Las Vegas Sun

June 26, 2019

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Green Thumb Industries grows west, closes Essence cannabis deal

Essence Medical Marijuana Dispensary

Steve Marcus

A view of the lobby at the Essence Cannabis Dispensary, 4300 East Sunset Road in Henderson, on Monday, Oct. 24, 2016. The company has three locations in the Las Vegas Valley, including one on the Las Vegas Strip.

The sale of one of Las Vegas’ largest marijuana dispensary and cultivation operations has been finalized.

Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries announced this morning that it has closed on the purchase of Integral Associates, which owns and operates three area Essence Cannabis Dispensary locations, and the Desert Grown Farms and Cannabiotix Nevada cultivation and processing facilities.

The transaction is for $290 million, with $52 million in cash and 20.8 million shares of Green Thumb stock, officials said.

Green Thumb, which is publicly listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange, employs 450 people across eight U.S. states in which cannabis is legal. It owns two retail stores and a cultivation facility in Carson City. Essence and Cannabiotix will add an additional 350 employees.

“It is a major win for the shareholders as we scale distribution of our branded products and retail footprint in the Las Vegas market, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world,” said Ben Kovler, the Green Thumb founder and CEO.

The transaction also includes eight additional Nevada retail licenses (five in Las Vegas; three in Northern Nevada) and a license in West Hollywood, Calif., which is one of five California dispensaries with a lounge and delivery service.

Click to enlarge photo

Armen Yemenidjian poses among marijuana plants at a Desert Grown Farms Cultivation Facility in Las Vegas, Dec. 15, 2016.

Additionally, the sale brings Desert Grown Farms, a 54,000-square-foot cultivation facility with a library of 100 marijuana strains, and Cannabiotix, a 41,000-square-foot award-winning processing facility.

Armen Yemenidijan, the Essence founder, will join the Green Thumb leadership as its president.

“With GTI’s expertise and impressive track record, we look forward to this new chapter and having the opportunity to serve more guests in new and existing markets,” Yemenidijan said in a statement.

He told the Sun, “I look very much forward to working with Ben Kovler whose understanding of this industry makes this opportunity so exciting.”

Brian Greenspun, the CEO, publisher and editor of the Las Vegas Sun, has an ownership interest in Essence Cannabis Dispensary.