With more states legalizing marijuana and an influx of weed businesses getting a buzz off of public equity sales, the cannabis industry has been having a banner year.

One major player, Leafly, has been especially fortunate. The Seattle-based company recently raised $31 million from investors, and it reports that revenue is expected to hit $43 million in 2021 and up to $65 million in 2022. 

Leafly’s latest move is a SPAC merger with Merida Merger Corp. I, a blank-check acquirer, in a deal valued at $532 million, according to TechCrunch. The public debut, expected in late 2021, is expected to generate proceeds of up to $161 million. Once completed, the company will be worth an expected $385 million.

Founded in 2010, Leafly has become one of the go-to resources for those who want to learn more about cannabis dispensaries, strains, and news. The site also offers a subscription-based platform and services for cannabis businesses.

The company didn’t have an easy 2020, and the pandemic only exacerbated its problems — after laying off 54 workers in January of that year, COVID-19 forced Leafly to cut 91 more jobs, or 39% of its remaining workforce. Then, in August, former lawyer Yoko Miyashita took over as CEO, turning the company around in the process. The company has since focused on improving its e-commerce tools as more states legalize recreational marijuana (as of August 2021, 18 states allow some form of recreational marijuana).

Leafly isn’t the only cannabis company to go public this year. Hempsana debuted on the Canadian Securities Exchange in July, Mary Agrotechnologies debuted on the same exchange in May, and CBD company Grove filed for a $15 million IPO, to name a handful.

According to our data on dispensaries listed on Leafly, there are 9,487 locations across the US. Our data shows that 26 of those dispensaries are Black-owned. Despite a recent uptick in Black-owned cannabis businesses, it’s still more difficult to open a dispensary, not only for people of color, but for low-income and formerly incarcerated entrepreneurs, mainly because of stigma, a limited number of licenses issued by states, and the high cost of operating dispensaries. According to a report by Pew Charitable Trusts, it can cost up to $1 million to open and operate a dispensary in Los Angeles for one year. 

A Leafly blog post on prominent Black-owned dispensaries includes Oakland Extracts, SF Roots, and former Golden State Warrior Al Harrington’s Viola Brands.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.

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