With Mitch Baruchowitz, Managing Partner of Merida Capital Partners, a cannabis-focused private equity firm
Steve spoke with Mitch Baruchowitz, Managing Partner of Merida Capital Partners, to get the lowdown on investing in the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Mitch shared his intimate knowledge of the state of the cannabis industry, both medical and recreational, and the diverse opportunities available for investors to profit from this booming market sector.
Mitch has many years of experience in the legal cannabis industry and is considered a national expert on the myriad licensing procedures in each state. He’s one of the few people who has worked in the industry from the beginning, eventually leading him to use his vast knowledge and experience to create Merida Capital Partners, a private equity firm specializing in investments in the cannabis industry.
A Dual Market
There are two distinct markets for cannabis—the medical market and the recreational market. As of 2018, 33 states have legalized marijuana for medical use and 10 have legalized it for recreational use. Legalization of both markets is expected to continue to expand. Legalization for medical use has made more progress because it has always led the way, at least in the US. No state has ever skipped medical and gone straight to legalization for recreational use and that established pattern is likely to continue. Legalization for medical use is like a preliminary or middle step along the way to general legalization.
The medical market is more restricted, for obvious reasons. When states first legalize cannabis for medical use, they’re concerned about potential diversion (medical marijuana ending up on the street, so to speak) and also about ensuring quality. Just as with any other drug approved for medical use, they want to make sure that there are consistent quality standards for what is sold.
To handle those two concerns, the individual states tightly restrict licenses for companies involved in the market. This tends to create—at least, initially—an oligopoly. An oligopoly is a marketplace condition where there is a limited amount of competition because the market is effectively controlled by a few firms. For example, when Florida legalized marijuana for medical use, it initially licensed only 22 companies to manufacture and distribute cannabis-based medicine. Obviously, the companies that got one of those initial licenses are in prime positions to profit in the marijuana industry.
But the fact is that the recreational market is a much larger potential market.
The Recreational Market
The marketing of marijuana gets much more interesting as you move into the recreational market. First of all, it’s a huge market. There are, best estimate, about 50 million Americans who’ve used cannabis in the past three or four years. That means about one out of every five or six Americans is a potential customer.
The rules of access and operation for recreational marijuana tend to be much looser than is the case with the medical market, just due to the nature of the market. The recreational market is open to a wider range of products, for one thing. For example, in addition to marijuana that is smoked in the traditional fashion, companies are producing such items as cannabis chocolates and cannabis teas. In addition, there is a burgeoning accessories market of high-end marijuana pipes, for instance.
Companies operating in the recreational market are more focused on building a brand. Getting name recognition gives you the opportunity to rapidly and substantially grow your market share.
A lot of the challenge is on the advertising and marketing side. Many of the potential customers out there are used to doing business on the black market. So, the question is how to lure those people away from their regular drug dealer and into the retail store.
The potential customer base is a different demographic than that for the alcohol market, but there’s not a ton of consumer data currently available to guide advertisers. So the answers to the basic questions for advertisers are still open. How do you engage the high-end customer? How do you engage the average, everyday customer? And, again, how do you engage that person who’s been smoking marijuana for 25 years and is just starting to come out from doing all their business on the black market?
The Investment Landscape
For those people looking at the cannabis industry as an investment opportunity, the investment landscape is really scattered and complex at the moment. For example, there are many small US companies listed in Canada for investment because marijuana’s been legal there for a while. But then there are also larger Canadian companies that have been in the business longer and who are now coming to the US looking for investors because the US is a more robust investment market. So you’ve got US companies that are traded in Canada and Canadian companies that are traded on US stock exchanges.
In addition, because we’re talking about what is still a relatively young industry, many small, private companies aren’t yet accessible to investors through the stock market. There’s a lot of fragmentation because a lot of people who are passionate about the product are starting to open their own businesses.
It’s a fascinating market sector to invest in because you’re watching the confluence of a pharmaceutical side, an agricultural side, and a consumer product side. The market is just growing and evolving so rapidly. For instance, one thing going on now is the simultaneous development of medical cannabis (marijuana used as medicine) and cannabis-based medicines (medicines derived from marijuana). A rapidly growing pharmaceutical market has also started to develop in the past year or so, with over the counter products containing CBD. CBD can be derived from marijuana, but it primarily comes from hemp, which is kind of like marijuana’s cheaper cousin. CBD products have emerged that are designed to treat a variety of ailments and health conditions.
