Cannabis today is like tech 20 years ago, says former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz

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Cannabis today is like tech 20 years ago, former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz told CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” in an interview Thursday after disclosing she had invested in Caliva, a California-based cannabis company,

Bartz and NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana are among investors who poured $75 million into a fundraising round Caliva announced Thursday. The Silicon-Valley based company manages everything from “seed to sale,” Bartz said. Caliva grows marijuana, makes vape oils and sells products at a San Jose dispensary.

“When I saw this opportunity, I said this is the new world here,” said Bartz, who is also joining Caliva’s board. “It’s like being back in tech 20 years ago. It’s like so much growth potential, so many ways to change people’s lives and so I’m in.”

Some analysts have pointed to CBD, THC’s non-psychoactive cousin, as a huge growth opportunity. The compound can be derived from both the marijuana and the hemp plant. While marijuana remains illegal in most states and federally illegal, the farm bill President Donald Trump signed in December legalized hemp and products derived from it.

Bartz said while CBD is “a very, very important part” of the industry, she thinks the combination of CBD and THC is better. While Bartz is not a smoker, she said she uses cannabis creams on her shoulders and bad knees.

“As it’s legalized in other states, people will understand how important it is to have that combination,” she said.

Despite some optimists saying federal legalization is right around the corner, Baltz doesn’t think it’ll happen soon. In the meantime, though, she thinks Caliva and other companies operating in California will learn a lot “that hopefully will help other people decide to legalize.”

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