My foray into cannabis began in 2011 when I was invited to Colorado to visit a commercial cultivation facility. At the time, I was serving as COO of an alternative asset private equity firm focused on the luxury hotel and resort asset class in South Florida, the Caribbean, and South America. I co-founded that company in 2008 after serving as General Counsel to a resort development company. Having completed my undergraduate and legal studies at the University of Colorado, which in hindsight proved to be fortuitous, I was quite familiar with the landscape of Colorado but completely unfamiliar with the legal cannabis industry. The moment I set foot in that grow, I knew that my professional life was going to take an unexpected turn.
After a year of intensive research, I recognized what is clear to most today — a “generational macro trend” in the emerging legal cannabis industry. Being deeply rooted in the private equity world, I was struck by the dearth of traditional investment capital in what was quickly becoming a multi-billion dollar industry. I observed that institutional investors in particular were sidelined and the growth of the industry and the quality of its participants were suppressed due to outmoded federal prohibition and the resulting conflict between federal and state laws. Yet, the industry was quickly gaining legal standing across the U.S. along with unprecedented public support and was poised for explosive growth. I was, and remain, convinced that eventually the legal barriers, in the form of federal prohibition, would fall.
During my private equity days, I participated in the development and operation of a hotel management company that was formed to manage one of our luxury hotel assets. I saw how a third-party operating company could deliver much needed service to its clients and scale in a really significant way. I recognized that there would be an emerging need for the services of professional management companies in the cannabis space, of which there were few to none at the time. I also understood that as the industry expanded across the United States, more sophisticated capital would enter into the space to invest in existing companies and to pursue licenses, oftentimes under a limited license framework. With the expansion of the industry, facilities would become larger, more expensive, and more complex. Investors in those companies would be looking for the support of a proven operator. MJardín could be ideally suited to fit such needs. Today, we describe ourselves as a turnkey cultivation services company that provides day-to-day facility management to select cannabis businesses across the United States. We have become an industry leader with clients in 10 states producing over 130,000 lbs. to date.
I am a co-owner of a medical dispensary in Colorado and have been peripherally involved with others, but this is the first time I have taken the lead as an operator. While the names are similar, this is a completely separate company from MJardín. I enjoy the cultivation side of the business, but it is, of course, primarily business-to-business. The development of the dispensary and the Jardín brand, on the other hand, has allowed me to tap into my passion and creativity and the dispensary will afford a greater opportunity to interact with clients and the community. A great deal of thought and attention to detail has gone into the construction of the dispensary and development of the brand. Jardín (“garden” in Spanish) is intended to elevate the dispensary experience for our guests. We are striving to create a “luxury” experience in terms of the physical dispensary, the products we carry, our staff and culture, and our overall guest experience, yet we want to ensure that we are perfectly accessible to all. We have set a high bar for ourselves and are very excited to introduce Jardín to Las Vegas.