Is an Early Window of Opportunity Closing for Medical Marijuana Investors?

By Anne Holland

Investment opportunities in the medical cannabis industry abound – but interested parties had better move quickly. That theme echoed through several speakers’ presentations to more than 115 investors and cannabis entrepreneurs packed into a SOHO–area penthouse in Manhattan yesterday evening at MMJ Business Daily’s first quarterly New York Seminar for Investors and Entrepreneurs.

“I was in New York looking for major investors two years ago,” said one of the speakers, Tripp Keber, director of Medical Marijuana, Inc. (OTC: MJNA). “Nobody would invest. The fact that all the seats in this room are filled, and you even sold out standing room-only tickets, is both ironic and incredibly heartening.” Today, Medical Marijuana Inc. is booming despite the previous lack of investor interest, with fourth- quarter 2012 revenues surging 1,100% from the same period a year earlier.

Speaker Jessica Billingsley, co-founder of MJ Freeway Software Solutions, also noted she and her partners had spent a great deal of time in the past seeking private equity, only to be turned down. In fact, she labeled it one of their biggest mistakes. “We should have put that time instead into focusing on growing our business,” she said. MJ Freeway wound up turning to private connections for bridge loans.

Now her company is profitable and the political climate is more favorable – and those same equity firms are calling saying they’re ready to invest in return for some equity. “Well, we don’t need them now,” Billingsley siad. In fact, she and her partners have joined an MMJ angel funding group as investors themselves to back more companies in the industry.

Speaker Erik Williams, president of the Connecticut Medical Cannabis Business Alliance, warned investors in the crowd that they could miss out on huge opportunities if at least a few banks have a change of heart and start funding MMJ companies, which he thinks may be imminent. “If we can get bank loans, hey, we’re a heavy cash flow business. We won’t give up equity anymore.”

Several attendees echoed Williams’ reading of the bank situation, saying some financial institutions could consider entering or reentering the market – possibly even this year – although no one could point to a bank in particular.

280E (or “280Eeeeek” as Williams called it) was also a frequently mentioned concern. This tax code, which the IRS has used as a weapon to penalize state-licensed medical marijuana producers and dispensaries, disallows all business cost deductions that are allowed to all non-cannabis businesses.

That doesn’t mean Williams is against legitimate taxation, especially on the state level as a political tool to safeguard the industry’s continued legality. “We’re the only industry that’s begging to be taxed,” he said. “Once they get that needle in their vein, they’ll never want to cut it off.”

Keber noted that current federal regulations against cannabis are not only hurting the US because his company’s CBD-infused products rely on imported hemp extracts, but also because hundreds of millions of dollars that US entrepreneurs could be making is instead finding its way into the hands of Mexican cartels, with their associated violence.

“When you’re investing in a marijuana business, you’re investing in America,” Keber noted in a comment that brought the house down.

Note: MMJ Business Daily will host a second Investor & Entrepreneur Seminar in New York in June. Click here to add your name to the ‘alerts’ list to be sure you’re invited.

5 comments on “Is an Early Window of Opportunity Closing for Medical Marijuana Investors?
  1. Rebecca Pressman on

    Thanks for hosting a great event!
    Is there any way to set up a forum to continue the networking we started last night?

    Reply
  2. Lora on

    I have been in this industry since it first began, to say the least I am a Pioneer of the Weedpreneur industry, As well as a Pioneer and entrepreneur of multi-MMJ ancillary business’ and later in consultation to dispensary operations myself. So much needs to be said and it sounds like people are getting the message. Unfortunately at a slower pace than this industry is moving. With 5 options of what I have available to my company, none of which lead to a road of poverty, none of which are negative in any light, investors need to take note if they are to truly see profits before the industry goes on a legal basis. While its still gray, is the time to seriously take note. This is going to change the nation as we know it. And yes, banks will cash in and jump aboard. Its only a matter of law change, which is approaching faster than anyone can imagine. I know how fast this industry moves from first hand. And can truly offer to any investor who has doubts how to make this work to his/her advantage, legally!! Without feeding the cartels, without sending business abroad. Please invite me to the next seminar if it is located in California, or any investor wanting to get in touch with me is more than welcomed. Im living proof that it can be done and more Need to know what I know to feel confident moving forward in this industry. Thank you MMJ Biz for keeping me informed of the rest of the MMJ community, while I’m setting the precedence of how it should be done. MJNA, HEMP,CBIS and MDBX are the APPLE stocks of the future. And any MMJ investors who are already involved are the future. Take serious note. The window is closing fast. True this. I went thru looking for investors, the longer they took to tell me no, the sooner I realized I can do it myself. With No interest, no equity….where else can you borrow 5k and only pay half to the lender but in this industry. Pay attention those who are interested, we won’t need you in a couple years or less. We are doing it legally on our own now. And you will have missed a golden opportunity to make equity!! Take Care and thanks for the space.

    Reply
  3. Christian on

    Hi I am a young adult looking to invest or for some one to invest in me and help me establish a team right for this state for the future in this industry in Mass. I am very passionate about trying to work in this field and going to be starting a group that I would love to have people behind. Also anyone looking for any employees in upcoming dispensaries would be great to. Ever since I visited Denver and realized this is really happening, I want this in my dreams more than anything. Thanks for your time. email [email protected] for serious tips or offers.

    Reply
  4. Casey on

    Hello,

    I am looking to expand and relocate my MMJ company in Washington state. Business has been established before 2013. I am foreseeing the Medical industry being regulated and would like to get in on a location and expansion before this happens…Needing investor
    contact me at caseybrasil @ hotmail

    Reply

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