Andrei Bloch Uses Marijuana Business to Get Back on List of Richest Russians

The most interesting story in the newly-published Forbes list of 200 richest Russians is that of Andrey Bloch, who climbed back on the list on the wings of his U.S. marijuana business, The Bell reports.  

Bloch owns a 28-percent stake in U.S. cannabis company Curaleaf. It was valued at $4 billion when it raised $400 million on a Canadian stock exchange in October 2018.

His net worth of $905 million earned him the 101st spot on Forbes’ 2019 ranking published on Thursday. His former business partner, Roman Abramovich, placed 10th with a net worth of $12.4 billion.

Andrei Blokh was a long-time partner of Abramovich, being engaged in his oil business in the late 1990s, and in 1998 he headed oil company Sibneft. After the sale of Sibneft, Bloch took up Abramovich’s assets in the food industry, collecting Planet Management from disparate enterprises, and then together with a partner bought the dairy part of this business, Unimilk. In 2010, Unimilk announced a merger with the Danone division in Russia; until 2016, Bloch  remained a major shareholder of the combined company.

At the top of the 2019 Forbes list, Leonid Mikhelson replaced Vladimir Lisin as the richest Russian, with $24 billion compared to Lisin’s $21.3 billion. Vagit Alekperov closed the top three with $20.7 billion.

Russia’s 100 richest billionaires and 100 multimillionaires are worth a combined $496 billion, Forbes reported.

A growing number of countries have legalized or are in the process of legalizing marijuana for medical use, including Britain, Greece and Thailand, as well as some U.S. states. Canada and Uruguay have completely liberalized their marijuana industries.