Grizzle sat down with Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers for an unique interview.

We caught up with Kim to listen to how she is adapting as Coronavirus instances proceed to spike in Florida.

Kim additionally addresses how Trulieve is maintaining workers protected from the virus and dealing with testing, contact tracing and quarantines.

Lastly, we speak concerning the upcoming share unlock and if traders ought to care.

Full Transcript

Scott: [00:00:00] All proper, everybody, welcome again to Grizzle’s Interview Series. This is the place we attempt to interview CEOs which are going to deliver perception to the hashish business. And I’m joined once more by one in all my favourite individuals to interview. It’s Kim Rivers from Trulieve. She at all times brings a whole lot of perception to what’s taking place on the bottom with Trulieve in addition to what’s taking place within the business. So, she’s a terrific useful resource for us to speak to and somebody it is best to undoubtedly hearken to. So, Kim, thanks for becoming a member of us at the moment.

Kim: [00:00:24] Thanks a lot for having me, Scott. It’s at all times a pleasure.

Scott: [00:00:26] Great. So, I do know that a few of our viewers noticed that we had spoken early April, which is true round when Coronavirus was beginning right here. What’s occurring with Trulieve? You know, regardless that the panorama is altering so fast, your supply was up 500 %? Seems like usually issues have been — you might be benefiting from the Corona virus at that time due to the spike in demand. But now, you recognize, we’re 4 months in — case counts have been low in Florida and now they’re going up. Just would love to listen to an replace from you on what the working surroundings is like. Have you needed to change what you’re even doing from June versus April? Just an replace could be useful.

Kim: [00:01:01] Yeah. No, completely. I admire the query. You know, we’re undoubtedly in a marathon, proper? Not a dash. And I believe that though as a result of issues do change quickly, there are type of sprints embedded within the marathon, if you’ll. And so, you recognize, as we talked early on into your level, we did see demand growing. And we noticed, you recognize, once more, at our firm, together with others, having to pivot by way of how we have been offering entry to remedy. And as a reminder in Florida. We, together with hashish firms usually, have been deemed important very early. And in order that’s been useful and that we’ve recognized that we’re anticipated to remain open and to offer entry to drugs for folk. And so actually, it’s been our job to ensure that we’re doing that in a safer means as attainable and that we’re giving of us choices on how they want to obtain their drugs. It’s been attention-grabbing as a result of in Florida, to your level, you recognize, early on there was a statewide keep at dwelling order that was handed by the governor. And in order that resulted in what we noticed as elevated demand and not a lot basket loading as a result of we noticed the frequency stay the identical, as we went over in our Q1 earnings name. But actually simply heightened consumption. And in order that was taking place throughout that keep at dwelling order timeframe. 

Kim: [00:02:23] And after that occurred then we entered into this section one reopening. To your level, proper? The numbers have been supportive of that. At least our governor believed that, that was the appropriate transfer. And so, we moved right into a shift the place companies have been reopening. We did see a change in shopper habits following that reopening exercise whereby of us began to return again right into a strolling sample in our shops. Now, importantly, and I believe that that is attention-grabbing, our pickup order and enterprise did keep comparatively excessive. So we sit at the moment at over 50 %, roughly 50 % in that speedy pickup place, which is nice as a result of we’re capable of management the movement by means of our dispensaries and we’re capable of reduce contact and retains it from distancing protocols using that channel. Interestingly, although, when the reopening occurred, I believe of us simply needed to go away their homes. Honestly. And so, we did see a rise in of us wanting to return again to the shops. And now in latest days, proper? We have seen instances improve in Florida actually throughout the final week. And that information — testing information popping out, which we’ve all heard about.

