Weed and me

weedPeople always ask me “so what are you looking to invest in”?  The other question is “what is your favorite investment”?  My answer to the latter is that I have no favorites.  I love all my investments equally.  As for the first, the answer these days is I am interested in investing in women, minorities and weed.

It is good to invest in what you know.  I have been smoking weed for a long time…and am a fan.  What is happening in the weed business is fascinating.  Eventually weed will be legal for a consumer to buy in every state.  At one point you will be able to buy a few joints in the local liquor store or perhaps a 7-11.  It won’t happen tomorrow but it will happen.  The taxes generated are too good for the economy just like liquor and cigarettes.

I am starting to spend time in the vertical.  In the next month or so I will be talking to a few businesses that are more mature and others that are just starting out to really understand the industry.  My guess is that there will be no differences in building out a chocolate brand or a body brand except that it is infused with weed and so it is more about the regulations.  The capital flowing back and forth is still an issue but there are companies sprouting up that will fix those issues just like other technology businesses. I am looking forward to talking to the people behind Marley Natural as the name alone is already a brand.

I am excited about the opportunities here…the vertical is only growing and I plan on making a mark here just as I have in real estate and food.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Jeremy Campbell

    I love the green business too for sure, and it’s so interesting to see all of the different products coming out, we are seeing lots of innovation and creativity!Canada could legalize weed as early as next year which is very fascinating and exciting to me from a consumption and an economic perspective!P.S. If you’re ever in Toronto and want to some some and talk startups, business, life, or whatever else then be sure to let me know 🙂

  2. Erin

    Wow way to take a stand. I hate the smell of weed, and I’ve tried it a couple times and couldn’t get anything to happen, but I understand people have legitimate spiritual and psychological experiences while high, ex. highlight our oneness. As long as 1) brain scans corroborate that it’s neutral or good for the brain, and doesn’t damage it in the way that alcohol does (….which–do they??) and 2) it isn’t overused as a substitute for being present to difficult moments in life, then why not. And of course hemp seed has wonderful health benefits, as does this vimeo TV series about weed: http://www.helpingyoumainta

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      It actually does do damage to the brain. More importantly, it damages the brain more in young people. As teen neural pathways are being formed up through the age of 21, studies indicate that the damage is significant. As with alcohol and cigarettes, I’m sure legalization will bring limits on use by youth.Unfortunately, because marijuana has been illegal for so long, there are not many studies. The U.S. has only been conducting studies in recent years, due mainly to the rise in legalization. We truly don’t yet know the full extent of damage on brains.

      1. Susan Rubinsky

        Here is a good resource about the current status of regulation for medical use – https://learnaboutsam.org/w

      2. Gotham Gal

        I seem to have turned out ok.

        1. Susan Rubinsky

          LOL. Me too, though I wasn’t that big of a pot smoker. One thing that’s important to remember about today’s weed is that it’s far more potent than the stuff from our teenage years.Also, 1 in 10 people who smoke weed do become addicted. My brother is one of them. There is a definite difference between abuse and recreational use.Disclosure: I create promotional campaigns around teen alcohol and drug abuse for a municipal client. That is how I know about all this.

          1. Erin

            I eat when I’m stressed. Chocolates, whatever. This past week was so stressful, though, and then I got some news that made me tear up and I just was like, “food isn’t going to cut it. I need to really go numb”. So I went to Marshall’s and tried on clothes for an hour, whittled my choices down to three things, then left them in the shoe section and went home and curled up in the foetal position. Now if I could get myself to do that every time I get stressed, I’ll be laughing. Addictions are horrible, horrible, horrible.

          2. Susan Rubinsky

            ha! I do the Marshall’s/TJX thing too. Shoes and dresses are my addiction. LOL.

          3. Erin

            Yeah that was actually my first time at Marshall’s. They’re a lot more organized than Winners/Home Sense (I don’t know if you have that down there, but it’s something similar), and they have better shoes.

