The interest in cannabis today is as high as a kite. Seriously. It is time to think about investor risk because green will not always be the prevailing color. At times there will be a sea of red, and many, perhaps even the majority, of the current industry players will fail.
Investor relations of all these companies feed a continuous stream of positives; but the lawyers and independent directors must play a different role, one that leads to good corporate governance and risk management practices. Investors need only look to the risk disclosure statements of cannabis company regulatory filings, which are made in the go-public prospectuses and quarter-yearly Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) reports.
Unlike the blue-sky imagery painted by senior managers, the fine print contains the facts.
To get these facts, as an example of what you will find in corporate filings, we turned to the prospectus of The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd, which went public in April and trades under the TGOD ticker on the Toronto Exchange. Covering eleven pages (from page 97 through 107 of the prospectus), TGOD listed about 54 different risk factors that investors were to consider.
Subsequently, The Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD) did raise aggregate gross proceeds of C$132,263,225 under the IPO and had a successful listing.
In addition, Canada has legislated the Cannabis Act, which will apply throughout the country on October 17. So, some of these listed risks no longer apply. However, should investors be considering a pre-public company investment in a cannabis company in Canada (or elsewhere), or in one that is already listed, a careful reading is advised.
In the interests of full disclosure, Bill Cara is an investor and Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of AgriCure Ltd, a development company that is entering the Canadian cannabis market in 2018. Owen Williams is on the Board of Advisors.
Another member of the AgriCure Ltd Board of Advisors is Omowale Crenshaw, a business associate of Messrs. Cara and Williams who is a professor in the Howard University School of Business in Washington DC where this fall will become the first professor of a major North American university offering a course to graduate and under-graduate students that covers the business of marijuana.
Here is the Howard University course outline:
We offer our congratulations to Howard U. and to Dean Barron Harvey and Professor Crenshaw of the Business School and we send them our hopes for a successful program.
Now, here are TGOD’s published risk factors, including the details, most of which in the interests of time you will skip:
RISK FACTORS: THE GREEN ORGANIC DUTCHMAN
An investment in the Units involves a high degree of risk and should be considered highly speculative due to the nature of the Company’s business and its present stage of development. An investment in the Company’s securities is suitable only for those knowledgeable and sophisticated investors who are willing to risk loss of their entire investment. Prospective investors should consult with their professional advisors to assess an investment in the Company’s securities. In evaluating the Company and its business, investors should carefully consider, in addition to the other information contained in this Prospectus, the following risk factors. These risk factors are not a definitive list of all risk factors associated with an investment in the Company or in connection with the Company’s operations.
Risks Relating to the Company’s Business
Limited Operating History
We have a very limited history of operations and are considered a start-up company. As such, we are subject to many risks common to such enterprises, including under-capitalization, cash shortages, limitations with respect to personnel, financial and other resources and lack of revenues. There is no assurance that we will be successful in achieving a return on shareholders’ investment and the likelihood of our success must be considered in light of our early stage of operations.
The Company’s actual financial position and results of operations may differ materially from the expectations of the Company’s management.
The Company’s actual financial position and results of operations may differ materially from management’s expectations. The Company has experienced some changes in its operating plans and certain delays in its plans. As a result, the Company’s revenue, net income and cash flow may differ materially from the Company’s projected revenue, net income and cash flow. The process for estimating the Company’s revenue, net income and cash flow requires the use of judgment in determining the appropriate assumptions and estimates. These estimates and assumptions may be revised as additional information becomes available and as additional analyses are performed. In addition, the assumptions used in planning may not prove to be accurate, and other factors may affect the Company’s financial condition or results of operations.
The Company expects to incur significant ongoing costs and obligations related to its investment in infrastructure, growth, regulatory compliance and operations.
The Company expects to incur significant ongoing costs and obligations related to its investment in infrastructure and growth and for regulatory compliance, which could have a material adverse impact on the Company’s results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. In addition, future changes in regulations, more vigorous enforcement thereof or other unanticipated events could require extensive changes to the Company’s operations, increased compliance costs or give rise to material liabilities, which could have a material adverse effect on the business, results of operations and financial condition of the Company. Our efforts to grow our business may be costlier than we expect, and we may not be able to increase our revenue enough to offset our higher operating expenses. We may incur significant losses in the future for a number of reasons, including the other risks described in this prospectus, and unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications and delays, and other unknown events. If we are unable to achieve and sustain profitability, the market price of our Common Shares may significantly decrease.
The medical cannabis industry and market are relatively new in Canada and this industry and market may not continue to exist or grow as anticipated or the Company may be ultimately unable to succeed in this new industry and market.
As a licensed producer, the Company is operating its business in a relatively new industry and market. In addition to being subject to general business risks, the Company must continue to build brand awareness in this industry and market through significant investments in its strategy, its production capacity, quality assurance and compliance with regulations. In addition, there is no assurance that the industry and market will continue to exist and grow as currently estimated or anticipated or function and evolve in the manner consistent with management’s expectations and assumptions. Any event or circumstance that adversely affects the cannabis industry and market could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial conditions and results of operations.
There are factors which may prevent the Company from the realization of growth targets.
The Company is currently in the expansion from early development stage. The Company’s growth strategy contemplates building the Hamilton Facility Expansion and the Québec Facility. There is a risk that these additional resources will not be achieved on time, on budget, or at all, as they can be adversely affected by a variety of factors, including some that are discussed elsewhere in these “Risk Factors” and the following:
- delays in obtaining, or conditions imposed by, regulatory approvals;
facility design errors;
- environmental pollution; non-performance by third party contractors; increases in materials or labour costs; construction performance falling below expected levels of output or efficiency;
- breakdown, aging or failure of equipment or processes;
- contractor or operator errors;
- operational inefficiencies;
- labour disputes, disruptions or declines in productivity; inability to attract sufficient numbers of qualified workers; disruption in the supply of energy and utilities; and
- major incidents and/or catastrophic events such as fires, explosions, storms, or physical attacks.
