NEWS BRIEF

Marijuana MSO Vireo Health takes new name, moves into psychedelics

Minneapolis-based multistate marijuana operator Vireo Health made two strategic moves Tuesday, announcing a name change to Goodness Growth Holdings and an expansion into psychedelics.

Vireo will remain the flagship brand of the company’s medical products, according to a news release timed with the firm’s Investor Day events.

Some analysts see the modest-sized MSO as a possible acquisition target because of its strong position in limited-license markets such as New York, which recently legalized adult use, and its home state of Minnesota, which just approved smokable flower.

Or, as the company indicated Tuesday, it has been intent on growing organically by expanding its Green Goods dispensary footprint in other key markets such as Arizona, Maryland and New Mexico.

Company Chair and CEO Kyle Kingsley said in an interview with MJBizDaily that “there’s a lot of conversations going on.”

“My job is to build stakeholder value, and there are a lot of different paths to that,” he said. “We are very open-minded and we’re obligated to dig into those.”

Among the scenarios that Goodness Growth would be interested in, he said, is a “combination of equals” or “with the right suitor, an acquisition can become compelling.”

The new holding company name, he said, reflects the firm’s purpose.

“We see ourselves as anti-Pharma, the company of everyman and we want to focus on goodness. I know that sounds unbelievably corny,” Kingsley said.

He added, however, the intent is there with the company’s plant-based products – for example, as medical marijuana to replace opioids.

As far as entering the psychedelics market, such a move will fall under the company’s science and intellectual property incubator Resurgent Biosciences.

“I’m very comfortable being a contrarian,” Kingsley said.

He noted that the company follows the data, and psychedelics “has the potential to transform psychiatric medicine. It’s capable of a paradigm shift.”

For example, he said, there’s some evidence that someone with chronic depression can “end up in a better spot” with one or two doses of psychedelics in a therapeutic setting.

“For us, it’s irresistible,” Kingsley said. “Many (psychedelics) are plant derivatives, and that’s in our wheelhouse.”

– Jeff Smith

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