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Cronos Group to Buy Lord Jones for $300m

Stacey Wellington

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Cronos Group

Cannabis company Cronos Group expanded its market portfolio by purchasing Lord Jones, maker of CBD oil-based products. Cronos will, reportedly, buy the company for around $300 million, with the deal expected to push through in the third quarter of 2019.

Lord Jones primarily focuses on selling CBD-infused skincare and lifestyle products. Their line of offerings includes oils, lotions, topicals, bath salts, and gummies. The brand has also successfully partnered up with retail platform Sephora. The brand has also cultivated a loyal celebrity following.

The purchase of Lord Jones is the Canadian company’s first venture in the United States. The partnership with the Redwood Holding Group LLC (Lord Jones) aims to achieve Cronos’ goal to “become one of the world’s top CBD companies.”

According to The Motley Fool, the majority of this amount, $225 million, will be given in cash. Meanwhile, the remaining amount is slated to be paid in Cronos stocks.

Ironically, Cronos stocks rose following the news of its acquisition deal. Bloomberg reports that stocks increased by 4.5 percent last August 2, 2019, at around 9:40 in the morning in New York. Prior to this increase, the stocks jumped as high as 6.4 percent.

In addition, Bloomberg notes that the company is currently valued at a whopping $4.4 billion, with its shares have increased by 120 percent in 2018 alone. By the end of Friday, shares from the Toronto-based company closed at $13.84 per share, notes CNBC.

Entering the Cannabis Market

Before closing the deal with Lord Jones and Redwood, the Canadian business opened up company shares to Altria Group, Inc. The deal with the tobacco giant went for $1.8 billion, with Altria gaining a 45% hold on the business, notes CNBC.

Cronos Group’s partnership with Altria aims to help it enter and expand within the United States market, said chief executive officer of Cronos Mike Gorenstein. Based on the report by Bloomberg, the Toronto-based company is excited about the potential the country’s CBD market has to offer.

Future Plans

The Canadian cannabis firm wants to retain the current management team and brands under Redwood. Besides company employees, founders of Lord Jones, Cindy Capobianco, and Robert Rosenheck, will also be absorbed under the new management.

CEO Gorenstein also said their company is committed to “[preserving] the integrity of all Rob and Cindy have created, while also learning from them and leveraging Cronos Group’s resources to capitalize on the significant demand for skin care and other consumer products derived from hemp.”

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Cannabis News

Cann Social Tonics Gains $5m in Funding

Jordan Webber

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CBD Infused Drink

Los Angeles-based cannabis-infused drink producer, Cann Social Tonics, announced its successful acquisition of $5 million investment funding. The funding round was spearheaded by Imaginary and JM10, an early-stage investment firm and marijuana company, respectively.

Cann’s beverages include 4 milligrams of CBD and 2 milligrams of THC. Unlike beer and other alcoholic drinks, this market offering is geared towards people who want to enhance socialization without the hangover, notes Forbes.

In a statement, the drink is said to be “uniquely designed to be approachable even for someone who has never previously considered cannabis as a part of their social lives – and appealing to that consumer is what it takes for a product to break the ‘stoner’ stigma and cross over into the mainstream,” shares co-founder Luke Anderson.

As of writing, the continued success of Cann is astonishing, with the brand just having sold 150,000 of its beverages.

Both Anderson and fellow co-founder Jake Bullock shared that the initial public response toward their products is astounding, especially having sold out a couple of times. Despite their increasing popularity with target audiences, Tech Crunch reports that there are still regulatory and supply chain challenges that stand in the way.

JM10’s investment in the cannabis-infused company allows it to expand its strong cannabis portfolio, with the likes of Lord Jones in its ranks. Founding partner JM10 Gregory Thomaier said, “Cann is unique in that its flavor profiles, ingredient purity and smokeless format sets the brand apart not only within the cannabis space, but also the beverage industry as a whole. We feel beverages like Cann provide the perfect product for the cannabis-curious.”

Meanwhile, Forbes reports that Cann is Imaginary’s first foray into marijuana investment markets and opportunities. Prior to this cannabis-infused drink maker, Imaginary only reportedly invested in renowned direct to consumer brands, including Daily Harvest, Everlane, Glossier, Reformation, and Kim Kardashian-West’s Skims.

According to Forbes, the $5 million seed investment round is slated to boost the growth of Cann’s cannabis-infused social tonic throughout different parts of California. In addition, the business is expected to bring its offerings to other states this 2020, as well.

