Trulieve CEO Rivers: “Southeast is the new frontier”

By Alex Halperin
Oct 18, 2021
Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers, Courtesy Trulieve

Following its $2.1B acquisition of Harvest, Florida-based Trulieve is the world’s largest and most profitable PotCo. Green Market Report executive editor Debra Borchardt interviewed CEO Kim Rivers at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference.

Rivers has said the Florida-based company is pursuing a regional hub strategy centered on Pennsylvania and Arizona, where Harvest was the market leader. Harvest, Borchardt noted, wasn’t “the prettiest girl in the room,” having accumulated some debt and messy relationships, but Rivers said she and Harvest boss Steve White have similar philosophies and that there are lessons to be learned from Harvest’s resilience.  

Unlike Harvest and many other MSOs, Trulieve initially focused on one state, becoming the dominant player in Florida’s MED-only market. Despite pressure from investors to expand sooner, Rivers said the company spent 18 months developing its team, systems and strategy. The company just opened its 150th store.

A few more insights from the conversation:

  • There’s a “significant lack of diversity and inclusion in the space,” Rivers said. “If we as an industry don’t address it, it’s going to, it should, become a more significant issue.”  
  • Trulieve’s board is now 50% women. Rivers said she believes diversity improves results.
  • “We think the southeast is the new frontier of cannabis reform in this country,” Rivers said. Trulieve has received a MED production license in Georgia.

This month Trulieve raised $350M in debt capital and Rivers had some advice for those raising money:

  • “It was very important for us, to me, to make sure that we’re not accepting money from the capital markets to keep our lights on,” Rivers said. “Make sure you have the dollars to run the business.”
  • “Check yourself on the rates, check yourself on the terms because that’s only getting better.”

Want more? Rivers spoke to Barron‘s two weeks ago.

Borchardt didn’t ask about the recent conviction of Rivers’ husband on federal corruption charges unrelated to cannabis. Neither Rivers nor Trulieve has been accused of wrongdoing. 

Watch the whole interview.