Marijuana Business Magazine July 2019

July 2019 | 73 A growing number of marijuana companies are filling their C-suites with financial professionals—analysts, bankers, money managers, investors and others—who previously worked at top investment banks. These professionals bring with them high-value experience analyzing companies, negotiating deals and navigating the necessary steps to raise capital. What compels a financial professional to move from Wall Street to Green Street, and how can Wall Street experience be applied in cannabis? Marijuana Business Magazine spoke with four marijuana executives who previously worked on Wall Street to get their insights. Finance veterans who’ve transitioned to cannabis share insights on rounding up funding and doing business in an emerging industry How has your experience at Jefferies helped you deal with cannabis industry hype and the complexities of marijuana operations? Institutional sales is the worst job in the world when your IPO breaks issue price and you are the bookrunner. Last November, when all our competitors were doing RTOs (reverse takeovers) and breaking issue right and left, I was on the phone every day with investors telling them everything was going to be OK. The other part of that is being comfortable with the volatility. We’re talking very serious volatility in these stocks. And that’s what we had early on in the internet. They were all over the place. Jefferies is one of a tiny number of U.S. investment banks covering cannabis. Do you see more institutional firms coming into cannabis? Across the board, we’re seeing traditional hedge fund and money managers coming to these conferences, and they want to be ready when the SAFE Act passes (see “SAFE Bets on the Horizon”)—whether it’s six months, 12 months, 18 months. I think you’ll see a Jefferies type of a firm—they’re risk-takers, they’ve always been great junk bond people—and others doing deals and putting their name on the front cover of a prospectus as soon as the SAFE Act passes. How has working in a world where women are underrepresented prepared you for cannabis, another industry where women are underrepresented? I was lucky as a woman. I was working at the right firm because it was a fully commission-based firm. It was an eat-what-you-kill firm. It was very much equal pay for women if you were bringing the numbers home. I was the No. 1 salesperson and covered New York for most of those 10 years I was at Jefferies. If you don’t have extreme grit and perseverance, you can’t compete. If you win, you have to be ready for 30 lawsuits to hit the front door of your office. You have to have a toughness to get through some of the obstacles. CURRENT COMPANY iAnthus Holdings, multistate marijuana company, New York CURRENT POSITION Chief strategy officer WALL STREET COMPANY Jefferies & Co., New York WALL STREET POSITION Senior vice president, equity sales BETH STAVOLA