Ascend Wellness Archives - Green Market Report

Debra BorchardtJanuary 14, 2022
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Ascend Wellness Holdings, Inc. (CSE: AAWH.U) (OTCQX: AAWH) is ramping up its efforts to get MedMen (OTC: MMNFF) to complete the deal that the two companies had arranged with regards to the New York properties. On Friday, Ascend filed a complaint in the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York in New York County against MedMen NY, Inc. and MM Enterprises USA, LLC in which Ascend is trying to get MedMen to go through with the deal that MedMen is trying to get out of.  In addition, AWH has made an application for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order to maintain the status quo between the parties and to prevent any actions by the MedMen parties that would result in additional encumbrances on the equity or assets of MedMen NY, Inc.

The Original Deal

The two companies had agreed in February of 2021 Ascend would invest $73 million in order to receive controlling interest in 86.7% of the company’s New York properties. In addition, Ascend had an option to purchase the remaining amount in the future. MedMen was in pretty bad shape at the end of 2020. The company was heavily in debt and its liabilities exceeded its assets by 50%. MedMen continued to lose money quarter after quarter and its operational costs exceeded 100% of its gross revenues making profitability an unlikely hope rather than a reality. Additionally, MedMen’s revenue was dropping and its losses increased quarter over quarter. MedMen spent much of 2020 attempting to restructure, sell its assets and renegotiate its many obligations. The company was also facing issues with its founders and a lawsuit by the company’s former Chief Financial Officer James Patterson, which MedMen won.

Ascend stepped in and gave MedMen some much-needed cash, including an upfront $4 million cash infusion in December 2020 in connection with the execution of a letter of intent between the parties and a further $4.46 million to cover MedMen’s working capital needs and Utica facility site improvements and expansion during 2021.

NY Approval

The deal though was contingent upon approval by the state of New York. MedMen submitted an application to the New York regulators as of March 11, 2021, for approval of the
sale of MedMen NY to Ascend. That application recited that MedMen needed an immediate cash infusion from Ascend to continue its operations. The process hit a snag when halfway through 2021, the state transferred oversight of the cannabis program from the Department of Health to the newly created Office of Cannabis Management (OCM). Ascend claims that MedMen did not pursue the state’s approval causing Ascend to step in and push the process along. Finally, the state gave its approval on December 16.

However, the use of the word “conditionally” in the approval caused MedMen to claim that the approval wasn’t final and so they could terminate the deal. According to the complaint, Ascend went back to the OCM and asked for clarification. The OCM stated that its approval was in fact final. Still, MedMen insisted it wasn’t and finally on December 29, the OCM contacted MedMen to say it was indeed final.

The deal stated that MedMen had to close within five days of receiving approval from the state of New York. Still, MedMen insists it didn’t get approval by December 31 even though the emails exist that prove it did. If that wasn’t bad enough, Ascend claims that  MedMen NY paid an improper $500,000 dividend to its parent company, likely financed by advance dollars paid to MedMen by Ascend.

Looming Debt

Ascend also stated in its complaint that MedMen NY has approximately $100 million dollars of loans for which MedMen NY capital stock has been pledged as collateral in the event of default. “These loans were made to the MM Enterprises’ subsidiary, MM Can USA, Inc. by Hankey Capital, LLC. Once the original deal closed, Ascend would issue to MedMen NY  a promissory note in the amount of $28 million and that MedMen NY would subsequently assign the Closing Note to Hankey. Hankey would then release MedMen NY from any liability with the loan.  The loans from Hankey are scheduled to come due on January 31, 2022, and February 1, 2022. “In the event of default on the MM Can loan agreements, Hankey is permitted
to foreclose on the pledged MedMen NY ownership interest and can sell the foreclosed upon interest at a public or private sale or retain the interest for its own account. In such event, an
order specifically enforcing MedMen NY’s obligation to close the Transaction will be meaningless.” MedMen agreed to the Hankey loan in 2018.

