This City Looks to Become the ‘New Amsterdam’

This City Looks to Become the ‘New Amsterdam’

[Canniseur: In the long run, Vegas’s casinos should be nervous about ‘consumption’ cafes. In the short run, not so much. Until alcohol sales can be combined with toking, I don’t see the sustainability of consumption lounges. And, my prediction is…when it’s realized cannabis & a glass of whatever, is what people really want, that’s when lounges will win. Until then, people will pop into the lounge, toke up and then head to the casino.]

Las Vegas will become one of the few municipalities in the country to license cannabis consumption in lounges — a move that could transform the city into the ‘New Amsterdam’.

The Las Vegas City Council recently approved an ordinance that authorizes the so-called ‘social use venue’ licenses.

Under the new ordinance, existing licensed cannabis businesses may apply for a new $5,000 per year license to open a social use lounge. These establishments must be physically separated from cannabis retail locations, may not sell alcohol, and must be located at least 1,000 feet from schools and casinos. Entry is limited to patrons over the age of 21 and cannabis consumption is not permitted outside or in the public view.

Acres Cannabis, which operates a 19,000 sq. ft. store, plants to open a nearby consumption space featuring a concert hall and full-service kitchen. Councilman Bob Coffin, who sponsored the ordinance, believes that many cannabis businesses will open lounges adjacent to their retail locations.

Many casino operators are worried about the new industry, which isn’t permitted near casino properties. New cannabis lounges could draw the city’s millions of tourists away from casinos and hotels, where they traditionally spend most of their entertainment time and money. For now, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has warned that casinos friendly to cannabis users could lose their licenses.

Original Post: CFN Media Group: This City Looks to Become the ‘New Amsterdam’

California’s Weed Taxes Are So Damn High It’s Hurting Legal Sales

California’s Weed Taxes Are So Damn High It’s Hurting Legal Sales

[Canniseur: The lessons from the end of alcohol prohibition have not been learned and they’re right in front of the legislators noses to learn from. Simple fact: When the black market for anything exists right next to the legal market and the taxes are absurdly high in the legal market, guess which market will thrive and which market will whither. California is a perfect example of a market that exists in this kind of strange economic limbo. Cannabis taxes are too high for the legal market making it noncompetitive with the black market. So the taxes collected are lower and the black market can continue to thrive and in all probability, grow. Politicians can’t be that dumb. But they’re sure not convincing me.]

California isn’t selling as much legal weed as regulators thought it would just four months ago.

When the state first projected how much it would (eventually) make from weed taxes, estimates placed that revenue at an impressive $1 billion annually. On Thursday, the state released its latest budget documents. It looks like regulators got ahead of themselves, as they revised the projected weed tax revenue for 2018 to 2020 and subtracted $223 million from it.

“It takes time to go from something old to something new,” Governor Gavin Newsom said, according to the Associated Press. “We knew [some counties and cities] would be stubborn in providing access and providing retail locations and that would take even longer than some other states, and that’s exactly what’s happening.”

The governor anticipated it would take another five to seven years before California’s weed industry caught up to expectations.

The cannabis tax situation in California is, for lack of a better phrase, confusing as shit.

Statewide, there’s a tiered excise tax system that collects revenue from every step of production, from seed-to-sale. First, for cultivators, flower gets taxed at $9.25 tax per ounce, pot leaves at $2.75 per ounce, and another $1.29 attached to every live plant. Then, there’s an additional 15 percent tax on all recreational weed retail sales.

But that’s just for the state’s standard taxes on cannabis. Under Prop. 64, individual counties and cities in California can levy their own taxes on top of the state’s, which is how some areas have effectively “double-taxed” legal weed from roughly 25 percent to an insane 50 percent.

“I hate to say this, but I think the industry is going to have to learn to live with this,” Tim Morland, the Director of Compliance and Policy for the cannabis investment firm Origin House, told Marijuana Business Daily.

“There’s not a clear legislative path to fix it. Even if there was, it’d be politically contentious, and local governments would oppose any of that legislation. So, right now, no remedy for it.”

Other states considering legalization should take note. Big tax numbers may look lucrative at first, but legal weed will be a hard-sell if it’s priced higher than the black market.

Follow Randy Robinson on Twitter

California’s Weed Taxes Are So Damn High It’s Hurting Legal Sales was posted on Merry Jane.

