Ari Stiegler and Gabriel Borden were Venice guys in their 20s, connected to millions and eager to implement a model based on MedMen and Caliva. Then their Russian investor turned up dead.

Within two years their Genius Fund ended up exactly like MedMen, humiliated and down many millions in Culver City. 

  • Genius Fund was known as a private equity company, but actually behaved like a family office for their high-wealth investor in the Moscow suburbs, “or a conglomerate that rolled up into one parent entity.”
  • “Not one person at the top knew what they were doing,” an unnamed Genius employee said. Cannabis has seen this kind of fecal storm before, but never with so many Russian accents.

Quick Hits

  1. Internet CBD searches outpace those of Kardashians. At the same time, hemp-product associations with charlatanism is a legitimate threat. Here’s how to recover and store up some trust
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  2. Lakers legend and entrepreneur Magic Johnson says he’s impressed with Garrett Greller, founder of Uncle Bud’s Hemp & CBD. So now they have a deal.
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  3. There’s no replacement for industry experience, but in a pinch you won’t do better than consuming the insights and observations of Ophelia Chong and Mara Gordon