$500,000 medical marijuana loan up in smoke

(File image Wikimedia)

May 12, 2012 6:53:47 AM PDT
Sometimes even the best-laid plans go up in smoke. And sometimes these plans end up costing a lot of money.

That's what happened to Mark Haile and Michele Hammer, two Arizona businesspeople who in August, 2010, each loaned $250,000 to Today's Health Care II (THC), a Colorado-based medical marijuana dispensary. The agreements specifically stated that THC was using the loan proceeds for "a retail medical marijuana sales and grow center," but neither Haile nor Hammer thought that would ever be a problem.

Marijuana is legal in Arizona and Colorado (along with 14 other states and the District of Columbia); patients simply need a physician's prescription and they are legally allowed to obtain pot for medicinal purposes.

In fact, as far as Haile and Hammer were concerned, it was a smart business move. In California, for example, medical cannabis is an estimated $1.3 billion industry (Colorado is the nation's second-largest market). Why not get in on a potentially lucrative enterprise?

Talk about a pot of gold.

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