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Building Your Business at the Miami Marlins Game, Medical Marijuana Business and Research

Episode 359: 03-10-16

On this week’s show, Tommy Knapp, leader of the Miami Marlins’ Baseball to Business Program, shares how you can take advantage of the groundbreaking program for your business, Nicole Fried discusses what the future holds for the marijuana industry, our special UHealth guest Denise C. Vidot, Ph.D., shares insight on current medical marijuana research, and Paul Isenbergh discusses opportunities in the cannabis industry.

Miami Marlins Baseball to Business Program

Tommy Knapp is Manager, Corporate Engagement, at Miami Marlins, L.P. Knapp leads the Miami Marlin’s groundbreaking Baseball to Business Program. As professional sports’ most robust and comprehensive business program, the B2B continues to shape a new way of doing business, through sport, via successful corporate collaboration and connecting. And, Knapp is throwing the Perfect Game.

We discuss how I use my suite at Marlins Park to build my business.

Medical Marijuana Business and Research

Nicole Fried is an attorney at Colodny Fass. Fried was involved in the crafting of Florida’s new medical marijuana law. We discuss what the law says, who it will impact, and what the future holds for the “marijuana industry.”

Our special UHealth guest, Denise C. Vidot, Ph.D., is Executive Director at The Student Myeloma Advocacy Coalition. Dr. Vidot is a researcher with the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences. Her research on the health outcomes of marijuana use spans three years. We discuss the current research on medical marijuana.

Paul Isenbergh is Senior Vice President at Dunton Commercial Real Estate Company in Denver Colorado. Isenbergh relocated to Denver from Miami in 2009. He is actively involved in the cannabis industry in Colorado. We discuss what opportunities he sees in the cannabis industry.

Episode 359: 03-10-16   (To download, right-click and select “Save Link As”.)


Transcription:

Jim Fried: Give me that mic. There it is. We’re ready to go now. We’ve got another episode, Episode 359 of Fried on Business. We’re in our seventh year. We’ve got stuff that’s going to help you build your business and live your life good, stuff you’re going to be interested in. Stick with us. We got building your business with my good friend Tommy Knapp. He’s the B-to-B guy from the Miami Marlins. Give me the fist bump there, Tommy. And then we’ve got the medical marijuana. We’re going to change gears and talk about the new medical marijuana law. We’re going to have one of the lobbyists that wrote the law. We’re going to have the UHealth doctors that are doing research on whether medical marijuana really is a thing that works. And then we’re going to talk to a guy that moved from Miami to Colorado and he’s taking advantage of the business opportunities of Colorado’s marijuana laws. But the number one thing we’re going to do today is have a good time. So, AC, get it started.

[commercial break]

Jim Fried: We are back. We are with – I’m going to have to say it this way – Tommy, my old friend, one of my favorite sports marketing guys in South Florida. Tommy, we’ve known each other for ten years now.

Tommy Knapp: I guess it’s been ten years.

Jim Fried: Can you hear him okay, AC? We’re getting him okay. We got him okay. So you can stay there. Be laid back while we talk.

Tommy Knapp: I’m laid back. I’m not dancing and jumping around like you were at the song.

Jim Fried: That’s okay, that’s what I do. That’s what I do that gets me geared up. Everybody’s got their own thing. Now, what your thing is this Business to Business program that you put together with the Marlins, you’ve been in a champion in your own right from that, you were a quarterback on that championship team.

Tommy Knapp: The college days back in 1988, that’s right.

Jim Fried: That’s okay. You just told everybody you’re an old fogey but that’s all right. How many interceptions did you have in the championship game?

Tommy Knapp: That’s three picks in the game.

Jim Fried: This is all under record now. I’m going to send this to the guys back at the Marlins. They’re going to have to listen to this. I’m sure they’re going to love that. Now, you joined the Marlins and you’re heading up their business to business marketing program. I think it’s great. I’ve been there. I’ve met some really great contacts there. I don’t want to name them because they didn’t give me the okay to name them. But people in the construction, I mean real estate construction guys, developers, all kinds of great guys in your suite. And then you also helped me run suite nights and it’s a fabulous networking opportunity for me. So tell me a little bit about what you got going on in the upcoming season beyond the fabulous baseball with Fernandez and Jim Giancarlo Stanton and all those other guys.

