A LivWell dispensary on Broadway in Denver, Colorado. Credit: LivWell Website.

On Tuesday Chicago-based multi-state operator PharmaCann announced the acquisition of Denver-based LivWell Enlightened Health, expanding PharmaCann’s retail reach and adding cultivation capacity in both Colorado and Michigan.

Because both companies are private, no sales price was announced as part of the deal, but PharmaCann’s acquisition adds 21 Colorado dispensaries to the company’s 28 existing retail locations in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The transaction also provides PharmaCann with one of Michigan’s largest cultivation and manufacturing facilities in Warren, as well as three smaller production facilities in Colorado.

PharmaCann’s new acquisition vaults it into a club of big cannabis retailers. With 49 dispensary locations, the company will be just short of AYR Wellness’ 55 and Green Thumb Industries 58, but ahead of Cresco Labs 47 locations. Still ,the biggest players are far ahead, as Curaleaf claims 107 locations and Trulieve 150 across the country.

The acquisition is also a new kind of move for PharmaCann, which has mostly stayed in restricted license states. Both Michigan and Colorado have unlimited licenses.

“There’s West Coast-style markets, there’s East Coast-style markets. Michigan is very much a West Coast-style market based on its legacy. The caregiver aspect is a big part of that,” said Jeremy Unruh, PharmaCann’s Senior Vice President for Public And Regulatory Affairs. “Historically, the Michigan and Colorado barriers are more complex than simply unrestricted licenses. It’s the unrestricted licenses coupled with the high degree of local control that ensures that the number of available host municipalities actually acts as the de facto license limiter.”

Michigan has been seeing a rush of acquisitions and growth recently, as Skymint announced plans to acquire dispensary chain 3Fifteen’s 12 locations and TerrAscend purchased Gage’s 14 dispensaries for $545 million.

PharmaCann’s Unruh thinks there will be a lot more cannabis license sales in Michigan in the coming year. 

“Maybe some of these first generation operators get to a point, they’re ready to throw the keys to someone else. They’ve built X number of facilities and where do they go from there? Maybe it’s time to go purchase their island somewhere,” said Unruh.

This is the second major acquisition of a Colorado dispensary chain. Last year Columbia Care announced it would close on a purchase of The Green Solution, which operated 23 Colorado dispensaries at the time of the announcement. Until the law was repealed in January 2021, Colorado required majority in-state license ownership of cannabis licenses.

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Editor Mike is an itinerate reporter, recovering political consultant, and strategy game devotee.