Media Contact: Laura Peet
VERTICAL EXPANDS EXECUTIVE TEAM; CEMENTS LEADERSHIP IN LEGAL CANNABIS INDUSTRY
Courtney Dorne, J. Smoke Wallin bring significant executive experience in Food and Alcohol Beverages to one of country’s leading medical cannabis companies
Los Angeles, CA (January 25, 2018) – Vertical, one of the country’s leading vertically integrated medical cannabis companies, announced today the addition of Courtney Dorne and J. Smoke Wallin to their leadership team. Dorne is an entrepreneur and food industry leader who joins Vertical as a partner and President of Vertical Brands Co. Wallin is a serial entrepreneur and thought leader in the beverage alcohol industry and has joined as a partner, Chief Marketing Officer and President of Vertical Distribution Co.
Vertical was founded in 2014 by entrepreneurs who saw the potential created by the transition of cannabis to a legitimate and legal business. Drawing from results-driven expertise in a variety of industries, the Vertical team has a synergistic energy that offers proven experience from seed to sale.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Courtney and Smoke to our executive team,” said Todd Kaplan, Founder & CEO of Vertical. “Smoke’s deep knowledge of alcohol distribution and scaling new businesses in highly regulated industries, combined with Courtney’s perishable food distribution and extensive network strengthen our competitive advantage in the rapidly evolving legal medical cannabis industry.”
According to The Arcview Group, the U.S. legal cannabis industry represented over $6.7 billion 2016 and is expected to grow to between $22 and $50 billion over the next 10 years. Legalization of the medical cannabis industry began in 1996 with California’s passage of the Compassionate Use Act. Since then it has operated in a quasi-legal environment with conflicting laws throughout the land, while growing exponentially. 2014 marked the beginning of adult recreational cannabis legalization with Colorado and Washington leading the way. Today there are 29 states that have legalized either medical only or medical and adult recreational cannabis production, distribution, retail and consumption. Gallop recently reported 64 percent of Americans support cannabis legalization nationally. In this vibrant space, Vertical is a pioneer and is the first to offer fully integrated services from legal compliance and operation of cultivation to extraction, product development and marketing.
Dorne brings literally a lifetime of experience in food services and the restaurant industry to Vertical. From her family’s restaurant to founding the giant Fresh and Ready Foods, Dorne has a proven track record in food manufacturing and perishable packaged food distribution and has built an extensive network of customers ranging from airlines and hospitals to convention centers, the military and convenience stores, all the while working under the rigorous scrutiny of FDA and USDA regulations. She is a member of the YPO Global One chapter and is the current Chair of the Women’s Network (WYN).
“After years of suffering from debilitating pain and crippling migraines as a result of extensive surgical procedures, I learned first hand about the efficacy of cannabis on pain management,” said Dorne. “All too often our culture is quick to treat pain with a pill and we’ve all seen what that has gotten us. I believe that legal cannabis can be a part of a legal, safer and healthier alternative and I’m thrilled to join the team that can help make this happen.”
Wallin comes to Vertical by way of Taliera, a company he founded in 2005 to create, acquire, manage and advise brands in the beverage space. His career in beverage alcohol has included serving as Chairman & President of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) and EVP and CFO for National Wine & Spirits (now part of RNDC/Breakthru). He is also active in YPO as Chair of the Beer, Wine and Spirits Network and has been active in legislative and regulatory affairs.
“I have always loved innovating, doing deals and building enterprises to scale, particularly in the beverage alcohol space,” Wallin said. “I’ve been studying high potential growth brands and companies, and Vertical and is at the forefront of the rapidly growing legal medical cannabis industry. Both industries are highly regulated and for some time I have been expecting them to converge. The recent investment by Constellation Brands[STZ] in Canada’s Canopy Growth [WEED] validated my premise, and I couldn’t be more excited to be part of the team building brands and distribution in a market worth $100s of billions globally.”
Wallin continued, “I can’t help but think of Sam Bronfman in 1933 at the Repeal of Prohibition who went on to build Seagram into the alcohol industry leader it became before selling to Diageo and Pernod Ricard. Vertical is positioned to achieve that level of success.”
Vertical is one of the first and largest vertically integrated companies in the legal medical cannabis industry. It’s operations in CA, AZ and OR combined with strategic partnerships in CO, MI, and NV position it well to take advantage of the rapid legalization and normalization of cannabis globally. Vertical is led by an executive team of entrepreneurs and business leaders from the alcohol beverage, agriculture, CPG, distribution, entertainment, food and medical industries. Vertical’s operations include planning, permitting, development and operation of cultivation, extraction, manufacturing, distribution and retail facilities. It has world class capabilities in product development, co-packing, branding, marketing, education, and legal compliance, Vertical does Everything Pertaining to Green. For more information visit www.vertcos.com.