Kim: [00:03:31] But, you recognize, even on the nationwide information channels. And so, we’re beginning to see a shift again to supply changing into extra prevalent once more in addition to, once more, that steadiness in our pickup channel. And so, we now have, after all, all of the instruments in our toolbox. We’ve obtained automobiles accessible in order that we are able to deal with the will increase in supply. We’re additionally, in the event you’ll keep in mind, as we type of progressed by means of the cycle, we did convert shops to choose up solely places. We’re wanting very critically at doing that once more. We even have curbside pickup accessible now for folk who want it, however doubtlessly rolling that out in a extra sturdy means additionally. So, we need to ensure it’s a steadiness, proper? Want to ensure that we’re listening to sufferers. We have availability for sufferers. And as a vital enterprise, we really feel like that’s our accountability, however that we’re, after all, ensuring that we’re being very conscientious and protected by way of how we’re offering these merchandise to of us.

Scott: [00:04:30] So it seems like from a requirement perspective, demand continues to be rising because it has for you guys quarter after quarter. So that’s why regardless that there could have been much less supply, much less pickup on the door, that has type of stayed flat as a result of general demand continues to be going up.

Kim: [00:04:46] Yeah, I imply, simply a few stats on that, that I pulled. I imply, I believe it’s vital to take a look at type of a few issues. So, the very first thing to take a look at that we have a look at very intently as new sufferers coming into this system. So actually, in the event you have a look at new affected person progress, so in that type of a halt, on the top of the keep at dwelling orders, new sufferers dropped off a bit as a result of non-essential and additionally elective procedures, medical and so forth. closed. And so, a whole lot of docs’ places of work really weren’t open. But because the reopening, if you’ll, new sufferers have really elevated to over — this previous week we had 5 thousand — nearly 5 thousand 5 hundred new sufferers enter the system in Florida, whereas pre-Covid we have been at about two thousand at twenty 5 hundred sufferers per week. So, it’s been nearly a doubling of recent sufferers coming into this system. The second factor is while you have a look at general developments throughout, you recognize, the OMMU information, which everyone knows and love. If you look at the start of the 12 months and nearly, we began the 12 months at between promoting on a weekly foundation between 30 and 40, about 40 million milligrams of oil and about 9 thousand ounces of flour.

Kim: [00:05:50] And this previous 30 days, simply to type of provide you with a comparability on a weekly foundation. We’re promoting roughly 60 to 70 million milligrams and about 20,000 ounces of flour. So, you can too see the expansion simply from as we enter 2020 to now. And then you definately layer on clearly Covid on high of that. And, you recognize, it creates a type of attention-grabbing, I’ll say, surroundings for hashish within the state of Florida.

Scott: [00:06:16] Those are my questions on that. You know, you stated that folks have been shopping for extra oil in April. It seems like oil demand continues to be robust on this surroundings.

Kim: [00:06:24] Absolutely.

Scott: [00:06:25] Interesting. And additionally, I used to be studying that edibles are going to roll out someday sooner or later in Florida. Could you give us an replace? When do you suppose that you simply would possibly have the ability to carry these in Trulieve dispensaries?

Kim: [00:06:35] A crystal ball query. And so, you recognize, I’ll say that, you recognize, and for these of you who heard me speak about this, I apologize for slightly little bit of the damaged document. I do imagine edibles are coming on this 12 months in 2020. And there have been three principally guidelines that wanted to occur previous to edibles being launched. So, waste disposal, testing protocols. And then lastly packaging, which all have an edibles part to them, which is why it was vital for them to be launched. So, we’re by means of two of these. Testing procedures really went into place about two and a half or three weeks in the past. And now I’ll say that, that’s inflicting — due to the variations within the new testing laws, it’s inflicting slightly little bit of a delay in getting stock to market. So, you may even see throughout the board a program this week. It’ll be attention-grabbing to observe within the numbers — throughout the entire firms whether or not or not that has been — that has had any affect on numbers.