Construction Risk Factors
The Company is subject to a number of risk factors, including the availability and performance of engineering and construction contractors, suppliers and consultants, the receipt of required governmental approvals and permits in connection with the construction of the Hamilton Facility Expansion and the Québec Facility. Any delay in the performance of any one or more of the contractors, suppliers, consultants or other persons on which the Company is dependent in connection with its construction activities, a delay in or failure to receive the required governmental approvals and permits in a timely manner or on reasonable terms, or a delay in or failure in connection with the completion and successful operation of the operational elements in connection with construction could delay or prevent the construction and start-up of the Hamilton Facility Expansion or the Québec Facility as planned. There can be no assurance that current or future construction plans implemented by the Company will be successfully completed on time, within budget and without design defect; that available personnel and equipment will be available in a timely manner or on reasonable terms to successfully complete construction projects; that the Company will be able to obtain all necessary governmental approvals and permits; or that the completion of the construction, the start-up costs and the ongoing operating costs will not be significantly higher than anticipated by the Company. Any of the foregoing factors could adversely impact the operations and financial condition of the Company.
Hamilton Facility and the Québec Facility
The Hamilton Facility is, and the Québec Facility is expected to become, integral to the Company’s business and adverse changes or developments affecting either of the Hamilton Facility or the Québec Facility may impact the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations.
The Company’s activities and resources are currently focused on the Hamilton Facility. The License is specific to the Hamilton Facility. Adverse changes or developments affecting the Hamilton Facility, including but not limited to a force majeure event or a breach of security, could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition and prospects. Any breach of the security measures and other facility requirements, including any failure to comply with recommendations or requirements arising from inspections by Health Canada, could also have an impact on the Company’s ability to continue operating under the License or the prospect of renewing the License or would result in a revocation of the License.
The Company has also purchased and is expecting to complete the build-out of its Québec Facility, and the Company has also applied for the Québec Facility License and expects that the Québec Facility has the potential to significantly increase the Company’s cultivation and growing capacity. However, no assurance can be given that Health Canada will approve the Québec Facility License. If the Company is unable to secure the Québec Facility License, the expectations of management with respect to the increased future cultivation and growing capacity may not be borne out, which could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations. Further, construction delays or cost over-runs in respect of the build-out of the Québec Facility, howsoever caused, could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations.
Reliance on a Single Facility
To date, the Company’s activities and resources have been primarily focused on the Hamilton Facility and the Company expects to continue to be focused on operations at the Hamilton Facility for the foreseeable future until completion of the construction of the proposed Québec Facility. Adverse changes or developments affecting the Hamilton Facility, including any maintenance requirements of, or material damage or destruction to, the Hamilton Facility, could have a material and adverse effect on the business, financial condition and prospects of the Company. See “Material Contracts”.
The Company is reliant on cultivation Licenses to produce medical cannabis products in Canada
The Company is dependent upon its License for its ability to grow, store and sell medical cannabis and other products derived there from and the License is subject to ongoing compliance, reporting requirements and renewal. See “Material Contracts”.
The Company’s ability to grow, store and sell cannabis for medical purposes in Canada is dependent on the License. The License is subject to ongoing compliance, reporting requirements and renewal. The License was last amended on December 29, 2017. Although the Company believes it will meet the requirements of the ACMPR for future renewals of its License, there can be no guarantee that Health Canada will renew the License or, if renewed, that it will be renewed on the same or similar terms or that Health Canada will not revoke the License. Should the Company fail to comply with the requirements of the License or should Health Canada not renew the License when required or renew the License on different terms or revoke the License, there would be a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations.
Government licenses are currently, and in the future may be, required in connection with the Company’s operations, in addition to other unknown permits and approvals which may be required. To the extent such permits, and approvals are required and not obtained, the Company may be prevented from operating and/or expanding its business, which could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations.
The Company is subject to changes in Canadian laws, regulations and guidelines which could adversely affect the Company’s future business, financial condition and results of operations.
The Company’s operations will be subject to various laws, regulations and guidelines relating to the manufacture, management, packaging/labelling, advertising, sale, transportation, storage and disposal of medical cannabis but also including laws and regulations relating to drugs, controlled substances, health and safety, the conduct of operations and the protection of the environment. Changes to such laws, regulations and guidelines due to matters beyond the control of the Company may cause material adverse effects business, financial condition and results of operations of the Company. The Company endeavours to comply with all relevant laws, regulations and guidelines. To the best of the Company’s knowledge, the Company is in compliance or in the process of being assessed for compliance with all such laws, regulations and guidelines as described elsewhere in this prospectus.
On June 30, 2016, the Canadian Federal Government established the Task Force to seek input on the design of a new system to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to marijuana. On December 13, 2016, the Task Force completed its review and published a report outlining its recommendations. On April 13, 2017, the Canadian Federal Government released Bill C-45, which proposes the enactment of the Cannabis Act, to regulate the production, distribution and sale of cannabis for unqualified adult use, with a target implementation date to occur in August 2018. However, it is unknown if this regulatory change will be implemented at all. Several recommendations from the Task Force reflected in the Cannabis Act including, but not limited to, permitting home cultivation, potentially easing barriers to entry into a Canadian recreational marijuana market and restrictions on advertising and branding, could materially and adversely affect the future business, financial condition and results of operations of the Company. Their advice will be considered by the Government of Canada as a new framework for recreational marijuana is developed and it is possible that such developments could significantly adversely affect the future business, financial condition and results of operations of the Company.
The governments of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Québec and New Brunswick have yet to implement a legislation to regulate the distribution and sale of cannabis for recreational purposes. There is no guarantee that provincial legislation regulating the distribution and sale of cannabis for recreational purposes will be enacted according to the terms announced by such provinces, or at all, or that any such legislation, if enacted, will create the growth opportunities that the Company currently anticipates.
The Company may not be able to develop its products, which could prevent it from ever becoming profitable.
