High-Quality Cannabis Cultivation and Distribution in Canada and the EU
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Maricann Group Inc. (CSE:MARI; FWB:75M; OTCQB:MRRCF) is a licensed cannabis producer focused on cannabis cultivation, extraction, formulation and distribution. Having established operations in both Canada and Europe, the company is building a 217,000-square-foot facility in Langton, Ontario and also has subsidiaries operating out of Saxony, Germany, as well as Switzerland. The company has also recently received a license from Malta Enterprise to set up a business to manufacture finished dose medical cannabis in the European nation.
Through the acquisition of NanoLeaf Technologies in October 2017, Maricann now has access to the globally patented VesiSorb delivery technology, which increases the bioavailability of cannabinoids and makes them soluble in water. This allows for the easy integration of both THC and CBD in edibles, gel capsules (like those produced by Maricann’s subsidiary Mariplant), functional beverages and topicals. The technology is already used in 40 percent of the world’s lipophilic drugs – Maricann is bringing the best of the pharmaceutical world to cannabis.
On track to becoming a vertically-integrated company that targets both the medicinal and recreational markets, Maricann is in the process of establishing distribution agreements across Canada and Europe. It has also established partnerships with a network of pharmacies, including a Canada-wide brand, under which they will develop educational programs and materials targeting medicinal cannabis for pharmacists, patients and healthcare professionals. Understanding the need for educating consumers and furthering the scientific insight into cannabis applications, Maricann also hopes to partner with organizations conducting cannabis studies.
In Canada, following the passing of the Cannabis Act, Maricann has been working on establishing partnerships with the various provinces and territories, as they will each be responsible for determining their distribution processes. As such, Maricann has signed an MOU with the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, a supply agreement with the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation, as well as a supply agreement with the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission.
Maricann is led by a team of executives and directors that have notable experience in both jurisdictions in which the company operates. This includes CEO Ben Ward, a cannabis pioneer who brings extensive experience in business and infrastructure development, as well as the company’s president, Terry Fretz, who has developed and sold two international generic pharmaceutical companies and has noted success in navigating highly-regulated markets. They are also supported by Geoff Kosar, VP of Sales and Marketing, who brings insight into marketing brands within regulatory frameworks, having worked for a spirits company. With Canada’s recreational market on the horizon, Kosar is leading the way in developing a strategy for how the company will deploy its products within an updated regulatory framework.
- Established footprint in both Canada and Europe
- Low-cost 217,000-square-foot Phase 1 cultivation facility under development and currently producing in Langton, Ontario
- Retrofitting 820,000-square-foot Ebersbach facility in Dresden, Germany
- Canada-wide pharmacy partnership to build educational programs
- Agreements with three Canadian provinces
- Establishing distribution and retail agreements across Canada and Europe
Langton Cultivation Facility
Maricann’s Langton fully-licensed cultivation facility is run by the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Maricann Inc., and sits on 97.5 acres of land, one hour away from London, Ontario. Maricann Inc. has received Health Canada licenses for the cultivation, sale and export of its products.
Maricann is currently in the process of constructing the Phase 1 building, which will encompass 217,000 square feet, with a yearly production rate of 22,500 kilograms once finalized in late 2018. The facility was designed and is being built by a team that has deployed a successful, cost-effective cultivation facility in Colorado which remained profitable even after cannabis prices decreased significantly.
The completed facility will include a 10,000-square-foot research and development facility, comprehensive extraction solutions, as well as GPP-compliant product manufacturing.
Phase 1 currently has plants growing within it and the expansion of the facility is on track to run at full run-rate capacity of 25,000 kilograms per year by the end of 2018.
Low-cost, high-efficiency facility
Under a mandate to conduct cultivation in an energy-efficient, low-cost approach in what is otherwise an energy-intensive industry, Maricann has partnered with global brands focused on incorporating automation into cannabis cultivation, including Rockwell Automation. Having implemented a unified platform to improve compliance and quality, as well as a building management system that helps increase energy efficiencies and reduces environmental impact, Maricann is able to reduce the required labour force for its facility by up to 90 percent, thus further reducing costs.
The Langton facility has also been categorized as being ‘88-percent-to-net-zero’, which means it has minimal reliance on external resources of power and water. The property has a natural gas well on sight, reducing electricity costs from $0.20 per kilowatt hour to $0.05 per kilowatt hour, on average. Maricann has also built a 1.55 million-liter cistern that collects rainwater and snowmelt. This water is then used across the facility, requiring little external water for cultivation. In addition to that, the company has also incorporated solar panels into its design.
The building has also been categorized as an R38 envelope, which means that it has significant insulation value, particularly when compared to other cultivation facilities that usually range between R2 and R10.
This model helps to reduce the overall cost of production, thus giving cannabis companies like Maricann the opportunity to provide high-quality cannabis at competitive prices.
Once Phase 1 is complete, the company will commence its efforts to build out the second and third phases of the building. This will include the construction of an additional 635,000 square feet of grow space, raising capacity to a projected total of 95,000 kilograms per year by the second half of 2019.
