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Santa Rosa's CannaCraft to merge with San Diego cannabis dispensary chain

CannaCraft, a large Santa Rosa cannabis producer, plans to merge with March and Ash, a Southern California dispensary chain, company officials confirmed Wednesday morning.

Forbes magazine initially reported the deal, and CannaCraft late Wednesday announced it. The umbrella company will operate under the name Groundwork Holding Inc. and will remain privately held.

Company officials were unavailable for comment. Financial details and a closing date for the merger were not disclosed.

The merger agreement will be crafted for “efficiency purposes,” but no layoffs are on the horizon as a result, a company spokesperson said. A new board will be formed under the combined company.

Breton Peace, general counsel of March and Ash, will become the CEO of Groundwork Holdings. Danielle Dell’Era, CannaCraft chief financial officer, will assume those duties for the newly formed umbrella firm.

CannaCraft co-founders Dennis Hunter and Ned Fussell will continue to function as co-CEOs of the Sonoma County cannabis company.

Founded in 2014, CannaCraft is a large producer of cannabis products such as topicals, vaping devices and beverages, including a CBD-infused root beer. Its roots go back to legacy cultivation days in the 1980s, when Hunter first taught himself how to grow cannabis as a young adult in Mendocino County. Hunter has remained a pillar in the cannabis community since.

“We are confident that this merger better positions us to ensure that Californians have access to safe and affordable cannabis,” Hunter said in a statement.

Fussell said: “We are proud to have created innovative brands and products with deep roots in California.”

He also called March and Ash a “visionary” dispensary partner.

CannaCraft also manages a farm that ties the company back to its founders’ roots — which culminated in a product designed to use proceeds in sales to help those languishing in prison on federal drug crimes.

Proceeds from Farmer and the Felon are earmarked to support the Last Prisoner Project, a coalition of cannabis industry leaders, activists and artists working on prison reform and social justice issues. Hunter and his business partner, Fussell, were introduced to the Last Prisoner Project during a benefit party at Jim Belushi’s house in Los Angeles.

Within three months of hitting most cannabis dispensary shelves and making an online presence, Farmer and the Felon took in $1 million in gross revenue.

For CannaCraft, the opportunity to merge with March and Ash provides the Sonoma County company a strong foothold in Southern California.

Founded in 2016, March and Ash operates two dispensaries in downtown San Diego, another two in Chula Vista east of the city as well as one each in Vista (north county), Imperial Beach and Imperial Valley (both on the east side of the county). All jurisdictions allow for adult, recreational sales under the guidelines set forth by the passage of Proposition 64 passed by California voters in 2016.

Blake Marchland, CEO and founder of Marsh and Ash, called the merger “a natural fit.”

“We’ve known the CannaCraft team for some time and share their values and vision for this industry,” Marchland said.

Almore Capital of Tysons, Virgina, facilitated the transaction.

Susan Wood covers law, cannabis, production, tech, energy, transportation, agriculture as well as banking and finance. For 27 years, Susan has worked for a variety of publications including the North County Times, Tahoe Daily Tribune and Lake Tahoe News. Reach her at 530-545-8662 or susan.wood@busjrnl.com.


This story was updated late Wednesday with details from CannaCraft’s announcement.

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