Big Banks Snub Cannabis Banking Bill

Big Banks Snub Cannabis Banking Bill

[Canniseur: Great news! This leaves cannabis banking to the smaller banks, giving them a leg up in the industry. Those first in definitely will have the competitive edge. Further, I’d love to see the day where Chase Bank turns down Constellation Brands business.]

The SAFE Banking Act is making its way through the legislative process, but many big banks still plan on avoiding cannabis clients, according to a Wall Street Journal report. In fact, no major bank publicly supports the bill’s passage and any content between Congress and the bill were initiated by Congress.

While the SAFE Banking Act is designed to protect banks with cannabis clients from prosecution, banking leaders say that government-mandated compliance obligations remain a sticking point. Cannabis transactions remain illegal under federal money laundering rules and banks aren’t willing to take the risk until the drug is fully legal in the United States.

Many large banks were recently fined for inadequate anti-money laundering controls, which makes them even less likely to take the risk. For instance, US Bancorp paid $613 million in fines and penalties in February 2018 after failing to report suspicious activities to regulators and ignoring red flags for years.

The good news is that many smaller banks may be willing to assume the risk and open the door to legitimate banking for cannabis companies. In particular, credit unions and local banks in states where cannabis has been legalized could see a tremendous new growth opportunity.

Banking access enables cannabis companies to not only safely store their revenue, but also potentially access credit card processing, small business loans, mortgages, and other financial products that mainstream businesses enjoy.

Original Post: CFN Media Group: Big Banks Snub Cannabis Banking Bill

The Cannabis Industry Has Lots of Jobs, But Few Are High-Paying

The Cannabis Industry Has Lots of Jobs, But Few Are High-Paying

[Canniseur: The rise of legal cannabis is an opportunity to do things better. Pay equity is a huge issue and while our business owners and leaders certainly deserve great returns on their work product and risk taking, everyone deserves a livable wage. I hope our industry can rise to an exceptional standard and pave the way to better worker salaries.]

Cannabis legalization means the new pot jobs look like the rest of America, where opportunity is constricted and inequality is high.

Presidential candidates can be tough on climate change — by some metrics, they must be — but anyone wanting to be president must also say a few nice things about coal. This is because in Ohio and Pennsylvania, two states any would-be president almost certainly must win, coal is equated with decent work.

Such appeals are mostly a nostalgic technique, as only 53,000 Americans work in the coal industry today. This is a fraction of the jobs created by the cannabis industry, for which 2018 was a year of record growth. As The New York Times reported over the weekend, as many as 300,000 Americans now work in the cannabis industry. If current trends continue, that figure could eclipse the million-worker mark by decade’s end.

Marijuana-sector jobs increased by 44 percent last year, according to Leafly. In Florida, cannabis-industry jobs spiked by 703 percent alone, an increase that tracked with a tripling of that state’s medical-marijuana patient base. If Florida were to legalize cannabis for adults over 21, well — look out, LinkedIn!

But what are these jobs? The Times has an answer, and it’s not entirely encouraging.

While exact numbers are elusive, as the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics does not yet have a cannabis-industry specific cut-out, it appears most cannabis jobs “are on the lower end of the pay scale,” the newspaper reported. These are the unskilled labor and low-skill retail jobs, the trimmers who do “rote agricultural work” for “$10 to $15 an hour” and the “budtenders” who make “about $25,000” a year, the newspaper reported.

If you have one of these jobs, you may make a little more, maybe closer to the salary survey published in early April by Fortune. If you do, chances are you live in a city like Los Angeles, Seattle or Oakland, where the egregious cost of living eats up any salary increase you enjoy over a counterpart in Nevada or Ohio or Arizona.

This is not to say that there are not good jobs in cannabis. There are! They are just not that many of them — and they’re going to people who already had good gigs in other sectors outside of cannabis. In fact, having a job outside of cannabis is the way to get a very good job inside of cannabis, as per the Times.

“For upper-level managers and executives, companies say they prefer candidates with a background in highly regulated industries like alcohol or pharmaceuticals,” the newspaper said.

