Cannabis Industry Voice - Podcasts | National Cannabis Industry Association
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The Cannabis Industry Voice


NCIA hosts a weekly podcast with guest members who share their experiences, challenges and successes operating businesses serving the legal cannabis industry.


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Why Professionals Want To Work In The Industry

Tune in to this week’s episode to learn more about why professionals want to work in the cannabis industry with guest John Comeau, Founding Partner of H2 Talent. John is recognized as one of the leading recruiters in the country. In 2017, C-Level Search was designated as a Top Search Firm in North America. LinkedIn […]
Tune in to this week's episode to learn more about why professionals want to work in the cannabis industry with guest John Comeau, Founding Partner of H2 Talent. John is recognized as one of the leading recruiters in the country. In 2017, C-Level Search was designated as a Top Search Firm in North America. LinkedIn named C-Level Search the 24th “Most Socially Engaged Staffing Agencies in North America” in a category with over 60,000 other staffing agencies. H2 Talent is creating new jobs where they haven’t existed and bringing the entrepreneurs, visionaries, problem solvers, and disruptors into the “next great American industry.”

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Cannabinoid Science For Planetary Health And Well-Being

Tune in to this episode to learn more about cannabinoid science for planetary health and well-being with Steve Goldner of Pure Green. Pure Green creates pharmaceutical grade solutions for everyday ailments and chronic conditions. Stephen Goldner has served as FDA Advisor to the NIH, advising medical device and drug developers and grant awardees. Steve is a forensic […]
Tune in to this episode to learn more about cannabinoid science for planetary health and well-being with Steve Goldner of Pure Green. Pure Green creates pharmaceutical grade solutions for everyday ailments and chronic conditions. Stephen Goldner has served as FDA Advisor to the NIH, advising medical device and drug developers and grant awardees. Steve is a forensic toxicologist and to the laywoman, that means he has done medical examinations, autopsies, and has an intimate understanding of the disease. As someone who is pro-cannabis, we talk about his concern with this epidemic we’re seeing with the vaping illnesses. There have been more than 30 deaths already, and it is very tragic and concerning. Despite this hiccough, we can still safely say that cannabis has provided real medical benefits to so many people for issues ranging from PTSD treatment to pain management and everything in between. Steve is passionate about and dedicated to bringing real science to cannabis. We discuss some of the clinical trials he is working on and anecdotes of people healing from cannabis.  

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The Fast Paced Growth And Expansion In Cannabis

Tune in to this episode to learn more about the fast paced growth and expansion in cannabis with Noah Miller, CEO of Black Dog LED. He’s been with the company since November 2011, bringing experience from both startups and large corporations. Black Dog LED provides LED grow lights for the cannabis industry and beyond. We […]
Tune in to this episode to learn more about the fast paced growth and expansion in cannabis with Noah Miller, CEO of Black Dog LED. He’s been with the company since November 2011, bringing experience from both startups and large corporations. Black Dog LED provides LED grow lights for the cannabis industry and beyond. We discuss scaling Noah's business, which has been around since medical-only programs, and at this point almost 6 years into adult legalization in some states including Colorado. He is keeping up with all that by scaling fast.

Advocacy
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Sustainability In The Cannabis Industry

Learn more about sustainability in the cannabis industry with Emily Backus, Sustainability Advisor at Denver Dept of Public Health. Emily Backus, Sustainability Advisor at the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment focusing on Environmental Quality and leads the Denver Cannabis Sustainability Workgroup. Sustainability is an important issue across all industries. Many agricultural (like the […]
Learn more about sustainability in the cannabis industry with Emily Backus, Sustainability Advisor at Denver Dept of Public Health. Emily Backus, Sustainability Advisor at the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment focusing on Environmental Quality and leads the Denver Cannabis Sustainability Workgroup. Sustainability is an important issue across all industries. Many agricultural (like the wine industry, avocado trees, and almond trees) and industrial businesses such as chemical plants and consumer goods manufacturing, have to consider issues around water, soil, toxic chemicals, energy use and everything in between. We talk about how and why she got involved in the cannabis industry considering her position with the City and County.

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Recruiting For The Cannabis Industry

Tune in to learn more about recruiting for the cannabis industry with Adam Kaplan, CEO of Kaplan Executive Search. Kaplan is a boutique executive search firm specializing in recruiting for the Cannabis Industry. Adam also serves on the Human Resources Committee at NCIA. Adam has experience recruiting in industries such as cannabis, software and technology, […]
Tune in to learn more about recruiting for the cannabis industry with Adam Kaplan, CEO of Kaplan Executive Search. Kaplan is a boutique executive search firm specializing in recruiting for the Cannabis Industry. Adam also serves on the Human Resources Committee at NCIA. Adam has experience recruiting in industries such as cannabis, software and technology, franchising, financial services, and insurance, as well as other professional services. His greatest professional passion is matching top COOs to ambitious CEOs looking to grow their business. In addition, he is passionate about helping cannabis companies recruit across all levels and functions by offering full, partial, and/or project-based consultative recruitment solutions. As the years ago by, the cannabis industry is expanding and becoming more sophisticated. Most people understand what the CEO, Chief Executive Officer, is but there are a few other C-suite level roles that are important as well. We talk about the role of the COO and its impact on a fast-growing cannabis company. We flip the tables and see what Adam would advise for a company that is looking to attract talented candidates to their company. As well as what they should do other than just posting a job description to keep talent coming through the door.    

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Accurate Public Awareness Of The Cannabis Industry

In this episode of NCIA’s Cannabis Industry Voice weekly podcast, learn more about accurate public awareness of the cannabis industry with Anthony Bratti of LOCALiQ. LOCALiQ offers data-driven digital marketing solutions and is a part of the USA Today network. LOCALIQ simplifies local marketing with unparalleled data and insights, smart technology that learns what works for you. […]
In this episode of NCIA's Cannabis Industry Voice weekly podcast, learn more about accurate public awareness of the cannabis industry with Anthony Bratti of LOCALiQ. LOCALiQ offers data-driven digital marketing solutions and is a part of the USA Today network. LOCALIQ simplifies local marketing with unparalleled data and insights, smart technology that learns what works for you. They rely on storytelling that helps your business connect with local consumers. Their digital marketing agency offers SEO and PPC services, social media marketing, web design help, and much more. There’s a lot of war-on-drugs rhetoric leftover from prohibition. Between medical, adult-use, and now hemp/CBD products, the landscape is complicated and there’s a lot of confusion. We discuss what can we as an industry or specifically cannabis companies themselves can do to create more accurate awareness and knowledge of real information, plus advice Bratti would have for the industry.

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Cannabis Facility Design And Construction

Tune in to learn more about cannabis facility design with Andy Poticha, CEO of Cannabis Facility Construction, focusing on cannabis facility design and build projects including cultivation, dispensaries, and processing. When we talk about building our businesses, we often think about the software and the people and other resources, but there’s also the actual building […]
Tune in to learn more about cannabis facility design with Andy Poticha, CEO of Cannabis Facility Construction, focusing on cannabis facility design and build projects including cultivation, dispensaries, and processing. When we talk about building our businesses, we often think about the software and the people and other resources, but there’s also the actual building of our businesses... specifically large cultivation and manufacturing warehouses and buildings. Andy’s company focuses on the actual buildings, like the walls and the roof, and meeting the needs of cannabis industry companies. His company is working in several medical and adult-use states across the U.S. Knowing that compliance and regulations are a huge part of our industry focus, we talk about building regulations in cannabis. If you’re an operator that wants to build a brand new facility — you're financed… you found a nice piece of land... it’s still not that simple. We unpack some of these layers of challenges that the operator might encounter.    

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Global Cannabis Venture Capital Investment

In this episode, we spoke with cannabis venture capital investment Canopy Rivers‘ President and CEO, Narbe Alexandrian. Canopy Rivers is a cannabis venture capital investment and operating platform with a strategic partnership with Canopy Growth Corporation. Canopy Rivers is a unique cannabis venture capital investment and operating platform. The company is managed by an experienced […]
In this episode, we spoke with cannabis venture capital investment Canopy Rivers‘ President and CEO, Narbe Alexandrian. Canopy Rivers is a cannabis venture capital investment and operating platform with a strategic partnership with Canopy Growth Corporation. Canopy Rivers is a unique cannabis venture capital investment and operating platform. The company is managed by an experienced team of qualified financial and technical professionals with deep industry experience and relationship networks, but what makes Canopy Rivers truly unique is the company’s strategic partnership and cornerstone investment from Canopy Growth Corporation. Our industry is very fast-moving and every year it seems there are new states coming online with medical or adult-use cannabis laws, thus creating business opportunities in those states. We talk about Narbe’s thoughts on where the cannabis industry and market are going to go in the next 2 to 5 years, plus hemp and CBD products. The U.S. is on its own slow journey to reform cannabis laws, and we saw Canada recently legalize and Mexico is well on its way, not to mention what’s happening in various other countries around the world. We talk about how we’re really seeing a global cannabis market emerge.

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New Cannabis Market Expansion

Tune in to learn more about new cannabis market expansion with Jocelyn Sheltraw, Director of Regional Strategy for Headset. Headset provides Business Intelligence for cannabis companies, from dispensaries and retailers to product manufacturers and growers. She is responsible for strategy and operations in California, along with new cannabis market expansion. Jocelyn also advocates for women in […]
Tune in to learn more about new cannabis market expansion with Jocelyn Sheltraw, Director of Regional Strategy for Headset. Headset provides Business Intelligence for cannabis companies, from dispensaries and retailers to product manufacturers and growers. She is responsible for strategy and operations in California, along with new cannabis market expansion. Jocelyn also advocates for women in technology leadership positions and against the social stigma of the cannabis user. People want to use CBD as a wellness product, so perhaps they’re looking for edibles and want the wellness effects but not the “high” from THC. It appears that kind of product is going to become more popular for a lot of demographics. We talk about what she has seen specifically when it comes to high CBD and low THC edible products, as well as if she is noticing that CBD products are most popular among certain demographics. The thought process is that elderly and senior citizens would benefit the most, but we discuss who Jocelyn thinks is the biggest CBD customer base. Give us your opinion! Take this survey to tell us what you think about NCIA's Cannabis Industry Voice weekly podcast.

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Cannabis Point Of Sale Software

Tune in to this episode to learn more about Cannabis Point Of Sale Software with Ed Keating, Cannabiz Media. Ed Keating is a co-founder of Cannabiz Media and oversees data research and government relations efforts. He has spent his whole career working with and advising information companies in the compliance space. Ed has overseen complex multijurisdictional product […]
Tune in to this episode to learn more about Cannabis Point Of Sale Software with Ed KeatingCannabiz Media. Ed Keating is a co-founder of Cannabiz Media and oversees data research and government relations efforts. He has spent his whole career working with and advising information companies in the compliance space. Ed has overseen complex multijurisdictional product lines in the securities, corporate, UCC, safety, environmental and human resource markets and focuses on workflow products. Ed has spent the last twenty-five years in the information industry. During that time he has worked for both startup and established information companies where he led marketing, product management, and sales organizations. Anyone in our industry who holds a license to operate surely has a lot on their plates, from compliance oversight to just the regular day to day operations and everything in between. CannaBiz Media has a new tool in partnership with NCIA that is being offered to license holders, we break down the details about this tool, as well as a report his company just published about Cannabis Point Of Sale Software for those who are working in the retail/dispensary side of things. Give us your opinion! Take this survey to tell us what you think about NCIA's Cannabis Industry Voice weekly podcast.

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Software Technology Helping The Cannabis Industry

Software technology helping the cannabis industry with Frank Nisenboum, Vice President of Sales of e2b teknologies. e2b offers software solutions to businesses including marketing, sales, accounting, consulting, engineering, and support. Frank has worked in the ERP and CRM software selection, sales and consulting industry for almost 25 years. Software can be very helpful for companies in our […]
Software technology helping the cannabis industry with Frank Nisenboum, Vice President of Sales of e2b teknologies. e2b offers software solutions to businesses including marketing, sales, accounting, consulting, engineering, and support. Frank has worked in the ERP and CRM software selection, sales and consulting industry for almost 25 years. Software can be very helpful for companies in our industry working to stay compliant. It can be a full-time job, so compliance is so important for our industry to stay afloat, to stay in business, and to do it correctly in accordance with the laws and regulations. They talk about some ways that software technology can support this arduous endeavor of staying compliant. Frank has guided organizations of all sizes and in all industries, enabling them to establish a technology presence and expand their business through technology. With a proven ability to analyze the current and future plans of a company and work with team members to subsequently bring technology solutions to the organization, he gains results for businesses’ in improved processes and controls that assure continued growth and profitability.

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An Innovative And Thoughtful Approach To Cannabis

An innovative and thoughtful approach to cannabis with Jon Monk, Managing Director of Smokin Hot Solutions. Smokin’ Hot Solutions was started ten years ago in Philadelphia with one cohesive goal; to build a cannabis marketing agency with an innovative and thoughtful approach. Since then, they have cemented themselves as the go-to agency for digital marketing in the cannabis […]
An innovative and thoughtful approach to cannabis with Jon Monk, Managing Director of Smokin Hot Solutions. Smokin’ Hot Solutions was started ten years ago in Philadelphia with one cohesive goal; to build a cannabis marketing agency with an innovative and thoughtful approach. Since then, they have cemented themselves as the go-to agency for digital marketing in the cannabis industry. At a time when there were few specialty cannabis marketing agencies, and few people willing to take the risk, they seized the opportunity. NCIA is super excited to see more of these little colonial states looking to legalize medical or adult-use, and it seems like a game-changer after Colorado and the West Coast legalized. We talk about the excitement of the East Coast warming up to cannabis. Smokin Hot Solutions specifically is helping cannabis companies with their branding so we dive into what kind of companies are they working with. As well as their philosophy and perspective on our industry today and the branding strategies they’re seeing.

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Cannabis Implementation In Ohio

Cannabis implementation in Ohio with Jay Jones, Director of Business Relations of Bene Leaves Limited, based in Columbus, Ohio. We talk about some of the challenges and frustrations Jay is seeing there and why he thinks it’s been such a struggle to implement progressive cannabis laws in that state. Jay has worked in the industry in […]
Cannabis implementation in Ohio with Jay Jones, Director of Business Relations of Bene Leaves Limited, based in Columbus, Ohio. We talk about some of the challenges and frustrations Jay is seeing there and why he thinks it’s been such a struggle to implement progressive cannabis laws in that state. Jay has worked in the industry in Colorado and Michigan, and now also Ohio. That experience lets him speak to what’s going on in each of those states, as well his experiences on how they compare and contrast. NCIA published one of their early white papers on the opioid crisis and how it may be an EXIT drug rather than a gateway drug for those looking to reduce or eliminate their opioid use to prevent addiction and death. Jay shares his thoughts on that topic as well as so much on today’s episode.   Transcription:

