With Illinois’ marijuana industry staring down massive growth as the state considers legalizing the drug for recreational use, a company based in Phoenix is paying $850 million for Chicago-based cannabis operator Verano Holdings.
The deal will give Harvest Health & Recreation the right to operate Verano’s cultivation facility and dispensaries in Illinois, as well as its operations in other states. Verano’s Chicago headquarters is expected to remain an operations hub after the acquisition.
Harvest Health, which owns dispensaries or cultivation facilities in five states and trades on the Canadian Securities Exchange, has been eyeing an entrance into Illinois for a long time, said CEO Steve White. Illinois is an attractive market because it is a heavily populated state and lawmakers are drafting a bill to legalize adult-use marijuana, he said.
“We wanted to make sure we were participating in a meaningful way before those conversations were at a crescendo,” White said. “As that conversation starts moving forward, the price of assets in Illinois goes up.” [Read more at Chicago Tribune]