The proposed acquisition by Sean “Diddy” Combs will create the largest Black-owned business in cannabis in the U.S., Cresco Labs officials said in the Nov. 4 announcement. Credit: Revolt Media

JEFFERSON PARK — A Far Northwest Side dispensary could soon have a new owner: rapper, producer and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs.

Combs, 53, announced last week he’s getting into the cannabis industry, agreeing to buy nine cannabis stores and three production facilities for $185 million. Among them is Cannabist, 4758 N. Milwaukee Ave.

If the deal goes through, Combs also would be the owner of a dispensary in suburban Villa Park, an Aurora production facility and stores in New York and Massachusetts, according to a news release.

The entrepreneur’s company, Combs Enterprises, would buy the facilities from Cresco Labs, which is merging with Columbia Care, the companies announced in March. Columbia Care owns Cannabist.

Combs’ deal would create the country’s first “minority-owned and -operated, vertically integrated multi-state operator” in the industry and work to address issues of cannabis injustice that disproportionately affect Black and Brown communities, according to Cresco Labs.

“My mission has always been to create opportunities for Black entrepreneurs in industries where we’ve traditionally been denied access, and this acquisition provides the immediate scale and impact needed to create a more equitable future in cannabis,” Combs said in a statement.

After the news was announced, the rapper took to Twitter to say the deal is more than being the biggest Black-owned cannabis company in the states.

“It’s about distributing access and tools to Black and Brown people, so that 2% can soon become the majority who own the cannabis companies and lead the overall industry,” Combs wrote. “It’s about our purpose. Our purpose is to make sure we don’t get bamboozled, excluded, or forgotten again.”

LizMarie Palomo, a Midwest general manager for Cannabist who primarily works out of the Jefferson Park store, previously said she’s proud of the store’s diverse team and the company’s social equity efforts.

“Especially in the cannabis industry and space, we need to make sure everybody feels comfortable and in order to do that, we need to feel represented,” said Palomo, who is Latina.

Jefferson Park’s dispensary at 4758 N. Milwaukee Ave. opened April 12 with a new name, more space and more cannabis products under the company’s new retail line, Cannabist. Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago

Cannabist in Jefferson Park reopened in May after expanding to the neighboring store and changing its name as part of Columbia Care’s retail brand. The expansion added nearly 1,700 square feet to the store to meet the growing base of medical patients and adult-use customers on the Far Northwest Side, Palomo said.

Combs’ investment still needs to be approved by state and federal regulators and is contingent upon the merger, which should be finalized at the beginning of 2023, Cresco Labs officials said.

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