brand from all other brands? When we think about the industry and when we listen to our competitors, they talk a lot about branding, being a CPG (consumer packaged goods) company, and they are very focused on their box. “How does my box look?” At Ayr, we tell our teammates, those in the marketplace, and our investors that it’s not about the box, but what’s inside the box. We believe that any time you underestimate the consumer, who has choice,
who has multiple alternatives to consider – and for sure this industry is going to get more competitive – when you underestimate the consumer, I don’t care what business you’re in, you’re making a mistake. Because they know. When I started my career as an investor, I typically bought into companies I thought had the best product in that category. A lot of people in business want to be like Nike and Apple. I don’t buy Nike because it’s in an orange box. I buy it because I’ve been a marathoner and what’s inside the box is what motivates me to buy their product. When I think about Apple, while I think they have beautiful white boxes, I buy it because it’s the best laptop or phone. If it was simply an orange box or white box without being the best product, I wouldn’t buy it.
“OUR GOAL AND MISSION
STATEMENT AT AYR IS TO BE THE LARGEST SCALE PRODUCER OF HIGH-QUALITY FLOWER IN THE UNITED STATES.
In Pennsylvania, we had our first harvest, our first flower for wholesale and our store shelves. The market tried our product and it sold out in a week. The consumer knows. We aimed to produce the highest quality flower in a market lacking high-quality product and it sold out in a week. And then we recently introduced our Seven Hills flower brand. Again, consumers recognized the quality of our product and it sold out in a week. That’s why our focus is on growing the best quality flower. Acquisitions are an important part of Ayr’s growth strategy. How do you assess potential acquisitions, and how do you successfully integrate acquired businesses?
We identify early on which states we want to build our businesses in. Then we have our M&A and strategy teams go into those markets and try to find the best assets. I’ve said from day one that the way I want to build this business is to cluster and penetrate. I like
CANADIAN SECURITIES EXCHANGE MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2021 | 25
“WITH TALENT, YOU WIN. FOR ME,
THE COMPANIES THAT HAVE THE BEST CULTURE, THE BEST VISION AND THE BEST TALENT POOL WIN. THE PERFECT TRANSACTION IS ONE WHERE WE GET A GREAT ASSET AS WELL AS MORE TEAM MEMBERS.
contiguous states so that when the consumer travels into a nearby market, they may not know the brands, but then they see the Ayr brand and they know what that stands for. They are going to buy Ayr even when they have other choices. Equally important, that seller, who will remain with the company in most cases, must believe in our ethos. They must believe in honesty, integrity and transparency, and have values consistent with ours. With talent, you win. For me, the companies that have the best culture, the best vision and the best talent pool win. The perfect transaction is one where we get a great asset as well as more team members. Ayr was incorporated in July 2017, yet you have hundreds of millions in revenue and some US$1.5 billion in assets. How did the company grow so quickly?
I’ve been an investor and an operator for more than 30 years, with a deep understanding of the capital markets. I told my investors that Ayr would be EBITDA positive and cash flow positive from day one. That’s the disciplined way to act. We would be disciplined because we understood that the public markets are cyclical. We thought we could be more aggressive when a correction happened and assets got cheaper because we were EBITDA and cash flow positive. That’s exactly what you saw us do. We bought our initial companies, we paused for 13 months, the correction happened, and then we got aggressive about certain companies. It’s my belief that 26 | THE CANNABIS ISSUE
this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy assets at bargain prices will eventually go away. There will be some form of federal legalization, and then what I call the “wall of money” will come in. It will flood the market and these multiples we are buying at today will trade even higher. We are still aggressive about buying because I don’t think this will last even another year or two. That is the thought process behind what the future will bring for Ayr. Given your background in ﬁnance and understanding of the cannabis industry, what is your outlook for the next ﬁve years and how does that shape Ayr’s business strategy?
I expect federal legalization of this industry because it is irrational that it’s not already legal. When almost every state in the US has some type of cannabis program, does it really make sense not to be federally legal? For those who are uncertain about cannabis, I would vote for the SAFE Banking Act because it puts controls around the industry and creates insight and transparency that doesn’t really exist on the federal level. If you bank this industry, you know all the cash flows, from where the money is coming and where the money is going.
