Why private equity is getting into growing marijuana and what it means for RE

Hint: location, location, location

Oct.October 29, 2017 10:40 AM

MedMen co-chairman Chris Leavy, a former BlackRock executive. (LinkedIn, front; Pixabay, back)

A new private equity fund specializing in marijuana business is actively seeking investors and property in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Midtown Manhattan.

Officially known as MedMen, the fund is making waves thanks to its co-chairman Chris Leavy, former chief investment officer of fundamental equities at BlackRock. MedMen’s goal for Opportunity Fund II is to raise $250 million — in LA last year, they raised $60 million — to grow and eventually sell pot in the three American cities, according to Bloomberg News.

How the marijuana industry functions with the law makes most financial institutions run in the other direction, but Leavy sees a new opportunity.

“I never thought we’d find an emerging market right here in the U.S., but here we are,” he told Bloomberg.

A large part of setting up shop is finding real estate where pot production fulfills zoning requirements — far enough away from schools, religious buildings etc. — which makes a commercial retail property hunt particularly challenging.

Simultaneously, Leavy is searching for investors and is hoping to attract family offices and individuals. For Fund II, the minimum buy-in was set at $1 million, however it increased late last week to $3 million.

[Bloomberg] — E.K. Hudson

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