This week, the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois named Tiffany Chappell Ingram as its new Executive Director. The CBAI represents most established cannabis operators in Illinois, including Cresco Labs, Curaleaf, Verano, PharmaCann and Ascend.
During her first week on the job, Ingram – who previously spent time at WeedMaps, the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago – shared with Grown In how she prioritizes her work ahead.
Grown In: What is your mission as the new executive director of the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois?
Tiffany Ingram: My mission is to promote and advocate for policies that create an environment that enables the full diversity of cannabis and ancillary businesses to thrive throughout Illinois. The cannabis industry in Illinois is at an important inflection point, and more work is needed for it to reach its fullest potential.
GI: Share the biggest challenges and opportunities your members face today.
TI: The challenges for the cannabis industry continue to be the structural problems that come with an industry that is not federally legal and confronts a patchwork of state legalization regimes. This invites a great deal of regulatory uncertainty when businesses need certainty and stability to thrive. Cannabis businesses face the unique struggle of raising capital while incurring the extra cost of taxes and extremely high banking fees and onerous terms. The higher cost for operating cannabis businesses directly translates into the inability to reinvest in these businesses, which impacts product development, hiring workforce and attracting new entrants into the market. Taken together, that limits the ability to invest in our communities and truly fulfill the promise of our great industry.
GI: How will you and the association address issues faced by all stakeholders in the ascending industry?
TI: One of the major issues in the Illinois market is that there is a great need to restructure the governance of cannabis. Currently, the Illinois market is decentralized into approximately 13 different agencies that have some part of regulating cannabis. This structure is an outlier compared to other states. The cannabis industry generates enough revenue in Illinois to justify its own unified governing structure. Illinois is also a market with great potential and promise because of the legislative intent embedded in the adult use cannabis law. This foundational matter must be resolved for comprehensive advancement in the cannabis industry in Illinois to take place.
GI: What is your definition of success one year from now?
TI: My definition of success is that CBAI continues to be viewed as a trusted guide for influencing policy development and implementation to make Illinois a thriving market. CBAI remains dedicated to collaborating with other stakeholders in and around this industry to create greater connectivity within the industry to best navigate complex issues such as consumer protections and patient access.
GI: Do you imbibe? If so, what is your favorite method or form factor?
TI: Yes, I owe cannabis a great deal for enabling me to be mobile when I suffer from debilitating chronic back pain. I appreciate products intended for medical use like RSOs and tinctures.
Notable Nuggets: 4Front, Skymint, Gavin Newsom, Missouri Microbusinesses
Although equity and debt capital is returning to the cannabis sector, rates are high and valuations are low. Inhale the new and exhale the old…
4Front Ventures obtains $10 million loan to build out and expand Illinois operations
Phoenix-based 4Front Ventures, a vertically integrated multi-state operator, is doubling down on its Illinois operations. The publicly traded company this week announced that it would be securing an additional $10 million in debt financing, with monthly payable rates north of 15 percent after a six-month reprieve. Proceeds from the loan will be invested in expanding 4Front Ventures’ Mission Dispensary retail operations in Illinois. The company currently has stores in South Chicago and Calumet City (near the Indiana border).
The company is aggressively courting relationships with newer social equity operators in the state.
“Our goal is to have our full slate of 10 retail stores before the end of 2024,”. CEO Leo Gontmakher said to somebody writing a press release.
While a fluid market, retail licenses for dispensaries located in the coveted BLS 5 Chicagoland region today are trading at a bit north of $2 million with approximately 10 percent down.
The release said 4Front’s new cultivation facility in the state is “imminent”, with enough products to support a state-capped 10-store network in the state.
Former Michigan behemoth Skymint’s assets acquired in receivership
Once a dominant player in Michigan’s competitive $2 billion market, vertically-integrated Skymint could not survive a perfect storm of high supply and interest rates. Earlier this month, the company’s 21 dispensaries along with equipment and leases critical to continued cultivation licenses were acquired in receivership from existing lender Tropics.
As reported by MJ Biz Daily, Tropics, which had previously lent Skymint $75 million, bid $109 million for the assets in June.
Gavin Newsom bolsters bud bonafides
California Governor and probable presidential candidate in the coming years Gavin Newsom signed three more cannabis-friendly bills into law this week during California’s legislative session.
As reported by Marijuana Moment, Newsom gave the green light to issues specific to business license types, fine allocations and the establishment of a state marijuana task force.
Along with Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker and Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Newsom is a high-profile probable eventual presidential candidate who supports progressive pot policy.
Missouri regulators warn against the sale of micro-licenses
Only days after issuing 48 licenses to cultivate small amounts of cannabis for commercial use, regulators at the state of Missouri’s Division of Cannabis Regulation issued a statement warning that licenses could not be sold to third parties.
Spokesperson Lisa Cox told Marijuana Moment that license holders “seeking additional investors prior to being operational is allowed, if the change in ownership does not exceed 50 percent.”
Meanwhile, Grown In is learning that greater enforcement against unlicensed cannabis conferences in Missouri is taking place, catalyzed in part by Grown In’s coverage earlier this year.
Join us for a captivating conversation on cannabis capital.
On Thursday, November 16 along with our friends at 1871, Grown In invites you to participate in the Cannabis Innovation Lab Community Kick-Off.
This hybrid event will include a panel conversation on public private partnership solutions to early-stage capital constraints faced by licensed and innovative ancillary cannabis operators as well as small group conversations focused on economic development in our ascending industry.
The Public Private Partnership panel is an output of The Burn ‘Em Plan, a collaborative initiative organized by Grown In to advance commercial cannabis interests in marijuana markets including Chicago.