Rhode Island's Wealthy Investors Coming to Cannabis

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

Among the wealthy investors of Rhode Island, Thomas M. Ryan, the former CEO of CVS Health who are investing in the cannabis and hemp industries. Ryan gave a gift of $35 million to the University of Rhode Island where he has been named for athletic complex and several academic programs.

Ryan joins the retired CEO of Beacon Mutual Insurance, a lobbyist, hedge fund manager, Republican gubernatorial hopeful, and real estate developers investing today in the booming cannabis industry.

Ryan has also been listed in disclosure documents filed with the state for the Summit Medical Compassion Center in Warwick which is a medical marijuana dispensary. He is also been listed in a spin-off company called CanWell which specializes in the extraction of THC and infused into oils and foods.

High-value investors are keeping tabs on how cannabis is helping people wean off of prescription drugs and have been impressed by the reports on its capabilities to assist with a variety of other illnesses as well.

It's been reported that retail sales of medical and recreational cannabis will surpass $13 billion by the end of the year, which is an increase of about 35% since last year, with the potential to rise to over $40 billion by 2024.

Other members of the CanWell Investment group are Joseph Healey who co-founded a $3 billion New York hedge fund called Healthcor which was focused on investing in pharmaceuticals and medical technology.

Cannabis companies looking to expand face a difficult challenge when raising investment funds. Due to the federal government still keeping cannabis as a Schedule 1 narcotic, FDIC insured banks will still not lend to cannabis companies and in turn, have to raise the funds through private capital.

Big named cannabis companies like Acreage Holdings, a Canadian-based company with investments in 20 states have picked up investors like John Boehner, the former Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, and Bill Weld, former governor of Massachusetts.

Even in the hemp industry wealthy investors such as the developer Richard P. Baccari, president of Providence-based Churchill & Banks which is an RI Hemp Farm which received a license to grow hemp in April.


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