Financing the Cannabis Industry Part 1: A Q&A with AFC Gamma CEO & Partner Len Tannenbaum

Organization typically demand outdoors capital to finance running pursuits and to help scaling and development. Financing in the cannabis market is notoriously hard with regulatory obstacles at the nearby, point out and federal concentrations. Current marketplace dynamics pose supplemental challenges for each financiers and hashish operators.

We sat down with Len Tannenbaum, CEO & Partner of Superior Flower Capital Gamma (AFC Gamma, NASDAQ: AFCG) to understand more about AFC Gamma and to get his viewpoint on latest sector tendencies.

Aaron Environmentally friendly: In a nutshell, what is your financial commitment/lending philosophy?

Len Tannenbaum: AFC Gamma is just one of the greatest companies of institutional loans to hashish companies nationwide in all areas of generation: cultivation, processing, and distribution. Cannabis businesses, no make any difference the dimension, ordinarily lack the lending prospects that other enterprises have readily available, and which is exactly where AFC Gamma comes in. As an institutional loan provider, we supply financial alternatives to the hashish industry.

AFC Gamma is a commercial home loan REIT that gives loans to providers secured by three pillars: funds flows, licenses, and actual estate. We deliver time period financial loans, attract facilities, and construction loans. Every personal loan is distinctive and personalized especially to fulfill the requirements of our borrowers. This special partnership approach with our purchasers will allow us to uncover solutions to assist them develop and improve together with them.

Considering the fact that commencing AFC Gamma, we have concluded almost $500 million of transactions. We supply funds to an business that other individuals do not and, in turn, let these operators to build cultivation facilities, production amenities, and dispensaries.

Inexperienced: What forms of providers are you mostly financing?

Len Tannenbaum, CEO & Partner of State-of-the-art Flower Funds Gamma

Tannenbaum: AFC Gamma seeks to operate with operators, ideally in confined license states. We make loans to organizations secured by 3 pillars: dollars flows, licenses, and serious estate. We are inclined to lend to operators in regulatory-friendly states, this kind of as: Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Arizona, New Mexico, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, and Nevada. Traditionally, we shy away from states like California, Washington and Oregon provided our strategy to lending. We have 16 borrowers in 17 states, and what we seem for are businesses that we can mature with around the lengthy term.

Green: What characteristics do you appear for in a hashish field operator or running team?

Tannenbaum: We tend to operate with a few unique buckets of operators. You have the large publicly traded multi-condition operators (MSOs) we have lent to, these types of as Verano. Then you have the tier suitable down below the prime tier MSOs, exactly where you have some general public enterprises like Acreage, who is one of our borrowers, and then some personal corporations these as Nature’s Medicine and Justice Grown. The 3rd tier are smaller operators. They’re single or two-point out operators, and we’re commonly coming in to assist them create out licenses that they want or enable them develop within that condition. That’s why state-by-condition dynamics are so crucial to us and why we ordinarily only lend to confined license states.

We glance at portfolio diversity on a stage-by-stage basis alternatively than a borrower-by-borrower foundation. We are likely to concentrate on bargains in minimal license states and also deals that have actual estate as collateral. We have observed that REIT loans give our customers the most overall flexibility, and we are ready to finance extra firms this way.

Eco-friendly: Funds market place dynamics have led to significant general public hashish organization revaluations in 2022. How has this impacted your company?

Tannenbaum: Though capital market dynamics have made an effects on a considerable range of community hashish companies’ revaluations this 12 months, our total company hasn’t been influenced as well a lot and that is for the reason that the other lending selections readily available proper now are not perfect decisions for most debtors. A single of the means a loan provider can realize credit history enhancements or securities is by elevating money in the public markets. When the marketplaces are extra difficult, these firms have a more durable time accessing money when they may possibly require it most. In transform, this could bring about slow development over-all, more hard cash conservation and it gets rid of a single of the added benefits to lenders. We’d like anyone to have more strong fairness from that standpoint, but the flip side is, if fairness will get much too superior in value, people debtors will not occur to us creditors and they’ll raise cash in the fairness marketplaces due to the fact the equity is inexpensive. We’re surely conducting a ton of organization for the reason that the fairness current market is not out there to hashish providers. If that were being to transform, although our financial loans would be theoretically safer, they would pick fairness as a substitute of personal debt.

Eco-friendly: Debt on hashish corporations equilibrium sheets have greater substantially in latest a long time. What is your standpoint on that?

Tannenbaum: When fairness markets were totally free and the valuations had been higher, cannabis firms elevated cash in the equity markets alternatively than acquire on debt. Now that the equity markets have been rather shut and valuations are considerably decreased, we see their personal debt has improved in excess of the past two several years.

Inexperienced: How does the deficiency of institutional investor participation in the cannabis business influence your business enterprise?

Tannenbaum: Suitable now, we are 1 of the biggest loan companies in hashish. Searching to the potential, though, if the Safe Banking Act passes, we could see an inflow of institutional capital that would improve competitiveness among hashish-specific and mainstream creditors. From the outset, most of the competitiveness will come from hedge cash, not big banking companies. This opposition will travel down curiosity premiums and appeal to borrowers like MSOs.

Inexperienced: What would you like to see in either condition or federal legalization?

Tannenbaum: The Senate passing the Harmless Banking Act. Should this occur, loan providers, including AFC Gamma, will be capable to borrow less costly, which will, in change, enable loan companies to lend less expensive. It will be a web constructive for all operators. It could also be beneficial for creditors assuming they have the infrastructure and capabilities to scale and decrease the price of money when the cash commences flowing and far more discounts are becoming made.

Inexperienced: What trends are you next carefully as we head to the finish of 2022?

Tannenbaum: The most crucial pattern we’re adhering to is state by point out trends. We’re excited to see new states getting their act alongside one another like New York. We’re excited about Georgia. We’re also seeking ahead to Missouri heading rec. On the flip facet, we’re also viewing Virginia challenge extra than 400 licenses, diluting down the constrained license states into in essence an unlimited license condition, which individually doesn’t make feeling.

The other development we’re observing across the place is cannabis costs. There is unquestionably a gray and legacy sector that goes throughout border that must be enforced. That circulation of cannabis product is depressing prices, specially in the unrestricted license states. I imagine there is a likelihood that trend starts reversing as many grows are now inefficient. The reduced conclusion of inefficient grows are going to commence closing, which may well boost prices likely into up coming 12 months.