Kim: [00:07:31] But everybody’s enjoying catch up. And so, it ought to rectify itself inside, I might name it per week’s time or so, on that entrance. So, we now are simply ready on packaging. My understanding is that rule has been drafted and is able to be launched. Obviously, with the swing again and consideration to Covid, I’m unsure if we’ll see that. Well, we have been actually hopeful that we’d see that someday in July, however it could get pushed a bit. And then after that’s launched and, you recognize, the subsequent one up could be edibles. So, for Trulieve’s perspective, we now have all of our approvals for our kitchen from the Department of Agriculture, accomplished. Our asset plans, our meals security plans, et cetera. So, we actually are simply ready on, once more, these guidelines to be handed by the Department of Health. We do suppose that it’ll be a catalyst for this market. And we all know that there’s a pent-up demand for edible merchandise in Florida.

Scott: [00:08:22] Okay. So, you appear — like there’s an excellent probability you suppose that by the top of the 12 months it is best to have one thing?

Kim: [00:08:27] That’s I imply, all indicators level to that. I imply, clearly, we don’t management the macro forces which are at play right here. And with the Department of Health being our regulator. But I do know that the director of this system does and has acknowledged that that he’s undoubtedly — it’s on his aim checklist to get edibles to market. Definitely. Prior to session subsequent 12 months in 2021.

Scott: [00:08:53] Well, that’ll be an thrilling subsequent step within the state, I believe.

Kim: [00:08:55] For certain.

Scott: [00:08:57] OK, so there’s one query I need to ask you. This could be very topical. I noticed over the weekend there have been some Reddit threads going round with some workers voicing their issues. Seems like the primary concern was round whether or not you’re defending them adequately towards the virus. Also, perhaps there — it looks like that they had a scarcity of communication round the way you do contact tracing, the way you take a look at every part like that. So, my query for you is, what’s Trulieve’s insurance policies on Covid-19. And do you suppose adjustments must be made to handle these issues?

Kim: [00:09:27] Yeah. So, you recognize, first I’ll say, oh, Reddit. Let’s begin there. But look, I imply, I believe that it’s at all times good to have alternative for suggestions and alternative to have the option to check out what we’re doing and if there are adjustments that must be made. You know, I need to ensure that, look, we are able to speak about what we’re doing in response to Covid for the subsequent hour. But I’ll strive and type of persist with the highlights. You know, the very first thing that I’ll say is that I completely really feel like it’s our accountability to ensure that we’re maintaining our workers as completely protected as attainable. So that’s a tough cease and I believe that we perhaps have communicated primarily to workers by way of e-mail shops and perhaps some channels that not everybody checks frequently. So, one factor that we now have accomplished is we’ve upped our communication, dedication to our workers. And I really simply completed over the weekend a collection of city corridor conferences with all of our retail workers to type of give them the lay of the land, ensure that, once more, we’re speaking all that we’re doing. I imply, we really had our amenities toured by each the CDC and the Department of Health, and we’re known as out for having business main practices.

Kim: [00:10:38] So I do know that we’re doing loads to ensure that workers are protected. And I believe that the statistic that highlights that almost all importantly, is that we now have had zero % of worker to worker unfold of Covid-19. So, you recognize, that’s actually vital. And that has, I believe, been achieved by numerous vital issues that we do actively. The very first thing that we’ve accomplished is we’ve required masks for not solely all of our workers, but in addition for anybody who’s coming into our amenities. We did that basically early and that turned out to be very useful, after all, in ensuring that we didn’t have any kind of group unfold inside our amenities. Right? In addition, we’ve applied and put in medical grade HEPA air filtration programs in all of our dispensaries. And once more, as science type of retains up or catches up. And we realized that, once more, that recirculated air could be a main issue for transmission. That’s one thing else that we do. The third factor that we do is we’re cleansing the entire city. And so, I believe that there was some confusion round that. And each single one in all our dispensaries are sanitized by way of a decontamination agency each single week. So as soon as per week, each dispensary is being deep cleaned.

