Strength in Numbers: The Name You Don’t Know in Cannabis, But Should…GreenStar Biosciences
November 20th, 2019
App, Exclusive, News, Top Story
Centene. Energy Transfer. Tech Data. Arrow Electronics. What do these companies have in common? They each generate over $40 billion a year in revenue and most people have never heard of any of them. Investors that have enjoyed triple-digit returns from all of them over the last decade probably don’t mind too much that the names are relatively obscure.
GreenStar Biosciences Corp.(CSE: GSTR) (OTC: GTSIF) is making its mark in the cannabis industry and doing so through partnerships that don’t put its name in lights, but they certainly put value in the company. The tech and services company is a provider of real estate, financial, management, IP and branding support to licensed U.S. cannabis businesses. In these efforts, GreenStar partners and makes investments in innovative or disruptive technologies and businesses.
Tenant Partner: Cowlitz
GreenStar is steeped with experience in the cannabis industry earned while refining strategies in Washington, the first state (along with Colorado) to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. With that experience in tow, the Vancouver-based company – through its subsidiary – has a variety of agreements with Cowlitz County Cannabis Cultivation, Inc., one of the largest cannabis companies in Washington. GreenStar refers to companies in its portfolio of operations as “tenant partners.”
Cowlitz is a Tier 2 processor, meaning it utilizes mid-size canopies ranging from 2,000-10,000 square feet, while maintaining a community-minded business model. The company is also one of the largest independent buyers of dried flower in Washington. It needs to be because it produces about 2 million cannabis pre-rolls each year.
Across the brands owned by GreenStar: Dab Dudes, Hi Guys and Cowlitz Gold, Cowlitz has built a reputation for premium cannabis at fair prices, with products on shelves in about 20% of all the cannabis retailers across Washington.
Cowlitz is a growth story in the expanding Washington market that recorded sales of $1.49 billion in 2017 and forecasted to rise to $2.6 billion by next year.
Throughout the first seven months of 2019, data from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board showed Cowlitz generated $11.8 million in sales.
“Cowlitz’s strong continued sales in a highly competitive market is positive and provides the perfect base for GreenStar’s plans to expand its footprint across the United States with similar best-in-class companies,” commented GreenStar CEO Rahim Rajwani in a news release in October. Rajwani was referencing the company’s plans to penetrate other legal markets, with Michigan, a top medical marijuana state that legalized recreational marijuana last year, a top priority.
GreenStar + Progressive Herbs = Capri
Earlier this year, GreenStar made a savvy business move in partnering with Progressive Herbs, forging a joint venture under the name Capri PHGS LLC. The partnership brought Progressive Herb’s proprietary cultivation technology into GreenStar’s portfolio, which it promptly took to Cowlitz’s facilities to grow plants for independent lab testing.
2,500 cannabis plants were grown using the patent-pending nutrient system, then analyzed at Praxis Laboratory, an accredited Washington State testing facility. The results were nothing shy of spectacular, including higher-than-normal cannabinoid levels (22.85% to 32.54%) grown at lower operational costs. Praxis and accredited heavy-metal screening lab Medicine Creek Analytics testing further verified that the plants were free of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, heavy metals and other contaminants.
In addition to shaving grow costs, the initial test plants grew faster than conventional methods. All plants were harvested in roughly 72 days, meaning that five harvest cycles can be completed in one year.
The next phase of testing will be designed to validate the scalability of the new technology. The plan is not only for Capri to use the technology itself to produce high-quality cannabis at lower costs, but to license the technology to third parties as a separate revenue stream.
Oral Cannabis Strips
Down the road, it will be interesting to see how this technology squares with GreenStar’s partnership with PharmaStrip to produce cannabis-infused mouth strips. This is an under-appreciated method for reliably delivering precise amounts of cannabinoids with rapid uptake. GreenStar doesn’t speak a lot on this part of the business as it devotes resources to Cowlitz and Capri, but the company is quietly positioned to emerge as a leader in the space whenever it flicks the switch.
Perhaps one day, GreenStar will be a household name with partnerships with Cowlitz, Capri, PharmaStrip and whatever else it acquires in the future under its umbrella. Maybe it will forever be the obscure like the goliaths mentioned above. For now, though, the company seems perfectly content with business development, not touting its own name, as its highest priority, but now you know.
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