The operator of fifteen dispensaries in Colorado and two in Florida, Green Dragon was acquired for an undisclosed amount of stock in the company and two seats on Eaze's board of directors, according to Green Dragon co-founder Alex Levine. The two brands will immediately focus on further expansion in Florida and new stores in California and Michigan, as well as launching a marijuana delivery service in Colorado, he says.
A popular marijuana delivery platform in California, Eaze lobbied to legalize pot delivery in Colorado in 2018 and 2019, but is just now breaking into Colorado's market pending state and local approval of the merger. There will be no layoffs or changes at Green Dragon stores, Levine notes, but he says it's time to get rolling in other areas, and the Eaze acquisition will make that possible.
"Our businesses don't overlap that much. They're leaders in delivery, and we operate in retail, operations and manufacturing. They're one of the country's biggest delivery companies, and we're one of the nation's largest operators, so it just sort of made sense," Levine says of the deal. "We'd like to get delivery services started here soon. The idea is to become a major player in delivery in Colorado."
Founded in 2009, Green Dragon has a total of seven stores between Aurora and Denver, both of which currently allow marijuana delivery. Levine says he hopes to begin deliveries before the end of the year with a full-service app operated by Eaze, but adds that "we don't want to roll it out unless everything is buttoned up and perfect."
Green Dragon is already permitted for delivery in Aurora, he notes, and is currently working on a plan for Denver, where all dispensaries must qualify under a social equity designation intended to benefit communities harmed by the drug war, or partner with a social equity delivery company. Other towns with Green Dragon stores, including Aspen, Boulder, Edgewater, Glenwood Springs, Telluride and Thornton, are all targets for recreational pot delivery in the future, he points out.
The start of recreational marijuana delivery has been slow since it became legal in Colorado in 2021, with lackluster sales in Aurora over the first several months and just three dispensaries permitted for delivery in Denver. But Levine is confident that the practice will take hold.
"Delivery is really difficult. It's really hard to make money. I say that for any industry, but you throw in cannabis regulations on top of it, and it's extremely difficult," he explains. "We have the production, manufacturing and retail side of this industry figured out, but how do you do delivery effectively? That was a reason behind the merger."
It's been an up-and-down year so far for Eaze. In February, the company's former CEO pleaded guilty to deceiving banks into processing $100 million worth of credit and debit marijuana purchases; two ex-Eaze consultants pleaded guilty to similar charges several months later. Eaze scored a big win in June, however, when Apple loosened restrictions on marijuana-purchasing apps, leading to Eaze's reintroduction to the App Store earlier this month.
The Green Dragon merger is another step forward for Eaze, according to CEO Rogelio Choy.
“Green Dragon’s airtight operations in Colorado and expansion into Florida’s booming market adds key operational capabilities to our national footprint and cements our leadership as California’s largest [multi-state operator]," he says in a statement on the deal. "Together, we are well-positioned to leverage the market’s explosive growth now and into the future."