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GTI’s Ben Kovler thumbs his nose at Canadian ambitions

Tilray, Aurora and other Canadian players say they are fixated on scooping up US cannabis assets, but Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries’ Ben Kovler is having none of it.

“It’s a non-factor. Not worried,” he told Insider. “They’re basically not cannabis businesses.”

‘Lying to investors’

Kovler didn’t hold back, arguing that Canadian weed’s deep pockets may buy them non-plant-touching entities or non-cannabis companies — think SweetWater brewery and Aphria, now Tilray — it’ll be tough for the public companies to buy anything plant-touching.

“That’s just dissuading, misleading, and lying to investors and the media about what they can do,” Kovler said. “Because they’re not US operators. They don’t own it.” 

The Tide is High

Meanwhile, Calgary-based High Tide CEO Raj Grover shared his plans for the US with MJ Biz Daily. So far, that’s included spending $42.49 million on US cannabis assets like online head shop and CBD store Smoke Cartel; 80% of FabCBD e-store and Daily High accessory store, with plans to acquire more dispensaries this year.

“If cannabis is legalized or decriminalized at the federal level, we’ll be in a position to enter the US market very quickly through both our bricks-and-mortar and our online businesses,” he said.

Staying in the ‘comfort zone’

That said, Grover said they’re not looking at vertically integrated MSOs — yet, anyway. 

“In Canada, we’re not vertically integrated,” he said. “We are having conversations with U.S. players that are currently not vertically integrated. But once we enter the U.S. market, once we get a handle on things, you can bet that we will be absolutely going after both.”

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