By Shariq Khan
May 4 (Reuters) - Ascend Wellness Holdings (AWH) Inc AAWHu.CD surged about 22% in its Canadian stock market debut on Tuesday to fetch a market value of $1.6 billion, the latest pot producer to cash in on strong investor demand for U.S. marijuana companies.
Shares of AWH, which harvests cannabis, makes finished products and operates retail stores, closed at $9.75 on their first day of trading, compared with the initial public offering price (IPO) of $8.
Several U.S. pot firms have gone public in recent months as expectations rise that Democratic lawmakers will soon pass legislation granting the industry access to federal banking, a move that will allow more institutional investors to participate in the sector.
I see private equity being the big player in this industry over the next few years, AWH founder and Chief Executive Abner Kurtin said in an interview.