Green Market Report Finance Awards: Top Lender Sweet Leaf Madison Capital

Florida-based Sweet Leaf Madison Capital has provided financial services to marijuana businesses since 2016.

On August 3, Green Market Report hosted its 2023 Finance Summit. At the Summit, the winners of the 2023 GMR Cannabis Finance Awards were announced.

The winner of the Top Lender in Cannabis was Florida-based Sweet Leaf Madison Capital. The company, which was Sweet Leaf Capital until the firm merged with Madison Ventures+ in 2021, has provided financial services to marijuana businesses since 2016.

Andrew Kaye

Andrew Kaye, Sweet Leaf’s chief commercial officer, said the company prides itself on providing debt financing to cannabis companies in the middle tier of the industry, instead of only catering to the biggest players in the trade.

“I’d say our biggest accomplishment was to be able to secure a $100 million credit facility during the COVID and post-COVID environment. That was really bucking the strong winds of financial dislocation,” Kaye said, when asked what the company’s most notable accomplishment has been thus far in cannabis. “Raising money in a difficult environment for the middle market is a dual accomplishment I’m most proud of.”

That deal, which just closed in March, gave Sweet Leaf a fresh round of capital to disperse among marijuana companies at a time when interest rates are sky high and cannabis businesses nationwide have been struggling to attract new funding.

Kaye said that also reflects the biggest hurdle that Sweet Leaf has had to deal with, which is “everything.”

“The biggest hurdle in cannabis is you have everything takes twice as long and costs twice as much. You have to work very, very hard to find good borrowers, in order to structure deals that work with the state,” Kaye said.

When asked what development he’s looking forward to in the U.S. cannabis industry, Kaye said federal reform, either with rescheduling or descheduling, passage of the SAFE Banking Act, and overall “normalization.”

“Really what the industry is looking for and needs is kind of relief from the thinking the industry is different from other industries. Normalizing the industry. From law and from finance and from legislation,” Kaye said. “Normalization is really critical to have a thriving industry.”

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