Franchise builds Colorado presence; lays roots in New Jersey, Oklahoma, and South Dakota, ahead of approaching international acquisition
Unity Rd., the national cannabis dispensary franchise from Item 9 Labs Corp. (the “Company”) (OTCQX: INLB), enters 2023 on the heels of a banner year comprised of multiple dispensary openings and continued U.S. development, alongside an approaching transformational acquisition that will bring the brand into an international market and turn it into a top 10 global cannabis retailer.
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Since launching in 2018, Unity Rd. has always had one mission and vision in mind for the cannabis industry: to inspire confidence in the benefits of cannabis for all. (Photo: Business Wire)
Unity Rd. celebrated the following milestones and achievements in 2022:
Opened multiple shops and entered new development markets across the United States:
- Local shop owner and entrepreneur, Dishen Patel, received approval in December for a recreational business license from the state of New Jersey and the municipality of Franklin Township in Somerset County to open and operate a new cannabis business. The Franklin-Somerset Unity Rd. location is expected to open in summer 2023.
- Franchisees B.J. Olson and Adam Jorgensen opened the first non-tribal, state-licensed medical cannabis establishment in South Dakota, located in Hartford near the state’s largest city of Sioux Falls.
- Alongside the opening in South Dakota, Unity Rd. opened its first shop in the Denver market, located in the North Denver area, in July. The franchise also secured license approval on the state and local levels for a dispensary near the Glendale neighborhood in Denver.
- Unity Rd. signed its first partner through its Local Alliance Program in Oklahoma City, Okla. in January. The program was created for existing dispensary owners and license holders who would benefit from gaining direct access to the buying power, resources, and supportive network of a national dispensary brand.
- Item 9 Labs. Corp. signed a definitive agreement to acquire Sessions Cannabis (“Sessions”): In May, the Company signed a definitive agreement to acquire Sessions Cannabis, one of Canada’s largest cannabis retail franchisors. With an exponential increase in future store count to a combined 50-plus units across North America, the approaching acquisition will establish Item 9 Labs Corp. as the largest global and publicly traded cannabis franchise company. Sessions currently generates more than CA$80 million in annual systemwide sales and is continuing to grow rapidly with multiple openings already slated for the coming months. The Company expects the transaction to close in spring 2023.
- Item 9 Labs Corp. announced it signed an Asset Purchase Agreement (“APA”) to acquire The Herbal Cure: Item 9 Labs Corp. signed an APA in March to acquire The Herbal Cure, a medicinal and recreational dispensary and cultivator operating in the desirable Washington Park neighborhood of Denver. Upon closing the acquisition, and subject to applicable approvals, the 1,500 square-foot dispensary will be transitioned over to Unity Rd. and become the brand’s future flagship location.
- Unity Rd. named a ‘Best Cannabis Company to Work For’ by Cannabis Business Times: The first true national cannabis dispensary franchise brand in the U.S. was recognized as one of the ‘Best Cannabis Companies to Work For’ in the “dispensary” category of industry-leading publication, Cannabis Business Times’ 2022 list in March.
Additionally, Mike Weinberger, a founder of Unity Rd. and the brand’s former Chief Franchise Officer, was appointed to Chief Executive Officer of Item 9 Labs Corp. in November. His appointment marked the Company’s transitional steps forward as it prepares for its future as an international cannabis franchisor. Weinberger is a 20-plus-year franchise industry veteran who co-founded Unity Rd. in 2018 and grew the brand to more than 20 entrepreneurial groups that are driving development across 10-plus states.
“We are building a dedicated, national network of local dispensary owners with the right franchisees, who are excited to be early cannabis entrepreneurs, see the possibilities that lie ahead, and are eager to make a difference in their communities,” said Unity Rd. CEO Mike Weinberger. “Our Unity Rd. brand thrived last year with development across multiple U.S. markets and has promising acquisitions in the works that are key pieces in our overall business plan. We believe our ongoing efforts will significantly increase Unity Rd.’s footprint, and global brand presence, while staying true to our focus of keeping dispensary ownership in the hands of local entrepreneurs.”
Unity Rd. is actively seeking qualified franchise partners across several U.S. markets—including Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Virginia and Vermont.
ABOUT UNITY RD.:
Unity Rd. is the first national cannabis dispensary franchise model in the U.S. Since launching in 2018, Unity Rd. has always had one mission and vision in mind for the cannabis industry: to inspire confidence in the benefits of cannabis for all. From consumers to entire communities and investors, Unity Rd. was founded on the belief that everyone has a place in the budding $28 billion industry. The result: high-quality cannabis products guests can rely on that are sold in shops run by local entrepreneurs who are backed by Unity Rd.’s collective 200 years of legal cannabis and franchising experience. An industry pioneer, Unity Rd. is the retail franchise from Item 9 Labs Corp. (OTCQX: INLB). The franchise has been named one of the top cannabis retail leaders in the nation by MJBizDaily, became the first concept of its kind to become a member of the International Franchise Association (IFA) and was named one of the “Best Cannabis Companies to Work For” in the dispensary category of Cannabis Business Times’ 2023, 2022 and 2020 lists. Unity Rd. currently has four shops open and multiple agreements signed with 20-plus entrepreneurial groups who are developing the brand across 10-plus states. For more information, visit unityrd.com.
ABOUT ITEM 9 LABS CORP.
Item 9 Labs Corp. (OTCQX: INLB) is a vertically integrated cannabis operator and dispensary franchisor delivering premium products from its large-scale cultivation and production facilities in the United States. The award-winning Item 9 Labs brand specializes in best-in-class products and user experience across several cannabis categories. The company also offers a unique dispensary franchise model through the national Unity Rd. retail brand. Easing barriers to entry, the franchise provides an opportunity for both new and existing dispensary owners to leverage the knowledge, resources and ongoing support needed to thrive in their state compliantly and successfully. Item 9 Labs brings the best industry practices to markets nationwide through distinctive retail experience, cultivation capabilities and product innovation. The veteran management team combines a diverse skill set with deep experience in the cannabis sector, franchising and the capital markets to lead a new generation of public cannabis companies that provide transparency, consistency and well-being. Headquartered in Arizona, the company is currently expanding its operations space up to 640,000-plus square feet on its 50-acre site, one of the largest properties in Arizona zoned to grow and cultivate flower. For additional information, visit item9labscorp.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, risks and effects of legal and administrative proceedings and governmental regulation, especially in a foreign country, future financial and operational results, competition, general economic conditions, proposed transactions that are not legally binding obligations of the company and the ability to manage and continue growth. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual outcomes may vary materially from those indicated. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements we make in this news release include the introduction of new technology, market conditions and those set forth in reports or documents we file from time to time with the SEC. We undertake no obligation to revise or update such statements to reflect current events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.