Love Hemp Becomes First Cannabis Casualty Of 2023 As It Calls In Administrators & Akanda’s CEO Tej Virk Resigns

Love Hemp

BusinessCann has learned that the embattled CBD retailer Love Hemp has officially called in administrators.

In a statement published on its website yesterday evening, Love Hemp said: “Paul Cooper and Jamie Taylor of Begbies Traynor were appointed Joint Administrators of Love Hemp Limited (“the Company”) on 9th February 2023. 

“They are managing the affairs, business and property of the Company. The Company will continue to trade whilst the Joint Administrators carry out their statutory duties. All enquiries regarding the Administration process should be sent to lovehemp@btguk.com. 

“The Joint Administrators act as agents of the Company and act without personal liability. Paul Cooper is licenced to act as an Insolvency Practitioner in the UK by the ICAEW and Jamie Taylor by the IPA.”

It follows the publication of a series of allegations levelled against the company by its former Managing Director Philip Small.

Love Hemp ‘rigorously refutes’ all the allegations.


Akanda’s difficult start to 2023 has worsened further this week as it announced that its CEO Tej Virk has submitted his resignation.

According to an update from the company earlier this week (February 7), Mr Virk stepped down from his position as CEO and Director of the company on February 3, 2023.

The news has seen Akanda’s share price drop by around 40% this week, ending a relatively positive few weeks for the stock, reaching prices not seen since October 2022.

In late December 2022, reports emerged that Mr Virk had been on paid ‘both administrative and personal’ leave since the start of the month.

At the time, little detail was given as to the reasons behind his absence, other than it was ‘pending an independent investigation being conducted by (Akanda’s subsidiary) CanMart directors and council’.

This week’s press release shed some more light on the investigation. It suggests his resignation ‘was a result of disagreement with the company regarding contractual obligations’.

These contractual obligations relate to a service agreement between Mr Virk and CanMart Limited from June 2021, a subsidiary of Canmart.

Akanda subsequently acquired CanMart from Halo Collective in November 2021, alongside Bophelo Bioscience.

“According to Mr Virk, the Company and CanMart committed a breach of the Service Agreement by failing to pay him monies and benefits owed,” the statement read.

Akanda said that it ‘wholeheartedly disputes Mr Virk’s interpretation’ of the service agreement in question, adding that it ‘has not accepted his resignation pending a legal review’.

It also said that it was awaiting the completion of ‘the independent investigation announced’ in December into the matter.

Former director Louisa Mojela, who is engaged in an ongoing legal dispute with Akanda over her dismissal and the subsequent closure of Bophelo, also claims she was wrongfully dismissed after refusing to comply with an order to stop making transactions on behalf of Bophelo and sign over all accounts to Mr Virk.

According to Akanda, Ms Mojela’s refusal to comply with ‘reasonable’ demands justified her termination.

Mr Virk was the last remaining original member of Akanda’s board after ‘concerned shareholders’ ousted every other director in June 2022, citing the ‘lack of oversight and strategic direction of the corporation’.

Executive Director Katie Field has currently taken on Mr Virk’s duties on a temporary basis as the company searches for ‘a candidate to succeed Mr Virk as CEO and Executive Director’.

MGC Pharmaceuticals

MGC Pharmaceuticals saw its stock price increase 25% following a string of announcements, including its Q4 results.

Most recently, MGC announced that it had secured a further US$600k in funding as part of its US$10m convertible securities financing facility with Mercer Street Global Opportunity fund, which it says will be used ‘as working capital to fund ongoing operations’.

This came just days after it announced a refinancing of US$2.1m worth of convertible securities with the same fund, extending the maturation date from November 2022 until February 2024.

Subject to shareholder approval, MGC has also agreed to issue Mercer 50m unlisted options with an exercise price of A$0.013 with an expiry date of June 2025, while varying the previous terms to drop the minimum conversion price on convertible notes from ‘not less than AUD0.018’ to ‘not less than AUD0.01’.

On January 30, 2023, MGC also published its financial figures for Q4, reporting AUD$1.9m in revenues for the three months to December 31, 2022.

This included the delivery of its largest order of Artemic, totalling A$1.39m, under its US distribution agreement with AMC Holdings.

Over the period, MGC reported ‘cash outflows’ associated with inventory production of A$1.01m, and A$2.86m for administrative costs.

As part of its strategic review, MGC says it has implemented further cost reductions, including a 35% reduction in director fees and a 10%–20% reduction in cash remuneration for ‘key executive officers’.

Payments to executive and non-executive directors of the company reportedly totalled $489k during Q4.

In an interview with Proactive Investors this week, MGC’s CCO Rob Clements said the ‘good’ figures tied off ‘a year that was a transitional year for MGC as it moves towards more pharmaceutical-based revenue streams’.

“The core and foundations of MGC, the flowers and medical oils, are still doing well and are still being supported and promoted by the businesses. What we’ve done in addition is increase our focus on the pharma side of the business. MGC has always understood that it needs to move towards full M&As in Europe, the US and other parts of the world.”

Ananda Developments 

Aquis-listed Ananda published a ‘corporate update’ for investors earlier this week, announcing that it is ‘proceeding with confidence’ after receiving positive results following ‘detailed testing’ of five of its cultivars.

The results confirm that its subsidiary DJT has ‘successfully grown high THC, balanced THC/CBD, and high CBD cultivars’.

Ananda says it now believes it has developed a set of protocols to successfully self-pollinate cannabis and produce enough viable seeds to grow the next generation of plants.

“The Directors consider this to be a significant achievement with the commercial potential to claim IP (intellectual property) and sell stable genetics in seed form,” it said.

Elsewhere it said that it has made the decision to construct its EU GMP facility, which will be used to grow and harvest flower ‘subject to the necessary approvals’, under a design-and-build contract.

“Pre-qualification letters have been sent to six shortlisted companies for them to present their pharmaceutical construction credentials.”

Ananda’s CEO, Melissa Sturgess, commented: “We believe that everything is heading in the right direction and that we are perfectly positioned. Our plan is ‘prove and scale’ thereby reducing risk, reducing the chance of misallocated capital and getting the best returns for shareholders.”

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