Stephen Winn

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Weed: Follow the Money

Posted by Stephen Winn
I wanted to write a few words about marijuana because it's such a recurring topic that can't be ignored. Everyone I talk to seems to have an opinion about it. I should tell you straight out that I am neither pro or con when it comes to people using it.

The fact is that for many years I have made my living by investing other people’s money and I have become proficient at it—a good thing for my own investments too. Given all the increased buzz in the media about marijuana lately—primarily because of the movement towards legalization and the money that the public sector can derive therefrom—I decided to invest clients in marijuana, but only if they request it.

Is the legalization of marijuana a good or bad thing? This is a huge issue for my mind to consider, and other individuals are quite divided on the subject. People are going to continue to use products like alcohol and weed because it makes them feel good, relaxes them, and helps them to socialize. In my opinion, legalization will likely lead to significantly increased use and since it impairs perception and judgement that can’t be good.

Just the other day, I was stopped at a red light when an SUV passed by my right-hand side, went through the intersection, drifted to the left, and plowed into a vehicle in the opposite lane across the street. This appeared to me to have occurred at the speed limit. The driver had been on her cell phone and didn’t even see the intersection. The driver of the vehicle she hit could have been killed but thankfully wasn’t. My guess is that at the very least, he probably suffered a serious case of shock afterward. A pedestrian in the intersection could have died. So, the use of cell phones has led to more accidents, and despite telling folks not to play with them while driving, some stupid people still do.

My point in telling you about this accident is that increased use of weed will, in my opinion,doubtlessly lead to more traffic accidents too. Tell users not to drive while stoned and it will fall on a lot of deaf ears, just like such advice has for many who have had too much to drink. But our dear government sees dollar signs in the taxes it can gather from legalization and so is forging ahead while drooling over the prospect of all that additional revenue. Driving while stoned is just one issue—there are others. 

I’d really like to hear what Will Rogers, the famous American entertainer, humorist, and social commentator would have had to say about all of this. He died tragically at age fifty-five in a plane crash in Alaska in 1935, but his memory lives on. He said, “Lord, the money we do spend on Government and it’s not one bit better than the government we got for one-third of the money twenty years ago.” Unfortunately, those words still ring true today. The more money the government gets, the more it wastes.

The new public attitude toward marijuana has permitted me to legally invest clients in it. I managed to find a mutual fund that is composed of a dozen of the top growers. My son, Evan, used to design fully automated greenhouses for many of them through a European company he worked for, so he is familiar with most of the growers. That has helped me with my investment decisions. The world is changing quickly and I’m a realist. In some ways I feel negative about investments in weed, but profit has always made my clients feel better...and if they're happy, I'm happy.  


Posted by: Stephen Winn


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