Four Oregon cannabis farmers are accusing Chalice Brands, a publicly traded Canadian cannabis company, of failing to pay for flower, pre-rolls, edibles, and other products placed in its Oregon dispensaries, Willamette Week reports. According to the growers and invoices shared with WW, the unpaid bills by Chalice add up to well over $100,000.
Marianne Cursetjee, the owner of Alibi Cannabis, told WW that Chalice owes her farm $5,350 for flower and pre-rolls it purchased in July.
“Chalice is financing its business on the backs of small farmers. People are too afraid of saying things out loud because we have no power to collect anything outstanding. I really, truly feel that Chalice is a house of cards.” — Cursetjee to WW
Chalice was founded in 2014 by William Simpson, who sold the company to Canadian-based and publicly traded cannabis company Golden Leaf in 2017. Lee served as the company’s CEO for a time. Chalice is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario but most of its operations are still run out of its Portland office, the report says. Chalice purchases products from more than 20 Oregon cannabis farms and product makers for its dispensaries. The company also owns some of its own brands and product lines. From 2019 to 2021, Chalice acquired a number of dispensaries, a California-based CBD makeup brand, and launched new product lines.
A Medford-based manufacturer told WW that it is owed $48,000 from Chalice dating back to October 2021, while a Corvallis-based wholesaler and producer is owed about $70,000 dating back to March 2022, according to invoices outlined by WW. Vincent Deschamps, owner of 54 Green Acres, estimates he’s owed more than $50,000 by Chalice. In October, Bend-based producer Kush Originals sued Chalice over $51,330 in unpaid bills. Chalice never responded to the lawsuit and Kush requested a default judgment in the case.
In a January 5 statement to WW, Chalice Brands Executive Board Liaison Faviola Bishop said that “Taking aim at anyone in the industry today doesn’t help small farmers, it can potentially hurt them.”
“The harsh reality is that 2022 was one of the most, if not THE most, challenging years the industry has ever faced. The challenge has been felt in all markets, with mature markets like Oregon feeling the greatest impact,” the statement says. “We are facing declining demand, oversupply, and over-penetration of stores. Oregon has more stores per capita than most markets. On top of all these challenges, Congress’s inability to pass the SAFE Banking Act, along with 280E, limits the industry’s access to capital and puts incredible financial pressure on all licensed cannabis businesses.”
The statement says the company is “in survival mode” and that industry operators “will only make it through this by working together.”
“We are completely committed to getting all of our partners paid what they are owed and feel their pain,” the statement says. “Chalice is also owed a great deal of money from our wholesale partners and understand firsthand the challenges all of us are facing.”
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