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Cresco Labs Closes Sale-and-leaseback Deal For Massachusetts Marijuana Facility

Cresco Labs Inc., a multi-state cannabis operator, said it has closed an agreement to sell and lease back its marijuana facility in Fall River, Massachusetts to Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. or IIP.

This is Cresco’s fifth sale-and-leaseback agreement with IIP, a real estate company focused on the regulated U.S. cannabis industry.

Cresco Labs noted that the sale was for about $29 million and includes $21 million in funding for tenant improvements.

The Fall River property represents about 118,000 square feet of industrial space and includes cultivation space, a processing facility, and dispensary that serves both adult use and medical marijuana patients in Fall River.

In June, Cresco entered into amendments to its leases with IIP for its Michigan and Ohio properties. According to the company, the lease amendments made available an additional $17 million in funding for further improvements of the cannabis cultivation and processing facilities at the properties.

Cresco Labs said in April that it completed the sale-and-leaseback transaction for its Marshall, Michigan property to IIP. The sale of the property was for $16 million and marked Cresco’s fifth completed sale-and-leaseback transaction, its fourth with IIP.

“IIP has proven to be a reliable partner, and we are thrilled to work with them for a fifth lease. This transaction, along with our expanded real estate partnership with IIP is allowing us to continue building out Cresco’s presence in three exciting markets: Massachusetts, Michigan, and Ohio,” said Cresco Labs CEO and Co-founder Charlie Bachtell.

Along with the closing of the sale of the Fall River property, Cresco Labs said it will enter into a long-term, triple-net lease agreement with IIP and continue to operate the property as a licensed cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensing facility upon completion of redevelopment.

As of July 1, 2020, IIP owned 58 properties located in several U.S. states and totaling about 4.4 million rentable square feet, which were 99.2 percent leased.

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Qantas to cut 6,000 jobs due to virus outbreak

Australian officials have said the country is unlikely to open to international travellers until next year

Qantas Airways Ltd said on Thursday it is axing at least 20% of its workforce and plans to raise up to $1.30 billion of equity as part of drastic measures in response to the coronavirus crisis.

The Australian airline also said it will ground 100 aircraft for up to 12 months and some for longer, as well as retire its six-strong remaining Boeing Co 747 fleet immediately, six months ahead of schedule.

“We have to position ourselves for several years when revenue will be much lower,” Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said in a statement detailing a three-year plan that will cost Australian Dollar 1 billion to implement. “And this means becoming a much smaller airline in the short term.”

Along with other airlines around the world, Qantas is battling against a huge drop in demand after countries including Australia closed their borders to try contain the global pandemic.

Australian officials have said the country is unlikely to open to international travellers until next year, although they will consider relaxing entry rules for students and other long-term visitors.

Qantas said it will cut at least 6,000 positions among its 29,000 employees, while another 15,000 staff would remain stood down temporarily, particularly those associated with international operations, until more flying returns.

The airline will take an impairment charge of up to Australian Dollar 1.4 billion associated mostly with its fleet of 12 Airbus SE A380s given there is significant uncertainty as to when they will fly again.

Joyce has agreed to stay on as chief executive until at least June 2023 as part of the plan, the cost of which will mostly be logged in the year ending June 30, 2021.

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RBI slams banks, NBFCs as digital loan agents flout code

Regulator says onus of compliance rests with lenders

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has come down heavily on banks and non-banks as it found violation of fair practices code by digital platforms that act as an agency of these lenders to sell loans.

The banking regulator has now prescribed norms such as loan sanction letter to be issued to the borrower on the letter head of the lender concerned.

The RBI said it found the platforms tend to portray themselves as lenders without disclosing the name of the bank/ NBFC at the back end as a result of which customers were not able to access grievance redressal avenues available under the regulatory framework.

“Of late, there are several complaints against the lending platforms which primarily relate to exorbitant interest rates, non-transparent methods to calculate interest, harsh recovery measures, unauthorised use of personal data and bad behavior,” the regulator said.

The RBI said it was concerned due to non-transparency of transactions and violation of guidelines on outsourcing of financial services and Fair Practices Code.

“Outsourcing of any activity by banks/ NBFCs does not diminish their obligations, as the onus of compliance with regulatory instructions rests solely with them,” the RBI said. As a result, the lenders were now told to disclose the names of all digital lending platforms, engaged as agents, on the websites of banks/ NBFCs.

“Immediately after sanction but before execution of the loan agreement, the sanction letter shall be issued to the borrower on the letter head of the bank/ NBFC concerned,” the central bank instructed.