If you think about where alcohol is trading in terms of multiples, there is a lot of upside in our industry’s multiples and in individual stock multiples. Ayr news often highlights acquisitions or new retail locations. Talk about the team and the dedication it takes to operate successfully at the pace you set.
I’m a believer in a culture of excellence. I’ve always had this philosophy that talent is free. That whatever I pay, or our shareholders pay, the rewards they are able to produce are just spectacular. Even when we were just a two-state operator, we had some of the best EBITDA and cash flow in the industry. I think about the vision, what talents are required, what are the job functions, and then I think about who that type of individual would be. It’s culture. You can’t just be the smartest person in your lane, you also have to be an extremely respectful person. When we’re in a meeting and I’m pushing you, you always understand that I am not pushing you to herd you, but to get you to think at a pace, at a level that you haven’t been able to in the past. When I hire people, I always tell them my goal is for them to say to me a year from now that they’ve become the best version of themselves. There is something about this culture and this team that inspires them to do their best work and be the best person they have ever been in business.
I think our culture is the secret asset on our balance sheet. If the 1,500th person has the same vision as the people at the top, and we have 1,500 pairs of oars all rowing in the same direction, toward the same vision, then we win. You are talking to me for this interview, but I am getting too much credit. I am the one talking, but it’s because we have a great team. We have built the best operating system and tech stack so we integrate these companies seamlessly. The people are so talented, and the systems and controls are so good, that we make it look easy. But it’s not. Ayr is its people, and its dedication to its teammates, to its community, to its shareholders. That’s the ethos of this company.
“THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT
THIS CULTURE AND THIS TEAM THAT INSPIRES THEM TO DO THEIR BEST WORK AND BE THE BEST PERSON THEY HAVE EVER BEEN IN BUSINESS.
CANADIAN SECURITIES EXCHANGE MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2021 | 27
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peter Murray oversees a national editorial and broadcasting team as President of Proactive Canada. He spent several years managing the English news desk at Nikkei’s head office in Tokyo and has worked with research teams at Asian and European investment banks. Peter is based in Vancouver.
Red White & Bloom Brands STRONG BRANDS AND ACQUISITIONS UNDERPIN RAPID GROWTH STRATEGY By Jon Hopkins
Chief Executive Officer and Chairman
Red White & Bloom Brands Inc.
June 25, 2018
28 | THE CANNABIS ISSUE
ed White & Bloom Brands (CSE:RWB) is positioning itself to become one of the top three multi-state cannabis operators in the US legal cannabis and hemp sector. On the cannabis front, Red White & Bloom is predominantly focusing investment on major markets, including Michigan, Illinois, Florida, California, Arizona and Massachusetts. For hemp-based CBD products, US and international markets both feature prominently. The company is also building on existing advantages through investments and pending acquisitions in Michigan and Massachusetts, plus a completed purchase in Illinois. It recently entered Florida and has been operating in California through its Platinum Vape brand for some time. We sat down with Red White & Bloom Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Brad Rogers to find out more about his fast-growing company’s outlook and business plan. Red White & Bloom has said its goals for the rest of 2021 are to build upon the Michigan footprint and focus on growing market share and expanding earnings. How will you achieve this?
The plan is to grow the bottom line as vertically as we can, and obviously to cut costs where we need to. But what we’re also going to be doing is holding the price point with our brand strategy. In Michigan, specifically, we have the biggest brand in the state, which is Platinum Vape. And we’re rolling out our High Times line there. When you look at the potential of when commoditization happens – after October, November, December or so – what you’ll see will be prices coming down. But we’re holding our price because of our brand strategy and our distribution strategy, with respect to how we’re handling our product portfolio and product mixes into stores. Beyond that, with operational efficiencies, as well
“BEYOND THAT, WITH OPERATIONAL
EFFICIENCIES, AS WELL AS OUR BEST PRACTICES AND BUYING POWER, WE HAVE A STRATEGY TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE WELL FORTIFIED WHEN THIS STUFF COMMODITIZES, MUCH LIKE COFFEE.
as our best practices and buying power, we have a strategy to make sure that we’re well fortified when this stuff commoditizes, much like coffee. We’re going to be well positioned to be able to sustain pricing and increase margins as well. You are also looking for additional strategic relationships and to enter more US states with a “brands only” strategy that minimizes capital spending. How is this progressing?
