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ALUMNI PROFILE Jonathan Loiterman (JD/MBA ’08)

Entrepreneurial spirit

Law degree provides a platform for unique career possibilities

Jonathan Loiterman (JD/MBA'08) always knew that someday he would start his own business. Growing up in the western suburbs, he began studying memoirs of the great CEOs of the 20th Century as a teen.

"Generally, there are only two ways to become an executive," he said from his farm in Jacksonville, Oregon, where he has lived for the past five years. "You either start at the bottom and work your way up, or you start something new."

After spending nine years as a litigator with the Chicago firm Lowis & Gellen, LLP, Loiterman left the practice in 2014, raised nearly $3 million in a private placement and founded Green Star Growing, Inc., a 38-acre cannabis farm in Oregon's Applegate Valley. Green Star is an Oregon-based cannabis grower, processor, and wholesaler licensed by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and considered the premier producer of full-spectrum, CO2-extracted cannabis oil.

According to Loiterman, his community-oriented business has furnished comfort and relief to thousands of medical cannabis patients around Oregon, while offering wholesome cannabis products for adults over 21.


“I hope to inspire students to look at their education and experience in the law as a training ground for an entrepreneurial venture. It's a great way to leverage your legal skills to provide yourself with unlimited opportunities if you think beyond a practice.”

As an alumnus who entered Loyola's dual-degree program in 2004, Loiterman is uniquely qualified for his leadership position in this new sector. He earned a JD in 2008 with a Health Law Certificate from the Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy and an MBA in accounting from the Quinlan School of Business that same year.

Professor Larry Singer, JD, director of the Beazley Institute, stayed in touch with Loiterman over the years and says of his former student, “Jonathan has always brought to his work passion, curiosity, and an understanding of the intersection of law and business. His progression to CEO of a cutting-edge organization allows him to take all that he learned at Loyola and put it into practice.”

While in school, Loiterman clerked at Lowis & Gellen, where he defended medical malpractice, pharmaceutical, and medical-device product liability cases. He then practiced for six years, focusing on insurance defense litigation.

In 2013, he became chair of the Continuing Legal Education Committee for the Illinois State Bar Association's Health Section. In August of that year, former Governor Pat Quinn signed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. As CLE chair, the duty fell to Loiterman to prepare educational content for Illinois lawyers about the ethical and practical considerations of representing patients, physicians, and cannabis businesses under this new law.

"I put a program together and began to realize that this new bill was the tip of the iceberg. California and Oregon had passed similar laws in the 1990s, so I viewed Illinois' law as marking a sea-change in national policy."

8

number of dual-degree programs Loyola Law offers

20%

of Loyola students earn the Health Law certificate upon graduation

91%

of Loyola’s JD students are employed within 10 months of graduation

10

number of states with legalized recreational and medical marijuana

31

number of states with legalized medical marijuana

First

Illinois is the first state to legalize marijuana sales through legislature

With a solid understanding of the licensing rules under the new law, he decided to take a run at one of 20 medical cultivation licenses available in Illinois' pilot program. But with so few licenses offered, he was unsuccessful in obtaining one. Soon after he decided to relocate to Oregon to established Green Star Growing where he has been operating in its medical and adult-use cannabis industry ever since.

"One interesting and unique fact about cannabis: you never have to convince investors that people want to buy your product," he said. Nevertheless, Loiterman still faced enormous challenges: executing a business plan in a volatile regulatory environment, building a team, limiting risk, and understanding the competitive pressures of the market.

"Two years ago, the industry was completely different than it is today, and two years from now, it'll be different again," he added.

"When I graduated in 2008, the financial sky was falling, and being a lawyer was tough for a lot of people … and still is," he said. "I hope to inspire students to look at their education and experience in the law as a training ground for an entrepreneurial venture. It's a great way to leverage your legal skills to provide yourself with unlimited opportunities if you think beyond a practice.

“People rightly considered me insane when I left the law firm, but years later, my life is enriched, and my career is flourishing. Twenty years ago, a stable job and a house were the American Dream; today, it's starting your own thing, and I believe that with a Loyola law degree, the sky's the limit."


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