Kim: [00:11:49] Then as well as, if we now have somebody who’s symptomatic or somebody who does take a look at optimistic, we’re instantly deep cleansing that facility, then we’re additionally contact tracing. And so, we’re contacting that worker, doing intensive interviews and then additionally watching digital camera footage to see who could be thought of an at-risk worker, contacting these workers and having them examined as nicely. Importantly, I believe it’s vital for folk to know that we’re supporting these workers all through that testing process. So, we’re not solely serving to them get examined. We are additionally persevering with to pay them whereas they’re out for testing. In addition, we now have wage continuation that if an worker is deemed to be optimistic, they’re able to proceed to obtain compensation. We need to ensure that that is you recognize — clearly there’s a monetary factor to all of this and that people are supported throughout this time. I believe that almost all importantly, although, by way of an replace to of us earlier this week, we have been capable of efficiently negotiate elevated medical health insurance protection for our workers as nicely. And so, we’ll be able to supply at this subsequent open enrollment, medical health insurance at no coverage premiums. So, no price popping out of workers’ paychecks in order that we are able to make sure that anybody who qualifies for medical health insurance with us can get medical health insurance. So, I need to just remember to need to see a physician, you possibly can see a physician, and it’s not financially detrimental to you.

Kim: [00:13:14] In phrases of popping out of your paycheck and then with that service, of us will have the ability to entry CVS minute clinics freed from cost, in addition to have entry to Teladocs. And so, once more, I believe simply being proactive in making certain that people have entry to medical care is actually vital. In phrases of general numbers, now, I do need to ensure that I give this stat.

Scott: [00:13:35] Yeah, that may be useful.

Kim: [00:13:36] Yeah, we now have thirty-four hundred workers. Fifty-two, most not too long ago opened yesterday. Fifty-two places throughout the state of Florida. And we now have had all through all the type of run of Covid — so since April, 17 retail workers take a look at optimistic. That is lower than one half of 1 % of our workforce. And once more, zero % worker to worker unfold. So, as I inform my workers, you recognize, we are able to’t management your lives exterior of Trulieve. And, you recognize, sadly, of us are going to — there are going to be optimistic instances. And that’s simply, I believe, a actuality of the place we’re within the state of Florida. But what we are able to do is we are able to just remember to’re cared for within the occasion that you’re symptomatic and that you’re testing optimistic and that additionally we are able to hold your fellow workers as protected as attainable.

Kim: [00:14:26] The remaining factor that I’ll level out that I’m simply actually enthusiastic about is we’re implementing an onsite testing program. And so simply this morning at one in all our places, we piloted it with two places final week and we had the third location this week. We’re really bringing nurses onsite and providing to our workers free testing at a dispensary location to allow them to get examined in the event that they need to get examined. It’s nice peace of thoughts simply to degree set everybody that they’re clear. One hundred % of these outcomes have come again destructive. So once more. You know, it’s nearly — it’s about testing, it’s about communication. It’s about doing every part that we are able to in our places to make sure security. And I’ll simply point out that as we proceed by means of this, you recognize, if you’re a Truliever, if you’re a affected person, simply to maintain updated with us, as a result of, you recognize, we could also be shifting to choose up solely. We could also be implementing further curb aspect. And actually, clearly, supply is at all times accessible for folk. So, we need to ensure that of us can get their drugs in a protected means, however that additionally we’re persevering with to offer that entry for them.

Scott: [00:15:31] Okay. Yes, superb to listen to, really, as a result of, you recognize, coming from traders who’re efficient, an important factor for me is that you’ve a course of in place to cope with instances, to cope with testing. And so, it sounds such as you’re fairly assured you have got these processes in place that you may cope with no matter this virus goes to throw at you at this level?