There are both private companies and publicly-traded companies here in the US and in Canada, as well as some exchange-traded funds, ETFs. The ETFs currently available are primarily focused on growers, so, at this point in time, they don’t offer a fully diversified portfolio of marijuana investments.
Other segments of the market besides the commoditized portion—the growers—are where Merida Capital Partners is primarily invested. This segment of the market comprises fertilizer companies, companies that make packaging, companies that make things like grow lights—the ancillary markets. It’s kind of analogous to the gold rush. The people who got rich during the gold rush weren’t so much the gold miners, but the people who sold all the things that the gold miners needed. Merida focuses on well-managed, revenue generating companies that are in the business of supplying products and services that cannabis-based businesses need. This includes products and services for medical cultivation, cultivation infrastructure, data and technology services, and pharmaceutical development.
If you want to get an idea of just how broad the investment opportunities are, there’s the Marijuana Index that tracks all the publicly-traded companies in North America.
To learn more about Mitch and about available private equity investments in the cannabis industry, go to the Merida Capital Partners website.
Disclosure: The opinions expressed are those of the interviewee and not necessarily United Capital. Interviewee is not a representative of United Capital. Investing involves risk and investors should carefully consider their own investment objectives and never rely on any single chart, graph or marketing piece to make decisions. Content provided is intended for informational purposes only, is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, and should not be considered tax, legal, investment advice. Please contact your tax, legal, financial professional with questions about your specific needs and circumstances. The information contained herein was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however their accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. All data are driven from publicly available information and has not been independently verified by United Capital.
Steve Pomeranz: Like a toddler getting on his feet and seeing the world upright for the first time, the cannabis industry is finding its own footing as it staggers forward into the future.
To help us understand where this industry is today and what may be the opportunities for investors, I’ve invited Mitch Baruchowitz to join me. Mitch has many years of experience in the legal cannabis industry. He’s considered a national expert in the licensing procedures in each state, I should say, the Byzantine licensing procedures in each state.
He’s co-founded Theraplant LLC, where he architected the highest scoring application in Connecticut’s highly selective licensing process. The point being is that he’s worked in this field from the ground up and taken his knowledge and experience and created Marietta partners, which is a cannabis-focused hedge fund. Mitch Baruchowitz, welcome to the show.
Mitch Baruchowitz: Thanks so much for having me, Steve.
Steve Pomeranz: So this is a broad field these days, Mitch and I want to start by breaking down the individual sectors that have evolved. I think some of these, of course, we already know. Let’s start with that. Let’s start with the recreational market. Only 10 states have legalized cannabis for recreational adult use. What kind of companies are forming around this and what kind of businesses are forming around this?
Mitch Baruchowitz: Well, first I think it’s a great place to start because that’s the market that people tend to focus on when they’re thinking of what does cannabis look like. The recreational market obviously is easier to focus on because the rules or the usage, the rules of access seem to be lighter. So the companies that are going to form tend to be brands, things that you would expect in a normalized consumer marketplace. So, whereas in medical markets we’re going to be highly restrictive to the type of usage. And I know we’re going to get to that.
In the recreational market, you think of more specific brands and so in a state like Oregon, California, Nevada, you’re going to find more specialty products. You may find chocolates, you may find edibles of a certain type, you may find teas, so, really any product. Typically, the laws are more loose with respect to the types of products you can sell. So you’ll find products that definitely skew more towards like what you said, more towards recreational products, like relaxation. as opposed to medical dosing.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah. I saw one company whose website had a video, very high-quality video. I think that they were trying to attract the upscale market. Two very attractive people. And you can see they were smoking, one was doing, she was doing yoga at one point and they were doing other things and you can see that they were trying to attract this kind of high-end market, and I forget now what is it—a type of marijuana for creating space, for calm, as you said. What are the others?
Mitch Baruchowitz: It’s calm, cruise, connect, create, and charge, I believe are the five Cs you’re referring to.
Steve Pomeranz: Wow. Interesting.
Mitch Baruchowitz: Well, we’re an investor in that company, but we don’t want to say the name here, so.
