Republican New York Assemblyman Steve Katz, who voted against a
medical marijuana bill in 2012, and was arrested for pot possession in
March, will invest up to $10 million in the coming years in
cannabis-related businesses, Smell the Truth has learned.
Katz – a
New York native and resident – joined the investor network of San
Francisco-based marijuana investment and research firm The ArcView Group this December, said ArcView CEO Troy Dayton. “He’s gung-ho.”
intends to help pool millions of dollars of investment capital and fund
marijuana-related start-ups focused initially on marijuana business
software, security, and distribution, he said. The growth of the medical
marijuana and adult-use cannabis industry rivals the personal computer
revolution of the early ‘90s, Katz said in an interview with Smell the
“For me, entering this industry at this time is a dream come true from a child of the Sixties all grown up,” he said.
labelled Katz a hypocrite after voting against medical marijuana in
2012, then getting a pot ticket in March 2013, when an officer pulled
him over for speeding. Katz said he did not personally support his ‘no’
vote on medical marijuana in 2012.
“I decided to vote what I
believed to be the vote of my constituents. The day after that I told my
wife, ‘Next year, I really don’t care. I’m voting for medical marijuana
because that’s what I believe in and I’m not comfortable with what
happened.’ … I knew how I was going to vote and I felt great about it. I
knew how I was going to vote a year before the police incident.”
citation for three grams of pot resulted in a $75 fine, 20 hours of
community service and was dismissed. It also energized the veterinarian,
who graduated Cornell in ’76 and got a VMD from U. Penn in ’89. The vet
had worked with animals in French Guiana and the Galapagos, had founded
a wildlife preserve in Israel and the Bronx Veterinary Center before
self-funding an Assembly race in 2010 as a Tea Party candidate. The
husband and father calls marijuana legalization a “core belief from the
time I was in college and Rockefeller was the Governor.”
The pot ticket was “an epiphany,” he said. “‘You’re turning me into a criminal? You got to be kidding.’”
said he has friends who are doctors, lawyers, businessmen and pillars
of their community who smoke in off-hours or medically.
“We’re all criminals? This is ridiculous,” he said.
also heard from sick constituents and seen his own mother suffer from
terrible pain while on sub-lethal amounts of conventional painkillers.
For some sick and dying, marijuana is their only relief, he’s learned.
The 60 year-old former ski instructor said he’s used cannabis at night
before bed for back pain and rest. “It was very prosaic,” he said.
arrest “didn’t change anything other than make me decide that I was
going to not only be a champion for medical marijuana, and for its total
legalization, I was going to become part of the wave that’s building in
the industry itself. “It’s a great feeling. It’s very liberating.”
Katz is not an anomaly,” said Dayton. “In the last few months numerous
very prominent and seemingly unlikely investors have joined our investor
group. People from all walks of life are realizing that cannabis may be
the next great American industry.”
Katz co-sponsored in 2013 the
same medical marijuana bill he voted against the prior year. New Yorkers
could see medical marijuana pass the Senate some time in the next 24
months, he said.