The Times mentions a few of these folks. There’s David Dancer, who worked in marketing for Charles Schwab before MedMen recruited him to be their chief marketing officer. He is now producing “slick videos” and doing the labor of making cannabis attractive to people who do not use cannabis (like people who might have been attracted to investing with Charles Schwab, for example). At Oakland’s Harborside, a household name in California cannabis for more than a decade, the new chief operating officer is an attorney whose resume lists jobs in real-estate development.

There is also increasing demand for “chemists, software engineers and nurses,” the newspaper reported — which is to say there is room for educated people with white-collar jobs. These jobs are available for anyone with the opportunity to attain education, maybe at one of the universities offering cannabis-specific concentrations in one of these traditional fields.

But if you are a budtender or a trimmer, your career track is limited — as are your earnings, even as the cannabis industry continues to balloon into an economic force measured in the tens of billions. This is the caveat that every breathless report touting the marijuana industry’s job-machine must carry. There are jobs, but there are not a lot of great jobs — and if there is a great job, it’s held by someone poached from another good job somewhere else.

Okay, but so what? What this means is that cannabis looks like America, where wealth is concentrated at the privileged top and a good job requires a good education or good connections — in other words, privilege. This is not the cannabis industry’s fault. Cannabis has worked very hard to assimilate and to become part of society — and has not always succeeded, even with all of these billions — and this is what society looks like.

So, about those coal jobs. Why were they good, why do they carry such nostalgic appeal, why must every Democratic presidential candidate tread very lightly in Appalachia while Donald Trump cooks up wild fantasies about coal’s “resurgence”? They were good in part because they were union jobs. It is not an accident that the militant and successful strike by teachers happened in coal country — this was how their great-grandparents won decent jobs in the mines.

Will that happen in cannabis? Maybe, but probably not. Most union jobs in the United States in 2019 are in the private sector.

In this way, cannabis just isn’t so special, but isn’t that what legalization wanted all along?

TELL US, do you want to work in the cannabis industry?

The post The Cannabis Industry Has Lots of Jobs, But Few Are High-Paying appeared first on Cannabis Now.

The Cannabis Industry Has Lots of Jobs, But Few Are High-Paying was posted on Cannabis Now.

PayPal Wants To Help You Buy Marijuana (& Bank)

PayPal Wants To Help You Buy Marijuana (& Bank)

[Canniseur: As they say, follow the money. Lobby money is now flowing into DC in support of the SAFE banking act. Ultimately, unlocking mainstream banking for the cannabis industry helps everyone. Won’t it be wonderful to use square upon check out at your local pot shop?]

The online payments platform has officially joined a lobbying effort in support of federal banking reform.

Like U.S. currency issued by the federal government, PayPal, one of the earliest online financial-services companies, has been and still is used to purchase illegal things — a broad category that, according to the federal government, still includes cannabis.

With very few exceptions, legal cannabis businesses remain locked out of mainstream options for banking and payments-processing. Only about 40 financial institutions nationwide handle marijuana-related accounts, it is believed.

(If you do encounter a dispensary that accepts credit cards or writes checks, there is a strong possibility they are lying to their merchant-services provider or have a very secretive arrangement with a daring credit union.)

This is why you must enter cannabis dispensaries with cash-stuffed pockets — and why the dispensary manager must slink out of a side door and into an armored car in order to deliver tens of thousands of dollars in hard currency to the taxman.

Like most anyone else who has experienced it firsthand, PayPal thinks this arrangement is bad and wrong. (Even Steven Mnuchin, Donald Trump’s Treasury Secretary, knows this cannot stand, as he told Congress during an April 9 hearing.)

This is why the San Jose-based company has officially signed on as a support of the SAFE Banking Act, a bill proposed in Congress that would end the madness and allow law-abiding cannabis businesses to use banks and other payment solutions, like PayPal.

PayPal started lobbying Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act earlier this year, according to a release from U.S. Rep. Earl Perlmutter (D-Colorado), the bill’s main sponsor.

PayPal started lobbying Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act earlier this year, according to a release from U.S. Rep. Earl Perlmutter (D-Colorado), the bill’s main sponsor.

The company listed lobbying Congress on cannabis banking as among its activities on Capitol Hill during the first three months of 2019, Perlmutter said.

Solutions for the cannabis industry’s cash-flow problem — that is, one of the only ways for money to flow is in risk-seeking cash — have been hard to find.

Efforts to charter public banks at the state level to accept marijuana money have not resulted in any concrete action, necessitating action at the federal level.