In other words, if MedMen defaults, then Hankey gets the stock and Ascend is left empty-handed.

New MedMen

In November, Michael Serruya was named Chairman and Interim CEO, effective immediately. Serruya succeeded outgoing Chairman and CEO Tom Lynch, who held the position since 2020 and oversaw the company’s operational turnaround. Serruya joined MedMen’s board in August 2021 as part of a $100 million investment in the company by Serruya Private Equity to expand its operations in key markets and identify and accelerate further growth opportunities across the United States. Some sources have speculated that Serruya believes the company sold the MedMen NY properties at a discount and that is the reason they want to terminate the deal. Essentially, the new management believes it could get more money for MedMen NY.

 

 

 


StaffJanuary 5, 2022
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Ascend Wellness Holdings, Inc. (CSE: AAWH.U) (OTCQX: AAWH) may be fighting with MedMen over the New York investment, but the company did manage to close its acquisition of Chicago Alternative Health Center, LLC and Chicago Alternative Health Center Holdings, LLC. The acquisition of the two companies called Midway includes two operating adult-use and medical cannabis dispensaries located at 5650 S. Archer Avenue in Chicago and 9820 S. Ridgeland Avenue in Chicago Ridge. The dispensaries were originally branded as “Midway” and have been rebranded to “Ascend by Midway.”  Ascend has been consulting on the operations of these locations and consolidating the financials since the transaction agreement was signed in December 2020.

“We’re thrilled to expand our dispensary and cultivation capacity in Illinois by planting our greenhouse and closing on this transaction with Midway, one of the first operators in the state with a strong reputation among consumers and strategically-located dispensaries,” said Abner Kurtin, CEO of AWH. “We will continue operating these assets and furthering our mission by offering Illinois consumers improved access to premium cannabis and a streamlined and elevated retail experience. As the most populous city in the state of Illinois and the third most-populous city in the U.S., following New York City and Los Angeles, Chicago is a very important market for us and we are happy to solidify our presence in the region.” Ascend said that the Archer and Ridgeland Ave. dispensaries represent its seventh and eighth retail locations in Illinois.

In addition to the deal closing, Ascend also said that it began planting its newly expanded cultivation facility in the state. Previously, Ascend had 58,000 sq. ft. of indoor canopy at its Barry, Illinois cultivation facility. The Company recently added a greenhouse with 55,000 sq. ft. of canopy at the same location and has since planted four strains and 3,600 plants in the new space.

Since state legalization in January 2020, Illinois’ legal cannabis market has reached over $1 billion in revenue with in-state residents accounting for $777 million of total sales. The Ascend by Midway Dispensaries will expand access to quality cannabis products to thousands of individuals in the Chicago area.

 


Debra BorchardtJanuary 3, 2022
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Ascend Wellness Holdings, Inc. (CSE: AAWH.U) (OTCQX: AAWH) has reported that MedMen Enterprises Inc. (CSE: MMEN) (OTCQX: MMNFF) is trying to back out of the deal between the two companies. Ascend said that MedMen is challenging and disregarding the determination of the Office of Cannabis Management and the Cannabis Control Board of the State of New York which approved the transaction. MedMen had initially requested the New York State regulators approve the transaction in March 2021. Ascend said last week that New York had given its approval and that the company intended to close the transaction soon after.  Now MedMen is disputing the NY Office of Cannabis Management regulatory approval, is refusing to close and is attempting to terminate the transaction.

Ascend said in a statement, “As New York and other states adopt adult use of cannabis, MedMen’s actions send the worst message – namely, that certain cannabis companies cannot be trusted to keep their word. AWH calls on MedMen to honor the commitment it made to New York, to its own investors and to AWH and promptly close the transaction. AWH will continue to pursue all measures to encourage MedMen to honor the Investment Agreement and close the transaction.”