If the Company cannot successfully develop, manufacture and distribute its products, or if the Company experiences difficulties in the development process, such as capacity constraints, quality control problems or other disruptions, the Company may not be able to develop market-ready commercial products at acceptable costs, which would adversely affect the Company’s ability to effectively enter the market. A failure by the Company to achieve a low-cost structure through economies of scale or improvements in cultivation and manufacturing processes would have a material adverse effect on the Company’s commercialization plans and the Company’s business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.
The Company’s officers and directors control a large percentage of the Company’s issued and outstanding Common Shares and such officers and directors may have the ability to control matters affecting the Company and its business.
The officers and directors of the Company currently own approximately 12% of the issued and outstanding Common Shares. The Company’s shareholders nominate and elect the Board, which generally has the ability to control the acquisition or disposition of the Company’s assets, and the future issuance of its Common Shares or other securities. Accordingly, for any matters with respect to which a majority vote of the Common Shares may be required by law, the Company’s directors and officers may have the ability to control such matters. Because the directors and officers control a substantial portion of such Common Shares, investors may find it difficult or impossible to replace the Company’s directors if they disagree with the way the Company’s business is being operated.
There is no assurance that the Company will turn a profit or generate immediate revenues.
There is no assurance as to whether the Company will be profitable, earn revenues, or pay dividends. The Company has incurred and anticipates that it will continue to incur substantial expenses relating to the development and initial operations of its business. The payment and amount of any future dividends will depend upon, among other things, the Company’s results of operations, cash flow, financial condition, and operating and capital requirements. There is no assurance that future dividends will be paid, and, if dividends are paid, there is no assurance with respect to the amount of any such dividends.
The Company’s operations are subject to environmental regulation in the various jurisdictions in which it operates.
These regulations mandate, among other things, the maintenance of air and water quality standards and land reclamation. They also set forth limitations on the generation, transportation, storage and disposal of solid and hazardous waste. Environmental legislation is evolving in a manner which will require stricter standards and enforcement, increased fines and penalties for non-compliance, more stringent environmental assessments of proposed projects and a heightened degree of responsibility for companies and their officers, directors and employees. There is no assurance that future changes in environmental regulation, if any, will not adversely affect the Company’s operations. Investors should note that numerous proposed regulations under the Environmental Quality Act (Québec) was published for consultation on February 14, 2018 and such proposed regulations are expected to come into force in the second or third quarter of 2018.
Government environmental approvals and permits are currently and may in the future be required in connection with the Company’s operations. To the extent such approvals are required and not obtained, the Company may be curtailed or prohibited from its proposed business activities or from proceeding with the development of its operations as currently proposed.
Failure to comply with applicable environmental laws, regulations and permitting requirements may result in enforcement actions thereunder, including orders issued by regulatory or judicial authorities causing operations to cease or be curtailed, and may include corrective measures requiring capital expenditures, installation of additional equipment, or remedial actions. The Company may be required to compensate those suffering loss or damage due to its operations and may have civil or criminal fines or penalties imposed for violations of applicable laws or regulations.
The Company produces organic cannabis products, which it believes will command a higher price in the marketplace. However, there can be no assurances that organic standards will not change and that the Company can continue to meet the requirements of such standards. Failure to continue to maintain organic standards may have an adverse affect on the market price of the Company’s products.
Québec Facility Ownership Risk
There can be no assurance that the Company will receive the required approvals from CPTAQ in order to acquire the Valleyfield Land in a timely manner or at all. Failure to receive the necessary approvals could have an adverse effect on the business and financial results of the Company.
Additionally, in certain limited circumstances, the Company may have the obligation to purchase the shares of the majority shareholders of Québec Subco regardless of whether the CPTAQ has granted its approval. The Company believes, however, that the time provided to proceed with such purchase (one or two years, depending on the situation) would be sufficient to establish an alternate ownership structure that would comply with the requirements of the Québec Act. If the Company is unable to establish an alternate ownership structure it could face forfeiture of the Valleyfield Land.
The Company faces competition from other companies where it will conduct business that may have higher capitalization, more experienced management or may be more mature as a business.
An increase in the companies competing in this industry could limit the ability of the Company to expand its operations. Current and new competitors may be better capitalized, a longer operating history, more expertise and able to develop higher quality equipment or products, at the same or a lower cost. The Company cannot provide assurances that it will be able to compete successfully against current and future competitors. Competitive pressures faced by the Company could have a material adverse effect on its business, operating results and financial condition. In addition, despite Canadian federal and state-level legalization of marijuana, illicit or “black-market” operations remain abundant and present substantial competition to the Company. In particular, illicit operations, despite being largely clandestine, are not required to comply with the extensive regulations that the Company must comply with to conduct business, and accordingly may have significantly lower costs of operation.
If the Company is unable to develop and market new products, it may not be able to keep pace with market developments.
The Company’s success has depended and continues to depend upon its ability to attract and retain key management, including the Company’s CEO, technical experts and sales personnel. The Company will attempt to enhance its management and technical expertise by continuing to recruit qualified individuals who possess desired skills and experience in certain targeted areas. The Company’s inability to retain employees and attract and retain sufficient additional employees or engineering and technical support resources could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, results of operations, sales, cash flow or financial condition. Shortages in qualified personnel or the loss of key personnel could adversely affect the financial condition of the Company, results of operations of the business and could limit the Company’s ability to develop and market its cannabis-related products. The loss of any of the Company’s senior management or key employees could materially adversely affect the Company’s ability to execute our business plan and strategy, and the Company may not be able to find adequate replacements on a timely basis, or at all. The Company does not maintain key person life insurance policies on any of our employees.
There is no assurance that the Company will retain any relevant Licenses nor obtain new licenses or approvals that may be required for the Company’s business and future plans.
The Company’s ability to grow, store and sell cannabis in Canada is dependent on the ability of the Company to retain its License from Health Canada. Licenses, once issued, are subject to ongoing compliance and reporting requirements. Failure to comply with the requirements would have a material adverse impact on the business, financial condition and operating results of the Company. There is also no assurance of new licenses or approvals from Health Canada.
