Harvest Health and Recreation, Arizona’s biggest medical-marijuana operator, said on Wednesday it has acquired three shops run by competitor Arizona Natural Selections, giving Harvest 14 of the 120 or so operating retail stores in the state.
The companies didn’t disclose the price, other than to say Tempe-based Harvest acquired the licenses for a “non-material” amount of stock in the company, which trades on the Canadian Securities Exchange as well as the over-the-counter market in the U.S.
Marijuana dispensary licenses are worth millions in Arizona today and are poised to leap in value this November if voters approve a ballot measure to allow adult, recreational use of the drug.
Harvest is the biggest backer of the “Smart and Safe Arizona” ballot initiative, which would mostly limit recreational sales to the existing medical facilities in the state.
After voters approved the Medical Marijuana Act in 2010, the Department of Health Services issued dispensary licenses in two lotteries to qualified nonprofit organizations that applied to the program.
While the DHS has a rule that says “a dispensary may not transfer or assign” its license, several large companies like Harvest have acquired control of multiple licenses and DHS has not interfered with those deals. [Read more at AZ Central]