The cannabis company with some of the brightest starpower in the business is buying into the Florida market even as an anti-cannabis governor takes office.
Florida is a medical-only cannabis market at the moment.
And incoming Governor Ron DeSantis has been far from a champion of the industry. He is on record stating his opposition to recreational cannabis, and he even voted against amendments that would ease cannabis access for veterans.
Yet, smart money continues to make its way into the state. Increasingly larger companies want a piece of this market.
Perhaps it’s because Florida was projected to command up to 7.5% of the total legal cannabis market domestically by 2020, according to research firm New Frontier Data.
In addition, Florida’s total adult population ranks third in the country at nearly 17 million. Huge opportunity exists in “the Sunshine State,” and even more would be created once it inevitably legalizes recreational use.
And, of course, DeSantis would be far from the only politician to change his tune on cannabis legalization. After all, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo flipped from being a staunch opponent to being one to lead the charge as New York starts up its 2019 legislative session today.
There’s also former U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner. He went from “unalterably opposed” to legalization to becoming an advocate for the industry.
He also happens to be on the board of a company thgat just made a big splash into the Florida market.
Here’s what’s going on…
Former Speaker Boehner Knows Where the Votes Are
Recent cannabis IPO Acreage Holdings has started 2019 in growth mode. The company recently announced the acquisition of Nature’s Way Nursery of Miami Inc. in a $67 million deal.
That paves the way for Acreage, of which Boehner and former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney are on the board, to enter Florida with a cultivation and processing facility as well as up to 30 medical cannabis dispensaries.
This development is significant, and not just because it provides yet another proof point to my belief that mergers and acquisitions will be a major driver of cannabis industry change in 2019.
The deal tells us that there’s more than meets the eye.
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On the surface, a $67 million purchase to get into a market that still faces some obstacles and opposition may seem like a big spend. But more dispensaries are coming online, which will continue to add opportunity. Like most other established states, more medical conditions are added to the list that qualifies for medical marijuana as well.
Florida’s untapped potential, however, is massive.
It is expected to bring in an estimated $1.1 billion in retail cannabis sales by 2022, according to a report from Arcview Market Research.
So, if the company with Boehner on the board is taking such a strong stance about the future of a state market based mostly on potential – regardless of the past opposition to cannabis presented by that state’s governor – we should all take notice.
According to Acreage Founder and CEO Kevin Murphy, Boehner “shaped the political course of our country for decades” and with Acreage will “help shape the course of this nascent but ascendant industry.”
The former speaker’s astounding experience in and deep understanding of politics obviously played a role in why Acreage chose him for the board.
And when I heard news of this acquisition coming together, I couldn’t help but recall what he said during the American Cannabis Summit: “I used to count votes; I know where the votes are.”
The Will of the People
DeSantis may have voted against cannabis legislation in the past, but the tides are changing across the nation, and even he cannot ignore that inevitable truth.
As a candidate, DeSantis went as far as to say: “I am going to implement the will of the voters. They passed marijuana overwhelmingly, and my view is we have a process in Florida when that happens, then we shouldn’t play games with it. We should simply implement it.”
Before the governor was sworn in, Dave Vasquez, a member of his transition team, said of certain cannabis legal battles in the state: “The governor-elect is considering a variety of options on this matter… and will be discussing these further as we move forward with our transition and administration.”
I might not know exactly what those discussions entail yet, but I know someone with enough political insight to have a pretty a good idea.
And once again, he’s telling us: “I’m all in.” Apparently, his company is as well in Florida.
Thank you for being important part of the National Institute for Cannabis Investors,
Executive Director, National Institute for Cannabis Investors
P.S.: Within the next five weeks, we could see as many as 10 private cannabis companies go public. According to our research, four of them could set new opening day records. In fact, each of these companies is capable of generating between $500 million and $3 billion for investors the day they go public. That’s a potential $12 billion in new wealth created before January 31. To find out all of the details on each of these four IPOs – and how you can get in on them – even if you’ve never invested a dollar in your life, simply click here.
10 responses to “What Acreage's Latest Acquisition Tells Us About the Sunshine State”
January 09 2019