Back in the beginning of 2015, CBE published its first story on the “10 Most Important Companies in the Cannabis Industry”. At that time, the excitement generated by legal cannabis was overwhelming. We identified companies that we thought would lead the way as the rapidly growing industry followed the path of statewide legalization; first for medical marijuana, and then under a regulatory environment that resulted from the first year of adult-use legalization in Colorado and Washington.
The 10 companies on the original list were selected based on the following criteria…
- First Mover Advantage;
- 2015 revenues (not all companies on the list provided this);
- Management teams;
- Human Capital investment;
- Plant & Equipment investment;
- Brand Strength;
- Current & Future Market Footprint;
- Competitive Segment Environment;
- Regulatory Influence.
…and felt good about using this criteria again for the 2016 list. One difference between the lists is that we are not ranking listees this year, but we are emphasizing the market footprint and management continuity.
That said, CBE would be remiss if we didn’t mention the fate of six companies that are not repeating before saluting this year’s 10 companies that made this year’s list.
Reviewing 2015 Most Important Cannabis Companies
Two of the original companies, Apeks Supercritical and MJ Freeway are doing well and are still leaders of their respective categories, but their industry categories, extraction equipment and software respectively are competitively very crowded. They both still boast the original management teams and have accomplished a great deal—Apeks opened a 65,000 sq. ft. HQ facility in 2015 and MJ Freeway won the heavily contested Nevada tracking software contract.
Denver Relief Consulting also accomplished quite a bit in the last year, but sold its retail and grow operations. They are mentoring several cannabis companies that they have either invested in or received shares. Denver Relief Consulting is leading the charge in Colorado to champion the cause of socially responsible consumption and the legalization of facilities to allow for it.
The Clinic also experienced growth under CEO Max Cohen and his team. They are now operating successfully in (the slower ramp up than anticipated) Illinois and thriving in their home state of Colorado.
Others have fallen short, at least in the short-term.
Surna, which has had four different CEOs since posting the original list, experienced revenue growth, but not to the degree that CBE anticipated. Additionally, they scrapped an agreement to purchase Agrisoft, a seed-to-sale software company that was later purchased by Kind Financial. Then, CEO Tom Bollich departed shortly there after. We will continue to follow Surna and the work that current CEO Trent Doucet and his team are doing.
Privateer Holdings generated a lot of excitement with the multi-million dollars of investment that Founders Fund Peter Thiel made. They suffered setbacks with their investments in Tilray, a Canadian medical marijuana producer and distributor, which laid off more than 60 employees in the summer of 2015, as reported by Marijuana Business Daily. They also found newly Vancouver licensed dispensaries poaching on their turf and teamed with the Nanaimo Royal Canadian Mounted Police to go after those violating federal law. They invested heavily in establishing Leafly as a go-to media brand for cannabis consumers and have a 30 year licensing agreement to license Marley Natural. The book is still open on both of these transactions.
2016 10 Most Important Cannabis Companies
This year’s listees all have something in common with the exception of GW Pharmaceutical—a repeater from the 2015 list that recently announced a successful phase 3 trial for Epidilox—and The Scott’s Miracle-Gro Company, which was added to the list based on significant investments made to add a growth segment to its portfolio of holdings in the industry. Over the last 18 months, Scott’s reportedly spent somewhere around $300 million purchasing 75% of the lighting company Gavita, the industry leader in High Pressure Sodium (HPS) solutions; General Hydrophonics; and Botanicare over the last 18 months. CEO Jim Hagedorn has set up a subsidiary run by his son Chris Hagedorn, to oversee their cannabis related portfolio.
The other 8 companies come from the ranks of licensed PPR’s and one cultivation management company that all have significant footprints, either in their home states (LivWell, Native Roots, Harborside); or as in the case of Bhang Corporation, Dixie Brands, MJardin and O.penVAPE, in multiple states. CBE has actually recently done updates on most of these companies, and they are accessible via the list below.
On behalf of CBE Press, I want to congratulate all of the 2016 companies, their management and their talented staff and investors for their devotion to building best practices, unique and innovative business models to navigate the complex regulatory environment, and for building companies that are leading the way for the entire Cannabis Industry.
|Company||Executive Team||Location||Industry Category||Recent CBE Articles|
|Bhang Corporation||Scott Van Rixel & Richard Sellers||Oakland, CA||Processor||The General Mills of the Cannabis Industry: Bhang Corporation|
|Dixie Brands||Tripp Keber, Chuck Smith, and Joe Hodas||Denver, CO||Processor||One year later, Re-visiting Dixie Brands|
Company (GWPH (NASDAQ)
|Dr Geoffrey Guy & Justin Gover||Salisbury, United Kingdom||Pharmaceutical||GW Pharmaceutical: A Cut Above the Rest|
|Harborside||Steve DeAngelo & Andrew DeAngelo||Oakland, CA||Producer, Processor, Retailer||Harborside Changes the Face of Cannabis…Again!|
|LivWell Enlightened Health||John Lord||Denver, CO||Producer, Processor, Retailer||Livwell Enlightened Health|
|MJardin||Adam Denmark Cohen, James Lowe, and John Fritzel||Denver, CO||Cultivation Management||Rapid Growth and More Ahead: MJardin|
|Medicine Man (MDCL:OTC)||Andy Williams||Denver, CO||Producer, Processor, Retailer, Consultant||On the way to their first Billion: Medicine Man|
|Native Roots||Peter Knoebel, Josh Ginsberg, and Rhett Jordan||Denver, CO||Producer, Processor, Retailer||Hip, Cool, and Fresh: Native Roots|
|O.penVAPE||Ralph Morgan, Jeremy Heidl, Chris McElvany, and Chris Driessen||Denver, CO||Producer, Processor, Consumption Equipment Manufacturer||The Software and Hardware that make O.penVAPE|
|The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (and its Hawthorne Subsidiary) (NYSE:SMG)||James Hagedorn |
& Chris Hagedorn
|Marysville, OH||Cultivation Supplies and Equipment (Botanicare, Gavita, General Hydroponics)||Scotts Miracle-Gro Surges as Market’s Darling for Legal Pot|