Thus, banking is among the cannabis industry’s top priorities in Washington, where a variety of companies are spending tens of thousands of dollars a month in order to influence Congress, with mixed results at best. Other priorities include descheduling cannabis to allow for interstate trade, fixing the tax code, and passing some kind of nationwide legalization bill that also includes a social-justice component like equity requirements.

Not every cannabis business wants all of those things, so the SAFE Banking Act is a not-common example of broad consensus. It’s also an instance where there’s great interest from a powerful lobby that does not necessarily have anything to do with marijuana.

Banks are aware that the cannabis industry is expected to reach tens of billions of dollars in annual sales over the next decade, according to nearly every estimate, and they absolutely want part of that business.

Here is where banks are very good, no matter how much money you have (or don’t): Congress listens to banks because Congress listens to money. If every big bank in the United States marched into Congress and told Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell that they want to be able to handle cannabis cash and that Congress could forget calling them for campaign contributions until they could, it is a fair bet that Congress would do something.

This may be happening. The American Banking Association is spending $10,000 a month on lobbyists keeping cannabis banking on Congress members’ minds, Perlmutter’s office noted. Other lobbying firms pushing for SAFE Banking include the National Cannabis Roundtable, a recently formed lobbying group chaired by former House Speaker John Boehner.

As Perlmutter’s office noted, the main obstacle to progress remains Republicans. The chair of the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho, has yet to say what chance the bill has in getting a hearing in his committee. Without a hearing, the bill won’t get a vote and without a vote, it can’t become law.

Will Crapo listen to PayPal, if not Boehner or Trump’s treasury secretary? A voice like that won’t hurt. Until the change happens, you can still use PayPal to buy cannabis. Just not in a dispensary.

Feature Photo Credit: Marco Verch

PayPal Wants To Help You Buy Marijuana (& Bank) was posted on Cannabis Now.

Oregon Has So Much Weed It’s Temporarily Freezing Cannabis Production

Oregon Has So Much Weed It’s Temporarily Freezing Cannabis Production

[Canniseur: Oregon’s 6.5 year cannabis supply should be addressed on multiple fronts. Interstate or international sales of weed could be an excellent solution. Perhaps the U.S. will pass legal cannabis this year and this oversupply will be a boon to other states.]

Without any end in sight to its cannabis oversupply problem, Oregon lawmakers are looking to step in and cool down the state’s prolific green thumb.

Lead image via

Over the last two years, Oregon’s legal cannabis industry has run into an unforeseen green rush snafu. No, the state’s teens aren’t all addicted to the devil’s lettuce, and local workers aren’t running heavy machinery into walls like prohibitionists might have predicted. Instead, the Beaver State simply has too much weed. 

Thanks to an easily-accessible licensing system and a state full of production-hungry growers, Oregon started 2019 with some 1.3 million pounds of excess pot just sitting around waiting to be sold. And with new harvests continually popping fresh buds out of the soil, the price of pot has plummeted, with some cultivators backdooring their weed to out-of-state black markets where the product will still fetch a premium price.

Now, Oregon legislators are moving to enact a temporary freeze on new cultivation licenses, with hopes to significantly halt continued overproduction.

According to the Associated Press, the Beaver State Senate voted on Monday to advance the temporary licensing freeze by a margin of 18-10, advancing the legislation to the Oregon House of Representatives.

After passing the legislation, Oregon Senator Michael Dembrow told the AP that the state currently has enough cannabis to last its residents up to six and a half years.

If the bill is passed in the House and signed into law by Governor Kate Brown, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (which also oversees all legal cannabis licensing), would cease accepting new marijuana cultivation applicants for the next two years. Under the bill’s current language, existing licensees would still be able to renew their paperwork and continue growing during that two-year period.

Beaver State lawmakers have entertained the idea of licensed interstate sales to address the oversupply problem, but with federal prohibition still hanging like a black cloud over state-legal cannabis operations, the exports plan is not looking realistic quite yet. 

Oregon Has So Much Weed It’s Temporarily Freezing Cannabis Production was posted on Merry Jane.

Why International Trade Agreements Are Shaping The Cannabis Industry

Why International Trade Agreements Are Shaping The Cannabis Industry

[Canniseur: This is the big picture view of international cannabis sales. The big cannabis businesses that enter the International market are being held accountable within the new MRAs.]