Get informed, get inspired, and get connected. Hello, thanks for tuning into another episode of NCIA’s cannabis industry voice on cannabis radio, I am your host Bethany Moore, I'm the Communications Manager at the National cannabis industry association today. My guest is Jay Jones, he is the Director of Business Relations of Bene Leaves Limited, and they're based in Columbus, Ohio. How are you doing today, Jay? I'm doing great, bet many things for having me. How are you? I am doing well. It's still really hot as we were just saying, the weather, super hot here in August, but we're all looking forward to the fall. So let's dive in, let's get to know you better, I would love to hear more about your background and your experience and what kind of things you were doing professionally before getting involved in the cannabis industry. Sure, actually I spent most of my adult life in the corporate world through restaurants and finance. I was always trying to be they were always trying to put me in a box or fit me in on lane, which was something I wasn't very good at and I found myself gravitating towards more of the philanthropy community outreach in volunteerism, everywhere I went, and I set up that through a couple of different companies I worked for, so that's basically what I did. They were standard corporate jobs. Don't really get to do, but I was always like, "Hey I'm not really satisfied doing this. Why don't we start stocking shelves at the food bank or doing some social equity programs and things like that. Okay, right, so you were already an employee at these companies, and you wanted to start these new programs, corporate philanthropy programs while you were there sort of taking on another side project is that right? Yeah, I just wasn't satisfied in the banking industry, it's not really fun to work in, as far as personal satisfaction. And I just wasn't interested in it was just always looking to do something different, that kind still in that void that I wasn't getting. Yeah, I'm sure it's probably a cut-throat work culture, and very regimented and not a lot of flexibility in that kind of environment. I imagine. Sure, absolutely, you can be replaced, the next day you become a number in companies are always looking at the bottom line and unfortunately, people are the class of that, so not really putting people before profits, I suppose. Absolutely, got it, so yeah. So it sounds like you've got a bigger heart than the banking industry can handle, which is a good thing. That's a nice right. So what is the reason you got passionate about cannabis industry, and then chose to get involved and how did that shift happen? So cannabis actually I can credit it with saving my life. I remember 25 years ago when I first got out of high school, I kinda just popped around on the festival circuit, when the Dead shows, things like that. And I remember being specifically true story, being in a ... with a guy named magic and go on right right, and he was at what we call now a wake, and he was... It's just telling me all the medicinal properties of cannabis. And you're like, "Sure, pass it over here” I'm I'm cured, so most of my adult life up until I was 38, I was a functioning alcoholic and addict, and I still did well at work and I showed up on time, things like that, most of the time and after I got clean, my doctor because of some Oster arthritis in my knees and some other medical conditions, put me back around opioids. So yeah, my doctor had me on opioids and I actually took a leave from the financial institution I was working at, and when I found myself counting down the minutes to my next Percocet, I knew where this was going. Yeah, essentially, and I went into my doctor and I just said, "Hey I'm done, I'm done, I just get a... A right and well, do you want me to start ready? A less powerful prescription to kinda step you down, I said, "Now I'm going full turkey. He said What's gonna be a miserable five days so good luck with that, The... So I had some cannabis at home obtained legally of course, and started doing... Honestly, when you're in the throws with drum, you're thinking about a lot of things I'm like, "Hey Magic. That guy in the tens, this workshop. So I got through my withdraws with cannabis and then started using it regularly, but I didn't like smoking it, so I went off the prescriptions cold cure. My doctor said this is gonna be a miserable five days. And as a men withdraw from being on it for almost a year. I remember that guy magic, it sounds corny but I did, and the thing is I really didn't like smoking flower, so I talked to my aunt and uncle who were both chefs CIA grad, and accomplished and I... We can extract this stuff with coconut oil and make it into some honey or something just more palatable. And it worked, and I went off of 11 prescription medications. Wow. And I went back into my doctor like six months later. And the first thing I reception is said was You look phenomenal and she said, "What are you doing? And I said, cannabis, and she's like, Good for you. And had a very honest conversation with my doctor, we... So I never looked back at the bank, I quit, didn't go back and we started talking as a team. My aunt has rumored arthritis, the medicine she was on... was gonna cause blindness. My uncle, his sister died of pancreatic cancer and palliative care was such an unbelievably miserable experience for her before she lost her battle. That we just kind of collectively said there has to be a better way and we have to get involved and I, we just had that moment of... Yeah, we're doing the right thing and that's how we started. Well, wow, what a story. Yeah, that's great to... So you're kind of a family-owned business is that true? We are, it's a great story. My aunt, my uncle, when I started it, and we teamed up with two brothers who have been a family friend for 30 plus years, and we've just built this amazing team here at Ben ales that really believe in us, the two families that started this and really believe in what we're doing as a company. Awesome, so before we hop on a commercial break to tell me again a little bit more about Beale. You're in Columbus, Ohio. Do you have a store front? And what's your company looking like? We are processors. Okay, and we're in close I like you said, we go to market in about three weeks, we've been working on this for three years and we can talk a little bit about that later, but we are approaching this from a little bit of different... We're approaching this from taste first, and there's some great products in the market, but nothing that we've been 100% satisfied not to knock any competition, because we love the other people in this industry, but we really wanna stand apart with our flavor profiles. Got it, got it, great, cool, well we are going to jump to that commercial break I mentioned, and then we're gonna come back and chat more with J. Jones from Bene leaves limited stay   Alright, we're back on NCIS, cannabis industry voice on cannabis radio, talking with Jay Jones from Bene Leaves Limited in Columbus, Ohio, speaking of Ohio, I understand you have experience working in multiple states, you've worked in the industry in Colorado and in Michigan, and now in Ohio, of course. Let's talk a little bit about what's going on in each of those states and what your experiences were and maybe the similarities or differences between them. Sure, absolutely, the great thing about working in those three states, is it's like a slow timeline, into the future. from Ohio to Michigan, to Colorado in Colorado, no one bats and I at the cannabis industry. I'm sure there are some people that, but they're on a... I teased news right, to get over it. And Michigan with Michigan passing Prop 1 last year there right where Colorado, was years ago and now Ohio were lagging a little bit behind. And you just think it's from lack of education people really still think that cannabis is the Bookman in the gateway drug, which is just so, unfounded I'm sure as you know, in Colorado where teen use has gone down, property values have gone up crime has gone down to... I don't need to preach fire, but if they could just see that the normalization of the industry and that we're all wearing suits and ties or some time that's... We have ... right now we put them here in a lot down in... Yeah, so it's really been an unbelievable learning experience for me to bring back to the team here, mentally is just from working in those states, and just seeing the amazing people that are really moving this industry forward for states like Ohio, that's lagging a little behind. Yeah, yeah, got it. Well, we're written for Ohio and of course we were thrilled about Michigan passing and every year we just see more and more progress, across the map. So, slow but steady will win the race in some cases, so absolutely I... Yeah, Ohio is definitely going a little slow, as far as moving toward full adult use legalization there. Let's talk more about some of the challenges and frustrations you're seeing there and why you think it's been such a struggle to get laws moving and get change the hearts and minds and educate people in that state. What is unique about Ohio that it's resisting ..., most people know ravaged by the opioid epidemic just decimated if you go down into the Apaches down south, there's zombies walking down the street. And I'm not exaggerating when I say that. So a lot of the arguments that we've heard have been... We don't need another drug here. It's a gateway drug, now, that we hired old tropes that you've heard time time again, okay. Well, there's great people that are using cannabis as an ex-drug in Michigan and La and aren't looking at this as an economic advantage, and they aren't looking at those statistics that we're seeing in legalized states, they're not seeing it as plant medicine, they're seeing it as a drug. Alright, got it, yeah. Well, I did publish a white paper, one of our early white papers a few years ago on the opioid crisis and how it actually does serve as an exit drug, rather than a gateway drug for a lot of people that are looking to reduce or eliminate their opioid use to prevent addiction, or death in a lot of cases, and for people that wanna check that white paper out the line, the WWW the cannabis industry, dot org, cannabis and opioids. Check that one out. You have a personal story. So for me to ask you what your thoughts are, I can almost predict what you're going to say, but yeah let's talk about using cannabis as an exit drug, or as a healing plant instead of opioids. Well, you know, it's funny 'cause I'm also a member of alcoholics anonymous and I go to meetings regularly, and for... Gosh, the first year and a half that we were in this industry, I was I hit what I was doing, everyone knew I still wasn't I wasn't at the bank anymore but knowing knew exactly what I was doing. But these same people we're perfectly fine taking the benzodiazepine or something like that, or a description because we trust our doctors and not that we shouldn't but for me it works for me. And I didn't have the cravings and things like that that I had for opioids or Methadone and really opened my eyes was after I had done all that on my own, going up to first to Michigan and walking or dispensary called Om of medicine which is owned by a fellow NCIA member Mark Passerini and he's on our board of directors, is... And just seeing what they were doing with the University of Michigan in their pain study and working with Susie and it was, it was validating and yeah, I... When I finally went back to my AA meeting at the facility where I went to rehab the staff are for five years now, and I, they rushed me what I've been up to and I finally just came clean and said, "Listen we started medical cannabis company and I got hugs, I got thank yous. I keep, I get a mini-less, I see... And I mean, it's awesome. I was so far. Yeah, and they get it. So, it's stories like that and people like that that need to be the voice in a state like Ohio or Indiana, or Kentucky to combat that fear. Yeah, yeah, I got it. Cool, wow. Well, there's still a lot of work to do, but I think the message is getting out there to people that cannabis is safer than opioids and even alcohol. Absolutely, yeah. So I switch gears here a little bit. You went to our lobby days with us this year in May, it was our ninth annual, lobby days I believe we had over 300-350 NCIA members join us in the halls of Congress this year. And you also got to talk about your personal experience with cannabis and opioids and the story you just shared with me and our listeners, you got to share with members of Congress and their staff, how did that go? So, lobby days was, I would say, one of the most fulfilling experiences we've had so far in the industry, we had heard about it first at the Midwest cannabis caucus two years ago, Michelle rudder with NCIA had quartered me. I shared my story, and she's like... You have to go to lab days, you have to go and I'm like, Alright, alright, she's like you, share your story. And for the past years obviously not having income we just couldn't justify it, but this year we said, we gotta do it. And myself had Allen back our CEO, and Bill Williams or Director of Sales all went down, we did the Vito and... Gosh, was it rewarding? It was just such a need experience to be there with other members in the industry and lawmakers not in-network and capacity. No one was trying to sell you anything. We were just all together as one group. The involvement that you guys got with lawmakers like Katie, Porter and of course Ed Perlmutter and I think Charlie Chris came to one of our events, didn't think "Oh I think, gosh, we had 15 members of Congress come through our events after all was said and done. It was fantastic, showing... Yeah, it was just great. And my group, we got two people to change their votes. Joy spay and Bob Gibbs in Ohio. Excellent, excellent work. Oh, a more high fives cool, yes. Well, I hope to see you again next year for a 10 annual cannabis industry lobby days and any other "ncia members listening please join us next year in DC. And you heard from J. himself? It was one of the most fulfilling experiences in the industry. We're gonna hop and take a commercial break, but we will be right back to talk more with J. Jones of Bene leaves limited stay   Alright, we're back on NCIA’s cannabis industry voice on cannabis radio. I'm your host, Bethany and we're speaking with Jay Jones of Bene Leaves Limited based in Columbus, Ohio and we're just wrapping up our talk here, today, thank you again for sharing your story about your personal experience with opioids and alcohol and using this wonderful cannabis plant to become more healthy. So thanks again for sharing that. Coming to lobby days, that's amazing. It is a big deal to go to DC and it's long days walking around the hill but it is, it's a fantastic experience and I truly enjoy it. It's one of the best events that NCIA does throughout the year. And like you said, it's not a networking event, really it is, but I mean a... But yeah, you're there to do something, you're there to effect change, you're there to change a couple votes which could mean the passing of something. So thank you so much. What made your company decide to join NCIAa? And how old are you enjoying your membership? So initially when we formed the company we started, we just kinda Googled trade organizations and we found NCIA and just went through pore through your website and just saw the benefit of it and we joined because we were little guys, and we're still little guys, and we didn't have a voice. And I can't tell you through the events how great a resource, NCIA is. Everyone picks up the phone. If you have a question from John in to you or Michelle, I'm friends with Aaron on Facebook. Now, how cool is that? That's awesome, so I can... I just give one a bit of advice for lobby days yeah, so there's a little tram subway under the capital and do not attempt to take that unless you're with a member of Congress on the day. Oh, they don't like that, do they? On Tuesday, we had a member of Congress with our team, and I forget his name, he's on the NCIA larger team and we just hop on this and to it. So the next day I was with my group, and I was like, "I know this shortcut” and I go walking through just all confident. And these guys that are armed very well came. Just what are you doing? You can't go in here. And I was like, What I took it yesterday and the Congress only, and I was like, Oh, sorry. So we ended up walking 12 miles out of our way because of it. No, it's okay. I think I remember hearing about that story. I think Khurshid who's on our board of directors also had an opportunity to take the Congressional train. It makes you feel a little special. I personally have never gotten to take the train, but yeah, that's cool. I don't know, just another side note, there's these little boxes around some of the buildings that there's a plaque on them that says their escape patches and these things are like no bigger than a small book shelf and you're like, what their escape hatches or something, right? They’re so weird... Anyway, DC is such a weird old place with a lot of weird history are... So, we only have about a minute a year before we have to wrap up, but yeah, thanks again for coming to lobby days and it was great to see you at the cannabis business Summit last month in San Jose as well, and thanks for hopping on camera with me as well to give a testimonial and then I hope people are ready to attend our industry socials in our Heartland tour this month in August although the month is almost out, but there's other events, there's the California cannabis business conference October 8, and ninth in California. And if you get your tickets before August 31st, its early bird prices right now, it's half basically, from the price of the door. So definitely check that out. At California cannabis business conference come, "Oh yes. And then our cannabis caucus event series as well continues throughout the end of the year. So there's lots of opportunities, whether it's an evening networking reception or a two, three-day full on conference to get involved in NCIA's events and meet other NCIA members and industry professionals. So looking forward to all these events throughout the rest of the year as we're wrapping up our summer vacations here in August. So where can people find out more about Bene Leaves Limited? Sure, you can go to Bene Leaves dot com, that's B-E-N-E-L-E-A-V-E-S, dot com. We will pending approval will be up on the usual social media sites for the industry, and you can always find us at the mid-west cannabis caucus or lobby day next year, …. Nice, nice, great. Okay, Well Jay, thank you again for being on the show and for sharing your story. It's very inspiring and we're glad to have you in the industry. Thanks for your membership and thanks to everybody who tuned in to this episode of NCIA’s cannabis industry voice until next time.    

