How a Chicago pot firm turned into a $3B behemoth in just 3 years – Chicago Sun-Times

High on a nearly $3 billion valuation, Verano Holdings this week became the latest Chicago cannabis firm to start trading publicly in Canada.

In less than three years, the Near North Side company has culled together a marijuana empire that spans 12 states, with eight cultivation sites and 54 stores, including in Aurora, Naperville and Prospect Heights. Verano now touts itself as “one of the three largest multi-state operators in the U.S.,” a designation typically reserved for corporatized weed firms.

Spokesman Dennis Culloton noted that Verano “has been able to grow organically and nationally through mergers and acquisitions.” Just last week, Verano announced the closing of a crucial merger deal with Florida-based AltMed that led to $100 million in new funding and allowed the company to trade publicly in Canada.

The company’s CEO, George Archos, now holds stock worth hundreds of millions of dollars after three days of trading.

Bullish investors have bet on Illinois’ expanding pot business, allowing Verano to use a flood of private capital to fan out across the country with relative ease — much like GTI and Cresco Labs, the other publicly traded cannabis firms based in Chicago.

“I don’t think there’s much difference,” said cannabis

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