Upfront disclosure

Digital lending platforms, engaged as agents, should be asked by the banks to disclose upfront to the customer, the name of the bank/ NBFC on whose behalf they are interacting with him.

A copy of the loan agreement along with a copy each of all enclosures quoted in the loan agreement shall be furnished to all borrowers at the time of sanction/ disbursement of loans, the banking regulator said.

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Supreme Court must allow American energy to flourish, it's not the time to roll the dice

Energy markets on coronavirus ‘probably most dangerous trade’ to be seen: Oil analyst

Phil Flynn of the Price Futures Group on oil trading down amid the coronavirus.

Amidst one of the longest cold spells to hit the Northeast in years, and a natural gas shortage that could have triggered a public safety emergency for millions, the Gaselys tanker ship entered Boston Harbor with a lifeline – from Russia.

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Carrying liquefied natural gas from a remote Arctic facility celebrated by Vladimir Putin, the Gaselys tanker delivered emergency natural gas to heat New England homes, despite higher transmission costs and concerns about national security.

STOP OF THE MADNESS OF CONGRESSIONAL SPENDING

New England’s bailout from Russia two winters ago was not because of a lack of U.S. natural gas.  Instead, it was the lack of a sufficient gas delivery system caused by the culmination of years of extreme political anti-natural gas policies that hindered federally-approved interstate natural gas infrastructure carrying domestic energy across state lines.

Now, there is a chance to reverse political mistakes of the past. The Supreme Court this week will decide whether to accept a case over the fate of a proposed underground natural gas pipeline running from Pennsylvania to New Jersey.

If the Supreme Court declines to take up the case and a lower court ruling blocking the pipeline is left to stand, it would turn nearly 80 plus years of precedent on its head — rewriting the rules on how interstate pipelines are approved and built.

CONGRESS, CORONAVIRUS TRILLIONS NEED TO BE REINED IN, PLEASE STOP SPENDING OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY

The results would be devastating and far-reaching: threatening to cripple future natural gas production in the U.S., take away union jobs, drive up prices for consumers, and cede U.S. energy leadership to competitors like Russia. It could also affect state renewable energy policy goals which rely on natural gas to complement the deployment of wind and solar power generation.

Relying on Russia for energy was just one ugly piece of the story. Energy prices spiked in New England to world highs, followed by threats of rolling blackouts by the regional power grid operator if more natural gas is not available in the years ahead.

Further, politicized energy policies led to insufficient natural gas transportation capacity and created gas utility moratoriums across the Northeast, preventing businesses from opening, stopping housing development projects, and costing jobs. In comments submitted to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, natural gas utilities and independent experts warned New Jersey that it too will be running out of natural gas without new energy infrastructure. They cite the very interstate pipeline before the Supreme Court as needed to avert a public emergency.

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The U.S. Constitution provides clear guidance to avoid these scenarios by requiring the federal government to regulate interstate commerce between states, including energy transportation. Congress, under the Natural Gas Act, also established a clear framework over 80 years ago to guide energy infrastructure development, which has served our nation well and promoted economic prosperity for all.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which administers the Natural Gas Act to ensure safe, reliable and affordable energy for millions of Americans, carefully evaluates the need for each proposed interstate project against its environmental impact, with input from a wide variety of stakeholders.

Natural gas is produced and delivered by an extensive interstate pipeline network to power the economies of many states and heat the homes of those hundreds of miles away. But those benefits are now in jeopardy if the PennEast Pipeline Co. v. New Jersey petition is denied by the Supreme Court. Last fall, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court ruling, allowing New Jersey policymakers to veto a federally approved project to further their narrow political agenda.

As a result, any state politician with an agenda could a block federally-approved project by identifying a parcel of land with a state ownership interest, even if the state only has a conservation easement even when that project was found to be in the nation’s benefit and the overall public good. This is explicitly what the Natural Gas Act aimed to avoid.

The fundamentals of our Constitution regulating interstate commerce, congressional intent under the Natural Gas Act, and the mutually beneficial economics of natural gas transmission between states leads us to a clear conclusion: the Court must hear this case and reverse a dangerous precedent.

Make no mistake: the Third Circuit ruling threatens jobs, energy security and our ability to build energy infrastructure. It also could lead to a greater reliance on foreign sources of energy.

As we are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic we need plentiful, reliable and inexpensive energy to get our economy running again. Now is not the time to roll the dice with our energy policy, our economy, and our national security.

Alex Oehler is the interim president and chief executive officer of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America. Learn more at www.ingaa.org.

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