In October 2018, Marijuana Venture featured an article on retail growth strategies, pulling insights from some of the largest multi-state operators at the time: Harvest Health & Recreation, Columbia Care, MedMen, Green Thumb Industries and LivWell International. Of course, all of the companies interviewed attributed growth to funding first and various corporate platitudes second.
Time has shown stability to be a major challenge in cannabis: Harvest was acquired by Trulieve in 2021; LivWell was acquired by PharmaCann in 2022; and Tilray bought a stake in MedMen, which has since sold its Florida operations and is transitioning to an “asset-light” model.
Jennifer Hildebrant, then-vice president of investor relations for GTI, told Marijuana Venture the company’s move to list on the Canadian Stock Exchange in June 2018 was its primary strategy for growth — and it proved successful as the company has grown from 13 Rise dispensaries to 67 in the past six years.
The October 2020 issue of Marijuana Venture featured the hard-luck tale of Pure Oasis, the first Black-owned cannabis store to open in Massachusetts, the first business to open through Massachusetts’ social equity program and the first adult-use retail store to open in Boston. As impressive as all those milestones sound, co-owners Kobie Evans and Kevin Hart spent years gathering resources to launch the business only to have it shut down just days later due to the pandemic. While nearly every other state deemed cannabis businesses as essential, Massachusetts was the one outlier forcing Evans and Hart to lay off all their employees until the business could reopen on Memorial Day, May 25, 2020 — the same day George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police. Pure Oasis was looted for about $100,000 in products by opportunists during the ensuing riots.
Now, Pure Oasis has expanded to a second location in Downtown Boston, with a third location opening soon in Brighton, Massachusetts.
Marijuana Venture’s annual Women to Watch feature saw Chanda Macias as its first returning honoree.
In addition to holding a doctorate in cellular biology and an MBA in supply chain management, Macias was the CEO of National Holistic Healthcare, a Washington, D.C. medical dispensary, part owner of Ilera Holistic Healthcare, one of two licensed medical cannabis companies in Louisiana, and CEO of the national, female-focused cannabis group Women Grow.
As an ambassador and advocate for the cannabis industry, Macias says her primary calling is to provide cannabis access to southern states.
“My mission is to pioneer the South for health care reasons, but in doing so I am very conscious of the laws that have been in place that have to be deconstructed,” Macias told Marijuana Venture. “There are so many policies and rules in place that we have to undo that are specifically for marijuana possession that come with mandated sentences.”