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Fate of Sonoma-Napa cannabis drinks joint venture unclear

Whether or not a Napa-based startup vintner and a Santa Rosa-based cannabis company have a letter of intent in place to produce a nonalcoholic cannabis-infused drink, as reported earlier this month, is a matter of dispute between the two companies.

The general counsel for CannaCraft, Stacy Hostetter, said House of Saka had previously signed a letter of intent, but it had expired months ago, although she could not rule out informal talks.

“That said, there are no agreements for CannaCraft to work with House of Saka at this time," Hostetter wrote in an email. “But it is a beautifully branded company that we have considered working more closely with. In addition both companies employ Tracey Mason and (we're) excited to explore the possibilities of working together.”

House of Saka insists the LOI is active and that they are exploring a joint venture with CannaCraft to make and distribute the product. That is according to Cynthia Salarizadeh, founder and chief strategy officer, and Tracey Mason, co-founder and CEO, who in February joined CannaCraft as its chief innovation officer.

Mason said in a text message and Salarizadeh said in an email that an extended LOI is in place.

Both companies declined to provide a copy of the letter, citing confidentiality.

A publicist representing CannaCraft originally reached out to the Business Journal on July 16 to pitch a story about CannaCraft and House of Saka.

In a followup email, the publicist, Melanie Trecha at Mattio Communications, portrayed the situation between House of Saka and CannaCraft as being “in final negotiations for CannaCraft to acquire a majority stake of House of Saka, Inc.”

Salarizadeh followed up the next day, writing in an email that the supposed deal being negotiated was instead a “Joint Venture” and that incorrect information had originally been given to the Business Journal. The original story was corrected to reflect that.

Salarizadeh previously told the Business Journal the deal had not been finalized and “there are no terms on the table yet.”

Mason previously said 500 cases would be produced in the initial run. Salarizadeh previously told the Business Journal the beverages will be going out of CannaCraft's manufacturing facility adding, “It will be distributed by them, and they're the sole investors.”

“While I was talking with (CannaCraft) about House of Saka they fell in love with the idea and in some ways fell in love with me and wanted to bring me on board to help their business development and innovation and marketing team,” Mason said previously.

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