Struggling multistate operator Parallel is exiting the Pennsylvania medical marijuana market, throwing more than 70 employees out of work amid financial and legal woes.
The Atlanta-based company’s Goodblend Pennsylvania brand is shuttering two dispensaries in Pittsburgh and Erie, and plans to close a 342,000-square-foot Pittsburgh marijuana processing plant in September, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
“In connection with a strategic review, we have made the decision to withdraw from the Pennsylvania market in order to serve patients in our other, more established markets, where so many patients and customers rely on us for their cannabis products,” Parallel spokesman Sam Schwartz told the newspaper in a prepared statement.
“As such, Parallel/Goodblend is working with regulators to establish and execute a closure plan over the next 60 days.”
The closures will affect at least 76 workers, according to the Gazette.
Parallel’s website shows the company also does business in Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada and Texas.
The Pennsylvania exit comes amid a challenging time for Parralel and its Goodblend and Surterra brands, which are all embroiled in lawsuits.
In Pennsylvania, opening arguments will begin in September to set a trial date for Goodblend allegedly defaulting on its lease agreement on its sprawling processing plant, where it signed a 20-year lease in May 2021, the Gazette reported.
The landlord, Innovative Industrial Properties Inc., alleges Goodblend owes almost $6 million in unpaid rent, according to Green Market Report.
Meanwhile, an investor lawsuit against Parallel, its former CEO – chewing gum heir William “Beau” Wrigley Jr. – and other executives is proceeding in Florida after a judge ruled earlier this month that investors provided enough evidence of fraud, Green Market Report also noted.
The three investment groups are led by Bahamas-based TradeInvest Asset Management.
In September 2021, Parallel’s planned $1.9 billion blockbuster deal to go public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) collapsed.
Soon after, Wrigley stepped down from the top post. Wrigley is Parallel’s largest shareholder.
In the Florida lawsuit, the three disgruntled investment groups accuse Wrigley of deliberately letting the SPAC deal “die on the vine” when it was clear the merged company would fail to live up to expectations, MJBizDaily has reported.
They also accuse the billionaire of spending their investment on servicing debt rather than on company operations.