Patricia Rosi, the CEO of Wellness Connection of Maine, has left to take a job with the company’s parent, Acreage holdings. There has been no announcement about who might step into the CEO role at Wellness Connection after Rosi’s departure.
According to the Portland Press Herald report, Rosi has served as Wellness Connection’s CEO since 2013. Wellness had just opened its first dispensary a year earlier. Currently, the company has 80 employees in four retail locations. The company also owns an Auburn cultivation facility. Patricia Rosi recently reported that Wellness Connection’s earned $16 million last year in cannabis sales. She served as CEO for more than seven years.
Rosi has been referred to as the face of corporate marijuana in Maine for years. The French native was a strong presence in Augusta. There she lobbied state lawmakers to expand the medical program. She also wanted lawmakers to give equal treatment to large marijuana dispensary operators. Patricia Rosi also urged the lawmakers to launch the state budding adult-use program.
In her efforts to press state lawmakers into action on behalf of corporate cannabis businesses, she would clash with caregivers. The caregivers labeled Wellness as a corporate carpetbagger. In the state of Maine, the term “caregivers” refers to smaller independent dispensary locations. Caregivers also have restrictions that larger dispensaries do not. For instance, they may only cultivate up to 30 flowering plants. And a limit of 2.5 ounces of cannabis can be sold in a transaction, up to a maximum of 5 ounces every four weeks.
According to the state document, Rosi withdrew as an NPG LLC principal, a company owned by Wellness Connection, in April. Since the withdrawal, she was no longer listed as the chief point of contact on its adult-use marijuana license applications to the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy.
It was on LinkedIn that Patricia Rosi announced she is officially the Vice President of Marketing at Acreage Holdings. This is the New York-based corporate parent of Wellness Connection. With a heavy New England presence, Acreage boasts management contracts with medical and adult-use companies across 20states.
Acreage is one of the top cannabis companies in the U.S. In 2016, recreational cannabis was approved in Maine. Former Maine Governor Paul LePage delayed it. For four years, cannabis businesses have been waiting for recreational marijuana to launch officially in the state. And it’s been an expensive waiting game for business owners. They’ve been paying costs for leases and commercial spaces for the duration. Waiting for the “green” light. Now the state has faced more delays resulting from Covid-19.
When recreational cannabis passes in Maine, annual revenues are predicted to surpass $300 million. Recreational cannabis sales may start in the Fall of 2020. Some cities in Maine have begun to mandate caps to the number of retail dispensaries. For example, Portland Maine has stated it will allow only 20 dispensaries.
One of the critical challenges led by Patricia Rosi was the cap on dispensary licenses. Wellness Connections legally argued against the five-year residency requirement for dispensary permitting.