Tommy Knapp: The baseball, the business program, it’s the B-to-B, it’s Baseball-to-Business program for the Miami Marlins. It’s something that we created about a year and a half ago. We actually launched it on February 9th. They recruited me to start the program and it’s about connecting the dots between business leaders and the community. So you go to Marlins games and you watch the Miami Marlins play, it’s tremendous entertainment and experience but we’re also adding in a business element to it which is about connecting the dots between business owners so they get a return on their investment, return on their objectives.

Jim Fried: I can tell you that I get a great return on my investment when I do things with the Marlins. I’ve got people that want to come every year. I’ve got a line now, a list of people that want to make sure that they’re at the Marlins game when I thrown my networking events that I do in the suites. And I guess we should have John Albert on to talk about that sometime in the future maybe. But tell us a little bit more about Business to Business. I know you have different I’ll call them events, parties, I had a great time, it’s a party for me. And you do it by different categories of industry so what type of industries are you going to be highlighting this year?

Tommy Knapp: We have 200 members right now in the Baseball to Business program.

Jim Fried: 201.

Tommy Knapp: And we’ve got a number obviously as the season approaches, we’ve got a number more coming on. We are program that runs throughout the year. So even when the baseball season isn’t happening, we’re still doing our baseball to biz or doing number of events in the Baseball to Business program. So talking about the events, we do one that’s called Lead Off Event. That’s one we meet with each and every one of our members, we sit down, we learn about what business goals are and we then go after the return. Go ahead.

Jim Fried: No, no. I remember a business meeting like that last year and John Albert couldn’t believe the kind of things that we were doing. He delivered. You guys deliver.

Tommy Knapp: We’ve done on the Gables for lunch.

Jim Fried: We had a great time and we sat down, you found out what my objectives were and you made sure that I got invited to the right events and actually to all the events because I’m like go across the board there.

Tommy Knapp: Right. So Lead Off, that’s one of the types of events we do. Then we do meeting on the mounts. All these are baseball terms. So Meeting on a Mount obviously, a catcher comes out, pitcher comes out, coach comes out, five or six people at the mount, we do coffees like that. So we hold them at the Biltmore, Soho Beach House, we hold them at lawyers and attorneys’ offices and basically we just buy coffee for five to six business leaders in the community, a lot of C-level people, senior executives and they connect over coffee and there’s no agenda, we just talk like we are now.

Jim Fried: How did you know, Tommy? I guess I didn’t coach them up for this because what all we ever do is the person walks in with notes, whatever, they put that away, it’s all what we’re going to do is talk like we’re having, obviously for me, coffee but drinks of what have you, and it’s really a great opportunity then for a small group of people to build their personal relationships.

Tommy Knapp: It’s all relationship building.

Jim Fried: When you have one of those, you talk baseball or what do you do?

Tommy Knapp: If we just sat down, in a lot of times in those meetings, say it starts at 8:30 to 10:00, it’s typically when we meet. Somebody rolls in at 8:30, you and I might be talking about the Marlins game the day before, somebody else comes in and they went to the university of Ohio state. We’ll start talking about Ohio state. We just start talking about whatever’s topical of that moment. But when you put senior level executives and C-level people together they’re always going to end up going to business and talking about things that they’re doing at a very high level.

Jim Fried: I can’t wait to go to more of these. I just have gone to the stuff at the stadium, these coffees sound really cool. What are some of the other events you do?

Tommy Knapp: Some of the other events then are more traditional events as far as they’re about networking. So 75, 80, 100 people but because we’re the Miami Marlins we have an asset in the park that we use very frequently. One of the events we did last year was a Pitch ‘n’ Putt event around a craft beer tasting. So 75 to 80 people get together, they’re doing a craft beer tasting, then we break out into groups of six, we go around Marlins Park and the dug out and the pitching area and the center field, if you want in the center field you got to hold finish to the Cleveland with the floating whole in the pool. So fantastic event, something that’s very unique and nobody else can do in South Florida.

