Despite the legal ambiguity in the cannabis industry, there is potential for business to bud. This is the core foundation of the new Ross School of Business Green Wolverine student organization, a club founded by Business sophomore Adam Rosenberg, centered around education, investment and exploration of opportunities for success within the legal cannabis world. Through guest speakers, open discussions and philanthropic events, Green Wolverine provides members with ways to become more involved with this industry.
The organization held its first open meeting Wednesday night for its 88 general members as well as others interested in joining. The meeting discussed the market value of cannabis, its medicinal benefits and the legal ambiguity of the plant.
Club Treasurer Ryan Tooker, a Business sophomore, compared the market value of cannabis to tobacco.
“The only difference (between marijuana and tobacco) is that marijuana doesn't have the same negative morality as tobacco — you know, ‘Tobacco kills,’" Tooker said. "The industry is set to boom, and I'm glad Adam had the courage to start the first legal cannabis business club in the country.”
Founding the organization through the Business School was pivotal because of the cannabis culture in Ann Arbor. For instance, possession of marijuana results in a $25 ticket for those 21 and older in Ann Arbor. Additionally, there are more than a dozen medical marijuana dispensaries in the Ann Arbor area as well as more than 10,000 people who travel to the city each year for “Hash Bash,” an event that celebrates the recreational use of cannabis.
Unlike other University clubs concerning marijuana, Green Wolverine takes no stance on the legalization of the plant. Rather, the club focuses on cannabis from a financial standpoint, including stock and real estate investments. Rosenberg decided to establish the organization under the Business School, as he found the school to be open-minded to the business endeavor.
“The Ross name carries a lot of weight and it provides a lot of credibility when you're going into something like this that a lot of people don't view as reputable,” Rosenberg said.
Students across the University campus took interest in the first meeting. Nursing sophomore Juan Aguirre was particularly intrigued because of his professional interests in the health care field.
“I’ve been really interested in alternative medicine and I do want to go into public policy in Washington D.C., and try to help end the war on drugs,” Aguirre said.
Because organizations like Green Wolverine do not exist on college campuses yet, Green Wolverine hopes to expand its member base. The establishment of other Green Wolverine chapters is already in the works at Michigan State University, UM-Dearborn, and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.
Rosenberg emphasized members must be ready to contribute and eager to learn about the cannabis industry. The application process to become a general member ensures that this is the case.
“My goals for this club are to build a network of like-minded individuals from a variety of backgrounds to create the best opportunity, once we leave college, to find success in cannabis or a related field,” Rosenberg said.
The promising financial aspects of the cannabis industry also drew in a crowd of students. In particular, Engineering sophomore Zachary Spar saw a huge opportunity in the market.
“If you hop in early on something that is going to be booming, there is endless possibilities,” Spar said.