George Zimmer, founder of Men’s Warehouse and zTailors, was the keynote speaker at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo in Los Angeles this past Friday, where he spoke in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana in California. After the keynote, CNBC tracked Zimmer down, and the successful entrepreneur opened up on his own history of marijuana use.
Zimmer is famous for guaranteeing that, “You’re gonna like the way you look.” Now, he seems to be guaranteeing something else.
— Cheezburger (@Cheezburger) September 23, 2015
The CNBC interview begins with the interviewer asking whether Zimmer has ever used recreational marijuana.
“I’ve been smoking marijuana on a regular basis for about 50 years,” Zimmer replied. “As you can see, it’s really impacted me in a negative way.”
George Zimmer has been a major proponent for legalized marijuana for a while. According to the Atlantic, Zimmer provided financial support for a failed proposition in California in 2011 that would have kicked off major marijuana law reform in the state.
As the keynote speaker at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo, George pushed again for marijuana law reform. Zimmer also took a dim view of Washington’s stance on marijuana.
“Everybody in the country knows what the truth here is, except the 535 people we elect to make these decisions in Washington, D.C.. It’s astounding.”
On the subject of marijuana prohibition, Zimmer told CNBC, “This is the biggest con that has been perpetrated on this country in the last century. Right now, cannabis is a schedule one drug. So it’s treated like were heroin.”
Zimmer is also a proponent of allowing people to grow their own marijuana at home.
“I think it’s important that we protect limited home cultivation, without any government licensing. So whether that’s one plant, or 10 plants, I don’t know. But I think that’s very important.”
Some states that have legalized medical marijuana, including California, have marijuana grow laws that allow patients to possess a specific number of plants. While there are no government licenses, California NORML reports that some doctors charge patients for fraudulent cultivation licenses that supposedly will allow them to grow more plants.
George Zimmer started his first business, Men’s Warehouse, in 1973, and he grew it into a massive chain of over 1,200 stores throughout both the United States and Canada. As previously reported by Inquisitr, Zimmer was fired from his position as Executive Chairman in 2013 for unspecified reasons. In a 2013 interview with CNBC, Zimmer cited a difference of opinion on the direction of the company as the reason for his termination.
Despite being fired from the company he founded, Zimmer reportedly owned a 3.5 percent stake when he was let go. At the time, that translated to over $60 million worth of stock.
Since then, Zimmer has started two new companies in the garment space, zTailors and Generation Tux.
Asked if he would consider investing in cannabis-related business, Zimmer told CNBC that he had looked at some, but he wasn’t ready to pull the trigger. With federal marijuana laws still classifying marijuana as a schedule one drug, George feels that it’s a little premature to invest, from his point of view.
What do you think about a successful CEO like George Zimmer revealing that he has smoked pot recreationally for 50 years, despite current marijuana laws?
[Photo by Kimberly White / Getty Images Entertainment]