Dart tobacco purchase could have ganja connection

| 03/05/2021 | 63 Comments
Cayman News Service
Dunhill cigarettes are among the products made by British American Tobacco

(CNS): The decision by Cayman’s largest landowner and investor to gradually increase his shares in one of the world’s most unethical and declining industries may prove to be more than meets the eye. Dart officials have refused to comment on the purchase of shares in British American Tobacco and a rival tobacco company, Imperial Brands, with a total value of around US$7 billion, by one of Kenneth Dart’s network of companies, which was disclosed as a result of regulatory requirements.

Dart’s multi-billion dollar conglomerate, headquartered here in Cayman, has a diverse portfolio and has invested in tobacco before. Dart is known as a vulture capitalist and may hope to profit on what has been described as “distressed equity”, but some experts believe there may be a ganja connection.

According to a March report on Reuters, British American Tobacco has acquired a 20% stake in Organigram, a Canadian cannabis producer, stating that this was to expand beyond its main tobacco business. “This move takes us into a new space and we are not ruling out any product innovation,” David O’Reilly, director of Scientific Research at BAT, said in the article.

Dart has refused to speak about this investment, which appears on the surface to be out of line with the image the company has tried to promote in the Cayman Islands. “We do not comment on investment decisions,” officials told CNS when we asked about the decision.

Dart’s Cayman-based Spring Mountain Investments has built a 7% stake in BAT and 3% stake in Imperial Brands, according to media reports, which is a heavy investment in a declining sector that has acquired a terrible reputation because of the health related consequences of its products as well as the efforts by the tobacco firms to deceive their customers.

However, some are speculating that this investment has more to do with the emerging legal ganja sector in North America and the Caribbean Region rather than the declining tobacco market.

Cayman is one of a dwindling number of Western countries that still criminalises consumption of ganja, though the use of specific oils extracts and tinctures prescribed by a doctor is legal and medical practitioners are able to secure a licence to import the medicinal cannabis.

During the recent election campaign a number of the candidates now in the PACT Government spoke about reviewing the ganja laws to decriminalise its use and expunge past criminal records for consumption and minor possession charges. Some of the newly elected members are keen to go further and introduce legal cultivation for the medical market.

Juliana O’Connor-Connolly specifically committed to introduce such a policy if she was returned to office in Cayman Brac East, where her opponent, Elvis McKeever, had run on a platform of full legalisation.

Given the result of the elections, it is clear that the issue will be raised during the next four years. Although it remains to be seen how far this government will go in its review of the laws relating to ganja, it would come as no surprise that Cayman’s wealthiest resident would be seeking to position his business to take advantage of any potential changes.


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Comments (63)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    “Unethical” that’s very much subjective.

    You could argue pretty much every industry to be unethical. From furniture, phones, meat, fish, textiles, alcohol, solar panel production, oil… and so on. Name an industry and there will be areas that are less than savoury.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re right; just look at religion.

    • Anonymous says:

      Rationality insights from the mind of a crook.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not really. I’m just aware of the hypocrisy.

        Examples. The ubiquitous touchscreen technology. The mining that goes on to fulfill the manufacture of them is an environmental and human rights disaster.

        Meat industry. As above, but replace human with animal.

        I don’t smoke. I have no interest in tobacco companies. I’m also not a crook.

        Enjoy your cheeseburger and iPhone.

  2. Investor says:

    Wow! The article made no mention about Mr.Dart growing marijuana. People are free to invest in any stock on the stock market.Mr. Dart is an investor and investors have a vision of which stocks would create the most value. The earlier an investor jumps in the greater the gains to his portfolio. Mr Dart obviously saw the purchase of Organigram by BTI as a positive and took a large position. The Democrats will approve legislation to legalize marijuana in some form at some time sooner or later. This has nothing to do with the Cayman Islands, it’s a bet that can pay off handsomely. He could have bought Bitcoin just as well. I would recommend that you follow his lead and invest, or just sit there and watch as the world turns.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Almost 8% dividend yield on BAT stock. $6,700,000,000 x 0.08 = $536mln in dividend income each year. Standing Cayman Islands development commitments are just a hobby-level particle of one year’s interest income. He could acquire the entire TSX-listed junior marijuana industry and take it all private, if he thought there was something there.