Jim Fried: Sign me up. Now, at the end of the program, we’re going to do it again. But Tommy, how do people get information? Go slow because we’ve got – I’m just going to say it – we got New York Mets fans that listen so go real slow.

Tommy Knapp: Website is marlins.com/b2b.

Jim Fried: Thank you for getting granular on that for the Mets fans. And I’m sure there’s a couple of Phillies fans and national fans that they’re going to need that help too. So stick with us. We’re going to have that later on. What are couple of other events that you’re running that I’m going to be going to? I’m already writing the stuff down. AC, you’re taking notes, right?

Tommy Knapp: We do a series of events, all different types of events. We’ve added some content driven events last year. It was more just networking events or about relationship building. This year we listen to our members and we’ve added some content. So did an event at the Intercontinental. It was on the real estate industry, the next Miami. We had Moss Construction was one of our speakers NAI Miami, we had Ocean Bank and also FPL. They’re all speaking about what’s going on in Miami right now, what’s happening in South Florida and we talked about infrastructure, all the big projects that are happening in South Florida.

Jim Fried: I got to go on your mailing list. I got to go on your speakers list. I only got two more minutes so tell me a couple of more things that are coming up early in the season that people should look for and again, how they can get a hold of you? And remember, you got to go slow because we got Mets fans.

Tommy Knapp: So marlins.com/b2b, that’s where you go to the website information. There you’ll have the events scheduled. It also has all the information about the Marlins B-to-B program so you can learn more about it there and then call us and obviously we can talk it through it. As far as the events go, March 15th we have an event up at Spring Training in Jupiter. So we’ll have a suite up there in Jupiter for that day which is next Tuesday. We’ll have about 35 members there. Somebody will do the state of the team address, talk to those members that are there. And then we’ll come back down here April 7th, we’re planning something for the Wynwood area right now. I can’t divulge that yet because we’ve got to finalize it but it’s going to be in the Wynwood area. And then on April, I believe it’s 20th we’ll be doing another Cleveland/Suite night at Marlins Park as the season begins here in Miami.

Jim Fried: You got to get me on those lists.

Tommy Knapp: You’re on the list.

Jim Fried: I know. I’m looking at it right now. What am I doing next Tuesday? I’m there. Sign me up for that. For sure. We’ve only got, what, one minute left? So talk to me a little bit, sell me some tickets, talk to me about how do people get information about tickets. Alexis got to be listening, Billy at the Marlins listening. Tell us how we can go visit them.

Tommy Knapp: Here’s one of the interesting things about my position and what we’ve done with my position is I go into a lot of the sales, meetings and I’m not selling anybody. What I’m doing is I’m working for them. I work specifically for the B-to-B members and so our sales team finds out exactly what people need, what companies need as far as their seats go, as far as their suites corporate partnerships, but my role is to actually learn what they do and then make money for them. So I’m kind of on the other side of table working for them in those instances.

Jim Fried: You got to come back with Bruce Turkel because it’s all about them. It’s all about the season ticket holders, it’s all about the Marlins members, it’s all about – my God, I’m going to just say it – people like me and you. Tommy, thank you for coming. I can’t wait to have you back. Maybe I’ll bring Alex, maybe I’ll bring Billy the Marlin, he can only talk like this. But we’ll have him on too. And when he comes on, give us little notice because AC has got some little ones that he’s going to want to bring. Tommy, one more time, how do people get info about B-to-B?

Tommy Knapp: marlins.com/b2b.

Jim Fried: I love it. You’re my man. Tommy Knapp. We’ll be back after this with some info, we’re going to switch gears, we’re going to talk about the new Florida medical marijuana law with one of the lobbyists that helped put it together. We’ll have UHealth talking about what it means to you physically and then we’ll talk about the business angle. We’ll be back after this.