Expanding its footprint beyond Canada, and understanding the potential of Europe’s much larger population, the Maricann Group has two subsidiaries that are building out operations to supply the growing demand for medicinal and recreational cannabis within Europe. In Germany alone, over 15,000 patients have been given cannabis prescriptions since the start of 2017 and at least 62 percent of patients have had their prescriptions fully covered by insurance.
Maricann GmbH was founded in December 2016 and has been focused on retrofitting the company’s Ebersbach facility located near Dresden, Germany so as to include drying equipment capable of processing 1,000 kilograms of cannabis per hour. The facility is both GMP and GPP-compliant and, once completed, the company will have 820,000 square feet for cultivation, processing and extraction activities. So far, the company has completed an initial 49,000 square feet of the retrofit, which will be dedicated to narcotics import and wholesale.
Maricann is one of only six licensed producers which have been granted GMP certification. This allows the company to export product to Germany, where cannabis prices average approximately 24 euros per gram. As the German tender process is still under work, licensed producers with the ability to export to the European nation still have an opportunity to remain competitive in the market.
Mariplant—a 95 percent owned subsidiary of Maricann’s that develops non-THC cannabis nutraceutical products—is running an outdoor hemp cultivation operation on 164 hectares of agricultural land in Saxony, Germany. As part of their operations, the company will focus on developing isolates of CBD and CBG and then develop food supplements to be distributed across Germany and the remainder of the EU.
“We believe that this large scale outdoor cannabis cultivation and extraction operation has the potential to reduce our costs of production significantly, specifically for isolate CBD, CBN and CBG,” said Maricann CEO Ben Ward. “Through this initiative, we expect to be able to produce our own active ingredients for our products, reducing material costs of active ingredients for Mariplant products that we currently purchase from third parties. Our expectation is that this will result in a further competitive advantage for Mariplant, benefiting in a differentiated product through VesiSorb’s patented delivery technology, with the end result of value creation for Maricann shareholders.”
Mariplant is also in the process of developing a mass extraction laboratory, in which they will process the hemp plant. Once the company has developed its gel capsules with the use of the VesiSorb technology, it will sell them through its online shop www.mariplant.de.
Acquisitions and Partnerships
In May 2018, Maricann finalized the acquisition of Switzerland-based Haxxon AG as part of its European expansion strategy. According to Ward, Switzerland has seen notable growth in demand for low THC cannabis and hemp as substitutes for tobacco consumption and Maricann wants to provide high-quality products that meet this demand.
Haxxon is focused on the development of feminized, high-CBD cannabis plants with less than 1 percent THC and conducts its cultivation activities in a 64,500-square-foot indoor facility in Regensdorf, a suburb of Zurich.
In October 2017, Maricann acquired NanoLeaf Technologies, the developer of the globally patented VesiSorb delivery technology. Differentiating Maricann from its competitors, the VesiSorb technology increases the bioavailability of cannabis by making cannabinoids water-soluble.
A proven pharmaceutical technology, VesiSorb allows extracts of both THC and CBD to be effectively incorporated into beverages, edibles, capsules and transdermal products, addressing the needs of both the medicinal and recreational markets. By enhancing bioavailability, VesiSorb technology reduces the onset time of cannabinoids from 60 to 90 minutes, to 10 to 15 minutes. It also makes it much easier for doctors to prescribe and administer precise doses to patients.
Having received a license for finished goods manufacturing in Malta, Maricann plans to manufacture its VesiSorb CBD and THC softgels there.
Understanding that as cannabis becomes more commoditized, the value of cannabis products will lie in the pharmaceutical realm, Maricann has developed partnerships with national and regional pharmacy operators. Within Canada alone, the company has entered into a partnership with a national retail network.
The pharmacy partnership initiative includes educational programming for both patients and healthcare practitioners as well as medicinal-cannabis training for pharmacists. The program maintains the wellbeing and education of patients at its core.
Rare Dankness genetics
In January 2018, Maricann entered into an exclusivity agreement with Rare Dankness LLC to bring the latter’s cannabis strains and products into Canada. Under the agreement, Maricann will have exclusive distribution and retail rights for the Rare Dankness products and genetics over five years. The company will also have the right of first refusal to act as Rare Dankness’ distributor in Europe.
Rare Dankness owns a genetic bank that spans three decades and includes high-quality, specially-bred strains. The company has utilized its expertise to develop new genetics which have led to the receipt of multiple High Times Cannabis Cups.
Once the recreational market is launched in the summer of 2018, Rare Dankness products will be at the forefront of Maricann’s offerings.
Benjamin Ward—CEO and Director
Ben Ward leads all facets of the company’s operations, including its strategic direction and execution, finance and industry relations. He brings extensive domestic and global experience in business development, infrastructure development and capital markets to his leadership of Maricann. He holds a BA (Honors) and an MBA from Bradford
University School of Management (England), the latter with a dual concentration in Operations and Finance.
Terry Fretz is a long-time pharmaceutical executive who was integral in establishing and running two privately held generic pharmaceutical companies. Under his leadership, both organizations were recognized as the fastest growing pharma companies in Canada. Both companies were subsequently acquired by publicly traded multinationals. He served as President and General Manager of Watson Pharmaceuticals – Canada
before assuming his responsibilities as President at Maricann.
