4Front cites “exceptionally strong launch” in Calumet City as cannabis companies report Q1 earnings  

The CEO of Phoenix-based multi-state cannabis operator 4Front Ventures singled out the success of the company’s recreational dispensary that opened last fall in Calumet City, Illinois as a key factor in what he said was better than expected corporate earnings during the first quarter of 2021.

In an earnings report released May 24th, 4Front, which also operates in Massachusetts, Washington State, and California, said it generated $31.4 million in revenue in the first three months of the year, up 26 percent from the fourth quarter of 2020.

“An exceptionally strong launch of our Calumet City, Illinois dispensary in December, contributed to our robust sequential Q1 sales increases and exceeded all internal expectations,” said CEO Leo Gontmakher in a written statement. 

The company also said it plans to break ground on land recently secured for a cultivation and production facility sometime between July and September.

Ascend provides first quarterly report 

Newly public New York-based Ascend Wellness Holdings, which operates a cultivation facility and eight dispensaries in Illinois and six dispensaries in Michigan, last week reported $66.1 million in revenue, a 22 percent quarter-to-quarter increase. 

Ascend, which operates a cultivation center and eight dispensaries in Illinois as well as six retail stores in Michigan, is widely expected to acquire an additional medical dispensary and plus one recreational dispensary in Illinois to meet the state cap of ten. 

Public pot proprietors profiting amidst massive year-to-year revenue expansion

As for the largest publicly traded U.S.-based cannabis companies with major operations in the Midwest, what a difference a year makes.  

Amidst an industry-wide capital crunch and emerging global pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, earnings reports from the first three months of 2021 demonstrate that the sector one year later is flourishing. 

These companies, which include Wakefield, Mass.-based Curaleaf, as well as Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries (GTI), Verano Holdings, and Cresco Labs (which reports earnings today), all share a common playbook for generating pot profits. This includes establishing or acquiring vertically integrated retail, production and cultivation operations within key states mostly east of the Mississippi River that have high populations combined with limited competition and more stringent regulatory frameworks. Curaleaf, which closed on its $840 million acquisition of Chicago-based Grassroots Cannabis in July 2020, earlier this month reported 170 percent year over year revenue growth generating $260 million in the first quarter 2021. GTI reported nearly 90 percent revenue growth year-to-year with $194.4 million in revenue in the first quarter. Verano, which in early 2020 was breaking up from a proposed merger with Arizona-based Harvest Health, saw its revenue rise 117 percent, generating approximately $143 million during the first three months of the year.

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Brad Spirrison is a journalist, serial entrepreneur and media ecologist. He lives in Chicago with his son. Interests include music, meditation and Miles Davis.