Ascend Wellness Plants Flag In Ohio

Ascend Wellness Holdings, Inc.  (AWH) (OTCQX: AAWH) has staked its claim in Ohio after completing its acquisition of BCCO, LLC, which operates a medical dispensary in Carroll, Ohio. Ascend also said it was buying Ohio Cannabis Clinic, LLC, which operates a medical dispensary in Coshocton, Ohio. Ohio is a medical-only market at this time and recorded $200 million in sales in 2020. It is estimated by Arcview that sales could reach $600 million in 2025. Jefferies estimates that 2020 legal and illicit market sales reached approximately $2.7 billion, making Ohio the 3rd largest market that is only legalized for medical.

“We are thrilled to officially expand our vertically integrated footprint in the rapidly maturing Ohio market,” said Abner Kurtin, CEO and Chairman of AWH. “With adult-use legislation currently under consideration, now is an opportune time to scale our footprint while continuing to provide medical patients with the high-quality products and service they have come to expect from us. By investing in key regions ahead of regulatory events, we have positioned AWH for long-term, sustainable growth in the most attractive markets in the U.S.”  Kurtin added, “We remain focused on disciplined capital allocation and are proud to have completed these acquisitions at multiples that are significantly accretive on a forward-looking basis.”

At this time Ascend stated it had the following portfolio within Ohio:

  • Carroll, OH medical dispensary, currently operating under the Ohio Provisions retail brand and is located approximately 25 miles southeast of Columbus.
  • Coshocton, Ohio dispensary, which is pending close and currently operating under the Ohio Cannabis Company brand and is 77 miles northeast of Columbus.
  • Monroe, OH cultivation facility, which closed in May 2021, and affords the Company the opportunity to expand cultivation capacity.
  • Monroe, OH processing facility, the Company previously entered into an agreement with Marichron Pharma, LLC and intends to submit the transaction for state approval once permitted to under state regulations.

AWH said it plans to transition both the Ohio Provisions and the Ohio Cannabis Company brands over to the AWH brand by year-end. It seems Ascend isn’t finished with its Ohio plans. The company said it expects to expand to the state-imposed 5 dispensary cap limit.

Competition

Other big-name cannabis companies have flocked to Ohio as well. A list of dispensaries includes Acreage Holding’s The Botanist and Green Thumb Industries brand Rise. Earlier this year, Cresco Labs (OTCQX: CRLBF)  acquired Verdant Creations dispensaries in Cincinnati, Chillicothe, Newark and Marion, Ohio. These acquisitions give Cresco four additional dispensaries, bringing its dispensary presence in Ohio to five – the maximum allowed by the state.

Legalization

According to Marijuana Moment, “Ohio activists have cleared a final hurdle to begin collecting signatures for a 2022 ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in the state.” The site reported that the new initiative is a statutory proposal. “If supporters collect 132,887 valid signatures from registered voters, the legislature will then have four months to adopt the measure, reject it or adopt an amended version. If lawmakers do not pass the proposal, organizers will then need to collect an additional 132,887 signatures to place the proposal before voters on the ballot in 2022.”

“We’re happy with today’s outcome and believe the ballot board made the right call on this one,” CTRMLA spokesperson Tom Haren said in a press release. “We look forward to beginning the signature collection process and working with our state legislators to create a safe, legal, and highly regulated cannabis market in Ohio.”

 

Debra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt is the CEO, Co-Founder, and Editor-In-Chief of GMR. She has covered the cannabis industry for several years at Forbes, Seeking Alpha and TheStreet. Prior to becoming a financial journalist, Debra was a Vice President at Bear Stearns where she held a Series 7 and Registered Investment Advisor license. Debra has a Masters degree in Business Journalism from New York University.


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