Advocacy
/ Community
/ Education

A Job Recruiting Platform Specifically For The Cannabis Industry

In this episode, learn more about a job recruiting platform specifically for the cannabis industry with Justinian Mason, Business Development Manager at Vangst Talent Network. VTN is a job recruiting platform specifically for the cannabis industry. Vangst is one of a handful of staffing and recruiting firms that focus on the cannabis industry. Another important […]
In this episode, learn more about a job recruiting platform specifically for the cannabis industry with Justinian Mason, Business Development Manager at Vangst Talent Network. VTN is a job recruiting platform specifically for the cannabis industry. Vangst is one of a handful of staffing and recruiting firms that focus on the cannabis industry. Another important topic in the cannabis industry is opening up business opportunities for those who have been most impacted by the war on drugs, so equity and diversity issues are on our minds as we’re building this new industry together. We’ve seen programs in certain cities and states like Massachusetts and Oakland, CA that set aside a certain number of direct to plant licenses for people of color, but that is more at the ownership level. Vangst believes that having an exceptional internal team allows them to serve their clients best. That’s why VTN prides itself on hiring the most talented internal staff for every aspect of their business. As well as their constant growth is a testament to their devotion to being ahead of the game in the rapidly growing cannabis space. We talk about the advice Justinian has for someone who wants to get a job in the cannabis industry but has no real experience yet and much more.   Transcription:   Get informed get inspired and get connected. Hello, thank you for tuning into another episode of NCIA’s cannabis industry voice on cannabis Radio, I'm your host Bethany Moore, the communications Project Manager at the National Cannabis Industry Association. Today I'm happy to introduce my guest Justinian Mason he's the business development manager, at Vangst Talent Network which is a job recruiting platform specifically for the cannabis industry. Nice to have you on the show today, Justinian ... Thank you happy to be on here. Yes, yes, absolutely. I got to meet you in person at our Cannabis Business Summit and expo this summer in San Jose, so it's a pleasure to be talking to you some more today on the podcast, let's start by getting to know a little bit more about you, your background, what kind of work or what kind of things you were doing before you got involved in the cannabis industry, and the cannabis movement? Yeah, so I guess you can say I am from a non-traditional cannabis state I'm really from Cincinnati, Ohio, born and raised. I got a chance to actually go to upstate New York and I receive my degree and play football in college, but I received my degree I actually moved back home and got into the staffing and recruiting industry, I've been doing staffing and recruiting for about six years now. In all industries, pretty much from manufacturing aerospace logistics, all the way to healthcare attack and of course now cannabis so impacting of recruiting and staffing world and industry, but I've primarily been on a sales or account management side and really dealing more with clients and companies how in them really understand what's going on and what's needed versus dealing heavily with the candidates. But if you work with staff in recruiting by all means you are a recruiter. No matter what your role is, so obviously having a lot of great conversations with great big people throughout the board. Yeah, it's people across all industries. We are still human beings no matter what industry we work in, I suppose, yeah, when I... A percent and everyone needs to hire no matter what the industry is, yes, and I think, as a lot of people know our industry is creating jobs at lightning speed, so it's nice to be a job creating industry this despite being federally illegal. Yeah, yeah, and it's exciting to see because all of the creation happening now, you can only imagine what's going to happen once it is fully regulated in legal is the sky's the limit. Absolutely great, so is there a reason that you decided to go work for Vangst and serve the cannabis industry? Is there an inspirational reason why you decided... Cannabis would be a good shift from other industries to work in? So I got introduced to cannabis through athletics have a successful career in college but unfortunately, and due to injury and even before that happened, actually had a couple of rough concussions that really made her for Focus made it hard for me to sleep, I was having some headaches. And migraines and a teammate. I recommend the campus. That was a game changer so I always saw it from good for you perspective for a medical perspective. Of course, I have my fun with it as well, but that's how I got introduced and as I transitioned back home from college as I got in the staffing, recruiting, some conversations had already started happening. I visited California and seeing what was going on out here, but it was actually conversations with my then boss and president of the company, about cannabis Cincinnati, back in 2015 was actually voting to possibly decriminalize it, which we recently did this year, but funny that we were voting back in 2015. so conversations like that led to me thinking when this industry starts to grow and build their the needs some sort of staffing and recruiting. So I eventually moved out to California to try and get in the industry. It took a while and I definitely got the trapped by so much that's going on within the industry. I would work retail thought I would sell for a brand for a while, but what ultimately led me to tanks was the fact that it was really what I had done in the past staffing, recruiting, sales just in the cannabis industry, and then thinking back to my background, being from a non-traditional cannabis state and then on deeper level, first-generation with Caribbean parents. It was a much comfortable conversation saying, "Hey I work for a staffing recruiting company that happens to impact cannabis versus saying, "Hey I work for a natural cannabis brand.” So those are some of the main reasons. Got it. And it must feel really nice to be able to combine your professional skill set with something you're actually super passionate about. Maybe you are passionate about healthcare and manufacturing, but you actually have a personal story about how cannabis helped you, which a you... Makes you an activist and advocate with a personal story. And in fact, anybody even if they don't have a personal story, once you start working in the industry you get your activist card in the mail right away. It's part of one of the obligations and responsibilities I think, of being in the industry. So, it must feel really, really good to be able to combine all those skills with your passion. It really does. I had mentor coach used to say, "If you love what you do, you'll never work you never work, a day in your life. And how I feel like I've been in that mode where I, I, I do, I work hard, but I'm not actually working since I stepped into the industry so it's really cool. And then staffing and recruiting literally what we do is get people jobs or helping grow the economy grow businesses grow people's lives personally, professionally, financially, so that's a crazy satisfying experience in itself. Absolutely, and it's definitely a lot of hard work. Everyone I know in the industry is hustling and putting in long hours, but when you go home for the day, it feels really good and you feel like you got a lot done rather than feeling dreamed. I think, at least that's how I feel. Cool, so you're working with Vangst and you're getting to combine your skills with your passion and your role. There is the business development manager. So yeah, let's talk more about that day-to-day grind, about your role there and just what's going on with the company in general and how you're serving the industry. You guys are getting pretty big now. Yeah, yeah, it's crazy. I think when I joined less than two years ago, I was around employee 25-ish, and now we're getting close to 75 as were primarily based out of Denver. I sit in LA and we've got a smaller team, on the West Coast, so as Westin development manager, I mentioned earlier I'm focused mainly on clients on the businesses and helping them and really our team internally... Understand how, why, where they're growing, what's the timeline like I mentioned, all companies in this industry are growing all companies in the industry or start-ups in some way, shape or form, so everyone's growing in a different pace. So, I kinda see myself as a consultant, despite my job title is less of a... It's more of a... Yes, Miramar. I understand you need to grow. Let's work and talk about the best way to do that. So it's a very consultative role and I love it because I... At Vangst, we get to touch all aspects of the industry, real cultivation distribution, we even work with ancillary businesses as well. So kind of going back to my manufacturing days, when I was walking around plants and checking out cool machines, I get to do that as well. In Canada, I get to go on rotors, and checkout facilities, not just to really understand more of what the business is doing, but also to learn a little bit more about the environment, the culture, so then we can better recruit and better find people to fit that when it comes down to recruiting job descriptions, and a lot of roles and jobs these days were getting pretty black and white where you can either do something or can and a lot of companies are looking for the same things. So understanding the culture, the feel of a business, whether they have an on-site break room or not, that will matter to some people to be able to uncover a lot of those things up. We can better support candidates companies and the whole industry is a big part of what I do. So that's a lot of going the businesses in person, a lot of talking to people over the phone and discovering what's going on a lot of events, so many events in cannabis that's the best way to really get to know people and get to really see things first hand in an efficient way. So all over the map got it. Yeah, that's fantastic. So yeah, I guess these companies are finding themselves growing quickly and do most companies know what they need or is that part of that consulting element you are mentioning where you're helping suss out? Okay, exactly what do you need and when... So yeah, it's a combination. A lot of people will come to us, we'll say, "Hey I have X, Y, Z position, that need to hire, I need to hire sales reps and some brand ambassadors. Great, we can help you with that. But a lot of what I do is a lot of what we do is we'd love to help you with a... We're looking to be long-term partners we wanna grow with companies to help them get to 1000 employees and we wanna be that long from partner, so it's great. That will definitely help you with those sales and brand ambassadors, but how can we really help you grow on your manufacturing front, how can we maybe help you get a manager in place who can help you manage that staff, maybe get a couple of internal HR partners who can really partner with us internally to help drive things forward. So a lot of people will come to us with that immediate need. That thing is right there in front of us but we do try and work proactively and a lot of it is where it's a candidate-driven market no matter what industry you work in, candidates have what I'll call the power-and employments. Pretty low great, people are out there, a lot of smart intelligent degrees individuals. So a lot of what we're doing is say, "Hey I understand you need to hire these people, but there's a lot of great people out there that are ready to get an industry now. Is there a space for them in helping people see that larger picture is a big thing, but to that point, what companies that come to us and say, "Hey here's a hiring plan for the next year, how do we make this happen? Nice, some people know what they want. Yeah, gotcha. Before we jumped to commercial, I'm sure there's a lot of executives out there that will relate to what I'm about to say. They've been wearing 15 hats for the last couple of years and their team is probably begging them to just hire an assistant finally right? That, like I said, is a start-up industry. I wear three different hats on in a given day myself, so I can only imagine what some of these owners and operators are going through and that's exactly what we're here for. We're a partner we're a resource, we are here to really be there when you need us. But also were that everyday partner as well. And we're flexible. You mentioned executives. I feel like we just naturally a lot of people think those salaried roles, those full-time roles, and that's a big part of our business that's our direct Higher function, but that platform aspect of us what we call banks gig is we're actually helping a lot of companies grow with their hourly staff with those production needs. With those temporary needs, as they're building and expanding, and sometimes decreasing their staff as a lot of startups will do camp. So, it's helping companies grow in a lot of ways, but also it's helping a lot of candidates step into the industry because you can start a short-term assignment get some great experience and then be on your way. Awesome, awesome, cool. We're gonna take that quick commercial break and be right back, stay tuned. Alright, we're back on NCIA’s cannabis industry voice on cannabis radio, talking with Justinian Mason from Vangst Talent Network. So Vangst is one of a handful of staffing and recruiting firms that focus on the cannabis industry and there's a lot of people out there who are excited that they can actually go get a job in the cannabis industry and get a real paycheck and perhaps even benefits in some cases. It's like mind-blowing from where we were 10 years ago. Yeah, but for all those people, and I know plenty of my old friends and schoolmates, that are curious and hit me up on Facebook. So what's that basic advice you would give to someone who really wants to get a job in the cannabis industry at this point and hasn't yet done so, maybe they're making a career change. Yeah, and I had a clear answer, and I thought of something before my answer as you're going through that question, but the first thing I'll say, is find out what you are passionate about, find out what your personal specialized knowledge is. I mentioned my story I moved out here again in the industry was looking at retail as a cat brands, and it wasn't until I tripped and fell and applied for a role through banks that I went back and saw a weight. There's a staffing company for Canada, and it was... What I love to do is what I'm passionate about, is when I'm skilled at... And it was a great transition. So I think the first step is before you step into the industry really figure out if cannabis didn't exist, what would my five-year plan be what would I want to do with my career then bring cannabis back into it. And now number two, do your research, do your homework. Like I mentioned, I didn't know there was a staffing recruiting company specifically for cannabis, but had I did, I probably would have applied to Vangst first. That was light bulb moment, I'm sure. And once I stepped into the industry within my first I argued at my first year in cannabis, I learned more nights have in the past five. But you learn so much going through it. So once you really lock in, "Okay this is what I'm about, "This is what I wanna do with card-less and loop cannabis back into it, and then start doing the research. My searches back then, probably would have been Canada staffing companies rather than the just candidates sales jobs. So find your passion, find your specialized knowledge start doing the research. I love Google, so google thinks Google camps branding agencies cannabis production jobs if you're an entire cannabis engineering and you'd be surprised what pops up, but definitely doing your research, and going in knowledgeable it's hard to really understand unless you're actually in it but when you can do a little bit more, it definitely helps that makes sense. Yeah, that's good advice. As with any industry, you'd like to work in, do the research, meet people ask questions, right, so I... So as you're going along here and comparing the cannabis industry and the kinds of professional needs that these companies have, I'm curious if there is a bucket of skills or core competencies that would be necessary that are maybe even unique to the cannabis industry, that candidates should have. Is there anything like that, or is it just all over the place? The unique cannabis core competencies, they really only come into play when the product is involved. If you're a direct and... Yeah, and you're in the cut if you're a cultivator, is one of those things where you either have cultivation experience or you do not have cultivation experience. I do, and now when no one's coming from left field and hobby and being a cultivator, right? In those cases, there are those core competencies, but I'd send an overall going back to what we said earlier, it's a start-up industry, it's a brand new industry, it's a federally-illegal industry still, so I think the main core commences are based on that. We talked about one, which is that passion in the advocacy. You can be in this industry if you are not a support supporter of candidates that it just doesn't make sense but once you get in it you'll find that whether it's not for the whole industry, whatever your brand, whatever your product is, whatever company are part of you have to be an advocate, you have to be a rep you have to be a cheerleader for it, it doesn't matter who you are. So, I'd say that's one. But going back to that start up that new industry, you have to be flexible, you have to be adaptable, you can't come in and expect a nine to five and expect to have clear job duties. Obviously you have your responsibilities, but you're going to have to go above and beyond because that's what a lot of these companies need. So I get to that next level. Ability to work in a fast-paced environment is... And the thing is fast-paced. I wouldn't even... I don't even think that does it justice. In an industry where every year feels like dog years. And you might be doing something one year, in a certain way, and the next way next year, it's a little different totally. So I wanna bring up another really important topic that the cannabis industry is really focused on particularly this last year or two especially, and that's opening up business opportunities and employment opportunities for those who have been most impacted by the war on drugs. So this is equity and diversity issues that are on our minds as we're building this new industry together, and as we see other states come online, like Massachusetts and... Oh, the city of Oakland, California, their programs are setting aside a certain number of direct plant licenses for people of color, but that's more of the ownership level. So when we're talking about hiring a team, a staff, how does social equity, come into play at that level of staffing and recruiting? Yeah, and I think, Massachusetts and Oakland or two great examples, Oakland. I can speak a little bit more to with me being in California, but the same way that there are no rules and mandates for ownership there's also rules like that, for candidates as well, where you are essentially required to hire a certain amount of your staff within that equity land. So things like that are huge when it just comes down to clear diversity, not just physical diversity, but that diversity of thought that's huge. In any company, but especially cannabis. I know there's statistics have research outside of the industry where the more diverse companies are often times the more successful, so I think that company should be encouraged and they should feel encouraged and be real proud of hiring on that group of individuals. Just playing a pure numbers game. There are way more opportunities to impact the industry internally and through your work, then there are as an owner, I think recently LA just went through their rounds of applications for the social equity and I wanna say we have close to 2000 applicants for around 200 licenses so is there... What are those 1800 people who don't get it, what are they gonna do naturally? The route is how do you get internal? I kinda see it as being an entrepreneur, I consider myself that. How do you get within a company, how do you gain great experience, how you still have that business owner mentality? And then in five, 10 years, if you still have that passion that need that want to start a business, a Mentos. But at that point, you'll have knowledge, you'll have experience, you'll have resources as a network. So I think companies should definitely feel incurs to really drive that forward. And how do you create avenues? They do exist in other industries, avenues as far as getting former offenders into the workforce and manufacturing and things like that, how do we recreate some of those avenues? I'm all about taking something that works in a line is something different. Totally, yeah that makes perfect sense. Thanks for sharing that. So we have about a minute before our next commercial break and it's a little bit of a change of subject, but to think about the future. Also NCIA’s ten year anniversary is coming up next year, in 2020, and we're already really excited thinking about that. It's just so impactful. So we've been asking people to not only think on all the progress we've made in the last 10 years, but also where are we going to be in 10 years or what would you like to see in 10 years in our industry? I couldn't even tell you what's gonna happen in 30 days, let alone 10 years. But what I love to see without a doubt, I really, I know we will be federally legalized. I'd be disappointed if it's not what I would really love to see. And I think this is directly impacting that is the destination, the stigmatization of the plant of the product. I think that comes with research. I'd really love to see that specifically in sports, in the military in definitely within healthcare being from the Midwest, being from Cincinnati, a place has been heavily impacted by the God crisis. I would love to see some things rectified in that lane, directly from cannabis from HMRC all of that kinda going off of our social equity conversation, I would love equity first to be a mandate no matter what to say is if you were looking to operate on a cannabis business, or even have it in your regulations at the state? Equity has to be first. I couldn't agree more. Alright, we're gonna take that last commercial break and be right back to wrap up our chat with Justinian Mason of Vangst Talent Network stay tuned. All right, we're back and we're wrapping up our chat with Justinian Mason of Vangst Talent Network today. Thanks for the really good talk. And I think the advice that you gave in the last segment will be really helpful, not just for those that are actually looking for a job in the industry but also the owners and those trying to grow their team. So thanks for that. It makes me think about NCIA’s growth too. I've mentioned this on other episodes. I started working here in 2014, so five and a half, six years ago almost, and I think I was employee number five. And we are almost at 30 employees also today, so it's a scale up and it's so rapid, and it's so exciting though, in an our membership rosters. I think we're in the hundreds at that time, and now we have nearly 2000 companies across the country and beyond as NCIA members and Vangst has been a member for several years now, as well. I know you were at our Cannabis Business Summit and Expo in San Jose, that's our biggest conference of the year. Let's just talk about Vangst Talent Networks membership and how you interact with NCIA and why being part of a national association that's doing this advocacy work at the federal level is important for your company. Yeah, it's huge for our company because we're a national company in some ways, we're international company we work with companies at the Canada but because we are ancillary ourselves because we do support all verticals of the industry. Being a part of NCIA is a great opportunity for us to get in front of a lot of ancillary a lot of supportive businesses like us that we don't normally get to talk to. I kinda see it is almost like that verified check mark on Instagram or Twitter, you see when I'm going through a company prospecting and I see that on their website. It's almost like I relieve okay. And they represent at the right things, they're going about it the right way, but also focusing back on fans. I'm messed earlier. We're impacting lives, we're impacting the economy. I personally got a chance with a couple of team members to go out to the NCIA, lobby days in DC and have conversations with policy or policy makers and regulation makers about how what we're doing staffing and recruiting is impacting the global economy and the industry. So that level of conversation, I don't think that would have happened in the other capacity. So to be able to have that network in that reach through a is insanely valuable. And I do wanna mention, there's somebody on your team who is a member of our newly formed Diversity and Equity Committee, we have these member-driven committees like the marketing and advertising committee, the banking and finance committee, all that stuff, and we've added four new committees for this 2019 to 2020 term and one of those is the Diversity and Equity Committee. So shout out to the Vangst team member who is on our committee. And I look forward to working with them on some blogs and some podcasts. Oh yeah, yeah, I wanna say That's my partner Brett in Oakland or impact manager and as a talent resource as a recruiting resource, we wanna be that bridge that helps everyone have a fair shot absolutely appreciate that. So yes, lobby days love lobby days. We're already excited about next year's lobby days. Of course, everybody start planning to go to DC next April or May, please. I know it's a long ways off, but it's a big trip. But next month, actually, this month in August, and next month in September, we've got several smaller events going on. These are the nice evening networking receptions. It is free for NCIA members to register and attend and with the industry socials non-members can attend for a ticket fee but the cannabis caucus events are intended to be members only with an exception made, for a few people, maybe some guests here and there if you're looking to join NCIA. So if you want to come meet NCIA staff and some local NCIA members please check out our website, the cannabis industry dot org and navigate to our events section. we are going to have our Heartland tour of our industry socials, we're going to be there in Austin, we'll be there in Minneapolis, Chicago, Saint Louis, Oklahoma City and Austin throughout the month of August, so registered today, if you'd like. To attend those. And we will also be doing our long running evening networking receptions called the cannabis Caucus, which is a little bit more policy focused with guest speakers, getting federal policy update in the presentation that is in September, and we will be in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Ann Arbor and Boston. So mark your calendars head over to events section and start making your plans to join us there. And then of course our California focused conference which is the California cannabis business conference is coming up in October, so people are still trying to navigate what's going on in California. This conference is focused on navigating that market. We'll have 200 plus exhibitors and over 100 speakers, chatting so there's some early bird discounts going on through August 31, pretty much half price half the door price. And now is a good time to grab those tickets. Yeah, just any... And thank you again for being really active in NCIA and participating in this podcast, as well and I look forward to seeing you and your team, at some of our future events. So for those that are interested in learning more about Vangst where should they go on the inter-webs? Yeah, you can check us out online at a Vangst dot com vangst dot com we're on LinkedIn as well and then our Instagram is Vangst talent and Vangst talent on Instagram. But I'd say our website and have a lot of really great information and then I'm on a Instagram and LinkedIn as well. I'm likely the only Justinian you'll find there. So, pretty easy to go look up. I like it, I like it. I just thought of this question before we wrap. Does Vangst mean anything? It does it stand for anything. Yes, the correct pronunciation is Vangst, a Dutch word that means to catch, both for its a cash for capturing candidates and bring the industry. Yeah, I resolve a thank you for that. There it for those who didn't know our logo is a fish, I love it. Oh God, it all makes sense now, thank you for that. Okay, well, thanks again for being on the show and thanks everyone for tuning into another episode of NCIA’s cannabis industry voice until next time.



