“We were among the first ones to receive a cultivation license in Israel, and we supplied directly to patients, per the old Israeli regulations,” says Oren Shuster, CEO of IMC. “This has allowed us to collect a huge amount of data from patients in terms of what cultivars they were using for which conditions, and how that affected them. Bluntly put, this has allowed us to validate a lot of clinical data, and we are using that to take over the EU market.”

IMC is an Israeli cannabis company that recently announced signing a definitive agreement with MYM Nutraceuticals, a Canada-based cannabis operator. Upon completion, the acquisition of MYM would be IMC’s second transaction targeting the North American adult-use industry.  “We have set ourselves as a global company since the beginning,” Shuster continues. “All the steps we are taking are aimed at making us a significant, long-time player in the industry. That is why we started in Israel but expanded to serve also the European and the North American market.”

Oren Shuster, CEO of IMC

From Israel, through Europe, to Canada
Even though one might think that transitioning from the European market to the North American one does not represent that big of a leap, in reality, the two markets have some differences that make them unique. “EU is our main market,” Shuster remarks. “Today, the three biggest legal markets are Canada, Germany, and Israel. To be a global leader, you have to first of all experience and understand all the markets that are relevant for future growth. We are coming from the medical market, while Canada is both medical and recreational. For us, going to Canada means to go to a much more mature and larger market; the motivation behind that is to be able to obtain supply for other markets.”

A source of premium cannabis
The first move of IMC into Canada was the acquisition of Trichome Financial, a company that was initially focused on providing capital solutions to the cannabis industry. “We started as a lender to the cannabis sector,” says Michael Ruscetta, CEO of Trichome. “We did that because when we started, we thought the sector was not mature enough. Then, last year we pivoted our business to become an owner and operator as the Canadian industry rationalized significantly. We acquired James Wagner Cultivation, a large aeroponic growing facility based in Kitchener, Ontario. We restructured both the balance sheet and operations of the troubled licensed producer, and uniquely positioned it to relaunch the brand in the premium segment.” At the same time, JWC won’t be utilized by IMC just to capitalize on the profitable Canadian premium segment. “This will also be used as a source of premium quality indoor-grown flower to supply Europe and Israel with,” Ruscetta further explains. “The acquisition of MYM Nutraceuticals will provide us not only with an increased cultivation capacity but also with enhanced distribution which, combined with our existing business, will generate the material synergies to capitalize on the consumer insights we have gained over the past years.”

Michael Ruscetta, Head of North American operations for IMC

With experience in the North American market, Shuster and IMC plan to serve the most important markets with high-quality flowers. “I don’t know how long it will take in Europe, but we are already seeing an expansion of the medical market and a movement towards the recreational market: there’s a pilot in Switzerland, the cannabis supply chain experiment in the Netherlands, and Luxembourg planning to go recreational in the near future; there is a movement going on, we can see the change, and in a few years, we will see it all over Europe,” says Shuster. “Once the legalization wave starts in Europe, other countries will follow too, attracted by the opportunities and tax money they see coming in the legal states in the US. This is a huge industry, and I think it will come online much faster than people think.”

“I share the same view of the future,” says Michael. “That’s why IMC approached Trichome. It became an easy conversation to have, as our view of the world aligned. I completely agree with Oren with regards to the change coming at a faster pace than many think,” he concludes.

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