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Biotech / Medical : Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc. - NTB.V
NEPT 1.410+0.7%Mar 5 4:00 PM EST

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From: Sultan1/19/2021 12:41:37 PM
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Neptune Wellness Solutions to lobby for full cannabis legalization from new South Florida headquarters

Neptune Wellness Solutions will open its United States headquarters in South Florida, where the Canadian health and wellness company will spearhead a program to educate consumers about the various uses of hemp and marijuana.

The company's U.S. headquarters will open in March at 1044 N U.S. Highway One in Jupiter. CEO Michael Cammarata, a Jupiter resident, said Neptune Wellness Solutions (Nasdaq: NEPT) will lobby for cannabis legalization with the goal of creating a regulated market for businesses in that sector. Cammarata was previously the co-founder and CEO of Schmidt's Natural's, a deodorant brand acquired by British multinational Unilever Group in 2017.

The Jupiter office, which will employ 20 people, will also be home to the company's investor relations operations.

The location's international institutional advocacy program will include a studio solely dedicated to creating content supporting the federal legalization of marijuana and "demystifying" the various applications of the plant, Cammarata said.

Neptune Wellness Solutions, originally known for krill oil manufacturing and distribution, entered the Canadian cannabis market in 2019 to manufacture and process cannabis – including hemp and marijuana – extracts. It operates three facilities in Canada and a hemp processing plant in North Carolina.

Cannabis companies say there is enormous potential to grow their footprint in Florida, the third-most populous state in the country. Florida voters legalized medical cannabis in 2016, but the state still bans recreational consumption. Nationally, cannabis is fully legal in 16 states and Washington. D.C., and remains illegal at the federal level.

In an interview with the Business Journal, Cammarata discussed why Neptune chose South Florida for its U.S. headquarters and how the company plans to educate consumers about the health benefits of cannabis. The following interview was edited for length and clarity.

Why is now the time for a U.S. headquarters?

Due to rapidly changing attitudes and evolving government policy, along with the anticipated legalization of cannabis now that the Democrats have secured control of the U.S. Senate, Neptune has the opportunity to position itself as a premiere manufacturer of cannabis consumer product goods. We understand and appreciate that cannabis will be a crowded marketplace in the U.S. as companies look for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But this is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. To win in the long-term, we need to innovate and educate.

How will Neptune stand out from its competitors?

Our mission to bring the benefits of cannabis to the U.S. to harness its wide range of cannabinoid benefits, such as its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and moisturizing properties. We plan to integrate cannabinoids into products from toothpaste to deodorants, hand sanitizers and to other everyday household usage products. It has started with our business in Canada and will follow with our expansion beginning in Florida.

What kind of operations will be based in Jupiter?

This office will lead [Neptune's] international institutional advocacy program driving the conversion of cannabis from an illicit to regulated market. We intend to build a content studio staffed with marketing and creative personnel who can develop communication tools, ranging from traditional to shareable social media, that will reach various demographics to create a greater understanding of the values of hemp, CBD [a non-psychoactive compound of cannabis] and THC [the principal psychoactive compound that makes users feel impaired]. [But] our presence in Jupiter is not just about creating opportunities to provide greater value proposition for Neptune and its shareholders. We are truly building a company for the world’s greater good. At a time when the world is in the midst of a global health and wellness crisis, at Neptune, we believe we need to take a leadership position in working together with industry stakeholders to strive to help solve [this issue].

Will the company hire locally?

I wouldn’t be a true Floridian if I didn’t support the local job market by hiring locally! We have already found and hired exceptional employees who will be crucial to driving our operations. What has been the most encouraging thing about this hiring process is that most, if not all, of the candidates understand and respect that Neptune stands for something — change — and they want to be part of our movement.

What role will Florida play in the cannabis industry?

Florida is fertile testing ground for the rest of the country. Unlike other states, Floridians have understood the medicinal benefits that cannabis provides and overwhelmingly voted in 2016 in support of the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative. Again, through the use of content, and our advocacy program, we will tell Florida’s success stories to the rest of the nation. Most analysts in the category [predict] that Florida will go recreational in the months to come. The state is the next natural extension for Neptune, our fourth facility worldwide.

bizjournals.com
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