Tennessee treasurer orders state pension fund to sell marijuana investment

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Tennessee’s treasurer has ordered the state’s pension fund manager to sell stock in a marijuana company after learning about the investment.

Treasurer David Lillard said he was unaware of the investment until he was contacted by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The newspaper reported that more than a dozen public pension funds invested in marijuana through a California-based real estate investment trust (REIT).

The REIT, Innovative Industrial Properties, serves the marijuana industry and trades on the New York Stock Exchange as IIPR.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, has routinely opposed any move to legalize medical marijuana.

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System passively invested in Innovative Industrial Properties through a small-company stock index.

State Senate Finance chair Bo Watson, a Republican, said the investment is contradictory and confusing to the public.

Rep. Jeremy Faison, also a Republican, said the stock is on the rise and is questioning the decision to sell the shares.

Lillard said the state needs to review the process on purchasing indexes.

 – Associated Press