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Vireo Health

Cultivating a new vision for medical marijuana in New York State

In 2015, a Midwest startup named Vireo Health was one of more than 40 companies vying for a license to grow and dispense medical marijuana in New York State. To get there, they engaged our team to navigate a two-fold challenge: fight cannabis stigma and overcome their status as a relative unknown.

Our team tackled the challenge by positioning Vireo as the industry experts in medical marijuana for New York State. We played to their strengths by introducing the company as one based in medicine and science, a contrast to agencies applying from the “Wild West” markets of California and Colorado.

Our work successfully shifted the conversation when it came to medical marijuana in the state, with media focusing on the science behind the issue and accepting Vireo’s CEO as a leading expert. And—perhaps most importantly, one of the coveted licenses was secured by Vireo. From there, our work was just beginning. We helped Vireo promote the state’s first legal marijuana harvest and treatment of the first patient, go public in Canada, and expand into nearly a dozen states. These efforts culminated with the purchase of Vireo’s parent company for $413 million in stock by Verano Holdings.