Goodness Growth Holdings Expands Into Maryland’s Cannabis Industry Amid Psychedelics Research Partnership With Johns Hopkins

Goodness Growth Holdings, formerly known as Vireo Health, announced its $8 million purchase of Charm City Medicus dispensary in Baltimore earlier this month marking the acquisition of it’s second dispensary in Maryland.

Upon the deal closing, Charm City Medicus will begin operating under the company’s dispensary brand “Green Goods.” The other Green Goods location opened in Frederick in March.

The company, when it was called Vireo Health, was awarded a grower, processor and dispensary license in Maryland in 2016. The company was renamed after it announced it would be venturing into another emerging sector of plant-based medicine: psychedelics.

Goodness Growth’s psychedelics subsidiary, Resurgent Biosciences, is working with different research institutions to identify potential medical applications for plant-based psychedelics. One of these partnerships is with Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, whose history exploring the therapeutic effects of psychedelics dates back to the sixties before psychedelics were made federally illegal. Researchers at Hopkins have already found that psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms, can be effective for treating chronic ailments including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance use disorder.

Cannabis and psychedelics fall under the same umbrella: previously criminalized substances with a plethora of valuable medical applications that have been suppressed by prohibition.

Goodness Growth’s website said their company envisions “a world where beneficial plants replace pharmaceuticals, alcohol, and tobacco.”

While the company does not touch the psychedelic plants themselves (as they are still federally illegal), the group researches potential applications for the substances and registers their discoveries as intellectual property on behalf of Goodness Growth. It will also be the first cannabis company that is operational in Maryland with stake in the emerging psychedelics industry.

“We believe the opportunities for psychedelics to transform the future of mental health and psychiatry are far too significant for us to ignore,” Goodness Growth CEO Dr. Kyle Kingsley told the Minnesota Star Tribune in June.

On his company’s continued expansion in Maryland, Kingsley said in a press release that his company’s additional cultivation and processing facilities will allow it to continue growing retail sales and “enable us to offer the full spectrum of cannabis products to patients.”

The Frederick and Baltimore dispensary locations complete Goodness Growth’s vertical integration in Maryland, equipped with an all-new 110,000 square-feet cultivation and processing facility in Massey to stock its shelves.

The company’s expansion also marks another multi-state operator (MSO) looking to buy up existing licenses in the state’s limited medical market before adult-use cannabis is inevitably legalized statewide. Last November, TerrAscend Corp. (another national MSO) acquired the brand HMS Health, marking its own entry into Maryland’s cannabis industry.

The primary reason MSOs are rushing to acquire licenses in Maryland is because of the state’s likelihood to legalize cannabis for adult-use next year, especially considering Speaker Adrienne Jones’ announcement last week that she would support a cannabis referendum on the ballot in 2022. The MSOs that are able to break into Maryland’s medical industry before total legalization are likely to receive a head start on adult-use sales.

That is because the adult-use legalization bill submitted by Del. Jazz Lewis (D) last year would have given medical operators first dibs on adult-use licenses in order to kick start the industry while new operators got up and running. Though Del. Lewis’ H.B. 2 failed, the bill will likely serve as the framework for Maryland’s adult-use program.

That means the vertically-integrated Goodness Growth will likely reap the rewards of a timely entry into Maryland’s cannabis industry, all while in close proximity to one of it’s most esteemed research partners in psychedelics: Johns Hopkins University.

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