A private equity firm backed by billionaire Peter Thiel has raised an additional $100 million to invest in marijuana companies, a sign of the unflagging appeal of the pot industry in the face of a potential crackdown by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Privateer Holdings said on Thursday that the latest closing brings its fundraising total to $200 million, a record for a private company in the nascent cannabis industry. Though based in Seattle, Privateer looks mostly outside the U.S. for investment opportunities, mindful of the risks posed by the Trump administration. Earlier this month, Sessions rescinded an Obama-era policy that helped states legalize marijuana for recreational use.
“We’re in the midst of a global paradigm shift when it comes to cannabis,” said Brendan Kennedy, co-founder and chief executive officer of Privateer. “If I look today at the global leaders in this industry, I would look at companies based in Canada and the Netherlands and Israel and Spain — not in the U.S., because the climate in the U.S. has deterred investments.”
Privateer’s portfolio includes companies such as Tilray, which operates a medical cannabis research and production facility in British Columbia; Goodship, an edibles company based in Washington state; and Marley Natural, the official cannabis brand of the late reggae legend Bob Marley.