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Trulieve Inc. merging with Canadian mining company

Trulieve Inc., the Gadsden County-based medical marijuana provider, announced last week that it had finalized a deal to merge with Schyan Exploration Inc., a Toronto-based mining company.

The company said the merger will help Trulieve grab a larger share of the state’s blossoming medical cannabis market.

Formed in the past year, Trulieve is fast becoming one of Gadsden County’s most prominent business enterprises. The merged company will be known as Trulieve Cannabis Corp. and will trade stock publicly in Canada.

The final closing date for the deal is expected to be within the next week, a Trulieve press release reported. The full financial terms of the deal were not detailed in that release. The release said that stock market investors consider Florida’s medical marijuana industry to be a multibillion-dollar concern.

Trulieve has one of 14 medical marijuana treatment centers licensed in Florida, according to the Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use. These 14 providers grow, process and sell their own medical marijuana. The new company’s CEO/board chair will be Kim Rivers, now the head of Trulieve Inc.

New directors of the merged company will include George Hackney of Quincy’s Hackney Nursery and Richard May of Havana’s May Nursery. Trulieve still has a pending legal challenge against the State of Florida’s Department of Health over how many retail stores the company can open and where they can be located.

Trulieve now has 17 retail stores and a call center in the state. In its legal challenge, Trulieve has claimed its original application made clear the company’s plan to locate medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state.

The company claims the Department of Health approved its original application without any limitation on the number of dispensaries it could have. Trulieve officials stated “the right to compete statewide without restriction was an essential part of Trulieve’s business plan and a significant incentive to enter this novel business.”

However, a statewide legislative bill concerned with the implementation of the medical marijuana industry in Florida last year set a limit on the number of dispensaries statewide – as well as subdividing this statewide quota into five regional quotas based on population.

This bill limits Trulieve to 25 total dispensaries around the state, company officials said in the company’s latest press release.

As of The Herald’s press time, Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers has not yet ruled on last month’s trial about Trulieve’s challenge to the state limiting the number and location of medical marijuana dispensaries Trulieve can have.

By Randall Lieberman