Ayr Wellness COO Jennifer Drake Talks Liberty Health Sciences, Cannabis’ Executive Diversity Problem And More
In our newest Trade To Black Podcast, Shadd Dales interviewed Co-Chief Operating Officer of Ayr Wellness Inc. (CNSX: AYR.A, OTCMKTS: AYRWF), Jennifer Drake. Shadd caught up to Ms. Drake this past week at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Miami. The topics of conversation included the company’s progress on its Liberty Health Sciences acquisition, the lack of executive diversity in the industry, Jen’s opinion on SAFE Banking and more.
Ms. Drake is a proven business leader in both large blue chip institutions and at lean start-ups. A former Managing Director at Goldman Sachs with extensive M&A experience, Ms. Drake institutionalized the businesses of several multi-billion dollar asset management firms, ensuring compliance within complex regulatory frameworks and creating a foundation for accelerated growth.
Regarding the Liberty Health Sciences acquisition, Jennifer reports that Ayr Wellness is making important strides to get the asset to where it needs to be. At the time, there were known inconsistencies in Liberty’s cultivation practices, leading to suboptimal yields at some of their cultivation facilities. However, Ayr Wellness appears to be making significant headway in getting the assets up to company standards:
That transaction, I think, will end being—if not the best, one of the best transactions that we have done in our history… And why is it so good? Because, there was work that needed to be done on the asset, definitely, But it’s work that we’re particularly good at. It needed some investment, some capital investment, it needed some leadership. It needed some good cultivation… But we have made really good strides and this was always going to be kind of a longer game, like a couple of year game in terms of improving that cultivation facility. We’ve already taken our yields in that facility from—we’ve more than doubled them, essentially, from about 25 grams a sq. foot to, our most recent harvest, it’s been as high as 80. But I don’t think we’ll get that high over the full year—probably more like 60 on average, and that would be great.
At the time of the transaction closing in February 2021, Liberty Health Sciences gave Ayr Wellness a footprint covering key markets with a combined population of 73 million, 44 open dispensaries and 554,000 sq. ft. of cultivation.
Fast forward to today, according to the Florida Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use’s data, Ayr Wellness is tied for the second most dispensing locations in Florida alone with 45, trailing only Trulieve Cannabis in total scale (115 dispensing locations).
Click on the embedded link to view our newest interview with the Co-Chief Operating Officer of Ayr Wellness, Jennifer Drake, in his own words.
To view our previous Trade To Black Podcast, click here.