Exclusive Interview with Green Thumb Industries Founder, CEO, and Chairman Ben Kovler
Instead of targeting growth all over the map, Green Thumb Industries (GTI) (CSE: GTII) (OTCQX: GTBIF) is focused on growing its presence in its current 12-state footprint. Founder, CEO, and Chairman Ben Kovler spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about the company’s approach to growth, recent acquisitions, philanthropic efforts and funding. The audio of the entire conversation is available at the end of this written summary.
Kovler grew up in Chicago and attended school in California, where he voted for the first medical marijuana bill in the country: Proposition 215. He then spent time in private equity for the food, beverage, and consumer packaged goods spaces. He also taught math for three years, exercising a love of problem-solving. In 2013, Kovler was in the public equity space in Chicago–the same year that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the state’s medical program into law. He believed in the power of brands distributed at scale and started GTI.
The GTI Team
Today, GTI has a team of approximately 1,200 people. Kovler highlighted CFO Anthony Georgiadis and Chief Strategy Officer Jennifer Dooley. Georgiadis, a member of the GTI for a number of years, has a strong background in operations, managing people, and overseeing balance sheets. Dooley comes from a CPG background, providing insight into branding and innovation.
Market Presence and Growth Strategy
In its 12 states, GTI has 31 open stores and another 60 stores in development. Out of necessity, the company is vertically integrated in a number of these states, with large scale production facilities. As regulations evolve, Kovler sees the company’s true strengths emerging in manufacturing consumer branded products and in retail.
One of GTI’s Rise Retail Locations
The company has established this footprint ahead of regulatory changes