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Cannabis News Week: Diddy Puts the 'Puff' Back in His Name

Cresco Labs' acquisition of Columbia Care is pending, but that didn't stop Sean 'Diddy' Combs from spending nine figures to acquire certain assets from the company.
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Sean 'Diddy' Combs, the hip hop artist formerly known as Puff Daddy, is fulfilling the 'Puff' part of his moniker after agreeing to purchase certain assets from Columbia Care  (CCHWF) - Get Free Report and Cresco Labs  (CRLBF)  in a deal valued at as much as $185 million. 

The sale still needs the approval of regulators, including antitrust clearance. The companies are expecting the deal with Diddy to close in the first quarter of next year when Cresco's acquisition of Columbia is expected to close.  

Diddy is acquiring nine retail stores and three production facilities in New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois as part of the deal. He is paying $110 million in cash and $45 million in debt financing as part of the deal. The rest of the deal price is subject to the business reaching certain milestones.

Columbia Care is the New York multistate cannabis business. Cresco is the Chicago-based producer of cannabis and related medical products.

When Cresco's deal with Columbia Care was disclosed in March, its estimated value was $2 billion, but since then the marijuana industry has faced pressure and valuations have slumped. 

“It’s diabolical. How do you lock up communities of people, break down their family structure, their futures, and then legalize it and make sure that those same people don’t get a chance to benefit or resurrect their lives from it," Combs told The Wall Street Journal. 

Is Minnesota Next in Line to Legalize?

Elections have consequences, and Minnesota's decision to stick with Democratic Gov. Tim Walz during this year's election cycle could mean the state becomes more cannabis friendly 2023. 

Currently, 21 states and the District of Columbia permit the use of recreational marijuana. The Land of a Thousand Lakes could become one of the next ones if Walz has his way. 

“It just makes sense. Prohibition didn’t work, we get better regulation, we know what’s in these things, it’s adult use, ..." Walz told a local radio station recently. 

The Minnesota legislature this year passed a bill legalizing THC edibles and drinkables derived from hemp, as opposed to more potent cannabis. 

Minnesota already allows sales of medical marijuana products, but has not yet taken the leap into recreational. 

'A Failed War Designed 50 Years Ago' 

The U.S. isn't the only country going through a cannabis revolution. 

Earlier this week, Colombia Justice Minister Néstor Osuna called his country the victim of "a failed war that was designed 50 years ago and, due to absurd prohibitionism, has brought us a lot of blood, armed conflict, mafias and crime."

"The prohibitionist strategy has not been able to stop consumption, nor stop trade. What it has achieved is to sow those environments of illegality. It is much better to regulate responsible use."

He went on to say that the national government supports draft legislation for recreational adult use cannabis. 

That bill would enshrine "the right of the free development of the personality, allowing citizens to decide on the consumption of cannabis in a regulated legal framework."

Colombia's Chamber of Representatives gave initial approval to a legalization bill, a proposal that Osuna also backed. 

A vote on the legalization bill is expected to occur in the country's Senate panel Tuesday, according to Marijuana Moment

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