Offering Investors an Opportunity to Participate the Fastest Growing Industry in the U.S.
One of the earliest memories I have from my childhood was working in my grandfather’s restaurant. I remember him putting in 15-hour shifts every day and putting all of the money he had saved up during his lifetime since moving to the United States into a family restaurant. He organized a few private investors who provided the financing to help him launch his small corner eatery. When I was a kid, I would go into his restaurant and clean tables, take out the trash and serve in any capacity that I could to help him run the small business. Most of the time, I didn’t receive any pay for my work, because I realized that the money that would have been paid to me was needed more to keep the restaurant supplied and operating at peak performance.
Most of my friends never understood why I would put in all those hours of work and received no pay. They would be gathering, having fun and many times asked if I could join, but I often had to tell them that my grandfather needed my help at the restaurant and I could not hang out with them.
What they didn’t realize was that my relationship with my grandfather was something very unique and one that they could never fully understand. My grandfather had a major influence on my life and he was the person who raised me. I understood how many sacrifices he had made so that one day I could realize the life he had hoped he could give me. Looking back on my time working at the restaurant, I realize now, as I grow older, that it was a major influence on the man I have become today.
One incident that I will never forget happened one late on a Sunday night as we were closing the store up for the night. In a typical fashion, I would see my grandfather counting the money that was in the register. This time, however, I saw him count the money a few times, shake his head and go into his wallet and take ten dollars of his own money out and put it in the register.
Knowing how tight finances were for him I asked, “Why are you putting money into the register?” He looked at me and said, “Whoever was running the register must not have collected the right amount on one of the meal tickets and that his investors who had placed faith in him to run the business effectively and profitably shouldn’t be punished for this loss.” This principle and his words of wisdom are something that I have never forgotten to this day.
As I grew older and began playing sports in high school and college my grandfather would always find a way to make it to many of my games. I never knew how he had the time in the day to make it work, but was always grateful to have him at my most important events.
As he grew older and I began my career in the commercial real estate industry, I received a call from him. He told me he had some bad news he had to share with me. He had been diagnosed with cancer and the outlook wasn’t looking good. According to the doctor, his time was very limited and would probably be only a matter of months. After the call, I remember sitting in my seat at the office just frozen and not sure what I could do to help the man that had such an impact on my life and was my idol.
I still remember going to the hospital to visit him every few days and with each week that went by I could see him doing worse and worse and in extreme pain. Many times it was so bad that we couldn’t even have a conversation. Then one day I went to the hospital and all of a sudden, I saw my grandfather with a big smile on his face. I inquired “Did they give you a different medicine today?” He looked me in the eyes and said that he was given medical marijuana to relieve some of the pain he was in. For the first time in a month or two we were able to have a great conversation about life and all of the things that were going on in the world.
It was at this moment I learned about the benefits that marijuana could provide for sick patients who were suffering from overwhelming, chronic pain. A couple weeks later, right before he passed away, I went to the hospital knowing that he didn’t have much time left.
When I arrived I could see he wasn’t doing well and when I approached him in his hospital bed he looked me in the eyes and said “Son, I don’t know how much longer I will be around, but I want to ask you, what is the biggest thing you’ve learned from me?”
I looked back at him and said, “I will never forget the day you put that $10 bill into the register because you felt you owed it to your investment partners who had put their trust in you to run a profitable business.” He looked back at me with a big smile on his face and I knew that he realized that what I had learned from that event would have an enormous impact on the rest of my life. The next morning my grandfather passed away.
After his passing I began to think more and more about running my own business one day like my grandfather had many years before. At this juncture, I had been in the commercial real estate industry for six years and had underwritten and structured hundreds of commercial real estate deals ranging from warehouse, retail/office, co-op, condominium and multifamily buildings. I served as the team leader of eight portfolio managers while managing a portfolio of more than 400 commercial real estate loans in excess of $2 Billion dollars. My experience and expertise was commercial real estate, but my mind kept wandering back to the benefits of medical marijuana.
Intrigued by the amazing pain relief that medical marijuana had provided to my grandfather during his time of intense pain, I began studying the cannabis industry to see if they were any business opportunities that might provide a good return-on-investment. During this time frame Colorado, Oregon and Washington had not only legalized medical marijuana, but also weed for recreational use. At first, the only good articles I could find were in marijuana trade publications, but as the industry grew, more and more newspapers and financial publications began covering the exploding, double-digit year-after-year growth rate that the marijuana industry was enjoying in every single state where it was legal.