New international trade agreements on pharmaceutical quality and inspection are a big driver for the map of the modern cannabis industry globally.

If you have wondered over the past several years, why the big Canadian companies (in particular) are following the global strategy they are, there is actually a fairly simple answer: Newly implementing trade agreements, particularly between Europe and North America.

More specifically, they are highly technical trade agreements that are also called Mutual Recognition Agreements, (or MRAs).

In fact, look at the schedule of the MRA agreements signed between the U.S. and individual EU countries over the last several years, and it also looks like a map of the countries that have not only legalized at least medical cannabis, but where the big Canadian companies (in particular) have begun to establish operations outside of their home country.

But what is going on is actually more than just CETA-related and also will affect cannabis firms south of the Canadian-U.S. border.

All of these swirling currents are also why the most recent MRA to come into full force in July this year, between the U.S. and Europe, is so interesting from the cannabis perspective. Even before federal reform in the U.S. If this sounds like a confusing disconnect, read on.

What Are MRAs?

MRAs are actually a form of highly specialized trade agreement that allow trading countries to be certain that the pharmaceuticals they purchase from abroad are equivalent to what is produced at home. This includes not only ingredients but processing procedures, production plant hygiene, testing, labeling and more.

When it comes to the  EU-US MRA agreement, this means that individual states of the EU can now recognize the American Food and Drug Administration (or FDA) as an effective federal regulator of American pharmaceutical production that is equal to the procedures in Europe. US GMP standards, in other words, will be recognized as equal to those of EU states.

This will now also, by definition, include GMP-certified medical cannabis formulations.

What is so intriguing, however, is how this development will actually place certain American (and Canadian) manufacturers in a first place position to import cannabis into Europe ahead of the rest of the American cannabis industry.

What Are Mutual Recognition Agreements All About?

One of the most important quality and consumer safety aspects of establishing a clean supply chain is tied up in the concept of GMPs (Good Manufacturing Practices). These are procedures, established by compliant producers of pharmaceuticals, to ensure seed (or source) to sale reliability of the medication they make. In the cannabis industry, particularly in the advent of Canadian-European transatlantic trade in cannabis, this has been the first high hurdle to accept and integrate on the Canadian side.

GMPIf European countries recognize a country’s GMP certifications are equivalent to its own, in other words, and cannabis is legal for export, a country can enter the international cannabis market without facing bans, in-country inspections and the like. In the interim, imported products still have to be batch tested until the agreements are fully accepted and operational.

Israel, for example, already had an MRA with the EU, and medical cannabis is legal in the country. However, Israel was prevented from selling cannabis abroad until a legislative change domestically, passed on Christmas Day.

That is why the MRA agreement between the US and EU with Canadian companies in the middle also put both Israeli and U.S. firms at an extreme disadvantage in comparison. Both in entering the market in the first place, and of course associated discussions, like the German tender bid. That is now changing- and as of this year.

A Specialized Map Of Global Medical Cannabis Exporters

Ironically, what the new US-EU MRA could also well do is create a channel for pharmaceutical cannabis from the United States to Europe (certainly on the hemp and CBD front) just as Israel is expected to enter the international cannabis export industry (later this summer or fall). It could well be also, particularly given the Trump Administration’s tendency to want to not only “put America first” if not pull off “a better deal” in general and about everything, that this is why President Trump offered the delay to Israel’s president Benjamin Netanyahu in the first place.

Regardless of the international individual developments and subtleties however, what is very clear that from the time the first bid stalled in Germany in the summer of 2017 until now, the U.S.-EU MRA has been in the room even if not named specifically as a driver.

For example, the FDA confirmed the capability of Poland and Slovenia to carry out GMP inspections in February of 2019.  It was only last fall that Aurora pulled off its licensing news in the former (on the same day licensing reform was announced by the government). Denmark was recognized in November of last year during the first year of its “medical cannabis pilot progam.” Greece was recognized in March 2018. Italy, Malta, Spain and the UK came online in November of 2017.

Overlay this timetable with a map of cannabis reform (and beyond that, cannabis production) and the logic starts to look very clear.

The upshot, in other words, is that while cannabis still may be “stigmatized” if not still “illegal” in many parts of the world, more generalized, newly negotiated and implementing, specialized global trade agreements between the US, Europe and Canada in particular have been driving the development of certain segments of the cannabis industry globally and since about 2013.

