Sally Vander Veer of Colorado marijuana retailer Medicine Man, left, hands bags of cash to a security company that will transport $100,000 from the business to state offices for a tax payment. (Hyoung Chang, Denver Post file)

Weed business incubator in works, with bank option too

A Colorado Springs company that leases property to marijuana growers has acquired a former bank building in south Denver with plans to turn it into the industry’s first business incubator.

And if a consortium of marijuana businessmen cobble together the state’s first cooperative financial institution, then Advanced Cannabis Solutions hopes to have its first location.

“The idea is for the incubator space on the second floor, but if there’s a banking opportunity, that would be explored,” CEO Robert Frichtel said. “It’s an ample amount of space to do many things.”

Related: More coverage on banking regulations and marijuana business issues

ACS will relocate to the 1970s-style building with its two-story windows and neo-Mansard wood-shake roof within a few months, Frichtel said. Property records show the sale price was $1,050,000 and the seller Barerose Evans LLC.

ACS, operating as 6565 E. Evans Owner LLC, took a two-year, $600,000 hard-money note from a New York-based lender to close the deal, property records show.

The 15,000-square-foot building has a bank vault and about 2,000 safe-deposit boxes, Frichtel said, perfect for anyone wanting to bank the marijuana industry, which struggles to find banking services.

To be called The Greenhouse, the building could serve as headquarters for businesses wanting to work on new ways to serve the marijuana industry, and its second floor has already been partly leased for that purpose, Frichtel said.

Legislators last spring passed a measure to allow for the creation of the financial cooperative, essentially a credit union, for the marijuana industry to solve its banking troubles.

Pot-banking cooperative: Colorado law stuck in stalemate

Most marijuana businesses have difficulty finding a bank that will openly work with them because federal law prohibits financial institutions from doing business with illegal enterprises.

Despite 23 states allowing for medical or recreations marijuana sales, the drug remains illegal under federal law.

The consulting firm reluctantly made news in April when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission suspended trades of ACS’s over-the-counter stock because of suspicious trading activity.

Not long before, the company had landed up to $30 million in credit to help acquire properties it then leases to the marijuana industry.

ACS in late September filed a federal lawsuit against a shareholder it says wrongly traded in company securities, causing the SEC problems.

ACS stock trades under CANN and hit a 52-week high of $64.64 in March. On Monday it was at $3.50.

David Migoya: 303-954-1506, or

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