Since launching simultaneously with the 2018 enactment of California’s Proposition 64 that legalized recreational marijuana, HERBL has become one of the largest cannabis distribution companies in the state, providing supply chain solutions to more than 850 storefronts and delivery services across California.
It currently provides scalable distribution software and infrastructure consisting of five licensed warehouse buildings across three campuses, utilizing more than 35 armored trucks to deliver top brands like Cookies, Raw Garden, and Henry’s Original.
In June, the company announced it had acquired Blackbird, a premier cannabis distributor, and software solution company in Nevada, for an undisclosed amount. This gives HERBL access to 98% of all cannabis retailers in Nevada and California.
This market capture has made the company extremely attractive to investors, including blank-check firms. On Friday, Reuters, citing unnamed sources, reported the company may go public through a merger with the special purpose acquisition company BGP Acquisition at a $600 million valuation, to eventually be listed on the NEO exchange in Canada.
HERBL declined to comment on the Reuters article.
In an interview with FreightWaves, founder and CEO Michael Beaudry explains his career transition from leading executive teams at United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) to an industry he has enjoyed since high school, the similarities between the growth of the natural food industry and the cannabis industry, and the difficulties of distributing such products.
This question-and-answer interview was edited for clarity and length.
FREIGHTWAVES: You have had a successful career in natural foods and dietary supplement distribution. What attracted you to what many see as the taboo industry of cannabis?
BEAUDRY: “I have been an active participant in this industry since high school, so I have always had a fascination with it, and back then it was almost incredulous to me to picture in 2014 that cannabis would be something that actually ended up in