Steve Pomeranz: No, no. So now, you’re starting to talk about companies going in there and trying to differentiate themselves and create a brand. We seeing a lot of that?
Mitch Baruchowitz: Oh, absolutely. I think what … you’re going to start to see, even Barney’s, which is, you know, a high-end retailer, starting to sell accessories. Now I made a joke on Twitter that those accessories seem like the most expensive paperweights you could acquire, but, you know, because it’s the accessories that no one in the industry actually uses.
But what you’re starting to notice is that as legalization sort of migrates into the consumer mindset, behavior changes, and when behavior changes and things feel normalized, people want normal tools that they can use on a daily basis.
Which is why the paperweight comment with respect to Barney’s is, is someone going to really use an $800 bong that has gold leaf? Whatever they were selling; it didn’t seem that practical to me. But what you’re noticing on the products is people, like you were saying, the advertising with respect to they’re playing chess and they’re relaxing, it looks fun and slightly sensual, I guess would be the way to describe it. That’s probably more female-focused advertising.
But you know, cannabis isn’t like alcohol in terms of it has much less, I would say, machismo attached to it. So it’s really a different product and people of all kinds are using it. But as that behavior normalizes, you’re finding people across all kinds of different, whether it’s racial demographics, whether it’s socioeconomic, people enjoy cannabis in a broad way and they want to access it there in a way that they’re comfortable.
And so I think advertising is still going to have to find its own footing because there’s not a ton of consumer data with respect to cannabis. It’s emerging quickly and we’re invested in a company that does that. But the reality is that the advertising is still trying to figure out how do you engage the high-end consumer, how do you engage the normal everyday consumer, and how do you engage the person who’s been smoking for 35 years and is just coming out of the black market? That’s really where the opportunity is, right? It’s all of these things are coming together in this really interesting cauldron of investment, capital investment, institutional investment. But really, at the same stage, it’s illegal. So on the US front, you have all these different little trigger points that are getting in the way.
Steve Pomeranz: It’s complicated. So, you’re not going to really see any public companies like listed on a stock exchange in this space. It’s going to be kind of small companies, private companies, but it’s very fragmented in this recreational use. Right?
Mitch Baruchowitz: Absolutely. Well, that’s why a lot of the larger companies that are public in Canada, right? So just quickly to lay out the landscape there, there’s a Canadian public market that has a lot of the US companies.
There’s a US market, which has a lot of the Canadian companies because it’s legal in Canada. So companies can come to the United States and list their stock. But because of that fragmentation, because of that lack of legality on a rec market where there’s not a lot of constraint around the ability to operate. You know, there might be rules around lab testing and quality control and safety, but there’s not a lot of rules stopping you from opening up a grower or a branded company.
So you’re finding that fragmentation is because a lot of people who are passionate about the product are starting to open their own businesses. Similar to the way, you know, 15 years ago when the rules started to change, the people who were really pushing the legality of cannabis, were very passionate, what are called quote-unquote “movement people,” who deserve all the credit for really changing the national conversation.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, they’ve been doing this for years. I mean, this is something really, I remember from the ’60s, the movement to have it legalized has taken this long.
Mitch Baruchowitz: Well, it’s amazing how when you read, and we’ve gone back and looked at a lot of the legal dicta in certain states and the conversations that states were having in the ’70s. You’re right, it’s unbelievable to think that the conversation literally didn’t move for 30 years.
And then in 2001, 2002, you found states like California, like New Mexico being aggressive. And what happened is just that little movement started to show some efficacy on the medical side and just all of that epidemiological data started to move the mindset of a regulator who said, “Hey, if you’re a terminal cancer patient and you think this helps you, I’m not going to get in the way,” which is, I know that’s sort of skipping ahead to the medical side, but.
Steve Pomeranz: But that’s exactly where I want to go. It’s a great bridge to that. But finish what you were saying.
Mitch Baruchowitz: So what really started to happen is states who had a more progressive mindset started to allow more usage. With that more usage came more data. And you know, whether you’re a skeptic or not, there really should be very little skepticism in your mind based on the amount of epidemiological data.
I’m not saying that there’s clinical data yet because there isn’t, but the amount of epidemiology that’s out there on cannabis is broad. There’s roughly something like 50 million Americans have used cannabis in the last three to four years. So, you’re talking about a huge number of users. You’re talking about several thousand to hundreds of thousands of people who use it in conjunction with their traditional medicines or pharmaceuticals. And you have a ton of cancer patients who have been using it for appetite going back to the ’60s.
