VIDEO: Liberty Health Sciences Inc (CNSX:LHS) Success in Florida Market
Liberty Health Sciences Inc (CNSX:LHS) (OTCMKTS:LHSIF) (FRA:S6UQ) CEO George Scorsis provides an update on the company’s recent activities including its current stock surge, its deal with PAX, and its foray into the Florida market. PAX produces temperature controlled portable cannabis oil vaporizers that Liberty Health will distribute in Florida through its dispensaries. Scorsis discusses the company’s growth in Florida, which includes an increase in total number of patients and a revenue surge of 112 percent. Scorsis explains the benefits of the Florida market, namely friendly tax rates for medical cannabis customers, aging demographics, and a system with 140,000 patients growing at a rate of over 3,000 patients per week. Aphria Inc (TSE:APH) (OTCMKTS:APHQF) (FRA10E) announced recently that it had completed its divestiture of Liberty Health, but because it has a back-in option, Liberty Health retains access to Aphria’s scientific, operational, and capital resources.
James West: Hey, welcome back to Midas Letter Live. My guest in this segment almost needs no introduction: George Scorsis is the CEO of Liberty Health Sciences Inc., trading on the CSE under the symbol LHS. George, welcome back.
George Scorsis: Thanks for having me again.
James West: George, lots going on in your universe. Give us the latest update: what’s happening for LHS?
George Scorsis: It’s busy. We continue to build our house of brands, because I’ve always said dispensaries are about having not only the best service, the best data points for our patients to help them continuously get the best products, but also, we want to strive to have the best brands. So we just brought PAX into our portfolio; we’re the first in Florida, we have an exclusive on it. So I think that really, what that really shows is that we are committed to being the first, but also having the best brands for our patients to use. I think that’s a differentiation point for us.
James West: So PAX makes controlled portable cannabis oil vaporizers – temperature controlled portable cannabis oil vaporizers? That’s a mouthful.
George Scorsis: Yeah, it is.
James West: Sounds like a pretty high tech device. What does it do that other ones don’t do?
George Scorsis: Yeah, so a few things. You can track all the data points; it’s all trackable on your iPhone, which most of them don’t have those capabilities. And for us, important for the user to actually have that feedback loop for them to understand not only the strains that they’re using, but also how they’re using it. It’s an interesting vaporizer; it’s a lot different from the disposables that are out there, and I think it’s more of a premium product.
James West: So it’s like, dude, you’re too high. Smoke less.
George Scorsis: Yeah, hold it back!
James West: Dude, you let that inhale go too soon! Inefficient! I love it, I’m going to have to get one of those. Okay, so you are going to distribute these throughout Florida?
George Scorsis: Yeah, that’s right. It’s going to be available on October 1st through delivery; it’s also going to be available through all of our dispensaries that we have throughout the state.
James West: Okay, and then on September 6th you had put out an announcement about your incredible growth in the state of Florida, and revenues up 112 percent, patients are up – like, it’s just going off down there.
George Scorsis: Yeah, I think it’s indicative of what we always said we’re going to do. You know, we’re going to build the best platform; we’re going to be the best, the most, what I would say, patient-centric company in the entire state, and I think it’s showing. We have 10,000 patients currently within our platform, and it continuously grows. Our revenue is coming in, in line with what we anticipated; all of our growth is indicative of what we always committed.
James West: I don’t hear about a lot of competition in Florida. Is that by design, like what, did you rub them out? [laughter]
George Scorsis: [laughter] no, you know, there is competition. We’re going to see MedMen, we’re going to see iAnthus, a few of the other players; GTI is coming into the marketplace. They all understand what we saw when we first came into the market on what the opportunity is in Florida. But I think what they aren’t going to see is how challenging Florida is as a marketplace. It’s not simply about, you know, you having the ability to open up 30 dispensaries; it’s actually getting the dispensaries open. And also, I think a lot of people need to focus on cultivation. Cultivation’s a lot more complicated than what most would imagine; you’re dealing with high humidity, you’re also dealing with a few other factors.
James West: Interesting. The State of Florida is only medical, correct?
George Scorsis: That’s right – only medical, 13 licenses currently in the marketplace. Potentially in 2020, we may see adult use, but we’ll see how that goes. There’s still not too many indicators that the state is going to be favourable in that direction.
James West: Is that right, eh? What is the tax regime like in Florida? I’m curious as to – I know in California, they’re having a real problem where since the onset of the new holistic regulations, patients are seeing increases in costs of up to 40 percent, which some of them are not able to incorporate easily. Is that the same thing that’s happening in Florida?
