As part of the largest U.S. pot deal so far, Harvest Health & Recreation has acquired Chicago-based marijuana company Verano Holdings, a consolidation firm, for a whopping $850 million.
With the sealing of this deal, which is expected to happen in the first half of 2019 after prior regulatory approvals, Harvest will have complete access to all of Verano’s cultivation facilities and dispensaries in Illinois, and other states. Despite the acquisition, Verano’s Chicago headquarters is expected to remain an operations hub.
Quite elated with the deal, Harvest Health CEO, Steve Smith, had been looking to enter the Illinois market for a long time, especially because of its high population and the state’s plans to legalize recreational marijuana.
Harvest Health & Recreation had private dispensaries and cultivation facilities in 5 states; however, after the acquisition, the company has expanded its business into three more states, and now boasts of a combined 8 cultivation facilities, 7 manufacturing facilities, and 30 dispensaries.
Verano Holdings came to life in 2018 and had only a few months ago raised $120 million for expansion. Around 350 people are employed with the company, 140 of whom are working in Illinois itself.
Owing to the deal, even Verano now has huge access to the western regions of the United States, as Harvest Health is already an established player in states like California and Arizona.
Other cannabis companies in Illinois are also making major moves to cement themselves as the nation’s leading companies. Just the last year, two Illinois-based firms listed themselves on a Canadian stock exchange.
Consolidation has come as a relief for many small-scale cannabis companies that couldn’t procure a license in state medical or recreational cannabis programs.
Notably, Illinois marijuana market is expected to cross the $2 billion mark by 2020!