Cannabis retailer Green Growth Brands raises $85M following reverse takeover

An American marijuana company whose shares will soon trade in Canada has raised $85 million in a private placement, funds the company plans to use to ramp up retail operations around the world.

Green Growth Brands announced on Tuesday that it had originally hoped to raise $55 million in a recent offering, but ended up raising more than expected due to investor interest.

Unlike many companies in the cannabis space that started with producing medical marijuana and are now training their focus on how to distribute it to recreational customers once it becomes legal in Canada next month, GGB opted to focus in on the retail side of things from day one.

That’s partly because of the professional background of the CEO. Peter Horvath has significant experience in retail, with numerous executive positions at companies like Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, American Eagle and others before coming to head up GGB earlier this year.

Horvath says GGB has had discussions with Canadian and other suppliers about possible partnerships down the line, but is concentrating on expanding in U.S. jurisdictions where the drug is already legal for now.

“Nothing is out of the question but our focus is on U.S. recreational retail at first,” Horvath said in an interview Tuesday.

That leaves the door open to Canada, where the company’s shares will soon trade after a reverse takeover of Xanthic Biopharma, which is listed on the Canadian Stock Exchange. That transaction, announced earlier this summer, is expected to close by the end of the year.

Horvath says many U.S. states and companies messed up a golden opportunity by rushing things following legalization, which has led to wide price variations across states and operators that aren’t as well run as they could be.

So he says the cautious approach that many Canadian provinces are taking could be the way to go, as long as they are learning from others’ mistakes.

“You can’t just set it up and hope it works,” he said. “People who say they’ll figure it out later don’t realize how hard it is.”

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