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Cannabis Briefs for November 16, 2021

November 16, 2021

•Verano Holdings has entered definitive agreements to acquire several cannabis companies in Connecticut, securing its entry to the state. Verano will pay $113.25 million in shares to acquire Connecticut Pharmaceutical Solutions in full, which includes an active, 216,000 square-foot cultivation and production facility in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. Verano will pay an additional $18.5 million in shares upon adult-use sales beginning in the state. The company also closed its acquisition of Willow Brook Wellness and entered an agreement to acquire Caring Nature, both of which operate one active dispensary in Meriden and Waterbury, respectively. The acquisitions expand Verano’s 12-state footprint to 89 dispensaries and over 1 million square-feet of cultivation space.

•New Jersey will soon start accepting applications for several types of cannabis businesses. Amid concerns that the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission is falling behind schedule to have sales up and running by next February, the agency announced that the application process for cultivators, processors, and testing labs will open December 15. It will begin accepting applications for dispensary licenses on March 15 of next year. This means the state will certainly miss its February goal for adult-use sales to begin, but its medical players will be able to begin serving recreational patrons at their existing locations as soon as their applications are approved.

•Germany’s incoming government coalition is finalizing plans to legalize recreational cannabis, according to reporting from Bloomberg. The new coalition, composed of the Social Democrats, Greens, and Free Democrats, is more open to the prospect than Angela Merkel’s out-going Christian Democrats. Germany has been seen as a high-value target in Europe for some time, with numerous big players in North America seeking to enter its medical market either through acquisitions, as in the case of Curaleaf’s recent purchase of Emmac Life Sciences, or through import agreements like Tilray has in place to supply German pharmacies directly. The new administration is expected to take office early next month.

•Recreational cannabis sales in Michigan hit a new high of $128.4 million last month, according to the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency. Consumers there spent $61.3 million on flower, $28 million on vape cartridges, $17 million on edibles, and $9 million on concentrates, with the remainder made up of various other categories. Medical sales contributed an additional $35.2 million for the month. Total sales for the year currently sit at $1.47 billion, putting them on track to surpass $1.5 billion before year’s end.

•Illinois had its second-best month of recreational cannabis sales on record, according to data from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Adult-use sales rose to $123.4 million in October after hovering just below $122 million the previous two months. The figure is still shy of July’s highwater mark of $127.8 million, with the difference attributable to the purchasing behavior of state residents—sales to out-of-state visitors were nearly even at $42 million both months, but October’s in-state sales of $81.2 million were short of July’s $85 million in-state haul. There were 2.76 million cannabis items purchased in October, also second-best after July.

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