[commercial break]

Jim Fried: We are back and we are switching gears. We had Tommy Knapp and at the Marlins on. We had a great time in here with Tommy. I’m going to want to get Tommy to do one of those B-to-B’s. Larry, I want to get one of these B-to-B things here on the show, will do it here in our new studio that will be moving too. We’ll be getting away the, don’t have as many hamsters running around there. It’s actually digital. Now we’ve got medical marijuana. We’re going to talk about it because there’s been an expansion for the terminally ill patients, it’s being sent up to governor Scott and we’ve got somebody whose fingerprints are all over the paperwork on the line, Nicky Fried. That’s right. Same name, same family. It’s my niece. She’s top of the line. You need something down in Tallahassee, you call Nicky Fried. Hey Nicky, how are you doing?

Nicole Fried: I am doing well. I appreciate you having me back on the show. Let me tell you, I love calling in. Your energy is through the roof and it’s so energizing.

Jim Fried: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Now, Monday, the Senate approved this new cannabis thing, it adds a bunch, it adds cannabis to this list of drugs, it adds additional stuff to the existing law, THC law and there’s I guess a new again in November constitutional amendment and some of the critics say that this just does a little bit to AIDS, some of these nurseries. Nicky, that’s a whole lot of stuff to talk about. Why don’t you just consolidate what happened-

Nicole Fried: Consolidate and dissect what has happened in the last legislative session.

Jim Fried: Just on this. We could do a whole session and when I got a month and a half to do a show. But just tell me what happened and where are we going on the med marijuana stuff?

Nicole Fried: For those who are not aware, back three years ago, the legislation of a governor approved a vote THC called Charlotte’s Web and with allowing five nurseries in the state of Florida to grow it. And with all these patients that had seizures, epilepsy and those who had cancer and going to chemotherapy.

Jim Fried: We’re having a little bit of audio trouble. I don’t know if it’s on your signal coming in. So if you’re in a place that’s tough, how are we doing AC? We got rid of that noise? Okay, the hamster has been given a piece of lettuce so it stopped making noise. You’re on, Nicky.

Nicole Fried: Is that any better on my end?

Jim Fried: It’s better. We’re working on everything. Let’s just go because you got great information, people are listening so let’s give them what they need.

Nicole Fried: Fantastic. So few years ago, the legislation approved both THC and a select group of, and there’s been three years of back laws of some litigation that has been going on that has stopped getting these medicine for these patients and to this year the legislator not only tried to clean up some of the litigation and to allow these nurseries who are being given authorization to grow the little THC. But yes, you’re correct, they’re expanding it to terminal patients so if you are on your last year unfortunately and two doctors are going to sign off, it’s called right to try and in its first half last year where a terminal patient will be allowed to try basically anything that they can get their hands on. And now high THC for any level of THC were added to that list. And these nurseries who’d be the same ones who would grow this for those terminal patients.

Jim Fried: It’s terminal patients and it’s patients that had seizures and stuff with the Charlotte’s Web stuff and there’s only a few people that are authorized so this is not fully distributed yet. So it’s still not out there in large numbers yet but what’s going on here? It sounds like people are coming around to where some of the rest of the states maybe will have a little bit more freedom here on this issue sometime soon.

Nicole Fried: We always said that argument at a legislation in the last couple of years is that we don’t want to look in California and Colorado but we’re in the Florida. And as probably most of your viewers are familiar, we have a very conservative legislature that is run by a very conservative Republican party as well as our governor and our entire executive branch. So they don’t want to be California and Colorado and having dispensaries on every corner across in your kids’ pool and they wanted to be the Florida version and wanted to take baby steps to make sure that we created a regulatory framework and took these very small steps to get the medicine into the hands of the patients that needed it but I think it’s a great sign that they’re looking to a new enhancements and different types of patients that benefit from this and I would foresee that regardless of what happens in November that there will be a continued conversation of where medical marijuana is needed, there was a few amendments that were on Monday that it did in fact expand the list of ailments for those that are suffering PTSD, AIDS victims, those who have all types of chronic other types of diseases but the legislature felt that they are taking baby steps and wanted to get at least the seeds in the ground.

