These leading cannabis industry players in the Midwest City are: publicly traded Cresco Labs Inc. CRLBF CL, Verano Holdings Corp. VRNO VRNOF and Green Thumb Industries GTBIF, and privately held PharmaCann.
Crain's Chicago Business reported that the companies also ranked high on this year's Fast 50, which recognizes the fastest-growing companies in the city.
Since Illinois legalized recreational cannabis in 2019 with retail sales beginning in 2020, retail shops have sold more than $3 billion in cannabis, and it's no surprise that Chicago cannabis businesses have experienced meteoric growth, according to the Green Market Report.
In 2022, Illinois's adult-use cannabis sales crossed the $1 billion mark.
Crain's inaugural list includes both regionally based companies and out-of-towners with a presence in the greater Chicago area, ranked by the number of local employees.
The company has six dispensaries in the Chicago area that are operated as Sunnyside and two in Illinois with 1,150 full-time employees in the metro area. Cresco Labs, with operations in 10 states, generated $821.7 million in 2021. The second, third, and fourth rankings go to Verano, Green Thumb Industries, and Chicago-based PharmaCann. These three companies each have more than 400 employees in the metropolitan area, according to Crain s. Verano operates the majority of the local retail stores on the list: 10 Zen Leaf brand dispensaries. Verano has 3,881 employees, which is the most company-wide employee of any Chicago-based company with operations in 14 states. The largest Chicago presence of a company with 400 local employees is one of the five companies on the list, according to Wakefield, Massachusetts-based Curaleaf.
Illinois issued more than two hundred new retail licenses this year, so the list may be different next year. Cresco Labs will likely keep the podium if it completes its acquisition of New York-based Columbia Care, which is currently ranked number nine on the list.
On November 4, Cresco Labs and Columbia Care announced the signing of definitive agreements to divest certain New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts assets to an entity owned and controlled by Sean Diddy Combs.
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