Community
/ Education

The Largest Vertically Integrated Cannabis Manufacturer

The largest vertically integrated cannabis manufacturer with Chris Hagedorn of Hawthorne Gardening. Hawthorne Gardening is the largest vertically integrated cannabis manufacturer, direct seller and service provider dedicated to servicing North America’s licensed producers and hydroponics retail industry. Chris Hagedorn has been on a mega shopping spree. As general manager of Hawthorne Gardening, Scotts Miracle-Gro’s hydroponics […]
The largest vertically integrated cannabis manufacturer with Chris Hagedorn of Hawthorne Gardening. Hawthorne Gardening is the largest vertically integrated cannabis manufacturer, direct seller and service provider dedicated to servicing North America’s licensed producers and hydroponics retail industry. Chris Hagedorn has been on a mega shopping spree. As general manager of Hawthorne Gardening, Scotts Miracle-Gro’s hydroponics subsidiary for cannabis growers, Hagedorn has been instrumental in acquiring several major brands. On his watch, Hawthorne has spent approximately $1 billion snapping up Sunlight Supply, General Hydroponics, Botanicare, Gavita Horticulture Lighting, and other businesses. They speak about the science of cultivation, especially cultivating a product that is consumed by humans. Since there are some regulations in place, they go through his thoughts around responsibly growing products that consumers put into their bodies, usually as a wellness product. As well as the burdens of companies who may be pulling in high revenue but still don’t really make a profit. it’s clearly a symptom of the failed war on drugs and prohibition-era thinking, and it’s hurting the legally regulated cannabis industry.   Transcription:   Get informed get inspired and get connected. Hi, thanks for tuning into another episode of NCIA’s cannabis industry voice on Cannabis Radio, I'm your host Bethany Moore, on the communications Project Manager at the National cannabis industry association. I'm happy to welcome my guest today. It's Chris Hagedorn of Hawthorne gardening author gardening is the world's largest vertically integrated manufacturer direct seller and service provider dedicated to servicing North America's licensed producers, and hydroponics retail industry. Welcome to the show, Chris. Thanks for having me, it’s good to be here. Good to have you as well. Let's start off by getting to know you a little bit better learning about your background and what kind of experiences you may have had before finding yourself where you are now serving this exciting cannabis industry. Yeah, for sure. Okay, so, started off and really I was born into the gardening business. So, just quick, quick background on me and my family. So my grandfather Harris started "Miracle Grow" writing, he poaching on New York. Where I'm more... I'm currently based and live back in the 1950s. The business grew and evolved in the mid-90s, my father Jim took the business over and merged it with a company called a Scotts company which is based out in marries Bohai where they've been for 50 years, and I was actually... This is the 150 anniversary in the business, so we merged with them in '95 And Scotts Mariacle has been our family's business since then. So again, grew up around the gardening business, in having in my blood, third-generation and it's me and some other family members. Now, it's still work here, so we see it as a family business now still it's gotten a little bigger than it used to be, but grew up around it and always had a passion for it. Didn't work directly in it. Come at a college, worked in advertising and some other things to try to find myself, but ultimately, ultimately found myself in coming home to the family biz. I was about 20-11 and... Gotcha, excellent. I really love hearing about the family business aspect even though you said it's gotten much bigger, by now, but it's wonderful to hear a family for decades having a business, thriving and being able to make it work. So, thanks for sharing that background for sure. So do you personally love to garden? Do you have a lot of greenery in your backyard at home that I do? Yeah, so my wife and I, we have two young boys, we got a 40-year-old and a two-year-old, so we've tried to raise them, are on plants and gardening. So obviously in new era we can't have Canvas. France grown at home, which is a shame and I look forward to when that changes to decorative. They're very pretty. I've heard but I also heard that the local law enforcement look wouldn't look kindly on us having a nice decorative cannabis plant. So were gonna hold off the time being... So yeah, we've got a bunch of herbs that sort of thing. Grown right on our patios we can go pick those we're cooking and then got raised beds with we're out there yesterday, watering 'cause it's been just hot as hell recently, so we've got same on a broccoli and we're doing PEs this year we're doing some melons this year for the boys, so we're trying to do some different stuff, and obviously some corn and tomatoes that kind of thing, going. Yeah, so it's a fun time, year 'cause I start getting the point. We can start actually harvesting stuff. Oh, I love it, that's amazing. Yeah, the last couple of conferences NCIA has held we've been able to bring some hemp plants in just for decorative touches and we're always tickled about it even though they're just ten plants, but still... So actually, you mentioned it. We got a house up in Vermont we've got a farm up there, we run a foundation on... But anyway, that's a story front other day. But on the farm, we've started growing him there just to see if gonna offset some of the cost of running the foundation up there by selling by song to him. So this is our first summer. It's just out in a feel we're gonna see how it does, but it is interesting going up there and saying, "Holy crap. There's three acres of hemp plans. 'cause obviously they look just like the real thing. Sure thing, yes. So it's all interesting. We have a board meeting coming up, actually a Scotts board meeting on Friday so that will be at the farm with the backdrop of the field of him, so we'll see how that goes. Not too shabby cool, yeah well, thanks for sharing all that as well. So, gardening is one thing, but getting involved in the cannabis industry and the cannabis movement before there was an industry it means there's a lot of challenges. There's federal prohibition to deal with. We're still on a state-by-state kind of thing. So how did you and your company get involved in cannabis? It had to have been a risky move to think about expanding into because of the compliance, the regulations, and the risk. Sure, yeah, it was definitely, I think it seemed more controversial that than, it does now, looking back on it, but yeah, this is something that that we as a company been looking at for about 10 years now, I think... Actually I think it might have been closer to 12 years at this point. So my father Jim who's the Chairman CEO of Scotts medical company, so I report to a guy that reports to him, he first talked about this on a Wall Street Journal interview back in I think 2007, 2009 saying There's no reason we wouldn't be in this space as people, grown plants. And what we've done for 15 years is help people reliance as best they can. So I don't see why we avoided it. Now at the time, the our board of directors and a lot of our investors and just consumers at large didn't like the idea, so we, we didn't pursue it, but as public perception changed as we changed the composition of our board a little bit, the resistance, I lightened up and when we went back and looked in 2013 and then 2014, we saw some pretty free opportunity. Now, there's the business opportunity which is a big part of the practices in this category when we saw a bunch of really innovative, really interesting, small family-run businesses that were all at this inflection point where typically the founders had gotten a little bit older, they've been in the business for some time, flat or our first acquisition, which was general hydroponics, back in 2014, Larry Brook who founded that business who've been running it the entire time he was in his mid-60s wanted to retire, take some money off the table. So we found that that was a really good time for us to have the conversations they look... And this business off and we can help take this into the next generation. Take the legacy you've created an honor it. So the timing worked out well for us, but obviously this is something that... It wasn't just Ottawa with the angels, so, it, it was something that my family something we were pretty passionate about as consumers, frankly? And just seeing as advocate seeing how important this just wanted to consumed recreationally. So I think our business interest lined up with our personal interests and passions in a way that I am super dreadful for. 'cause you don't see it happen that often. So again, business opportunity met personal passion. I think the perfect time, both for the maturation, the businesses, we want to acquire a and just the industry as a whole becoming a little bit more widely accepted by the mainstream. Got it. Yeah, that makes sense, awesome, well, we're glad to have you for sure. So let's fast forward to present day. You're working at Hawthorne gardening. Tell me more about where the company is at right now and your role there and what you're up to these days. Alright, for sure, yeah. So look, you've already said it at the top. Oh, we were the... Were the single largest supplier and partner to the cannabis grower and we strive to be that partner. Whether you got two plants or you got 200,000 plants up in Canada. We wanna help people grow plants as efficiently as they can get as much joy out of it as they can then hopefully end up with the best possible product at the end, again whether that's for themselves or for sale. So to do that, we sell everything from lights to plant foods and nutrients to HAC. Equipment to motor action, and hear it up with what we call our technical services team which is just a bunch of really smart plant people, whether they're lighting experts, or plant biologists or nutrient experts just to help people and those guys are typically utilized more by our commercial customers just to help make sure all the equipment is set up properly, the grows optimized if they have any issues will help diagnose and fix some kind of keep on for careers. So isn't at operate globally. We've gotten pretty big at this point, we've done largely through acquisition at this point, we're integrating all those different businesses, we bought into one cohesive business, which has taken time and a lot of effort as... For me, I am just lucky dude who gets to get to run it. The teenage and I have a... Yeah, well I can't help be grateful for the spot I find myself in. Again, it's just my family is business, which in having a family business is a great thing, and I would never ever sort of look for sympathy on but it was always just such an un-exciting uncles business. We sell bags of dirt, and we sold grass seed that kind of thing. It never aligned with something that I had a ton of passion for until we started looking this and saying, Man, there's a way we could make cannabis a real job here and a really important part of the future of our business because frankly the offer who grows at a couple of percent a year, and it's a really good, really say super mature business, and when you're looking for we use the injectable, growth and excitement into your business. This was just such a great opportunity. So the serendipity of like I said before, personal passion with a business opportunity with it, actually, made sense to do it in again, I am just the lucky beneficiary of all those things and I just hope not to screw it up, Understood that's great. I can understand that hauling bags of dirt and such around on the surface doesn't seem glamorous but when you combine it with this exciting movement, an industry and get to have a seat at the table on how policies are going to be formulated how to make business more efficient. How to actually make this industry grow and thrive all the metaphors of cannabis growing budding there are to avoid it but I... We really have an opportunity, those of us in the industry now, those of us who have been doing this for maybe just a few years were brand new to the industry as well. We have an opportunity to shape this industry the way we want it to, for it to be a new kind of industry, with new values more forward thinking values where as we like to say as the Hippies like to say the lessons of the plant are going to be infused into our new industry. And I really agree and I'm glad that we're creating a new industry with some new values. So I agree, but quickly. I'm sorry, interrupt. I'd say. I think we're creating a new industry, I suppose, but I think the reference at least personally, if I have and look clearly there are some things that had to evolve and change for this business to become an accepted part of for mainstream America. And now that is despite the fact that... And a lot of people don't like to talk about the fact that lots and lots and lots of normal people get high, lots of people consume cannabis as part of their daily lives and they don't talk about it and they... They would lie about it, maybe if they were asked, but the reality is cannabis is mainstream and it has been for some time, but the fort vacated into mainstream Wall street level business as you said things had to change. So for me, I don't look at it so much. As we're creating a new industry, I think that would be kind of the height of humerus at least for me to believe, 'cause we just bought businesses we haven't created a whole lot. What we've tried to do is staying on the shoulders. Those people who did pretrial it into, I think, what it can become as it moved forward. So I apologize for interrupting but I think that's really important. No problem. Yeah, I think it's well said. Thanks for sharing that. Okay, we're gonna take our first commercial break here, and then we'll be right back with Chris Hagedorn of Hawthorne gardening to chat more about the industry. So, stay tuned will be right back"   Alright, we're back here on NCIA’s cannabis industry voice on cannabis radio speaking with Chris Hagedorn of Hawthorne gardening. So let's jump into talking about the science of cultivation the special, the cultivating a product that's consumed by human beings. And there are some regulations in place, obviously, but I'm curious what your slots are around responsibly growing products at that consumers are ultimately going to put in their bodies, usually with the intention of it being a wellness product, so we definitely don't want pesticides, or heavy metals, or mold or Powdery Mildew syndrome is the thing I see with cannabis plants quite a bit. As a problem, what are your thoughts around that? Well, I can agree that we need to be able to grow these plants in such a manner that the folks consuming them whether they're consuming them for medical reasons or for recreational reasons, can do so with confidence I think that it should go without saying, "Oh I'm not sure, it always has. So part of it's regulation, the government in most every other category now, and this is not meant to delve into whether we believe government regulation and other categories, is effective or positive, but it does exist in whether it's food or pharmaceuticals there are certain standards companies are forced to live up to that do not exist in this category, so it falls the industry to regulate itself, which I think it has done to varying degrees of Condor effectiveness, and I think organizations like NCIA’s can really help to put forward that philosophy of "We must regulate ourselves. It it's a moral and ethical imperative.” Now that said, I think there are some challenges that we've had in part of it as we talked in the earlier segment about the evolution of this industry, from the older, more underground outlaw culture to the more mainstream and I hate to use the term corporate, but the more corporate culture that's beginning to develop frankly, that we're part of, and I think as that evaluate there's been a lot of good those shoulders of the giants I mentioned before that we stand on, but there were some things that weren't so good and I think there were people who use products to control pests and their growth, that should never have been put on anything that was consumed certainly nothing that was burned and consumed. And one of the things that we found a lot of people don't understand or appreciate is, some compounds that may be okay, if they weren't something you were to eat or drink once you combust those, and inhale them, they become something completely different, it could be something much more dangerous. So for us doing the kind of research that frankly a lot of companies don't have the resources to do was very important and really, again, as a consumer. And is someone who watched my mother-in-law has since passed away from cancer but she had a long, long fight with cancer. I started before and I was doing born and he actually has a couple of years he not. Oh, well and, yeah, it's a remarkable kind of fight she had and just the amount of fight she had in her anyway he treated her symptoms and the symptoms and side effects of her medication with cannabis or about life. And here in New York, there is at least when she was alive, there was no medical regime for her to get product confident in a … by-products and frankly, turned to me is this is at the time it was the high school kid dating her daughter to help her, and it was protested. Have a very limited amount of confidence in, would that create... And that would, before I knew what I know now, which is again how scary some of these things that go into these plans can be great. Well, thank you so much for sharing those thoughts, to move on to the next question. I wanna talk about the burdens of companies in this industry who may be pulling in some high revenues on paper. But honestly, they're still not really making much of a profit and it's primarily because of our ridiculous is tax code 280e, which is not allowing direct plant companies who are following the rules to take normal tax business, deductions. And I do wanna point out NCIA’s policy recommendations is to amend the tax code in that section to exempt state, legal businesses. seems reasonable to me, but it's all clearly a symptom of the failed war on drugs, and prohibition-era thinking and it's hurting legal, regulated cannabis industry companies in, am I right? Is this impacting you as well? Oh yeah, we look is tax and banking, which is a very closely related issue as the single biggest barrier in the way of this industry. Really taking on the potential or realizing potential that it has. So, yes, I can see the agree. That is Al Capone era tax. If I use slightly foul language on here, I don't get a... And I, Okay cool, it's completely fu*king insane than we are regulated by tax law. That was written to nab a gangster from 100 years ago. So as you said, "Look I think you took the words out of my mouth, we are penalizing businesses for following the rules. It's not backwards ridiculous thing that anyone could imagine. So, 28e is insane. It causes businesses that should be making a lot of money in tax at a 20 or 30% Active or 90% at the "forename money on to make the problem even worse, since they can't make money now, if they could get a loan for a bank to sustain them until they tackle a rationalized as because banks won't work with them either because they're considered to be breaking federal law. So you've got national banks that won't extend loans, these guys, they cannot make enough money sustain their businesses on their own even though the businesses are profitable, just the only people actually making money off the cannabis industry at in. So the whole thing is backwards. I apologize, I'm getting worked up. I just think this is the craziest thing in the world. No, I completely agree. And for any smart genius, stable genius business man, fixing these things would seem common sense. So I completely agree with you on that. And not a is in common sense, but it's unethical to sit here and lock people up for breaking federal law, but at the same time, the only people making real money off it, is the federal government is just, it's insanity. Agreed. And as you mentioned add insult to injury, especially the smaller businesses are having difficulty even getting and keeping a bank account merchant accounts loans, as you mentioned, and all those things. So, of course, NCIA  has had an integral role in pushing banking fixes specifically the SAFE Banking Act to secure and fair enforcement Banking Act along in Congress, which we're very excited about, and even just recently, we have seen movement and hearings in the House and the Senate and this is a very, very exciting time for cannabis policy. The year 2019, has been like a roller coaster. When in previous years we maybe saw a couple of pieces of legislation get introduced, but go nowhere. So, to see this SAFE Banking Act move along in Congress is really... I think a lot of people are feeling optimistic even though we're sitting here still lamenting about banking. Well, yeah, I think there's a lot of reason to feel optimistic. But when we talk up the potential this industry here in America, I think all you have to do is look up in Canada and say, Okay, so they rationalize banking and taxation up there, they allow these guys to take actual bank loans to actually work in capital markets. What happens now like, regardless of whatever your opinion of the product at a company, I can be or a row might be putting out. You've got cannabis businesses up there that are worth three or four times what the Scotts Miracle-company is now and so it's like you see the potential for the creation of value when the sort of shackles are taken off this industry. I look forward to the day it happens to America. We're all in this together. So you mentioned that Hawthorn Gardening is a larger company and therefore has access to a few more resources than a smaller company may have but even you guys know that you can't just keep your head down and run your business without also getting involved in the advocacy, in the public education and it obviously sounds like you're very passionate about it. So let's talk a bit about that as we wrap this segment, we have a minute or two about your political values and there's a big difference between state level advocacy and federal advocacy. And my right there's a huge difference in... We came out of the gate focused on federal we figured Let's make big structural changes here and really write the ship. And what we discovered, much to my dismay is that, it's really hard to move the Federal Government in any direction, and I've always felt like advocacy is a good word, lobbying a dirty word, a bad word. So, I, I... Was it a side of... We're looking for something good here. Something rings true. And what we found is that loving the federal level for us at least, as just an individual business has been very difficult to make any progress. So we shifted a lot of our resources for government relations people two more state and local things where we felt like we could actually make a difference when we've been out for a car, for sure, it does. And what we've shifted our philosophy, say, Look if we can affect change at those levels help our customers help consumers and patients, that if we get enough critical mass at the state and local level eventually the federal government will be left no choice but to do the right thing, and that for philosophy it's working, slowly but surely alone with a lot of help from organizations like yours, but it can't happen soon enough especially for people who've been negatively affected by this, by the laws, which we be able to avoid up to this point. Yeah, yeah, totally. Well, thanks for getting involved and having a seat at the table along with us here at "ncia is we're trying to push the dial at that glacial pace of federal government. Okay, we're gonna take our last commercial break here, and then we'll come back and wrap up our chat with Chris from Hawthorne gardening. Stay tuned, we'll be right back in NCIA’s cannabis industry.   Alright, we are back on NCIA’s cannabis industry voice on cannabis radio, and we're talking with Chris from Hawthorne gardening and we're just wrapping up our chat here. We've had a good chat about some of the big issues going on in our industry, the banking crisis 280e, as well as safe testing regulations and the importance of being a part of NCIA. We are National Association we have nearly 2000 member companies of all sizes and all industry sectors as a member, not only supporting the federal advocacy work we're doing on behalf of the industry but also participating joining committees, applying to serve on our board of directors or our policy council which is doing great things as well. I would love to hear more about why Hawthorn joined NCIA and why your membership is most important to you. Oh gosh, well we joined NCIA because we saw what you guys were doing, which was putting together a coalition of businesses and individuals who were one side in this industry evolve and seeing real those real structural changes I mentioned seeing those come to light. So we looked around and there's a lot of different industry organizations and coalitions of different varieties now, and we've been involved with plenty of them. I think for you guys, we saw a group that was a little bit more serious whose values aligned a little bit more closely with hours and who seemed to have a real plan how to on how to see... That's what we saw with you guys again we saw philosophies aligned and that none of this is gonna happen if everybody kinda stays in their own little swim lane. If we band together as an industry, have a real organized plan, agree on what we wanna see happen, we can make things change we can help it or force the government, frankly, to evolve. So that's what we saw, and I think so far it's been going pretty well. Absolutely, thank you. Yeah, so one way to get involved in addition to coming to lobby days which I highly recommend for every NCIA member. Next spring is our next opportunity in 2020. It'll be in NCIA’s 10-year as an organization, in our 10th Annual lobby days, so it's kind of a big year coming up next year, but there's smaller opportunities around the country for people to come network with their peers here. What NCIA has been up to, we have a regional networking event series called Industry socials. They're kind of a little bit fun and relaxed but it's a great way to come connect. Our next set of events is called our Heartland tour of industry socials throughout the month of August we will be in Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis Oklahoma City and Austin. So right there in the middle of the country, it's exciting to see some movement in those places. "ncia members can register for free. And if you're not an NCIA member, there's just a ticket cost involved for you there. I highly recommend that. And then if we wanna fast forward to our next big conference, it's the California Cannabis Business Conference over 8th through 9th in Long Beach, California. It's a great opportunity to connect with industry leaders, policy makers, and other entrepreneurs to really get into the California specific regulations, trends, advocacy California, and it's been interesting to watch the adult-use regulations get rolled out. Not everything's perfect, but as we go through these growing pains this conference is a great opportunity for us to all figure it out together. So for more information about that, you can go ahead and register. Now, the website is California cannabis business conference Com. Do you think you and your team are gonna make it out? And actually let's talk about before we wrap the show, some of your team got to go to our cannabis business Summit, and Expo in San Jose which is our biggest conference that we host throughout the year. I had a chance to catch up with them and hear what their experience was like. Yeah, so definitely did have a team there, yeah, look, everybody is impressed. Just the quality of the other exhibitors the folks who are there this whole thing is about to adults coming to the party and getting real professionals more and more involved in the category. So definitely saw that reflected at the most recent event that you guys put on. And yeah, as for all the future NCIA events and everything, I hope to be there in person. My schedule gets a little crazy. But we, boys and trying to spend as much time with them as I can. But yes, I will endeavor to be at all of the future events at least as many as I can be and my team will be at all of them. Wonderful, well where can people find out more about Hawthorne gardening Gosh, go to Hawthorn GC dot com, just search for Hawthorne gardening company, go to local hydro-shops, we're all over the place, we make ourselves as visible as possible. Obviously Instagram and Facebook and all that stuff, but go down to your local high pro-shop talk to guys in the counter and get Ron's super fun, get grow. And I like it, alright, well, thanks again for being a guest on the show, today, it's been great chatting and thanks everybody for tuning into another episode of NCIA’s cannabis industry voice, until next time            

 

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Decoration, Functionality, Security, And Communication In Cannabis

