VIA Folio, a technology platform that allows investors to hold alternative assets alongside publicly traded securities, has decidided to support the growing Cannabis industry. With recent actions by several states that allows for the legal use of Cannabis, VIA Folio has seen increased demand for their services for Cannabis related companies. VIA Folio published a page on their website that explained their strategic initiative:
Why are we venturing into Cannabis?
- Folio has for many years made it possible to invest in publicly traded cannabis-related companies, including GW Pharmaceuticals, Insys Therapeutics, Cara Therapeutics and Zynerba Pharmaceuticals.
- Business conditions are ripe for expansion, with medicinal use of cannabis now legal in 24 states and the District of Columbia—a combined region comprising half of the U.S. population.
- The DEA recently increased number of permits it can issue to facilities growing cannabis for pharmaceutical research. The move signifies a major change, as the DEA had until this time only sanctioned one facility. Now, it will issue permits to any many facilities as it deems necessary.
- We believe the trend is toward legalization in most states and more mainstream acceptance of investment in cannabis-related companies.
Simultaneously, VIA Folio has published a “White Paper” on their decision after they “carefully considered the complex legal landscape and public policy issues surrounding the growing legalization movement for cannabis.”
Cannabis consumption remains illegal under federal law. Yet in many states the utilization for medicinal purposes is allowed. VIA Folio has decided to provide services in two specific areas:
(1) pharmaceutical companies engaged in research under waivers granted by the Drug Enforcement Administration; (2) companies that do not “touch the plant” but provide products or services to businesses that do.
Blain McLaughlin, COO of VIA Folio, said they have been considering cannabis businesses and their capital raising efforts for some time.
“We … accelerated that exploration after a number of broker-dealers and others asked about our willingness to support these companies,” said McLaughlin.
Asked specifically to Explain the challenges, McLaughlin told Crowdfund Insider;
“Many small- to mid-sized businesses seeking to raise capital face a capital chasm. The availability of bank business loans has declined, and most small- to medium-size businesses are not large enough to interest venture capitalists. We decided to focus our efforts on cannabis-related companies engaged in activities that are legal at both the state and federal level because they are uniquely affected by the capital chasm.”
As for expectations on demand for their services, McLaughlin explained;
“It’s too early to tell. We expect to see changes in the legal and regulatory landscape from state-wide ballot initiatives this November and a change in federal administration. These changes will result in challenges and opportunities for companies directly and indirectly involved with cannabis.”
Cannabis entrepreneurs and raising capital from investors is very much an emerging sector of investment. The fact that VIA Folio is willing to accomodate this industry is another step in the legitimization and regulation of marijuana.