          4. Donna Brewington White

            Sorry to hear about this stress and painful news, Erin, although I know “it’s life.”Many of us have coping mechanisms bordering on addiction or fully there. Mine is an occasional netflix or amazon binge.Reading your comment I was thinking of how self-aware you come across as being and I wonder if that is one of the things that helps keep us from sliding off the cliff. There is addiction in my family history, so I think about this sort of thing — especially now that I have teens.

          5. Erin

            Oh thanks Donna. I’m self-aware because of the Enneagram. Saved my life.

          6. Donna Brewington White

            I have never heard of this until just now. Just found a test online for $12.

          7. Erin

            Do it if it’s the RHETI test. That’s the most reliable, although I’m biased toward the east coast school of Enneagram thinkers. But also note: your own personal observations of your emotional, mental, and instinctual patterns play an equal role in finding your type. Don’t discount your own observations just because a test says you’re a certain number. It’s so worth it to find your type, though.

          8. Donna Brewington White

            Thanks, Erin. Yep, it’s RHETI. I’m pretty self-aware — I’ve had to be and my kids are always so happy to help me in the self-discovery process. 🙂 But I recognize that the self is vast; always SO much more to learn. I’m past the point where I just want to know about myself for the sake of it — but want to be effective in life and more present for others. Those are strong motivations.https://www.enneagraminstit

          9. Erin

            That is hilarious- your kids are happy to help in the self-discovery process. Isn’t that how family is. One of the questions I get asked after an Enneagram talk is, “What type is the asshole? Because my brother-in-law is an ass, and I really want to help him….” Well good for you for pursuing this. I hope you find your type- your home. It opens up so much on the personal development front that there just isn’t a vocabulary for in other typing systems, and you’ll be learning something new about yourself every day for decades- it’s that rich.

          10. Donna Brewington White

            Took the test. Truly amazing. Thank you, Erin!.And now I see how well my words from the above comment — about my motivations for increased self awareness — fit with the test results. Makes me laugh.

          11. Erin

            Ooooohhhh? In what way?

          12. Donna Brewington White

            I was referring to this comment:I’m past the point where I just want to know about myself for the sake of it — but want to be effective in life and more present for othersAfter a cursory review of my score I detected the pragmatism and benevolence that seemed to fit an 8. But I’m almost tied as a 3. I realized that I spoke too quickly and need to examine the results more closely.- and understand why my score is high for a yet 3rd personality type as well. Had to put it all aside for the time being but will get back to it. Thanks again.

          13. Erin

            Hi Donna, sorry I was moving this week. I don’t know if this will help you distinguish between Types Three and Eight, so take it for what it’s worth. Types Three and Eight can look quite similar on the surface, as they can both be quite competent, assertive, and successful the work world (that’s typically the domain they excel in the most), but their unconscious motivations for succeeding are really different. We all have one core fear out of which every action, every decision arises. Threes succeed to redeem the shame of their deficiencies (ie. “If I’m in the spotlight, no one will notice my shadow”), and Eights become powerful to protect themselves from annihilation by their shadow (“If I’m powerful enough, I won’t be defeated by my shadow”). To an Eight, divorce, being fired, or dependency- financial or otherwise are a most terrifying prospect. So that probably doesn’t help, but for what it’s worth, Eights become powerful to distract themselves from having to deal with their shadow; whereas Threes amass successes to prevent other people from noticing their shadow. Threes, when they’re integrating their shadow, are interested in success because it’s a demonstration of the glory, dignity, and triumph of human potential. More than any other type, the Type Three knows that if they work hard enough, they can literally be anyone they aspire to be, and they are acutely aware of how much their overcoming obstacles in life can inspire others around them to do the same. Eights don’t care as much about inspiring others, although they can be aware that they’re doing so, which can help them access the vulnerable and oft-neglected heart space. This link explains the difference. https://www.enneagraminstit…. Good luck on finding your “home base”. Both of these types are ones that society tends to look up to for the very reason that they do tend be inspiring- when moving in the direction of health and integration, they show the rest of us how to achieve our best potential with the one short life we’ve been given.

