Australian company Creso Pharma (ASX: CPH) has appointed leading cannabis executive John Griese to the role of director of US business development, following a global trend towards cannabis legalisation as well as recent laws in New York state legalising the use of recreational marijuana.
Mr Griese brings nearly 30 years of executive level experience in sales, consumer package goods and supply chain management, through roles with large multinational companies including Nestle and Pepsico.
He also has a wealth of experience in the cannabis sector through previous roles with Creso Pharma, as well as California-based cannabis manufacturer and distributor Blooms Farms and Canada’s Supreme Cannabis Company, where he was responsible for product development, commercialisation initiatives, procurement, manufacturing operations and supply chain management.
Both roles have given Mr Griese considerable knowledge of the North American cannabis sector, and fostered important relationships which will be leveraged to drive growth for Creso Pharma.
Revenue generating opportunities
In his new role with Creso Pharma, Mr Griese will pursue revenue generating and value accretive opportunities in the North American market to further establish the company’s footprint ahead of the potential legalisation of recreational cannabis.
This will include delineating a strategy for Creso Pharma to begin delivering products into New York state, which is expected to become one of the largest recreational markets in the US with an estimated value of $5.48 billion.
Creso said its ability to export cannabis products into the US will remain subject to federal legalisation, which seeks to allow adults over the age of 21 years to legally possess up to three ounces of marijuana for recreational purposes.
“Having Mr Griese commence supply, sale, distribution and partnership agreements now, pending federal legalisation, provides us with an opportunity to be a first mover in this large market, and will provide us with a significant competitive advantage over our peers,” the company said.
“Once federal legalisation occurs, we expect to have made inroads into the US via these partnerships and agreements, which will provide speed to market and allow us to cater to the largest consumer market of cannabis in the world in a much more seamless manner.”
Creso has an established footprint in Canada’s recreational market via its wholly-owned subsidiary Mernova Medicinal Inc.
Both companies have previously navigated through complex regulatory frameworks to launch 10 recreational cannabis products under the Ritual Green and Ritual Sticks brands in four Canadian provinces.
Mernova has been generating revenues from recreational cannabis sales since September.
It operates a fully licensed 24,000 square foot cultivation and growing facility 350km from the US border, which was licenced in 2019 to grow medicinal cannabis in Canada.
The facility will provide Creso Pharma with a strong location from which to service the North American recreational cannabis market once legislation is passed.
“We are confident that our established operations in Canada will provide us with a first-mover advantage in the US recreational cannabis market,” the company said.
“Creso Pharma and Mernova are well-funded to scale up production capacity and operations in Canada and pursue opportunities across North America when possible.”