Jim Fried: Listen, I want to say give a shout out to my friend Gabe and another friend named Dave. They’re both listening, they both tweeted on this subject, they want to get more information so we’ll get them together with you down the road. Now, it sounds to me like there’s an evolution, there’s a social revolution coming down the road. I certainly do not want to sound like I’m the burn. So it sounds to me like this is coming slowly, it’s coming in a measured pace but it is coming.

Nicole Fried: Absolutely. And I think it’s taken a lot of time to I guess those who are more conservative and those who are not in the thing and mainstream to be educated that there are some good uses of medical marijuana. There actually is medical purposes behind it and that’s we just need to take it slow just a lot of education on the legislature’s part and make sure that they know exactly what the usage is of the medical marijuana and how we get there to make sure that it’s going to patients that indeed need this medicine.

Jim Fried: I know. We’re home based here in Miami, our signal is from Miami and I know I got people listening all over the world. One guy just tweeted me, he’s in Israel listening. High five to him. High five to me, right? And high five to you too, Nicky. But the reality is people don’t realize that above the Palm Beach Gardens line it’s kind of a completely different country up there and much more conservative so it’s fabulous the way that you’re helping the world evolve and our next guest is actually going to be from the University of Miami. She’s going to tell us about their research into medical marijuana and marijuana’s impact on the human body. So it’s going to be a great show. Nicky, we’ve only got about a minute left for you. One minute. Give me the bottom line on medical marijuana doing it Florida’s way and tell people how to find you and go slow, we got Mets fans listening today.

Nicole Fried: Fabulous. Again, the legislation is actually sent to the governor today. He has until March 25th to sign this legislation but yes, we’ll have seeds in the ground, we will be developing low THC and high THC for more and more medically challenged patients across the state of Florida and we’re looking forward to continuing the conversation with the legislator to expand those elements and to increase the THC for not just those who are terminal.

Jim Fried: Go ahead, I’m sorry. I cut you off.

Nicole Fried: And if you wanted to find more information about me and what I do, I’m a full-time legislative affairs lobbyist, I’m in Tallahassee. I spend half my time in South Florida and the rest in Tallahassee but I can be contacted at office 954 492 4010 or you can always contact me through our website which is www.colodnyfass.com.

Jim Fried: Nicky Fried, the lobbyist to the stars up in Tallahassee. If you need something done, this lady, this force of nature gets it done. Nicky, we’ll talk off the air. I can’t wait to hear it and thanks for using the analogy about seeds in the ground. I thought it was absolutely awesome. After this break we’ll be back with the UHealth expert. We’re going to talk about the impact of marijuana on the human body. So stick with us after this break. Again, Nicky Fried. High five to you for getting this thing done.

Nicole Fried: Thank you, have a great day.

Jim Fried: All right. AC, it’s yours.

[commercial break]

Jim Fried: You know by now when he says he feels nice like sugar and spice it’s time for us to talk to our UHealth guest and especially because I feel nice like sugar and spice. We’re going to talk today about medical marijuana, I guess marijuana in general, and its impact on the human body. We got Denise C – and I’m going to butcher it as usual – Vidot. Dr. Vidot, she’s a PhD, she’s the Executive Director at The Student Myeloma Advocacy – I’m really doing a number here, Dr. Vidot. She’s a researcher with the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences. Her research on the health outcomes of marijuana use spans three years. We’re going to discuss the current research on medical marijuana. Welcome to the show. How did I do on your name?

Denise C. Vidot: Pretty good. It’s Dr. Vidot.

Jim Fried: Okay. I’m going to have to have them call me with all of this. AC, you got a preview, you can tell me. But we’re not here to listen to me kibitz. We’re here to listen to the doctor talk about the impact of marijuana on the body. Doctor, it’s yours.

Denise C. Vidot: First of all, thank you so much for having me. I love talking about my research so-

Jim Fried: It’s my pleasure. Love to hear it.

Denise C. Vidot: And secondly, this is a great topic right now, especially with all of the legal ratifications going on in Florida and federally. I’m glad that we’re having this conversation. But the research that we do has to do with looking at the population of the US and we’ve been studying emerging adulthood, adults and middle aged adults to see what impacts the marijuana use have on metabolic syndrome.