The Company cannot predict the time required to secure all appropriate regulatory approvals for its products, or the extent of testing and documentation that may be required by governmental authorities. Any delays in obtaining, or failure to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals will significantly delay the development of the Company’s markets and products and could have a material adverse effect on the business, results of operations and financial condition of the Company.
The size of the Company’s target market is difficult to quantify, and investors will be reliant on their own estimates on the accuracy of market data.
Because the cannabis industry is in a nascent stage with uncertain boundaries, there is a lack of information about comparable companies available for potential investors to review in deciding about whether to invest in the Company and, few, if any, established companies whose business model the Company can follow or upon whose success the Company can build. Accordingly, investors will have to rely on their own estimates in deciding about whether to invest in the Company. There can be no assurance that the Company’s estimates are accurate or that the market size is sufficiently large for its business to grow as projected, which may negatively impact its financial results. The Company regularly purchases and follows market research.
The Company’s industry is experiencing rapid growth and consolidation that may cause the Company to lose key relationships and intensify competition.
The cannabis industry is undergoing rapid growth and substantial change, which has resulted in an increase in competitors, consolidation and formation of strategic relationships. Acquisitions or other consolidating transactions could harm the Company in a number of ways, including by losing strategic partners if they are acquired by or enter into relationships with a competitor, losing customers, revenue and market share, or forcing the Company to expend greater resources to meet new or additional competitive threats, all of which could harm the Company’s operating results. As competitors enter the market and become increasingly sophisticated, competition in the Company’s industry may intensify and place downward pressure on retail prices for its products and services, which could negatively impact its profitability.
The Company continues to sell shares for cash to fund operations, capital expansion, mergers and acquisitions that will dilute the current shareholders.
There is no guarantee that the Company will be able to achieve its business objectives. The continued development of the Company will require additional financing. The failure to raise such capital could result in the delay or indefinite postponement of current business objectives or the Company going out of business. There can be no assurance that additional capital or other types of financing will be available if needed or that, if available, the terms of such financing will be favourable to the Company.
If additional funds are raised through issuances of equity or convertible debt securities, existing shareholders could suffer significant dilution, and any new equity securities issued could have rights, preferences and privileges superior to those of holders of Common Shares. The Company’s articles permit the issuance of an unlimited number of Common Shares, and shareholders will have no pre-emptive rights in connection with such further issuance. The directors of the Company have discretion to determine the price and the terms of issue of further issuances. Moreover, additional Common Shares will be issued by the Company on the exercise of Options under the New Option Plan and upon the exercise of outstanding warrants. In addition, from time to time, the Company may enter into transactions to acquire assets or the shares of other companies. These transactions may be financed wholly or partially with debt, which may temporarily increase the Company’s debt levels above industry standards. Any debt financing secured in the future could involve restrictive covenants relating to capital raising activities and other financial and operational matters, which may make it more difficult for the Company to obtain additional capital and to pursue business opportunities, including potential acquisitions. The Company may require additional financing to fund its operations to the point where it is generating positive cash flows. Negative cash flow may restrict the Company’s ability to pursue its business objectives.
If you purchase shares of our Common Shares in an offering, you will experience substantial and immediate dilution, because the price that you pay will be substantially greater than the net tangible book value per share of the Common Shares that you acquire. This dilution is due in large part to the fact that our earlier investors will have paid substantially less than a public offering price when they purchased their shares of our capital stock.
The Company’s activities are subject to the Investor Rights Agreement
In connection with Aurora’s investment in the Company, the parties entered into the Investor Rights Agreement. Under the Investor Rights Agreement, the Company granted the Participation Right to Aurora whereby, subject to certain exceptions, Aurora may maintain its pro rata ownership in the Company. Aurora also has the right to nominate a director to the Board. These rights may affect the Company’s ability to conduct certain business and could have adverse affect the business, financial condition and results of operations of the Company.
The Company currently has insurance coverage; however, because the Company operates within the cannabis industry, there are additional difficulties and complexities associated with such insurance coverage.
The Company believes that it and TGOD currently have insurance coverage with respect to workers’ compensation, general liability, directors’ and officers’ insurance, fire and other similar policies customarily obtained for businesses to the extent commercially appropriate; however, because the Company is engaged in and operates within the cannabis industry, there are exclusions and additional difficulties and complexities associated with such insurance coverage that could cause the Company to suffer uninsured losses, which could adversely affect the Company’s business, results of operations, and profitability. There is no assurance that the Company will be able to fully utilize such insurance coverage, if necessary.
The cultivation of cannabis includes risks inherent in an agricultural business including the risk of crop loss, sudden changes in environmental conditions, equipment failure, product recalls and others.
The Company’s future business involves the growing of medical marijuana, an agricultural product. Such business will be subject to the risks inherent in the agricultural business, such as insects, plant diseases and similar agricultural risks. Although the Company expects that any such growing will be completed indoors under climate-controlled conditions, there can be no assurance that natural elements will not have a material adverse effect on any such future production.
In order for customers of the Company to receive their product, the Company will rely on third party transportation services. This can cause logistical problems with and delays in patients obtaining their orders and cannot be directly controlled by the Company. Any delay by third party transportation services may adversely affect the Company’s financial performance.
Moreover, security of the product during transportation to and from the Company’s facilities is critical due to the nature of the product. A breach of security during transport could have material adverse effects on the Company’s business, financials and prospects. Any such breach could impact the Company’s future ability to continue operating under its Licenses or the prospect of renewing its Licenses.
The Company may be subject to product recalls for product defects self-imposed or imposed by regulators.
