For more than a decade, Colorado businessman Jeffrey Friedland, 67, was viewed by many in Colorado’s toniest ski towns as the go-to expert on all things cannabis.

Friedland, who published the book “Marijuana: The World’s Most Misunderstood Plant,” owned two retail cannabis stores and an interest in a cultivation plant in Steamboat Springs, Colo., and hosted dinner parties at his various homes for investors.

So when Friedland began promoting the stock of cannabis company OWC Pharmaceutical Research Corp. of Israel, investors paid attention.

Friedland, however, promoted OWC stock to investors without disclosing his role as a paid promoter or the amount he was being compensated, according to the SEC. In fact, he was paid millions of shares of OWC, which he held at two companies that he controlled, Intiva Pharma LLC and Global Corporate Strategies LLC.

He also secretly sold his OWC shares at the same time he was touting the stock to the public as a long-term investment, the SEC said.

Now Friedland and his two companies have agreed to pay $4.2 million to settle SEC charges for fraudulently promoting and trading a cannabis stock between 2016 until 2018, the agency announced.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado entered the final judgment in the case against the Colorado cannabis king on Thursday.

Up until the time regulators caught up to them, Friedland and his wife Kathy used the proceeds of his stock promotions to make lavish purchases, including paying cash for a nearly $2 million home in Snowmass, Colo.; paying $687,000 cash for a Denver-area condominium in February 2018; paying off more than $350,000 in credit card and personal debt; spending nearly $100,000 on two cars and a piano; and transferring more than $300,000 to The Jeffrey and Kathy Friedland Irrevocable Trust, The Kathy and Jeffrey Friedland Foundation, the Friedland’s two children and Kathy Friedland’s personal bank account.

Unbeknownst to any investors to whom he promoted the stock, Friedland sold more than five million shares of OWC for net proceeds of $6,490,396 as the stock price spiked between March 2 and March 22 in 2017, the SEC said.

"Retail investors are entitled to the facts about promoters' relationships with the companies they tout under our securities laws," said SEC Associate Director Melissa Hodgman. "The $2 million penalty assessed against Friedland reflects the SEC's strong commitment to protecting investors' right to fair and accurate disclosure."

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