Issue 64 Smokescreen: Ignite Blows Up in Smoke

Dan Bilzerian Smoke Screen - Episode 8 - Edibles Magazine - The Dark Ugly Underside of Corporate Cannabis

Who is Dan Bilzerian? They call this chauvinistic man child “The King of Instagram,” but it’s recently come out that his massive 32+million followers are not all organic and most are paid for. 

He’s known for posting photos with young scantily clad women, a lot of guns, and sometimes pics of him feeding his bear he rented, yes a California Brown Bear. It’s what brings him attention and makes him popular, although I don’t know anyone that actually likes or respects the guy. It’s like watching a car or train wreck that you can’t peel your eyes away from. The lifestyle he portrays is lavish, and altogether a complete lie. 

He follows in his dad’s controversial footsteps, Paul Bilzerian, who is a felon and was charged with fraud, is serving 5 years in prison. He hid his money in various trust funds, corporations, and partnerships in his family’s names in order to protect their assets from the United States Federal government. In 1989, the elder Bilzerian was ordered to pay $62 million dollars in a civil judgment for securities fraud, though reportedly only $3.7 million was paid. The SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) has estimated that they have spent nearly $8.3 million, in 2014, in attempts to collect the debt.

Even with all signs pointing to a sizable inheritance, Dan claims in an interview with Graham Bensigner that he made his millions playing poker. In that same interview Dan claimed to have refused his multi-million dollar trust fund and said he gave the money back to his family,

Bilzerian also claims that he is a Navy Seal, but there are questions surrounding the legitimacy of his service whether or not he even finished Navy Seal training. 

He claimed in an interview that he was receiving $6,000/month from the Department of  Veteran’s Affairs for disability payments, which is almost twice the maximum amount allowed to be dispersed to a 100% disabled veteran. 

Dan’s descent into the public eye really came about when he threw a porn star off the roof of his mansion, and she tried to sue for $85,000 which he refused to pay. Then he was banned from a Miami nightclub for kicking a model in the face, who later sued Dan Bilzerian for $1 million dollars.

He skyrocketed to stardom when Joe Rogan brought him on the most popular podcast in the world 4 years ago, where he bragged about having two heart attacks before the age of 25 from going on a bender and taking a bunch of drugs including cocaine, ecstasy and an overdose of viagra. 

In 2016, he even announced he was going to run for President, before bowing out and endorsing Donald J. Trump. 

Bilzerian took that limelight and raised capital venture money to launch Ignite International Brand, Ltd. Ignite went public on the Canadian Stock Exchange (BILZF) via a reverse takeover of an already public shell company. Cannabis is Federally legal in Canada and therefore has nationwide backing of their banking system and allows cannabis companies to go public in their country. 

In 2 years of legal adult-use cannabis in California, I’ve never once seen Ignite’s THC brand in any dispensary throughout the state. Ignite is only on the shelves in stores in Canada as a THC brand, and in America as a CBD brand. They also sell apparel, nicotine vape products and alcohol. 

Currently, Ignite has been in the news for their less than favorable (and over two months late) quarterly reports to investors, owing over $40 million dollars to investors. Their financial reports all point to a dire financial condition of the company. Ignite also ended up in the news due to upcoming lawsuits filed against them.

Former President, Curtis Heffernan is suing Ignite for firing him as retaliation for being outspoken against Dan Bilzerian’s exorbitant spending on the company’s dime. On Instagram, Dan called their former president incompetent.  

There have been four presidents in the past two years. Beginning with the current president, John Schaefer took over for Lester Lee on Sept 1st, Lester Lee took over for Curtis Heffernan June 8th , Heffernan took over for Jim McCormick November 2019.

Ignite pays for everything in Dan’s hedonistic Instagram life. Models, events, yachts, the lavish lifestyle was all written off as expenses for Ignite. He pays for models to accompany him to make him look cool, knowing that these girls have boyfriends and husbands. 