Cann Social Tonics also plans to use its funding toward growing its business in new legal markets. Moreover, the brand intends to intensify is production capacity, as well as investing in product development to meet the demands of its existing pool of clients and potential customers.

 

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Cannabis News

High Times Slated to Launch Retail Stores this 2020

Jordan Webber

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High Times Retail Stores

Cannabis-focused publication High Times recently announced its intention to introduce its own brand of cannabis product through its very own retail stores. According to a news update posted on the magazine’s website, there will be two High Times-branded locations in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

The parent company of the publication, Hightimes Holding Corp., said that the retail stores will bear the logo and name of High Times. It will be carrying memorabilia associated with the publication. Moreover, the stores will be distributing “licensed products of the company and various cannabis products.”

Deciding to establish its first two locations in Las Vegas, Nevada and Los Angeles, California, High Times will soon be operating in two of the biggest cannabis markets in the United States. California and Nevada both have legal recreational marijuana laws in place.

The company expressed optimism in this venture. According to the news update, Hightimes Holdings “hopes to announce additional locations for other stores in the coming weeks.”

In an interview with Yahoo Finance’s On The Move, CEO Stormy Simon said that High Times is now ready to directly participate in the cannabis business. However, he clarified that it will not in the business of “touching the plant, per se.” Instead, it will be involved in “the last stages before it reaches a consumer.” This means that the publication will be working delivery, retail and connecting with customers.

As of this writing, adult-use recreational cannabis is legal in 11 states, while medical marijuana is allowed for use in 33 states. Illinois is the latest state to join the ranks of California, Nevada and other states that allow legal recreational use.

Simon is confident that the publication is suitable to run such a business. With 45 years under its belt, the magazine has covered a wide range of cannabis-related topics including legalization and market. Simon said that retail is “just the natural next step of taking [the] brand into the hands of the consumers.”

When asked about the possibility of federal legalization of the plant, Simon said that the question is a “dangerous one to answer.” He estimated that the next two to five years would be great for the sector in terms of federal legalization. However, he was wary of being sure of this approximation.

Meanwhile, the publication has now launched its online store from which customers can buy back issues of the High Times magazine, as well as exclusive merchandise connected to the brand.

 

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Gov’t Holds First Cannabis Hearing, Talks Policy Changes

Jordan Webber

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Cannabis Hearing

Last Wednesday, January 15, 2020, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held the first-ever cannabis hearing called ‘Cannabis Policies for the New Decade.’ The hearing was held at the John D. Dingell Room at the 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.

Present at the policy hearing were 35 bipartisan representatives from different government sectors. These include representatives and witnesses from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Cannabis Hearing – What Was Tackled

Those present at the meeting tackled existing marijuana policies, its effects of marijuana on health, and the possible steps Congress should take to further research in the field.

According to Forbes, the government division came together to talk about and delve deeper into the current federal cannabis policies in place. This includes implications that may arise from putting marijuana in another category and exploring the possibility of cannabis research.

At the core of the discussion is the confusion between the legalization landscape, primarily because 11 states have already legalization the sale of marijuana, while 22 other states observe their own medical marijuana. This greatly clashes with the substance remaining illegal on a federal level.

In a statement, Republican Representative from Oregon, Greg Walden, said that “The states are way ahead of where we are federally.”

Apart from tackling legalization concerns, the group reportedly touched based on marijuana being tagged as Schedule 1 substance and classified as having no medical use, yet there remains a lack of research on what the drug can provide.

To testify, DEA Senior Policy Advisor Matthew J. Strait from the Diversion Control Division, said, “Much like our partners at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department and the DEA fully support research into the effects of marijuana and the potential medical utility of its chemical constituents.

To support the DEA’s claim,  the Deputy Director for Regulatory Programs and Research of the FDA Douglas Throckmorton shared that the “FDA has an important role to play in supporting scientific research into the medical uses of cannabis and its constituents in scientifically valid investigations as part of the Agency’s drug review and approval process.

Throckmorton continued, saying “As a part of this role, FDA supports those in the medical research community who intend to study cannabis by: 1. Providing information on the process needed to conduct clinical research using cannabis. 2. Providing information on the specific requirements needed to develop a human drug that is derived from a plant such as cannabis.

The meeting lasted for 3 and a half hours, however, the representatives have yet to make a decision nor cast their votes. Proceedings are available for viewing on the House Committee on Energy & Commerce website.

 

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