Tennessee to allow weed investment to go pot

The “policy implications” of the state’s retirement fund’s investment into a company operating in the marijuana sector has Treasurer David Lillard ordering the shares be sold, according to a report by Andy Sher of the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

That’s despite a 26% gain in share price of San Diego-based Innovative Industrial Properties Inc. since the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System’s small-stock fund bought 7,009 shares in April or May.

The company is a real estate Investment trust that bills itself as the “leading provider of real estate capital for the medical-use cannabis industry.”

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Tennessee was among more than dozen states that stood to benefit from Illinois’ new recreational marijuana. Illinois is one of 11 states where Innovative Industrial Properties does business.

Michael Brakebill, the pension fund’s chief investment officer, told the Times Free Press that the investment into the company was part of a small-company stock index the state created.

Lillard said it’s difficult to evaluate every stock that’s part of an index, but that “we’ve got to figure out a way to do that and deal with it because it highlights the fact that you know what you’ve got in portfolio.”

The investment in Innovative Industrial Properties is worth about $720,000 out of the state’s $52 billion retirement system.

“The bottom line is I have ordered Michael and his staff to sell this investment, and we won’t have it after today or tomorrow, whenever the transaction goes down,” Lillard told the paper.

Tennessee lawmakers have balked in recent years to join states legalizing medical or recreational cannabis.


14 Responses to Tennessee to allow weed investment to go pot

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    Treasurer David Lillard is doing Good ! Thanks. Just say Nope to Dope and do not help finance it.

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      Lenny says:

      If Casada and his cronies can snort Cocaine at the Capitol before their nightly intern skirt-chase, then people with cancer should be able to take THC.

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      Paul Kuhn says:

      The “Dopes” are the folks who still believe reefer madness propaganda spread by law enforcement (especially the DEA), drug-testing companies, Big Pharma and others who ride the gravy train of pot prohibition.

      “All these marijuana arrests do is make people hate us.” Chief of Police, Washington, D.C. It’s not smart to pursue policies that make citizens hate police.

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        Richard Wilson says:

        How true that is. Folks who still think marijuana should be on the controlled substance list must be benefiting financially somehow, such as the pharmaceutical companies, or they just don’t know any better. I’m in Tn. and thought when I retired from my state employee job, pot would be legal and I could enjoy life a little more.

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      Eddie White says:

      You are right James on this one. Good move by Lillard.

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    Jonathan Swift says:

    Where can we see a complete portfolio listing for the Retirement System? I would not be surprised if pharma companies that produce, sell, or distribute opioids are on the list. Or how about real estate companies that provide facilities to opioid sources?

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    Not Stuart Anderson says:

    Considering the range of companies that TCRS invests in (including a wide range of firms that would cause some controvery), a tiny investment (720k out of 53 billion) in a REIT that caters to a legal industry (medical cannabis) seems inconsequential. Perhaps TCRS should divest from all big pharma companies, alcohol and tobacco companies, and so on? Or maybe we can get with the program and realize what the research tells us -the benefits of medical cannabis) outweigh the drawbacks. Otherwise, let all the other states and their employees reap the benefits.

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    JUDY R says:

    As a retired state employee, I think the State Treasurer and his staff are doing an excellent job. Let the people who know what they are doing handle this so the State’s Retirement Fund can continue to flourish.

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      Richard Wilson says:

      Hey there. I’m also a retired Tn. state employee and was hoping during all my 42 years of employment that by the time I retired, pot would be legal. That sure would make good sense to me.

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    Phil Lassiter says:

    Does the state have investments that involve Amazon in any way? Amazon is the biggest distributor of sex toys in the country and the largest distributor of chemicals used to mask marijuana in drug tests. We need to divest accordingly

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    Teddy says:

    As long as the corporations are operating legally I do not have a problem with investing MY pension money in these companies. Mr. Lillard is doing a great job. Mr. Kuhn is also correct in his assessment.

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