Exclusive Interview with Green Thumb Industries Chief Strategy Officer Jennifer Dooley
Multi-state operator Green Thumb Industries (CSE: GTII) (OTCQX: GTBIF) started five years ago with the plan to establish itself in limited-license markets ahead of adult-use. Now, some of its markets have made the transition from medical to adult-use. Chief Strategy Officer Jennifer Dooley spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about the company’s footprint and competitive position in today’s market. The audio of the entire conversation is available at the end of this written summary.
Additions to the Team
Dooley has a background in innovation and brands. Back in 2016, she joined the Green Thumb team to pursue the opportunity to build a leading cannabis brand. Today, the company has more than 1,700 team members, and it is continuing to build its team across its cultivation, manufacturing and retail operations. The leadership has had a few relatively recent hires, including Chief People Officer Julie Knudson and General Counsel Beth Burk.
Green Thumb focuses its business on two main categories: retail and consumer packaged goods. The company has a footprint and sells its products in 12 states. It currently has 45 open stores, while 96 retail licenses give it the option to open more. Its operations are currently deepest in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Florida.
In Illinois, Green Thumb’s home state, the company started off with five stores. It now has two production facilities, eight stores and the ability to open 10 retail locations. While the medical program was relatively slow to roll out in the state, Green Thumb’s thesis has always been that the move from medical to adult-use is inevitable, according to Dooley. In Illinois, this thesis has played out. The market transitioned to adult-use at the beginning of the year, and demand is exceeding supply. Green Thumb is well-positioned and well-capitalized to take advantage of the opportunity in Illinois, according to Dooley.
Green Thumb also has cultivation, manufacturing and retail operations in Pennsylvania. The company is focusing on building the power of its branded products in the state through its own retail footprint and distribution. While still medical-only, Pennsylvania is a strong market that could be similar to Illinois, according to Dooley.
In Florida, Green Thumb has six of 249 operating dispensaries. In this state, operators can only sell what they grow and produce in their own stores. Florida is a focus, but the majority of capital will go toward maintaining and growing strong market positions in Illinois and Pennsylvania, according to Dooley.
Green Thumb is primarily interested in growing its position with its existing footprint. In an environment shaped by uncertainty and capital constraint, investing in markets with an established position is the priority, according to Dooley. But, the company will remain open to opportunities. It will be keeping a close eye on markets in its portfolio that have yet to reach their full potential, such as New Jersey and New York.
In the past, Green Thumb has done deals, such as the acquisitions of Beboe and incredibles, to expand its brand portfolio. The company is open to future M&A, whether to further expand its portfolio or to add to its capacity in an effort to distribute its brands at scale. But, it will come down to the individual opportunity. The company does not want to inherit business challenges, according to Dooley.
Portfolio of Brands
As a CPG business, Green Thumb has built a portfolio of brands that can cater to and connect with a wide variety of consumers. Its portfolio includes Rythm, Dogwalkers, incredibles, Beboe, Beboe Therapies, Doctor Solomon’s and The Feel Collection. Each brand is designed with products and messaging to meet what customers are looking for, according to Dooley.
Green Thumb started out with the intention of establishing a stronghold in limited-license markets prior to adult-use. It is in markets like Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Nevada that have since made the transition to adult-use. The company expects the same to happen in Pennsylvania. It is confident in its position, and it will continue to focus on its goal of distributing its brands at scale and delivering shareholder returns.
With the exception of a period of time in Massachusetts, Green Thumb has been able to operate as an essential business in its markets during the COVID-19 pandemic. While maintaining rigorous safety measures for its team and customers, the company has accelerated some of its long-term initiatives to ensure consumer access. For example, the company has been building out its e-commerce experience, enabling delivery in Nevada and rolling out curbside pick-up in Illinois.
Green Thumb’s growth initiatives for the year are funded, according to Dooley. The company has done a few sale lease-back transactions with Innovative Industrial Properties this year, and it issued some debt last year. Green Thumb will remain flexible when it comes to pursuing fundraising, but for the moment, it is happy with its balance sheet.
The team has daily conversations about capital allocation, talking about where to invest to drive the most growth. The company also promotes a culture of ownership. Everyone who has dollars to spend treats that capital like it’s their own, according to Dooley.
Q1 and Beyond
Green Thumb reported $102.6 million in first-quarter revenue, making it the first American cannabis company to exceed $100 million in quarterly revenue. While the company has achieved that significant milestone, it is continuing to look forward. It will be focused on allocating capital to generate the supply needed to meet growing demand. Green Thumb is also looking forward to ramping up operations in some of its other markets. For example, production in Ohio and New Jersey has yet to come online.
The company’s ultimate goal is to develop and distribute at scale a portfolio of brands that connects with consumers. In service of that goal, Green Thumb will look to invest its capital in the right opportunities that drive a competitive edge and return value for shareholders.
To learn more, visit the Green Thumb Industries website. Listen to the entire interview: