Food & Drink | July 19, 2022 12:05 pm

One of America’s Largest Legal Weed Companies Draws Scrutiny for Russian Ties

This merits a deeper look

Curaleaf
Employees work on computers at a Curaleaf Inc. store in Queens.
Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Few things in life are certain, and economic projections are no exception. That said, it seems like a safe bet that the growth seen in the legal marijuana industry to date isn’t likely to abate any time soon. If that market does continue to grow, one of the big winners is likely to be Curaleaf, which is already one of the nation’s biggest companies in the industry.

But we’re also living in a moment where businesses with ties to Russia — and especially to the Putin regime — are under closer scrutiny. That, in turn, has led to some speculation about Curaleaf and its chairman, Boris Jordan. Jordan made a name for himself in Russia in the late 1990s and early 2000s. A New York Times article from 2001 stated that Jordan “answers to Gazprom, the state-controlled energy giant,” for one thing.

A new article by Chris Roberts at The Guardian does an excellent job of separating facts from fiction in the case of Jordan and Curaleaf. It debunks reports from earlier this year that suggested that Curaleaf was going to face sanctions over ties to Putin, for one thing. But it also points to where connections between Curaleaf and Russia really do exist.

The article describes Andrey Blokh, the second-largest shareholder in Curaleaf, as a “longtime associate of Roman Abramovich.” Abramovich has, of course, faced some very high-profile sanctions when it comes to his ties to the Putin government.

That said, close ties aren’t necessarily evidence of wrongdoing. And The Guardian‘s reporting feels like the beginning of a larger investigation than anything definitive. There are plenty of unknowns here — but it’s also a reminder that knowing more about where you’re doing your shopping is rarely a bad thing.