GMR published this on 26 Sept , of course, Steve White’s stepping down only 4 days later would have nothing to do with this.
Trips to the Bahamas. Rolex watches. Expensive cars. Exclusive concert tickets. Or literally just bags of cash.
Those are all ways used by independent marijuana brands in Arizona to buy their way onto dispensary shelves, according to several industry insiders, responding to the news that multistate operator Trulieve Cannabis Corp. – which runs 21 dispensaries in the state – filed a lawsuit against former employees alleging a “commercial bribery” scheme.
“Those are all the same concepts. It’s all just paying for shelf space in one way or another,” said Demitri Downing, CEO of the Arizona Marijuana Industry Trade Association (MITA AZ).
There are 169 recreational and 137 dual medical-recreational dispensaries in Arizona, according to a spokesperson the for Arizona Department of Health Services. Downing estimates that eight large companies run about half of them. Those include Trulieve, Curaleaf Holdings, Mint Cannabis, JARS Cannabis, and Nirvana Cannabis Co.
Because those larger players have their own in-house brands, there’s no incentive to provide shelf space to small, independent brands, Downing explained.
Rather, the only reason that an estimated 300 or more independent brands even exist in Arizona is because they’re allowed to sublease space at facilities owned and run by the same vertically integrated companies that also own many of the retail shops, Downing said.
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