          14. Donna Brewington White

            Well, that’s a lot to live up to.Erin, thanks so much. This is really helpful! Appreciate the interest and the insight. So kind of you.Hope your move turns out to be a good change.

          15. Erin

            Haha thanks. 🙂

          16. LE

            Also, 1 in 10 people who smoke weed do become addicted. My brother is one of them.Sorry to hear that about your brother, Susan.What do the statistics that you know of say about probability of alcohol or other substance addiction in that respect (ie more or less than 10%?).

          17. Susan Rubinsky

            1 in 12 adults become addicted to alcohol.I don’t bring these statistics up to be a naysayer. I just think that as legalization becomes a reality, we need to consider how we are going to address issues such as: more access by teens, treating addiction, safety/driving, addiction prevention.I think that a percentage of tax revenues derived from legalization should be earmarked for prevention, safety, medical, etc. If we do not take these costs into account, we are playing with inflated ROI.

        2. Erin

          OMG. Lol

        3. LE

          Well to counter your point my wife’s (who is quite a bit younger than me) parent’s were big pot heads. When she was a kid they used to have pot parties. At one party she drank the bong water (something she told me on our first date.) They are both functioning now but she had a shitty childhood and both her and her sister really resent what their parents did. The parents did suffer the effect of pot smoking, and she has little respect for them. They provided zero guidance in her life. [1] Both at one point had to run away from home.That said of course this could have happened just as easily with alcohol. But any drug has an impact and obviously the self control that you are able to have is not the self control that the genpop (the general population) has.[1] What’s funny is that that’s one of the reasons ironically that she was attracted to me I think, I was nothing like her parents I was mature and an adult (even when I was in high school/college I was a stick in the mud).

      3. fredwilson

        It probably both enhances and damages the brain. Like all things, pros and cons. But from what i’ve seen with Joanne over the 35 years we have been together she has benefited a lot more than been harmedAnd as my mom told me “moderation in everything”

        1. Susan Rubinsky

          I absolutely agree.

        2. Susan Rubinsky

          I also have a friend who is really intense, very ADHD (but undiagnosed) who smokes weed every day. It has been my first hand impression that it helps him focus. I bet as more studies are conducted, we’ll start seeing better guidance on the specific medical applications. That’s great for business because new products can be formulated and marketed around specific needs.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            I believe that marijuana can be used medicinally, but I’ve also seen the dangers. Someone I know self-medicated for ADHD which led to addiction and eventually other drugs. Thankfully, now in rehab. The person was predisposed toward addiction, but was convinced that you could not become addicted to marijuana (based on research) so was in denial. Marijuana is here to stay — we do need education and guidance.

          2. Susan Rubinsky


        3. LE

          The rub is the moderation, not everyone is able to have the self control and there is the problem.It’s obvious that it totally depends on the person. And therein lies the down side. I have mentioned in the past that my father never drank except during holidays (we had perhaps a few bottles of liquor laying around). In retrospect, and for him, it would have been good if he had a single drink when he came home to take the edge off. Would have been better for us and as we know now little harm from that. Especially since in our family there is no addictive tendency. None. The problem is, everyone is different. And perhaps even in his case he might have abused alcohol (who knows, right?) if he used it to engage in ever more aggravating business behavior. (Step up the dose is what I mean).I used to have a glass of wine when I came home, it helped with the noise of the kids. When I go to a noisy restaurant (or really any restaurant) I typically have a glass of wine helps block out most things for me. But here’s the thing. Not everybody is me and has self control or knows when to stop. But it’s more than that. I don’t get that big of a pleasure from drinking (I have literally never been “drunk”) there is something about my genetics that prevents me from even going in that direction at all. So what I am able to do is not what I could expect others to do. It’s easy for me. Really easy to resist pleasure temptations.As far as the good that comes out of pot I can’t deny all of the creative things that I enjoy which were done by pot smokers.