Jim Fried: What is that?

Denise C. Vidot: I was just going to say most people wonder what’s metabolic syndrome. Really it’s a cluster risk factors that when they are working simultaneously, it increases your chances for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and all those scary terms that we all try to run away from. Like high blood pressure, glucose, things like that.

Jim Fried: It’s good that we have you on because there’s a lot of noise about marijuana. Let’s get some of the facts. Serve them up. Let’s hear it. What are the marijuana uses out there? What do they got coming at them?

Denise C. Vidot: First of all, I have to press it with my studies are not causation. So I’m looking at a snapshot so I can just tell you about associations and relationships that we’re seeing so far and what we see so far is that in middle aged adults and in emerging adulthood, so that’s anywhere between 20 and 30 years old and then above 60, we’re seeing that current use of marijuana is associated with lower waist circumference, lower BMI, and lower blood sugar level which when you hear those things, independently it sounds like a good thing. But they are with higher blood pressure.

Jim Fried: Wait a minute now. So people are using pot and they’re getting a higher blood pressure? How does that work?

Denise C. Vidot: That’s where we need more studies to find out what’s going on inside the body. I really can’t say at this moment but I know I’m definitely doing research to find out one day.

Jim Fried: What are other things? I guess before we go on maybe some of our listeners want to be part of your study. How do they get involved with that?

Denise C. Vidot: Definitely. I love that.

Jim Fried: I’m serious. AC is cracking up. I mean, AC, we got people here that have been into marijuana, maybe they want to get involved here, I don’t know. Doctor?

Denise C. Vidot: They can always email me and that’s at dvidot@miami.edu and I can definitely point them in the direction that the research is going on.

Jim Fried: Actually you gave your email wrong. It’s dvidot@medmiami.edu. You didn’t get the ”med” part in there.

Denise C. Vidot: Thank you.

Jim Fried: It’s okay. That’s what I’m here for. You’re the star, I’m just helping.

Denise C. Vidot: Thank you very much. That’s the main thing. And the recent study is that’s really hot off the press. I’m actually right now in Denver about to present at a conference. This research is really breaking. Tomorrow, I’ll be talking about how we did a study on racial and ethnic groups. And we thought that Hispanic marijuana users actually have a lower prevalence of this metabolic syndrome if they happen to be using marijuana at the same time. I guess that is an association, we don’t know what caused it definitely but that’s very interesting especially among Hispanics, who have one of the highest incidences of cardiovascular disease.

Jim Fried: Yes, you should maybe check out the links to some of the genes or something, I don’t know.

Denise C. Vidot: Yes, maybe.

Jim Fried: Apple one, throw that in there. I don’t know what I’m talking about at all. What are some of the other things that you’ve found so far?

Denise C. Vidot: That’s the main thing. You know that current users happen to have a lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome. We just need to find out why and what kind of marijuana they’re using and this brings in two questions of medicinal marijuana, if there’s something different between that and recreational. There’s plenty to do.

Jim Fried: Are you finding any other collateral stuff or any anecdotal stuff that you can share with our folks? I just want to make sure we get all your stuff out there.

Denise C. Vidot: Right now just, I don’t want to say if you give any recommendations or anything but the research is coming.

Jim Fried: Okay. Listen, we got to have you back. You got to be a regular on the show. I want to thank you so much for coming on. I hope you have a great event. Colorado or next guest on the show is going to be a guy who moved from Miami to Colorado and he’s in the medical marijuana implementation party, he does the real estate, he does investing, it’s all really cool. In fact, he’ll even go to your event. Where are you speaking tomorrow?

Denise C. Vidot: I’m speaking at the Westin in Downtown Denver. It’s at the American Psychosomatic Society.

Jim Fried: It sounds like a really interesting crowd. I had to do that, I’m sorry. You’re an easy mark. We got to get you in the studio. You’re just an absolute giggler. We would have the best time. Doctor, if they want to get you, what’s your email and don’t forget the ”medmiami” part this time.

Denise C. Vidot: It’s dvidot@med.miami.edu.