This is going incredibly well. We’re getting a lot of interest for our brands across many states. Platinum Vape, for instance, is going into Oklahoma, and we’re also doing other brands there. High Times is now in demand too in other states, such as Nevada and the rest of California. It’s really expanding.
CANADIAN SECURITIES EXCHANGE MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2021 | 29
“THERE IS A LOT OF POTENTIAL WHEN BRINGING IN
NEW FOLKS AND GETTING NEW DEALS DONE THAT ARE ALIGNED WITH RED WHITE & BLOOM’S STRATEGY.
Red White & Bloom has closed a number of deals in a short period of time. What advantage do you have in deal-making over your competitors?
I think the real competitive advantage is the fact that this is not our first time. We’ve done this before. When you look at what I’ve done in the past, I’ve had two very successful exits on companies that I built. One of those was Mettrum, which was bought for half a billion. I took another fledgling company in the medical space in Canada from zero to about a billion and a half in market cap in about 12 months. There’s strong belief in what we do and how we do it. What we’re also doing is fortifying our product strategy to bring in some of the players and get deals done. We make sure that they know that we know what we’re doing and that their products will have the best chance to be able to actually succeed in the market with the distribution channels we’re setting up across each state. And then, of course, what they get is the halo effect of all the other brands that we’re bringing in and
the distribution channels that we already have. And they can build upon that as well. There is a lot of potential when bringing in new folks and getting new deals done that are aligned with Red White & Bloom’s strategy. What do you think you personally bring to the company as its CEO and chairman?
Well, like I said, I’ve been through the wringer here before. I’ve seen the space grow from its infancy, all the way down to full commoditization in Canada, and how that affects the marketplace and the customers. And having seen this twice already, in building companies from that embryonic state to where they are now, it really gives us a good solid vision as to what’s happening. The Wayne Gretzky analogy I use is: “Go where the puck is going, not where the puck is.” That’s where we want to be. We want to be where the puck is going and build for that versus where the puck is right now. Because everyone’s there, everyone thinks that “If you build it, they will come,” but that’s not the case. What’s happening is that this is going to be a commodity and your brand is going to be the only thing that you’re going to be relying on, so you need to have great product, great strategy and good distribution. Another analogy is Starbucks. I don’t know who grows the beans, and I don’t care because it always tastes good. It’s never something you think about. Once you build a good brand, with quality, price and convenience attached to it, you’re going to be standing tall. And that’s what I bring to the table. I’m bringing vision and marketing and a lot of strategy with respect to where this market is going. I’ve been very successful twice at it and I think the US right now is a great place to use that experience. What should Red White & Bloom shareholders expect from the company for the rest of the current year and beyond?
Well, we finally got past our pre-qualification in Michigan, which is a huge thing for our company. It means that we can actually now report revenues from 30 | THE CANNABIS ISSUE
Michigan on the assets that we’ve invested in. And that’s transformational for us in that our investors have not seen to date what those assets are doing because we couldn’t report them. Now we’re going to be able to report those earnings, as well as grow the Platinum Vape business we purchased a little while ago in San Diego. So you’ll see exponential growth in that company in Michigan and California. We’re also entering Arizona and we’ve got Florida coming as well. When you look at the assets in the new states that we have, and the revenue that is going to be starting in Arizona and in Florida, we’re going to be seeing some nice revenue streams, both from existing states and from new ones. We’re really excited about that. Overall, I think it’s about the strategy in terms of who we are, what we do, and how we do it. It all comes down to how you’re approaching the market and what you’re doing in that market. We can be asset light and brand rich, and that’s what we’re executing on right now. And it’s playing out well for us.
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To create the winner that we’re going to be in the space, we’ve got some catching up to do. We’re about five years late to the market, but when you look at what we do and how we spend, we’re very judicious with our dollars and we’re making great strides with respect to how much ground we’ve covered in a very short period of time. We’re looking forward to catching up to the big boys and really being at that top echelon.
