Ben Kovler’s Success Secrets: Green Thumb Industries’ Profitable Journey


Ben Kovler’s Success Secrets: Green Thumb Industries’ Profitable Journey

Unveiling the Profitable Journey of Green Thumb Industries with CEO Ben Kovler

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When it comes to running a successful business in the cannabis industry, profitability is a key factor that separates the leaders from the rest. One such company that has managed to achieve consistent profitability is Green Thumb Industries, led by its CEO, Ben Kovler. In this article, we will delve into the strategies and principles that have contributed to Green Thumb’s success in the market.


In a highly competitive and challenging industry like cannabis, profitability is crucial for long-term sustainability. Green Thumb Industries, a multistate operator (MSO) based in Chicago, has emerged as one of the few profitable companies in the sector. With its unique approach and business acumen, Green Thumb has achieved remarkable success in the 14 markets it operates in.

Ben Kovler’s Approach to Business

A significant aspect of Green Thumb’s success can be attributed to the leadership of CEO Ben Kovler. Kovler has a distinct approach to decision-making, relying on his intuition and paying attention to subtle signs. He believes that when he can’t sleep, something is amiss. This intuition led him to make a crucial decision in 2015 when Green Thumb won three medical cannabis cultivation licenses in Illinois. Concerned about the company’s financial capabilities, Kovler decided to give back one of the licenses, demonstrating his commitment to responsible growth.

Green Thumb’s Profitability

Unlike many of its competitors, Green Thumb has achieved profitability in the cannabis industry. The company reported net income of $12 million for the entirety of 2022, with continued success in the first quarter of 2023. Although the company experienced a slight decline in revenue, it generated $75 million in free cash flow from operations and reported a net income of $9 million. These impressive financial figures have positioned Green Thumb as an industry leader in terms of profitability among US MSOs.

Sustainable Success

The cannabis industry faces numerous challenges, including federal marijuana reform, price compression, inflation, high interest rates, and taxes. However, Green Thumb has managed to weather these challenges and prove its sustainability in the market. Savvy investors recognize that stability and profitability are crucial for survival in such a competitive industry, and Green Thumb Industries exemplifies these qualities.

Strategies for Success

Green Thumb’s success can be attributed to its effective strategies and business decisions. One key strategy is the company’s approach to spending and acquisitions. Instead of pursuing expensive mergers and acquisitions, Kovler and his team opt for a more controlled and cost-effective approach to growth. By investing in their own businesses and building facilities rather than acquiring existing ones, they can avoid potential problems and ensure a deeper understanding of their operations.

Kovler’s Background and Prohibition 2.0

Ben Kovler’s personal background and family history in the alcohol industry have shaped his perspective on the cannabis market. With historic ties to the Jim Beam bourbon whiskey empire, Kovler witnessed the early days of the marijuana industry and drew parallels between the end of alcohol prohibition and the current state of cannabis. He believes that just as moonshine and bathtub gin eventually evolved into successful brands like Jim Beam and Seagram’s, the illicit marijuana market will transform into legitimate and respected brands, such as Green Thumb’s own Rythm.

Attracting Investors

Green Thumb’s compelling vision and growth strategy have attracted investors from the early stages. Kovler successfully pitched the concept of Prohibition 2.0 to investors in Illinois and Maryland, garnering support and funding for the company. Investors recognized the unique industry insight and commitment to expansion in states with limited licenses, setting Green Thumb apart from other operators.

Lean Approach to Growth

Kovler’s preference for a lean approach to growth has been instrumental in Green Thumb’s success. Rather than pursuing transformative mergers and acquisitions, the company focuses on organic growth. By investing in building their own cultivation facilities instead of acquiring them, they can save costs and gain comprehensive knowledge of the entire operation. This method enables greater control and avoids the potential problems associated with mergers and acquisitions.

Tax Code Challenges and Compensation

The cannabis industry faces unique challenges due to Section 280E of the federal tax code, which imposes income taxes on gross margins. Recognizing the impact of this tax code on the company’s balance sheet, Green Thumb adopted a cautious approach and prioritized profitability over short-term earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). Additionally, the company keeps its compensation packages relatively low compared to competitors, ensuring a more sustainable financial structure.

Brand Building and Capital Markets

Green Thumb has focused on building strong brands and establishing authentic relationships with its customers. Kovler’s belief in creating trust and honesty between brands and consumers has been a consistent principle since the company’s inception. This dedication to brand building has paid off, with Green Thumb’s Rythm, Dogwalkers, and Incredibles brands achieving significant rankings and recognition in the industry. The company’s Rise stores also perform well in terms of consumer awareness and loyalty.

Staying True to Core Values

Green Thumb remains committed to its core values of authenticity and consumer relationships. Kovler maintains that brands built on honesty and trust are the key to success in the cannabis industry. This philosophy has remained unchanged since the company’s founding in 2014. Green Thumb’s brands, including Rythm and Incredibles, have consistently ranked among the top performers in their respective categories. The Rise stores, part of Green Thumb’s retail portfolio, have also gained recognition for their awareness and loyalty among consumers.

Future Plans and Sustainability

Looking ahead, Green Thumb aims to strengthen its connection with consumers through unique events. The company is hosting a music festival called “The Miracle in Mundelein” at its first store, where on-site cannabis consumption will be allowed. This event aligns with Green Thumb’s focus on authentic connections and offers an opportunity to engage with consumers in a memorable way. Despite the challenging conditions in the industry, Green Thumb remains committed to sustainable growth and long-term success.


Green Thumb CEO Ben Kovler’s expertise and strategic approach have propelled the company to profitability in the competitive cannabis industry. By reining in spending, avoiding costly acquisitions, and prioritizing authentic relationships with customers, Green Thumb has become an industry leader. The company’s success highlights the importance of stability and profitability in the cannabis market, as it faces numerous challenges. As Green Thumb continues to execute its growth plans and maintain a lean approach, it remains well-positioned for sustained success.


  1. Is Green Thumb Industries publicly traded?
    • Yes, Green Thumb Industries is publicly traded under the ticker symbol GTII on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) and GTBIF on over-the-counter markets.
  2. What brands does Green Thumb Industries own?
    • Green Thumb Industries owns several brands, including Rythm, Dogwalkers, and Incredibles, among others.
  3. How does Green Thumb Industries prioritize sustainability in the cannabis industry?
    • Green Thumb Industries focuses on long-term sustainability by balancing profitability, responsible spending, and maintaining authentic relationships with customers.
  4. What sets Green Thumb Industries apart from its competitors?
    • Green Thumb Industries differentiates itself through its profitability and lean approach to growth, as well as its commitment to brand building and consumer relationships.
  5. Does Green Thumb Industries plan to expand its operations to other states?
    • While Green Thumb Industries has already expanded to 14 markets, the company continues to evaluate opportunities for growth and expansion in states with limited licenses.