BeLeaf “in full gear and fully operational” in Missouri 

BeLeaf Medical, run by longtime Anheuser Busch marketing executive and Illinois dispensary pioneer Mitch Meyers, will become the first Missouri-based cannabis company to operationalize vertical integration. 

The company’s women-led manufacturing site, St. Louis-based Phytos, recently obtained state approval to process cannabis at its 8,000 square-foot facility, which shares property with 10,000 square feet of cultivation space. 

“Being vertically integrated and having control of our supply chain allows us to consistently provide precisely dosed cannabis to our medical customers,” said BeLeaf director of marketing Melissa Kahn.

BeLeaf, Kahn added, expects to have five retail dispensaries open for business by the end of March. With two additional cultivation and manufacturing facilities also expected to open in the coming months, she said the company will be, “in full gear and fully operational with 30,000 square feet of canopy.”

At that point, BeLeaf will target however many of the state’s licensed 192 dispensaries that are up and running. Addition to supplying BeLeaf’s St. Peter’s location, Kahn said there are currently 24 dispensaries she can sell product to with several more undergoing a commencement process and scheduled to open in the coming months. 

Beyond selling flower, edibles, and vapes, BeLeaf is partnering with a local brewery to sell non-alcoholic THC-infused beer, and also plans to be a first-mover in Missouri for topicals, tablets and tinctures. 

Meyers, who’s resume includes co-creating the Spuds MacKenzie canine character for Bud Light commercials more than 30 years ago, in 2013 co-founded one of the first medical dispensaries in Illinois. Rolling Meadows-based Nature’s Care was later acquired by New York-based multi-state operator Acreage Holdings. 

Loyalty software company DataOwl is latest acquisition by Fyllo 

Chicago-based Fyllo, which sells software and services to help cannabis companies comply with marketing messages, acquired “cannabis engagement software company Data Owl, for an undisclosed sum.

Companies including CuraLeaf, Planet 13, and The Botanist use Data Owl technology to integrate loyalty marketing programs within their customer relationship management systems. 

Founded in 2019, Fyllo has raised more than $30 million in venture capital, becoming one of Chicago’s fastest-growing technology companies. Last year, Fyllo paid $10 million in stock and cash to acquire Denver based CannaRegs. 

Post acquisition, Fyllo will have more than 110 employees.

Curaleaf and Columbia Care raise more money 

Massachusetts-based CuraLeaf, a multistate operator that bought into the Midwest via its $840 million acquisition of Chicago-based Grassroots Interactive last year, raised $250 million through a stock sale on January 12. A day earlier, Curaleaf raised $50 million via a revolving credit facility. 

On January 7, New York-based Columbia Care, which operates in 13 states including cultivation and retail facilities in Illinois, raised $130 million via an equity sale. These companies join Chicago-based Verano Holdings and Cresco labs as cannabis companies with significant operations in the Midwest to raise nine-figures in early 2021. A January 18 Grown In article incorrectly referenced the valuation of Cresco Labs as of January 15 at “nearly $3 billion.” Cresco is valued at more than $5 billion.

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Brad Spirrison is a journalist, serial entrepreneur and media ecologist. He lives in Chicago with his son. Interests include music, meditation and Miles Davis.