  4. Cayman Sanction says:

    Totally make sense no fresh produce in stores this weekend because of shipping delays? How much more is this Man going to friggin own before we do what others countries had to do about him?

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh dear, the simpletons are out today.

    • Cheese Face says:

      Wait, wha…..? walk me through this please? Mr Dart purchased shares in a tobacco company, so we have no food on the shelves?

      • Anonymous says:

        The earth is flat and you know it! Don’t defend Satan!

      • Anonymous says:

        LOL. I do suspect 9:11 is worried that his/her stash supply chain may be disrupted – as evidenced by the lack of logic in their statement.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Dart is so smart in order to cripple the scrap metal/ recycling business in Cayman after he gained control of Tropical shipping he ceased to allow scrap metals/ recycle material to be shipped off island in his containers leaving only hydes shipping to service recycling material leaving island.

  6. Anonymous says:

    6:26 pm we can thank the current Speaker of the House and past Head of Government for granting Dart his solid footing in the Cayman Islands.

    What we see today is much to do with that decision; unfortunately, most would say myself included.

  7. ELVIS says:

    suck it up

  8. Anonymous says:

    I read something awhile back about a journalist asking a Boulder resident how/if anything’s changed since the legalisation of marijuana, ‘not really except it’s impossible to get anything done’. I’m hesitant thinking what would happen here 🥱

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s not true. They amount of money pumped into public schools is amazing.

      • Anonymous says:

        Your response makes no sense in the context of the original post. Put the toke down.

        • Anonymous says:

          Let me spell it out for you. The myth about stoners being lazy is irrelevant because much like booze you don’t go to work blitzed or you get fired. The fact that they can use pot as a subsidy for public funding is better than the drug dealers pocketing the cash.

  9. Anonymous says:

    If the weed can’t be legal, the alcohol must be illegal!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    At this point I’m willing to let him do what ever he wants as long as I can grow my own at my house – uncle dart won’t be able to grow Blue haze like I can. Free up the herb – 10 plants per household

  11. Anonymous says:

    The entirety of Little Cayman would make a decent cannabis plantation…

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman Brac is the perfect growing ground for Hemp and then a processing plant on the island to make it into oil and other oil based Hemp products. It gives the farmers a crop with which they can make money and the processing plant can hire local people and provide jobs. Easy and light to ship. That red mole would grow the best in the world!

  12. BeaumontZodecloun says:

    I don’t want Dart to lead the way in legalisation and taxation of ganja. I want our own government to lead the way. I want or own government to see clearly that people who smoke will still smoke, and people who don’t won’t start. I want our own government to see that there is money to be made here, and most importantly, that to legalise the agricultural growth of it will remove the criminal element from it.

    We already have medicinal marijuana, although it’s a difficult thing for those who really need it to get it. This needs to be streamlined, and this government (hopefully) is the government to do it.

    I don’t want Dart to profit from this where our own people can do so. I recognise that Mr. Kenneth is a Caymanian. Welcome, Sir. I want the grassroots of ganja to come from us, from the born Caymanians. From the folk that are not wealthy.

    • t says:

      Your going to be waiting your whole life for that to happen. Meanwhile most folks get their smoke the way they have to. Dart smoke would be quality smoke and cheap. Government smoke would be very expensive and full of seeds and would somehow disappear before it can be sold.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The last sentence is laughable at best.

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      No, it is not. Look around you. It is an accurate assessment of the general flow of things. Money wins the day. Got nothing against him. He’s probably a hell of a nice guy. He should not have been allowed to spread so wide. Perhaps we should have made an amendment which limited the amount of property that a single entity could possess. I wonder if that would have been enough.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Tobacco stocks have been doing quite well and you should anticipate them being large in the retail weed business. Nice hatchet job on Dart tho.

    • Anonymous says:

      Attempted.

    • Anonymous says:

      And Constellation Brands, which has Corona beer and other drink brands in its portfolio, owns a significant part of Canopy Growth, a listed Canadian Cannabis producer. It’s mainstream business these days. But agree, nice hatchet job.

