Humboldt County, a region infamously synonymous with the Shangri-la of cannabis cultivation, was caught in the crosshairs when law enforcement seized over 64,000 unregulated marijuana plants.
According to a news release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, deputies from their Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) conducted multiple investigations during the week of August 9-12 into illegal cannabis cultivation in watersheds determined to be critical spawning streams for various salmon, trout, and other types of fish.
MET investigated numerous parcels during the service of the search warrants in the South Fork Trinity River, East Branch, Steelhead Creek, Mad River, Van Duzen, and Little Larrabee Creek/Van Duzen watersheds.
None of the parcels investigated possessed the required county permit and state license to cultivate cannabis commercially.
In total, deputies eradicated over 64,000 illegally grown cannabis plants and documented approximately 79 environmental violations, including 42 water diversion violations, 24 depositing trash into waterway violations, and 13 water pollution violations.
During the service of the search warrants, environmental scientists and law enforcement found and documented severe damage to the watersheds.
Environmental scientists found numerous deceased wildlife and located Coastal Giant Salamander larvae in a water diversion pool.
Full story from the Times-Standard.
In other Humboldt County news, Isabella Vanderheiden of the Times-Standard reports that Humboldt County announced more than $2 million in grant funding through Project Trellis, the county’s cannabis micro-grant, marketing, and local equity program.
The grants are designated to assist the local cannabis community with entering into the commercial cannabis marketplace.
Those eligible can apply for up to $10,000 “per service” per Humboldt County’s eligibility requirements for Project Trellis.
Applicants may download an application for the grant funding at the county’s website and send the application to ProjectTrellis@co.humboldt.ca.us.
Potential applicants may request a hard copy by contacting Project Trellis at +1 (707)-445-7745.
Hard copies can be mailed or delivered to the County of Humboldt CAO’s Office of Economic Development, Attn: Project Trellis, 825 Fifth Street No. 112, Eureka, CA 95501.
Applications must be received or postmarked no later than 5 p.m. on September 17.
M & A
Ayr Wellness, a vertically integrated cannabis multi-state operator (MSO), or dispensary chain, has entered into a binding letter of intent (LOI) to acquire Cultivauna, the owner of the Levia branded cannabis-infused seltzers and water-soluble tinctures.
Both companies expect the acquisition to close by the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2021, with a purchase price of $20 million.
Ayr intends to purchase 100% of the equity interests of Cultivauna, LLC.
The transaction terms include $20 million in upfront consideration, comprising up to $10 million in cash with the remainder in stock.
Ayr will provide an earn-out payment of up to an additional $40 million in shares based on achieving revenue targets in 2022 and 2023.
“Ayr Wellness is excited to join the rapidly-growing infused beverage segment through our Levia acquisition. We believe the opportunity to unlock a new consumer base through the beverage market is endless, and we look forward to continuing to make cannabis more approachable and sessionable through our high-quality products,” said Jonathan Sandelman, CEO of Ayr.
Levia is currently available in Massachusetts in three flavors: “Achieve” Raspberry Lime (Sativa), “Celebrate” Lemon Lime (Hybrid), and “Dream” Jam Berry (Indica)
Each flavor is available in 12-ounce skinny cans that contain 5mg of THC.
Levia is also available in water soluble tinctures in the same formulations.
Even though cannabis beverages have been hyped for years as the next exploding marketplace trend, beginning with Constellation Brands’ – makers of Corona beer– acquisition of Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth, the market still hasn’t taken off according to various analysts’ predictions.
While the category is growing, with unique brands including House of Saka, and Cannacraft’s Gem + Jane, the category as a whole, has yet to rival alcohol or cannabis flower for significant market share.
Prohibition of Interstate cannabis commerce and the lack of state-by-state bottling plant manufacturing contracts currently hinder national launches of cannabevs.
The market might see an explosion in this category once national distribution becomes available.
In 2019, shrewd cannabis company Caliva acquired plant-based beverage company, Zola, to preeminently access its established beverage-to-supermarket distribution network and expand into the cannabis and hemp-based CBD (hCBD) beverage market.
Cannabis Trade Shows
The Cannabis Edibles Expo (CEE), presented by the Beverage Trade Network, is an excellent place to check out emerging cannabevs and infused confectionaries.
Taking place in San Francisco on November 12, 2021, at the South San Francisco Conference Center, and in Chicago on November 16, 2021, at the Midwest Conference Center, the CEE gives MSOs and local dispensary buyers the chance to connect with established and emerging edibles brands.