Columbia Care has completed its acquisition of the remaining 25% minority interest in its Illinois operation which is now consolidated 100% under its wholly-owned Columbia Care Illinois subsidiary.
With a state population of 12.7 million, 5.2 million of whom live in Cook County, Illinois is estimated to potentially become a $2 billion cannabis market. The Prairie State was among the first in the country to legalize retail sales through its legislature and the 11th state to approve adult-use earlier, followed shortly thereafter by legislation that significantly expands the existing medical program to include 11 additional qualifying conditions. The number of participants in the Illinois medical program has increased 53% since the start of the year and currently has more than 80,000 patients enrolled.
According to them, the Company intends to expand its existing Chicago location to accommodate the increasing number of medical cannabis registrants, as well as to prepare for new health and wellness consumers who will be able to access the adult-use program in 2020. The Company is also in the process of securing a second dispensary location to complement its existing Chicago facility, with the potential to expand beyond two locations in the near future. To support the expected increase in demand for its products, Columbia Care is currently upgrading its +32,000 square foot Aurora cultivation and pharmaceutical-quality manufacturing facility. The current expansion plan is expected to be completed by the end of 2019 and provide multiple levels of incremental capacity to address future spikes in wholesale and retail market growth.
“We believe the social equity priorities included in this landmark legislation signed by Governor Pritzker are a natural complement to the legalization of cannabis for adult use and expansion of the medical program. Illinois will become a model for how government can protect patients and create real economic opportunity for those who were impacted by now-defunct regulatory and legal constructs while, at the same time, preserve the integrity of the supply and service chain. We look forward to partnering with minority and women-owned businesses to support these initiatives as well as engaging with a number of businesses to seed and support those interested in licenses for micro-cultivation, delivery and dispensaries. We intend to use our global resources, including the years of experience across more than a dozen markets, to continue to serve patients and entrepreneurs throughout Illinois,” said Nicholas Vita, chief executive officer of Columbia Care.