There was no rest for the M&A department at Green Thumb Industries Inc. (GTI) (CSE: GTII) (OTCQX: GTBIF) during the holidays. The company announced last week that it closed on an acquisition of Minnesota-based LeafLine Industries. As one of only two licensed cultivators in the Minnesota medical cannabis market, LeafLine is licensed to grow, process, and dispense cannabis directly to patients.
“We are excited to enter the Minnesota medical market and broaden access to cannabis products for Minnesota patients,” said Green Thumb Founder and Chief Executive Officer Ben Kovler. “We look forward to caring for LeafLine’s existing patients while ensuring a seamless transition. And looking ahead, we are ready to begin providing patients access to high-quality flower and edible products, both of which have been recently approved. As we kick off 2022, Green Thumb is thrilled to welcome over 100 new team members, a new state and five new retail locations.”
While Minnesota began medical cannabis sales in 2015, the state has been slow to expand its program with only about 29,000 registered active patients according to the Minnesota Department of Health. The state has reported that over 56,000 patients have been approved to date, but many don’t seem to be active in the program. The state currently has 17 qualifying conditions, including chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder and seizures. There are only 1,291 approved caregivers. Products available include vape, tinctures and topicals, with flower and edibles coming later in 2022.
According to the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, “Minnesota has not legalized recreational marijuana, despite legislative proposals to do so. Several bills were introduced in the 2019-2020 session that would legalize or otherwise modify laws around cannabis possession and use in Minnesota, including a proposal to establish a cannabis task force to more closely investigate issues surrounding legalization (see HF717). While the issue generated much discussion, none of the bills to legalize recreational marijuana passed in the 2019-2020 session. Discussion continued in the 2021-2022 session, as bills were again introduced to legalize recreational marijuana (e.g. HF600).”
GTI said in a statement that the acquisition of LeafLine includes a cultivation facility and five open and operating retail locations in Eagan, Hibbing, St. Cloud, St. Paul and Willmar. Green Thumb said it will also maintain the opportunity to open up to three additional retail locations in the state.