Jon Hopkins is North America (and UK) News Editor for Proactive. Based in the London suburbs, he is a seasoned financial journalist with over 25 years working for newswires and websites. He was Markets Editor at AFX before the firm’s acquisition by Thomson Corp and subsequent takeover of Reuters. Jon moved on from Reuters in 2012 to become News Editor for thisismoney.co.uk, the Daily Mail online financial news website, before joining Proactive in 2016.
CANADIAN SECURITIES EXCHANGE MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2021 | 31
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Barrington Miller interviews RWB CEO Brad Rogers about the company’s recent public listing, its focus on major US markets for cannabis products, and the broader US market strategy for legal hemp and CBDbased products – watch the full interview on youtube.com/CSETV
OVERALL, I THINK IT'S ABOUT THE STRATEGY IN TERMS OF WHO WE ARE, WHAT WE DO, AND HOW WE DO IT. IT ALL COMES DOWN TO HOW YOU'RE APPROACHING THE MARKET AND WHAT YOU'RE DOING IN THAT MARKET.
Ventures A “HOUSE OF OPERATORS” FOCUSING ON THE SWEET SPOT IN THE CANNABIS VALUE CHAIN By Jon Hopkins
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Investment Officer
4Front Ventures Corp.
CSE Symbol FFNT
March 14, 2018
32 | THE CANNABIS ISSUE
here are many ways to achieve success in the cannabis industry, but the core of most business plans tends to reflect one of two extremes: complete vertical integration or a focus on just one field, be it cultivation, processing or retailing. 4Front Ventures (CSE:FFNT) is positioned firmly in the former camp and styles itself as a “House of Operators.” The company operates in multiple states, cultivating and retailing mass-produced, low-cost, yet high-quality branded cannabis products. 4Front’s brand portfolio spans more than 21 names, including Marmas, Crystal Clear, Funky Monkey, Pebbles, and the Pure Ratios wellness collection. The brands feature prominently in third-party retail outlets as well as in 4Front’s own chain of Mission dispensaries in Illinois, Massachusetts and Michigan. Additionally, the company plans to bring its brands to the world’s largest cannabis market later this year when it commences operations at what is expected to be one of the biggest manufacturing facilities in the United States, at 170,000 square feet in Commerce, California. We sat down with 4Front Ventures Chief Investment Officer Andrew Thut recently to find out what makes the company tick.
The “House of Operators” concept sees your team operate multiple divisions across the cannabis value chain. Can you explain to us how this works?
At 4Front, we have licenses and operations in five states. Notably, our facilities in Washington state have a dominant position in that market – we have close to a 10% market share, and rank as the number two flower producer and number one edibles producer. Our strategy is really quite straightforward. Longer term, you don’t want to be a cultivator, though it is necessary, particularly in these early stages of the market. We also don’t want to be a large retailer. We think the value in the industry is going to be in manufacturing finished goods, meaning having branded products in the market that people really enjoy and that have dominant market share. As a result, we’re replicating the low-cost finished goods production that we’ve fine-tuned in the Washington facilities, and we’re putting this into four other states: Massachusetts, Illinois, California and Michigan. We’re also hoping to get a license in New Jersey. In a nutshell, if you can get a customer because of a great product at an excellent price, you tend to take outsized market share. And because we have low-cost
“WE THINK THE VALUE IN THE INDUSTRY IS GOING TO BE IN MANUFACTURING FINISHED GOODS, MEANING HAVING BRANDED PRODUCTS IN THE MARKET THAT PEOPLE REALLY ENJOY AND THAT HAVE DOMINANT MARKET SHARE.
CANADIAN SECURITIES EXCHANGE MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2021 | 33
production, we have the ability to offer customers great value and still make very good margins.
Your retail model is customer-centric and highly scalable. How did you develop your model into what it is today?
You are completing a new manufacturing facility in California and your production is increasing. Do you have plans to begin selling excess product into the wholesale market?
