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Cresco Labs’ Big Acquisition, Denver’s First Cannabis Consumption Club, and a Final Push for SAFE Banking

Cesar Gallegos

by Cesar Gallegos

March 25, 2022 08:30 am ET Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes

Cresco Labs made a huge acquisition, Denver is within reach of opening its first consumption club, and cannabis executives rallied to push for industry banking protections.

Let’s dive into this week’s cannanews.

Cresco Labs Inc. Makes Historic Acquisition

Cresco Labs Inc. has officially acquired Columbia Care Inc. for $2 billion. The union of the two companies is one of the largest in the cannabis industry to date.

With the deal, Cresco Labs gains access to Columbia Care’s immense multi-state retail network. Customers will now be able to pick up Cresco products in 70% of the current legal cannabis states. The acquisition also gives Cresco a commanding market share lead in Illinois, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. 

Cresco Chief Executive Officer Charles Bachtell recently revealed that the acquisition was all about increasing the company’s name recognition. “This is how you turn brands like High Supply, Cresco and FloraCal into Miller High Life, Coca-Cola and Johnnie Walker Blue Label,” Bachtell said.

What do you think of Cresco’s recent acquisition? Are you excited to see more of the company’s products in-store? Let us know in the comments!

Denver Inching Toward Opening First Cannabis Consumption Club

In 2021, Denver’s city council voted to approve the establishment of cannabis consumption clubs around the city. As part of the move, Denver announced that only social equity applicants would be allowed to apply for the first batch of hospitality licenses.

The application period officially began in November of 2021. Nearly six months later and Denver’s first official (indoor) consumption lounge finally looks to be close to opening.

Earlier this week, city officials announced that Tetra Lounge in downtown Denver was close to being approved for the first social equity hospitality license. Tetra Lounge just needs to pass one more inspection before it gets the go-ahead to open its doors. With 4/20 right around the corner, this approval could not have come at a better time!

Next on the city’s docket is making good on its promise to legalize the consumption of alcohol in common areas. However, these licenses aren’t expected to be approved until the end of the year.

Have you made plans to visit Tetra Lounge? Do you want to see consumption clubs come to your city? Let us know in the comments!

Cannabis Industry Makes Final Push for SAFE Banking

With midterms just around the corner, the cannabis industry is making one final push to get banking reform across the finish line. Last week, over 20 cannabis company executives participated in an in-person lobbying blitz. The executives spoke with both Republicans and Democrats about passing the SAFE Banking Act before the upcoming midterm elections.

The SAFE Banking Act would allow cannabis businesses to use banking services and credit cards. Without the act, many dispensaries are forced to go cash-only due to banks’ hesitancy to partner with them. As a result, dispensaries have become big targets for robberies. This troubling trend recently lead to the tragic death of a dispensary employee in Washington after an attempted robbery.

Despite the very real consequence of not passing the SAFE Banking Act, some cannabis advocates have voiced their opposition to the bill. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), for one, has stated the bill would “prioritize banking, profits, and big business before long overdue equity and justice for people being harmed by marijuana criminalization.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer voiced similar concerns about the SAFE Banking Act, saying, “If we let this bill out, it will make it much harder and take longer to pass comprehensive reform.” The comprehensive reform that Schumer is referring to is the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA).

The CAOA would remove cannabis from the federally controlled substance list and expunge the records of those convicted on marijuana charges, in addition to designating a portion of the cannabis sales tax to help communities hit hardest by the war on drugs. Despite the many benefits offered by the bill, many have pointed out that its radical changes will make it hard to pass in a Senate where Democrats only hold a narrow majority. 

What do you think of the cannabis industry’s push to pass the SAFE Banking Act? Do you agree with Schumer and other cannabis advocates who are calling for more comprehensive reform? Let us know in the comments!

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