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Leslie Bocskor: Weed Was Bigger Than Sports in America

The tremendous potential for the cannabis and hemp industries to disrupt multiple markets.

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This week, Leslie Bocskor, CEO and chairman of Indoor Harvest, joins the Cannabis Equipment News podcast to discuss the tremendous potential for the cannabis and hemp industries to disrupt multiple markets.

Leslie Bocskor is an investment banker and corporate finance executive by trade, but he has always been entrepreneurial. He gravitates towards disruptive new markets that he believes to have massive potential. For example, he was one of the first investment bankers to focus on internet and new media companies in the mid-to-late 1990s. 

Around 2008, Bocskor moved out West to Las Vegas to research the potential for online casinos. On a trip to the Bay Area in 2010, a few friends exposed him to cannabis dispensaries, and it opened a brave new world for Bocskor. He researched the black market and found that it was valued at more than $40 billion, according to Rand Corp and the United Nations. At the time, the entire value of major league sports (MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL) was less than $30 billion—weed was bigger than sports in America, and Bocskor was excited.

However, cannabis prohibition has been catastrophic. Bocskor says it is one of the worst cases of an extended period of catastrophic policy in the U.S. Still, when Washington and Colorado passed adult-use cannabis in 2012, he started to unwind every other project he was working on and focus his attention exclusively on cannabis and hemp. 

Bocskor took a deep look at how cannabis and hemp stand to disrupt multiple industries, from drug discovery and therapeutics to construction, and he sees opportunities that he believes to be greater than any other he will see in his lifetime. 

The birth of the cannabis industry is an anomaly. Cannabis existed for millennia, but it was held back through prohibition before it transitioned from black to gray to a regulated market, whereas the internet just didn't exist until the early 1980s.

Now the CEO and chairman of Indoor Harvest, a hemp-focused health and wellness and hemp cigarette company, Bocskor says the boom the industry has experienced over the last decade will look like a bump compared to the mountain we will see when federal policy finally matches the will of the voters—about 70% of all U.S. adults believe cannabis use should be legal. 

When federal legalization happens, Bocskor says the potential for cannabis and hemp market disruption will be tremendous. 

Jump around:

  • When weed was bigger than sports in America. (5:04)
  • His time advising presidents and prime ministers. (7:10)
  • Becoming the founding chairman of the Nevada Cannabis Industry Association. (8:48)
  • The early days at the NCIA. (13:13)
  • Why federal legalization will happen, because it's all about the money. (17:16) 
  • An introduction to "tokenomics." (21:09)
  • Does hemp or cannabis have the greatest long-term potential? (34:50)
  • How Indoor Harvest is redefining our understanding of hemp. (44:07)
  • His focus on sustainable hemp cultivation. (46:58)
  • The opportunities for cryptocurrency in cannabis. (51:07)
  • Cautious optimism and concerns over our future in a post-truth era. (57:09)

Please make sure to like, subscribe and share the podcast. You could also help us out by giving the podcast a positive review. Finally, to email the podcast or suggest a potential guest, you can reach David Mantey at [email protected].

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