We started officially in 2011 as a consultancy for the industry and developed one of the earliest training programs, not only for cultivation and production personnel but also for retail staff. When we look at what differentiates us from a retail standpoint, it’s having a warm and welcoming environment for customers. We’re trying to normalize the cannabis experience but we’re also having really knowledgeable sales staff there. And we also have what we think is a terrific breadth of product in the store, together with great availability of that product, meaning we’re not out of stock often because we are producing most of what we sell. We also lead on price. In cannabis, you have what we call an 80/20 rule back from my finance days, where 80% of the product is consumed by 20% of the customers. And those customers that are big consumers of cannabis are very, very price sensitive, which means they’re looking for a quality product at a terrific price. That’s exactly what we are giving them.
Absolutely. In California, we are ready to roll out what, to my knowledge, is the largest cannabis production facility in the world. It’s about 170,000 square feet and we’re going to make our entire product line of tinctures, edibles, gel caps, vape pens and infused pre-rolls there. As mentioned, we have developed what we think is some of the industry’s lowest cost production in our Washington facilities. But because we’re going into California, which is the biggest cannabis market in the world, we’re able to invest a lot more on automation. We’re basically taking the low-cost methodologies developed in Washington and putting them on steroids for the California market. This is really a large-scale consumer packaged goods facility, and we intend to have the capacity to do about half a billion dollars of revenue out of it. We plan to really attack the California market and put all of our products into it eventually, starting this summer.
4Front says it has some of the best minds in the industry, providing depth of knowledge and operational expertise. Are there other areas you could adapt this expertise to?
This is a very nascent industry and we think that we are in the second inning of what is roughly a $100 billion industry here in the US. We are so early that some of the big alcohol, tobacco and consumer packaged goods companies haven’t really been able to enter the space because they trade on US exchanges that will not allow them to enter a federally illegal business. Leo Gontmakher and Andrew Thut
34 | THE CANNABIS ISSUE
We have a lot of the boxes checked with the consumer products expertise that we bring, plus a finance team that has been in the game for over 20 years. So, we have the ability to navigate the capital markets and capitalize the projects that we need to fund. All of this is in preparation for building out our beachhead well before some of the bigger brands come in. We feel that if we can prove that we have tried and true production methodologies that would be valuable to a larger player, with products and brands that would also be valuable and that have meaningful market share in the states in which we operate, then that would be attractive to other folks that come in. We’re really focused on executing on that in a terrific industry where you’re learning new things every day, and we’re just plotting our own course as the industry unfolds. But it’s mostly about keeping your head down and making sure that you’re executing and creating products that customers love. What can investors expect from 4Front in the medium term?
We have a great growth trajectory in front of us. We’re in five states currently and, hopefully, we’ll add New Jersey. We have a lot of confidence in our capabilities and our business. And when we go into a state where we can execute, and the numbers start to bear that out, we are seeing great revenue growth and profitability. When you’re taking market share, you want to take on more projects and have more assets that you can operate and sprinkle your know-how and pixie dust on. 4Front is very much in growth mode. We’ve been very clear to the market that we want to be bigger and have aspirations to be very solidly in that top 10. And we think that as this industry continues to unfold, we’re going to be part of that conversation. I think investors should really figure out where they want to be in the value chain and look at who has executed. We think the sweet spot is in consumer packaged goods, so that’s where we want to be. And we have a
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CONSUMER PACKAGED GOODS, SO THAT’S WHERE WE WANT TO BE.
very clear runway to create a lot of value organically, just with the plan we have in front of us. I would also say to stay tuned for a lot of M&A that’s going to come in the cannabis space in the coming year. People are looking to get bigger; people are looking to fill out geographies; they’re looking to fill out skill sets they don’t have. I think there is going to be a big wave of M&A in the industry over the next 12 to 18 months.
