EXCLUSIVE: Cannabis debt market executives debate best states to target, Seaport’s Mascone says ‘New York is very investable’

A key thing for US cannabis investors is knowing which markets to target in a complicated and convoluted environment in which each state has its own unique set of rules, regulations and laws.

“It’s not static,” John Lykouretzos, CEO of FocusGrowth Asset Management, said during a panel discussion on the cannabis debt market Thursday at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital conference in Fontainebleau Miami Beach.

“We like limited license states that are medical only.”

The roundtable included Lykouretzos; Travis Goadmanaging partner at Pelorus Equity; Jack MasconeHead of Capital Markets at Global Seaport SGIIW; and Len TannenbaumCEO of AFC Gamma Inc. AFCC.

Investing in Cannabis State by State: Lykouretzos said he likes the well-run businesses in some of the first states to legalize cannabis.

“I’m not afraid of some of the OG states. I love Oregon and I love Colorado,” he said.

Tannenbaum said even limited license states change, so investors should watch market dynamics closely.

“We have a lot of data and data collection. Prices in Pennsylvania are falling in terms of growth, so growth in Pennsylvania is much less attractive than it was a year or two ago, but dispensaries are always excellent,” said Tannenbaum.

At the same time, Tannenbaum said he was enthusiastic about New Jersey, Missouri and Ohio and preferred vertical businesses, operating as both growers and dispensaries.

Opportunities in New York: New York legalized recreational cannabis in 2021, and licensed sales are expected to begin in 2022 or 2023.

Unfortunately, investing in the New York market is difficult at this point due to repeated delays and uncertainties, but Mascone said there are still opportunities in the Empire State.

“Based on a loan case, New York is very investable and institutional participants are excited about New York. I think those risks manifest themselves much more through stock market valuation. But when you’re at the top of the structure capital, New York York is very viable,” Mascone said.

Goad is also bullish on New York.

“We’re actively targeting things in New York and looking at deals now. It’s very investable,” Goad said.

Learn more about this and other upcoming Benzinga Cannabis events at this link.

Photo by Dez Smith.

Tana T. Thorsen