Acreage Holdings: The Company Forging the Way for the Legalization of Cannabis

By Heather Ritchie

Acreage Holdings is helping pave the way for a better world through cannabis’s power to transform people with its therapeutic benefits. They’re seeking support in Washington, DC to de-criminalize cannabis, thus eradicating it from the federal Schedule I drug list.

Many companies in the cannabis industry strive to do the same and Acreage Holdings is leading the way by fostering integral partnerships with physicians, medical researchers, and regulators to set new standards for the industry. Their diverse team includes Wall Street veterans and key players in the legal field and food and beverage industry. The company has processing, dispensing, and cultivation operations in 12 states and plans further expansion.

The Importance of Genetics

Acreage Holdings has strategies that help solidify their position in the cannabis industry,and one of those is Phil Hague, the head of cultivation for the company. Hague is a 3rd generation grower whose passion for cannabis began as a hobby when he was 15 years old. He knew that produce found in stores was nowhere near as good as the products that his family grew in their gardens and greenhouses, so he figured that the same must be true for cannabis.

The problem was that there wasn’t a lot of plant material available and most of what he was able to acquire came from South America or Mexico and was likely smuggled in someone’s gas tank and shipped across the country. Holland was the only place that had commercially available cannabis seeds at the time, so there was limited genetic material. Not to mention that things had altered the herb that weren’tnecessarily favorable to cannabis as a whole.

The Dutch focused on high yields with high THC levels, putting all other plant attributes to the side. They weren’t paying attention to commercial viability, resistance to disease and insects, or certain terpene profiles. So, Hague began to collect as much genetic material as possible with the goal to focus on the best plants grown in their ideal climates to produce the best product possible. He said that one of the keys to being successful nationwide is to get a varied collection of plant material and use it for cultivation.

A Financial Background Combined with Passion

One of Acreage Holdings superior qualities is the passion for their part in the industry like Hague exhibits. CEO, Kevin Murphy said, “We’re very passionate about what we’re setting out to do on a day-to-day basis. At the end of the day, this to us is more of a capitalistic mission. We are setting out every day to change peoples’ lives,and that’s really the goal for us. It’s probably the most joyful thing that I’ve ever done.”

Murphy’s background is predominantly finance. He spent most of his career on Wall Street as a money manager and investment banker. He learned valuable lessons from the business he started in the late 1990s, Stanfield Capital Partners, like the key to success is to find a very good partner. Also, equally critical to success and prosperity is surrounding your organization with people that have high morals and ethical codes.

Acreage Holdings came to fruition in 2011 when he was invited by a friend in Maine to invest in the industry. At the time he was still skeptical since he didn’t have a strong relationship with the plant yet. As a result of this opportunity, he learned about the business,and it inspired him to go to other states that were essential to bringing medical cannabis online, like New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and beyond. They acquired licenses in these states and grew the company from there.

Its All About Those that Need Help

Murphy hopes to be in 18 to 20 states by the end of 2018,and their mission is to bring predictable, clean medicine to those in need. He mentioned a lunch with a military veteran who shared his passion about helping the 20 million veterans in American gain access to cannabis because of its therapeutic benefits, especially for PTSD.

Society labels veterans with PTSD as having a handicap, Murphy went on to say, but in reality, it is the outcome of spending so much time away from your family in high-stress environments and then trying to come home and readjust to society. However, since it’s a Schedule I drug, veterans risk losing their benefits for using cannabis which may be the one solution to help them lead a normal life and maintain healthy relationships with their family. Its people like this that Acreage Holdings really is fighting for along with the multitude of other Americans with no other viable solutions to diseases and ailments like seizures or anxiety.

A Powerful, Influential Combination

Murphy is already meeting with influential politicians in Washington, DC to instigate the de-scheduling of cannabis and promote cannabis as a healthy medical solution to patients all over the world. Hague said, “It’s about meeting the influencers in Washington. We know we can’t do this alone and every congressman, every senator knows that they can’t do it alone either. We’re going to do it as a group.”

He referred to Speaker Boehner and his change in sides from being against making cannabis legal to now supporting it. When asked why he changed his mind, Boehner said that he thought that things evolved. With 94 percent of the country believing that it should be legal and having represented the country his entire adult life, he said that he had evolved too.

Hague pointed out that it’ssensible thinking along with people that care that are going to accomplish this push in legislature. Unfortunately, we’ve lost a significant portion of genetic material due to the illegality of cannabis over the past 40 years and its gone forever which is why Hague is so passionate to keep what we have now.

The mark we make on the planet is ours to own. Essential cannabis business’s in the industry like Acreage Holdings have passionate people fighting for a necessary cause. Cannabis provides some people’s only prospect for relief,andAcreage Holdings is trying to help ensure that patients in need have access to the clean, medicinal products they rely on.