March 28th, 2022
Cresco Labs to Acquire Columbia Care in $2B Deal

Cresco Labs has agreed to acquire Columbia Care Inc. in a deal worth $2 billion, making the firm largest multi-state operator in the U.S. with a pro-forma revenue of more than $1.4 billion. The deal, which still requires regulatory approval, gives the company more than 130 retail stores throughout 18 states – the second largest in the industry and the largest footprint outside of Florida. On a pro-forma basis, Cresco said it expects to have annual revenues in excess of $100 million in eight different states by 2023.

Charles Bachtell, CEO of Cresco Labs, said the “acquisition brings together two of the leading operators in the industry, pairing a leading footprint with proven operational, brand and competitive excellence.” Nicholas Vita, CEO of Columbia Care described the deal as a “historic moment.” “With Columbia Care’s strategic national footprint in the most attractive markets and Cresco Labs’ success in execution and incredibly popular brands, we will together create the most important – and the most investable – company in cannabis,” he said in a statement. Read more.

Michigan Sends $150M in Marijuana Tax Dollars to Cities, Schools, and Transportation Fund

Michigan officials on Thursday announced that they will be distributing nearly $150 million in marijuana tax revenue, divided between localities, public schools and a transportation fund. And separately, regulators have approved the state’s first licensed  cannabis consumption lounge, which is set to open this month. The state Treasury Department said that the new funding, made possible from tax revenue generated from the state’s adult-use cannabis program, includes $42.2 million for 62 cities, 15 villages, 33 townships and 53 counties.

That’s more than four times the level of funding that the state paid out to municipalities with cannabis tax dollars last year.  Each eligible jurisdiction will therefore receive more than $56,400 “for every licensed retail store and microbusiness located within its jurisdiction,” the department said in a press release. There are currently 374 cannabis licensees in the state. Last year, the eligible jurisdictions received about $28,000 per licensed retailer and microbusiness operating in their area. Read more.

New York Potency Tax Could Drive Prices as High as $70 an Eighth

New York’s adult-use cannabis law includes a potency tax, which, in addition to the state’s sales and local taxes, could drive the price per eighth as high as $70, reports. The law taxes distributors half a cent per milligram of the amount of total THC for flower, eight-tenths of one cent per milligram for concentrates, and three cents per milligram of THC for edibles.

The state’s sales tax rate is 9% and localities can impose their own taxes as well, which could raise the overall tax rate for flower as high as 30% or as much as 55% for edibles, said tax attorney Jason Klimek, who co-leads the Cannabis Team at law firm Barclay Damon. By comparison, neighboring Massachusetts has a maximum 20% tax rate which is tied to sales which could put New York at a competitive disadvantage once sales launch. The state is also home to several Native American tribes, some of which have already launched cannabis sales, and carry no taxes. Read more.

Full US House Poised to Vote on Federal Marijuana Legalization Again

The U.S. House of Representatives might vote as soon as next week on a comprehensive marijuana legalization bill, but the vote would be largely symbolic unless the Senate were to follow suit. The social justice-focused Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act is up for consideration by the full House next week, according to a House notice published Thursday. 

In a landmark vote, the previous House passed MORE in December 2020 by a margin of 228-164 with a handful of Republicans supporting the bill. But the bill went nowhere in the Senate before the end of that two-year legislative cycle, so the measure needed to start over with the new Congress that was seated in January 2021. The next vote, if it occurs, comes only weeks before Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to introduce his long-awaited comprehensive marijuana legalization measure called the Cannabis Opportunity and Administration Act. Read more.


Elevate Your Grind

Nicole Stanton is currently Vice President and General Counsel of Trulieve Cannabis Corp., the largest multi-state operator in the U.S. following a $2B acquisition which Ms. Stanton assisted in closing on October 1, 2021. She oversees a 9-person legal department, the compliance team, government affairs, risk management and the company’s state medical directors. Prior to that acquisition, Ms. Stanton previously served as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Harvest Health & Recreation since 2019. She received the Public Company General Counsel of the Year award by the Arizona Corporate Counsel in April 2021. That same year, the Harvest legal department was nominated for Legal Department of the Year. Prior to joining Harvest, Ms. Stanton was employed by the national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP for nearly 20 years.

The 6th Annual Cannabis Law, Accounting and Business (CLAB) Conference & Expo will be focused on the critical issues and challenges impacting the entire industry. More than just your typical conference, this will be an immersive educational experience with all the best that Miami has to offer. We invite you to join us if you are interested in what the industry has to offer, you are seasoned industry veteran or just looking to grow.

This year’s theme is United WeGrow and will embody exactly why gender and race issues will shape how we advance. It is time for all of us to get back out, learn, connect and grow. This June, at Mana Wynwood, in Miami, we will have more educators, thought leaders, exhibitors and attendees than ever before. We have a created a hybrid B2Band B2C environment so whether you are a CEO, start up, ancillary business professional, legacy market, canna curious there will be something worthwhile. Before the day even starts and after it ends we will have a number of extracurricular activities as well including health and wellness that have you covered mind and body. To register and learn more go to

Conference Speaker Spotlights

Lisa Buffo is a marketer and entrepreneur with a passion for launching companies with experience in both the cannabis and technology industries. Lisa is the Founder & CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association, a trade association focused on education and best practices for industry marketers with the vision of rebranding cannabis at the national level. CMA has hosted over 100+ educational events nationwide bringing together the cannabis marketing community. Lisa has been quoted in Forbes, The Guardian, VICE, Denver Business Journal, The Boulder Daily Camera, Marijuana News Network, Cannabis Culture Magazine and other national, local, and trade publications.

