President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, whose business transactions are being investigated by the FBI, and the attorney's father-in-law "have lent $26 million in recent years to a taxi mogul who is shifting into the legalized marijuana industry," according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
According to the APNewsBreak, "Semyon “Sam” Shtayner, a longtime business associate of Michael Cohen’s father-in-law, created Nevada-based Cannaboss LLC the day before the 2016 election. A few months later, he took a majority position in a company that is provisionally licensed to cultivate medicinal marijuana and produce edibles, the records show."
While it's still unclear as to whether or not Shtayner used any of the loans from Cohen to finance his cultivation operation, Shtayner's business intentions were made clear in filings submitted last October to city officials in Henderson, Nevada stating that “He personally manages over 500 taxi medallions, but he is looking to transition from the medallion business to the cannibas (sic),”
From Cabs to Cannabis
It's no wonder Shtayner is looking to make a move from the struggling taxi medallion business to the cannabis industry. The rise of ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft have dragged many medallion owners into debt, oftentimes leading to medallion foreclosure.
While medallion auctions earlier this year began showing signs of a rebound, a quick look at the stock price of Medallion Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:MFIN) - a specialty finance company focused on taxi medallion lending - shows that times are still tough. While shares of MFIN are trading at the high end of their 52-week range, the last traded price of $4.21 per share pales in comparison to the pre-Uber days.
While medallion values are struggling to stay afloat, the Nevada cannabis industry is booming. A Department of Taxation report issued last Monday showed that taxable sales of adult-use marijuana were over $35.3 million for the month, up 9% from January but just short of the $35.8 million sold in December.
The timing of this loan discovery comes just days after President Trump said he would not allow the Department of Justice to target businesses and individuals who are in compliance with state laws regulating marijuana for adults. No shock there...