The hiring brings the Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC) co-founder into the American MSO market. Since his ouster from Canopy, Linton has taken on several advisor, investor and chair roles at multiple cannabis companies.
Linton told Benzinga his role with Vireo will not force him to vacate his positions with dispensary operator Gage Cannabis, pet CBD brand Better Choice or the psychedelic-inspired medicine brand MindMed.
How Linton, Vireo Came Together
Vireo CEO and Founder Dr. Kyle Kingsley got the ball rolling with Linton days after the exec parted ways with Canopy.
Linton's optimistic exit interviews showed enthusiasm for his next venture, Kingsley said.
Soon, text messages led to a visit to Ottawa and months of optimizing a deal. The deal was so close to completion months ago that Linton wore a Vireo shirt during a day of interviews. He had to cover it up when the deal wasn't finalized.
"It turned out better than I expected," Linton said. "I thought the paper was going to fall off halfway through the day or something."
The former Canopy executive said his role with Vireo is geared toward helping Kingsley run his company.
"He's CEO. I will not be CEO," Linton said.
Linton said he doesn't like going to board meetings.
"Board meetings are relatively boring because it's all happened. It's more interesting to make it happen."
The MSO's Strategy
Growing Vireo will be similar to how Canopy's business was built, he said, adding that Vireo is in a position where it doesn't need capital raises for several quarters and can think its strategy through.
Linton mentioned possibly leveraging intellectual property that appeals to the tobacco space as one possibility, and also brought up family offices.
"There's going to be a whole bunch of investors that come back, but they're not going to bet on everything," he said. "They're going to pick selectively and [Vireo] is going to be one of the picks."
Vireo's goal is to lead in production and distribution.
"We're casting our bets in these States that are highly likely to go adult use and have a limited number of licenses that are well-regulated," Kingsley said of Vireo's strategy. Kingsley of the company's strategy.
Bruce Linton, left, and Alan Brochstein at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference Oct. 22 in Chicago. Photo by Asa Barron Photography.