Ascend Wellness Co-Founder Frank Perullo on the Evolution of the Cannabis Industry

Vangst/Feb 06, 2024

hero-graphic-Ascend Wellness Co-Founder Frank Perullo on the Evolution of the Cannabis Industry

Welcome back to another episode of the Proud to Work in Cannabis podcast! Broadcast live from MJ BizCon in Las Vegas, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Frank Perullo, the co-founder of Ascend Wellness.

Frank Perullo's Journey from Political Consultant to Cannabis Pro

Frank took us on a journey through his early days, starting as a political consultant and lobbyist in Massachusetts to seizing the opportunity to enter the cannabis space when the state passed its medical law in 2012. He shared insights into the challenges of starting a cannabis practice and the lessons learned from land use and advocacy that were instrumental in the growth of Ascend.

Building a Cannabis Empire: Insights from Ascend

We delved into the story of Ascend's beginnings, particularly the strategic moves that led to their first retail license pursuit in downtown Boston. Frank recounted the hurdles of finding talent, getting construction going, and the overall challenges of establishing a cannabis business. He emphasized the importance of having a team with traits like intellectual curiosity, a high motor, and a customer-centric focus.

Frank also touched on the pivotal decision to step back from day-to-day operations and focus on expanding Ascend into new markets, working with government partners, and advocating for industry improvements. He highlighted the significance of the government's role in the industry and the potential impact of policy changes like the removal of 280E on businesses.

Ascend's strategic decisions, such as walking away from a deal with MedMen in New York, have been crucial. Frank highlighted the importance of strategy, not just in what you do but also in what you choose not to do. This decision saved the company $73 million and avoided entanglement in what he describes as the "absolute worst market in the country."

The Future of Cannabis: Frank Perullo's Predictions and Strategies for Success

Reflecting on the state of the industry, Frank shared his predictions for 2024, expressing optimism for the separation of strong companies from the weak and the potential for government policy to aid the industry's growth. He also shared his thoughts on state programs that have been successful, like New Jersey's, and those that have struggled, like New York's.

In closing, Frank expressed his pride in working in the cannabis industry, the power of the plant to improve lives, and the excitement for future growth and job creation at Ascend. His passion for the industry and the positive impact it can have on individuals and communities was truly inspiring. Stay tuned for more episodes where we explore the journeys of cannabis industry leaders and their contributions to this ever-evolving space.

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