Marijuana cultivator Acreage Holdings raises $119 million and eyes Canada listing

Cannabis operator Acreage Holdings closed a $119 million financing round from private investors, the largest ever in the U.S. marijuana industry.

"We tried to go after institutional investors and had a fair amount of traction," Acreage Holdings President George Allen told Cheddar on Monday. "But for the most part they were very slow to move onto this opportunity relative to people who have had some personal connection to it. And frankly until they figure out banking reform for cannabis it's very hard for institutional investors to participate."

In May, Acreage expanded its footprint to 13 states by adding New Jersey to its operations.

The company will use its latest Series E round to prepare for going public in Canada this fall. Allen said he hopes listing on that country's exchange will be a catalyst for going public in the U.S.

But first, banking and federal policy will need to change, Allen said.

"It's an unfortunate consequence of where we are with federal policy right now, that you can't take [public] a company that is operating legally in compliance with all the state rules," he explained.

To push its message, Acreage tapped Former House Speaker John Boehner and Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld in April for its board of directors.

"What everybody is looking for in this industry is some validation that now is the time it's right to get in. Well, what better testimony can you have than somebody that is as plugged in as those two people," said Allen. "We think the time is now."