Ascent Industry Corp. and its wholly-owned subsidiary Agrima Botanicals Corp. have certainly had a rough couple of months.
It all began Sept. 27, when Ascent announced its licensed producer, Agrima Botanicals Corp., had its producer AND dealer licenses suspended by Health Canada over record-keeping and compliance issues that were found during a Health Canada inspection in late August.
The situation became even more dire for the company last Wednesday, Nov. 21, when Ascent revealed that the suspension could become permanent, saying in a press release (emphasis ours):
“Health Canada has advised the responses were not satisfactory to lift the suspension and has issued a letter to Ascent that it intends to revoke Agrima’s licences.
In turn, the Company intends to exercise its right to be heard under the Cannabis Act and Cannabis Regulations in order to maintain its licences.
Should the Company not be successful in this hearing process, the licences could be revoked.”
But the company was quick to clarify that:
“Health Canada’s review is focused on the period during which the Company was privately held.
Health Canada asserts that unauthorized activities with cannabis took place under the Company’s ACMPR license during this period.”
It’s a far cry from the celebratory mood when Ascent (CNSX: ASNT) went public on August 9th, 2018. According to the Maple Ridge News, Agrima was established in 2013, which means the unauthorized activities occurred between 2013-2018.
When Ascent announced last Wednesday that Health Canada intended to revoke its licenses, shares plummeted to $0.18/share- its lowest point ever- before ending out the week a bit better at $0.19.Multiple high-ranking executives from when Ascent was privately held, such as CEO Philip Campbell, COO Reid Parr, and Agrima CEO James Poezler, have lost their jobs, and it has appointed CFO Blair Jordan as the new interim CEO, .
- August 28-30: Health Canada conducts inspection of Agrima
- Sept. 26: Health Canada informs Agrima that it “did not meet all of its record keeping and other compliance requirements” and issues partial suspension of licenses
- Sept. 27: Ascent announces “Agrima has commenced the process of addressing the identified issues and has initiated discussions with Health Canada for the reinstatement of the licenses”
- Sept. 28: Ascent announces that it:
- Added more staff for QA and regulatory compliance
- Audited its “its record keeping controls and procedures”
- “Relieved (ie. fired) certain managerial staff”
- Oct 3: Ascent announces “Health Canada has authorized the following activities in connection with Agrima’s cannabis plants: cultivation, trimming, curing, sanitation, harvesting and maintenance of cannabis.”
- Oct. 18: Ascent announced it “has made formal submissions to Health Canada for the reinstatement of the Agrima licences and has been informed by Health Canada that the Company’s submissions are under review. However, Health Canada has not indicated when the review will be completed.”
- Nov. 21: Ascent announces that Health Canada intends to revoke Agrima’s licenses.
Featured image courtesy of The Province.