The Biggest News?

As of this year, as a result, expect at least from the GMP-certified front at least, that such international trade will also include medical cannabis from the U.S.

Want an example of the same? First on that list if not early in the game will now undoubtedly be Canadian-based Canopy Growth, with Acreage on board, headquartered in New York.

The post Why International Trade Agreements Are Shaping The Cannabis Industry appeared first on Cannabis Industry Journal.

Putting Their Money Where Their Mouths Are: Meet Six Ladies Behind This Women-Only Cannabis Fund

Putting Their Money Where Their Mouths Are: Meet Six Ladies Behind This Women-Only Cannabis Fund

[Canniseur: What a strong and winning combination of super powers. It’s amazing talents like these, breathing fresh encouragement into the entrepreneurial community. Bravo!]

Being a feminist is easier said than done. But these women are putting their money where their mouths are: in front of women.

As cannabis really penetrates the mainstream, an increasing number of highly skilled, intelligent people are getting into the industry. And, while most of these characters generate the utmost respect, very few are really, really impressive – at least in my book.

Two ladies who have certainly earned the latter description are cannabis-focused investment managers: Tahira Rehmatullah, Managing Director of Hypur Ventures and chief financial officer at Nasdaq-listed cannabis tech company MTech Acquisition Corp., and Emily Paxhia, co-founder and managing partner of what is often seen as the first long-short, cannabis-focused hedge fund in the world, Poseidon Asset Management.

women venture cap

Lori Ferrara (L), Gaynell Rogers (C), Lindy Snider (R) TREEHOUSE GLOBAL VENTURES

Another group of impressive, experienced women in cannabis is behind cannabis-focused venture fund Treehouse Global Ventures, a fund that, as its website explains, was founded by women and “designed to identify, mentor and grow women and minority-founded cannabis-related businesses.” They are Lindy Snider, Lori Ferrara, and Gaynell Rogers.

So, when I heard all five of these women were joining forces under the Treehouse umbrella, as Rehmatullah and Paxhia joined the firm as senior investment advisors, I could not help but feel excited.

The final pieces for this story fell in place with the addition of Maria Rodale, famed writer and activist, and former Chairman and CEO of global health and wellness media company Rodale Inc, to Treehouse Global Ventures’ senior advisory board, and a personal realization: many in the cannabis industry take pride in supporting gender equality; but when push comes to shove, few are willing to put their money where their mouths are.

In an industry that is rapidly losing female representation among the C-Suite, with the percentage of women in these spots falling from 36 percent in 2015 to 27 percent in 2017 – according to MJBizDaily numbers, and funding for female-led businesses being scarce and hard to come across, the existence of a firm like Treehouse Global Ventures, a venture fund that seeks to empower women founders, acquires extreme relevance.

Interested in learning more about this amazing, honorable project, I caught up with its six fembers.

The Treehouse Ladies Club

Lindy Snider


Lindy Snider is a cannabis business development expert, founder and CEO of Lindi Skin, a skin care product line geared toward cancer patients. Before starting her own company and becoming a business development expert, Snider held senior positions in marketing, sales, operational and strategic areas for a series of sports and entertainment companies, including the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers, Comcast-Spectacor and the Wells Fargo Center at the South Philadelphia Sports Complex.

Snider is also involved with several other investment firms, activist groups and NGOs, including Athletes for Care, and the Entrepreneurship and Social Impact Initiative (ESII).

“We are heartened by the vast excitement that Treehouse Global has generated,” Snider voiced when prompted about the firm. “While we knew we had an amazing opportunity to be pivotal in an underserved market sector, the amazing response has been validating.”

She assures it has not only been founders and entrepreneurs who have been reaching out to them recently, but also private and institutional investors: “They applaud our mission and understand this opportunity is unique and far reaching.”

Lori Ferrara runs Alexava Holdings, a boutique private equity firm focused on cannabis. Bringing more than 30 years of experience in regulated, male-dominated industries, Ferrara is often considered a shark in the investment world.

Lori Ferrara


Prior to getting into cannabis, Ferrara worked on TV distribution, managing syndication operations for big-name shows like Inside Edition, Jeopardy, Geraldo, and The Oprah Winfrey Show, ultimately setting up her own company, Picture Perfect Partners.