      • Anonymous says:

        Similar with Cronos. There could be growers here at some point but it will be like brew pubs vs. Corona. Dart’s stock purchases out in the real world have nothing to do with growing anything in Cayman.

  15. Anonymous says:

    DART on the one hand now into the promotion & peddling of cancer producing products, while at the same time he would have interests in pharmaceutical companies that deal with drugs to treat the diseases caused by tobacco , in all forms . Keep this is mind next time down Camana Bay way.

  16. Anonymous says:

    If DART takes over and has a monopoly on any future “green” industry with regards to ganja in the Cayman Islands, then they should be made to employ every single prisoner who’s going to be released from HMP Northward (with ganja convictions).

    In fact, any other company who wades into the market (if they can) should also be made to do so.

  17. Orrie Merren says:

    The future expansion of the medical cannabis industry (including, inter alia, licensing domestic cultivation and cannabinoid extraction, as well as lawful export to other jurisdictions and research and development) needs to restrict commercial participation to 100% Caymanian control and ownership.

    Furthermore, these are human rights and fundamental freedoms, which cannot be ignored, that protected in our Bill of Rights, which is a cornerstone of democracy in the Cayman Islands.

    • Vultures will pick our bones, it’s what they do best says:

      Only way to stop corporate involvement from excluding small farmers in Cayman is to enact strict anti-monopoly regulations. Least we forget, we let the Vulture from Michigan in the door and now he’s Caymanian.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wholeheartedly agree, Orrie. Legislation for this inevitable industry needs to be addressed now in anticipation of the US going federally legal, not only from a medical and cultivation/export perspective but also from a banking perspective. We would not want to miss out on offering financial services to these cash-laden companies and making this jurisdiction the preference for Canna-business.

    • Anonymous says:

      That just means nothing much will happen.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Under the Proceeds of Crimes Act, a Cayman company cannot invest in or carry out business activities that would be considered illegal in Cayman even if they are considered legal in other jurisdictions.

    Will the Cayman based company be permitted to use this roundabout way of investing or carrying out business that is illegal under our current laws?

    • Anonymous says:

      All wrong.

    • Anonymous says:

      Passing laws and enforcing them are two different animals, my friend.

      Hopefully, this new government can start enforcing on the ones who break them the most. God knows, slaps on the wrist only seem to embolden these people to break more.

    • Anon says:

      Excellent point – if the Cayman Islands is to be a financial and corporate services provider jurisdiction with ESG leadership potential it could seriously look at prohibiting Cayman-incorporating entities and their subsidiaries from engaging in non ESG compliant and adverse activities overseas, especially in the area of addiction-forming drugs with unknown health consequences.

      • SSM345 says:

        CIMA is currently allowing Funds to be domiciled in Cayman whose strategies involve the ganja industry abroad……I saw a PPM the other day and they had a 72% return in the first year….

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a common misconception but the POCA has clear defences that it is not criminal conduct if it is not unlawful in the relevant country, which means that Cayman investments are not unlawful in Canada (where it is legal) but could be in the USA (where it is still federally illegal despite some state’s individual statutes allowing it)
      .

    • Anonymous says:

      Wanna bet?
      Money changes everything!

  19. Playing into Dart’s hands again, as we are a passive bunch says:

    In Cayman where monopolies and oligopolies thrive it will be no surprise if Dart is given the green light to monopolise any local ganja production. If this happens, it will be still illegal for small farmers to get in on the action, let alone grow your own. Nothing here is sacred from Dart’s greedy tentacles, but it’s the people’s fault if it’s allowed to pass in silence.

    • Anon says:

      Next Dart will be growing and selling all the berries in Cayman hydroponically with a foreign partner….so we no longer have to import them.

      A simple change in company law is required – that there shall be a 1-2-3 generational Caymanian as a director and equity partner in a business with a paper Caymanian – an individual who has gained Caymanian status on non-generational grounds (or company with a paper Caymanian).

  20. Anonymous says:

    @PACT Govt

    Where does this and things of, but not limited to, this nature leave the local small ‘ganja man’ with family to feed and want to grow?

    Asking for a friend.

  21. Anonymous says:

    No weed, no vote!

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