Manufacturers and distributors of products are sometimes subject to the recall or return of their products for a variety of reasons, including product defects, such as contamination, unintended harmful side effects or interactions with other substances, packaging safety and inadequate or inaccurate labeling disclosure. If any of the Company’s products are recalled due to an alleged product defect or for any other reason, the Company could be required to incur the unexpected expense of the recall and any legal proceedings that might arise in connection with the recall. The Company may lose a significant amount of sales and may not be able to replace those sales at an acceptable margin or at all. In addition, a product recall may require significant management attention. Although the Company has detailed procedures in place for testing its products, there can be no assurance that any quality, potency or contamination problems will be detected in time to avoid unforeseen product recalls, regulatory action or lawsuits. Additionally, if one of the Company significant brands were subject to recall, the image of that brand and the Company could be harmed. A recall for any of the foregoing reasons could lead to decreased demand for the Company’s products and could have a material adverse effect on the results of operations and financial condition of the Company. Additionally, product recalls may lead to increased scrutiny of the Company’s operations by Health Canada or other regulatory agencies, requiring further management attention and potential legal fees and other expenses.
The Company is reliant on key inputs, such as water and utilities, and any interruption of these services could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s finances and operation results. The Company is also dependent on access to skilled labour, equipment and parts.
The Company’s business is dependent on a number of key inputs and their related costs including raw materials and supplies related to its growing operations, as well as electricity, water and other local utilities. Any significant interruption or negative change in the availability or economics of the supply chain for key inputs could materially impact the business, financial condition and operating results of the Company. Any inability to secure required supplies and services or to do so on appropriate terms could have a materially adverse impact on the business, financial condition and operating results of the Company.
The ability of the Company to compete and grow will be dependent on having access, at a reasonable cost and in a timely manner, to skilled labour, equipment, parts and components. No assurances can be given that the Company will be successful in maintaining the required supply of skilled labour, equipment, parts and components. It is also possible that the expansion plans contemplated by the Company may cost more than anticipated, in which circumstance the Company may curtail, or extend timeframes for completing the expansion plans. This could have a material adverse effect on the financial results and operations of the Company.
The expansion of the medical cannabis industry may require new clinical research into effective medical therapies, when such research has been restricted in the U.S. and is new to Canada.
Research in Canada and internationally regarding the medical benefits, viability, safety, efficacy, dosing and social acceptance of cannabis or isolated cannabinoids (such as CBD and THC) remains in early stages. There have been relatively few clinical trials on the benefits of cannabis or isolated cannabinoids (such as CBD and THC). Although the Company believes that the articles, reports and studies support its beliefs regarding the medical benefits, viability, safety, efficacy, dosing and social acceptance of cannabis, future research and clinical trials may prove such statements to be incorrect, or could raise concerns regarding, and perceptions relating to, cannabis. Given these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, investors should not place undue reliance on such articles and reports. Future research studies and clinical trials may draw opposing conclusions to those stated in this prospectus or reach negative conclusions regarding the medical benefits, viability, safety, efficacy, dosing, social acceptance or other facts and perceptions related to medical cannabis, which could have a material adverse effect on the demand for the Company’s products with the potential to lead to a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations.
Under Canadian regulations, a Licensed Producer of cannabis may have restrictions on the type and form of marketing it can undertake which could materially impact sales performance.
The development of the Company’s future business and operating results may be hindered by applicable restrictions on sales and marketing activities imposed by Health Canada. The regulatory environment in Canada limits the Company’s ability to compete for market share in a manner similar to other industries. If the Company is unable to effectively market its products and compete for market share, or if the costs of compliance with government legislation and regulation cannot be absorbed through increased selling prices for its products, the Company’s sales and operating results could be adversely affected.
The Company could be liable for fraudulent or illegal activity by its employees, contractors and consultants resulting in significant financial losses to claims against the Company.
The Company is exposed to the risk that its employees, independent contractors and consultants may engage in fraudulent or other illegal activity. Misconduct by these parties could include intentional, reckless and/or negligent conduct or disclosure of unauthorized activities to the Company that violates: (i) government regulations; (ii) manufacturing standards; (iii) federal and provincial healthcare fraud and abuse laws and regulations; or (iv) laws that require the true, complete and accurate reporting of financial information or data. It is not always possible for the Company to identify and deter misconduct by its employees and other third parties, and the precautions taken by the Company to detect and prevent this activity may not be effective in controlling unknown or unmanaged risks or losses or in protecting the Company from governmental investigations or other actions or lawsuits stemming from a failure to be in compliance with such laws or regulations. If any such actions are instituted against the Company, and it is not successful in defending itself or asserting its rights, those actions could have a significant impact on our business, including the imposition of civil, criminal and administrative penalties, damages, monetary fines, contractual damages, reputational harm, diminished profits and future earnings, and curtailment of the Company’s operations, any of which could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations.
The Company will be reliant on information technology systems and may be subject to damaging cyber-attacks.
The Company has entered into agreements with third parties for hardware, software, telecommunications and other information technology (“IT”) services in connection with its operations. The Company’s operations depend, in part, on how well it and its suppliers protect networks, equipment, IT systems and software against damage from a number of threats, including, but not limited to, cable cuts, damage to physical plants, natural disasters, intentional damage and destruction, fire, power loss, hacking, computer viruses, vandalism and theft. The Company’s operations also depend on the timely maintenance, upgrade and replacement of networks, equipment, IT systems and software, as well as pre-emptive expenses to mitigate the risks of failures. Any of these and other events could result in information system failures, delays and/or increase in capital expenses. The failure of information systems or a component of information systems could, depending on the nature of any such failure, adversely impact the Company’s reputation and results of operations.
The Company has not experienced any material losses to date relating to cyber-attacks or other information security breaches, but there can be no assurance that the Company will not incur such losses in the future. The Company’s risk and exposure to these matters cannot be fully mitigated because of, among other things, the evolving nature of these threats. As a result, cyber security and the continued development and enhancement of controls, processes and practices designed to protect systems, computers, software, data and networks from attack, damage or unauthorized access is a priority. As cyber threats continue to evolve, the Company may be required to expend additional resources to continue to modify or enhance protective measures or to investigate and remediate any security vulnerabilities.
The Company may be subject to breaches of security at its facilities.
