Robert Frichtel will have 10 minutes to persuade a roomful of investors in Las Vegas to part with as much as $6 million for a business leasing space for growing marijuana.
Frichtel’s firm will be among 12 companies making pitches Jan. 23 to as many as 70 angel investors assembled by the ArcView Group, based in San Francisco. Members include Joby Pritzker, whose family started Hyatt Hotels Corp., and Adam Wiggins, co-founder of Heroku Inc., a software maker acquired by Salesforce.com Inc.
“Everybody is running toward this as the next entrepreneurial wave -- the green rush,” said Frichtel, 50, president and chief executive officer of Advanced Cannabis Solutions Inc., based in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Investment interest in the marijuana industry has surged since Colorado and Washington voters in 2012 legalized sales to anyone 21 and older. Long lines formed when Colorado retail shops opened Jan. 1. Twenty states, including California and Massachusetts, now allow the medical use of marijuana. New York may be next under a plan announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“Every day, more and more people realize that cannabis will be legal and that it will be the next great American industry, and so they’re placing their bets,” Troy Dayton, ArcView’s CEO, said in an interview at his home office in a three-bedroom apartment in Emeryville, California, near Oakland.
“Anything that you have for any other product, you’re going to see for cannabis,” said Dayton, 36, a native of Hillsborough, New Jersey. “The question is when, how and who. The who is largely being decided right now.”
Prospects for legalization of marijuana are also galvanizing stock market investors. While regulators warn of scams, some of the biggest percentage gains in the market this year are being harvested by investors speculating on marijuana penny stocks. GreenGro Technologies Inc., which provides management services for medical dispensaries, has soared 409 percent to 22 cents after touching 80 cents Jan. 8.
Advanced Cannabis climbed 105 percent to $6.65 this year from $3.25. The company reported a $472,000 loss on $455 in sales in the quarter ending Sept. 30.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority issued an alert in August saying investors should beware of potentially fraudulent purveyors of stocks connected to pot and related services. Scammers may be promoting the shares, then selling them in what’s called a “pump-and-dump” scheme, the brokerage watchdog organization said in a statement. It didn’t name any companies.