Wrigley’s Gum Heir Pivots from Chewing Gum to Cannabis

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William “Beau” Wrigley Jr.—the billionaire famously known for Wrigley’s gum—has been working on a startup, Parallel, that he believes will be bigger than his family’s gum business. Beyond the fact that so many enjoy cannabis, Wrigley believes it can save lives.

Within the last three years, Wrigley has been on a mission to develop the first mainstream cannabis brand. Beyond its numerous products, it’s also partnering with a number of other cannabis brands. For example, in 2019, Parallel invested $100 million into a Boston startup, Molecular Infusions, that’s developing THC-infused seltzer.

They currently own a total of 42 dispensaries—39 in Florida and the rest between Nevada and Massachusetts. The company currently has its eyes set on Pennsylvania and Texas—two states that don’t currently have much of an operational cannabis market.

This past Monday, Parallel announced that it will merge with Cere Acquisition Corp. sometime this summer. With that Wrigley has plans on taking the company public through the Canadian stock exchange.

The goal is to make Parallel a national cannabis brand with 86 dispensaries across 8 states by the end of 2022. The company has already gotten a move on this by applying for licenses in New Jersey, Virginia and Georgia. They’re also considering California, Michigan and New York.

“Now is the time to be aggressive,” Joe Crouthers, CEO of Ceres Acquisition Corp. and soon-to-be director of the combined public company, told Forbes. “We think it’s a great combination of skillsets—what Parallel has going for them and you add the marketing power of Scooter [special advisor of Parallel], and the war chest of capital to navigate what’s coming. A lot of change is ahead and we think now is the time.”

The moves Parallel is making is a reminder of how new this marketplace is. With so many states still lacking a cannabis industry, Wrigley and his team see an opportunity to cement their foundation and capitalize on what’s bound to be a booming market in each respective area.

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