Kim: [00:15:47] Yeah. No, completely. I imply, clearly, it’s altering on a regular basis. I believe for us it’s to only strive and get forward of it and to ensure that our workers have one of the best assets and greatest data attainable. And I believe that, you recognize, what we are able to do as an organization and this was actually dropped at mild — is to ensure that we’re being very clear, actual time with our workers as nicely. And so we applied, for instance, if there’s a optimistic case in your retailer, we’re going to textual content all the worker base instantly to allow them to know that we’re going to textual content individuals and allow them to know after contact tracing is completed in order that they know — okay I haven’t been recognized. So, I’m OK. Right? Or oh, I’ve been. Then additionally simply ensuring that they’ve entry to HR, your human assets — human assets’ assets, as a result of this isn’t solely a bodily state of affairs. Right? It’s additionally a demanding and emotional — emotionally taxing state of affairs. And so simply ensuring that additionally of us really feel supported all through this, as a result of we’re all going by means of it and all of us must ensure that we’re checking in. And simply ensuring that people are doing OK. 

Scott: [00:16:53] Yeah. I imply, I’m certain you agree that your Trulievers, your superfans, they’re not simply the purchasers. They’re workers as nicely? 

Kim: [00:16:59] 100 %. 100 %. And loads — look our workers, an excellent portion of our worker base, actually on the retailer ranges, they’re sufferers. And so, they’re actually actually versed by way of the truth that additionally they make the most of our merchandise. 

Scott: [00:17:13] Okay. It’s nice to listen to. More communication is at all times higher than much less. 

Kim: [00:17:17] For certain. For certain. 

Scott: [00:17:19] Great. Well, now we’ve lined that. Maybe we are able to simply go into a few of your different property’ updates and the place type of the way forward for Trulieve is, as a result of that’s what I believe is most on the thoughts of traders. You’ve develop into a juggernaut in Florida. You’ve set the tone for a way I believe dispensaries shall be run and rolled out as legalization spreads. So, as I have a look at Massachusetts, is Massachusetts type of the frontier for Trulieve? Is that the state you’re — exterior of Florida you’re most enthusiastic about? 

Kim: [00:17:44] Yeah, I believe so. I imply, you recognize, I believe we’ve made a dedication to get Massachusetts launched in a really significant means. I imply, it additionally, I believe shall be — it’s thrilling for us as a result of we’ve additionally had the chance in Massachusetts to additionally launch our wholesale platform, which we’ve been working loads on behind the scenes. So, we’re very excited and anxious to get that rolled out as nicely and have the ability to showcase. Right? Not solely our retail strengths, which I believe of us are pretty conversant in at this level, but in addition what I do know shall be a very robust second income stream for us by means of that wholesale channel.

Scott: [00:18:18] Okay. Now, simply as we examine and distinction Florida, and Massachusetts — is the allowing surroundings in Massachusetts only a bit slower than Florida? As we attempt to plan what’s going to return down the street for you guys? 

Kim: [00:18:31] Yeah, it’s not simply the allowing course of. It’s additionally, you recognize, the approval course of by means of the CCC. So, the regulating physique in Massachusetts is — actually has a really completely different protocol and timeline than our regulating physique right here in Florida. Right? And so, I believe that’s most likely the first distinction. And together with, you recognize, there have been some variations with simply respect to approaches and inspection timing. Certainly, slightly bit on the allowing aspect, however I might say usually, it’s extra on the regulatory aspect if I have been to level out the primary distinction. 

Scott: [00:19:05] Okay. So, as we consider the way you’re going to focus on your assets exterior of Florida, subsequent could be Massachusetts. And then on the California aspect, like, why did you determine to get into California? Was it you simply need entry optionality to the largest hashish market within the U.S.? Is that principally what it was? 

Kim: [00:19:21] Yeah, that’s completely an ideal method to put it. And as well as, you recognize, we actually take into consideration California as that hashish frontier to manufacturers and actually understanding what the most recent and biggest and newest manufacturers are. I’m actually in California the place a whole lot of innovation occurs, and a whole lot of developments are set. And so having a window into that, we felt like was actually vital and has confirmed, fairly frankly, to be instructive as we take into consideration how our shelf area will look inside Florida, however then additionally exterior of Florida as we proceed to increase the Trulieve idea throughout completely different markets. 

