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May 9, 2019

This episode is supported by Medical Cannabis Mentor: The finest evidenced-based cannabis education courses for healthcare professionals, dispensary personnel and patients.

A number of you gave me grief when we featured investment leader Rich Batenburg on How to Invest in Cannabis (EP 49).  “Rich had great advice for people with $1 million in the bank but what about smaller investors like me?”

Message received loud and clear, which is why we’re bringing you this episode featuring Seke Ballard and his investor-funded lending institution, Good Tree Capital. Good Tree is disrupting the banking industry by providing loans to smaller, vetted, credit worthy operators in cannabis. It raises money from individual investors like you and me, offering a healthy, low-risk return of 28.7% over three years. That’s a great deal.

Cannabis is legal in over 30 states but because of the federal prohibition, no bank will lend to a small cannabis operator. This presents an enormous obstacle to regular folks trying to get access to financial services -- 80% of single operator licensees can't even get a have bank account. No bank will touch them.

I can relate. When I launched Medical Cannabis Mentor (an online education company) my first call was to JP Morgan Chase, where” the right relationship is everything” and where I have been a customer for 30 years. But just as I was set to write my first check I was informed by terse letter that Chase would be shutting that account -- no reason provided. When I wrote to Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase inquiring why, I received a phone call from an offshore functionary, who informed me that the bank was under no obligation to offer a reason. Case closed. Good bye.

Seke got his MBA from Harvard and then went to work at Proctor & Gamble. In 2012 he moved to Seattle to work at Amazon, where he helped make Jeff Bezos the richest man in the world. 2012 was also the year that Washington and Colorado legalized for adult use, so he got a front row seat to the growing pains of the new industry. Good Tree was his solution to soothing some of those pains. (Not insignificantly, as Seke tells us in this podcast, consuming cannabis played a key role in devising the solution. “I’m closer to being a finance guy than an artist, but cannabis unlocks creativity within me. I have really good ideas when I consume. This was one of them.” We agree.

Before I leave you, please allow me to share this Shameless Self Promotion: Yours truly is among the 100 people in cannabis that HC Magazine says you should know -- see page 69. I’m pleased to be in such good company.