Given the nature of the Company’s product and its lack of legal availability outside of channels approved by the Government of Canada, as well as the concentration of inventory in its facilities, despite meeting or exceeding Health Canada’s security requirements, there remains a risk of shrinkage as well as theft. A security breach at one of the Company’s facilities could expose the Company to additional liability and to potentially costly litigation, increase expenses relating to the resolution and future prevention of these breaches and may deter potential patients from choosing the Company’s products.
The Company’s officers and directors may be engaged in a range of business activities resulting in conflicts of interest.
The Company may be subject to various potential conflicts of interest because some of its officers and directors may be engaged in a range of business activities. In addition, the Company’s executive officers and directors may devote time to their outside business interests, so long as such activities do not materially or adversely interfere with their duties to the Company. In some cases, the Company’s executive officers and directors may have fiduciary obligations associated with these business interests that interfere with their ability to devote time to the Company’s business and affairs and that could adversely affect the Company’s operations. These business interests could require significant time and attention of the Company’s executive officers and directors.
In addition, the Company may also become involved in other transactions which conflict with the interests of its directors and the officers who may from time to time deal with persons, firms, institutions or Companies with which the Company may be dealing, or which may be seeking investments similar to those desired by it. The interests of these persons could conflict with those of the Company. In addition, from time to time, these persons may be competing with the Company for available investment opportunities. Conflicts of interest, if any, will be subject to the procedures and remedies provided under applicable laws. In particular, if such a conflict of interest arises at a meeting of the Company’s directors, a director who has such a conflict will abstain from voting for or against the approval of such participation or such terms. In accordance with applicable laws, the directors of the Company are required to act honestly, in good faith and in the best interests of the Company.
In certain circumstances, the Company’s reputation could be damaged.
Damage to the Company’s reputation can be the result of the actual or perceived occurrence of any number of events, and could include any negative publicity, whether true or not. The increased usage of social media and other web-based tools used to generate, publish and discuss user-generated content and to connect with other users has made it increasingly easier for individuals and groups to communicate and share opinions and views regarding the Company and its activities, whether true or not. Although the Company believes that it operates in a manner that is respectful to all stakeholders and that it takes care in protecting its image and reputation, the Company does not ultimately have direct control over how it is perceived by others. Reputation loss may result in decreased investor confidence, increased challenges in developing and maintaining community relations and an impediment to the Company’s overall ability to advance its projects, thereby having a material adverse impact on financial performance, financial condition, cash flows and growth prospects.
Negative Operating Cash Flow
Our business has incurred losses since the inception of $10,445,379. Although we expect to become profitable, there is no guarantee that will happen, and we may never become profitable. We currently have a negative operating cash flow and may continue to have that for the foreseeable future. To date, we have not generated any revenues and a large portion of our expenses are fixed, including expenses related to facilities, equipment, contractual commitments and personnel. As a result, we expect our net losses from operations to improve. Our ability to generate additional revenues and potential to become profitable will depend largely on our ability, to manufacture and market our products. There can be no assurance that any such events will occur or that we will ever become profitable. Even if we do achieve profitability, we cannot predict the level of such profitability. If we sustain losses over an extended period of time, we may be unable to continue our business.
Need for additional financing
We believe that we will have sufficient capital to operate our business for at least 12 months following completion of the Offering. However, it is possible that costs associated with the operation of our business will exceed our projections depending on the timing of future operating and capital expenses. Assuming the proceeds of the Offering, together with our existing funds, sustain our operations for this period, we believe we may thereafter require additional capital for additional product development, sales and marketing operations, other operating expenses and for general co
rporate purposes to fund growth in our markets. We do not know how much additional funding we may require. We may therefore be required to seek other sources of financing in the future, which sources (assuming we are able to locate such alternative sources of financing) may be on terms less favorable to us than those in the Offering. Any additional equity financing may be dilutive to shareholders, and debt financing, if available, may involve restrictive covenants.
If additional funds are raised through the issuance of equity securities, the percentage ownership of the shareholders of the Company will be reduced, shareholders may experience additional dilution in net book value per share, or such equity securities may have rights, preferences or privileges senior to those of the holders of the Common Shares. If adequate funds are not available on acceptable terms, we may be unable to develop or enhance our products, take advantage of future opportunities or respond to competitive pressures, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results, or we may be forced to cease operations.
Uncertainty of Use of Proceeds
Although the Company has set out its intended use of proceeds from this Offering, these intended uses are estimates only and subject to change. While management does not contemplate any material variation, management does retain broad discretion in the application of such proceeds. The failure by the Company to apply these funds effectively could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, including the Company’s ability to achieve its stated business objectives.
The Company is listed as an organic cannabis LP. Therefore, all input materials should also be organic. In the event that a non-organic input material was used, all final product produced since using the non-organic input material is to be recalled. This would result in the Company to incur the unexpected expense of the recall and any legal proceedings that might arise in connection with the recall. In addition, the Company may lose a significant amount of sales and may not be able to replace those sales at an acceptable margin or at all. Although, the Company has detailed procedures in place for testing finished products, there can be no assurance that any quality, potency or contamination problems will be detected in time to avoid unforeseen product recalls, regulatory action or lawsuits.
Additionally, if the Company did experience a recall, the image of that brand and the Company could be harmed. A recall for any of the foregoing reasons could lead to the decreased demand for the Company’s products and could have a material adverse effect on the results of operations and financial condition of the Company. Additionally, product recalls may lead to increased scrutiny of the Company’s operations by Health Canada or other regulatory agencies, requiring further management attention and potential legal fees and other expenses.
As a manufacturer and distributor of products designed to be ingested by humans, the Company faces an inherent risk of exposure to product liability claims, regulatory action and litigation if its products are alleged to have caused significant loss or injury. In addition, the manufacture and sale of the Company’s products involve the risk of injury to consumers due to tampering by unauthorized third parties or product contamination. Previously unknown adverse reactions resulting from human consumption of the Company’s products alone or in combination with other among others, that the Company’s products caused injury or illness, include inadequate instructions for use or include inadequate warnings concerning possible side effects or interactions with other substances. A product liability claim or regulatory action against the Company could result in increased costs, could adversely affect the Company’s reputation with its clients and consumers generally, and could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition of the Company.