Ascend accused Medmen of materially breaching the previously announced definitive investment agreement among AWH, MedMen NY, Inc., MM Enterprises USA, LLC, and AWH New York, LLC. The AWH Parties previously waived all closing conditions in favor of the AWH Parties, following the receipt of the required regulatory approvals, and requested to close the transactions contemplated by the Investment Agreement within the five business day period required under the Investment Agreement. AWH has made repeated attempts to close the transaction.

Original Acquisition Plan

MedMen so far hasn’t responded to the accusations that Ascend Wellness has leveled at the company. The two companies had agreed back in March for Ascend to make an investment of approximately $73 million in MedMen NY Inc. or MMNY. Following the investment, Ascend will hold a controlling interest in MMNY of approximately 86.7% and will have an option to buy MedMen’s remaining interest in MMNY in the future. Also in the agreement, Ascend must also make an additional investment of $10 million in exchange for additional equity in MMNY. This investment will also be used to repay MMNY’s senior secured lender if adult-use cannabis sales commence in MMNY’s dispensaries.


Debra BorchardtNovember 11, 2021
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Ascend Wellness Holdings, Inc.  (OTCQX: AAWH) reported its financial results for the third quarter ending September 30, 2021, with total revenue increasing 7.7% sequentially to $105 million and 131.4% year-over-year. Still, Ascend reported a net loss of $13.0 million during the quarter. The company said it was primarily driven by elevated interest expense due to one-time prepayments of legacy loans and write-offs of unamortized deferred financing costs.

Despite the positive momentum for revenue, Ascend warned that it expects a sequential quarterly decline in revenue in the fourth quarter due to “delays in scaling the wholesale business and softening retail cannabis trends resulting from the expiration of government stimulus and a normalization of consumer spending.” Having said that, Ascend said it expects to more than double full year 2020 net revenue and meet the low-end of the full year 2021 guidance range announced during the prior quarter.

“I am pleased with the Company’s performance during the quarter as we delivered solid sequential revenue growth and substantial improvements in our Adjusted EBITDA margins,” said Abner Kurtin, Founder, and CEO of AWH. “Our focus continues to be scaling our asset-base of premier retail locations and state-of-the art cultivation facilities in top limited license markets. With both our total canopy and number of retail dispensaries poised to meaningfully expand, we remain encouraged about the growth potential of our existing portfolio.”

Revenue Breakdown

Net revenue, which excludes the intercompany sale of wholesale products, increased 13.2% quarter-over-quarter to $94.4 million. Sequential revenue growth was driven by an increased number of wholesale units sold and the full quarter benefit of prior quarter store openings in the retail business.

Total retail revenue increased to $63.5 million for the third quarter of 2021, representing an increase of 9.4% quarter-over-quarter. The growth was driven by increases in transactions at existing stores, the ramp of traffic in the Boston dispensary, expanded store hours in four dispensaries in the Chicago area, and the full quarter benefit of the three stores opened in the prior quarter.

Gross wholesale revenue increased to $41.5 million, representing an increase of 5.2% quarter-over-quarter. Net wholesale revenue, after intercompany sales, increased to $30.9 million, representing an increase of 21.9% quarter-over-quarter, which was driven by an increased number of wholesale units sold.


Debra BorchardtOctober 4, 2021
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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.”

 


StaffAugust 30, 2021
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Ascend Wellness Holdings, Inc.  (CSE: AAWH.U) (OTCQX: AAWH) announced that it has closed on a $210 million Senior Secured Term Loan with Seaport Global Securities LLC as lead manager. AWH said that it plans to use the proceeds to (i) repay substantially all of its debt excluding approximately $12 million of outstanding acquisition payments with near zero interest rates, (ii) finance the company’s pending investment in MedMen NY, Inc., and (iii) support its future growth and acquisition initiatives.

