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Cresco acquires Columbia Care in $2B deal.
The newly-formed company will become one of the biggest MSOs in the US, with more than 130 shops in 18 states, including major markets like New Jersey and Florida. (Cresco said this week it will be the biggest MSO by “pro-forma revenue in cannabis today at over $1.4 billion.”)
+ Context: Cresco already acquired its way into the New York market a few years ago, and will now hold two of ten vertically integrated medical cannabis licenses in the state – with the option to expand into adult use.
Also this month, Cresco’s plan to build an enormous production facility in the Hudson Valley of New York (in the town of Wawarsing) was approved.
And, Sen. Jeremy Cooney, who has become a major proponent of cannabis reform in the New York State legislature, issued a statement about the merger on Wednesday afternoon, expressing a whiff of concern.
“I was surprised to learn of a potential merger between Columbia Care and Cresco Labs—two of the registered organizations in the New York Medical Cannabis Program.
“Columbia Care is an important part of the cannabis marketplace in Rochester and serves medical patients across the entire state. I am in active discussions to ensure that jobs stay in Rochester and our medical patients continue to have access to medicinal cannabis treatment options.
“The proposed merger will take time and is subject to multiple levels of state and federal approval, and I will do everything in my power to ensure we are protecting patients, and standing up for the families who rely on these local jobs.”
California is selling seized cannabis properties.
The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration announced that it is “selling commercial properties seized in connection with illegal cannabis operations to recover unpaid taxes.”
Already this month, the Department sold a Compton property for $256,000. This week, it put up for sale a Whittier property where illegal operators didn’t pay nearly $1 million in taxes, though the Department said it only “hopes to recover at least $220,000” from the sale.
Since 2020, the Department said it “has performed more than 1,000 inspections and observations of cannabis businesses and seized more than $32 million in cash and products.”
As Cannabis Wire recently reported, the thriving unregulated industry is putting significant strain on legal operators.
“Unlicensed cannabis operators not only undercut legitimate businesses, but they also cheat California communities out of revenue for vital programs,” said CDTFA Director Nick Maduros in this week’s announcement.
“These businesses are not licensed under the laws approved by California voters, and many of their products are unregulated.”
Reps. Barbara Lee and Nancy Mace ask UN to deschedule cannabis.
Cannabis remains scheduled at the federal level in the U.S., and globally.
Two U.S. Reps. introduced a resolution instructing the United Nations to deschedule cannabis from the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which is the main global drug control treaty, and instead treat cannabis more like any other agricultural product.
“Many countries would deschedule cannabis and reevaluate how cannabis is classified if the U.N. did so,” Mace said. “Descheduling at the U.N. would support global research into how cannabis can treat a wide range of ailments and conditions.”
“The classification of cannabis as a schedule one drug is outdated, out of touch, and should be addressed not only in the United States, but around the world,” Lee said. “The United States should be leading the way on cannabis reform on the global stage, and descheduling at the United Nations would be a great start.”
+ More: In 2020, as Cannabis Wire reported at the time, the United Nations acknowledged the therapeutic potential of cannabis in an historic vote.