There can be no assurances that the Company will be able to obtain or maintain product liability insurance on acceptable terms or with adequate coverage against potential liabilities. Such insurance is expensive and may not be available in the future on acceptable terms, or at all. The inability to obtain sufficient insurance coverage on reasonable terms or to otherwise protect against potential product liability claims could prevent or inhibit the commercialization of the Company’s potential products. As of the current date, the Company has a small amount of insurance coverage for product liabilities.
If we have a material weakness in our internal controls over financial reporting, investors could lose confidence in the reliability of our financial statements, which could result in a decrease in the value of our securities.
One or more material weaknesses in our internal controls over financial reporting could occur or be identified in the future. In addition, because of inherent limitations, our internal controls over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements, and any projections of any evaluation of effectiveness of internal controls to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions or that the degree of compliance with our policies or procedures may deteriorate. If we fail to maintain the adequacy of our internal controls, including any failure or difficulty in implementing required new or improved controls, our business and results of operations could be harmed, we may not be able to provide reasonable assurance as to our financial results or meet our reporting obligations and there could be a material adverse effect on the price of our securities. See “Management’s Discussion & Analysis of the Company as at December 31, 2016 and for the Period from the Date of Incorporation on November 16, 2016 to December 31, 2016.”
Vulnerability to Rising Energy Costs
The company’s medical marijuana growing operations consume considerable energy, making the Company vulnerable to rising energy costs. Rising or volatile energy costs may adversely impact the business of the Company and its ability to operate profitably.
Publicity or Consumer Perception
The Company believes the medical marijuana industry is highly dependent upon consumer perception regarding the safety, efficacy and quality of the medical marijuana produced. Consumer perception of the Company’s products can be significantly influenced by scientific research or findings, regulatory investigations, litigation, media attention and other publicity regarding the consumption of medical marijuana products.
There can be no assurance that future scientific research, findings, regulatory proceedings, litigation, media attention or other research findings or publicity will be favourable to the medical marijuana market or any particular product, or consistent with earlier publicity. Future research reports, findings, regulatory proceedings, litigation, media attention or other publicity that are perceived as less favourable than, or that question, earlier research reports, findings or publicity could have a material adverse effect on the demand for the Company’s products and the business, results of operations, financial condition and the Company’s cash flows. The Company’s dependence upon consumer perceptions means that adverse scientific research reports, findings, regulatory proceedings, litigation, media attention or other publicity, whether or not accurate or with merit, could have a material adverse effect on the Company, the demand for the Company’s products, and the business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows of the Company. Further, adverse publicity reports or other media attention regarding the safety, efficacy and quality of medical marijuana in general, or the Company’s products specifically, or associating the consumption of medical marijuana with illness or other negative effects or events, could have such a material adverse effect. Such adverse publicity reports or other media attention could arise even if the adverse effects associated with such products resulted from consumers’ failure to consume such products appropriately or as directed.
Difficulties with Forecasts
The Company must rely largely on its own market research to forecast sales as detailed forecasts are not generally obtainable from other sources at this early stage of the medical marijuana industry in Canada. A failure in the demand for its products to materialize as a result of competition, technological change or other factors could have a material adverse effect on the business, results of operations and financial condition of the Company.
Risks Relating to the Common Shares
The Common Shares do not currently trade on any exchange or stock market and the price of these Units was negotiated with the Agents. Securities of small-cap companies have experienced substantial volatility in the past, often based on factors unrelated to the companies’ financial performance or prospects. These factors include macroeconomic developments in North America and globally and market perceptions of the attractiveness of particular industries. Factors unrelated to our performance that may affect the price of the Common Shares include the following: the extent of analytical coverage available to investors concerning our business may be limited if investment banks with research capabilities do not follow the Company; lessening in trading volume and general market interest in the Common Shares may affect an investor’s ability to trade significant numbers of Common Shares; the size of our public float may limit the ability of some institutions to invest in Common Shares; and a substantial decline in the price of the Common Shares that persists for a significant period of time could cause the Common Shares, if listed on an exchange, to be delisted from such exchange, further reducing market liquidity. As a result of any of these factors, the market price of the Common Shares at any given point in time may not accurately reflect our long-term value. Securities class action litigation often has been brought against companies following periods of volatility in the market price of their securities. We may in the future be the target of similar litigation. Securities litigation could result in substantial costs and damages and divert management’s attention and resources. The fact that no market currently exists for the Common Shares may affect the pricing of the Common Shares in the secondary market, the transparency and availability of trading prices and the liquidity of the Common Shares.
The market price of the Common Shares is affected by many other variables which are not directly related to our success and are, therefore, not within our control. These include other developments that affect the breadth of the public market for the Common Shares, the release or expiration of lock-up or other transfer restrictions on the Common Shares, and the attractiveness of alternative investments. The effect of these and other factors on the market price of the Common Shares is expected to make the Common Share price volatile in the future, which may result in losses to investors.
No Established Market
Although the TSX has conditionally approved the listing of the Common Shares, the Unit Share, the Warrant Shares and the November Offering Warrants subject to the Company fulfilling all of the listing conditions of the TSX by June 11, 2018, there is currently no market through which the Company’s securities may be sold and purchasers may not be able to resell the Units purchased under this Prospectus. An active public market for the Common Shares might not develop or be sustained after this Offering. Even if a market develops, there is no assurance that the price of the Units offered under this Prospectus, which has been determined by negotiations between the Company and representatives of the Agents, will reflect the prevailing market price of the Common Shares following this Offering. If an active public market for the Common Shares does not develop, the liquidity of a shareholder’s investment may be limited, and the Common Share price may decline below the initial public offering price.
