Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Curaleaf Acquires New Jersey Cannabis Dispensary

By Linda Moss CoStar News

Curaleaf Holdings, a vertically integrated U.S. cannabis company, has picked up the business and state medical marijuana license of an alternative treatment center in New Jersey, where the industry is poised for potential growth.

The Wakefield, Massachusetts-based firm said Monday it completed its planned acquisition of Curaleaf NJ, a nonprofit that holds one of the original six medical cannabis licenses in the Garden State. Curaleaf Holdings, which previously provided management service for the New Jersey facilities at 640 Creek Road and 130 Harding Ave., both in Bellmawr, now owns 100% of the operation.

The Bellmawr properties are part of New Jersey's largest medical cannabis dispensary, which totals 51,000 square feet including space for cultivation and processing. Cannabis is a burgeoning business in the Garden State, and Curaleaf Holdings is planning an expansion. In November, voters across the state will decide if they want to legalize the sale of marijuana for adult recreational use.

In accordance with recently adopted state regulations, Curaleaf Holdings plans to open two additional New Jersey dispensary locations, as well as an additional cultivation and processing operation slated for a site in Winslow, which is expected to create hundreds of jobs, the company said in a statement.

Curaleaf NJ occupies a 13,500-square-foot dispensary building on Creek Road and a 23,600-square-foot industrial property on Harding Avenue in the borough of Bellmawr in Camden County, not far from Philadelphia.

Curaleaf Holdings acquired the Curaleaf NJ license and other assets in exchange for canceling loans that were used to fund the build-out of the previously managed nonprofit entity.

"Curaleaf is one of New Jersey's oldest and largest providers of cannabis," Curaleaf CEO Joseph Lusardi said in a statement. "The asset acquisition we announced today completes our vertical integration and conversion to a for-profit entity in the state, marking a major milestone for our New Jersey presence. With our strong growth and a cannabis adult-use ballot approval on the horizon, we are actively investing in the expansion of our market leading position to better serve the more than 9 million residents of the Garden State with the quality cannabis products they rely on."

Originally, New Jersey medical cannabis alternative treatment centers were required to be operated as nonprofits. Curaleaf Holdings' announcement comes in the wake of changes to New Jersey Department of Health regulations, which now permit such treatment centers to sell or transfer their license to a for-profit entity, with state approval.

In March 2018, under the direction of Gov. Phil Murphy, who campaigned on a platform that included cannabis legalization, the health department issued the Executive Order 6 Report, which immediately expanded the medical cannabis program in many ways.

For example, chronic pain and anxiety were added as as qualifying conditions for medical cannabis use; the monthly product limit was doubled; and current licensees were permitted to open satellite dispensaries. In December, the Legislature passed a bill to add an initiative to the November ballot this year that will allow voters to decide whether to legalize the sale of adult-use recreational cannabis.

Curaleaf Holdings operates in 18 states with 57 dispensaries, 15 cultivation sites and 24 processing sites, employing more than 2,200 people across the United States.

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