And so when you get all of that data, a regulator who typically is worried about the safety of his constituents can say, “You know, I’m not saying it should be allowed for everyone, but I have a hard time restricting someone who is a terminal cancer patient from using it to make their life better while they’re facing the biggest health challenge of their life.”
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah. So, let’s get into the medical space here. I mean, I have friends now who are suffering from knee maladies and hip maladies and spine maladies and their doctors are prescribing medical marijuana use to ease their pain because it seems like it’s a new arrow in the physician’s quiver. It’s another tool for them that doesn’t seem to really have the downside to worry about, to enable their patients to feel better. So, we’re talking about the medical market right now. I mean, what is that like? I know, you know, certain states have approved marijuana used for medical purposes only, not recreational. How is that shaping up? Take a state like Florida for example, which just passed the law.
Mitch Baruchowitz: Right. Well, it’s a fascinating dynamic. And by the way, Steve, we all have those quote-unquote “friends” who got recommendations for the medicine. We, we all know that. So, you know, it’s always someone else, right?
Steve Pomeranz: It’s not like the ED commercial. Okay?
Mitch Baruchowitz: Right.
Steve Pomeranz: No, but anyway.
Mitch Baruchowitz: So, it’s a fascinating dynamic because actually, you know, on the front end, I was actually kind of there on the beginning of that water hitting the shore on the quote-unquote what we call “limited licensed” medical markets. So a lot of states like Florida who were concerned about broader acceptance because one thing that’s clear, in our country, no state has ever skipped medical on its way to recreational. So, I want to be clear to your listeners that it’s very unlikely that a state will ever skip the part that is what we would consider sort of a middle step into legalization.
It addresses what people need, the medical side, as opposed to what they may want, the recreational side. Not that I think that it should be necessarily illegal anywhere because, truthfully, you know, as part of this industry, I’ve seen enough to really feel comfortable about the broader societal risks and I think that if regulated in a smart way, it’ll be as equal to alcohol, if not even safer than alcohol in many ways, shape and form, especially with the way it’s used. But the way the medical market is shaping up is fascinating.
So a state like Florida is concerned about three things when they pass a law. They’re concerned that number one, the people who operate are going to operate within the compliance that Florida is mandating. They’re very concerned about diversion, about medicine making it out of a building and ending up on the street, so they’re worried about theft and diversion. And they’re worried about safety, broader safety, product safety, right? So what that’s usually resulted in is states like Florida saying we’re only going to allow a certain amount of licensees, a limited licensee population.
So in Connecticut, when I first won one of those licenses with my partners, we were one of only four licensed operators in the entire state. Florida only had about 12 licensees to begin. They’re on their way to 22, but in a state of 19 million people, that’s really not a lot.
Steve Pomeranz: No.
Mitch Baruchowitz: So these are oligopolistic. And I think part of that is driven by the fact that states think that they can regulate it tightly so that they understand better how they should actually regulate it. So, it’s really a middle step to a broader legality, but it always starts with limited license or more constrained medical markets, letting people who are absolutely suffering find an ameliorant for their lives. Something that can help their quality of lives. So because cannabis, unlike opioids, it’s not something you want to use for acute pain. I mean, you could use it for acute pain, but it’s not going to be as effective.
Steve Pomeranz: Let’s stop there for a moment.
Mitch Baruchowitz: Yeah, sure.
Steve Pomeranz: My guest is Mitch Baruchowitz, he is the founder of the cannabis-focused hedge fund Merida Partners. And we’re going to talk about medical as well as the other areas of usage when we come right back.
We’re back with Mitch Baruchowitz. He is founder and managing partner of Merida Partners, a cannabis focused private equity and hedge fund. We were talking about medical marijuana and how it’s starting to really become quite a scene over the many, many states. And we’re based in Florida, so I was asking him specifically about Florida. So, Mitch, you were saying it’s kind of the first step for states to get their feet wet and their ability to see how this market plays out where their licensing and their controls can, in effect, protect the patient, protect the society from diversion and the theft and make sure that they have a compliant system set up that they can monitor in order to keep control of this. You mentioned that it’s an oligopoly. Define that for our listeners.
