One of California’s oldest dispensary chains is now under new management. Harborside Inc. (CSE: HBOR), (OTCQX: HBORF) announced in a press release on July 19 that Peter Bilodeau has been asked to step down from his role as Interim Chief Executive Officer effective immediately, and Matt Hawkins, Chairman, will assume the position of Interim CEO while the Company completes its search for a successor.
In the same announcement, the company stated that Ahmer Iqbal, former CEO of Sublime, has been appointed Chief Operating Officer of Harborside.
“Since implementing our turnaround plan in November of last year, our team and the entire board of directors have worked to ensure that Harborside has a strong foundation to take on the immense opportunity ahead in the California cannabis market,” said Matt Hawkins, Chairman, and Interim CEO of Harborside. “While our work is not yet done, we have made great progress in a short period of time, adding an iconic consumer brand to our portfolio, expanding our cultivation capacity, and building a solid balance sheet to support our growth. On behalf of the entire team, I’d like to thank Peter for his contributions during his time with Harborside.”
Harborside Inc. is among the oldest cannabis retailers in California, with three of its major dispensaries in the San Francisco Bay Area, a dispensary in the Palm Springs area equipped with a cannabis drive-thru window, a dispensary in Oregon and a cultivation/production facility in Salinas, California.
The company also distributes an impressive portfolio of brands, including Sublime, Harborside and Key—not to mention over 500 dispensaries within California. In 2006, Harborside was awarded one of the first six medical cannabis licenses granted in the United States.
Ahmer Iqbal, Chief Operating Officer, added, “Since joining the team, I’ve been impressed with both the quality of operations and scale of the operations. Harborside has tremendous untapped potential and I’m extremely excited about the Board’s vision to expand our California operations. I look forward to working collaboratively with our management team, board and future CEO, to leverage the company’s strong retail and consumer brand positioning, and continue to build Harborside’s reputation as the preeminent California focused cannabis company.”
Harborside has been around since the early “Wild West” days of medical cannabis in California, under Proposition 215. However, even the large companies encounter their fair share of changes in this volatile industry.
After on-and-off battles with the federal government, Harborside officials scored a major victory back in 2016. Federal prosecutors finally dropped their attempt to seize property from the Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California. Former U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag served Harborside with a lawsuit and civil forfeiture notices, but after four years of fighting, Harborside prevailed in the end.
The brand went public in 2019, and some long-term “legacy” employees didn’t like the cultural shift. Both Steve and Andrew DeAngelo were ousted from company positions in November 2020 in what MJBizDaily called “a hostile takeover of the company.” The brothers formally cut ties with the company earlier this year.
Andrew Angelo opened up to High Times last April about his more recent roles—particularly serving on the Board of Directors and as Chairperson with the Last Prisoner Project. “Right now we are advocating for Michael Thompson serving time in Michigan,” he said. “He’s been in prison close to 26 years now—I was still in my 20s when he was incarcerated.”
Harborside chalked up multiple victories since November, including a stock price on a long, steady climb, rising to $1.71 as of June 21 from $1.44 on November 2, 2020, and multiple acquisition deals. The corporate growth of iconic cannabis companies like Harborside is expected to continue as the United States inches toward federal legalization.
Benjamin M. Adams is Staff Writer at High Times, and has written for Vice, Forbes, HuffPost, The Advocate, Culture, and many other publications.