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Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs to shop for Chicago-area hashish operations i…


Sean “Diddy” Combs has agreed to shop for 9 hashish retail shops and 3 manufacturing amenities in Illinois, New York and Massachusetts for $185 million as a part of required antitrust divestitures for the pending $2 billion Cresco-Columbia Care megamerger.

The deal to unload a portion of the mixed Cresco-Columbia Care portfolio to Combs, introduced Friday, comprises the Columbia Care dispensaries in Villa Park and Chicago’s Jefferson Park community, which were rebranded as Cannabist, in addition to a Columbia Care manufacturing facility in Aurora.

If authorized by means of regulators, Combs would shape the most important Black-owned hashish corporate within the U.S.

“My project has all the time been to create alternatives for Black marketers in industries the place we’ve historically been denied get entry to, and this acquisition supplies the instant scale and have an effect on had to create a extra equitable long run in hashish,” Combs stated in a information unencumber.

It’s the first foray into the all of a sudden rising hashish industry for Combs, a a success rapper, document manufacturer and entrepreneur additionally recognized by means of the level identify Puff Daddy. Combs would pay $110 million in money and finance $45 million via dealer notes, with the stability due post-closing after assembly “market-based milestones.”

The Combs sale will deliver Chicago-based Cresco Labs, one of the crucial greatest publicly traded hashish corporations within the U.S., one step nearer to turning into so much larger with its proposed acquisition of New York-based Columbia Care in an all-stock merger valued at about $2 billion. The Cresco-Columbiadeal, introduced in March, would create a hashish cultivation and retail massive with greater than 180 shops throughout an 18-market footprint, and can most likely require further divestitures to win regulatory approval.

Based in 2013, Cresco is in 10 states with 21 manufacturing amenities and 49 dispensaries, maximum of which function beneath the Sunnyside banner. In Illinois, Cresco has 10 retail dispensaries — the utmost allowed by means of the state — and 3 production amenities in Joliet, Kankakee and Lincoln.

Columbia Care, which began as a medical-only operator 10 years in the past, has grown into one of the crucial greatest multistate hashish corporations within the U.S. with a footprint in 18 states, together with 99 dispensaries and 32 cultivation amenities.

Cresco and Columbia Care are “within the technique of divesting different belongings” forward of the proposed merger, and be expecting further bulletins to be drawing close, in keeping with the inside track unencumber. The firms be expecting merger approval by means of the top of the primary quarter of 2023.

The Combs sale is anticipated to near similtaneously with the bigger Cresco-Columbia Care merger.

Hashish analysis company Headset tasks criminal U.S. weed gross sales to surpass $30 billion this 12 months and succeed in $45.8 billion by means of 2025. In Illinois, gross sales were ramping up because the state legalized leisure marijuana in January 2020. The state legalized clinical marijuana gross sales in 2015.

Final 12 months, the state’s 110 dispensaries offered just about $1.78 billion in hashish merchandise, together with $1.38 billion in leisure weed and greater than $397 million in clinical marijuana. Illinois is projected to generate $2.55 billion in annual hashish gross sales by means of 2025, in keeping with Headset.

Minority participation within the hashish business has lagged. This 12 months, the state issued 185 conditional dispensary licenses to social equity applicants, typically outlined as the ones with previous minor hashish convictions or from spaces of top poverty or hashish arrests.

rchannick@chicagotribune.com


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