        4. Steven Kane

          Including, in moderation? 😉

  3. daryn

    There are some weed brands starting to get firmly established up here, especially on the edibles and body front. Mostly organic, etc, as to be expected, but also a few trying to level up on being gourmet/luxury brands.The market is still pretty volatile here, as demand goes from novelty to maturity, and supply broadens and prices decrease. I think it’s going to be a hard investment for the next few years, mostly due to the regulations and lack of federal law, but exciting to see. And to support :)We’ve got a great local shop here on our little island, http://www.paperandleaf.com/, come visit!

    1. Gotham Gal

      the disconnect between federal law and an endless list which gets bigger every day. it will certainly be an interesting next couple of years in this area.

  4. Brandon Burns

    The great thing about this market is that discovery is confined to the weed shop (in legal states). So while discovery isn’t wide spread (you can’t really shop online… yet), when someone walks into a weed shop they see everything on offer. This is a world where design and packaging are king, and word of mouth recommendations run a close second. Good tasting products with good design can go far, now, while competition is still weak and discovery is closely regulated.Also, I’ve noticed, you have to have a good reputation with the owner of the good weed shops, if you want to do exceptionally well. The good ones (like Oregon’s Finest in Portland) are really picky with what products they sell, but getting into that store makes you look really good and no one will question the quality of your product. And these shops, since they’re bringing in product from “better” farms and providers, can charge up to three times benchmark price; my local shop sells a gram of flower for as low as $6, while Oregon’s Finest can be up to $20 a gram. Charging those higher prices comes with, first, a good reputation with the weed store, and then, if its an edible / beverage, good design and packaging.

    1. Gotham Gal

      great packaging is absolutely key.

  5. Yinka!

    Not a smoker but the rise of the industry has been fascinating to see – never imagined it could be legalized in present times anywhere in North America! I recently read of inequities around access to some business opportunities in that industry (below). This would be one area where related records shouldn’t be a barrier, given how the “war on drugs” farce disproportionately affected some communities. E.g. having an criminal record for possessing small amount of what is now a legal substance should not prevent an individual from opening a related business today.http://www.buzzfeed.com/ama

  6. Susan Rubinsky

    There is an area around legalization that I am highly interested in: Marijuana/Hemp as a sustainable resource for paper and fabric.In colonial times, for example, Thomas Jefferson grew hemp (the word marijuana didn’t enter our lexicography until the 1800’s) as did many other farmers. It was used to make rope, cloth and paper. While the constitution was written on parchment, early drafts were most likely written on paper made from hemp.I’t s a fantastic sustainable crop. I’d be really keen on seeing how that industry starts and evolves as legislation changes.

  7. Kirsten Lambertsen

    “I have been smoking weed for a long time…and am a fan.” For me, this was such a surprising statement. I had to go back and read it a couple of times to make sure I got it right, ha! I didn’t know this about you. It was kind of fun having my notions about you (derived 99% from online content) completely disrupted . I love it when things like that happen.Thanks for the Zen moment today 🙂

  8. Melissa Meyer

    I love everything about this post.Have you heard of Women Grow? You are one of us!

    1. Gotham Gal

      I have. Love the name

        1. Gotham Gal

          email me directly. let’s talk.

  9. pointsnfigures

    Good luck. I have seen a lot of weed businesses and decided I can’t be Joe Kennedy. I think someone like you will have a lot better success than someone like me investing in the space because weed is a commoditized business that needs branding. I can foresee investing in back end management for cultivation, production, and risk management, but not in the consumer facing side. I would never invest in a vertical in house farm for example; unless I just wanted a stream of cash flow off it. Then it’s not a venture investment but a farming investment.The space will be interesting but I will be an interested watcher! I haven’t touched the stuff in many many years since it’s way to strong. If someone makes vintage pot from the 80’s maybe…

  10. Erin Newkirk

    Joanne, What about the companies that have been formed around marijuana for medicinal uses? I have a friend who’s working on a start up in Minne.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I am scouring the market..trying to educate myself too.

