'The Future is Franchising': Item 9 Labs' Plans for Cannabis Expansion

'The Future is Franchising': Item 9 Labs' Plans for Cannabis Expansion
Cannabtimes

<![CDATA[Item 9 Labs, an Arizona-based, vertically integrated cannabis franchisor, is continuing its expansion across North America with its recent acquisition of Sessions Cannabis and all 43 of its Canadian locations.The company, with cannabis licenses in 15 states, is also expanding operations in Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and more states in effort to ‘keep cannabis local,’ the company’s motto. But behind the ongoing expansions and acquisitions, Item 9 Labs—with its name inspired by the Seth Rogen and James Franco stoner flick “Pineapple Express”— believes its franchising model puts the company “in the right spot at the right time to do the right thing,” says Chief Franchising Officer Mike Weinberger.Weinberger and CEO Andrew Bowden joined Cannabis Business Times for an exclusive interview on Item 9 Labs’ recent accomplishments, and where the company sees itself and the future of U.S. cannabis next.Zach Mentz: Item 9 Labs recently acquired Sessions Cannabis, based in Ontario, and all 43 of its locations. How did you identify Sessions Cannabis, specifically? What were some of the criteria that led you to wanting to acquire them?© Item 9 LabsMike Weinberger, Chief Franchising Officer at Item 9 LabsMike Weinberger: So we’re always open to any acquisition or merger that makes sense. We’re looking for good people, good brands, good systems. And strangely enough, Sessions is a franchise system and that’s what we do. There aren’t many franchisors in cannabis. We call ourselves the only one in the U.S., there’s a few that are in its infancy, and then in Canada, there’s about three of them. But the Canadian Council for Sessions is our Canadian Council; Steven Fry is the CEO and the founder there [at Sessions Cannabis]. And they saw a lot of synergies between our team, between Andrew and me and between Steven. We went on our first date, met him, we talked…

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