RavenQuest BioMed Inc (CNSX:RQB) (OTCMKTS:RVVQF) (FRA:1IT) CEO George Robinson discusses the company’s unique position in the medical cannabis space. George talks about their focus on indigenous peoples and their right to participate in certain economies including the cannabis space. The business model of 51% or greater ownership by Native Canadians also has major tax benefits.
James West: Hey, welcome back to Midas Letter Live. My guest this segment is George Robinson; he’s the CEO of RavensQuest Biomed. George, thanks for coming in today.
George Robinson: Thanks, James.
James West: George, your business model was unique from the outset. I participated in an investor conference call and it really struck me as a unique value proposition, but today you’re telling me that it’s kind of expanded a bit, based on certain things that have happened and your own personal/professional history. Why don’t you give me an overview exactly how you categorize the main components of the business?
George Robinson: We’ve got four pillars of our business. The first one is the indigenous peoples’ focus for us. We believe that because of UNDRIP, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and certain articles in there, that they have a right towards certain major economies in Canada, and cannabis is going to be one of them. So that’s really big for us right now; we have a large MOU moving to LOI with Fort McMurry 468 for 250,000 square feet, and we’d be their partner and equity partner there.
The second pillar is our management services. Last quarter we did 611,000 in consulting dollars, which was really unique; paid for all of our bills for us.
The third one is our investments/ acquisitions area of our business, where we’ve just purchased Bloomera, which is out of Markham, Ontario, and we’re also building out our AGB facility in Alberta, in Edmonton. That’s 35,500 square feet, which will be ready very shortly, for license to cultivate.
And lastly is our research and development with McGill.
James West: Okay, wow. So the idea is, then, for you to support the onboarding of First Nations groups who want to participate in the industry, and to participate with them as an equity partner?
George Robinson: Correct. It could be in many different forms: equity partner could be one of them. We have opportunities in front of us where we can be more of a takeoff or a streaming agreement with them, but always at the get-go, they own 51 percent or more of the limited partnership, and they own the license. This is most important for own-source revenue, which is really the driver for indigenous people. But we are their partners, we’re there from the consulting side, from blank piece of paper right through the operations.
James West: Wow. Okay, and so let’s talk a bit about the Bloomera acquisition. How soon till that is actually producing?
George Robinson: Right now, we have our first harvest done. All the microbiology and chemistry passed 100 percent on the first crop.
James West: Oh, great. Congratulations.
George Robinson: Thank you. The second one should be harvested here in the next three weeks, and if that goes well, then we’ll be ready to go to license for sell and dispense.
James West: Hmm. And so what are you going to do with the corps that you have now? Can you wholesale them?
George Robinson: We’ll probably wholesale them for sure at the get-go, and then from there we’ll use Bloomera’s license to actually first off, sell material, but also be the nursery for sending plant material to AGB. So we’re trying to get in front of our strategy by making sure as soon as we have a license to cultivate, it’s our nursery to send us rooted clippings off to the Alberta Green Biotech site.
James West: Oh, great. So I’ve heard that the Federal Government of Canada has got a sort of fast-track mentality when it comes to First Nations groups who are making applications for facilities and for licensing. Is that true, and if so, what exactly does the fast-track look like relative to the normal timeline for other ACMPR applicants?
George Robinson: I don’t think they would use the term ‘fast-track’, but they’d call it navigator management, which is a smaller group within the Office of Medicinal Cannabis, which will help indigenous people get their applications through. I have two of them right now that are in the process, a few more that are just entering into that. One went through in about 12 months, and the other went through in six and a half months – what I mean by that is they’re at final review or active review, in that time frame.
So it sounds like it’s being expedited, but I can’t speak for Health Canada. But definitely they’re managing the indigenous files through.
James West: And is there any financial support from the Federal Government for First Nations?
George Robinson: It’s a legal business, so there’s always financial support available for them. But typically in these type of environments, there’s grant money that’s provided, so you have to go spend the money and then the grant money sets into offset after the fact.
James West: Okay. So what I’m trying to get at with those questions is, is it conceivable that cannabis sourced from First Nations suppliers might actually be more competitively priced than that from the larger corporate ACMPRs?
George Robinson: Well, let’s just take a look at the tax side of this thing first, right? Sovereign land, sovereign government…we’ll see exactly how this excise tax rolls out, but there’s a 10 percent excise tax that may be not in place. We know that the GST and PST is not applicable on First Nations land. So we have anywhere between a 22 to 25 percent tax savings right off the get-go. So that’s pretty important, and remembering that would not only be on production, but many First Nations are asking us to help them out with retail outlets. So it also goes right to the retail side; sovereign land to sovereign land.
So I think there is a pricing advantage; we’ll wait to see what the final regulations and legislation looks like.
James West: Wow. So then, how many First Nations groups potentially are there across Canada who could become applicants for ACMPR licensing?
George Robinson: For us, particularly, I think we’d be looking somewhere between 12 and 24; that’s going to be a great representation across the country. But there’s 680-some-odd nations across Canada, so I think we’ll take a look at an ACMPR licensing for production, probably those numbers. I think there’s a far vaster or larger number we can help them off on their retail outlets, like, that may be north of 100.
James West: Hmm. So from what you’ve told me, it strikes me as a very real and possible threat to the corporate ACMPR suppliers in Canada that they won’t be able to compete with indigenous providers of cannabis because of that 25 percent tax saving, as well as the other advantages they’re going to be able to enjoy on the cost side as a result of being on sovereign land.
George Robinson: It could be. You know, we have to sort of let this play out, I think, first off. I think if you take a look at it, let’s just say maybe 20 percent might pick up or more; that still leaves a lot of room for everyone else. And I think branding will become a difference also, whereas First Nations are going to focus, I think, majorly at the beginning on medicinal relief and then work into the retail side thereafter. I think they’re very good caretakers of the land, so they’ve come from a large herbal background. So let’s see. I wouldn’t be – I mean, I have my own facilities that we’re in, and I’m not nervous about it. I think we still have a lot of runway there yet, but I’m really encouraged that they’re coming into the space, and I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for them and for the indigenous people across Canada.
James West: Great introduction to RavensQuest, George. Thanks for coming in today.
George Robinson: Thank you very much, James.
Midas Letter is provided as a source of information only, and is in no way to be construed as investment advice. James West, the author and publisher of the Midas Letter, is not authorized to provide investor advice, and provides this information only to readers who are interested in knowing what he is investing in and how he reaches such decisions.
Investing in emerging public companies involves a high degree of risk and investors in such companies could lose all their money. Always consult a duly accredited investment professional in your jurisdiction prior to making any investment decision.
Midas Letter occasionally accepts fees for advertising and sponsorship from public companies featured on this site. James West and/or Midas Letter may also receive compensation from companies affiliated with companies featured on this site. James West and/or Midas Letter also invests in companies on this site and so readers should view all information on this site as biased.