He compared Ignite to Uber, before they released their quarterly report, stating that they’re worth $80 billion dollars and lost $5 billion dollars last year. But Ignite isn’t an app or tech company with tech valuation, Ignite is a cannabis company which should have cannabis earnings. Almost every other cannabis company, public or private, saw a bump in revenue with the beginning and continuation of the pandemic, while Bilzerian’s company saw huge losses. Of which they blamed those losses on COVID-19.

They failed to release Q2 reports on time and filed two months late. As a public company they are required to disclose their reports to the public and investors. In nearly the same fashion as Paul Bilzerian, the report was hidden under links and pages within the website that were difficult to get to, though able to be found anyway. 

Ignite is millions of dollars in the red and as a result, Bilzerian was forced to give up his Bel Air rented mansion. Ignite received $1.2 million in PPE loans from the U.S. Government’s Stimulus Plan and they plan on applying for loan forgiveness by the end of the year.

This is a summary of Ignite’s financials:

• 2020 Q1:  Gross revenue of $1,694,658 

        with a total loss of $8,197,745

• FY 2019:  Gross revenue of $9,661,083 

            with a total loss of $43,655,482 

 • FY 2018:  Gross revenue of $2,448,891 

            with a total loss of $16,381,703

The company lost $50 million in 2019, and in Q2 of 2020 lost $19 million dollars. Which begs the question, if the pandemic has cannabis sales up all throughout the nation, what is Ignite doing wrong that their sales are so low and don’t warrant their lavish expenditures. 

The company is also sitting on $8.1 million in unsold goods, which would be a good way to earn some of that capital back, but Cannamart Distributor in Canada ended their relationship with Ignite. Their new distributor, Namaste, also terminated their agreement – 4 months after signing an exclusive distribution agreement in Canada. 

Bilzerian pledged to inject $25 million dollars of his own money into the company – in exchange for shares. The stock jumped 63% the day after the announcement. Only $5 million dollars went to the company itself with $20 million going to debt and investors. Keep in mind that this is actually in Canadian dollars, so it’s more like $20 million USD dollars that he’s pledging.

Since then Dan has gone MIA and hasn’t posted on his Instagram since August 31st 2020 – allegedly because he stopped paying the social media company he was buying followers and engagement from. 

In the midst of all the bad press, days after pledging $270,000 to the Armenia Fund in September, Bilzerian received Armenian citizenship, leading some to believe he intends to flee the United States to avoid prosecution, lawsuits and fines, just like his father did. 

Paul Bilzerian, (who escaped his fines by fleeing to Armenia), has a ton of control of Ignite – participating on Board phone calls, even at times allegedly telling Dan to be quiet. The legality of his involvement is certainly questionable considering that convicted felons are not allowed to participate in publicly traded companies. Paul has amassed a fortune of real estate valued at nearly $100 million dollars. 

Now it’s been rumored, though we haven’t been able to find proof of anything yet, that Dan Bilzerian is fleeing the country to Armenia with his new found citizenship, because the FBI is investigating him for money laundering through Ignite and other business ventures. 

It’s plausible that this could be the case, since the U.S. Federal government does not consider cannabis federally legal and if Dan had multiple companies he used to intake cannabis money into banks in America, it could be considered money laundering, which could also lead to charges like tax evasion since the IRS doesn’t allow write-offs for cannabis companies.

I ran into Dan Bilzrian in Miami, Florida in July of 2019, at the USA CBD Expo, where I was a speaker, exhibitor and media sponsor of the event. I went to use the bathroom and when I came out I had a hand in my face refusing to let me out of the bathroom with no explanation. The reason private security nearly slapped me in the face was so that Dan Bilzerian could film a scene walking with his squad of hired cheerleaders (in slow mo). Obviously I thought, WTF, and then I saw how tiny this man is in person. He was not his reported 5’9” height on his IMDB actor’s page. I’m 5’10” and 6’2” with heels on. Bilzerian looked to be about 5’5” and only hired models that were within his height range. When I saw this, it all made sense, he works so hard on his image because he’s compensating.  Nobody feels sorry for this guy.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Most Popular

To Top
Latest News