Exclusive Q&A Interview with CuraLeaf CEO, Joseph Lusardi
November 26th, 2018
The cannabis industry is growing at a rapid rate, and there a few distinct companies setting themselves apart as true leaders of an entirely new landscape. Curaleaf, Inc. operates 31 dispensaries in 11 states, boasting 250 unique skus, from flower to edibles to concentrates, ensuring each patient gets the exact desired outcome they are seeking, and recently launched a CBD line to further extend their reach.
CFN Media sat down with Curaleaf CEO Joseph Lusardi at the recent MJBizCon in Las Vegas who provided insight on the company’s meteoric growth and offered advice for newcomers to this budding industry.
CFN: What is the history of Curaleaf?
Joseph Lusardi: Our journey really started on the East Coast from our founding in New Jersey; we come from a highly regulated, highly compliant model. We’re working our way West, where the regulatory regimes have come about in a different way. California, for example, had no state regulatory framework until this year. As we move from East to West, the journey certainly becomes different and we have to make our brands and business relevant for those markets.
We serviced 38,000 unique patients through our stores last month, which I’m enormously proud of. When you come into our dispensary, the foundation is education. We spend a lot of time with our patients making sure that they have a comfortable and informative interaction that’s not intimidating. They can learn how to use cannabis to work with whatever condition they’re trying to deal with.
CFN: You recently held the biggest RTO in cannabis history. How did you achieve that level of success?
JL: We raised money from over 100 institutions around the globe and we believe that we got that level of support because we take the mandate seriously to be a steward of people’s capital. We’re going to deploy that capital into the market, in a way that creates a lot of shareholder value. We’ve built our company 50% through organic growth and 50% through acquisitions. We’ll continue to grow our business organically but we’ll also do a creative deals in markets that have good economic conditions in order to create additional value for our shareholders.
CFN: Why should potential investors consider Curaleaf?
JL: We are on track to be the biggest largest retailer of cannabis in the United States. We will open up a retail location approximately one per week between now and the end of 2019, so we are very aggressively putting down a retail footprint. I want to emphasize that we are trying to create the most accessible cannabis brand in the country. We may never be the coolest company on the block but we’re going to be the company that anyone can come to and learn about cannabis.
CFN: What do you see ahead for the cannabis industry as a whole?
JL: Three more states adopted marijuana reform this month, which is great news overall and will create positive momentum for the industry. At no point in our history have we had more public support for cannabis; it was polled at 90% for medical and 63% for adult-use in Gallup a couple of weeks ago. The sentiment is behind the industry and I think that the lawmakers and legislators are recognizing that this is a popular issue, and there are millions of people now using cannabis everyday, in their daily lives. We are very optimistic that we will continue to win regulations that are favorable to the industry.
CFN: What advice do you have for new entrepreneurs or investors interested in entering in the space?
JL: First and foremost, this is an emerging market and emerging markets are by nature volatile.Therefore, there certainly will be periods of volatility but, generally we believe the macro trend is that cannabis is going to continue to develop positively in the United States and become more regulated. From a investor perspective, we think that there will be a lot a lot of money flowing into cannabis but we think there’ll be a sector rotation out of Canada and into the United States – it’s simple math. The US market is going to be ten times bigger than Canada and the money will alternately flow to the largest and the most sophisticated and well-run companies.
CFN: Massachusetts saw their first legal adult-use cannabis sales this week. As an company with East Coast roots, how do you think this will affect reform efforts in the region?
JL: 34 states now have enacted medical and/or recreational marijuana laws because of compassion for a lot of sick people that use cannabis in their lives to manage horrible diseases. More mature markets such as Colorado have showed that states can develop a highly regulated adult-use framework and generate a lot of tax revenue. That’s the next catalyst – states generating tax revenue. We think Massachusetts is certainly going to be a highly successful program, which will create pressure on all of the major markets on the East Coast.
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About CFN Media
CFN Media (CannabisFN) is the leading creative agency and media network dedicated to legal cannabis. We help marijuana businesses attract investors, customers (B2B, B2C), capital, and media visibility. Private and public marijuana companies and brands in the US and Canada rely on CFN Media to grow and succeed.
CFN launched in June of 2013 to initially serve the growing universe of publicly traded marijuana companies across North America. Today, CFN Media is also the digital media choice for the emerging brands in the space.
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