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Jimmy Buffett to launch medical marijuana brand with Surterra Wellness

By Ayanna Rutherford and Laura Kuhl
Sep 18, 2018

Last week Jimmy Buffett announced that he would be launching a new brand of medical marijuana with partner Surterra Wellness. Coral Reefer, named after Buffett’s iconic band, will be launched next year in Florida with a wide range of lifestyle products to match the state’s growing demand for medical marijuana.

The partnership gives Surterra exclusive rights to the new brand in one of the largest medical marijuana markets in the country. Florida’s demand for medical marijuana is only gaining momentum, and Surterra Wellness is one of the few companies to own a vertically-integrated state medical marijuana license. Right now, Surterra only owns cannabis licenses in two states - Florida and Texas. But there are plans for expansion into more states after the new brand’s Florida launch.

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“Our strategy will continue to lead with innovation, building a world-class portfolio of brands and products and expanding our business into multiple state and international markets,” Surterra CEO Jake Bergmann added regarding the new partnership.

Wrigley is excited about Margaritaville

One of the newest members of the Surterra family, Beau Wrigley, expressed his excitement about the partnership and respect for the Margaritaville brand.

In a statement released by the company, Wrigley said: "Jimmy and the Margaritaville team have built premium brands that are widely admired and recognized around the world." Wrigley continued "[t]hey share a long-term commitment to consumers and quality that we espouse at Surterra, and together we have the infrastructure and capital to support fast-growing high-quality brands. We are thrilled to be partnering with them."

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At the beginning of August, the Surterra announced that Wrigley joined the company in the role as Chairman of the Board.  Wrigley is a member of the infamous candy and gum company.  He left the family business when they sold the company to Mars in 2008.

His interest in Surterra began with an investment in the company last year and grew to him leading a $65 million investment round for the Georgia based company.  

Florida’s market is set to flourish

Coral Reefer’s pending Florida launch could turn out to be a sage business decision for Surterra.  The company is positioning itself to cash in on a potentially lucrative cannabis market in the state.

The Florida market has not gone unnoticed. Other companies are expanding their operations to Florida. MedMen Inc. (CSE:MMEN) (OTCQB:MMNFF) announced in June that they had purchased cultivation and retail assets from Treadwell Nursery.  The $53 million deal allows the company to open up to 30 retail locations throughout the state.    

But even as the market expands, Florida companies are not immune to the legal hangups that follow the American cannabis industry like a shadow. Surterra inadvertently added to the drama when Wells Fargo dropped the accounts of Nikki Fried, Democratic candidate for Florida’s agriculture commissioner. The Orlando Sentinel reported that Fried lost her accounts for accepting donations from medical marijuana companies and that Surterra CEO Jake Bergmann donated $3000 to Fried’s campaign. Supporting candidates is not a new concept in the free market, but it could change an investor’s opinion depending on where they think a pot stock falls on the political spectrum.

But Surterra Wellness doesn’t seem too worried about their reputation. Pairing up with two very big names in branding reflects considerable forethought from this marijuana company. Margaritaville and Wrigley Bubblegum are nationally recognized names, and Surterra Wellness products have the potential to be the same. Exactly how much of this success depends on the political climate of this nation will only be revealed with time. Check out Pot Network’s report on the STATES Act for the latest regarding Florida and other states’ rights to cannabis.

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