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Harvest Health & Recreation looks to increase its footprint across the US

Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. (CSE:HARV), an Arizona-based cannabis company, will be awarded a provisional processor license in Ohio. The company now has a footprint across twelve states, from Pennsylvania all the way to California. The new cannabis license in Ohio includes a processing license, a cultivation license, and a dispensary license after Harvest’s application achieved top marks from Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program.

Harvest also appointed a new Chief Marketing Officer on Monday. Kevin George, former CMO of alcohol giant Beam Suntory, joins the Harvest team with twenty years of experience building recognizable household brands. According to Harvest CEO and founder Steve White, the new CMO will “further define” the Harvest brand as the cannabis market grows more and more competitive over the coming months.

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What investors need to know

Since debuting on the Canadian Securities Exchange in November, Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. has become one of the more competitive marijuana stocks to watch. The company currently trades at CA$7.20 ($5.43), up five percent from last week, and operates a team of over 525 employees. Moving into the Ohio market on Monday means Harvest now holds a total of sixty licenses in the United States.

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“Ohio has an important long-term role in the cannabis industry. It has the seventh largest state economy, a skilled manufacturing workforce and a growing patient count,” White said in Monday’s press release. “This is a solid win for us coming on the heels of big retail victories in Pennsylvania and Santa Monica, California.”

The victory in Pennsylvania’s medical market was a significant move for the company. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in December that the company managed to bypass the state’s fifteen-license limitation by applying for permits as six different business entities. Since the licenses are issued to entities and not individuals or single companies, Harvest Health will be able to open 21 dispensaries, making them the largest cannabis retailers in Pennsylvania.

Westward expansion proves fruitful

On the west coast, Harvest Health received one of the rarest retail licenses in California. Santa Monica awarded only two dispensary licenses in December, and Harvest earned one of them after achieving the highest merit score out of the 21 applicants. In one of the most famous cities in California, Mr. White sees the company’s Santa Monica license as “a crucial part” of their North American expansion plans.

“Santa Monica has close to 100,000 residents and is a premiere destination for nearly nine million tourists annually and LA residents. Harvest is proud to add this coveted location to our ever-growing map, further expanding our California footprint, while continuing our goal to deliver unparalleled return on invested capital,” he clarified in the December announcement.

Being one of the most recognizable cannabis brands in America is not the only highlight on Harvest’s resume. The company is also top-rated by analysts, with over $11 million in sales last quarter and 62 percent growth over last year. And with their latest joint venture with Aina We Would LLC, the company is now working with $100 million to fund their new real estate projects across the United States.

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Their numbers may not directly compete with top marijuana stocks like Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED) (NYSE:CGC), but their presence in the American market cannot be ignored. As their footprint expands across the country, Harvest Health is quickly becoming a key company to watch. And the United States presents an interesting playground for investors, especially now as Congress files the H.R. 420 “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act.”

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