In March Ascend said it would make an investment of approximately $73 million in MedMen NY Inc. or MMNY. Following the investment, Ascend will hold a controlling interest in MMNY of approximately 86.7% and will have an option to buy MedMen’s remaining interest in MMNY in the future. Also in the agreement, Ascend must also make an additional investment of $10 million in exchange for additional equity in MMNY. This investment will also be used to repay MMNY’s senior secured lender if adult-use cannabis sales commence in MMNY’s dispensaries.

The loan will bear an interest of 9.5% per year, payable quarterly in arrears, with a maturity date of August 27, 2025. The Term Loan is secured by a first lien on all company assets. Subject to certain conditions of the agreement, the company has the ability to increase the facility by up to $65 million if desired. Prior to closing the Term Loan, at the end of Q2 2021, ending June 30, 2021, Ascend had $104.2 million in cash and equivalents.

“I am thrilled to secure this non-dilutive financing which both reduces our overall cost of capital and will fuel the growth of our business as we invest in scaling our strategic footprint. We saw tremendous interest and had healthy participation in the Term Loan. Our marketing process, lead-managed by Seaport Global Securities, introduced us to a very high-quality mix of institutional investors, family offices and hedge funds. We are excited to include this new class of stakeholders into our capital structure via the senior debt financing and look forward to the opportunity to expand our relationship with many of these investors over time in future debt and equity financings.” said Abner Kurtin, Founder and CEO of AWH. “We are actively building one of the most robust networks of retail stores and cultivation facilities in the highest quality markets. With our strong balance sheet and successful track record, we are well positioned to implement our growth strategies to take advantage of the significant market opportunity ahead and drive strong value for our shareholders.”

 


Debra BorchardtAugust 11, 2021
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Following the close of the market on Tuesday, Ascend Wellness Holdings, Inc. (CSE: AAWH.U) (OTCQX: AAWH) reported its financial results for the second-quarter ending in June 2021. Ascend delivered total revenue of $97.5 million which increased 28.5% quarter-over-quarter and 236.2% year-over-year. Net revenue, which excludes intercompany sale of wholesale products, increased 26.1% quarter-over-quarter to $83.4 million. In addition to the solid revenue gains, Ascend said it was increasing its full-year guidance for 2021 from a range of $320 million to $340 million to a range of $330 million to $350 million. This revised range represents growth of approximately 130% to 145% year-over-year.

The company also reported a net loss of $44.9 million during the second quarter and attributed it to a $32.0 million non-cash interest expense related to the company’s initial public offering (“IPO”) completed in May 2021. This non-cash interest expense was largely driven by a $27.4 million charge related to the beneficial conversion feature of the historical Real Estate Preferred Units that converted in the IPO. The loss of $0.30 per basic and diluted common share was compared to a net loss of $48.2 million, or $0.45 per basic and diluted historical common unit, for the prior quarter.

“Our business continues to produce impressive quarter-over-quarter revenue and adjusted EBITDA growth as we scale our wholesale and retail operations across the high-quality markets where we operate,” said Abner Kurtin, Founder and CEO of AWH. “We remain focused on executing, disciplined in our approach to allocating capital, and excited about the trajectory of the Company,” Kurtin added. “As a result, we are pleased to announce that we are increasing our full year net revenue guidance range to $330 million – $350 million.”

Revenue Growth

Ascend said that its revenue growth was driven by increased cultivation and production activity, new store openings, and increased traffic at open stores. The company said in its earnings statement that it plans to keep investing in the build-out and expansion of its cultivation and manufacturing facilities in IllinoisNew JerseyMassachusetts, and Michigan. Additionally, it is actively building out additional dispensaries in MassachusettsNew Jersey, and Michigan.

While the total retail transactions increased 39.4% quarter-over-quarter to approximately 573,000, the average value per transaction declined by 8.6% compared to the prior quarter to approximately $101. Ascend said this was primarily due to geographic and medical versus adult-use patient mix. On the wholesale side of the business, gross wholesale revenue increased to $39.5 million, representing an increase of 30.1% quarter-over-quarter. Net wholesale revenue, after intercompany sales, increased to $25.3 million, representing an increase of 22.9% quarter-over-quarter, which continues to be driven by increased output and pricing at the company’s cultivation facility located in Barry, Illinois. Pound equivalents sold increased 28.2% quarter-over-quarter and 285.3% year-over-year to approximately 11,040 pounds.

