Four Northwest Cannabis Companies to Watch in 2016
by Erik Muenker DC
The following four cannabis companies in the northwest are on a trajectory to disrupt and shape the future of the industry. I’d like to take a moment to shine a light on each, and tell you a little about why I think these are four cannabis companies to watch in 2016.
HiFi Farms is a really terrific craft cannabis company located in Oregon, and run by CEO Sara Batterby. Sara has established herself as a local community leader thru her work with the Portland Women Grow chapter. Under Sara’s leadership, Hifi Farms has secured a joint venture with none other than the Meriwether Group – the same firm that took Dave’s Killer Bread from a local farmer’s market stand to a company worth more than $250 million! Meriwether knows how to spot a winner and thinks the Hifi brand could be worth more than $100M.
Hifi Farms has a solid product – craft cannabis grown sustainably in Oregon, to strict Clean Green Certified standards. What does Clean Green Certified mean? Well for starters, it means that their craft cannabis is cultivated using organic practices certified by a nationally-recognized third party guarantor. Hifi Farms can’t label its product organic, since the federal government still does not recognize cannabis as a legitimate organic crop. However, Clean Green Certified is the next best thing and guarantees that HiFi Farms cannabis is free from synthetic pesticides, fungicides and mold. HiFi Farms is also committed to sustainability, quality and community engagement – not to mention killer parties with live music and really good people.
Golden Leaf Holdings
A big player in the production and distribution of cannabis flower and oils in North America, is Golden Leaf Holdings headquartered in Toronto, Canada with grow and retail operations in both Washington and Oregon. Golden Leaf Holdings is traded on the Canadian Stock Exchange (GLH), so you know their financials are in order.
GoldenXtr, GLH’s flagship brand of 100% pure cannabis oil is obtained using CO2 extraction techniques and sold within artisanal edibles or as smokeless vape cartridges that work with most third party vape pens. Proper is GLH’s brand of premium BHO (butane-extracted hash oil) shatter. Shatter is essentially super concentrated hash oil that will make your eyes flutter when inhaled. It’s strong and not for the faint-of-heart; but all the rage with the younger cannabis enthusiasts.
A Seattle-based private equity firm founded in 2010 by Brendan Kennedy, Michael Blue, and Christian Groh – three cannabis entrepreneurs with a background in venture capital and investment banking.
The firm started off with a bang, by acquiring Leafly in 2011 – a popular cannabis information and strain review mobile app. I use the app regularly myself and see a bright future ahead for the company.
By 2013, Privateer had landed $7M in first-round funding and soon after opened Tilray – a $26M research and production facility federally-licensed to produce commercial cannabis, with a team of more than 100 industry experts. Tilray’s focus on amassing industry expertise while utilizing precise grow techniques to facilitate scientific research into cannabis plant strains and their cannabinoid profiles could be the winning formula to uncompromising innovation and success in the industry. What’s the latest with Tilray? They have just become the first company to export medical marijuana from North America to Europe (CBS News Story link).
By 2015, Privateer had already acquired an additional $75M in round-two funding! Wait a second, let me take a moment to let that sink in. That’s a 10x fold increase from round-one funding that ended only two years prior! These guys have something special up their sleeve. In February of the following year, Privateer launched
Marley Natural – a premium cannabis product line that includes flower, body care infused Hemp Oil and smoke accessories.
New Vansterdam markets are the most successful retailers of recreational cannabis markets in Washington state (as of May 2015 – Link to source). In their first year of sales, New Vansterdam markets sold more than $8.5M worth of product! Now that’s a lot of flower! All this success is built upon a solid reputation of product quality, commitment to community engagement, educating consumers and authentic and ethical business practices.
I can’t wait to see what is coming next for these NW innovators! Keep an eye on them and on this blog, for the latest industry news and insights.
Worth a mention – GW Pharma
Not a Northwest cannabis company, and not one I would personally invest in for ideological reasons – GW Pharma is still worth a brief mention.
GW Pharma is a UK-based biopharmaceutical company, that has recently received impressive results with a series of FDA clinical trials on their cannabis extract based medicine called Epidiolex. For more information on this company, their new drug and their anti-medical cannabis industry stance – please read my blog post entitled – “FDA Trial of Marijuana Drug Epidiolex – On Track for Approval?“