Veteran cannabis company Harborside joins wave of US firms listing on Canadian exchange



San Francisco (CNN Business)Harborside, a prominent Bay Area dispensary chain, wants to establish itself as the dominant player in Northern California’s cannabis industry. To do that, it’s gone to Canada. Harborside on Monday joined a growing wave of American cannabis companies that have listed shares on the Canadian Securities Exchange as a means of accessing capital to operate and grow businesses still deemed illegal under US federal law.Following a previously announced reverse merger with Lineage Grow Co. Ltd. — a deal initially valued at C$200 million (about $150 million) — the resulting company, known as Harborside Inc., is trading on the CSE under the ticker symbol HBOR. Harborside, one of the oldest licensed cannabis businesses in the United States, also became known for a years-long campaign to prevent a shutdown of its operations by the federal government for allegedly violating US drug laws despite California’s having legalized medical marijuana. Harborside won that fight in 2016, when the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California dropped its case against the company. “I think it marks a very important milestone in the growth of the cannabis industry,” Steve DeAngelo, who co-founded Harborside as a medical cannabis dispensary in 2006 and serves as the firm’s chairman emeritus, told CNN Business last week. “When you have an organization like Harborside that came from deep activist roots and was engaged in that activism in a very intense way, and now has been able to transition into a profit-making cannabis company that’s going to be valued at $300 million Canadian, is a tremendous validation.”Harborside is a vertically integrated operator, meaning it controls businesses that grow, manufacture, process and sell cannabis. The company owns more than two dozen cultivation, manufacturing and retail licenses in California, which is now one of 11 states where the recreational use of cannabis has been legalized.Harborside’s bustling flagship retail store in Oakland is like a rustic Apple Store, where edibles, vaporizers, creams and other forms of cannabis are displayed in sleek cabinetry and shelving made of wood and glass.During the past 12 years, the Oakland dispensary and another Harborside location in San Jose have accumulated more than C$400 million in sales. In 2018, those dispensaries generated C$50 million in revenue, according to regulatory filings. Harborside Inc. owns or manages six dispensaries in California and Oregon and has agreements to purchase two dispensaries and a cultivation operation in northern California.A recently completed C$19.65 million investment capital raise and the public stock currency from the CSE listing will help Harborside achieve those plans, Harborside CEO Andrew Berman told CNN Business. “We’re very much California-focused,” Berman said of the moves the company has planned for the coming 12 to 18 months. “The market’s too big to pass up on now.”Harborside has a letter of intent to acq

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