Legalization supporters who buy a new penny stock are not directly supporting legalization, but rather a shady corner of legal marijuana market — unregulated, often fraudulent world of pink sheet securities, experts warn.
This Tuesday, a new Nevada company going by the name “KUSH” said it was donating “$1 million” to a California marijuana legalization initiative dubbed the MCLR. The purported $1 million campaign donation to the long-shot initiative looks more like a stock scam than a serious effort, though, cannabis experts said.
Longtime California activist Steve Kubby, KUSH’s CEO, has been under attack for the effort, and today replied, “No good deed goes unpunished. … We believe in it. We think it’s going to work out.”
According to the Tuesday release from KUSH: “The Board of Directors of KUSH, a new player in the medical marijuana field, today authorized the donation of $1 million in KUSH stock to Americans for Policy Reform (AFPR) in support of their 2016 Marijuana Control Legalization and Revenue Act (MCLR) legalization project.”
But KUSH stock has no valuation, let alone sales or business record to support it, experts note. Instead, it has the makings of a pump and dump scheme, experts say.
About 6,500 investors have bought KUSH shares at five cents per share, Kubby said. KUSH is shooting for an IPO on April 20 at ten cents per share or more, he added. The goal is to sell up to 50 million shares.
The KUSH release touts how it “recently discovered a revolutionary cryogenic extraction process” and has “patent pending genetics,” and sells a “non-psychoactive nutraceutical … to provide a better quality of life for people suffering from cancer, gout, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and other debilitating diseases.”
Cannabis finance experts as well as the US Securities Exchange Commission have repeatedly warned investors over the last two years to stay away from pot penny stocks due to lax oversight.
Kubby acknowledges that the new company has not passed auditing or received full SEC approval, and could be subject to lengthy delays over both issues.
“It’s a very risky investment,” Kubby said. “Never invest in anything that you can’t afford to lose. There is a very real risk in this marketplace. What if the next attorney general is Chris Christie?”