Arcadian Capital Management leads the pack in cannabis investment. The venture capital firm’s diverse portfolio features 30-plus brands known for pioneering the industry across healthcare, media, life sciences and AgTech, supply chain infrastructure, and data and technology services. Arcadian adheres to a set of values that drive it to support businesses which aim for a higher purpose. With mission-focused investing, also called Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing, Arcadian is empowering the human element of the cannabis industry.

Honeysuckle caught up with Arcadian founder and CEO Matthew Nordgren, who shared his insights on Arcadian’s role in shaping the cannabis industry.

HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE: What do you see as the role of Arcadian Capital in the burgeoning cannabis industry?

MATTHEW NORDGREN: As an investment manager, our role continues to be to see the industry from a macro perspective while working within each niche category to connect the dots. We make sound investments meeting the mandates of our various funds to achieve the goals of our investor base, and we aim to do this with integrity and class along the journey. We view ourselves as a leader, because we understand what it means to serve. Servant leadership is the key to long term success. We believe in community and that the industry and its leaders are stronger together than divided.

Arcadian Capital operates with three core values in mind: Profitability and purpose; revitalizing communities impacted by the War on Drugs; and environmental sustainability/regeneration. What do you look for when deciding to invest in a brand?

We have developed proprietary technologies and practices for which we hold companies accountable for these exact measures. We lean on a variety of organizations who specialize in ESG to help track and quantify our investments so that we are able to measure the checklist that we use when making investment decisions. Although ESG has been somewhat of an art form versus science, we are seeing that large financial firms have been able to develop best practices that are measurable and we hold ourselves to this same standard. We aim to see ESG initiatives fleshed out across the board within our own firm and the companies we invest in so that we truly create a better world for tomorrow. We strongly believe in this industry's ability to empower women and minority-run businesses, create environmentally sound practices, and drive social impact.

Nordgren (center) presents at SXSW 2022 with members of the Fyllo team and leaders in cannabis investment (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc.

We have been blessed to work with so many great businesses, brands who have paved the way for the growth we are all experiencing. The next evolution for the sector is to see the B2B businesses scale and consolidate while the B2C sector is just starting to find its own lane. Because the rules and regulations are becoming more clear each quarter that goes by, we expect consumers to continue to align with consumer-facing brands that deliver quality [and consistent] products. We believe that it takes a level playing field where the final rules are in place with how consumer-facing brands can market and sell products. This will result in CPG [consumer packaged goods] companies that are more in line with what the consumer audience understands within other categories.

What do you see as helping erase the stigma most?

Education is the key component. Unlike other emerging industries which have the task of bringing something brand new to the world, the cannabis and hemp plants have been around since the beginning of time. Most every adult on the planet has an understanding of the plant in its flower form. This works for some people, but for many it does not. We have to take the great benefits that the plant offers and create products that fit every consumer's needs. Beverages, medical applications, pet care products, topical creams, and food products. And with hemp, categories such as textiles, fabrics, concretes and other items that are sustainable and environmentally friendly.

What is your biggest hope for the industry?

To see it flourish in a way that takes all humans’ needs into consideration. The beautiful thing about building a new industry at this moment in history is that we have a chance to do it right from the beginning. We are confident that the leaders within the cannabis and hemp industry care more about doing it the right way rather than just getting rules and regulations passed quickly. We hope that the natural plant wellness space can create an example for other sectors to model themselves after and that’s why we wake up every day inspired to do the work we do.

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A version of this article first appeared in Honeysuckle's 420 print edition, featuring Lil Wayne and Young Money. Get your copy now.