Canopy Growth (CGC -1.80%) is about to trigger the first phase of its merger with peer Acreage Holdings (ACRGF). The company announced Friday that, as part of the recently amended terms of the acquisition deal both companies agreed to, Canopy Growth will hand over an up-front payment of just over $37.5 million to Acreage shareholders. That will happen on or about this Wednesday, Sept. 23.

All investors who hold Acreage shares, or instruments that are convertible or exchangeable into Class A subordinate voting shares of the company as of the previous day, will be eligible for their portion of the payment. It's estimated that, between the existing and the potential shares deriving from those other instruments, the payout will be roughly $0.30 per Acreage share.

Two intertwined hands holding marijuana leaves.

Image source: Getty Images.

Canopy Growth and Acreage agreed to their original deal in April 2019; at the time its consummation was entirely dependent on whether the U.S. fully legalized marijuana at the federal level. This past June, however, the price and terms of the arrangement were modified considerably, with the original $300 million up-front payment being slashed to the current amount. The acquisition is also no longer fully tied to U.S. legalization.

Acreage was targeted by its buyer because it is based in the U.S.; acquiring it gives the Canada-based Canopy Growth an instant footprint in the American market. If that market ever goes 100% legal, its size would dwarf that of its neighbor to the north.

Some marijuana pundits have lately become more bullish on the changes the U.S. will fully legalize the drug, given what some consider the increasing potential for the Democrats to take back both the presidency and the Senate.