By: Mikel Weisser, staff writer
The long-rumored age of “Big Marijuana” has finally reached Arizona and it turns out to be a very good thing. The same month that Altria, the parent company of Phillip-Morris, maker of Marlboro, plunked down a hefty $1.8 billion to stake their claim in the US cannabis market, two of the biggest companies in US cannabis launched operations here in the Grand Canyon State. Canadian cannabis giant, Curaleaf, opened their fifth AZ property, the dispensary formerly known as Midtown Roots. Midtown’s owner Steve Cottrell will manage the company’s AZ outlets. “Curaleaf is a leading medical cannabis brand that is recognized across the country for its quality and expertise,” said Steve Cottrell, president of Curaleaf Arizona. “With this rebrand, we will bring additional resources to Midtown Roots to support upgrades that will enhance the patient experience as well as the continued education of our staff.” The latest store opening brings Curaleaf’s US holdings up to 33 stores in AZ, FL & NY, during a year that saw the company’s profits nearly triple. In PHX alone, Curaleaf’s companies are expected to contribute as much as $50 million dollars in tax revenue.
Meanwhile, one of America’s biggest cannabis companies, MedMen’s ongoing spending spree led the company to acquire one of AZ’s top cannabis operations, Monarch of Scottsdale. The contract also provides for MedMen to maintain Monarch’s sought-after wholesale brands, “Kiva, Mirth Provisions and HUXTON for the state of Arizona.” Based in Los Angeles with 18 facilities in CA, FL, NV and NY and two dozen more in the works, the company’s current market cap is almost worth $3 billion dollars. MedMen’s CEO and Co-Founder, Adam Bierman, says the AZ acquisition went surprisingly fast, “As we look to operationalize the acquisitions we have made in recent months, our team has focused on timely and seamless transitions. From the signing of the letter of agreement in October to opening our first dispensary in Arizona, we have been able to activate in a matter of weeks.” Both companies’ stocks are banking on benefitting handsomely from the major shift in American cannabis politics thanks to the 2018 midterms.