Decoration, functionality, security, and communication in cannabis with April Lytle of KURZ Transfer Products. KURZ boasts four key areas of expertise – decoration, functionality, security, and communication, with decades of experience in the field of hot stamping finishes and coating technology. Cannabis producers must address packaging and labeling requirements, as it is a huge compliance issue […]
Decoration, functionality, security, and communication in cannabis with April Lytle of KURZ Transfer Products. KURZ boasts four key areas of expertise – decoration, functionality, security, and communication, with decades of experience in the field of hot stamping finishes and coating technology. Cannabis producers must address packaging and labeling requirements, as it is a huge compliance issue for cannabis companies, which varies from state to state, and there’s definitely a need to find accurate and efficient ways of doing this. They speak about types of technology solutions to address compliance concerns. As the market expands and new brands are popping up almost every day, we’re going to see some crowded retail store shelves with what we might call “cereal aisle syndrome” of too many choices. They talk about what a company can do to stand out in a sea of cannabis products on the retail shelf.   Transcription:   Get informed get inspired and get connected. Hello, thanks for tuning in to another episode of NCIA’s cannabis industry voice on cannabis radio. I'm your host, Bethany Moore and today my guest is April Lytle of KURZ transfer products, that's KURZ the company, boast four key areas of expertise decoration functionality security and communication with decades of experience in the field of hot stamping finishes in coding technology. Welcome to the show, April, it's good to have you on, it's a pleasure to be here, great, well let's start the show by getting to know you a little bit better. I like to ask guests about their background and experience before finding yourself contributing your time, energy efforts, and elbow grease in the cannabis industry. So what were you doing before? Well, as far as background, I've been with KURZ for almost four years now, I've been doing marketing and design for us, as well as my history has always been in marketing design. I spend a little bit time in the entertainment industry working for a big amphitheater worked in print with digital, in hot stamping for about as long as I can remember since... 2003 actually. Oh cool, yeah. So a little bit of the entertainment industry sounds fun, was at concerts and performances, and... Or use a... Yeah, the big, big, big guys Kiss and rush linking a lot of... So I eat all those guys. It was pretty exciting. I got dragged to a Rush concert once… they were so nice. Yeah, I heroically nice, cool, alright, thank thanks for that little run down there. You're still with CRS transfer products you're focused on the hot stamping marketing is a side of things. So what got you or your company curve involved or interested in working with cannabis companies, in the industry? For me, personally, it started because I was raised by two hippy parents cool and they still to this day, have this heavy belief in the importance of natural holistic medicine. THC has never really been my thing, be CBD has made a huge difference in my own health, I've got prone disease, and I can't tell you the impact that cannabis is made, but for us personally for carts, we have a few different solutions that I think would make a huge impact on the industry in helping brands be successful. And for me, that's sort of the key goal. I want this industry to flourish. I want the companies to be able to brand themselves the best that they can and also protect themselves the best that they can. Wonderful, wonderful. So there's no resistance for working in cannabis even though we're still dealing with federal prohibition, we are seeing the dominoes fall in various states across the country. So where is your company based and are you working with companies across the country? We are based in our subsidiary in North Carolina and North Carolina is obviously being in the Bible Belt. Hasn't exactly jumped on board yet, but I... Our corporate office is in Germany, so we're extremely open-minded. There's hurts. Thailand hurts China Curt Australia. We are always thinking, progressive as a company, even though there are some legal issues that we have full expectation that they'll be complete federalization eventually. So as of right now, despite the federal resistance, we have full faith in that'll completely resolve itself. We've been working with packaging companies, and with brands all over the US already and we'll continue to do so, that's great. It sounds like a bigger international company, actually, that's pretty exciting. And of course, we... After the United States, we've already seen Canada and it looks like Mexico is moving toward a legalization and we are almost falling behind here. In the global market if other countries start to jump on board here. So we're seeing a lot of progress in Congress, this year. So I'm crossing my fingers that we get some movement there. So let's talk a little bit more about course transfer products, and your role there, your day-to-day and what's going on with the company and what it's been like so far to work with cannabis companies. Oh absolutely, so I were a bunch of hats. I do a lot of our business development first new industries, all of our marketing and everything I work a lot with brands. Sometimes they'll come to us and say We like this package, but we have no idea of how it would look with this foil, so we sort of help them re-imagine some of their packaging and labeling with decoration. But as far as working with the cannabis industry clearly that's new for us and we've experienced a lot of stranger danger which is understandable, given that everybody's tried to jump into this sort of wild west Gold Rush scenario, the green rush as we... So I eat call it exactly, it is understandable, but we really just want these brands to survive as it becomes more competitive, as things become more retail space. We wanna give these brands, the tools that they need to really consider premium and luxury packaging. The beginning. Just like-minded, just like, spirits have most of the successful larger brands have always paid attention to their packaging and labeling in the beginning, which is why they sort of successfully made their way into the market. And stay there, yeah, it makes sense for sure, yeah, but the other aspect of it too, the big impact that we're already seeing in cannabis is this counterfeiting issue, which there was that huge issue with the vape cartridges being counterfeit Ed. Maybe not so much the product itself but definitely all the cartridges, and even the packaging being counterfeit ed in China counterfeiting is a huge issue or rising into this market. That's one of the other things that we can help with KURZ is experts in security, or holograms or on credit cards. They're on the Eros. We've always been sort of these low-key experts in security, with security features. We have a giant facility in Germany that just focuses on these high security features, but it Ethan the protective holograms the tamper-evident even so far as customized apps that can help track logistics, we can all help with that as well. I greatly encourage the industry to consider this when they're making their products as it is right now, if a product is "counterfeite the brand can stand to lose their license, even if they had nothing to do with it. So is simple things, just like little protective holograms or camber Everton seals can make a huge difference with broad protection in the future. Got it, got it. So before we take our first commercial break, I'm curious as we mentioned, your company is pretty large and an international company so you're serving customers from all kinds of industries, all over the place, as you mentioned, what would you say is the difference between working with cannabis companies, versus non-cannabis companies? Well, we do a lot of project management for these really large conglomerates. When you're working with Procter and Gamble, for example, they'll have a vendor in China, and a vendor here and sometimes working with their projects is a very complicated lots of facets. Sure I... So we're used to stepping in and helping with these, and I think eventually cannabis will get there too when we can internationally start working with each other right now. It's such a baby industry, that it needs more hand-holding than it needs project development. But the one thing that I love, love, love about the cannabis industry specific is just a synergy. We went to MJ Bascom last year, and there was this electricity on the floor? The people, the brand owners are so passionate about their product in the effects of it, they're so concerned with helping people, and absolutely changing sort of this big pharma handcuff thing that's been going on in the United States. And when you walked out of the trade show every day, into a cloud of smoke mind you, what everyone was standing around just talking to each other, and reacting with each other, and it's impossible really not to get caught up with this movement and making a difference and everybody helping each other to succeed in these scientists and it's just, it's amazing the environment, which I can honestly say has not been in any other market that we've been in, and I just, I love it a... That's great to hear things. Yeah, I think we are all definitely a big passionate industry. Cool, well, let's take our quick commercial break and then we'll come back and chat a bit more in depth with April Lytle from KRZ  transfer products stay tuned  Alright, we're back on NCIA’s cannabis industry voice on cannabis radio, this is your host Bethany and we're chatting with April Lytle from KURZ transfer products. So speaking of our wonderful industry, there is a lot to keep up with as fun as it all is. For sure. Cannabis producers have to address packaging and labeling requirements, and it's a gigantic compliance issue, for cannabis companies, to do this correctly. And they vary from state to state, so there's definitely a need to find an accurate and efficient way of doing this. I'm curious what kind of technology solutions we're seeing that can address some of these packaging and labeling compliance concerns from your perspective? Well, some of the technology that we're seeing, it's no surprise to us because we have worked in the pharmaceutical space. So you're looking at all these child-resistant options with caps and packaging you're looking at temper evidence, you're looking at per the thermal transfer covert again, protective holograms. It's things that we are perfectly prepared for because we've been in this space for a while. There are some really new technologies that I've seen out there that are kind of cool. That was actually listening to the "ncia is packaging and labeling webinar, the other day. And they were talking about as a technology that has these little nano particles that it can read and there are some really cool and innovative options out there to really help these brands stay afloat and make sure that they are being compliant. And then, then some... One of the things that I've heard too is that it is a lot of these bigger brands like he and his bush some of these big players that are sort of watching what's going on in the US right now they are going to be expecting some of these smaller brands that they wanna acquire to really go above and beyond to supply these technical details to supply the logistics and I think it's gonna be critical, the in-Board in the future, to be able to have these kinds of tools and your belt to differentiate yourself from some of the smaller brands. But the NCIA is a really awesome source to help keep up with that. I know that they have experts really paying attention to what's going on in DC and some of the other states to help brands and companies stay compliant. We have an agent in DC right now doing the same thing. Again, it goes back to... That's one of the great things about this industry and everyone working together. I don't get that pushing someone under the bus to try to get a head feeling. We're all sort of helping each other out, but in this space, especially the innovation that's going into the technology, especially where it comes with the plants and the tracking. Super cool, for sure. I can't wait to just have the word nano particles as part of my every day vocabulary and use it in a sentence every day. Oh goodness, yeah, it is really amazing. Every time I walk the expo floor and our cannabis business Summit in Expos coming up right around the corner here, like any second July 22nd through 24th in San Jose every time I walk the expo floor there's something new and I'm like... What is that? And it's fascinating to see the innovations absolutely, and I do wanna quickly mention that NCIA's Policy Council did put out a white paper within the last year or so, with recommendations for packaging and labeling policies when states and governments get to that point where they wanna implement that we have recommendations for what we think is reasonable and sensible so you can find that on "cia's website under industry reports. So moving along, compliance and regulations, it's our life and our industry has a lot of packaging designs because of those compliance and regulate regulations that we have to follow, so some might say All this packaging can create a lot of environmental waste. So of course, we're looking at ways to make our industry more sustainable for the environment in various ways. Can you talk about maybe some ways your company or other companies can address these issues? Absolutely, I guess first and foremost, one of the big misconceptions even within the standard printing industry, is that foil that is not recyclable, but 10% is as long as the substrate that it stamped on is also recyclable. I don't oh, so primary or secondary? As long as it can be recycled, so... Can or foil which is... But considering that our corporate office is from Germany, sustainability issues are one of our top priorities we are all the time, changing our energy usage we have one of the most purest progressive internal recycling programs within the industry, we are going to be building a gigantic new facility of operations here in the US soon and we're looking into all manner of energy solutions. There's one that's kind of top secret but it's gonna revolutionize the pet carriers. What carries the film? And I'm just so excited. And so proud to be working for this company, especially in their concern with environment but in general, as far as the industry is concerned, just as long as we keep pushing for the recyclable items. Recyclable papers, I know that there are him papers that are gonna be coming out soon, which are really cool, absolutely love that concept as is working on one, I think stoppers is working on one but just consider your sources when you're looking at packaging, and labeling. There are so many really neat, raw recyclable materials out there now that are not that much more expensive. There's even biodegradable shrink film now. Oh, well, so I think that to have relevancy and to have an authentic product, especially from a consumer's perspective, that's something to be considered for sure. I look forward to the day when we just make everything out of him. So our cannabis will be in some kind of derived plastic container and maybe we can put straws back in restaurants, when we make hemp straws. So I also like that you have a little bit of a top secret mystery going on at your company, so that's exciting. So speaking of company secrets everyone of course wants to protect your company secrets, your intellectual property, your company's reputation and everything in between. And I'm curious what some other concerns to be aware of maybe, that you've seen regarding security and protecting our companies. Sure, well I briefly touched on anti-counter-fitting earlier, and that is going to, I predict to be an increasingly is nagging issue with this industry especially. I've heard when I went to Mason heard many times. Well, I set my packaging off to China and all of a sudden my brain is being distributed in China, so we have to be very careful with... Where we're getting things printed. Always do your due diligence there, and always consider those tamper evidence, those customized protective holograms. Just a little authentication sticker on there. Could you're saving your brand's reputation? I've seen some issues with logistics too on the back end, people struggling to bring all the data that they want together. I know metrics doing a good job with that, they cover part of that. There are some other companies that work with metric, but there's not like a seed to consume our solution- I know that we have customized app software that can do all of it, I highly suggest using some kind of company to really get your logistics nailed down, get your test results in just have everything working together to protect your seed-to-sale production. Absolutely, I think that's really good advice. Thanks for sharing that. We are gonna jump to our last commercial break here, but then we'll be right back to wrap up our conversation with April from curse transfer products to stay tuned, we'll be right back Alright, we're back on NCIA’s cannabis industry voice weekly podcast on cannabis radio, and we've been learning a bit about some packaging hot transfer, hot stamping technology in ways that it protects cannabis companies, as well, so our market's expanding there's new brands popping up almost every day and where I think we're starting to see a crowded some really crowded retail store shelves in cannabis dispensaries and it's what I might call like Cereal Aisle syndrome of having way too many choices. Do I get that guy or that guy? And what is the difference and why does it matter? Or I think a lot of humans in general, especially in the US experience what's called decision fatigue. I am just tired of making decisions. So my entire closet is just all black, so everything matches, so I... What can work? What can a company do from your perspective to really stand out in a sea of cannabis products on these retail shows? First of all, I must be guilty that 'cause my entire class, it is black same alright, high five. But we're involved with a lot of companies that do research for this specifically, there's the packaging school at Clemson, they have a really cool program there that has eye tracking, they set up fake shelves of product, even with competitors to see how they do against each other and they have these goggles, that go on and they actually track where people's eye goes. Oh wow, and record that data. And their studies are open to the public, they're online, they do really good work there, but one of the things that they found out is that decoration makes a huge difference, anywhere from 30 to 80% more likely someone to pick it up. One of the coolest industry specific videos that I've seen lately that sort of talk about this was from the bud tenders ball and they interviewed a bunch of these, but tenders who all basically said that they're guilty of helping consumers pick a brand based on how cool the packaging look... And foil in really customized solutions like decoration, and solutions can make a world of difference there, be creative with your packaging, think outside of the box. There are so many needs raw materials now that you wanna make a difference, you wanna really do some clever or some really smart branding, in the future. I've seen a lot of dull packaging brands just go to the wayside really be clever, have interactive packaging, there's nine crimes that has that really cool app that goes along with their wine label, where the criminals labels start talking to you. Oh, wow, that's a... Yeah, and then I get it. Yeah, they did one with The Walking Dead were a zombie walks out of the label and Rick interacts with it, so... Oh my God, yeah, I was wondering what you meant by interactive. But now it makes sense. That's pretty Asian. The, there are so many clever ways that you can set yourself apart on the shelf and we're gonna see the backlash of this in a few years because you do have so many brands and CD places and dispensaries coming up that it might not seem like you should be taking risks, this early, but really start planning to take these kinds of risks. Try, it's okay to be completely different, it's okay to set yourself apart. Cool, thanks for that advice. Yeah, and coming from an international large company that's worked with all kinds of brands in all kinds of industries. Yeah, I think that's really great for companies that are looking to stay on top of the growth and the sophistication, I'm sure your company is probably part of a lot of associations of depending on the company's industries that you're working with. And you've been a member of  NCIA for a while now, too. What about being a member of the National cannabis industry association is most helpful to your business or important to your company?  Well, they have so many different events, so many networking opportunities. It just seems like the "ncia goes above and beyond most organizations to really help bring people together. It's obvious that everyone involved is passionate. They're not only trying to network but they're really trying to make a difference. Yeah, in this industry, period. And you just wanna be a part of it, you just trust them to keep your best interests in mind, to give you all the tools and opportunities that you need to succeed.  Awesome, yes, we try... We try to do our best, we provide, we provide we're doing three on three major conferences a year, and I think next year will be adding a couple of conferences to our schedule believe it or not. And also, if your conference fate out, there's the smaller evening networking receptions that are regional across the country, we have the Cannabis caucuses and they have the industry socials and those are great 'cause they're a little bit more intimate they're usually like 100 people or... So depending on the region and you really get to have some great conversations with your peers as well.  And of course, the cannabis business Summit, and expo is our biggest summer conference July 22nd, through 24th in San Jose. If you haven't got your tickets yet come get in line or jump online, before ticket sales close to cannabis business Summit, dot com. Well, we run at a time but April, thank you so much for being on the show and thanks to your company. Curse transfer products for being a member of ncia. Where can people find out more information about course transfer products?  We have ... and if you look up the KURZ group on LinkedIn, we're always there. I'm always posting data. Sometimes people's projects, sometimes tips for the industry. Those are the best ways to keep up with his... Awesome, thank you, thanks everybody for tuning into another episode of NCIA’s cannabis industry voice until next time. 

 

 

 

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Improving U.S. Military Veterans Quality Of Life Through Cannabis