Jon Hopkins is North America (and UK) News Editor for Proactive. Based in the London suburbs, he is a seasoned financial journalist with over 25 years working for newswires and websites. He was Markets Editor at AFX before the firm’s acquisition by Thomson Corp and subsequent takeover of Reuters. Jon moved on from Reuters in 2012 to become News Editor for thisismoney.co.uk, the Daily Mail online financial news website, before joining Proactive in 2016. CANADIAN SECURITIES EXCHANGE MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2021 | 35
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Barrington Miller chats with Andrew Thut, Chief Investment Officer of 4Front Ventures, about the company's commitment to scaleable cannabis cultivation and reflects on the industry’s evolution since the 2010s – watch the full interview on youtube.com/CSETV
“WE THINK THE SWEET SPOT IS IN
CSE STAFF ON THE
CANNABIS INVESTOR SERIES
The CSE team shares their perspectives and behind the scenes moments from this incredible event
Which specific panel or interview was a highlight for you, and why?
JAMES BLACK What was your favourite episode of the Cannabis Investor Series? Why? It was the first episode, focused on the disparate state markets across the United States. The American cannabis opportunity is still “early days,” and I continue to be captivated by the ingenuity being applied by entrepreneurs navigating the various state rules and regulations while transacting in a business that – at its core – is predicated on selling a federally illegal substance.
See James, Barrington, Anna, and Anil in action during the Cannabis Investor Series. Watch the full playlist here: go.thecse. com/The-Cannabis-InvestorSeries-Playlist
36 | THE CANNABIS ISSUE
Steve DeAngelo was a pleasure for me to watch. His interview crossed so many topic areas – and with unparalleled depth – that we used segments of it across multiple episodes in the series. It was an honour to have him involved in the Cannabis Investor Series.
Tell us about a fun or memorable behind the scenes moment from Cannabis Investor Series. The end of the series was emotional, as we aired the final episode on the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death. Needless to say, some of the emotion you see at the end of Episode 4 carried over into our post-production meeting following the airing.
What do you feel is the most important message to come out of the Cannabis Investor Series? This is still an industry that is at an early stage of growth with a tremendous amount of opportunity. And the opportunity isn’t just financial. Many of the leaders in the cannabis industry view their businesses as vessels to course correct (and compensate for) the many social and legal wrongs that have transpired as a result of persecution of users of the plant.
ANIL MALL What was your favourite episode of the Cannabis Investor Series? Why? I’d have to say Episode 2: Cannabis Culture and the Capital Markets. The interview with Adam Levin of High Times was exceptional, and covered a lot of important topics.
Which specific panel or interview was a highlight for you, and why? Definitely the interview with Steve DeAngelo where he talks about the Last Prisoner Project. What they’ve been able to accomplish so far, and the goals of the initiative are truly inspiring, and integral to creating a more just and equitable future for everyone in the space.
Tell us about a fun or memorable behind the scenes moment from Cannabis Investor Series. Something that really struck me was how willing everyone was
to be featured in this initiative, and how eager they were to tell their stories and share their experiences. It created a great dynamic and energy that I think comes through in the series.
What do you feel is the most important message to come out of the Cannabis Investor Series? It’s important to recognize and celebrate the progress that’s been made in the cannabis industry so far. However, it’s also important to remember that there’s still so much more work that needs to be done in order to create and promote diversity and inclusion in the sector.
was with Steve DeAngelo. He is regarded in the sector as the father of the cannabis industry, and rightly so. His Last Prisoner Project is inspiring, and a good reminder to everyone of all the advocacy work that still needs to be done.
Tell us about a fun or memorable behind the scenes moment from Cannabis Investor Series. It was exciting to think a little outside the box on this project. For example, we brought in an artist, Annik Lemire, who helped bring our speakers and vision to life in a unique way.
What do you feel is the most important message to come out of the Cannabis Investor Series? The sector has really reached its next stage of growth. It is here to stay, it has a lot more growth still to come, and opportunity will continue for investors. But it no longer lives in its infancy within the capital markets.
ANNA SERIN What was your favourite episode of the Cannabis Investor Series? Why? I was surprised to find that my favorite episode was Episode 2: Cannabis Culture and the Capital Markets! I don’t feel that this side of the industry gets discussed enough under the lens of the capital markets, and it plays a huge role.
Which specific panel or interview was a highlight for you, and why?
What was your favourite episode of the Cannabis Investor Series? Why?
My favourite interview of the series
Investing in American Cannabis,
Episode 1. Hands down. It set the tone. It covered a lot of ground in a short time. The American cannabis story is still the most interesting and intriguing.
