It looks like the guy known as the Wolf of Wall Street has set his mind on yet another pot of gold – only this time, the gold has a green color. Dean Petkanas – the former vice president of corporate finance at Stratton Oakmont, the predatory brokerage firm made infamous in Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall St. – has a new company that is among the 43 entities competing for one of five lucrative medical marijuana licenses in New York State.
The Wolf of Marijuana Street
Dean Petkanas is a corporate finance executive management professional with over 25 years of investment banking and capital markets experience. He specializes in structured merchant banking and corporate financing. Last year, Patkanas filed an exclusive patent from the U.S. Government to development cannabis-based drugs to treat brain trauma. As a Chairman and CEO of KannaLife, a bio-pharmaceutical and phyto-medical company “involved in the research and development of novel new therapeutic agents designed to reduce oxidative stress, and act as immuno-modulators and neuroprotectants,” Patkanas is eyeing 700 acres in Buffalo for a “green” grow site. “Now it’s a waiting game,” said Petkanas, “If we do get the license, great. If we don’t, we’re still there for the state of New York,” he added.
A determined ganjapreneur
The opportunities for moneymaking in marijuana industry range from “edibles,” such as cookies infused with marijuana, to a high-tech computer business looking to link up patients with doctors. Opportunities are indeed overwhelming and Patkanas, as a good businessman, knew where to put his money. Last year, he said that “this is an industry in its infancy,” while conferring with potential partners in Colorado, and added that we’re “probably going to have a major gold rush in each state.”
Bringing in lobbyists in push for big profits
Hoping for the green success in New York as well, Patkanas, and other organizations wanting to capitalize on the legalization of marijuana hired top lobbyists to persuade NY state lawmakers to end the century-old prohibition on marijuana and make it legal for medicinal purposes. As we could see, these efforts were obviously successful, as the state of New York legalized medical marijuana in July last year when Gov. Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act. The new law would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana in a nonsmokable form to patients with serious ailments that are recognized by the state on a predefined but flexible list of diseases and conditions.
Who else is in the NY green business?
Besides Patkanas, Leo Friedman and Michael Melnicke are also applying for the state’s license. The duo, who together have given a total of $16,000 to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign, are part of NY Growing Partners LLC. Additionally, a major hospital group, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, also has its eye on the action, teaming with Colorado-based Silverpeak Apothecary to apply for a license. According to some media outlets, all of the players have tight political connections to either Gov. Cuomo or other important figures.