Marijuana Legalization Gets Lift in New York from Articulated Investors

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Bill Gottlieb and Jake Schrader of Articulated Investors both testified in favor of cannabis legalization on behalf of the New York Assembly Health Committee last week in Albany a few days after it was announced that the state budget proposal is coming to vote in New York with a medical marijuana provision tucked into it.

"The reaction felt positive," said Schrader, co-founder of Articulated Investors. "Politicians want more understanding of the commercial aspect of how affordable cannabis will be and the benefit to New Yorkers."

The Committee is chaired by Diane Sabino, a democratic state senator who is sponsoring the Compassionate Care Act, a medical marijuana bill.

"Many constituents are still stuck on the stigma," Schrader told MainStreet. "We see cannabis as medicine that should be regulated and made available to people who need it."

Launched about 14 months ago, Articulated Investors purchased a warehouse in Rifle, Colo. for $600,000, which the company is now leasing to L.E.A.F. Aspen, a licensed operator in Aspen that is expanding its cultivation facilities.

"Our return on capital with this commercial building is greater than it would be if we were leasing the same building to any other industry we are aware of," said Schrader.

The partners took title of the building on January 17. Since then LEAF Aspen started renovations on the building and expect to plant their first marijuana crop in the Rifle facility around May 1.

"We have less than a dozen SEC accredited investors," said Schrader. "There are enormous risks involved with these investments and everyone who we accept capital from is aware of the risks."

Schrader and Gottlieb are open to conversations in every state where cannabis is legal except California.

"It's not a secure place to do business in cannabis right now; however, if the state issues rigorous guidelines, we would consider investing there," said Schrader. "Until then, we will not work in a state that doesn't have adequate legislation to protect us from federal prosecution."

Currently, Articulated is exploring nearly ten other cannabis-related deals that have not yet been consummated.

"The deals that we are considering have come directly from ArcView or someone we met through ArcView," said Schrader. "ArcView has been instrumental in getting us plugged in to the cannabis industry."

ArcView Group is an investment and research company based in San Francisco that hosts cannabis investor network conferences five to six times a year.

"We run the shark tank for the cannabis industry by facilitating meetings and now we're hosting webinars every week with a few companies for investors who are members," said Troy Dayton, co-founder with ArcView. "They log onto the webinar and ask the cannabis company questions as well as get connected with other investors interested in the company."

Prior to launching Articulated Investors, Schrader worked at Canter Fitzgerald as a stock broker in Manhattan while Gottlieb invested in real estate. Both invested half a million of their own money into the company.

"Neither of us are boy scouts," Schrader. "We see our investments as an opportunity to make money but without getting too preachy we also both believe in the social justice aspect of decriminalizing possession and the overall medicinal properties of cannabis."

So far, Articulated Investors has committed a portion of $1 million to fund a technology start up called Articulated Technology, which is working to create a system to improve data information at grow facilities and dispensaries.

"Assuming that it works we hope cultivation facilities will buy or license from us to use the technology in their facility to improve the information flow about their cannabis crops in real time," Schrader said.

--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet

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