Scott: [00:20:01] Okay. So, do you consider it — is California one of the vital mature markets exterior of, say, Colorado that may assist you determine what these East Coast states are going to appear like down the street? 

Kim: [00:20:11] Absolutely. And I believe that it additionally offers us a chance to interface with a unique buyer base. Right? Like clients who’re very, you recognize, have had entry to hashish for a really very long time. And what preferences appear like? How these could shift over time. Right? And additionally, value sensitivities. And once more, I can’t underestimate innovation. So, a whole lot of new merchandise that come out, new type elements begin. You know, we see these come out and hit the market in California. So, it’s attention-grabbing — attention-grabbing information. 

Kim: [00:20:44] And it’s additionally attention-grabbing for us to deliver and have the ability to take a look at merchandise in that market or take a look at type elements in that market to see adoption charges and how nicely these will play vis-a-vis, perhaps East Coast clients. 

Scott: [00:20:59] Okay, nice. This has been actually useful. Before we go, I simply need to ask you one query on the thoughts of all of the traders. I see this loads on Twitter and social media. You have a share unlock developing. I’m simply curious, type of how do you consider share unlocks? Because I do know you guys have pushed it prior to now, which is mostly simply saying you’re very assured in the way forward for the corporate. So, I imply, is that this simply type of for you a non-event since you’re working by means of it? Or how do you consider — how ought to traders take into consideration share unlocks with Trulieve? 

Kim: [00:21:27] Yeah. Sure. So, I imply, I believe that look — I’ve stated publicly, and I’ll proceed to say that, and I believe I’ve proven over time. Right? I’m investing within the firm, so I’m a purchaser and I’m not a vendor and that can proceed to carry true. I believe that while you have a look at the historical past of notably the boards — so while you have a look at the Trulieve unlocks, actually the overwhelming majority of shares are held by insider board members which are remaining board members. And so, you recognize, I might simply overlay the specifics and it’s completely different from firm to firm. I believe it’s vital for folk to concentrate on it. Right? And I believe it’s vital for folk to know who these holders are and, you recognize, potential motivations. But I imply, I believe that general, what I can say is that, you recognize, look, it is a — and I imagine a as soon as in a lifetime business alternative for us to all take part in. And, you recognize, I believe that we’ve operated nicely. I believe we’re going to proceed to function nicely. The greatest is but to return. As far as we’re involved, within the Trulieve story and, you recognize, we simply stay up for future progress. So, you recognize, it’s what it’s to a sure extent. But I believe that we’ve proven that there’s going to be you recognize, it’s been very managed prior to now. I don’t suppose that there’s any, you recognize, any motive to suppose that it wouldn’t be managed no matter whether or not there’s an official lockup or not. Right? In the long run. So, that’s what I might say. 

Scott: [00:22:55] So out of your standpoint, you continue to suppose it’s early days within the hashish market. There’s a whole lot of alternative? 

Kim: [00:22:59] Oh, my gosh. Absolutely. Absolutely. 

Scott: [00:23:02] Yeah, we share that view as nicely. 

Kim: [00:23:05] For certain. 

Scott: [00:23:06] All proper, Kim. It was nice to have you ever on. Always love catching up. Hopefully, you recognize, we stay up for seeing what Trulieve goes to do. This surroundings is as dynamic as they arrive. So, will probably be nice to catch up down the street and see the way you’re managing later in 2020. So, thanks.

Kim: [00:23:19] Yeah, completely. Thanks once more for reaching out. And at all times nice to speak to you.

The opinions supplied on this article are these of the writer and don’t represent funding recommendation. Readers ought to assume that the writer and/or workers of Grizzle maintain positions within the firm or firms talked about within the article. For extra data, please see our Content Disclaimer.

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