No Market for Warrants
There is currently no market through which the Warrants may be sold and the Company does not intend to list the Warrants. There can be no assurance that an active or liquid market for the Warrants will ever develop following the Offering, or if developed, that such market will be maintained. If an active public market does not develop or is not maintained, purchasers may not be able to resell the Warrants purchased under this Prospectus.
It may be difficult, if not impossible, for U.S. holders of the Comp
any’s common shares to resell them over the Toronto Stock Exchange.
It has recently come to management’s attention that all major securities clearing firms in the United States have ceased participating in transactions related to securities of Canadian public companies involved in the medical marijuana industry. This appears to be due to the fact that marijuana continues to be listed as a controlled substance under U.S. federal law, with the result that marijuana-related practices or activities, including the cultivation, possession or distribution of marijuana, are illegal under U.S. federal law. However, management understands that the action by U.S. securities clearing firms also extends to securities of companies that carry on business operations entirely outside the United States. Accordingly, U.S. residents who acquire Common Shares as “restricted securities” (including any Warrant Shares pursuant to the exercise of Warrants) may find it difficult – if not impossible – to resell such shares over the facilities of any Canadian stock exchange on which the shares may then be listed. It remains unclear what impact, if any, this and any future actions among market participants in the United States will have on the ability of U.S. residents to resell any Common Shares that they may acquire in open market transactions. Our understanding is that all U.S. brokers must use a clearing service to facilitate resale transactions over Canadian securities exchanges. Some U.S. brokers have self-clearing capabilities; those that do not must use third party clearing firms. This issue does not apply to the Depositary Trust Company.
We intend to retain earnings, if any, to finance the growth and development of our business and do not intend to pay cash dividends on the Common Shares in the foreseeable future. The payment of future cash dividends, if any, will be reviewed periodically by the Board and will depend upon, among other things, conditions then existing including earnings, financial condition and capital requirements, restrictions in financing agreements, business opportunities and conditions and other factors.
The Company is subject to uncertainty regarding legal and regulatory status and changes.
Achievement of the Company’s business objectives is also contingent, in part, upon compliance with other regulatory requirements enacted by governmental authorities and obtaining other required regulatory approvals. The regulatory regime applicable to the cannabis business in Canada is currently undergoing significant proposed changes and the Company cannot predict the impact of the regime on its business once the structure of the regime is finalized. Similarly, the Company cannot predict the timeline required to secure all appropriate regulatory approvals for its products, or the extent of testing and documentation that may be required by governmental authorities. Any delays in obtaining, or failing to obtain, required regulatory approvals may significantly delay or impact the development of markets, products and sales initiatives and could have a material adverse effect on the business, results of operations and financial condition of the Company. The Company will incur ongoing costs and obligations related to regulatory compliance. Failure to comply with regulations may result in additional costs for corrective measures, penalties or in restrictions on the Company’s operations. In addition, changes in regulations, more vigorous enforcement thereof or other unanticipated events could require extensive changes to the Company’s operations, increased compliance costs or give rise to material liabilities, which could have a material adverse effect on the business, results of operations and financial condition of the Company.
The Company will be subject to additional regulatory burden resulting from its public listing on the TSX.
Prior to the Offering, the Company has not been subject to the continuous and timely disclosure requirements of Canadian securities laws or other rules, regulations and policies of the TSX or other stock exchange. We are working with our legal, accounting and financial advisors to identify those areas in which changes should be made to our financial management control systems to manage our obligations as a public company. These areas include corporate governance, corporate controls, disclosure controls and procedures and financial reporting and accounting systems. We have made, and will continue to make, changes in these and other areas, including our internal controls over financial reporting. However, we cannot assure purchasers of Common Shares that these and other measures that we might take will be sufficient to allow us to satisfy our obligations as a public company on a timely basis. In addition, compliance with reporting and other requirements applicable to public companies will create additional costs for us and will require the time and attention of management. We cannot predict the amount of the additional costs that we might incur, the timing of such costs or the impact that management’s attention to these matters will have on our business.
Future sales or issuances of equity securities could decrease the value of the Common Shares, dilute shareholders’ voting power and reduce future potential earnings per Common Share. We intend to sell additional equity securities in subsequent offerings (including through the sale of securities convertible into Common Shares) and may issue additional equity securities to finance our operations, development, exploration, acquisitions or other projects. We cannot predict the size of future sales and issuances of equity securities or the effect, if any, that future sales and issuances of equity securities will have on the market price of the Common Shares. Sales or issuances of a substantial number of equity securities, or the perception that such sales could occur, may adversely affect prevailing market prices for the Common Shares. With any additional sale or issuance of equity securities, investors will suffer dilution of their voting power and may experience dilution in our earnings per Common Share.
Transactions Engaged in by our Largest Shareholders, our Directors or Officers
We expect that our officers, directors and principal shareholders (greater than 10% shareholders, other than 2449606 Ontario Inc. which we understand will be spinning out a portion of our Common Shares that it holds to its shareholders) will collectively control approximately 26.26% upon completion of the Offering. Subsequent sales of our Common Shares by these shareholders could have the effect of lowering the market price of our Common Shares. The perceived risk associated with the possible sale of a large number of Common Shares by these shareholders, or the adoption of significant short positions by hedge funds or other significant investors, could cause some of our shareholders to sell their Common Shares, thus causing the market price of our Common Shares to decline. In addition, actual or anticipated downward pressure on our stock price due to actual or anticipated sales of Common Shares by our directors or officers could cause other institutions or individuals to engage in short sales of the Common Shares, which may further cause the market price of our Common Shares to decline.
From time to time our directors and executive officers may sell Common Shares on the open market. These sales will be publicly disclosed in filings made with securities regulators. In the future, our directors and executive officers may sell a significant number of Common Shares for a variety of reasons unrelated to the performance of our business. Our shareholders may perceive these sales as a reflection on management’s view of the business and result in some shareholders selling their Common Shares. These sales could cause the market price of our Common Shares to drop.