In the Bay Area, its first homegrown marijuana dispensary will be listed on an exchange as Oakland’s Harborside is about to go public.
Uber and Lyft .’s Recent IPOs did not “eat San Francisco alive” like The New York Times predicted. But a major cannabis company in the Bay Area has a stock offering that’s likely to make you more prone to the munchies.
Oakland pottery shop Harbor side, one of the largest dispensaries in the country and a 13-year-old mainstay of the Bay Area marijuana scene, is about to go public on the Canadian stock exchange. It’s another major transaction that shows how California cannabis companies now see themselves as operations worth hundreds of millions of dollars – but those dollars are often Canadian.
Technically, Harborside won’t be the first Bay Area cannabis company to list on a stock market. The Canadian company that acquired The Apothecarium in February is already listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under that parent company’s name TerrAscend. A Monterey cannabis conglomerate called Indus Holdings also floated on the Canadian stock exchange in April.
But this is the first homegrown, historic, pre-legalization Bay Area marijuana brand to appear on the stock market under its original name and identity.
“In terms of core Bay Area and long-standing legacy businesses, especially one like Harborside that’s been around since 2006, this is unique and very, very special to Northern California, to the industry and certainly to Harborside,” he said. CEO of the company, Andrew Berman. SF Weekly.
At the time of press time, we don’t know exactly when Harborside shares will start trading. The company has announced that it expects the shares to start trading “on or about June 6,” but that decision rests with the Canadian Securities Exchange. (To update: Harborside announced Thursday that its shares will begin trading on Monday, June 10.)
“We hope it’s Thursday. We expect it to be Thursday,” says Berman. “Maybe it’s Friday. It could be next week. But sometime in the short term.”
And we still don’t know for sure the stock’s launch price.
“We are aiming for a price of $7. Those are Canadian dollars, he says.
This isn’t really an IPO. Harborside completed a complex transaction dubbed a “reverse takeover” (RTO) with the already existing Canadian cannabis stock Lineage Grow Company. That company’s stock, which trades under the name “BUDD,” has been suspended from trading under Canadian stock exchange rules for takeovers of this type. The new stock will trade under the name Harborside and the ticker name will be updated to “HBOR.”
“This is a reverse takeover where we found a company that was already listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange,” explains Berman. “We’re merging into a company and for the merger to happen, we’re basically acquiring more of their stock, so we end up being the controlling entity.”
Lineage Grow Company was already active in the marijuana business. They are nowhere as large as Harborside, which is valued at $150 million, but they do have two dispensaries in Oregon, one in San Jose, and a 43,000-square-foot facility in Sacramento. So Harborside is acquiring some nice things of value in this reverse acquisition deal.
“Some of the other people who have done RTOs have found companies that may have been an old mining company or an old pharmaceutical company,” he says.
But Harborside is more than just an Oakland pharmacy, and parent company FLRish has quietly become one of the most powerful cannabis companies in California. Although Harborside has been retailing since the time of the “medical marijuana collective” of 2006, they have also acquired licenses to grow, process, manufacture and transport cannabis. The company claims to sell three percent of all retail cannabis in California.
Unfortunately for Harborside employees, they can’t stand getting rich quick from Harborside stock the way tech employees do. That’s because they won’t be getting Harborside shares — at least not yet.
“We are merging and becoming a new company,” admits Berman. “I need to get a new employee stock option plan for the new company. I’m getting a new board of directors. That’s something we’d love to do, but they won’t have it right away.”
But if you hope to get rich by investing in Harborside stock, how does an American go about buying Canadian marijuana stock?
“You need a real estate agent in Canada,” he says. “Most of the greater US [brokerage] Companies can help you with that too.”
Unsurprisingly, Harborside’s CEO thinks Harborside stock is an excellent investment.
“It’s a good, attractive investment because it’s been around for a long time,” explains Berman. “We know what we’re doing. We have assets that are in place. Some companies have gone public and are raising money to build assets. We have existing assets.”
That’s true, but the grass hasn’t always been greener up north for Canadian marijuana stocks. Most of them have fallen for the year, thanks to regulatory uncertainty surrounding the drug, making it difficult for companies to plan. It is certainly an important milestone to become a publicly traded stock, but there is no guarantee that the ship will come in from Harborside if it goes on the Candian stock exchange.