President Trump’s cabinet member who runs the U.S. Small Business Administration has a son with high hopes for the legal marijuana industry.
Shane McMahon, the son of SBA Administrator Linda McMahon and body-slamming businessman and WWE founder Vince McMahon, has invested heavily in a company that produces pre-fabricated modules for growing pot, according to court papers.
In 2015, Shane ponied up $500,000 for a large stake in the Connecticut-based firm EnviroGrow, which sells the modules in states where the drug is legal for medical or recreational use.
Shane’s role in the business was to help the modules – which look like shipping containers – get some buzz in the fast-growing world of cannabis farms and sales.
“He thought it was going to be a big boom and make a lot of money,” said a source with knowledge of the company.
Shane’s gung-ho attitude on growing ganja is a far cry from the view that some of his mom’s fellow cabinet members have about weed.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been vehemently opposed to legalized pot and once said “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
In February, he assembled a task force of prosecutors and other officials to review an Obama-era policy that has kept the feds at bay from cracking down on states that have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes.
In 2013, James Cole, a deputy attorney general at the Justice Department, wrote a memo that addressed how the feds should approach states with no prohibitions on the drug.
While marijuana is illegal at the federal level, the memo said that the Justice Department would defer its right to challenge the legalization laws in those states so long as strict regulations were enacted.
The so-called Cole Memo remains in effect, but Sessions has not ruled out rolling it back.
“I’ve never felt that we should legalize marijuana,” he said at a Sept. 20 press conference when asked about federal enforcement.
A spokeswoman for the SBA did not respond to requests for comment about Linda McMahon’s view of her son’s investment or the legalization of marijuana in general.
The SBA, which encourages entrepreneurship by providing loans to U.S. start-ups, does not give seed money to cannabis companies.
EnviroGrow was started in 2012 by Joseph Palmieri, a volunteer firefighter and the owner of Connecticut Tank, an environmental cleanup company.
His success with Connecticut Tank prompted him to work with engineering companies to develop the marijuana-growing modules.
Currently, 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for either recreational or medical use.
Shane McMahon revealed his interest in EnviroGrow in a lawsuit filed in a Connecticut court last year in which he accused the company’s owner of duping him about the state of the company.
The lawsuit says that Palmieri had approached McMahon about investing, telling him that the modules were state of the art, allowing for “around-the-clock growth in a climate-controlled environment that was safe from theft.”
After making the investment, McMahon traveled to Fort Collins, Colo., to inspect EnviroGrow’s manufacturing plant, but found it virtually nonexistent, according to the lawsuit.
McMahon said that he demanded the return of his investment, but Palmieri refused.
Neither McMahon nor his lawyers responded to requests for comment.
The lawsuit is ongoing, but Palmieri has denied all the allegations in the lawsuit.
“EnviroGrow is a viable company,” he said. “It’s a great little business and it’s up and coming.”
Dan Williams, who joined EnviroGrow as CEO two months ago, said that the company started marketing the modules recently and already have orders in California, Colorado, Nevada and Massachusetts.