Cresco Labs CEO Discusses Cannabis Industry Challenges, Reaching Nationwide Customer Base

The main thing holding the cannabis industry back is access to capital, according to Cresco Labs Inc CRLBF CEO Charlie Bachtell.

Bachtell, who took over Joe Caltabiano’s duties in March, discussed a variety of marijuana-related topics with The Associated Press in a recent interview.

“The main thing holding the industry back is access to capital that would allow the infrastructure to be built, that then creates the growth, the jobs, the revenue,” he said. And the biggest challenge that cannabis businesses face today is “it’s difficult to capitalize it.” (h/t NBC Chicago).

From his perspective, cannabis is in a “very good position,” considering the SAFE Banking Act — poised to allow banks to cooperate with licensed marijuana companies — has supporters on both sides of the aisle… even at the federal level.”

Cresco’s Recent Moves: Timeline

Since its inception in 2013, Chicago-based Cresco Labs has expanded to 15 production facilities across nine states. The company currently owns 19 dispensaries and holds 29 retail licenses.

In May, Cresco boosted its cultivation and manufacturing capacities by expanding its greenhouse cultivation area in Brookville, Pennsylvania, from 22,000 square-feet to 88,000 square-feet.

Over the last few months, it also extended its presence in Florida by launching Sunnyside stores in DanvilleSouth BeloitSchaumburg, and most recently, in Naperville.

In addition, it increased its Ohio footprint by acquiring four dispensaries from Verdant Creations for $375,000 in cash and $500,000 in its subordinate voting shares.

The purchase came a month following the cancellation of a deal to acquire Tryke Companies LLC.

Shortly after, the company received a provisional processing license for cannabis oil extraction and manufacture of cannabis products within the Buckeye State.

“We tend to be in the highly regulated newer markets — Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York — but they’re seeing growth in well-established markets like Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and California," Bachtell said, citing the increased demand since the onset of the Covid-19 health crisis.

Cresco’s Growth Amid Pandemic

Bachtel also emphasized that there’s a correlation between the coronavirus pandemic and increased demand for cannabis, resulting in “a greater consumer base with greater spending.”

Meantime, besides a 253% year-over-year increase in revenue — which amounted to $29.9 million for the second quarter — the company also ”saw at least 30% sequential growth" in all of its nine states except Massachusetts, Bachtel noted.

Moreover, Cresco recently strengthened its leadership team by promoting David Gacom, Melissa Wagamon, and Sean McAlister to regionally focused president positions.

Courtesy image

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