Improving U.S. military veterans quality of life through cannabis with David White, Communications Director of Veterans Cannabis Project. VCP is dedicated to improving US military veterans quality of life through cannabis. They empower veterans to live healthy, fulfilling lives, while advocating on their behalf for unrestricted and supported access to medical cannabis through the VA just […]
Improving U.S. military veterans quality of life through cannabis with David White, Communications Director of Veterans Cannabis Project. VCP is dedicated to improving US military veterans quality of life through cannabis. They empower veterans to live healthy, fulfilling lives, while advocating on their behalf for unrestricted and supported access to medical cannabis through the VA just like any other medicine. David is focused on helping U.S. veterans improve their quality of life through access to cannabis. He talks about his role there and his day to day, as well as what’s going on with the organization. We go through what’s going on with Veterans in the U.S. and why they need cannabis to address their health concerns.   Transcription:   Get informed get inspired and get connected. Hello, thanks for tuning into another episode of NCIA’s cannabis industry voice on cannabis Radio, I'm your host Bethany Moore, the communications Project Manager at the National cannabis industry association. Today my guest is David White, he's the Communications Director of the Veteran's cannabis project. VCP is dedicated to improving United States military veterans’ quality of life through the opportunity of cannabis, the empower veterans to live healthy, fulfilling lives while advocating on their behalf for unrestricted and supported access to medical cannabis through the VA. just like any other medicine. Thanks so much for being on the show today, David. Well, thank you, Berthany, I’m pleased to join you in here today for your podcast wonderful, so let's learn more about you First, let's learn more about your background, what kinds of work you did in the past before finding yourself contributing your time to the cannabis movement for veterans. Sure, my career has been focused primarily on public affairs advocacy efforts and working on Capitol Hill might have started out working at the Republican National Committee in their research department, and then spent about four years on Capitol Hill working in both the government, reform and Oversight Committee as well, as for Congress from Nancy Johnson as a press secretary and legislative assistant, where I started to get involved in healthcare issues, and then from thereleft Cap Hill and went to Edelman, which is now the largest public relations firm world, and help run public affairs and image campaigns for Fortune 500 corporations, and in street trade associations, companies, and trade groups like the American Health Care Association. And so our key aircraft and Walmart, the vast maracas a real wide variety of clients. And then from there, I started my own consultancy, which continue today but didn't really get involved with Veterans issues until I went to help out the presidential transition team and served as a media advisor, to Dr. David Chen, during his senate confirmation process, where I really got to see first-hand some of the challenges that the Department of Veterans Affairs was facing and particularly what America's veterans were facing a lot of difficulties that they were experiencing. Returning from combat and I, I... A lot of the challenges and providing them the care they really need and deserve. Wow, yeah, that's quite a background. So you're still based in Washington, DC, running around the beltway is that right? I am, yeah, I still a creature of the swamp and fortunately... But it does provide for opportunities, to get deeply involved in advocacy for both for veterans and more broadly for cannabis reform, and those are two areas I'm very passionate about and glad that I've found a way to bring to them together to pursue them. Joint lying absolutely. And if you can stand the swamp of DC, it is a really great place to have access to all sorts of organizations, and government agencies and so on. And I'm glad I get to go back once a year, for MCI is lobby days in the very least, and see mild stomping grounds before I got wise away here to Denver. So bad out here though, for sure. No, I can imagine. Love Colorado, yeah, yeah, and thanks for your work with veterans. My dad is also a Vietnam vet, former Marine, as well and he's got his own stories of coming back from the war for sure. So veterans need support for various things, including when they return from combat. There's health issues and PTSD issues and some of these veterans would really like to use cannabis or find that it helps them. So was that realization sort of how you got involved in the cannabis industry, and movement through that intersection of veterans wanting to improve their quality of life? It really was doing some work with the secretary chicken during his confirmation process. I got to really get a sense for how serious some of the ailments where they were afflicting our veterans the disproportionate rates of depression and anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain. When you look at the statistics, you can really see that veterans are truly in crisis in Department of Veterans Affairs themselves recognizes the 20% of the 27 million in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans will experience Pete. We see veterans coping with chronic pain and PTSD, at twice the rate of average Americans and really, 60% of veterans returning from combat suffer from product pain. So that's an area where, obviously, with the opioid epidemic and the VA looking to try to address these problems by prescribing of the typical combat cocktail of drugs, we've seen that veterans are twice as likely as average Americans to die from accidental opioid overdoses. So that's one area in which both significant research, but certainly anecdotally we hear all the time that medical cannabis can be a far safer and even more effective alternative to a lot of the prescription pills that our veterans are too often prescribed as just a quick and easy solution in absolutely, yeah, that opioid crisis is something that NCIA certainly had on our radar. And a few years ago, we put a white paper out about cannabis being a possible solution for some people who would like to reduce the amount of opioids or phase out opioids from their life as well, if anybody wants to download that white paper it's pretty easy to find. It's at the cannabis industry org cannabis and opioids. So I encourage folks to download that and learn more about about how cannabis is being used to ease the opioid crisis. Yeah, so here we are now, you're running the veteran's cannabis project team as the communications director and the organization focuses on helping veterans improve their quality of life through access, to cannabis. So yeah, tell me a bit more about your role there and your day-to-day. And what kinds of programs and activities are happening with the organization? Sure, a lot of what we focus on is trying to bring veterans across the country to Capitol Hill to meet with their legislators to really provide the power of personal stories, so that they can hear from their constituents and see the really kind of life-changing benefits and positive impact that medical cannabis is had for a number of them, but then also get into a discussion of a lot of hurdles at many veterans face veterans are in a particularly difficult situation, particularly the nine million veterans who rely on the Department of Veterans Affairs for their healthcare since cannabis is scheduled as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, the Department of Veterans Affairs really won't utilize it as a treatment option. They are barred by federal law from having physicians recommended from filling out any paperwork and depending upon which doctor you see they may not even discuss it with you. And a lot of the lingering stigma unfortunately read a lot of veterans to be reluctant to even talk to their doctor if they are using medical cannabis. One interesting stat that the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans of America found in one of the recent annual surveys was that one in five of its members uses medical cannabis but fewer than one-third of those users talk to their doctor about it, even when it affected use of other medications, so that stigma loan then... And some of the reluctance and fear, it creates some on veterans effectively denies them the benefit of the healthcare that they've really earned through their service and should be getting through the DA. So it's another one of those areas that's extremely frustrating and something that needs to change. Yeah, for sure. And I heard something I'm not sure if it's true, maybe you know that if a veteran getting medical care through the VA is tested for the presence of substances in their body and cannabis is found, they can lose their VA benefits, or something along those lines, do you know anything like that? There is concern about that, there is a directive that the VA issue that basically says that they can't be denied benefits, but that's not been cat-aiding to law. And so still there's a lot of fear about that. And the other thing is concern about if they do test positive, for Canada, use that in their medical chart they will be labeled as having a Cannabis Use Disorder. So again, it's another area of concern for veterans and something that for some of them may prevent them from pursuing healthcare and treatment that they really need. So it's an area of stigma and change that we've gotta reform. Absolutely agree and thank you so much for getting those veterans out to the Hill to meet with members of Congress and their staff to tell their stories in in the similar way that "ncia does with industry leaders and operators through our annual lobby days as well, that it really being a human being and being able to tell your story to a member of Congress is more valuable than a lobbyist, even though the lobbying is important also it is so important to get those veterans out there to tell their personal stories. So hopefully, we're changing the hearts and minds one day at a time, out there in capital health. We are going to take a quick commercial break, here, but we'll be right back to chat more with David White, the Communications Director of Veterans cannabis project. So, stay tuned will be right back.   Alright. We're back on NCIA’s cannabis industry voice on cannabis radio, and we're talking with David White from the Veteran's cannabis project. So let's talk more we've already done the overview, the 10,000 foot view of what's going on with veterans, but let's really take a deeper dive about what's going on with veterans in the US, and why they need cannabis to address their many various health concerns depending on who the veteran is as well. As I mentioned earlier, veterans are really in crisis as one research shows that the chronic pain that they experience and PTSD are two major contributing factors to veteran suicides and we're seeing on average 20 veterans committing suicide every day. And So I... You look at those facts and you look at some of these statistics, and it really is quite frankly a national disgrace, if not. And so we're hoping, again, through some of these hill visits, potential capital Policy Forum that we're looking to do in the fall, some of the grassroots networks that were building across the country that we can really raise awareness of this crisis and how medical cannabis can help potentially address a number of these ailments, and really saved a number of lives. We hear every day from veterans to credit medical cannabis with. I'm improving their quality of life or even saving their lives, and so it's really a powerful testament to the healing properties of cannabis and the promises it holds for veterans and a better option than just hitting the alcohol bottles or self-medicating with whatever you can get your hands on. We obviously know by now that cannabis is far safer than alcohol, and various other substances, opioids, so we really gotta get this research to underscore what we know about cannabis and what we know from the personal stories of those who do use it. So getting that scientific research here in the US to prove that I think is gonna be pretty crucial, in this big picture. So we don't have enough research here in the US, we're trying to circle around with Congress about how to make that happen. Let's talk a bit more about the challenges veterans face getting access. We've already talked about doctors not even being allowed to discuss it with them. So where does that put veterans who really wanna use cannabis for what they need? Well, it leaves them obviously a disadvantage if they rely on the VA for their healthcare because they can't go to the VA and talk to their provider about filling out paperwork and getting a recommendation even in states where it's legal. So first and foremost, that's one area that we're looking to advocate and make change. Your point about research though is also critically important. We have a fair amount of data that shows the positive impact the medical cannabis can have but much more research is needed and again, because of the outdated policy and the mis-categorization of cannabis as a Schedule One substance, it makes research virtually impossible. And so, we're now preventing doctors and scientists from doing the content of research we need to have a better understanding of how medical cannabis can best help our veterans and other patients as well. So that's really another core aspect of what we're educating for in addition to providing veterans legal access to medical cannabis through the VA, right? So De-scheduling is really probably the smartest solution here for various reasons. Even taking it down to schedule to really wouldn't do much on a lot of levels. So, I NCA advocates for completely de-scheduling off of the Controlled Substances list for sure and allowing it to continue to be an opportunity for small businesses. And I think veterans are also among a demographic of people who may want to work in the cannabis industry, if they have that ability. Do you think think that's true? They absolutely are. That's another group of people that we hear from on a regular basis, it's veterans looking to get into the industry and it's something that our organization is looking longer term, and to being more involved in, it's kind of to essentially serve as a jobs clearing house in recruitment center, both for veterans and employers. There is as most of your membership is well aware. The employment opportunities, if we realize full legalization are just tremendous, I think I saw a stat for me. The Frontier data, they're not long ago that said the industry would create 65-4000 jobs within eight years. And veterans, I think in particular are well-situated to be great employees in the industry, they really understand teamwork? And attention to detail and tend to be very highly responsible employees, and so it really could be an incredible match, and something that I think we need to pursue. Bo for veterans, and the industry, but that then gets back to veterans and some of the challenges they've faced, we've seen veterans who work in the industry be denied home loans for instance, and so there's some concern and reluctance on veterans about getting into the industry. Fortunately, that's beginning to be addressed in Congress. In fact, this week there's amendment language by Congresswoman Katherine Clark Massachusetts, that would add language to the National Defense Authorization Act, to effectively in the practice of denying home loan benefits to veterans that work in the industry. Oh, yeah, all that article. Yeah, that's good news, yeah, no, it's great news, and so... Yeah, yeah, so we're making some progress in Congress. Is recognizing that a lot of the current policies and laws just don't make sense, and so, we're optimistic that it's really a matter of time before there's really critical mass that tips this over towards real progress, particularly in the Senate, which is we're seeing the most resistance to make comprehensive reforms to federal cannabis law. Yeah, we have some hemp farmers from Kentucky, that we're hoping can soften Mitch McConnell up a little bit on our issues, so we're... Yeah, the Senate is a little bit of a tough cookie, for the moment, but we're pretty optimistic in the meantime. Yeah, I was just thinking there's a couple of NCIA members that I know for a fact our veterans and war, some of their military uniform pieces to lobby days. So shout out to Tom Mondo and at T-N-Fontana. Thank you so much for your service and being in the cannabis industry. Are there any other bills or pieces of legislation in general, that veterans cannabis project is supporting right now, that we should be aware of? There are few, there's the Veterans Equal Access Act, which would effectively authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow their providers, their doctors and other Hecate providers to make recommendations for veterans regarding participation in state Marijuana program. So if you have a VA facility, and a vet in a state where you have a legal medical program they would be allowed to both make the recommendation, and fill out to pay people work for that veteran. So that's high on our priority list, we also are supporting actively the VA medical cannabis Research Act of 2019, which would direct the VA to carry out clinical trials on the effects of cannabis focusing really on chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. That'd be a game changer. That it was great, it really could. And the VA is really uniquely situated to conduct this kind of research. They have some of the best researchers in the world and obviously deal with a patient population that's disproportionately affected by chronic pain and PTSD. So, we're optimistic that that's gonna move forward hopefully in near future. And it's something that veterans desperately need. And then the other thing is really a bill sponsored by Congressman Greg via Florida. It's Veterans Canada use for safe healing act he... And so effectively, confine law protection of veterans benefits, that are administered by the VA, so that there really is no concern that if you're a medical candidate patient that you would jeopardize or potentially lose any of your earned benefits. Got it, got it. That makes a lot of sense, yes. Looking forward to seeing all of those move forward, get co-sponsorship and hopefully we can see... See this Congress move, move these bills along in Capitol Hill. Well, we have to jump to a commercial break really quick, but when we come back I believe you may have some testimonials from some actual real-life veterans about their relationship with cannabis that would be great to hear, so absolutely awesome. Okay, so we're gonna take our last commercial break and we'll be right back so stay tuned. Alright, we're back and we're wrapping up our interview with David White from the Veteran's cannabis project here on NCIA’s cannabis industry voice, so thanks for breaking down all the issues surrounding veterans and their struggle and difficulty getting access to cannabis for the issues that they're dealing with, after coming home. So I'm sure there's some personal stories from working with these veterans about how cannabis has helped them. I'd love for you to share with our audience. Sure, I'd love to a sample. Just a few of the veterans who have written into us and share their first name, not to give the way their identity to perfect or privacy, but for example, we heard from an army veteran, began in Sweden in Maine said I suffered a L1 compression burst fracture in the army and now fused from 2103, which is a significant portion of her spine the size chronic back pain, I started suffering from PTSD, neuropathy chronic sleep impairment, and migrants medical cannabis helps with all of these sides all of these effects it has also helped get me off. Opioids value in muscle relaxes and several other medications due to back injury. Another one is Jennifer from III Gilbert, Arizona, rather who's an Air Force veteran says, "I use medical cannabis daily. I was being prescribed 600 pills a month through over three years in the VA consuming 480 oxycodone in 201 days before ending all plug and transitioning to medical cannabis. I have regained my sense of self-quality of life and spirit back. I have been off all pills since mid-2016 and haven't looked back late. Full story. It is, it's just an incredible... The difference it makes, and one last one, Aaron from Atlanta, Georgia, is a marine core veteran. Said I'm a veteran, and I use medical Canada to help with my PTSD and pain management. I have encountered several legal obstacles here in Atlanta. I have no legal access to something that helps my life tremendously. I don't know what I would do without it. It works 10 times better than the MIDS provided by VA, so those... Yeah, if you some sense of really the personal stories of those who benefit from medical Canada and some of the challenges and again I think provides very powerful compelling personal stories when you have veterans as messengers for cannabis reform at the fetal level. And so it's in addition to helping veterans, I think it's also proven to be very helpful, for the calls overall to have them out front and carrying a message of the need to reform our federal law. Absolutely, yes, cannabis is impacting positively the lives of so many kinds, different groups, different demographics of people. Yeah, it's really great, thank you for sharing those stories and thanks to the veterans that shared the stories. So just to change gears just a little bit here before we wrap up the show. There is a lot of talk about how CBD is the New Black, the new pink, everyone's talking about their CBDs and you can get some kind of CBD from gas stations now, apparently, and it's showing up on shelves, in all kinds of different health and hygiene products. So I think for people who may be aren't ready to go into the full spectrum cannabis that includes THC and all the other cannabinoids, they are interested in a little bit of this hemp-derived CBD possibility, although the FDA hasn't come in and said, We can put it at any food or anything like that, but it is interesting and I think there's some hopefulness. There in our own Director of Public Policy Andrew Kline helped collect testimonies and we put our own statement together, and we submitted that to the FDA, when they put a call out for recommendations. So even though this is probably going to be a slow process, over the next couple of years before regulations get rolled out, it is... I'm optimistic that this is a stepping stone to get full cannabis-legalization-so we'll see how that goes. What are your thoughts on that? Well, I think it's certainly a step in the right direction. I think seeing that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was on board, at least with him at this point, shows that we're heading in the right direction. And so I think we have to wait and see where that goes, but I'm encouraged by it. Same, same. Well, we all in waiting in this boat together, and we are indeed yeah, well, as we're wrapping up the show here, I don't know if you're gonna be able to make it to San Jose, later this month, we are hosting our 6th annual cannabis business Summit, and Expo July 22 through 24th in San Jose. I'm really looking forward to it. The website to register is cannabis business Summit, dot com, and there's also some great workshops, and tours and continuing education opportunities for those who attend as well. So if you have not gotten your tickets now would be a great time. And I really wanna thank you for being on the show, and telling us what's going on at your organization, as NCIA is proud to have partnerships and we have an allied associations program, and I think it's important for all of us to keep focusing on the long-term goal... And we do that through various ways, through your organization, focusing on telling the stories of veteran through the, the need minority cannabis business association focusing on creating equity social equity in the cannabis industry, and then NCIA working on these federal pushes for scheduling and safe banking and fair tax codes. There's so many issues and cannabis is such a big plant and affects our lives in so many ways. So I just wanna say thank you, thank you, for the work you're doing, thank you for the work, everyone that veteran's cannabis project is doing and keep up the good work, and you're always welcome to join us at our conferences or our regional networking events, the cannabis caucuses in the industry, socials which are a great way to get connected, get informed and get inspired and hearing stories about veterans who are improving their lives through cannabis is definitely in that inspiring category. But thank you, Bethany, I greatly appreciate that and appreciate all NCIA does. To advocate for the industry, and look forward to working together further with you in the future. Thank you, so much. And where can people find out more information about veterans cannabis project? They can or... Website is www vets CP org that's vets CP dot org. You can learn more about what we're doing and explore potential partnerships with us, we're always looking to team up with people in the industry for either event sponsorships, or other activities that we're doing, so would encourage your members to visit and look for ways to work together. Wonderful, alright, thanks again for being on the show and thanks everybody for tuning into another episode of NCIA’s cannabis industry voice until next time  

