From Wall Street to Medical Marijuana: One Man’s Story

Medical MarijuanaCan you imagine leaving a Wall Street job to enter into the medical marijuana business? Sounds crazy, but that is just what one man did.

According to the Huffington Post, Derek Peterson left his job as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley after learning a friend was making $18 million a year in the marijuana dispensary business.

Peterson states the dispensary he visited “was the size of a Starbucks and had about 900 patients a day”. The 38-year-old states, “I was a finance guy, always analyzing different industries. I started looking at the products and services utilized in this industry, the economics behind it and how I could prosper from a peripheral business.”

Hydroponic Entrepreneur

The newly inspired Peterson launched GrowOp Technology in May of 2010 initially as just a side business selling “plug and play” mobile hydroponic trailers, or marijuana growing trailers, equipped with all the necessary components to grow medical marijuana.

The side business turned into a full time business after Morgan Stanley fired him. The termination resulted from Peterson’s medical marijuana side business, and Peterson states the reasoning behind it was unfair because Peterson says he saw many of his colleagues running side businesses.

In a statement, Morgan Stanley said, “Morgan Stanley Smith Barney believes it treated Mr. Peterson fairly and appropriately, including in its application of its well-established policy requiring disclosure and approval of outside business activities.”

Following his termination, Peterson decided to ditch Wall Street altogether. He then focused all of his attention to his medical marijuana business eventually merging GrowOp with a voice IP company known as Terra Tech Corp in February of 2012.

Not only does Peterson’s company sell hydroponic trailers for $30,000 to $80,000, but they also make hydroponic equipment that is sold through smaller retailers. Recently the company created an iPhone app that allows medical marijuana growers to monitor their crops remotely. Terra Tech projects their 2012 to exceed $1 million.

Is it legal?

As far as the legality of his business, Peterson states that he avoids getting involved with medical marijuana directly because of state and federal laws. “If we owned a dispensary, that would be a different ballgame, but we do a good job of keeping it at arm’s length. We sell hydroponic equipment to cultivate products, whether that’s food or cannabis, so we haven’t felt any pushback,” he states.

Peterson states dispensaries are often closing leading people to his technology because they want to cultivate their own medical marijuana.

As far as what his former Wall Street colleagues think of his business, Peterson states, “There was a lot of press at the time around the ‘green rush,’ so they understood there was a market opportunity, but I could tell they thought I was crazy for leaving the comfort of Wall Street.”

Peterson hopes to continue to expand the company’s product lineups and integrate more technology. Peterson says the company currently has technology that can “control the cycle of cultivation, turn lights on and off, monitor CO2 levels, temperature, and dehumidifiers from an iPhone or iPad.”

South Carolina Drug Crimes Lawyer

South Carolina currently does not permit the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. If you or a loved one are facing marijuana possession or distributing charges, you need to contact a South Carolina drug crimes lawyer. The South Carolina drug crimes lawyer at the Strom Law Firm will question law enforcement in regards to how much marijuana was seized, as well as, investigate how the drugs were seized. Many times law enforcement seizes marijuana and other drugs through an unlawful search. Call us today or fill out a web form to see how we can help you. 803.252.4800.

About Pete Strom

Defending criminal charges including drug crimes, DUI, CDV, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, computer crimes, money laundering, and juvenile crimes, Pete also handles Federal and State investigations. Representing individuals in Civil Matters including Class Actions, Personal Injury, Qui Tam Actions, Defective Products, Nursing Home Neglect, and Professional Licensing Defense cases. Joseph Preston “Pete” Strom, Jr., the managing partner at Strom Law Firm, L.L.C., has been fighting for justice since 1984.


  1. […] Carolina law does not permit medical marijuana businesses, but the business can be a big business in states where the drug is legal. California is […]

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