Mitch Baruchowitz: Well, in Florida, for instance, there are at this point, given a new order that was signed by Governor DeSantis recently, it looks like there’s going to be 22 operators in the state. So the state has given 22 companies the right to grow, manufacture into products, and distribute cannabis-based medicines. And there’s many public companies that now trade in Canada that do that. And so, that oligopoly really is a limited population of people or companies, yeah, 22.
Steve Pomeranz: All right, so a company gets one of these licenses. It seems like a gold mine.
Mitch Baruchowitz: Well, we used to joke in Connecticut, obviously, the world’s changed in the last six years, but the joke we made was no one’s ever done this before. So right now, all we have is a piece of paper that entitles us to spend a ton of money building a pharmaceutical-quality building.
Steve Pomeranz: Right.
Mitch Baruchowitz: And develop a patient base. And to be fair, the market has evolved a lot. But early on, in Connecticut, and in Minnesota, to be fair, where I won another, only two licenses in the entire state, my group was one of the winners. The challenge was finding the patients because the people who were comfortable with the product were already getting it from the black market. And that’s one of the reasons why the laws are moving so quickly because regulators know that people are using cannabis. There’s no question that there’s a robust black market in every state, right? Some states better than others. Florida, New York, California, Pennsylvania, high-urbanized states are going to have a robust black market because those are population centers. States like Oklahoma, Arkansas, not so much. Which is why, actually ironically enough, Oklahoma, which is a very red state, has the most progressive medical program in the country. And its adoption rate has far exceeded any other state. Which is, it’s just one of those ironic things you find only in the cannabis market because of the federal illegality. But what’s happening on the medical side that’s of the most interest, maybe to your listeners, and definitely to us as an investment company, is we’re starting to notice the shift from medical cannabis, which it’s a plant, it doesn’t really know any better what it’s being used for, to cannabis-based medicine. So really, what you start to see next, and again, moving sort of, if you want, to the CBD side, is you’re going to start to see a much more focused pharmaceutical formulation. A real OTC medical market and a real pharmaceutical medical market develop. And that’s really intriguing.
Steve Pomeranz: I mentioned that this friend of mine is having some back problems, and so he’s been given a sublingual pill. And I read in your material that they’re not recommending people smoke in order to get the drug into their bodies because the quantity, the quality of what actually is getting in your system is hard to measure. Whereas, if you have a pill, it could be precisely measured.
Mitch Baruchowitz: That’s right. As I said, that’s why it’s such a fascinating area to be an investor in because you’re watching the confluence of a pharmaceutical and agriculture, a consumer product. All of this is coming together in this, again as I said, it’s really interesting cauldron that’s being heated up. And so, when you look at the sublingual tablets, obviously precision dosing is something that regulators are going to want to prefer. However, one of those other really interesting ironies is that 99% of the usage up until maybe ten years ago was all combustible flower, right? You put flower in some device whether it’s a bowl or a joint whatever, the pictures from the 60s, right? Every guy at the burning joint. And I think what’s happening is people are looking for the efficacy without any of the negative. And meanwhile, I do have to say the there’s been a lot of studies about cannabis smoke and its effect on the lungs. And it’s been very, while the science is not entirely clear, it does seem from again an epidemiological perspective, and just to define that word, it’s really just the study of how something, it’s an experiential, it’s a way of studying something without doing a blood test. So when I use that word just for your listeners it’s really, I’m describing an observational study that uses, it’s almost user-generated data. So you say to someone, how do you feel-
Steve Pomeranz: How do you feel, yeah.
Mitch Baruchowitz: Exactly.
Steve Pomeranz: So it’s not quite as accurate. It’s not as scientific.
Mitch Baruchowitz: It’s not a randomized clinical trial like a double-blind study. But there is a point, Steve, I hope you would agree, there is a point where you can get such a critical mass of data where clearly, like if everyone agrees that the sky is blue, there is a very good chance the sky is blue.
Steve Pomeranz: Trends and probabilities. I need to move on because of time.
Mitch Baruchowitz: Sure.
Steve Pomeranz: I want to get into the CBD market which is…so companies like Walgreens and CVS, these kind of standardized drug stores are now, CVS just announced that they’re going to start offering CBD products in the store. We don’t have much time. Tell us about that.
