Ghost Group

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Ghost Group
Industry Venture capital
Founded Newport Beach, California (2012 (2012))
Founder Justin Hartfield
Doug Francis
Headquarters Newport Beach, California, United States

Ghost Group is a venture capital firm based in Newport Beach, California.[1][2][3][4] It focuses on developing consumer and enterprise businesses in the legal marijuana industry.[2][3][4][5]


The firm was founded in 2012 by Justin Hartfield (co-founder of WeedMaps) and Doug Francis.[6][7][8][9]

Ghost Group targets accredited businesses and investors that are either already involved or have shown interest in becoming involved in the marijuana industry.[4][10]

In June 2013 the firm announced the launch of Emerald Ocean Capital fund.[2][3][4][11][12] The fund’s purpose is to acquire and invest in businesses in the legal cannabis and medical marijuana industry.[2][4][5] Company CEO Justin Hartfield has emphasized that the recreational marijuana market in particular has the most opportunities for the capital fund to get involved.[4][7]

The market of consumer-facing products, especially software and technologies, will be the focus of Emerald Ocean.[3][4][5][6] After announcing the launch of the fund, Emerald Ocean expressed intentions of raising 10 to 25 million dollars in its first round.[2][4]

Additionally, the capital fund will function as a venture capital incubator, with an 8,000 square foot office facility in Denver, Colorado for select startups.[2][13]

Ghost Group concurrently announced the launch of Ghost Domain Capital, an investor in category killer Internet domains.[1][5][11][12]

Developments in marijuana legalization[edit]

Both Emerald Ocean Capital and Ghost Domain Capital were launched after a Pew Research Center study found that more than 50% of Americans approve the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.[1][3][14][15]

In 2005 a United Nations study reported global marijuana sales generate 142 billion dollars.[16]

Justin Hartfield resides on the boards of both the NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project’s Boards of Directors. He contributed over $100,000 to the Measure F campaign, which advocates for an open market system for marijuana sales.[15]


Justin Hartfield founded WeedMaps in 2008, while working for an SEO consultation business.[1][4][6][8][9] The site provides an app that allows medical marijuana users to rate and find marijuana dispensaries.[2][13][12] Hartfield currently serves as CEO of the company.[2][15]

Doug Francis is a board member for WeedMaps and a founder of marketing firm[1][12] He served as president of LC Luxuries from 2010 to 2012.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Chris Rauber (June 5, 2013). "Getting high with a little help from your VC firm". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Vita Reed (June 6, 2013). "VC Firm Launches Legal Cannabis Fund". Orange County Business Journal. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Rebecca Grant (June 5, 2013). "VC firm hopes for high returns with fund for marijuana". VentureBeat. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "5 Questions for Justin Hartfield: Opportunities as Cannabis Industry Becomes ‘Pimply Teenager’". MMJ Business Daily. June 18, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Multi-Million Dollar Cannabis Venture Capital Fund in Works, Plans to Target Ancillary Marijuana Startups". MMJ Business Daily. June 6, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c Walter Hickey (June 13, 2013). "Justin Hartfield Is About To Become The First Venture Capitalist Of The Pot Industry". Business Insider. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c "Searchcore Inc (SRER:OTC US)". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Kate Linthicum (May 22, 2013). "New L.A. law on medical marijuana shops faces hazy future". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Mike Anderson (May 5, 2011). "Justin Hartfield of WeedMaps". NBC Bay Area. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Meet Justin Hartfield, the Pot Industry's First Venture Capitalist". Inc. Magazine. June 13, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Ghost Group Launches Fund Focused on Marijuana Industry". FinSMEs. June 7, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d "California VC Ghost Group launches medical marijuana fund". AltAssets. June 3, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Eleazar David Melendez (June 6, 2013). "Marijuana Venture Capital Fund Launches As Ganjapreneurs Go Mainstream". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Majority Now Supports Legalizing Marijuana". Pew Research Center. April 4, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b c Warren Olney (May 14, 2013). "Can Prop C Help Overturn Citizens United?". KCWR. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Ex-Microsoft Man Jamen Shively Plans To Unveil Mystery Marijuana Brand". The Huffington Post. May 30, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 

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