Billionaire Leon Cooperman explains how he ended up investing his personal money in pot stocks

  • In addition to CannTrust and Green Thumb, the billionaire said he has a stake in iAnthus, which owns and operates licensed cannabis cultivation in the U.S.
  • Green Thumb held a conference call and "like a schnook I ask a question," Cooperman said. "The next thing I know, my picture's in the New York Post as 'The Cannabis King.'"
Leon Cooperman on CNBC's "Halftime Report."
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Leon Cooperman on CNBC's "Halftime Report."

Billionaire hedge fund investor Leon Cooperman confirmed to CNBC on Wednesday that he has personal money in the cannabis industry, noting investments in a few young marijuana companies.

Highlighting names including $1.1 billion CannTrust and $2.6 billion Green Thumb Industries, Cooperman said that he was first introduced to the space through Ben Kovler, heir to the Jim Beam bourbon empire.

"I meet with Ben and I'm impressed with him; he's a smart young man. I put some personal money in," Cooperman said. "They have a conference call [and] like a schnook I ask a question. The next thing I know, my picture's in the New York Post as 'The Cannabis King.'"

Cooperman founded Omega Advisors in 1991. The firm has approximately $3.8 billion in assets under management.

"It's clearly a growth business, and I've never had so much fun with my pants on as I've had with these stocks," he joked.

Asked by "Halftime Report" host Scott Wapner on his specific investments, Cooperman said he does not own shares of medical marijuana producer Tilray.

In addition to CannTrust and Green Thumb, Cooperman said he has a stake in iAnthus, which owns and operates licensed cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensary facilities in the U.S.

Shares were up 1.1 percent, down 6.3 percent and up 4.5 percent; respectively. CannTrust and Green Thumb trade on exchanges in Canada.

He also noted a small stake in edible products maker Dixie, which is currently looking to do a public offering later in 2018.

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