Dispensary Franchise Finalizes Merger Agreement with Premium Arizona Cannabis Brand, Item 9 Labs, Creating the First True Vertically Integrated Cannabis Franchisor.
DENVER — 2020 was a hallmark year for cannabis: voters in five states approved legalization during the November elections and the overall acceptance of cannabis flourished as several states deemed the industry essential. As outlying states look to the cannabis industry as a solution to looming budget shortfalls due to the pandemic, more industry newcomers are set to enter the complex industry. The vast inconsistencies in how states regulate cannabis cement the solutions brought by Unity Rd. The experienced cannabis franchisor with a roadmap to success is adding a greater advantage for its franchise partners thanks to an upcoming merger with a premium cannabis producer and business consultation company.
Parent company of the trailblazing franchise concept, ONE Cannabis Group (OCG Inc.), finalized a merger agreement with Item 9 Labs Corp. (OTCQX: INLB) (Item 9 Labs) this week and anticipates closing on the merger in January 2021.
“2020 was all about setting the stage for our future growth,” said Unity Rd. COO Mike Weinberger. “While the global pandemic lengthened states’ movement on awarding dispensary licenses, we’ve kept focused on seeking opportunities to strengthen our foundation so we can rocket forward into 2021.”
The combined entity will be the first national vertically integrated cannabis franchise company and creates substantial value for Unity Rd. franchise partners across two key areas:
– Trusted, Dedicated Supply Chain: Item 9 Labs’ depth of lab-tested, premium products is a solution to a common challenge most dispensaries face. Since cannabis products cannot cross state lines, the Arizona-based brand plans to develop or partner with cultivation facilities in states where Unity Rd. franchise partners open dispensaries.
– Dispensary License Applications & Operations: Item 9 Labs Corp. owns and operates DispensaryPermits.com & DispensaryTemplates.com, the leading online platforms for cannabis business applications and consultation. Their license application team has a proven track record of winning cannabis licenses in more than a dozen states and has opened a handful of dispensaries across the U.S.
Unity Rd. VP of Franchise Development Justin Livingston added, “Our opportunities are their strengths and vice versa. Blending our two businesses together bolsters our franchise offering and gives Unity Rd. franchise partners an even greater competitive advantage. Beyond a deep product catalogue that spans top shelf cannabis strains, differentiated cannabis vape products, and the finest concentrates around, we’re gaining decades of experience in dispensary operations across several states. It’s an exciting time to be part of Unity Rd.”
Other highlights include:
– Teaching the Franchise Industry About Cannabis: Acting as a bridge connecting the two complex worlds together, the dispensary franchise has been featured in leading franchise industry trade publications. Franchise Times Magazine published “Unity Rd.’s race to win the weed business” in May; the six-page cover story digs deep into the founding story of Unity Rd. and explores the challenges the team faced as it paved the path for franchising in cannabis. Global Franchise Magazine’s “High Times for Franchising?” is the leading article of a six-page spread that delves into how the franchise model is playing a part in the green rush with interviews from franchise industry veterans Weinberger and Livingston.
– Earning Franchise Industry Accolades: Entrepreneur’s Startups magazine highlighted Unity Rd. in its feature on the “2020 Hottest Industries” that can weather uncertain times. The dispensary franchise is the only marijuana concept to make the annual list two years in a row. Unity Rd. also earned a Canadian Franchise Association (CFA) Hall of Fame award for outstanding performance in 2020 and was named a top 20 brand to watch by Franchise Dictionary magazine.
– Launching Live Weekly Virtual Presentations and Q&A Sessions: Offering another avenue for prospective dispensary owners to learn about the franchise concept and latest updates across the national cannabis landscape, Unity Rd. launched weekly 15-minute live virtual presentations, followed by a 15-minute Q&A session. Catch Unity Rd. team members each week on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. ET/ 11 a.m. MT. Click here to sign-up for a presentation.
ABOUT UNITY RD.
Unity Rd. is bridging the two previously disconnected worlds of cannabis and franchising. The industry trailblazer is the first to bring the cannabis dispensary franchise model to the United States—with duality of prowess in both industries to back it up. Built up from a collective 200 years in the legal cannabis industry and franchising, the company helps eager operators enter the complex industry with ease. The marijuana franchise pioneer offers its partners the knowledge, resources, and ongoing support needed to compliantly and profitably operate a dispensary. Launched in 2018, Unity Rd. currently has more than two dozen shops in development across multiple states. Recently, it was named one of the top cannabis retail leaders in the nation by MJBizDaily magazine and one of the “Best Cannabis Companies to Work For” in both the dispensary and cultivation categories in Cannabis Business Times’ elite 2020 list. The company is also the first cannabis business to earn a Franchise Times Dealmakers award. For more information, visit unityrd.com.