Category: Michigan Cannabis News

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TerrAscend to Acquire Gage Growth in $545M Deal

terry roston

TerrAscend Corp. is set to acquire Michigan-based Gage Growth Corp. in a $545 million all-stock deal. Upon completion of the deal, the combined business will have operations in five states and Canada, including seven cultivation and processing facilities and 23 medical and adult-use dispensaries.

The agreement will give TerrAscend access to Gage’s brands and genetics library, as well as its licensing partnerships with Cookies, Slang Worldwide, Blue River, Pure Beauty, and Khalifa Kush.

Jason Wild, TerrAscend executive chairman, said the acquisition extends the company’s footprint into Michigan, which is the third-largest legal cannabis market in the U.S with an annualized market size of $2.1 billion.

“Combining our market-leading share in our existing states with Gage’s proven cultivation, retail, and marketing capabilities, creates one of the largest and most dynamic companies in the industry. We look forward to leveraging Gage’s profound connection with Michigan’s consumers, in addition to its established partnerships with award-winning brands like COOKIES, to provide our patients and customers with best-in-class product offerings and retail experiences.”Wild in a press release

The companies noted the strength of Gage’s balance sheeta $28 million cash position with minimal debt.

Gage CEO Fabian Monaco said that the two companies’ “strategic and corporate values make [the] combination a strong fit.”

“We also recognize the incredible success that TerrAscend has enjoyed in recent years,” Monaco said in a statement. “We could think of no better company to partner with as we execute on our shared strategy of deep vertical integration and scale in our core markets, with a vision of creating the most consumer-centric cannabis company in the world.”

The deal still requires final approval from Canadian regulators and Gage shareholders.

Underground Dispensary
Author: TG Branfalt

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Cannabis Industry NewsCelebritiesFrom Our WritersLaw EnforcementMichigan Cannabis NewsRecreationalsocial justice

‘White Boy Rick’ Launching Cannabis Brand

terry roston

Richard Wershe Jr., aka “White Boy Rick,” the Michigan man who was sentenced to prison in 1987 for cocaine possession after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had used him as an informant to gain access to drug gangs since he was 14-years-old, is launching his own cannabis brand, the Detroit Metro Times reports. He is calling the brand “The 8th” referring to the unit of measurement for cannabis and also the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment which prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Wershe was released from prison last year for good behavior. His sentencewhich was initially lifeis the longest for a nonviolent juvenile in Michigan history.

“I had run into people in prison that were doing life sentences for marijuana, and now it’s legal. So doesn’t that tell you how crazy our drug laws are?”Wershe to the Metro Times

Wershe is currently suing the FBI and Detroit Police Department for $100 million arguing that he would have never ended up in the drug tradeor involved with drugsif not for his recruitment by law enforcement.

Wershe is partnering with the Michigan-based Pleasantrees Cannabis Company to provide the flower. The 8th will also sell concentrates, vape batteries, and clothing. Wershe said he decided to partner with Pleasantrees due, in part, to their commitment to social justice.

Jerome Crawford, the director of legal operations and social equity at Pleasantrees, said that Wershe “has become the poster child for what it means to be over-criminalized and prosecuted for drugs.”

“The War on Drugs is really a war on people in impoverished communities, especially Black and brown communities,” Crawford said in an interview with the Metro Times.

Crawford added the company’s social equity plans include creating opportunities for previously incarcerated people by hiring them and helping them obtain an education, working on legislation, and funding charity initiatives in the communities it works in.

Underground Dispensary
Author: TG Branfalt

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Michigan Tribes’ Cannabis Ordinance Now in Effect

terry roston

The adult-use cannabis ordinance approved in May by all six of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians Tribal Council took effect yesterday, allowing the tribes to engage in all aspects of legal cannabis sales, the Record-Eagle reports. The tribes said the reforms will help diversify its businesses beyond “primarily tourism-based business” because cannabis “is an economic commodity in an emerging market that is not based on tourism.”

Under the ordinance, the tribes will regulate commercial cultivation, processing, distribution, and sale of cannabis and cannabis products for adults 21-and-older within the tribe’s jurisdiction, the report says.

In a statement, Tribal Chairman David Arroyo said that the coronavirus pandemic led to a significant decline in the tribes’ revenue and that cannabis revenues can help offset that decline. He added it would help fund tribal law enforcement, education, health care, and social services.

“All benefits obtained from the endeavor will be used to enhance tribal programs for tribal members.”Arroyo, in a statement, via the Record-Eagle

Under state, federal, and tribal laws, the businesses must be on the tribe’s trust land, including their reservation lands in Peshawbestown and trust lands in Acme and Whitewater townships, the report says.

Other Michigan tribes legalized cannabis for adults, following the passage of the reforms by Michigan voters in 2019. The Bay Mills Indian Community opened their first tribal-owned dispensary in November 2020. The Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians partnered with Lume Cannabis Co. last year and opened their first cannabis dispensary on tribal lands earlier this year with plans to open five more through 2022.

Underground Dispensary
Author: TG Branfalt

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Cannabis Industry NewsEmploymentFrom Our WritersMichigan Cannabis NewsNormalization

Michigan Attorney General Files Brief Supporting Employees Fired for Cannabis Use

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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Monday filed an amicus brief with the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Commission (UIAC) arguing that employees fired solely for their off-the-clock cannabis use should still qualify for unemployment benefits.

The brief focuses on three cases before the UIAC and says the commission’s ruling will “directly impact many law-abiding Michigan workers who may be terminated for the use of marijuana.”

“The People reserved for themselves the personal freedom to consume and cultivate marijuana, and the State cannot deprive an individual of unemployment benefits for simply engaging in this legal activity. Employers still generally retain their ability to hire and fire at will, but Michigan employees need not question whether their legal, off-duty conduct will leave them without unemployment benefits should an employer exercise that ability. Arguments to the contrary hinge on outmoded understandings of marijuana that the People of Michigan have rejected, once and for all.”Nessel in the amicus brief

“Nobody over 21 can be penalized or denied any right or privilege solely for legally using marijuana, and employers cannot control their employees’ private lives by calling the legal use of marijuana outside of work hours ‘misconduct,’” Nessel added in a press release

In none of the three cases were the employees fired for being impaired on the clock or consuming cannabis on the property of their employer.

Underground Dispensary
Author: TG Branfalt

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