Minority-Owned Illinois Company Raises $17M, Warns Industry Could 'Collapse'

1937 Group's successful capital raise last week comes amid challenges for Illinois' social equity program in cannabis.

Within the span of a week, a vertically integrated and minority-owned company in Illinois has both raised $17 million in funding and warned others the state cannabis industry is “on the verge of collapse.”

The 1937 Group, which bills itself as one of the only non-multistate operators with marijuana business licenses in the Land of Lincoln, said in an Aug. 30 press release that it had finalized the $17 million raise, courtesy of private investment group SGG Enterprises LLC.

The raise was for $13 million in equity shares of the company and $4 million as debt, according to the announcement.

The money will be used to fund further infrastructure build-outs and purchases in Illinois, the company said. That will include a 52,000-square-foot cultivation facility under construction, a new retail facility, a transportation company, and procuring four more grow permits and four additional retail licenses.

“During these times, when venture markets have seemingly dried up, our ability to secure capital and consummate this deal is a great indicator that we have the right team and the right strategy in place,” 1937 Group CEO Ambrose Jackson said in the release.

Social Equity On The Brink

This week, Jackson had a less rosy perspective on the state’s legal cannabis market.

Jackson told ABC7 Chicago that the Illinois marijuana social equity program is on the brink of failing due to red tape and onerous regulations, which he said have kept many social equity licensees from getting their businesses up and running.

“I’m waving a flag for Governor (J.B.) Pritzker and Illinois legislators … And who’s being hurt? It’s us. The very people who this program is meant to help,” Jackson told the news outlet.

Spokespeople for the 1937 Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

John Schroyer

John Schroyer has been a reporter since 2006, initially with a focus on politics, and covered the 2012 Colorado campaign to legalize marijuana. He has written about the cannabis industry specifically since 2014, after being on hand for the first-ever legal cannabis sales on New Year’s Day that year in Denver. John has covered subsequent marijuana market launches in California and Illinois, has written about every aspect of the marijuana trade, and was part of the team that built the cannabis industry’s first-ever trade show, MJBizCon. He joined Green Market Report in 2022.

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