DENVER, March 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- ONE Cannabis Group (OCG Inc.), the parent company to the cannabis dispensary franchise Unity Rd., announced today that it has been acquired by Item 9 Labs Corp. The newly formed entity is the first vertically integrated cannabis franchisor in the United States. The combined business will escalate lead flow for Unity Rd. franchise development and mitigate challenges new and existing dispensary owners face.
Founded in 2018, the cannabis franchise currently has multiple agreements with 10 entrepreneurial groups who are in various stages of development nationwide. As Unity Rd. continues to grow its network by awarding the franchise opportunity to qualified entrepreneurs across the country, Item 9 Labs will help solve an all-too-common challenge that many dispensaries face: securing access to a trusted supply chain. Since cannabis products cannot cross state lines, Item 9 Labs plans to develop or partner with cultivation facilities in states where Unity Rd. franchise partners open cannabis retail shops, giving them front-of-the-line access to award-winning products.
Known for its impressive catalogue of products, Item 9 Labs currently offers 75-plus active cannabis strains and more than 150 differentiated cannabis vape products as well as premium concentrates. The award-winning cannabis operator is headquartered in Arizona, where the company is currently expanding its operations space by 650,000+ square feet on its 50-acre site – one of the largest properties in the state that is zoned to grow and cultivate flower. Just this January, adult-use was made legal in Arizona, revealing the health and promise of the industry at large.
"Item 9 Labs has garnered a reputation as a trusted source for high-quality cannabis products that also offer transparency, consistency and well-being to those relying on us," said Item 9 Labs CEO Andrew Bowden. The company's products are currently in nearly half of the cannabis dispensaries in Arizona. He added, "We've grown intentionally with all brands centered on helping others become the best versions of themselves. This fits well with Unity Rd.'s mission of inspiring confidence in the benefits of cannabis for all."
Item 9 Labs also owns and operates DispensaryPermits.com and DispensaryTemplates.com, the leading online platforms for information surrounding cannabis business applications, regulations and state updates. The acquisition offers their customers a solution for long-term guidance and support through the Unity Rd. franchise opportunity. With news of the acquisition as it progressed as well as increased U.S. cannabis legalization, Unity Rd. has seen a surge in franchise lead activity over the past six months. The dispensary franchise is currently targeting Colorado, Oklahoma, Michigan, New Jersey, Maine, and Arizona among other markets, as part of its strategic franchise expansion plan.
Together, the combined team has a proven track record of winning cannabis licenses in 15 states. Mike Weinberger, COO of ONE Cannabis who is now appointed Chief Franchise Officer of Item 9 Labs Corp. with this announcement, explains, "Extending our in-house knowledge in dispensary applications will strengthen our traction in emerging markets. This, along with direct access to Item 9 Labs' deep bench of premium products are added benefits that puts Unity Rd. franchise partners far ahead of any future competition."
Unity Rd. offers the safest route for entrepreneurs looking to enter an industry that boasts unrivaled potential, helping franchise partners confidently enter the complex cannabis space. With a collective 120-plus years in the legal cannabis industry, the franchisor's time-tested Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) guide franchise partners through every operational function of the business. The veteran team passes on their knowledge and trusted resources, as well as provides the ongoing support needed to compliantly and successfully operate a dispensary.
2020 was a defining year for cannabis as five states approved legalization during the November elections and the overall acceptance of cannabis flourished as several states deemed the industry essential. Despite economic challenges brought on by the pandemic, the demand for cannabis products surged to unprecedented levels with nearly every state experiencing record sales throughout the year. 2021 is poised to be a big year for cannabis law reform on both the state and federal levels – opening opportunities for the industry to explode, projected to top $24 billion by year-end.
"If there was ever a time to invest in the cannabis industry, it's now," added Weinberger. "With cannabis sales increasing during the pandemic and several states looking at how tax revenue from legal cannabis could greatly offset the economic damage caused by COVID-19, the industry is poised to take-off. Those eager to enter now will greatly benefit from the knowledge and support of a franchisor to help navigate the complexities and vast inconsistencies on how states regulate."
ABOUT UNITY RD.: Unity Rd., the retail brand of ONE Cannabis Group, is bridging the two previously disconnected worlds of cannabis and franchising. The industry trailblazer is the first to bring the cannabis dispensary franchise model to the United States—with duality of prowess in both industries to back it up. Built up from a collective 200 years in the legal cannabis industry and franchising, the company helps eager operators enter the complex industry with ease. The cannabis franchise pioneer offers its partners the knowledge, resources, and ongoing support needed to compliantly and successfully operate a dispensary. Launched in 2018, Unity Rd. currently has signed multiple agreements with 10 entrepreneurial groups across the country. Recently, it was named one of the top cannabis retail leaders in the nation by MJBizDaily magazine and one of the "Best Cannabis Companies to Work For" in both the dispensary and cultivation categories in Cannabis Business Times' elite 2020 list. The company is also the first cannabis business to earn a Franchise Times Dealmakers award. For more information, visit unityrd.com.
ABOUT ITEM 9 LABS CORP.: Item 9 Labs Corp. is a vertically integrated cannabis operator delivering premium products from its large-scale cultivation and production facilities in the United States. The award-winning Item 9 Labs brand specializes in best-in-class products and user experience across several cannabis categories. The Company brings the best industry practices to markets nationwide through distinctive retail experience, cultivation capabilities, and production innovation. The veteran management team combines a diverse skill set with deep experience in the cannabis sector and capital markets to lead a new generation of public cannabis companies that provide transparency, consistency, and well-being. Headquartered in Arizona, the Company is expanding its operations space by 650,000+ square feet on its 50-acre site, one of the largest properties in Arizona zoned to grow and cultivate flower. For additional information, visit item9labscorp.com.