New York-based Ascend Wellness Holdings (CSE: AAWH.U) (OTCQX: AAWH) announced its expansion into Maryland with its $19 million purchase of Devi Holdings, which runs four operational medical marijuana dispensaries.
The move marks the seventh state in which Ascend Wellness has a footprint, according to a press release. The company already has cannabis shops in Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, according to its website.
The deal for Devi Holdings includes $12 million in cash and another $7 million in Ascend Wellness stock, according to the release. The company’s four dispensaries operate under the brands Nature’s Medicines and True Wellness in the cities of Aberdeen, Crofton, Ellicott City, and Laurel.
“Maryland is an ideal state to expand our footprint – home to more than six million people, a mature medical cannabis program, and voter-approved support to create an adult-use cannabis market,” Abner Kurtin, executive chairman and founder of Ascend, said in a press release.
The move comes less than a year after Ascend Wellness pulled out of a deal to enter its home state of New York, when it canceled the acquisition of California-based MedMen’s assets in the Empire State. But Kurtin said the Maryland acquisition fits the company’s long-term strategy of “entering limited-license, late-stage medical markets with an anticipated adult-use cannabis market.”
It’s not yet clear, however, when the Maryland recreational market – which was approved last year – will launch. That’s dependent on an implementation bill from state lawmakers, which has yet to be introduced. Some observers have predicted a 2025 market launch, but other insiders have speculated it could happen as soon as this year.