Illinois Scores Best-Selling Cookies Strains in 2020, via Ascend Wellness Holdings

- Midwest adult-use cannabis customers get the authentic lineup of Cookies flavors in 2020

- Ascend, the largest retailer/cultivator in southwestern Illinois scores partnership to grow, sell 40 of the world's most coveted cannabis varieties

The world's best-selling, most in-demand cannabis varieties are coming to Illinois aficionados in the New Year through a new partnership between two leading U.S. brands: Oakland-based Cookies Enterprises, and Illinois cultivator-retailer Ascend Wellness Holdings.

Just in time for adult use sales in Illinois in 2020, Cookies and Ascend Illinois announced that Ascend Illinois will grow 40 new, potent and exotic-flavored cannabis strains from the entire family of Cookies brands—including Lemonnade, Runtz, Powerzzzup, Minntz, and Grandiflora. On sale statewide in early 2020 at "Illinois Supply and Provisions (formerly HCI Alternatives)" outlets— Illinois cannabis fans will get access to authentic Cookies products; which are widely counterfeited in the region's illicit markets.

There are 12.7 million people in the state, 82,000 are already medical patients. The partnership brings potentially millions of midwest Cookies fans the official family of Cookies brands, while cementing Ascend's role as a leading cultivator in the massive midwest state, producing 25,000 pounds in 2020 indoors in soil under a new adult-use cultivation license.

Cookies' co-founder and CEO Berner said he couldn't wait to hook his dedicated midwest fans up with the flavors they deserve.

"Chicago's the center of midwest hip-hop and rap. And they closely follow Cali's flower trends," said the top-charting artist. "Taking this step ensures Illinois gets the best genetics and flower out there."

"Cookies varieties have dominated sales since they came out in California a decade ago," said Abner Kurtin, Founder and CEO of Ascend Wellness Holdings.

"Ascend Illinois is excited to bring Cookies, the leading California cannabis brand, to customers in Illinois. The cultivars developed by Cookies are the most unique and popular in the California market and we think they represent a meaningful addition to the adult market in Illinois," said Kurtin.

The multi-state grower-retailer Ascend earned the Cookies partnership by focusing on extra-high-quality craft cultivation. Cookies only produces top-shelf cannabis for licensed markets and will be hand-selecting the types of plants Ascend grows in Illinois to ensure Cookies' rigorous standards. Ascend Wellness Holdings operates as "HCI Alternatives" in Illinois and debuts its first Illinois Supply and Provisions outlets in Springfield and Collinsville Jan. 1.

Illinois' six-year-old medical cannabis market approaches $240 million in annual revenue this year. Recreational market revenues could total $2.5 billion. State officials approved 55 dispensaries in the last three years.

Illinoisans can follow @berner415 to learn when Cookies becomes available at their local dispensary.

Ascend Wellness Holdings Awarded Massachusetts Cultivation License

On Thursday, the Cannabis Control Commission awarded MassGrow, our cultivation facility in Athol, Massachusetts, their final license. In doing so, AWH is now authorized to cultivate, harvest and process cannabis in Massachusetts. We will begin growing cannabis in November.

“In working with Ascend, that group undertook a major investment in a property that sat substantially vacant for about three decades," stated Shaun A. Suhoski Town Manager of Athol. “The community took some pride seeing lights on in the facility at night and knowing that millions of dollars investment were flowing back into the community.”

The first harvest in March will launch Ozone, our premium brand, in Massachusetts. Ozone is built on a foundation of Integrity, Craft, Experience and Respect. Ozone elevates the entire cannabis experience to its highest potential. Ozone has launched in both Illinois and Michigan to critical acclaim and market success.

“This is quite a milestone, " said CEO of Ascend Mass and MassGrow, Andrea J. Cabral. "MassGrow is a model cultivation facility and we are beyond ready to start producing the finest quality cannabis in the Commonwealth.”

AWH has proudly completed Phase I of MassGrow which marks the launch of this state of the art cannabis facility. Upon completion, MassGrow will have 360,000 sq ft of space with 100,000 sq ft of canopy making it one of the largest cannabis facilities in the Eastern part of the United States. With a lab and delivery hub, MassGrow will house the leading brand partners in the industry all under one roof. We are thrilled to be a part of this momentous cannabis campus.

Let's grow!