Large stake in medical marijuana shop acquired by national company

WESTPORT — A large stake in the medical marijuana shop set to open in town this summer was bought by a Chicago-based national player in the medical and recreational marijuana business.

The Chicago-based company Green Thumbs Industries signed an agreement earlier this month to acquire Advanced Grow Labs, one of four companies in Connecticut licensed to grow and process cannabis and a partial owner of the medical marijuana shop set to open at 1460 Post Road E. in Westport this August.

Advanced Grow Labs, based in West Haven, has a 46 percent ownership stake in the Westport medical marijuana shop that will now be acquired as part of the $80 million dollar deal. Advanced Grow Labs also operates a 41,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in West Haven.

Green Thumb’s deal with Advanced Grow Labs is set to close in March and is the latest in a series of recent expansion moves made by Green Thumb Industries. In the past two months, Green Thumb has announced the acquisition of Nevada-based integral Associates, been awarded additional retail licenses for 12 stores in Pennsylvania, and received approval for a license from New Jersey officials to cultivate, process and engage in retail sales of marijuana in that state.

David Lipton, Advanced Grow Labs founder and chief executive officer, said Green Thumb Industries “shares our values, commitment to producing high-quality brands and dedication to giving back to the communities we serve.”

“Our business is poised to expand to meet the growing needs of the state’s medical marijuana patients and this partnership with GTI will support that expansion,” Lipton, a Westport resident, said in a statement earlier this month.

Lipton is also co-founder of Bluepoint Wellness of Westport, the official applicant for the Westport medical marijuana shop on Post Road East. Bluepoint’s was the only applicant for a medical marijuana store in town approved by the Westport Planning and Zoning Commission last June.

In total, the commission discussed five applications for medical marijuana dispensaries that came before the town last spring, after the state reopened applications for medical marijuana dispensary licenses for the third time since medical marijuana was legalized in 2012.

After receiving Planning and Zoning approval, Bluepoint applied for a state license for the Westport shop and was one of nine new cannabis dispensary locations to receive state Department of Consumer Protection approval in December. Dispensary locations in Stamford, Meriden and New Haven were also awarded a state license in the same round and will join the nine existing pharmacist-led dispensaries and four producers in the state.

While the Westport shop was originally set to open in the spring, Lipton said it will now begin operation closer to summertime — August at the latest.

“We haven’t started the build-out yet and will probably start in the next few weeks,” fellow Bluepoint co-founder Nicholas Tamborrino said.

A pharmacist, Tamborrino also owns a Bluepoint dispensary in Bethel and said many of his patients at that facility are eager for the Westport shop to open.

“We have patients that live in Stamford, Greenwich and Westport that are calling and asking when we are going to open,” Tamborrino said.; 203-842-2638; @SophieCVaughan1