The longtime leader of Maine’s largest marijuana company has left to take a job with the company’s out-of-state parent.
Patricia Rosi became CEO of Wellness Connection of Maine, which runs four of Maine’s eight medical marijuana dispensaries, in 2013. The company had just opened its first dispensary a year earlier. Now Wellness employs about 80 people in four retail locations, as well as its Auburn cultivation facility. She has told state lawmakers that Wellness earned $16 million last year.
Rosi has been the face of corporate marijuana in Maine for years. The French native was a frequent presence in Augusta as she lobbied state lawmakers to expand the medical program, give equal treatment to large marijuana dispensary operators and smaller providers known as caregivers, and launch the state’s budding adult-use program. But she often clashed with caregivers, who painted Wellness as a corporate carpetbagger.
Rosi lives in Falmouth with her husband, Jacques Santucci, the founder of cannabis consulting and business software companies.
State documents show Rosi withdrew as a principal of NPG LLC, a company owned by Wellness Connection, in April, and was no longer listed as the chief point of contact on the company’s adult-use marijuana license applications to the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy. Wellness has declined to respond to multiple phone calls and emails over the past month about Rosi’s status.
She announced on social networking service LinkedIn this week that she is now the vice president of marketing at Acreage Holdings, the New York-based corporate parent of Wellness Connection. Although it has a heavy New England presence, Acreage boasts management contracts with medical and adult-use marijuana companies across 20 states in its financial disclosures to investors.
Acreage is one of the biggest cannabis companies in the U.S., but it is undergoing its own changes. The CEO is stepping down as Acreage prepares to be sold to a bigger Canadian cannabis company, Canopy Growth. When announced in 2019, the deal was biggest cannabis merger in history, valued at $3.4 billion. However, terms of the merger were renegotiated this summer to a much lower value of $900 million following a sharp decline in the price of cannabis stocks.
Wellness also has declined to respond to questions about who is running the company in Rosi’s absence. When a coalition of medical marijuana caregivers recently protested out in front of its flagship store in Portland, questions were referred to the store’s manager, who issued a written statement through a public relations firm.
Documents filed as part of the company’s legal effort to overturn state and local residency preferences for adult-use licenses identify Ron MacDonald as president of NPG LLC, the company doing business as Wellness Connection, which is seeking adult-use licenses. MacDonald, who live in Falmouth, also sits on the board of Northeast Patient Group, the official name of Wellness’s medical arm.