The Dales Report sits down with Sturges Karban, a Harvard graduate who moved to California to start his “Manifest Destiny.”
In 2011, shorty after Colorado legalized recreational cannabis, Sturges Karban started a boutique merchant bank with a focus on alternative assets. And what was more alternative than Cannabis? A substance deemed illegal in most states, and getting more attention from others.
Thus, ManifestSeven was born.
Manifest, aptly named for the direction the in which the industry was headed, wanted to shed light on one very important and dangerous issue within the cannabis community, the Black Market. While as much as 80% of cannabis purchased in California came from the illegal market studies showed that more and more consumers were opting to pay a premium price for a much safer and legal product.
So what happened to Manifest when the government enforced strict lockdown laws for retail shop owners? Surprisingly this helped Manifests’ sales as the demand for safe and regulated products skyrocketed once cannabis was deemed an essential service. “Fortunately we had operational continuity from the very beginning of the crisis” stated Karban. “Being in the retail delivery space under the circumstances turned out to be a really well thought out strategic choice, we saw a huge spike there.”
Due to the geographic size of California, it has been difficult to set regulations and protocols for the budding alternative industry, but Karban believes we’ll see a push to focus on the compliancy of the cannabis industry in California, and have operators voluntarily and proactively terminate their relationships with the blackmarket. “I think what we’ll see is a lot of enabling behaviour start to dissipate, which will really drive the black market activity down as well.”
So, what’s next for ManifestSeven? Sturges wants to apply the same current principles of Manifest, in the Californian Market, to additional states in the US, “We’re anticipating to be a nationwide, if not global business.”
What are your thoughts? Do you support the legalization of cannabis? Do you think legalizing could finally put an end to the dangers of the illicit black market?