Scott Langille has over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry in both Canada and the United States. Scott has held CFO positions at publicly traded pharmaceutical companies including Tribute Pharmaceuticals, and Virexx Medical Corp. Past financial experience includes Vice President at Biovail Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Director, Corporate Finance at Biovail Corporation. He has a professional accounting designation and an MBA from the University of Toronto.
Geoff Kosar—VP of Sales and Marketing
Geoff Kosar has played a key role in shaping the marketing and strategic direction of many iconic household brands in Canada for the past 20 years. Most recently, he was the Head of Marketing at Diageo, Canada’s largest Spirits company. He understands selling and marketing brands in regulated industries.
Paul Pathak—Interim Chair of the Board
Paul Pathak is a partner at Chitiz Pathak LLP, a Toronto law firm. Paul practices principally in the areas of corporate, securities, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and commercial law. He represents and provides sophisticated guidance to private and public corporate clients in a broad range of industries, including mining, technology, cannabis, manufacturing, venture capital and merchant banking.
Michael Stein currently acts as a financial consultant and advises clients on various matters, including acquisitions, divestitures, corporate financings, reorganizations and restructurings. He is currently the President, Secretary and director of Applied Inventions Management Corp. He is former Director of U.S. Money Market for a federally chartered Trust company and former institutional money banker for a US Savings and Loan Association based in California. He majored in economics and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from York University.
Past partner of Ernst and Young’s German practice, Gerhard Müller was responsible for the Technology, Media & Entertainment sector at Ernst & Young for the Germany, Switzerland, Austria (GSA) Region. He is a Certified Public Auditor and Tax consultant who studied economics and English in Munich and Manchester (UK). He is the deputy chairman of m4e AG, a German listed Media company. Gerhard is an independent member of the company’s Board of Directors.
With extensive experience using medical cannabis to treat chronic pain, Dr. Eric Silver co-founded L.E. Medical in 2002, a nutraceutical and natural health supplement company. He is an Assistant Professor and Clinical Teacher in the Department of Family
and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. He is a member of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, with a focused practice in interventional pain management.
Graham Farrell—Director, Investor Relations
Graham Farrell has been deeply involved with the capital markets for more than 15 years. Prior to joining Maricann, he worked in every aspect of the investment banking business, from running an equity trading desk to financing public companies. He studied Political Science at the University of Waterloo.
Dr. Steven Bennett—Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Steven Bennett is a molecular biologist with a background in transdermal drug delivery. As Maricann’s Scientific Director, he sources and develops new products, ensuring their scientific and technical rigour. He holds two patents and has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals. He earned a BSc. in biochemistry from Eckerd College, and received his Ph.D. in molecular biology – with an emphasis on neuroscience – from The University of South Florida College of Medicine.
Dan Healey—VP Operations
With over 35 years manufacturing and quality assurance leadership within tier 1 food & beverage manufacturing companies, Dan Healey has directed operations at large complex manufacturing plants within organizations Nestle, and Parmalat. He leads the company’s Canadian Operations, including supply chain and the Quality Assurance team. His Engineering and Food Science background coupled with his experience is rapidly building our Lean Manufacturing Team with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Josef Spaeth—General Manager GMBH
A certified industrial designer by trade, Josef Spaeth brings extensive experience in development and global project management to Maricann Europe. His considerable Industry network is invaluable to the success of the German and European Maricann operations. Josef coordinates and manages organization and oversight of the required Infrastructure and the design of fully compliant production facilities.
Dr. Markus Backmund, MD, PhD—Medical Lead
Dr. Markus Backmund is the Chair of the German Society of Addiction Medicine, Professor of Medicine Ludwig Maximilians Universtät Munchen, Head of PIT, Editor of the magazine Suchtmedizin (Journal of Addiction Medicine), President of the interdisciplinary congress of Addiction Medicine, Munich (800 Medical Doctors) and various other positions mainly relating to addiction research and drug and alcohol dependency.
Birgit Homburger—Public Policy Lead
Birgit Homburger is currently heading the Berlin office of the Deutsche Aktieninstitut e.V and senior advisor in an international executive search company. She is the recent past chair of the Freie Demokratische Partei, member of the Federal Coalition committee, member of the Bundestag up to 2013, Chairwoman of the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag, and leader of the parliamentary group with 93 members of the German Bundestag, responsible for over 110 staff.
Dr. Horst Schiessl—Legal Lead
Dr. Horst Schiessl is a member of the Board of the Dussmann Stifting and Independent Chair of the supervisory board of Baader Bank AG. He is a founding partner of SSP Schwiessl and is also a lawyer with more than forty years of experience in consulting and advising larger German companies and family offices. He studied law and economics in Munich.
Hans Dendl—Insurance and Technology Lead
Hans Dendl is a past Chairman of AOK Health, a researcher at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Research. He is currently a lecturer at Ludwig Maximilians Universtät Munchen (LMU) — MSc. He holds a degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
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