Community
/ Education

Taking Cannabis Companies Further And Faster

Taking cannabis companies further and faster with Dave Roberson the CEO of Kukuza, a RoseRyan company. Kukuza helps cannabis companies with finance and accounting. Kukuza Associates are committed to taking cannabis companies further and faster with proven cannabis accounting and finance solutions. Accustomed to the hectic, high-risk pace of Silicon Valley, our consulting firm offers […]
Taking cannabis companies further and faster with Dave Roberson the CEO of Kukuza, a RoseRyan company. Kukuza helps cannabis companies with finance and accounting. Kukuza Associates are committed to taking cannabis companies further and faster with proven cannabis accounting and finance solutions. Accustomed to the hectic, high-risk pace of Silicon Valley, our consulting firm offers a broad range of strategic and tactical finance solutions to meet a cannabis company’s every need, at every stage of its lifecycle. We bring expert cannabis finance expertise to all types of canna companies, including cultivators, extractors, manufacturers, distributors, retail businesses as well as investors. Focused on the unique needs of cannabis businesses, Kukuza Associates calms the chaos, lays the critical foundations to scale rapidly, sets up the company for maximum growth potential, and readies the business for investors and dealmakers. A Silicon Valley powerhouse, Dave leads the charge at Kukuza Associates to help cannabis companies of all sizes and across all segments (growers, extractors, manufacturers, distributors, retailers) reach their full potential by having expert finance capabilities behind them. His know-how on the industry was tapped for an Accounting Today cover story about the few “pioneering” firms that have dedicated solutions to the accounting and finance needs of cannabis companies. Dave previously spent six years as an advisor to tech companies, leading major projects in the areas of finance, strategy, due diligence, capital structure, corporate governance, sales, and human resources. One of those projects involved heading up a dedicated RoseRyan team of over a dozen finance pros who provided transitional services for the Symantec-Digicert divestiture. Dave is also a vice president at RoseRyan, where he is on the leadership team and oversees the firm’s expanding presence in the private equity space.   Transcription: Get informed, get inspired, and get connected. Thanks for joining us for another episode of NCIA’s cannabis industry voice on cannabis radio, I’m your host Bethany Moore, I’m the project communications Project Manager at the National cannabis industry association. Today my guest is Dave Roberson, he's the CEO of an NCIA member company. KUKUZA. it's really fun to say. It's a Rose Ryan company. They help cannabis companies with finance and accounting. We all need that. Welcome to the show, Dave, thanks so much math, any I'm excited to be able to join you today, absolutely so let's jump in and get to know you a little bit better. I'd love to hear more about your background and your experience and your industry experience before coming to help out the cannabis industry, what did you do before that? Yeah, I actually was trained as a lawyer and started working as a legal consultant when I got out of law school and after a couple of years, I moved into the technology industry starting as a lawyer, stayed in that industry for about 35 years, and during that time I worked in virtually every business discipline Legal, Finance, HR, IT sales supply chain customers finally R & D ending as the Chief Executive Officer of Atachi data systems, and then a period at HP running storage, for them as well. So, I've had all the C-suite titles, Chief Financial Officer, a Chief Legal Officer, Chief Information Officer. So, I've had a lot of rules where I've had to set the policy and make sure the company accomplishes goals in that particular field. About eight years ago, I shifted back to advising and consulting with companies decided that I would enjoy that more and during that time advised four or five companies a year, typically and the... During my career also, I served on a number of boards, five public companies and the 10 or more private companies and on the public companies, one of note for this industry is a company called IGT international gaming technology, and that was a very highly regulated market, where I had to be vetted by the State Gaming Commission, and various other entities for about 60 different licenses, if you will. So, I'm real familiar with what it's like to be in a world that is a reoriented it. So it was interesting in the kind of way I like to look at is I've done a lot of different things and it's given me, a lot of different perspectives on problems rather than thinking everything is a finance problem, or a legal problem or an RD, problem, they're all interrelated. And I've tried to keep this very wide view over my career. Yeah, absolutely, having warn so many types of hats, seems like it gives you a pretty well-rounded perspective on just about any business. Yeah, that's what I try right for certainly awesome. And by gaming I'm guessing we're not talking about online racing games necessarily, we're talking about... Yeah, casinos. And that... That I... That's right, very regulated I'm sure. Yes, a lot of compliance like... Yeah, I think the cannabis industry can relate a... So, it is an interesting parallel yeah, yeah, so speaking of the cannabis industry, which is why we're all here, how did you make that shift into getting into cannabis? And is there any kind of inspirational reason why you decided... Cannabis, cannabis is where I wanna be sure, so as part of my consulting I happened to work on a project with Rosey and the parent of a was a one-year project where I led a team of 13 people to help one of their clients realize the value of a transaction. It was a divestiture complicated financials and was a big success. We finished the project 90 days early, under budget, so the client was quite happy and it gave me a lot of insight into Rose Ryan and how unique it is, and... Well, I was work the project, I got to know the folks at Rose Ryan and they told me about their work in cannabis and so, on and several months after that, project was over, they said, "Hey would you wanna work with us and growing our cannabis business. And I had gotten involved with the business to an investor that I know well, and asked me to look at a couple of cannabis companies he'd invested in and that got me enamored with it and when Rose Ryan said Come join us and help I got excited and what excited me was the industry, the people and the opportunity, all three of those things, and then cause in particular was the opportunity as we just talked about to bring all these different experiences, I've had working together with Rose Ryan which has all the consulting capability to really go into a new field and help that feel grow and develop, and I felt like it was a chance to get in on something. I know it's not the very early days, but it's still the early days of the industry where most of my jobs, it's been more mature larger developed companies where the room for movement or the room for opportunity to do new things is much more limited. So, I just saw it as an opportunity to work with some great people and solve some problems that could be solved, and again with my wide view, hopefully, be solved in a way that maybe is unique for the industry. Absolutely, yeah, well, we definitely need all the brain power we can get as we're navigating through this federal legalization journey. Absolutely, yeah. So, Kukuza, of which you are the CEO is to help with the finance and accounting piece with the cannabis industry. Can you talk about Kukuza and your role there, and what's going on with the company? Yeah, I love too. So, we launched the company in March of this year. And the word causes a Swahili word it means growth, and potential. We really thought that captured what we wanted to represent to the industry. And I like it has a kind of ring to it. I was wondering what the word mean. Thank you for clarifying that. A Swahili I like it, yeah. So, as you said, we're focused on providing financial tools and advice or assistance to operators to help and grow their business and we're really looking at any stage of company from the early stage assuming they have some Capital, obviously, or even if they don't advising him on that all the way to well-established companies that are growing or acquiring. And we're also looking at every segment so we don't wanna narrow our focus again we think that be a mistake at this point. So we're trying to approach and add value to any operator at whatever stage they're at and whatever scope of business they may have, and we obviously approach a different ways depending on what those parameters might be and the way we wanna approach our customers, we start with what we call an assessment so we can do this as quickly as two hours interestingly enough, depending on the size and the complexity but take a quick look at where are they are, what do they know about their company, what are their issues, how big are they, what's their licensing, how many entities do they have? Several basic facts, but then that tells us Okay, would we want to work with them or where could we offer some advice or suggestions where they may need help, and we find a spectrum of capabilities, some of the clients we go in have season CFOs and they wanna engage us to help them on a project, some other companies, we go in and they're newer, they might have a bookkeeper, and they don't have a budget, or they don't have some other things. So the assessment really helps us come in on what that client needs rather than "Hey here's an answer. What do you need, right? So it's built a good connection fairly quickly. And then depending on what that yields we can supportive in a number of different ways. And then what we're trying to do is the same thing. We're advising our customers, right, so we want them to build a strong financial foundation so we're working on defining our own value proposition and solutions, again with reference to what we learn from the customers. We're meeting with a lot of companies. I don't feel like every company I meet with needs to be a client. In fact, I look at every company I meet with this an opportunity to learn and if there is work that we can do great, and probably, half the clients I mean there isn't work we need to do and that's wonderful. I learn about their business, and that just adds to our capability, we're building out a set of tools to do for the analytics and assessment for the companies and then obviously delivering services. And then another really important thing to me is contributing back to the center. So if we just kinda collect money from our customers and walk away and say That's a good day, that's not enough for me. I think it's really important that we invest in the industry invest in this sector with our expertise sharing that, working with "ncia working with other organizations so that we can help the whole industry improve rather than just we're here, to make money. Got it, got it. I really like the idea that you do an assessment or a discovery portion because you don't know what you need, maybe you don't know what you don't know until you take a look at it and then you know where you can actually apply some expertise and assistance. Yeah, that one, the customers don't even know right they know, but when we ask them some questions, they don't have the answer for it. Is like, "Oh I hadn't thought of that before. And that then becomes a good conversation, sure sure nothing is one size fits all, or a cookie cutter everything that's right happening absolutely. Okay, let's take our first commercial break and then we can come back and talk a bit more about best practices in the cannabis industry from your perspective. So we'll be right back. Alright, we're back on NCIA’s cannabis industry voice on cannabis radio, and we're chatting with Dave Roberson who's the CEO of Kukuza focusing on finance and accounting support, in the cannabis industry and for the cannabis industry so Dave, let's unpack one of these big picture issues about the volatility of our industry, which was exciting for you when you jumped in. But a little scary for some of us. So, despite its slowly maturing, we are maturing and becoming more sophisticated as we go. There's still a lot of unknowns and regulations that can just change on a dime. So, I'm curious your thoughts on this exciting chaos in the cannabis industry. Yeah, I, I think it's a topic and I've always believed that chaos and volatility is not necessarily a bad thing, it really is a chance to create opportunity if you're prepared and that's why we really focus on getting folks prepared including ourselves, and the two volatilities I think that are the biggest right now from my perspective and there's many others, but one is certainly the regulatory landscape everybody talks about that licensing taxes banking, all the challenges with delivery across borders, across town, even some cities. So you can't, some city say You can the state then it. There's no clear answer on a lot of that, right? Another volatility that is, I won't say new but it's happening as things mature is the competition a lot of new players are coming into the field and it's... You hear the term "the green rush. I think players may come and then I really don't understand or have the legacy knowledge but they might have capital, so it allows them to play in a different way. Supply and demand balance imbalance is... I think another thing we're seeing is California produces a lot but doesn't consume a lot. What do you do with that and how is that addressed? And then if there's more supply than demand prices drop, which is another volatility. And then I think another one that I think on the competition side, and we see this in technology a lot was, what I call a commoditization right? So there's still some specialization. Hey, my product is different and special and better, but as things are more regulated in the industry kind of settles out. I think distinguishing a product becomes very important and if all you're competing on is price, or volume, that's a little bit harder. So that's another volatility, I think that's gonna play out over the next three to five years. Yeah, that makes sense, and I was talking with some other people from our marketing and advertising committee. They really feel that branding and your marketing is going to be the way to distinguish your product from a sea of products on a shelf for... So Bethany I couldn't agree more. And I name recognition of branding in this space will be very important. Over time, I, I couldn't agree more. Yeah, for sure. So do you have any advisor best practices here for dealing with maybe some of those things that you're mentioning or what ways these cannabis company operators can really get on top of these challenges? Yeah, and I call it getting your financial house in order, and I'll talk a little bit more about that, but that's where I start. And great products and ideas and capital are super important, but if you don't have your financial house in order, you may waste or lose the opportunity, right? I've already said there's a spectrum of capability or foundation, we find when we go out and talk to folks, but the key thing is having a set of financial systems and processes that help you understand where you are, and I call it one clear, simple version of the truth and a lot of times, what's your inventory? I'm not sure what's your cost of producing an ounce of buds, or how... What's your bird how much are you spending per month, how much your fixed cost versus variable costs, what's your cash flow? Those are all really important things that operators need to understand, but if they don't have a good financial system, how are they gonna understand that so they may say, "Well I know how much cash... Oh yeah, well that's great, but how much did you have last month, how much you're gonna have next month then what's your capital plans? Are you gonna add another cultivation facility, or you gonna buy another dispensary? How are you taking that into account? So the first thing is just have a good set of factual accounting information that's one clear, simple version of the truth. And then the next thing is what I call a business and scenario clan, so have a view of... Okay, here's where we are now, here's our cost structure, here's our revenue picture, here's all that, here's where we see that playing out, we're gonna buy this, invest in that, or grow our dispensary 'cause we're gonna get better products in there, we're gonna market it, better, whatever, and then have some scenario planning that goes with that. So, for example, what happens if there's price volatility, what if the price you can get in the market, drops by 50%, what does that do to your business? What if the price goes up 20%, what does that do to your business? What about demand what about capital availability? So being able to look at some of these really important variables and say, "what if... And then you can make some decisions and then you can do again if you're tracking this information about your business, let's say you're ahead of where you think you thought you would be then maybe you invest more speed up, maybe you're behind you say, well, maybe we shouldn't buy the ex-dispenser 'cause we really haven't assimilated the one we just bought, and it hasn't given us their profitability or the revenue, or the cash flow or whatever the metric was that we were looking for. So I call that Scenario Planning, but having a good baseline and then building your scenarios off of that. Yeah, it definitely takes a lot of thoughtfulness when we're dealing with these kinds of big risks. Truly, that's right, and then everybody's used to these tools either at T if you've never done it, it seems daunting and it takes time, it's not something you build it in a minute, or two, right, or even a day or two, but I think it pays off to put the investment and to do that. Yeah, yeah, very much agree. And no man or a company is an island and I do everything so we must, we need to connect with others, we need to rely on other experts because we can't be an expert on everything. So, by old in that strong professional community is so important just so, so very important. Yeah, we've tried to build a good community of what I... Call-minded professional firms, for things like accounting and legal and tax and we find that working with those companies and working with our clients, it's a great thing. And so we've helped a couple of our clients solve problems. That we just don't have the skills to solve by connecting them with people that really understand the industry, that are committed to it and we've also find some folks that... Oh, we're just in this we're gonna make a quick buck. We try to stay away from them because they don't really have the level of commitment that we think is appropriate to really provide valuable services. Yeah, couldn't have said it better. Absolutely. It can be very chaotic, and people who don't know the volatility, when you lift the veil of what it takes to make this industry go will be in for a rude awakening when they're in the thick of it, I think, and they're overwhelmed with regulations and compliance issues and investors and banking. And yeah, I totally get it. So before we jumped to commercial all this can be very stressful and scary, but it is kind of fun and it is very fulfilling if you're the kind of person that does have a passion for the industry and is in it, for the right reasons. So, on stress and the sweat and the tears, I think is really worth it. At the end of the day, and as we continue to make progress both for our industry economically, but also in the halls of Congress, it's so worth it. So for this strong industry community that we're building, it is, I almost want to give a little... Not self-help, but just like an inspirational hang in there, everybody I... Yeah, So Bethany, I couldn't agree with you. More I look at is chaos. And uncertainty can bring unprecedented opportunities if you again have the foundation and have the commitment and passion just like you said. And my career is my greatest successes have come during the times of the greatest uncertainty and I've just experienced at many times, and it's me excited because this is a period like that. And the success is there to be had for the folks that have that spirit you just described. Yeah, Yeah, couldn't agree more. Alright, we're gonna jump to our last commercial break here, and then we'll come back and wrap up our chat with Dave Roberson of Yakuza. Stay   All right, we're back on NCIA’s cannabis industry voice on cannabis radio. You've been listening to your host Bethany Moore from the national cannabis industry association and our guests today, we've been chatting with Dave from Kukuza. I, I... Talking big picture industry and giving each other a little inspiration to stay and see how this all works out in the end, and successfully. I believe so, and I think a part of that obviously I'm biased, but being part of "ncia which is the largest national trade association and the oldest for the cannabis industry as we approach almost 2000 member count companies across the country that strength in numbers is a huge part of how we're going to get to success. And now, your company is part of it, and I think you understand the value as somebody who has been in a lot of C-suite roles in other industries as to why being a member of "ncia is important. So could you talk a little bit about that? Yeah, when I joined, we had already joined as Rose Ryan, I said, "Okay we need to join as Kukuza as well. So both firms actually, are members today. And from my perspective, I feel like it's a great place for us to be advocates for the operators in the industry, and that's a role, I think we can play and I love the way that NCIA has taken that on. The other thing that, from my perspective, you're a wonderful source or NCIA is a wonderful source of information and the opportunity to network and meet people, and we wanna get... I personally, if we, as a company, wanna get more involved with "ncia and getting involved with the committees and some of the meetings and so, on where we can play an active role and as I said earlier, giving back some of the knowledge that we've had to improve the industry as a whole. Awesome, yeah, appreciate that. And I do believe you'll have an opportunity to share some of your knowledge at one of our educational panels later this year, at our Fall Conference, the California cannabis business conference in Long Beach, is that right? Yeah, we're excited about that. I'll be participating on a panel that will be focused on Banking capitalization and money management, which is obviously a very... The big one was the topic for a lot of people. Awesome, thank you, yep, so that is in October, the website for that is California cannabis business conference dot com. And before that next month in July is our big conference, the 6th annual cannabis business Summit, and Expo and that is July 22, 2013. 24th in San Jose, California at www... Cannabis business Summit, dot com. I'll definitely be there running around with the video crew as per usual, chatting with exhibitors, and attendees and panelists and continuing to do the awesome, storytelling that I get to do, and I love our educational opportunities, I love that my colleagues really, they really make sure that the educational content is above and beyond. It's quite a process to go through all these speaker proposals and try to fill just a handful of seats when we have so many great people and great speakers. It's definitely a challenge. So I hope everyone enjoys the panels at all, of our conferences for sure. So looking forward to learning from you at your banking money banking in money panel session in October and the... We're looking forward to being in the SOE in July, it's right, our backyard. So we're excited about that conference as well. Oh, easy I like it when you don't have to fly places, to say... Yeah, and I also just wanna mention our smaller networking receptions that we host throughout the year and throughout the country, it's our cannabis caucus evening networking receptions and our industry socials. Those are a nice way to just pop in for an evening. networking reception mix with your industry peers get connected exchange, some business cards and have a little fun. We like to have a little bit of fun but also be informative and give you what you're looking for is, as you look to us for what's going on on capital hill in DC, for sure. And then lobby days, of course, which we just had our ninth annual, and CIA lobby days and it was amazing and cocoa folks to make it out next year for the tenth annual. Yeah, it sounds great. We'd like to do that super fun. Okay, well, we have run out of time, today, but I've really enjoyed chatting with you, Dave, and learning about Kukuza. And how you guys are helping out the cannabis industry. So where can people find out a little more information about your company, well, the simplest thing is go on our website at www.kukuzaassociates dot com, That's Kukuza associates all one word. And it can also reach me through that website if they want. And Bethany thank so much for the opportunity to join you today I really enjoyed the conversation. Absolutely, thank you again for sharing your wisdom and thanks to our listeners for tuning into another episode of NCIA’s cannabis industry voice until next time.    