Mitch Baruchowitz: Well, CBD is, you can get it from cannabis. But typically, the way people are getting it from hemp, which is cannabis’ first cousin. They’re almost identical in most ways, except for the fact that THC, the acid within cannabis that creates a psychoanalytic effect, that affects the brain, that gets you quote-unquote high, that’s not present in hemp in quantities. So you can use hemp.
And so, what happens is the hemp plant is extracted to create the CBD that, which stands for cannabidiol, which can actually bind to receptors in your body called the endocannabinoid system. And those receptors actually, it can have an ameliorative effect on inflammatory response, it can help your central nervous system, it can help anxiety, it can help pain. It actually, cannabidial has already been, at least from a data perspective, proven to have a deeply positive effect on many of the sort of, let’s call them, the non-terminal components of health.
Steve Pomeranz: So, wait a minute, so let’s assume it’s an effective product.
Mitch Baruchowitz: Sure.
Steve Pomeranz: It seems to me that since you’re not dealing with psychoactive portion of the plant, it’d be a lot easier for companies to get into this space and start creating products. And now you have, as you said before, you kind of have a commercial product, a retail product. So now, you’re talking about brand warfare again. You’re talking about low barriers to entry, which is unlike the medical, where you got to really kind of set up a lab, put a lot of your own capital in it first. This seems to be a lot easier.
Now, we really are running out of time, and there’s so much more to discuss here. But I want to break it apart here for a second and just talk about how the average investor can get involved. So there are public companies that one can go and kind of do a Google search and find the company names and start to do their own research. That’s number one. I’ve also noticed that there’s the creation of exchange-traded funds in this area. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Mitch Baruchowitz: Yeah, the exchange-traded funds are something I don’t highly recommend them, and not because I think that they’re a clinical competitor of Merida. But the reality is that exchange-traded funds are going to be, in most mature markets, like let’s say you’re going to do a media-based exchange-rated fund. You can get a somewhat perfect view of what the media landscape looks like through the articulation of an ETF, right? Because there’s going to be broadcast media.
There’s whatever, right? There’s a way to find that in the public market. In cannabis, as of right now, you really don’t have, not every company is public, not every company is large. So the ETFs are going to be largely skewed towards the cultivation side, which in some ways could be the most commoditized part of the space over the next couple of years. So if you’re going to do an ETF, just be aware that you’re really buying growers. You’re not necessarily getting a fully diversified look. You may get different growers who are trying to do different things, but you’re ultimately exposed to an agricultural product and someone who’s trying to create a consumer product out of an agricultural product.
Steve Pomeranz: Or the companies that serve those markets, like fertilizer companies and companies that make packaging, companies that specialize in packaging for product, companies that make grow lights and ancillary type things.
Mitch Baruchowitz: Well, that’s our specialty, right? So Merida, where we focus is we look at the ancillary markets. So there are starting to be some resources that people can go to. There’s something called the Marijuana Index, which has the entire landscape of every public company that touches cannabis in a profound way. So people can go and look. I think there’s like there’s 450 companies. And some of those companies are pharmaceutical companies who have just started to do some research or might be launching a product.
Steve Pomeranz: That’s a good place to start.
Mitch Baruchowitz: Yeah, there’s certain resources. Obviously, one of the things that’s exciting for us is the more resources, the more people get comfortable and realize that a lot of these companies are industrial companies that are just growing. Imagine being in a market where you can invest in a Home Depot at its earliest public year.
Steve Pomeranz: That’s the excitement. Yeah, well, that’s the excitement.
Mitch Baruchowitz: That’s the excitement, yeah.
Steve Pomeranz: It’s almost, it seems like it’s very easy to kind of see this growing into and throughout the country, and greater usage, and you can just see companies evolving to wrap their arms around that. Of course, like anything else, even just take a look at the Internet industries. We’re left with a dozen companies out of the many hundreds of thousands and thousands that have started and failed. The point being you don’t really know what companies are going to be the survivors and the thrivers. But you can see that this is a burgeoning market in the future. And Mitch, I’m going to have to leave it there. My guest Mitch Baruchowitz, founding managing partner of Merida Partners, private Equity Fund. And thank you so much for joining us, Mitch, really appreciate it.
Mitch Baruchowitz: Thanks, Steve. Thanks for having me.
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