Which specific panel or interview was a highlight for you, and why? My favourite was the High Times interview. There is an honesty and openness about [Adam Levin], and it felt like a conversation that people got to listen in on. A very close second was the Steve DeAngelo interview. I thought Anna did a wonderful job, and Steve’s passion for the plant and communities affected by it wrapped up the entire discussion.
Tell us about a fun or memorable behind the scenes moment from Cannabis Investor Series. Hanging with Vlad and Ramon. It’s a treat to sit in their presence and learn about the current “feel” of the industry. They cross that intersection of business and culture, and they refuse to let the first compromise the second. The funny thing is that the entire interview was supposed to be a warm up call. Hence the laid back nature of our outfits. We were recording to help develop the flow and vibe of the “real” episode, but James said this was good!
What do you feel is the most important message to come out of the Cannabis Investor Series? Advocacy. For patients. For health. For businesses that strive to see beyond the dollar bill. There is so much harm and misinformation that has been shouldered by this plant, and yet it continues to persevere, heal, unite, and strengthen people and communities.
CANADIAN SECURITIES EXCHANGE MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2021 | 37
A discussion about business, moving toward the future, and remembering to laugh along the way By Nikki Manthey How did you get started in finance? I got interested in finance and capital markets because of my sister. She worked on Bay Street for a bond trading firm and my first summer job was with that company. Basically, I was a runner and errand person.
What’s the smartest piece of business advice you were ever given? Patience. The old adage of walk before you can run. I would listen and watch Rob Cook, Senior VP of Market Development. Before companies got ahead of themselves, he made sure they understood that a company is more than just an idea, and that they were ticking off boxes and laying a good foundation for future growth and success.
Who is the most influential person in your life? Both of my parents. They instilled a work ethic while always keeping things humble and reminding us that life is to be enjoyed. Laughter along the way is good for the soul.
What’s your favourite part about working with CSE listed issuers? The variety of all the people and companies in the capital markets space. Also, by working at the forefront 38 | THE CANNABIS ISSUE
of so many exciting industries, we get a bird’s eye view of emerging trends that most people don’t have.
What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned from all the interviews you’ve done for CSE TV? Hard to pick one, but there are curious trends that emerge when you listen to successful CEOs. When you hear management talking about employees as “family,” it means they’re making sure they are taken care of. Showing them that they are truly part of something bigger. I also love the wide range of answers that come out when you ask CEOs “What advice would you give your younger self?” Everything from “Don’t do it,” to “Do it earlier!”
You were the voice of the Cannabis Investor Series trailer. Have you had any formal vocal training? No. I have not had any training prior to COVID. During COVID, I took a couple of voice classes, but that’s it. Anna Serin, Director of Listings Development, has been my voiceover agent!
are intelligent, dynamic, strong and driven people who are making the world a better place. The second was The Legacy and Future of High Times interview with Adam Levin. Besides the phenomenal video editing that was done, he spelled out exactly where the industry was, where it’s going, and the CSE’s place within that. Too often we diminish our own role as a doorway to accessing capital.
What’s the most memorable place you’ve ever traveled to? Cartagena, Colombia. The business opportunities, the food, culture, and people all make it a wonderful place.
Now that things are moving towards normal, what’s your number one destination to travel to? I would have to say the US. The opportunities that are there for the CSE are enormous. Being part of a global economy and developing business beyond our own borders is key.
What are you most excited about for 2022? From a business point of view, seeing what is next on the horizon, whether it’s a shift in a maturing market or a further upswing in something new. Also, I’m excited to see the next stage for the CSE. We have made enormous gains from when I started 10 years ago, and each year is like being involved in a real choose-your-ownadventure book! From a personal point of view, I’m most excited to see friends and colleagues, and I hope everyone continues to be safe as we move towards brighter days.
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Which part of the Cannabis Investor Series were you most proud of? I was most proud of two points. The first was the social equity panel. Jamie, Ashley, and Emma
Watch Barrington’s full interview with Adam Levin, the social equity panel, and more fantastic Cannabis Investor Series videos at youtube.com/CSETV
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