Cannabis industry consultant and Entrepreneur columnist Andre Bourque was approached by a real estate publication out of New York, The Real Deal, to add cannabis investment opportunities to their annual showcase of real estate deals in Shanghai. “We had a meeting at their offices and began mapping out ways to accommodate cannabis sponsors,” shares Bourque. “The idea of owning and managing a 'cannabis real estate portfolio' is something the Chinese can easily grasp.”
There’s no precedent for this. Since this is an industry of bold risk takers and entrepreneurs, pioneers Bourque and co. will have a handful of deals presented in what will be an initial dialogue. MAGNETIC sat down with Bourque to learn more about this special opportunity.
What type of investment opportunities are you bringing to investors?
I’m bringing an assortment of deals because that’s what these investors are looking to do—diversify. I have everything from a patented medical microdosing device seeking $3 million to real estate deals in the hundreds of thousands. Big Capital Partners is joining and showcasing what will become the world’s first luxury, members-only cannabis club in Portland, Oregon, Green Space Lounge. Celebrity cannabis product developer Mixd Greens is seeking investment for retail dispensaries, and oil extraction and manufacturing facilities. The U.S. Weed Channel plans to build a new studio in Las Vegas and its portfolio of advertisers and are all eager to have new programs developed with a round of funding.
What's the cannabis climate like in Shanghai?
China is, in fact, a cannabis superpower. To use a flagrant Trumpism, “a lot of people don't know that.” But it’s true. China is the number one supplier of industrial hemp to the United States, and the country accounts for nearly half of the world’s legal commercial cannabis cultivation cropland. Interestingly, China owns over 600 cannabis-related patents. You might say, “What?!” It’s because the country has a long historical relationship with the plant dating back more than 3,400 years, and heavily immersed itself in research around cannabis during the Vietnam War. China has its own cannabis and hemp advocates, in fact. There’s a lot of potential synergy there I’m looking to explore.
What's the workshop about?
I’m borrowing from my Entrepreneur cannabis column to explain the growth of the cannabis market, share medical discoveries, and describe consumer products and how they derive from the seed-to-sale process. Then, investors will get to meet, first-hand, the entrepreneurs seeking funding and the projects they’ve brought with them. It will be an expo-type setting where attendees are the highly vetted wealthiest billionaires and millionaires in the country.
What do you hope to accomplish while you're there?
Contracts don’t necessarily need to be made right then and there. The bigger picture is to let those Chinese investors who are interested know they now have a conduit to learn about cannabis investment opportunities in the United States.
What type of impact does this have on the global cannabis community?
Normalization. If you're not in this industry championing normalization of the plant, you're in it for the wrong reasons. Israel arguably leads the world in research, and Uruguay in decriminalization. The United States has the opportunity to powerfully influence both research and decriminalization on the world stage. Will that happen with today’s Twitter-circus administration? Likely not. But this story has been played out before, and is inevitable. This time it’s a unique combination somewhere between prohibition and federal approval of vitamin C. The world is watching, so we’ll see if cannabis investment opportunities facilitate the dialogue in a meaningful way.