Why so many entrepreneurs with real estate and finance backgrounds are getting into legal marijuana

In 2009, in the aftermath of the Great Recession, Mike Leibowitz was having a hard time renting out his Denver warehouse. Then he reached out to lawyers to explore another option: growing marijuana.

“We grew in it,” says Leibowitz, who went on to found Denver-based cannabis cultivation business Veritas Fine Cannabis. “Right at the time, when we were really scrambling to figure out what we were going to do with it, because the market was so bad.”

Leibowitz, whose background is in finance and real estate, joins The Cannabist Show and editor-in-chief Ricardo Baca to talk about some of the reasons why many current cannabis entrepreneurs came from the real estate and finance sectors.

“In banking and real estate and finance, we come from a world of very high and heavy regulations,” Leibowitz says.

As such, the learning curve for another highly regulated industry wasn’t as daunting, he says.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have experience in real-estate negotiations.

“It certainly helps you in the wheeling and dealing,” he says.

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