Interview with Anthony Scaramucci
On September 17, Anthony Scaramucci spoke at Kahner Global's 5th Annual Cannabis Private Investment Summit in New York. The event hosted more than 180 industry leaders and investors for a day of education, networking, and collaborations.
1. Why are you excited about keynoting the 5th annual Cannabis Private Investment Summit?
I’ve been an investor my whole life. I spent 30 years on Wall Street (less my 11-day stint in the White House). I’m always looking for pockets of growth where there are exponential opportunities. So, in the mid 80s, that was Microsoft and then by the time you got to the mid to late 90s, it was the internet. In the mid 2000’s it was Internet 2.0. But today in 2019 and 2020, the fastest most exponentially growing area is cannabis.
2. What will be the key takeaway from your keynote at the event?
I’m coming to present a realistic 5 – 10-year outlook on the space, why there will be a ton of capital thrown at the space and why I think it’s a big growth opportunity. I’m going to try to address all of that in the time I have on stage.
3. What is your overall approach to investing and how does your approach change, or does it, when it comes to cannabis?
I think anytime you’re in an emerging area or a new business, or in the case of cannabis, because it’s a form of a drug, there will be fairly significant governmental regulation. But the demand for the product is overwhelming; and I’m not necessarily talking about recreational demand, I’m more talking about medicinal demand. If you think about what’s gone on as a result of the opioid crisis, the cannabis space and CBD is going to be one of the antidotes. So therefore, you’re going to have to accept some of the vagaries of regulation and some of the vagaries of waiting for government to appropriately regulate and make the markets free, if you will. But if you’re a long-term investor you can see the growth opportunities and therefore you would be excited about all of this.
4. Which cannabis companies are you currently invested in?
We don’t have any yet. I’m close to Columbia Care and I know the Acreage guys well.
5. Do you use cannabis or has it impacted your family or friends in some way that makes you personally passionate about the industry?
For me, I would much rather see it regulated and I would much rather see the dosing and the…I sort of feel it’s like the spirits business. People are going to use it whether you want them to or not. I would rather have it regulated and have the units of drug delivery measured. Just imagine what the alcohol space would be like today if we were in the Wild West of the prohibition era. To me, I’m not one of these sanctimonious moralists, I would rather have the stuff be regulated, taxed, the government makes revenue off of it, but it’s also providing some kind of clarity and uniform standard to quality.
6. You mentioned in an interview last year (Nov. 2018) that you think Trump will legalize cannabis at the Federal level in his last two years he’s in office. Has anything changed since you said that or do you still think Trump will change his stance on legalization and make it happen?
If he gets re-elected, and again, I want to be objective, I tried to be in order of his as long as I could but now it’s gone into full blown crazy land, but if he does get re-elected, I do think there will be a movement to national legalization. Let me put it this way; sometime between 2020 and 2024, whoever the next president is or if the current president gets re-elected, I think there will be national legalization. The horse is already out of the barn. It’s too late, too many states have legalized it with great success. We’re learning that it can be a replacement for pain management where opioids where the drugs of choice. You might be able to use this instead and that’s another big positive.
7. When you were comms director, you must have been part of or exposed to conversations around the passing of the Farm Bill, what was that like?
No. Unfortunately I wasn’t there long enough for that.