One of Colorado's fastest-growing marijuana businesses is undergoing a facelift.
Medicine Man Technologies, a Denver-based marijuana conglomerate that has agreed to acquire a handful of different dispensary chains, marijuana cultivations and infused manufacturers over the past ten months, has rebranded itself under the Schwazze name.
Schwazze (it's pronounced "sh-wah-zz") was established as a parent brand to MMT and the Colorado pot businesses set to become part of the new Schwazze family tree, which include dispensaries known as Colorado Harvest Company, Starbuds, Medicine Man, Roots RX and Mesa Organics, the first official acquisition by Schwazze after the agreement closed on Monday, April 20.
A publicly traded company, MMT is now traded under the Schwazze name in the OTC stock market. The new moniker references a marijuana trimming technique during cultivation used by chief cultivator Joshua Hapt — something Schwazze CEO Justin Dye expects to explain a lot in the near future.
"We spent the last ten months thinking about who we want to be and how we want to get there, he says, adding that schwazzing "means to prune and take care of the plant, so it can grow and be healthy and be productive. It's a term we throw around a lot in our meetings, and it's our call to order in terms of being innovative and being positive. But I think we're going to have to teach people how to pronounce this for a bit."
New directions are becoming the norm for this outfit: After announcing a dump truck's worth of planned acquisitions in the second half of 2019, the company hired Dye as CEO in December, with MMT co-founder Andy Williams assuming vice chairman and president roles.
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Despite the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dye insists that all of Schwazze's deals are still in place. And while other marijuana businesses have laid off employees, Dye says that the company has not let anyone go because of the coronavirus crunch, nor are there plans to lay off any of the 45 new employees joining Schwazze through the Mesa Organics acquisition.
The first round will bring aboard four Mesa Organics dispensaries and marijuana concentrate-maker Purplebees Extracts, with future acquisition plans set to include the dispensaries listed above as well as Dabble Extracts, Medically Correct infused products and outdoor pot cultivation Los Sueños Farms.
According to Dye, Schwazze will remain "aggressive and inquisitive" in looking for more targets amid the economic downturn, though he doesn't believe that the marijuana industry will suffer as much as others.
"I think [marijuana] is one of the few segments of the economy doing well in the near term. Our acquisitions are all performing very well in the midst of the pandemic," he says, pointing to marijuana businesses having been deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic across the vast majority of states that have legalized the plant.
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However, dispensaries around Denverhave reported fluctuating sales over the last month
, with massive spikes attributed to specific moments such as a three-hour prohibition scare in Denver on March 23, the first round of government stimulus payments sent out on the week of April 12, and the 4/20 holiday on April 20 — and major lulls in between.
"This is, from a social, economical and health-care standpoint, an unprecedented time," Dye admits. "But we're a growing company."