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MBO Ventures Makes History: Completes First-Ever Cannabis ESOP, Neutralizing 280E Impact




Cannabis companies can use this to circumnavigate 280E. 

[New York, NY] — MBO Ventures, the trailblazing ESOP-focused firm in the cannabis industry, has achieved a historic milestone with the completion of the first-ever Cannabis Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). This groundbreaking achievement, led by MBO Ventures’ Managing Partner Darren Gleeman, marks a significant stride in providing a transformative solution for plant-touching cannabis businesses grappling with the challenges posed by Section 280E.

Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code prohibits cannabis businesses from deducting ordinary business expenses on their income tax statements. MBO Ventures, through its patent-pending ESOP methodology, has successfully neutralized the impact of 280E for three cannabis firms, one of them being Theory Wellness, a prominent multi-state operator in the cannabis industry.

“I am thrilled to announce the successful completion of the first-ever Cannabis ESOP by MBO Ventures. This achievement not only marks a milestone for our firm, but also demonstrates the potential of ESOPs in revolutionizing the financial landscape for cannabis businesses. By neutralizing the impact of 280E, we empower plant-touching operators to thrive and contribute to the industry's growth,” said Darren Gleeman, Managing Partner of MBO Ventures.

The completion of the first Cannabis ESOP marks a significant achievement in the cannabis industry's financial strategy. Through this innovative ESOP structure, MBO Ventures provides a viable solution for cannabis businesses to navigate the challenges posed by 280E, enabling them to optimize financial performance and pave the way for sustainable growth while financially empowering their employees.

To learn more about MBO Ventures, please visit

About MBO Ventures

MBO Ventures is the cannabis industry's only investment bank dedicated to Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) which neutralize the impact of 280E. Led by Managing Partner, Darren Gleeman, the firm earned distinction in 2023, with a patent pending for its groundbreaking ESOP methodology. This methodology played a pivotal role in executing the cannabis industry's first three inaugural ESOPs.

About Darren Gleeman

Darren Gleeman is the Managing Partner of MBO Ventures, the cannabis industry’s premier ESOP investment bank. The firm provides ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) expertise and will also invest its capital alongside company owners and/or management teams. In 2023, Darren received a patent pending for his ESOP methodology used in completing the cannabis industry’s first ESOP, neutralizing 280E for a plant-touching multi-state operator, Theory Wellness.

Darren’s beginning at Wharton Business School brought him to understand the value of quantitative modeling and the scientific method. From there, he founded a hedge fund that took the human element out of trading. He transitioned the company into one of the first high frequency trading platforms in the world, trading over 1% of all US Equities every day.

Darren went on to become the Founder of e-Coupons, Managing Partner of both GMD Trading, and GB Trading. In addition to being highly sought after for his ESOP knowledge and financial acumen, he is a prolific angel investor with early investments in companies such as Screaming Media (NASDAQ:SCRM), Blackboard (NASDAQ:BBBB), Social Radar, and his latest investments in and Accelerant Manufacturing.


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