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Why A Veteran Tech Investor Set Her Sights On Cannabis

Why A Veteran Tech Investor Set Her Sights On Cannabis

Cannabis investors can't afford to miss the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, a premier gathering of investors and entrepreneurs painting an honest picture of the opportunities and challenges in cannabis investing. Space is limited—get your tickets before they sell out.

Ahead of the conference, we’re interviewing the speakers who will deliver key insights on the cannabis space at the BZ Cannabis Capital Conference. This installment features Arcview Strategic partner Jeanne Sullivan.

Quickly give us your background—why are you passionate about cannabis?

I rode the tech wave and I am riding the cannabis wave. The social justice issues [surrounding cannabis ]appalled me, but it took 5 more seconds to understand the economic opportunities. I love the complicated and rich puzzle that the sector presents - although it is very frustrating with issues such as banking and 280E. The sector is technical, science based, and fascinating - and I am able to use pattern recognition from [my] tech industry investing days. 
What is the most exciting opportunity in the cannabis space right now?

The vast amount of entrepreneurship and innovation - scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators are in abundance and building new platforms, products and form factors to serve the current legal $11 billion industry. I like the Agri-Tech and other infrastructure companies serving the marketplace.

There are still massive challenges for the nascent cannabis space to overcome—what is the most pressing of those challenges?

The #1 issue - lack of banking. It is harsh and makes life difficult. Even for companies serving ancillary businesses only, banking has gotten very weird and only THE BANKS (not us as investors and entrepreneurs) are listening to Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. This is ridiculous.

#2 - get rid of the draconian 280E tax issues.  

#3 - the US should be the leader, not the laggard for cannabis research which has been stilted by the government. It is time to do human-based clinical trials on a fast track to determine which cannabinoids create and fix various medical problems. 

How should the industry advocate for a cannabis regulatory framework that will allow for safe, sustainable growth?

Vote for Democrats this November - any Democrat to change the majority in the House in order to replace the heads of committees like Pete Sessions who is Chair of the Rules committee and not allowing any banking legislation to the floor of the House. 

What big surprises do you predict occurring in cannabis in the next three years? Will a big legacy tobacco or alcohol incumbent invest in the space, or something else remarkable?

I believe that cannabis will be dropped from Schedule I within two years. The States will rule on the regulations for each State. Tobacco, Alcohol and big Pharma will NOT miss this opportunity, especially since cannabis use has a correlation with all three sectors today. They are investing today - some publicly like Constellation Brands and the rest in back rooms and in their labs sorting out how they will 'play to win'. 

Any other thoughts?

I believe the multi-tier distribution strategy, like the Alcohol industry, will prevail over time as the distribution methodology for cannabis. If you’d like to learn more, feel free to contact me at or on Twitter at @Gianna212.



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