Jim Fried: You’re just terrific. We really do need you in studio. You got a great sense of humor. So this was great information for our listeners and if one of our listeners wants to participate in your study, they can email you at dvidot? Did I get it right finally?

Denise C. Vidot: Yes.

Jim Fried: Close enough for a guy from North Miami Beach, right? At med.miami.edu. You’ve been an absolute sport. I can’t wait until you come back to Miami. And we got to have you back next year when you got another year of your study in the book. Would you do that for us?

Denise C. Vidot: Of course, I look forward to seeing you.

Jim Fried: You’re the best. Dr. Vidot, thank you so much, thank you to UHealth for providing the doctor. We’ll be right back after this short message. We’re going to have my friend, my old friend Paul Isenbergh. Paul, by the way, I’ll tell you later who says hi. Paul Isenbergh, back after this. We’re going to have great talk about medical marijuana and its impact on the Colorado real estate business. Paul will be here. We’ll talk about a whole bunch of other issues with it in business too. I’m talking too much. You don’t listen to me. You listen to the guest. So AC, it’s yours.

[commercial break]

Jim Fried: We are getting ready to roll. We’ve got Paul N. Isenbergh. He’s an SIOR, he’s a Senior Vice President at Dunton Commercial Real Estate Company in Denver. He’s recently developed a cannabis business, brokerage and consulting firm. We’re going to talk about the impact the cannabis has on his business. I know Paul from when he was the top producer here at Cushman & Wakefield and in the industrial division, he broke all the records. But the real thing I’m going to break his chops on is Paul, you’re the one with the Bachelor’s of Science in journalism from the University of Florida in Gainesville and you’re out there doing real estate brokerage and I’m in here doing radio. High five, let’s make it good. How are you doing?

Paul Isenbergh: I’m good, how are you? Thanks for having me on the show.

Jim Fried: It’s my pleasure. I’m rocking and rolling. Tell us a little bit about what you found when you moved out to Denver in 2011. I bet you didn’t even know the medical marijuana was out there.

Paul Isenbergh: That’s exactly right. I didn’t know. I also moved out here not realizing that Denver was the capital of Colorado which is ‘’dummkopf’’ but it is what it is. I moved out of here for better quality of life, I got a little tired of the rat race in Miami and I ended up at a local firm, the NAI affiliate out here. And I ended up getting an assignment to shepherd a tenant to exercise an option to purchase a building they were in with a dispensary and grow and it was the first time I saw it. After I did that deal I put some partnerships together to own the cannabis warehouses where they were growing. That went okay. A lot of people don’t perform when they commit to providing equity. And then I became a business broker with selling licenses and grows and dispensaries and then I saw one go by that was so favorable that I got a couple of partners and now I own a dispensary and I’m putting my third grow together and it’s all real good. I love it.

Jim Fried: I want to give a high five. One of your old friends, Mike Silver asked me to say hello and he sent me some numbers from the CBRE marijuana study. He said between 2009 and 2014 35% of the industrial space absorb was in the medical marijuana industry. And just to give people a flavor, in Denver, the marijuana footprint is 3.7 million square feet of industrial space and almost 500,000 square feet of retail space and the average tenant size in industrial is 2000 to 100,000, 2000 for retail. But the real interesting thing that I found was that the marijuana lease rates are two to three times the average warehouse rate. They didn’t have anything for retail. Sounds to me like there’s a lot of interesting things going on there. What are some of the nuances?

Paul Isenbergh: The nuances are that when I first got here in 2011, they had about 14% vacancy rate in industrial. Denver is an older city and a lot of that vacancy was in older, small manufacturing buildings, not good truck courts, really somewhat functionally obsolescent. And many of them were old manufacturing. The ideal building for a cannabis grow is heavy power and they like them with height but they can do it with 10-foot ceiling. And then the prices when I first got here were $40 to $50 per square foot. Cannabis buildings with the right zoning sell for over $100 now. It’s crazy. It was a God-send to many of these property owners that had lot of vacancies in there. So a lot of brokers had to have convince their owner clients to sell their property with the proper zoning because it’s a limited type of zoning, mostly the older zoning and move their non-cannabis operations to other zonings and then lease out or sell these buildings at a huge premium. Really interesting.