David Rahn is a Florida licensed insurance broker promoting insurance access opportunities for clients in the marijuana industry. David Rahn is responsible for connecting new and potential clients in the marijuana industry through traditional and digital channels. David has worked on coordinating and developed digital marketing strategies for Subway Restaurants, Lynn University, Saks 5th Avenue as well as other campaigns for various associations, non-profit organizations, and other businesses.

Paybotic Launches Its Women in Finance & Technology Scholarship

Paybotic, a leading provider of affordable payment solutions in the cannabis industry and surrounding markets, is pleased to offer its Paybotic Women in Finance & Technology Scholarship for those pursuing a higher education. Paybotic will award three $2,500 scholarships; winners will be selected in June 2022.

Applications for the Paybotic Women in Finance & Technology Scholarship are now open at

“It is a great honor to launch the Paybotic Women in Finance & Technology Scholarship as part of Paybotic’s ‘Women in Cannabis’ project,” said Paybotic CEO and Founder Eveline Dang, a female leader in the cannabis and fintech space. “Through the scholarship, I hope to provide others with inspiration to achieve and exceed their goals, and to become successful in the finance and technology fields.”

IRS Ramps Up Marijuana Business Audits After COVID-19 Lull, Sources Say

Like other federal agencies during the coronavirus pandemic, the IRS put much of its routine work on the back burner, including audits, enforcement and collections, according to tax professionals. But since last summer, the federal tax agency appears to have reemerged from its COVID-19 shell. As a result, cannabis industry tax experts are warning clients of a new wave of audits targeting marijuana companies and their 2019 returns, which could result in additional tax bills for businesses.

“There was a lot of slowdown in the IRS because of COVID in the IRS,” said Rachel Gillette, a Denver tax attorney with the Holland & Hart firm. Gillette said she’s seen a “significant increase” in audit notification letters being sent to marijuana company clients of hers. She’s also hearing of others – not only in Colorado but also in California, Florida, Michigan and Massachusetts. Read more.

Headset Projects 4/20 Cannabis Sales to Increase by 100% in 2022

A new report from data and market intelligence company Headset dives into the past few years of growth in 4/20-related cannabis sales, and predicts that cannabis sales leading up to the holiday in 2022 will double in the US, and increase by 50% in Canada.  “April 20 has been the largest single day of retail cannabis sales each year since legalization, so we understand that it’s a pretty darn significant day,” the report states in its introduction. “We also know that there are some consistent patterns on 4/20 each year: sales surge, customers enjoy massive discounts, and certain categories are more popular than others.”

Another data company that covers the various intricacies of the cannabis industry, New Frontier Data, recently projected that cannabis sales could hit $51 billion by 2025. New Frontier Data Founder, Publisher and Executive Chair Giadha A. DeCarcer, explained in the introduction of that report that the past two years have shown immense growth in the industry across the board. “In just two years’ time, the number of countries having legalized some form of cannabis has increased from 50 to 70, and there are now 10 countries legalizing adult use, almost a twofold increase from 2019.” Read more.

Delta-8 THC Bud at Farmers Market Causes a Stir in Missouri

A stand that sold delta-8 THC hemp ignited controversy at St. Louis’ historic Soulard Farmers Market in the heart of Soulard near downtown. Adding to the issue, the bud was sold in large amounts, which drew more attention. Reportedly the delta-8 THC hemp was sold loosely in bins and a sign allegedly read, “10lbs. for $5,000.”

The Bud Man’s stand at the farmers market was named as the culprit, but the herb isn’t what spectators think it is. Delta-8 THC smokable hemp is practically indistinguishable from high potency cannabis, found at medical cannabis dispensaries throughout Missouri, but is generally regulated very differently. The “Bud Man’s” products fall into the legal CBD category, according to officials with the City of St. Louis.

The City of St. Louis Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry oversees Soulard Market. The department was fully aware of the CBD products being sold, but not delta-8 THC. A representative said that they checked beforehand to ensure that the stand didn’t sell any controlled substances. Read more.

Jobs to Watch
Outreach Manager at MUV FL
Assistant Operations Mgr – FL
Financial Planning and Analysis Manager- FL
Hospitality Associate – FL
IPM Manager – AZ
Supply Chain Analyst – CA
Director of Cultivation – MA
Events Coming to South Florida

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is taking over Miami, FL April 20-21st to bring you the premier gathering for cannabis investors and entrepreneurs alike. This is THE place to meet & share ideas with cannabis industry professionals & market leaders! To purchase tickets head over to

Chance to Invest in Bloomstack Corp - an All-In-One Cloud Enterprise Platform Serving the Cannabis Industry

Bloomstack's Wefunder campaign is LIVE - this round is an opportunity for you to be a part of the next phase of our journey to disrupt enterprise software.  We need your support to take it to the next level. SME Entrepreneurs face challenges to manage processes besides growing their business! Albeit an apt solution, access to Enterprise software is their major struggle. Its exorbitant cost and misleading per-user pricing model allow access only to highly-funded firms or large corporations. Click here to learn more.

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