 


Debra BorchardtMarch 1, 2021
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MedMen Enterprises Inc. (CSE: MMEN) (OTCQX: MMNFF) didn’t completely sell its New York operations to privately held Ascend Wellness, but it’s pretty close. Last week, beleaguered California-based cannabis operator MedMen signed an agreement with Ascend Wellness Holdings, where Ascend would make an investment of approximately $73 million in MedMen NY Inc. or MMNY. MedMen’s shares jumped over 14% in trading on Friday to lately sell at 48 cents.

Following the investment, Ascend will hold a controlling interest in MMNY of approximately 86.7% and will have an option to buy MedMen’s remaining interest in MMNY in the future. Also in the agreement, Ascend must also make an additional investment of $10 million in exchange for additional equity in MMNY. This investment will also be used to repay MMNY’s senior secured lender if adult-use cannabis sales commence in MMNY’s dispensaries.

“We believe the proposed transaction will bring fresh capital and a new perspective to New York’s medical marijuana program and its patients,” said Abner Kurtin, Founder of Ascend Wellness. Ascend Wellness is a vertically integrated operator with assets and partners in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Ascend produces and distributes Ozone branded products.

Of course, all of this is subject to approval from the New York State Department of Health and other applicable regulatory bodies. The state did not approve of MedMen’s attempt to acquire PharmaCann’s operations in New York back in the day, so nothing is ever certain. That deal was scrapped back in 2019. MMNY will also use Ascend’s services for a management agreement under which Ascend will advise on MMNY’s operations pending regulatory approval of the Investment transaction.

Agreement Terms

The details of the deal say that MMNY will assume up to approximately $73 million of MedMen’s existing secured debt, Ascend will invest $35 million in cash in MMNY, and AWH New York, LLC will issue a senior secured promissory note in favor of MMNY’s senior secured lender in the principal amount of $28 million, guaranteed by Ascend, which cash investment and note will be used to reduce the amounts owed to MMNY’s senior secured lender. 

Cowen & Co. Drops Coverage

Cowen & Co. discontinued coverage of MedMen in December of 2020. In her last report, Vivien Azer wrote, “MMEN delivered $20.7 mm in revenue from its 11operating CA stores, up ~34% QoQ and implying ~$1.9 mm per door in the quarter (implying$7.5 mm per door annualized), which we believe is roughly in line with management targets for CA store sales productivity. Meanwhile, NV sales were up triple digits sequentially(192%) due to the cycling of temporary store closures in the prior quarter. MMEN’s OakPark door in IL was the highest growing of the portfolio and we estimate this door could achieve ~$15 mm in revenue annualized.”

She added, “Despite the improvement, MMEN’s cost structure is still bloated and a heavy debt burden may force management to seek dilutive solutions.” 


StaffFebruary 20, 2019
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Vertically Integrated Cannabis Operator to Enter its Fourth State on East Coast

February 20, 2019 – BOSTON, MA /AxisWire/ Ascend Wellness Holdings (AWH), a multi-state, vertically integrated cannabis operator, today announced that the company secured $37 million in a bridge round of preferred equity and $18 million in a senior secured cultivation note. The $55 million in raised funds will be used to build out market leading operations in Massachusetts, as well as the continued expansion in limited license cannabis markets.

AWH is entering Ohio through an agreement to purchase a tier II cultivation license. It is also in advanced discussions for dispensary licenses. Ohio allowed medical cannabis use in January, and marks AWH’s fourth market. AWH will provide care to Ohio residents for different approved medical conditions, solidifying its commitments to limited license markets.

