MD: Bronfein On Getting Marijuana Growing License

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When Maryland’s medical marijuana commission released the names of the companies that have been pre-approved for growing and processing licenses Monday afternoon, Michael Bronfein’s cellphone was dead.

At 5 p.m., with his son by his side, Bronfein finally received a call from his daughter letting him know the commission had pre-approved his company, Curio Wellness, for one of its 15 growing licenses and one of its 15 processing licenses. Bronfein and his son then gave each other a few high-fives and hugged.

“This moment was a long time coming,” Bronfein said.

Bronfein did not always intend to enter the medical marijuana industry. Previously a managing partner at private equity investment company Sterling Partners, Bronfein also co-founded and ran NeighborCare.

At NeighborCare, Bronfein transformed the company from one retail drugstore into a $1 billion company that provides health care services to nursing homes, including pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and supplies.

It was after Maryland passed legislation in 2014 creating the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission, Bronfein said, that his daughter told him she was interested in starting a business and asked him to become her partner. Bronfein said he was skeptical at first. But after talking with people and doing some research, he started to realize the potential medical marijuana could have.

“The more I talked, the more I learned,” Bronfein said. “Medical marijuana can have an enormous quality of life impact on patients.”

Bronfein described the business as a “family enterprise” with limited partners. Curio is fully funded and has all the capital it needs

Bronfein said he will run Curio just like he would any other company, ensuring the product meets quality assurance standards and meets the needs of the consumers.

“We are bringing a business out of the shadows and into the light,” Bronfein said.

Curio will have a research and analytics department, he said, to learn more about the product, conduct clinical trials and receive feedback from patients.

The next steps, Bronfein said, will include preparing the company’s growing facility in northern Baltimore County, begin the hiring process for employees and ensuring the company meets all of the state’s regulations. Bronfein said he could not disclose the exact location for Curio’s facility because the company is still finalizing its deal.

Curio will open with between 35 and 50 employees but will grow to eventually have between 100 and 125 employees, Bronfein said.

Bronfein and Curio’s directors will also need to pass the commission’s background and financial checks.

As for banking, Bronfein said Curio has “nine months to figure it out” and will work with several community banks.

The medical marijuana has enormous potential, Bronfein said. He sees the industry generating $1 billion per year annually in Maryland. He also thinks the negative stigma attached to marijuana in the past has started to go away, adding he did not have any problems from landlords when he expressed interest in leasing space for a facility.

“I think the stigma has had a lot to do with politics,” Bronfein said. “It’s never been what the government has made it out to be. It’s not addictive and you can’t overdose on it. I think right now we are in a period of acceleration and acceptance. People are realizing the benefits it can provide to patients.”

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Bronfein On Getting Marijuana Growing License – ‘We Are Bringing A Business Out Of The Shadows’
Author: Holden Wilen
Contact: Baltimore Business Journal
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Website: Baltimore Business Journal