CeresMED, which owns medical cannabis vendors Champlain Valley Dispensary and Southern Vermont Wellness, will merge with Toronto-based Slang Worldwide in a $ 25 million deal. The transaction will provide CeresMED with a capital injection as it prepares to enter the leisure market next year.

“It has been a long way to get here, and we are very happy to have found someone who matches our values ​​and how we see ourselves in the wider industry, and who can capitalize on us,” said Bridget Conry, director of brand experience. for CeresMED. “It has been really difficult to finance our growth.

Slang, a publicly traded company that buys and sells licenses for edibles and cannabis accessories, has been distributing some of its own brands in CeresMED dispensaries since 2015; Because federal law prohibits the interstate sale of cannabis, Conry explained, CeresMED purchases the formulas and manufacturing equipment from Slang, then assembles the products at its own facility.

The merger will underpin a 50,000 square foot expansion of CeresMED’s head office in Milton and eventually allow the company to hire up to 50 additional employees, Conry said, doubling its size. The acquisition will also open new markets for CBD products manufactured by CeresMED in Vermont in 12 other states, including Oregon and Colorado, where Slang has distribution channels.

“This is an opportunity for Vermont brands, especially women and BIPOC owned brands, to get that exposure and potentially be able to connect to these supply chains as well,” said Conry.

With the sale of CeresMED, all three Vermont medical cannabis licensees will be owned by out-of-state conglomerates. Under Section 54, the bill passed by the Vermont legislature last year that legalized the sale of recreational marijuana, medical cannabis licensees can begin selling for recreational purposes in May. 2022, five months before the October 2022 start date for other Vermont retailers. Given the added benefits of corporate investment, some cannabis advocates fear that Vermont’s recreational market has already been stacked against small independent growers.

“This kind of consolidation is unfortunately not a surprise, but it is happening even sooner than expected,” said Geoffrey Pizzutillo, executive director of the Vermont Growers Association.

In other states that have legalized recreational use, he said, retailers that operate under large companies can afford to set artificially low prices to gain an advantage over their competitors. The Vermont Growers Association has advocated for municipalities to ensure greater equity in the cannabis market, Pizzutillo said; several cities, including Burlington, have adopted policies on the day of the city meeting that eliminate the five-month advance for medical licensees.

“We want a decentralized, craft-driven market,” Pizzutillo said, “so that we can export our $ 20 gram just like we export our $ 10 IPAs.”



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