Since getting into the marijuana industry, Ferrara became the first female investor member of The Arcview Group, arguably the best-known investor network in cannabis.

“This personal journey has given new meaning to my life,” Ferrara explained in an exclusive chat. “Never would I have thought in my lifetime I would be able to contribute to the expansion of the health and wellness choices that men and women can share, both benefiting from the gifts of this medicine. Nor did I ever believe that women would have this place in history to come together, and empower and support one another like I have witnessed. This is a natural ‘high’ in itself and I am inspired by the brilliance that surrounds me.”

Gaynell Rogers is a real life influencer, as measured by her real reach and relevance in the cannabis industry, and not by her follower count on social media.

Gaynell Rogers


A three-time cancer survivor, Rogers could be considered the communications expert in cannabis – without inflating her accomplishments. In the past, Rogers managed high-profile recording artists, directors, and producers, as well as worked on more than 25 feature film projects with major studios like Pixar, Lucasfilm and Imagination Inc.

She too is involved with The Arcview Group, driving massive media attention toward the firm, as she did for many other prominent brands in cannabis including Dixie Brands, Medicine Man, and Harborside.

Same as her peers, Rogers is also very interested in activism and community involvement. She’s a founding member of the Breast Cancer Watch organization, and has been a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (responsible for the Grammy Awards) for over 30 years.

“We discovered a wide open field of investment vehicles that are really all over the globe that wasn’t being inclusive or focused on women and minorities,” she explained, elaborating on the importance of women led investment firms supporting women led businesses, who have historically had had a difficult time accessing capital. “We aim to change that for the better in the cannabis industry and beyond. We are inspired, charged up and grateful to be able bring this focus to fruition and out in to the world of finance.”

And All The Queens’ Ladies

As mentioned earlier, Tahira Rehmatullah is the Managing Director of Hypur Ventures and the CFO of MTech Acquisition Corp. She previously served as a board member of Dope Media, as an investment manager at Privateer Holdings, and as the general manager for Marley Natural. In addition, Rehmatullah earned her MBA from the Yale School of Management.

Tahira Rehmatullah


For Rehmatullah, the numbers speak for themselves, as less than 2 percent of VC funding goes to women-founded companies. “Minorities receive even less,” she said. “The only way to change that is to create the solution by supporting women directly through education, mentorship, and funding.”

It is her opinion that finding this solution is especially critical for the development of the cannabis industry, which has quickly shifted to mimic the “bad habits” of more established industries. “Working with Treehouse and a team of accomplished and passionate women determined to change the narrative is incredibly exciting as they venture to create financial and social returns.”

Emily Paxhia, with Poseidon Asset Management, plays numerous roles beyond investing in the cannabis industry. Paxhia also works as a board member at companies and non-profits – like Athletes for CARE, as an advisor and as a public speaker. She’s passionate about helping people shape and grow their businesses, but also about social justice. In the past, Paxhia served on the board of the Marijuana Policy Project. She graduated from New York University with a master’s in psychology in 2008.

Emily Paxhia


he explained that, driven by a massive surge in interest in the cannabis industry, the space has seen a considerable influx of capital and new funds in recent times. “It is truly rewarding to participate in a fund with a unique strategy of focusing on women,” Paxhia said. “This team of investors has been among the earliest to participate in this modern era of cannabis, each coming with over four years in the industry from different experiences. That duration of time investing in this industry is not easy to find, and truly defines this team as a collective group of pioneers with a knowledge set that is hard to recreate, for the learning curve is steep when trying to invest in cannabis.”

Maria Rodale is, to a certain extent, an icon for woman empowerment and healthy living. A well-known writer and book author, Rodale served as Chairman and CEO of Rodale Inc, a global media company focused on health and wellness. She now advises Treehouse Global Ventures, as well as the Rodale Institute NGO, where she serves as a board member.

Maria Rodale


“Cannabis is a powerful tool for helping people naturally with health issues, from cancer, to sleep, to anxiety and high blood pressure,” Rodale told me. “Hemp is a powerful tool for reshaping our environment, especially for farmers.”

And women…well, we get the job done with a minimum of ego and a maximum of long-term strategic thinking.”

Original Article: Putting Their Money Where Their Mouths Are: Meet Six Ladies Behind This Women-Only Cannabis Fund

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