A Leader In Washington, GreenStar Eyes Expansion
September 10th, 2019
App, Exclusive, News, Top Story
Washington State has long been a pioneer in the cannabis industry. Medical marijuana has been legal since 1998 and the state was the first in the U.S. to approve recreational marijuana, doing so on December 6, 2012. The market continues to grow, including retail sales reaching $972 million in 2018 from $851 million in 2017.
Using a unique business model, GreenStar Biosciences Corp. (CSE: GSTR) is capturing its share of the Washington market. Through a subsidiary, GreenStar’s assets include the property leases, brands and intellectual property of Cowlitz County Cannabis Cultivation Inc. (“Cowlitz”). Located about 140 miles south of Seattle, Cowlitz, a Tier 2 licensed cannabis producer and processor, has turned a small, family-run business into three popular brands, Dab Dudes, Hi Guys and Cowlitz Gold, and millions of dollars in annual sales, resulting in it being one of the top cannabis processors in the state.
Get to Know GreenStar
From its headquarters in Vancouver,BC, GreenStar is a technology and services company that provides real estate, financial, management, IP and branding support to licensed U.S. cannabis businesses. That’s the official definition. More succinctly, GreenStar is a team of experts in capital markets, finance, technology and cannabis, who will leverage decades of experience to execute on partnerships and acquisitions in the explosive cannabis markets, starting in Washington. This is demonstrated through not only the Cowlitz assets, but also with exclusive licensing and JV arrangements for proprietary technologies that support product development and operational efficiencies.
Public for only a few months, GreenStar remains a blue sky opportunity with a market capitalization of only C$9.7 million (US$7.28 million).
Since going public in June 2019, the company has refined the leadership team, including appointing Rahim Rajwani as CEO and director. Mr. Rajwani has an impressive C.V. as a seasoned capital markets veteran, including serving as an executive member of Peninsula Merchant Banking Syndications group where he provided advisory services, amongst other things, to Ventana Gold that led to Ventana being acquired by Brazil’s EBX Group for $1.43 billion.
Other leadership changes included adding Leighton Bocking to the board of directors which is rounded out with Faizaan Lalani, CPA, CA as the third board member
Cowlitz: A Washington State leader
While it works on other parts of the business, Cowlitz is the flagship revenue generator for GreenStar. A cornerstone of Cowlitz’s reputation is selling high-quality cannabis products at affordable prices to a growing consumer base that finds Cowlitz’s products at about 20 percent (>150 stores) of Washington’s cannabis retailers.
Cowlitz’s products are primarily focused on patients using cannabis for its medical and health-related purposes. The company is a true Washington heavyweight as one of the five largest cannabis processors in the state and largest independent buyer of dried flower and producer of more than 200,000 pre-rolls every month.
Cowlitz’s Dab Dudes is a brand known for its BHO (butane hash oil) waxes, vaporizer cartridges and crystallines. Through its proprietary gas mix, Cowlitz leaves terpenes in its final products, which is known to improve flavor profiles that cannabis connoisseurs crave.
The Hi Guys brand includes flower, joints and BHO that dovetails perfectly with Cowlitz’s mantra of selling quality products at reasonable prices.
As the name implies, Cowlitz Gold is the premium product of the company. Elegant, yet still affordable, Cowlitz Gold products include pre-rolls, flower, BHO and vape cartridges.
Cowlitz doesn’t grow all its cannabis plants; it has supply agreements to make sure it keeps up with demand. Measuring by a deal struck in June, 2019, demand is expected to remain robust. Cowlitz inked a long-term supply agreement with Pat Dullanty, the owner and operator of an 18-acre, Tier 3 grow facility in Cheney, Washington.
Per the deal, Dullanty will supply Cowlitz up to 25,000 pounds of dry weight, high-quality cannabis flower per annum.
Cowlitz topped $14 million in revenue during 2018 and is on pace to handily beat that in 2019. According to seed-to-sale information reported to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, revenue from Cowlitz was approximately $10.3 million during the first six months of 2019.
The value of Cowlitz to GreenStar in Washington is plain to recognize, but there is more to consider. Cowlitz has proven operational and branding expertise across critical components of the cannabis value chain. The processing and distribution models are the blueprint for replication in other states in addition to potential synergistic opportunities with other GreenStar partners.
GreenStar has a JV with Fisher, Indiana-based Progressive Herbs, Inc. which provides an exclusive worldwide right and sub-license to use and commercialize Progressive’s proprietary Micro-Grow Pod cultivation technology. A small-scale proof-of-concept pilot operation with Cowlitz validated the potential of the technology with scale-up operations now being evaluated. This technology is being trumpeted for being able to reduce operating and capital costs for manufacturing cannabis compared to current greenhouse technologies, in addition to producing a high total cannabinoid content product produced without pesticides with no detected heavy metal content.
GreenStar also signed a Joint Venture agreement with PharmaStrip Corp., where the two will work together to produce cannabis-infused mouth strips called “Cannabis Oral Thin Film Strips” exclusively for sale in Washington state. A relatively new method of drug delivery, fast-dissolving oral films have been growing in popularity versus other oral methods, such as pills or tablets. The cannabis strips will deliver exact dosage of cannabinoids in a manner that is more reliable and faster-acting than traditional forms of ingestion, like edibles or inhalation.
GreenStar is further pursuing opportunities in other states where medical cannabis is legal, including Michigan, West Virginia, California, Oregon and Nevada. While planning to have operations going in two or three of these states by the end of the year, the company looks intent on Michigan first, a state with a vibrant market expected to rival the size of Colorado’s.
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