  11. JLM

    .”Weed, it’s not a bad thing.”I wish I believed that but I recall that fresh faced kid, his sister was one of my daughter’s best friends. We buried him from Good Shepherd Church.The service was lovely and all of his fraternity brothers — tall, big mops of hair, button down collar shirts, ties, blazers, khakis, Texas boys, FULL OF LIFE — gave him a great send off.His grandfather is a household name oil billionaire. We chatted at a private club around the corner from the church. In that moment, he was destitute and poor of spirit and in the most abject poverty one could imagine. The boy was named for him. The exact same name.The young man was high on weed and recently sans a girlfriend, so he decided to try to close the gap with something new — heroin. Got it from his weed dealer. Shot it into his veins under the influence of that innocent weed.He didn’t take to it and neither did it take to him. Still, it took his life. Now, he’s buried in that cold, hard ground leaving all of us to mourn his loss. The loss of potential for a kid who could have been anything. Who would have been something.The sorrow of his family is unfathomable. Of course, they hadn’t done anything wrong. It was a five second lapse of judgement. No more but the cost was permanent. That beautiful young boy is NEVER coming back and his parents and his sister have a crack in their souls that will never heal.I can’t fail to think of that beautiful young man, his parents, the unquenchable sorrow that he leaves in his wake and WEED.Innocent weed.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Gotham Gal

      Yes that is terrible but it happens with alcohol too.

      1. JLM

        .Fabulous comfort, I am sure. Real empathy.Alcohol and marijuana are not in competition with each other. They are both capable of being abused by young people.It is common sense v inanity or good v evil or smart v stupid.I would do anything or without anything to never have to look a mother or father in the eye while mourning their child. Anything.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. LE

      Initials “TBP”.Separately I just saw this article and thought it looked interesting. I didn’t read it yet.https://harpers.org/archive

  12. Steven Kane

    Hi. I’ve been looking into this vertical seriously too. And I strongly recommend that you do an independent deep-dive on the crazy-quilt mishmash of legal and regulatory issues you likely will encounter. And probably take a good relaxing long hit off the vaporizer before you do.And don’t let understandably-eager entrepreneurs tell you they have done their homework and the coast is clear. Maybe it is, maybe not – and often such depends on exactly what state or even county or municipality is involved (and if multiple locales, then assume each locale has its own set of challenges.) And what specific part(s) of the marketplace are involved with the business. (E.g. selling vaporizers? Selling weed? Selling both? Growing? Transporting? etc…)Lawmakers and regulatory officials are doing their best to create the newfangled legal frameworks for medicinal and recreational marijuana businesses to open and prosper, but they are under fierce pressure from threatened constituencies (alcohol businesses) and NIMBY organizations (no dispenseries near my home or school) and law enforcement agencies (no loopholes for Tony Soprano to discreetly end up running a local marijuana cartel.) The result is a massive nutty patchwork of often seemingly inexplicable regulations. In Masschusetts, a dispensary has to grow their own product, but cant do so at the dispensary location, and can only do so at a location specifically zoned for that, which may or may not be anywhere near the dispensary. The owner of that grow-approved location can charge any rent they want and must also be licensed. The vehicles used to transport the product (in raw or finished form) must also be owned and operated by the dispensary owner, or by a co-licensed owner and operator. The hours of a dispensary’s operations are subject to local municipal or even neighborhood authority. Etc. Someday we may see more uniform, normal, common-sensical regulation of the weed market… or maybe not. So-called “blue laws” still exist in many states!

    1. Gotham Gal

      Totally agree. That is the biggest issue. A mishmash of different laws, state and federal.

  13. 99th Floor

    Hey- not sure if you are seeing these comments but would love to invite you to one of our dinners at 99th Floor! Check out an article in Grubstreet about what we do-http://www.grubstreet.com/2…Shoot me an email [email protected] if you’re interested, would love to tell you more about what we’re doing overall as well. Thanks!

    1. Gotham Gal

      wow. that is very cool. i might take you up on that.

      1. 99th Floor

        Sounds good! Our next dinner is middle of August. Let us know!

        1. 99th Floor

          The next date is August 14th just as a heads up. No worries either way!