SXSW 2024

The High-Highs and Low-Lows of Cannabis Investing


In the beginning, private investors flood new legal cannabis markets with capital, sparking green rushes. But it doesn’t take long for the spigots to start squeezing shut. New investors ask tougher questions. They perform comprehensive due diligence. And too often, they discover cannabis companies saddled with bad debt and futures weighed down, if not doomed, by poor financial and strategic decisions made in the early days. In this panel discussion, participants explore the many red flags that investors like VCs should pay attention to when considering cannabis investments.

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Laura Bianchi, Founding Partner @ Bianchi & Brandt:
Tahira Rehmatullah, Partner:
Joyce Cenali, COO @ Big Rock:
Jeanne Sullivan:


  1. Invest for the long term. Making any return in a cannabis investment is far from guaranteed, and it rarely happens rapidly. Practice patience.
  2. Assets matter. Real estate is straightforward. Things like licenses, complex. Invest in experts who gauge collateral and include them in contracts.
  3. Cannabis is the B team until federal legalization. The regulatory landscape stymies growth and profits. Prep for a bumpy, but maybe fruitful, flight.



Molly Sposato, Account Coordinator, Grasslands

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Government & Civic Engagement
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate

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