When Hadley Ford created a company for investing in the fast-growing business of legal marijuana, the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. investment banker left New York and headed north of the border.
While more than half of U.S. states allow marijuana for medical or recreational use, the drug is still outlawed by the federal government, starving pot entrepreneurs of institutional capital. Major stock exchanges won’t accept listings for businesses that Washington deems illegal, and banks and other lenders have stayed mostly on the sidelines.
So Ford created a public company that raises money in Canada, where medical marijuana is allowed, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supports full legalization and bankers, lawyers and accountants operate without fear of prosecution. The move gave Ford entree into a vibrant public market for cannabis and a way to fund investments in the U.S.
“We have a $50 billion playing field all to ourselves, and the prices are ridiculously cheap,” Ford said in an interview. ”You could not have created a better business model for a reformed Goldman Sachs banker to wade into.”