NEW YORK (Reuters) – In 2014, as Jonathan Rubin and Ian Laird considered investing in the booming U.S. cannabis industry, they hit a problem: How to value pot starts-ups with little verified data on the price of the weed itself?
While a smoker may know the going retail price for “Strawberry Diesel” or “Buddha’s Sister”, the sector’s wholesale tier still operates much like a black market because of ongoing federal prohibition, despite legalizations in 30 U.S. states and Washington D.C. since the 1990s.
That left Rubin and Laird puzzled on the investment value of a dispensary, a weed farm or a factory making pot-infused candy. The problem spawned a different investment: The founding of New Leaf Data Services LLC, a Stamford, Conn.-based wholesale price data service that fields reporters to take on the steep challenge of cataloguing going rates.
Started three years ago, New Leaf now publishes weekly benchmark spot prices and forecasts on wholesale indoor-, outdoor-, and greenhouse-grown…