The capital will also fund construction of AWH’s adult-use flagship store. Located near the famed Faneuil Hall, the five-story building will be the first of its kind to operate within a major East Coast city. During the planning phase, the 16,000-square foot project garnered widespread support among the Boston community and state leaders. AWH is also building a 9.5 acre cannabis cultivation facility, called MassGrow. Located in Athol, Massachusetts, the campus is expected to produce 15 million grams of cannabis annually.

“AWH is excited to close on funding that will allow us to build out our market leading Massachusetts operations and to enter the newly legalized Ohio market,” said AWH Founder and CEO, Abner Kurtin. “We expect to be operating in all four of our markets by the end of 2019.”

This latest round of funding comes at a time when several Eastern states have legalized cannabis. AWH operates and has assets in Massachusetts, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, an addressable cannabis market of over 40 million people. In its first year, AWH closed over $100 million of total capital, making it among the more well-funded consolidators in the space as it seeks opportunities to expand into other key markets.

For more information about AWH visit www.ascendwellness.com

About AWH AWH is a vertically integrated cannabis company operating in Massachusetts, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. AWH is redefining the cannabis retail experience, offering a customer-centric environment and a curated selection of products with effect-based categorization. AWH will also operate a large-scale indoor cultivation facility in Massachusetts.

 


Debra BorchardtJanuary 16, 2019
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Ascend Massachusetts was awarded the first conditional-use permit for adult-use cannabis retail sales in the city of Boston. The flagship store will be the first adult-use retailer to operate within a major East Coast metropolitan city and is expected to open by the end of the year.

Massachusetts legalized adult use cannabis sales, but it took two years to license operators and open stores. When sales began on November 20, 2018, only two locations had been approved resulting in traffic headaches and customer lines. Still, the state managed to log $7 million in sales in just the first three weeks. A new report by ArcView Research and BDS Analytics projects that cannabis spending in Massachusetts will reach $1 billion by 2022 and that it will be the fifth biggest market in the U.S.

“Ascend Massachusetts is honored to be chosen as the first company awarded a license for an adult-use retail store by the city of Boston,” said Andrea Cabral, CEO of Ascend Massachusetts, which is a wholly own subsidiary of Ascend Wellness. “A core value of our company is to positively impact our neighborhoods and communities. We are proud to have the support of leaders and organizations across Boston and Massachusetts in this endeavor.”

No doubt that support helped sway the approval process.  Ascend managed to get letters of support from State Senator Joseph Boncore (D); State Representative Aaron Michlewitz (D); Boston City Councilors Josh Zakim and Ed Flynn; The Downtown North Business Association; as well as a letter of non-opposition from the West End Civic Association.

The store will be located in downtown Boston close to Faneuil Hall, a site built in 1742 for merchants and where the Sugar Act was protested in 1764 and established the doctrine of “no taxation without representation.” The store will be multi-leveled and designed by the Andrus Group, which has designed stores for Apple, Tesla, and Burberry. The designers noted that the store will combine innovation with education in order to create an engaging in-store experience for shoppers.

James Andrus, principal at The Andrus Group said, “This is a unique project that builds upon our experience in creating highly visited retail locations that serve the needs of tourists, consumers, and the community.”

So far, five retail locations have been approved in the state. There are still about 200 completed applications waiting for the state’s review and approval.

“We are proud of the work that Andrea and her team did to secure and plan our location,” says Abner Kurtin, CEO of Ascend Wellness. “We are gratified by the confidence the City of Boston has in Ascend Massachusetts to create best-in-practice and best-in-class adult-use retail for the Boston community.”

Ascend Wellness is a private multi-state operator located in three states: Illinois, Michigan, and Massachusetts. The Massachusetts CEO Cabral was the Executive Secretary of Public Safety in Massachusetts where she oversaw 14 public agencies. She was the twice-elected Sheriff of Suffolk County and the first female sheriff in Massachusetts’ history.


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