Next I found the very impressive research studies published by ArcView, a leading investment banking firm that confirmed what pioneer investors and entrepreneurs had suspected for a while -- the legalization of cannabis is one of greatest business opportunities of our time and it’s still too early to be able to predict the huge growth trends that lay ahead. Many compare it the repeal of Prohibition and the following boom enjoyed by the alcohol industry in the 1930s.
According to one of ArcView’s research reports, The State of Legal Marijuana Markets – 4th Edition, legal cannabis sales in the United States jumped 17% to $5.4 billion in 2015 and sales are forecasted to grow a stunning 25% in 2016 reaching $6.7 billion in total U.S. sales. Even more impressive is the prediction that the legal cannabis market will see $22.8 billion in gross revenue by 2020. To help put this figure in perspective, the National Football League (NFL) saw roughly $12 billion in total revenue during 2015.
A leading factor in this windfall growth is the expected legalization of many states over the next few years starting with the November 2016 elections. Up until now most of the action has been on the West Coast, aside from D.C.
This year recreational legalization is expected to start on the East Coast. Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New England, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont are all pushing ballot measures in November 2016. On the West Coast, California, Nevada and Arizona are almost certainly guaranteed to pass recreational marijuana use legislation.
A 2015 Gallup poll found that now 58% of all Americans support legalization and it was the third consecutive year that such a large majority of Americans supported the legalization of marijuana.
Well-versed in the business of brokering a wide variety of commercial real estate properties and zoning laws, our team realized that most of the people jumping into the marijuana industry were real estate neophytes. Nor did they have experience in researching, managing and complying with local zoning laws, which have wide variations from state-to-state and county-to-county. Our team identified the huge pent-up demand within the marijuana industry for some high-tech data mining tools that could cross-tab local zoning laws with available commercial real estate properties in order to find undervalued properties that could be refurbished with new lights, HVAC and watering facilities and resold at a 300% markup. A very lucrative business opportunity for a team of commercial real estate brokers with hundreds of years of combined experience and many established relationships with hard-money lenders, commercial real estate investors and venture capitalists to fund these new green startups and green real estate investment properties.
To serve the booming marijuana industry, growers and cannapreneurs would need commercial real estate to setup new marijuana apothecaries, dispensaries, testing laboratories, and high-tech growing warehouses, so my team decided to found Weed Real Estate, Inc. Our firm will utilize geographic information systems (GIS) that will capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of spatial or geographical data. Utilizing these GIS tools we have identified undervalued buildings in states with marijuana legalization and are working hard to bring online more properties in new states that have marijuana measures on the 2016 or bills moving through the state legislatures. When the green rush starts we will be able to provide our clients with an immediate competitive advantage in finding premium commercial real estate properties, purchase them, infuse capital to make them ideal for growers and then sell them on the open market at premium prices.
To raise money to fund facilities, computer networks, geographic information systems and hire local information technology staff and real estate brokers on a state-by-state basis, Weed Real Estate, Inc. has been approved by the SEC to issue a Title IV, Reg. A+, Tier II equity crowdfunding offering, which will soon be disclosed and hosted on StartEngine.com (This article is not a legal offering).
This will allow everyone from established broker dealers with investment syndicates as well as every medical and recreational pot aficionado to purchase equity shares and become owners of a very well positioned marijuana commercial real estate mapping, consulting and brokering firm that will become a leading player in the United States cannabis industry.
The equity investment opportunity allows anyone to invest and reap the rewards from from investing in new marijuana startups and get in on the ground level. As my grandfather taught me, our firm will instill in every single employee the understanding of how important shareholders are and that investors will always come first in every financial decision that we make for the future of this firm.
Douglas DiSanti, founder & CEO of Weed Real Estate Inc. – Mr. DiSanti has been in the commercial real estate industry for over seven years. He has worked for two major banks; as an underwriter he structured and underwrote $1.5 Billion dollars in commercial real estate loans ranging from warehouse, retail/office, co-op, condominiums and multi-family buildings. Mr. DiSanti, currently managers a team of portfolio managers at a multi-international bank. His own portfolio consists of 400 commercial real estate loans – in excess of $2 Billion dollars. Mr. DiSanti is well known in the industry and considered and expert in commercial real estate properties. He received his MBA from Texas A&M – Commerce and a M.S. in finance from the College at Brockport.