The purchase of Massachusetts-based marijuana company New England Treatment Access by Surterra Wellness of Georgia is set to close, after officials in Brookline Tuesday approved the transfer of the company’s local license.
The unanimous vote by Brookline’s Select Board was the last major hurdle holding up the private transaction, which is reportedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
“We are very pleased,” NETA co-founder Kevin Fisher said in a statement. “We look forward to combining our collective talents to strengthen further our reputations as best-in-class in the cannabis industry.”
Under the deal, a new Surterra-backed vehicle that includes some of NETA’s original investors will take over the firm’s hybrid medical-recreational stores in Northampton and Brookline and its cultivation and processing facility in Franklin. Meanwhile, product recipes and brands created by NETA could see use at Surterra’s other marijuana facilities in Florida, Nevada, and Texas.
Officials at the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission had already approved Surterra’s purchase of NETA at a meeting last week, following a lengthy review that included background checks of Surterra executives and a scrub of the company’s regulatory record in other states.
But for the acquisition to close, the companies needed the assent of Brookline, which had issued NETA a special permit for its marijuana store on Washington Street. A spokesman said that following Tuesday’s vote, only internal paperwork remains for the deal to be officially effected.
In March, NETA’s Brookline shop became the first recreational retailer to open near Boston, and has since been flooded with lines of customers. The firm’s Northampton store, meanwhile, was one of the first two marijuana retailers to open in the state last November.
When the proposed purchase was announced in January, Fisher — who is joining Surterra’s board — said NETA wasn’t struggling financially, but was instead scaling up to compete nationally in anticipation of possible reforms to federal marijuana laws. He also said there likely wouldn’t be layoffs among NETA’s 700 employees.
Surterra, which is known for selling “Coral Reefer”-branded edibles and other products under a licensing deal with Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville” operation, is run by former chewing gum executive William Wrigley Jr. II, and operates 20 medical dispensaries in Florida. The company previously said it raised $200 million in funding in 2018, and is in the midst of an aggressive expansion that includes the NETA acquisition and a successful lobbying effort in Georgia to legalize limited medical marijuana sales there.