Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pot Sells Out — MBAs Poised to Invade Legalized Marijuana Industry

Though the popular image of the medical marijuana grower and dealer is of a hippie eschewing anything to do with "the man," button-down Ivy League MBAs — for better or worse — are becoming the new face of legalized cannabis.

Seattle NPR affiliate KPLU profiles Privateer Holdings, which developed the Leafly website (known as the Yelp of medical marijuana). With the passage of legalized pot in Washington, the company's partners, Yale MBAs, have employed lobbyists to push legislators to allow large scale grow operations.

But that's not all — Privateer Holdings wants the cannabis industry to start taking cues from more mature agricultural markets. "If you go Nebraska, if you go to Lincoln, Nebraska and you look at corn there’s corn banks and corn insurance and agricultural supply houses and corn associations and high fructose corn syrup and there’s hundreds of sub industries around corn and all of those opportunities will exist in the cannabis industry," Brendan Kennedy, one of the partners, said.

However, other aren't so thrilled with the prospect of marijuana becoming King Cannabis.

Alison Holcomb, who spearheaded the Initiative 502 effort that legalized recreational pot in Washington and Drug Policy Director for the ACLU of Washington stated in a letter to the liquor control board, "Large industries that have large overhead and are interested in maximizing their profits are going to target their advertising in ways to promote marijuana use, not simply meet current demand where it currently exists."

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