Cresco Labs, one of the largest cannabis companies in the nation, is slated to open its first medical dispensary in Maryland following the purchase of Blair Wellness Center, a dispensary in North Baltimore’s Rosebank neighborhood.
The deal, which is expected to close by the end of this year, will give Cresco full control of the dispensary’s operations, turning Blair Wellness Center into Maryland’s first “Sunnyside”—a national dispensary franchise promoting cannabis “wellness.”
Cresco is already a licensed cannabis processor in Maryland, having sold its “Liquid Live Resin” cartridges in the state since 2017. Founded in 2013, the Chicago-headquartered firm is the largest cannabis wholesaler in the country with products sold in more than 700 dispensaries.
In a statement on Friday, Cresco CEO Charles Bachtell said the acquisition is “a step toward building a meaningful, material position for Cresco Labs in Maryland—a state with tremendous growth potential over the coming years.”
As Maryland’s market for medical pot continues to expand—dispensaries sold more than $500 million worth of products last year—large cannabis companies are increasingly gravitating to the state to snap up smaller businesses.
Adding to Maryland’s allure is that the state could soon legalize cannabis for adult-use and start allowing recreational sales. In July, House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne Jones announced her support for a referendum on legalization in 2022, though some advocates say the ballot measure could be a stalling tactic.
Cresco’s new Baltimore location could be well-positioned to become one of Maryland’s first adult-use dispensaries if Jones’ newly-created task force on legalization follows the regulatory framework of previous legalization efforts.
Last year, dueling legalization bills proposed by Del. Jazz Lewis (H.B. 32) and Sen. Brian Feldman (S.B. 708) both proposed giving Maryland’s existing medical operators a head-start on adult-use licenses and sales.
Cresco is the latest multi-state cannabis operator (MSO) to expand into Maryland by way of acquisition amid a wave of MSOs scrambling for a spot in the state’s limited medical market.
Recent acquisitions have included TerrAscend’s purchase of HMS Health, Trulieve’s purchase of Harvest Health and Recreation, and Goodness Growth’s purchase of Charm City Medicus.
Bachtell said Blair Wellness Center has “consistently” brought in more than double the average revenue for Maryland dispensaries. He hinted that Cresco’s acquisition blitz is far from over in the state.
“We will continue to add high volume dispensaries that drive depth in strategic markets and complement our wholesale operations,” he said.