Jim Fried: It sounds like a great business opportunity. But then that’s what you get when you’re a first mover. What are you seeing that’s a result from let’s call it the stickiness of private equity in capital and banking? It’s still not a federally accepted business. What is the impact on the business in Colorado because of that?

Paul Isenbergh: We still, we as an industry still do not have banking. There are many companies that have bank accounts under a consulting firm or under an alternate type of business. Many of them relocate their accounts several times a year because you have it with Wells Fargo or the FDIC auditors come in, the federal government and they say there’s too much cash moving through this account and they close them. They go to another bank, reopen for six months and they come back to Wells Fargo for instance and reopen another account under a different name and they operate for a while. A lot of these dispensaries do only cash. My dispensary will only take cash. There are some that take debit cards. But generally, you’re kind of working in the surrounding trying to get the job done. And these are people who are operating legal businesses and have prejudice against them for this. This city and the state take those cannabis dollars and put them right into a bank, a federal bank. So it’s kind of a hypocritical situation. You can pay your federal government IRS tax liabilities with cash at the IRS, and those go right into the banks. So it’s a real sticky situation. I think it’s coming around but we’re still kind of in the dark ages, and it’s throughout the country with the cannabis businesses. It’s not just Colorado. But it makes it difficult. The business itself is very lucrative. The private equity funds and certainly there’s no institutional lending or financing but private equity, there’s great opportunity both in Colorado and it will be in Florida for private equity companies to come in and even secure first mortgages. People pay hard money rate, like 12% and for business financing, revolving lines or whatever, there’s very few people that do this so most of the operators like myself and my partners, we have to work on cash, we have to raise 100% cash for our operations, we go to family friends, sometimes we go to partners that turn out to be not good partners like in all businesses. But in the cannabis arena there’s a lot of bad people, there’s a lot of what I call big hat no cattle. They come in, they show funds but they don’t perform because they really don’t have the money. And that’s very frustrating.

Jim Fried: We only have a minute and a half left in the show so what I’m going to ask you to do is if people want to get more information, we’re having you back for sure. If they want to get more information, how do they get a hold of you? And I know Mike Silver really wants this number. So tell me.

Paul Isenbergh: They could call me on my cell phone which is 305 632 0744 or they can contact on my personal email paulisen@aol.com. Yes, AOL still works. Does that still work?

Jim Fried: Yes, it does. I want to thank you so much and I want to thank our other guests too. I want to thank the folks at the Marlins for giving us Tommy Knapp, I want to thank Nicole Fried for giving us the law, I want to thank UHealth for giving us the doctor who told us watch out, the pot can cause hypertension, what’s with that? Of course I want to thank our sponsors.

Paul Isenbergh: I don’t believe it.

Jim Fried: I know. Paul is still on the line. I love you, Paul.

Paul Isenbergh: I’ve been researching this in the ’70s.

Jim Fried: I understand. You’ve probably been doing some direct implementation. I want to thank the Related Group, Spectrum Mortgage, UHealth, Warren Henry, Magnum Energy Solutions, Engineered Tax Services, EarlyShares, KIND Snacks, the list keeps going, NFL Alumni, Bergstrom Center, the Miami Marlins, CCIM, South Florida Business and Wealth Magazine, Xpresso Marketing, Social Media 305, Lauren’s Kids, but I want to really thank my listeners because without you I wouldn’t have a show. Please go to our Facebook page, like our show, please tell your friends, join our community, give us feedback and comments. Tweet us @JimFried @FriedonBusiness, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube is awesome. The website gets lots of hits. If you missed today’s show, it’s going to be up on our website www.friedonbusiness.com. This is Jim Fried. We’ll be back next Thursday at 6:00. Why? Because I just love this, don’t you know? Remember, this is not a rehearsal, this is your life. The person who wants to do something finds a way, the other finds an excuse. Now go out there and make it happen. That’s it. Thank you so much. I love you all.

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