PROVINCETOWN — It turns out the marijuana industry and the end of communism have a lot in common.
U.S.-born investor Boris Jordan, the major shareholder of Curaleaf, helped the Russian government privatize after the fall of communism. So he is used to fledgling legislation, a lack of traditional banking, and the complex regulatory environment that also defines the U.S. marijuana industry.
Massachusetts-based Curaleaf is expected to be the first marijuana retailer to open in Provincetown at 170 Commercial St. The projected opening date is January 2020, said Acting Town Manager David Gardner. The town has signed community host agreements with seven companies altogether.
Curaleaf is the sixth most valuable pot company in the world and the largest retailer by market capital in the U.S., according to Cannabis Market Cap.
Jordan, who built the investment bank Renaissance Capital in Russia, owns a 31-percent stake in Curaleaf. The company’s other major individual investor is Andrei Blokh, a Moscow businessman.
Jordan and Blokh are part of a wave of Russian investors who have entered the cannabis industry to provide financial backing otherwise lacking because U.S. banks remain wary. Pot is still illegal under federal law.
“There was very opaque legislation,” he told Benzinga. “The barriers to entry were incredibly difficult,” he said of investing in Russia. “And that reminds me tremendously about what we are faced with here.”
Jordan helped the Russian government sell off thousands of state enterprises during privatization soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to Bloomberg. While heading Credit Suisse’s Moscow office, he helped develop the Russian equity market.
“Itʼs just like Russia in the 1990s,” Jordan told Bloomberg in 2017. “Weʼre talking about an industry in its infancy that needs to be built up from scratch, legislation and all.”