Artie Minson gets into the marijuana business
When Artie Minson left WeWork in 2020 after a tumultuous, five-year stint, including as co-C.E.O., he didn’t want another full-time job. But LeafLink, an online platform for licensed commercial sellers of cannabis, has persuaded Minson to join, DealBook is first to report.
There’s “a greater good” in helping to shape the industry, which has a checkered past and faces many legal hurdles, he told DealBook. Minson, 51, is joining LeafLink as president, C.O.O. and a board member, bringing his experience from WeWork, Time Warner Cable and AOL to help the marijuana platform grow.
Minson is no stranger to controversy. The marijuana use of Adam Neumann, a WeWork founder, was among the many problems that sank the company’s plans for an I.P.O. in 2019, when Minson was C.F.O. Of his turn to “cannabiz,” his research convinced him that “there are very clear economic, social and, increasingly, medical benefits from the ongoing legalization of this market.”
There is “maturation and normalization” of marijuana, said Ryan Smith, LeafLink’s co-founder. “We as a society have decided it’ll be here long-term.” LeafLink, founded in 2015, operates in 30 states and provinces in the U.S. and Canada. Minson bringing his executive experience to the industry is a “step forward for the cannabis space,” Smith said.
LeafLink doesn’t actually handle any cannabis. It facilitates transactions and provides data and tech for sellers, processing billions of dollars in orders last year, or about 40 percent of U.S. wholesale cannabis commerce. Not being “plant-touching” makes raising capital easier, Smith said: LeafLink has raised $130 million from Founders Fund, Thrive Capital and others. But because marijuana is still illegal at the federal level in the U.S., running a platform for companies operating under a patchwork of state laws is complicated.