George Scorsis: No. Florida is actually the exact opposite; Florida is quite friendly to patients using. We haven’t seen heavy, what I would call sin taxes, imposed on the patients; it’s extremely friendly marketplace to work with. The regulators continuously work with us on building platforms, allowing us different products in the marketplace, expanding all of our dispensaries, and I would say that it’s one of the best systems that I’ve seen in the entire US.
James West: Interesting. So what, in terms of, what are the metrics of the Florida market in terms of number of patients potentially, and sort of the size, cost-wise?
George Scorsis: Well over 140,000 patients in the system right now, and growing over 3,000 patients a week; I think it’s one of the fastest-growing markets in the US, hands down.
James West: The word is out.
George Scorsis: Yeah, the word is out, and we see them coming. And you know, I think what you will see is it continuously escalate at that point. It is one of the most aged demographics in the entire US; it has one of the most chronic conditions allowed. So it’s a really interesting market for us to enter into, especially when we came in as one of the most medical of all the platforms in the space. Many of the competitors wanted to be more recreational, and I would say that that probably wasn’t what the consumer base is today. It may be in the future, but not today.
James West: Okay. And back in August you doubled the capacity of your 360 Innovation Campus; what goes on there?
George Scorsis: Yeah, our Innovation Campus is more than just cultivation; it’s an area that we can have commercial pitches, we can start working on water-soluble products to start looking at beverages in the future, transdermal patches…
James West: Gummi bears?
George Scorsis: Potentially…
James West: My personal favourite.
George Scorsis: Potentially gummi bears. We will shape them like oranges for you, James.
James West: Thank you.
George Scorsis: But we are looking more at innovative platforms within that space. We do have the ability to do different things. And I would say that the regulators are open to us, allowing for different derivatives or disruptables in the space.
James West: Sure. And the stock’s been on quite a tear lately, up like 30, 40 percent in the last few weeks. Is that a result of what you’re executing here, or are there other things happening behind the scenes, or more broadly in the market, that’s driving that interest right now?
George Scorsis: I think the catalyst was one of our announcements last week. I think that investors are waiting to see, could we really deliver on what we promised? And I think last week was the first indication that we could, both on our revenue targets and our patient targets. We’ve hit both of them, and I think that allows for a lot of comfort. And we’ve seen a spike in our share price over the last few days, especially in the last week, and I think we’re going to continuously see that.
James West: Not a deal with Diageo yet?
George Scorsis: No, it would be promising, but not yet.
James West: [laughter] Okay! Darn. You heard it here first! No, okay, so great, you were working on a number of things in some other states as well; what’s the progress of those little initiatives?
George Scorsis: We’re still looking at Massachusetts – promising state, as well as some additional ones that, you know, we see, we look at it in a few ways. Is it commercially feasible, first and foremost? Secondly, we won’t enter into a state that we simply buy paper. We want to go into a state that we get bench strength. Every single state has its own complexities; you need to get people who actually know the regulations, who have been in the state but are good operators. We’re an operational company, we’re not a roll-up company; I continuously say that.
So I think that will be really the filter that we use to evaluate any market, and it’ll come with bench strength, but it’ll also not just be a piece of paper allowing us to go into the space, because then tremendous CapEx is associated with it. We wouldn’t want to do that to our investors.
James West: Yeah, sure. So Aphria put out an announcement that they had completed their divestiture of Liberty Health, but they still have an option to back in through a warrant exercise, correct?
George Scorsis: Yeah, that’s right.
James West: And so it’s interesting to me, because one of the key features of Liberty Health that a lot of people don’t realize, I think, is that this still very much has access to all of the bench strength in the Aphria camp on the scientific side, on the operational side, on access to capital, on all of that. Correct?
George Scorsis: That’s right. So what it essentially is, we’ll retain the IP, the know-how, all the cultivation experience that we’ve garnered over the last little while. But I think what it does is, although they are somewhat detaching themselves at the current moment, they have the opportunity to be part of it in the future. I think whether it be Aphria or any other LP in Canada, they know that the US is quite promising when it does open up, and I don’t think Aphria wants to exclude themselves. So it really offers a pretty interesting opportunity for us downstream to work again with Aphria.
I think it’s also time for the little brother to grow on its own, and independently. And I think there’s going to be a point where you see us together again.
James West: Oh, very cool. Probably US de-prohibition, or somewhere near there.
George Scorsis: That’s right.
James West: All right, George, that’s a fantastic update. We’ll leave it there for now and come back to you in a short time and see how you’re making out. Thanks for joining me today.
George Scorsis: Thank you.
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