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Big Marijuana company Jushi to triple cultivation in Pa. as cannabis sales continue to rise

Cannabis cultivators are betting that Pennsylvania's medical market will continue to grow and eventually add recreational sales.

Jushi CEO Jim Cacioppo with company president Erich Mauff at their marijuana grow facility.
Jushi CEO Jim Cacioppo with company president Erich Mauff at their marijuana grow facility.Read moreSam Watson for Jushi Holdings Inc.

Medical marijuana sales have continued to surge in Pennsylvania, according to the state Department of Health. Weekly sale figures at the state’s roughly 80 dispensaries recently totaled $20.5 million, up from about $18.3 million in August, and “are growing by the week,” said a Health Department spokesperson.

The demand is stimulating investment by Big Marijuana into expanding cannabis cultivation facilities.

A push to legalize weed for recreational use by senior state Democrats — Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman among them — has also sweetened prospects for the industry.

On Monday, Jushi Holdings Inc. announced it would spend $50 million to nearly double the size of its entire Scranton cultivation operation, including office, lab and growing space.

By growing on multiple levels in buildings, the company said it would triple the canopy, the area under cultivation, from 33,000 square feet to about 98,000 square feet.

The Boca Raton, Fla.-based company operates eight cannabis dispensaries in Pennsylvania under the Beyond/Hello brand. Jushi’s is one of 20 cultivation facilities shipping medical marijuana to dispensaries.

“Our expansion project will rake in millions of new tax dollars for the state, create well-paying jobs with growth potential, and benefit the state’s patients all without taxpayer subsidies or handouts,” Jushi president Erich Mauff said. “That’s a real win-win for Pennsylvanians, if you ask me.”

The first phase of the cultivation expansion is expected to be ready in mid-2021 and the final phase is to be completed by the second quarter of 2022. The project will create 100 new jobs in the Scranton region, according to CEO Jim Cacioppo.

Nearly 280,000 patients are active in the Pennsylvania medical marijuana program, according to health department spokesperson Nate Wardle. More than 144,000 patients visit a dispensary each week, up from 120,000 in August. Dispensaries sell close to 400,000 products each week, up from 370,000 in August, he said.

Legalization for adult recreational use would likely triple the market for cannabis within the state.

Pain, anxiety and PTSD remain the top qualifying health conditions in the medical marijuana program.

Since March, Jushi stock (OTC: JUSHF) has climbed from about 80 cents. It closed Monday at $3.32, down less than 1%. The company will hold its third-quarter earnings call on Tuesday. Its first-quarter revenues of $8.6 million rose to $14.9 million in the second quarter, ending June 30. Besides Pennsylvania, the company has operations in California, Ohio, Nevada, Virginia and Illinois.