Advocacy
/ Community

PR In The Cannabis Industry – Grasslands | A Journalism-Minded Agency

Grasslands | A Journalism-Minded Agency with Ricardo Baca, CEO of Grasslands. The company is a PR agency for the cannabis industry… Ricardo is formerly an editor at The Denver Post, producing The Cannabist for over three years until December 2016, and is known as being the first full-time marijuana rights editor for a major American newspaper. Ricardo […]
Grasslands | A Journalism-Minded Agency with Ricardo Baca, CEO of Grasslands. The company is a PR agency for the cannabis industry… Ricardo is formerly an editor at The Denver Post, producing The Cannabist for over three years until December 2016, and is known as being the first full-time marijuana rights editor for a major American newspaper. Ricardo Baca is a 20-year veteran journalist, keynote speaker, TEDx veteran and thought leader in modern media and drug-policy circles. He served as The Denver Post’s first-ever marijuana editor and founded news vertical The Cannabist, where he extensively covered the advent of adult-use cannabis and related issues across the country and around the world, as seen in the feature documentary Rolling Papers (Netflix). In 2016, Ricardo launched Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency to work directly with business leaders in highly regulated industries, including cannabis, energy and traditional healthcare. Named Marketer of the Year by AdCann in 2019, Ricardo has received numerous accolades for his trailblazing work covering drug policy, cannabis business, and culture, and continues to columnize and host podcasts for a number of top publications.   Transcription:   Get informed get inspired and get connected. Hello, thank you for tuning into another episode of NCIA’s cannabis industry voice on cannabis Radio, I'm your host Bethany Moore, and I'm the communications Project Manager at the National cannabis industry association today on the show. I'm happy to introduce Ricardo Baca, he's the CEO of Grasslands. Grasslands is a PR agency for the cannabis industry. For those who aren't in the know, and Ricardo himself is pretty well known, he's Formerly an editor at the Denver Post, and produced The Cannabist over three years through the end of 2016, he's also known as being the first full-time marijuana rights editor for a major American newspaper thank you so much for coming to the show record of that, then thanks so much for having me on a I don't know what took so long but I'm glad we're finally here. Yeah… Well, I, I have introduced you a little bit, but I'm sure there's more to you. Could you tell our listeners a bit more about your background and your experience especially the work you did before you got involved in all things? Cannabist of course, yeah, my entire life has been dedicated to journalism in one way or another. Going back to delivering the Rocky mode news in the suburbs of North Denver. Back when I was a kid. And were you a paper boy, I was A... I love it, I had a number of routes going back to 14-15, years old. Oh yeah, I am delivering 90 Sunday newspapers, once a week. And then that that job is such an amazing and still a work ethic on a young person, because you're legitimately working 365 days a year and waking up at some God awful lover of the morning. But that kind of just tied me to the newspaper, I would come home every morning with newsprint on my hands, so I think I was just destined to enter this industry somehow, but... Later ended up getting a college scholarship from the Rocky Mountain News, the same newspaper, I delivered for years and studied journalism was fortunate enough to work at the rocky for four years throughout college that they paid for and rip the rocket news went by the wayside passed away about 11 years ago, which was tragic a result of a newspaper war in Colorado, I and went on to work for a newspaper another newspaper in Texas for a couple of years and came back to Denver and worked for the Denver Post, which was, the triumph that newspaper in that newspaper war. I was the music critic at the post. I started a music festival called the US the underground music shoes, which was a lot of fun and that's still around my last year. We had 350 bands, four days, several venues and one risk band would get you into it all. I was just in love with South by Southwest, and wanted to replicate that vibe in my own town, and then after years of writing about music and producing the Music Festival and starting Music blogs I ended up getting promoted to the entertained the editor position and a couple of years later. Next thing you know, those crazy Colorado voters are approving Amendment 64, in November of 2012 and the editors at the Denver Post had the foresight to recognize that suddenly this is a recreational substance basically traded the same way as... Beer and wine, and we had reporters not only creating entire bear vertical bear blogs where we celebrated and reported on Colorado beers, but we also had reporters reporting on the alcohol as an industry, and so they recognized we needed to change the way we discussed cannabis. And so, in late 2013, the editor I called me aside and said, "Hey we wanna cover marijuana differently and we want you to be our guy. And so that's how I became that first marijuana editor, a major metro in tail newspaper, and it was such a tremendous experience entirely brought there through organic means after 20 plus years. In journalism and was very excited to take on the cannabis beats and of course, as you mentioned create the cannabis after that, which became a grew into an award-winning news vertical that had a larger readership, the High Times and Marijuana dot com, which was Weiss former vertical. And we did a lot of topic-work, if I do say so myself. We had a staff of seven, full-timers and we had freelancers split spanning the globe. I covered implementation of Colorado  and Washington States and just really go real journalism to the cannabis industry for one of the first times building on the backs of the work that had been done by the activist media, organizations like High Times and then the actual journalism, that had been done by David downs and a few other reporters' but we stepped up, we held the industry accountable, we help the regulators accountable and in the course of doing things, we hopefully helped normalize this industry and cement it as an industry similar to order and gas or the airline industry. Totally agree, yes. And you had the TV show element of the cannabis as well, which was super fun and you had different guests on interviewing them. That was probably extra fun. Yeah, always totally was. And that was called the cannabis to show he hosted 99 episodes and it was a four-camera shoot, but less than 10 episodes in. We heard from so many people who were watching and they said, "You know what, we would be way more likely to listen to this if you released it as an audio only version of via podcast. And so we did, and it really thrived there. I definitely loved that aspect. It really forced you to get out and meet people in the industry. In fact, I'm sure you experience that too, because... Oh yeah, so sucked up in the day-to-day. Whether you're a journalist or you're helping to run the industries primary trade organization that isn't it kind of a treat, to have this time set out once a week where you just gotta sit down and get to know somebody a great totally 100% and really focus for a good 30 minutes. I was speaking at the time, we're gonna take a commercial break in just a couple minutes, here, but I wanna ask is there any other inspiration that you had is your reason for being in cannabis because of the opportunity or do you have another story or passion for it or just generally inspired? I will be completely honest and that is... I didn't know much about cannabis or the industry before I was appointed the Denver Post marijuana editor. I don't smoke but my lungs will not allow me to smoke anything. And so, especially in an era of largely unregulated product, I just didn't consume this substance. Totally have enjoyed plenty of others in my day, but I... This one, particularly, it was really about six months before I got the cannabis editor gig when a friend introduced me to an edible from the state inland instantly, it clicked with me instantly it became my preferred substance of choice and the minute I got the job and started studying Policy and history, how we got here, how we've been lied to it immediately became a tremendous passion of mine. And I just never wanna stop learning I just keep learning every day and I'm so thankful that I'm able to work with a lot of the brands in this industry, yeah, yeah, and speaking of working with the brands, there's always something new to learn from these new companies. So you founded grass lands and you're doing PR for the cannabis industry and you're based here in Denver as well. Have been to your office, once or twice. Just tell me more about grass lands and your day-to-day and what's going on with the company, or... Yeah, in 20 plus years of daily newspaper journalism, I learned very quickly that PR has a PR problem and it's not specific to cannabis. PR but publicists I just recognize that there's a trend toward lazy public relations and that is no way to connect with your partners and the media because of the... Of course, the media is expansive, it really relies on the journalists having good relationships with the communications professionals. And when I realized that there was potentially a different way to do that, I started dreaming up a different kind of agency, concept and that ultimately is grass lines. We call it a journalism-minded agency in us to say that it's content forward deadline-oriented, There's active listening, there's no taking there's accountability. Everything I learned in daily newspaper newsrooms we won four poles or prizes during my time at the Denver Post-alone and everything. I learned there about ethics, about deadlines, about the importance of quality content thoughtful storytelling and complete narratives. We have really implemented into an agency contract and we're just kind of doing this differently than anybody else in the game and we love working with highly regulated industries going back to those journalism roots journalism in many ways is taking the complex and breaking it down to a general interest, readership. And so, I have done that for years, and a lot of my colleagues on our content team I've also done that for years in outlets, ranging from the Chicago Sun-Times to men's health magazine, to the Daily Beast. And so now we do that for our clients in these highly regulated industries, primarily cannabis a technology, we also work with a client and traditional healthcare and client in city and county government grass lines that actually represents the Denver county court which is the largest court system in the rocking out in West. So, you know, there's a lot of applications from what you learned in J school, at newsrooms in your time in the mainstream media, and I'd like to think that we're practicing a more responsible, a more strategic version of public relations at grass limits. Awesome, yes, thank you for breaking that down awesome, so... Alright, we're gonna hop off or a quick commercial break, here, but we'll be right back to talk more with Ricardo about some of the challenges in PR and advertising in the cannabis industry. So, stay tuned will be right Alright, we're back on NCIA’s cannabis industry voice on cannabis radio, and we're chatting with Ricardo Baca, of Grasslands a journalism-minded PR agency. So there are definitely some advertising challenges for the cannabis industry even that. And CBD products. So from your perspective and your efforts to help these clients get their product or their service out there, can you talk a little bit about some of the limitations and the challenges? I know with substances like alcohol, cigarettes, you can't smoke a cigarette, on a TV commercial or something like that or whatever, so I'm sure there's something like that with cannabis. What's that look like? Yeah, there's a lot of that, especially when you take into consideration that we have our regulatory construct in Colorado and then there's 30 plus other regulatory situations, and schemes throughout this country alone, it's completely dissimilar in Canada and other legal countries. So, it's infinitely complex, but what it boils down to is any business in any industry, needs to know needs a way to get the word out and generally that is done at the A, the media and you have earned media, which is public relations so that is getting your name into news articles where people find you organically, because they're reading about something that they're interested in, and you just happen to be involved in what they're interested in. There's owned media, as well. And so, for example, this podcast is a great example of that. This is owned media for ncia. Or your website, your blog, is owned media, there's also paid media, which is advertising. And when you think about it, the cannabis industry, the hemp industry as well is really him strong right now in terms of what they can actually do. Yeah, teary paid media outlets out there right now, of course, Facebook and Google are not taking money from any THC marijuana businesses and they're taking very little money from any of the hemp-derived CBD businesses as well. So I, this is entirely about federal legality. This is about their being risk-averse, Mark Zuckerberg and his colleagues over at Google, they're just being extremely cautious. That's created this situation where the cannabis industry has a hard time buying ads on the most important advertising platforms in the world. The struggle is so real, even we've been trying to advertise lobby days for ncia. We yeah, struggles real. Oh, real I know, and you're like... We are not plant touching we are bringing the industry to Washington. Do you see... Yeah, it's ridiculous. Since we can't boost posts, on our Instagram account, simply because we work with a lot of great "Cashin SES and that's okay, because we recognize that we're on the right side of history and Zuckerberg is not, but one powerful tool that you can turn to in that. And actually, I spoke on this at your show Bethany in Boston in February, the seed-to-sale show, which is always one of my favorites. This is such a ripe opportunity for earned media for these businesses, whether they're plant touching or non-plant touching their ancillary brands to really get their name out in the media, in the earned media. And of course that involves hiring a PR professional, whether you're hiring that person, internally on your staff or contracting with an agency, this allows your brand to get seen in newspapers and blogs on podcast. And so how this works given what you and I are doing right now to break it down a little bit. This podcast is owned media for you and ncia. It's earned media for me and grass lands and we're very appreciative to be on here, but earned a meat is valuable from that perspective, that somebody made the editorial decision to talk to you to ask you your thoughts. And so you made that editorial decision because you felt I had something to add to the conversation for which I'm tremendously grateful but you... is earned media is the most trusted media in the world and it has been for decades ever since Pew and Gallup, have been asking these questions about what media people trust. Of course, they trust earned media more than they do paid or owned because anybody can buy an advertisement except for the cannabis industry when it comes to Google and Facebook, but anybody generally confine advertisements, not anybody can secure earned media. And that, so that's what we specialize in and that it's such a tremendous opportunity for us to help these great brands get seen raise their bill visibility raise their presence among their target market places. Good, it makes sense. So it sounds like utilizing earned media and owned media might be the way to kinda work around some of these other... I had media challenges. Gosh, we... We share a lot of things to figure out along the way and I think this world of PR content strategy, advertising, social media is definitely one of those components that we're trying to navigate as things continue to change. So in what ways do you see companies making mistakes that could be easily remedied or address? Obviously, we're not getting our post boosted on Facebook, so I don't know what do we do.   Yeah, that's a great question. So let's go back to that. Owned media, because so much of the owned media is really within our control we create the content that occupies our websites or social media channels and so that's great. If you have a blog on your website, and you're a brand or a business that is already a huge win. And you should pat yourself on the back to that, if you have a podcast, even better, big props to you but are you... I love it. So what are you doing these things strategically though, because if you're putting out 200-word blogs twice a month and you're writing about whatever you wanna write about just to get content out there, to make a log active. Yeah, puppies, that's valuable but it's not smart and it's not strategic, 'cause you need to understand that unless your blog entry is at least 350 words then Google is not even Spider. That specific blog that the... Of content, and at least, unless your blog entry, is specifically formulated with keywords and phrases that are attuned to the search habits of your target customer at which if you're creating a blog you want it to be red, ideally you want it to be found at beyond just people finding it, your social media, and so if you're not targeting it with keywords and phrases employing tactics belonging to the fields of search engine optimization like SEO, SEM, the... You shouldn't is doing it at all. Yeah, people will not find it unless you are giving them the tools for them to find it through organic search. Yeah, I think there's lots of mistakes being made. And here's a fun one. Even for podcasts. So if you're doing a podcast that is tremendous, that is so above and beyond, but let's talk about how people find the media. We find it via search, we find it through the search functionality of Apple's podcast medium as well as Father but also online in general. And so one thing we do for my podcast, I currently host Cannabis and Main, we write transcripts of every single episode, and we publish the transcript alongside with the audio because of course, audio is not searchable but words and content are searchable and so on, making that audio file suddenly searchable in the hopes that more people will find it. So it's just all about employing strategy on your earned media or your own media. And we find all too often that are prospects and the people we're talking about doing work together are not strategically approaching this in which case sometimes they're wasting their time and effort. Yeah, that's good advice. And I believe we at NCIA actually are going to take that in place and get some transcriptions up so that this valuable information is searchable a little bit more, so we only have about a minute or so before the end of this segment. So I do wanna emphasize, of course, we have a huge responsibility to be responsible as a cannabis industry betray ourselves as legitimate. we're maturing, we're growing up, we're glowing up, we're investing in things like a public person. So any quick advice for a business who is looking for either an agency or a person in order to step things up absolutely of course if you're in the market for any form of contract or whatsoever, you wanna shop around, do your due diligence. I get them on the phone, ask ask the hard questions, and then ask for a proposal, and see which one works best for you? And your budget, your needs and your challenges. I think that that's necessary for everything, but I also think that you can do some of this work before you start working with an agency partner, so Google public relations, see what other businesses in your space, whether it's cannabis, or hemp or nail it down, and we can talk about cultivators retailers and manufacturers. What are other people doing that you think is smart and emulate that? And then your future agency partner will be all that much more ready to take you on and help take your communications program and your PR strategy to the next level makes perfect sense. Awesome, alright well we're gonna take one more quick commercial break and then we'll come back and wrap up our chat here with Ricardo Baca. So stay tuned, we'll be right All right, with that on NCIA’s cannabis industry voice. We've been learning about PR, and advertising in the cannabis industry with Ricardo Baca, from grasslands PR firm. So as we're wrapping up here, I'm curious, are there any interesting stories coming out of the cannabis world, from the public relations perspective? Any other signs that the industry is maybe maturing, that's worth talking about? Definitely when you think about PR, it encompasses so many different things including reputation management, as well as crisis manageable and I think, you know, as well as I do, crises are not industry specific that they end up happening to businesses in all spaces. And some... We're seeing these crises erupt on a national scale, whether we're talking about what's happening with "medmen currently, and some of the accusations there or with other businesses that are dealing with their own internal external conflicts. So we are seeing things happen in the PR space in cannabis that are both good and bad, but overall we're seeing this industry step up its game on the PR front, and I think that's a very good thing because candidates like anything else is an industry and it needs to treat its business platforms, as such. So maybe a good example here would be CSR. So there's lots of them, but I'll start with CSR Corporate Social Responsibility, and we are starting to see brands in this cannabis and hemp space start to step up and recognize that if they are successful, if they have the wherewithal, it is their responsibility to give back to the communities in which they operate. So CSR is not basic philanthropy, it's more 360 degrees than that. It is taking into consideration the industry where you operate your target audiences and the history associated with that, and then giving back, strategically and also in some form of consistent sustainable manner and with the programs that we're starting to see, from businesses, including good chemistry in Colorado is doing tremendous work. I was hanging out with a colleague from Bloom farms that the great California cannabis brand in Canada last week and he was telling me how they've surpassed 15 million meals donated to food banks across the state of California, and that's part of a one-for-one program. You buy a bloom Farms product in a dispensary and they donate a meal to a California Food Bank. It's just simple reciprocity. So they're doing community good, it's tied to their customer behavior and they love talking about it as they should. We have a CSR program, we give money to different organizations for each full-time employee once a month, so it's a modest donation. Each multi-employee picks their non-profit of choice, and it just gives our colleagues that sense of ownership and also just let the world know that cannabis is here doing good work, not only spreading this medicine that is helping so many people, but improving the communities in which we exist. Absolutely, yeah. Another example that came to mind was Denver relief had the green team, they would go on clean-up missions. That was a good one, yeah so... Yeah, I am as we're wrapping up the show Here I am really looking forward to the cannabis business Summit, an expo, it's our six-annual conference, this is our original conference and our biggest one, it's in San Jose, California, "ncia members get 50 off tickets. By the way the website is cannabis business Summit, dot com. Will I see you in San Jose Ricardo, you know you will. Bethany had such a blast with you and your team last year. It was fun to explore such a different aspect of the Bay Area, but... And as a great city we had a total blast out there. Lots to keep you busy from the expo floor during the day and then a great slate of events and parties at night and on. Who knows, maybe we'll even throw a little grass lines party while we're out there. I would love that, and I definitely will go to that. That's a real awesome... Yes, the parties are kind of the frosting on the cake. When it comes to the cannabis industry conferences, it's such a great opportunity to kind of exhale, explore in heroes, a lot. Oh, that... Oh, inhaling and exhaling, let's be real, in a knot, like when we got a breeze. So let's go to these parties and breathe together. Agree, Ricardo thank you so much for you and your team's membership with "ncia it's great, we're all kind of this big happy family here in Denver that have been watching the maturing of our industry and the struggles, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and we're all in this together, and I really enjoy the sense of community and camaraderie that that the have in our industry, NCIA builds that not only through our conferences, but we also host regional networking events across the country or cannabis caucus events in our industry. socials. They're a great way to get connected, get informed get inspired and to make this industry the best it can be. So, wouldn't you agree? Yeah, I've said this to you before, and a number of your colleagues thank you for the work that you do. We're very proud to be "ncia members. For all of our cannabis, and hemp clients, we very much encourage them to join and to enjoy those membership. Have a... Because membership does have its privileges, and I'm a big fan of the Cannabis Caucuses. We're hoping to be able to sponsor some quarterly cannabis causes here in the future, but to in the meantime we continue to attend through the occasional after-hours party afterwards to happen in a... As Roca this... What I hear is what it's being called. But yeah, we had a good... We brought a 100 people into the office that when you threw it at the History Colorado Center a couple of months ago. So, I entertain I eat and so thank you for the work you guys do. It's just so necessary. And so much of the progress, we regularly see legislatively happens because of the hard work that you all do. So thank you, thank you, we're all in this together. Alright, well, we have run out of time, but thanks again for being on the show. Where can people find out more about grass lands? You can check us out and learn more at my grass lands dot com awesome, thanks again Ricardo and thanks everybody for tuning in to another episode of NCIS cannabis industry voice until next time.  

Advocacy
/ Community
/ Education

State Level Symposiums On Hemp Throughout 2019

State level symposiums on hemp throughout 2019 with Christie Lunsford, The Hemp Biz Conference. Christie has been involved in the cannabis and hemp movement for more than a decade and provides consulting and education. She is currently holding state level symposiums on hemp throughout 2019 and hosting an add-on workshop called NCIA’s Hemp Biz Conference at our upcoming Cannabis […]
State level symposiums on hemp throughout 2019 with Christie Lunsford, The Hemp Biz Conference. Christie has been involved in the cannabis and hemp movement for more than a decade and provides consulting and education. She is currently holding state level symposiums on hemp throughout 2019 and hosting an add-on workshop called NCIA’s Hemp Biz Conference at our upcoming Cannabis Business Summit. Christie has also served as a consultant during the licensing, development, and formulation phases of multiple cultivations, medical cannabis centers and infused product manufacturers in California, Colorado, Illinois, and Washington State. Recently, Christie successfully guided a client through a complex regulatory process to obtain one of the five medical cannabis business permits awarded in New York State. Prior to launching Endocannabinoidology, Christie distinguished herself as an industry leader by focusing on cannabis industry product standards. She served on the 2013 American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Cannabis Committee, and currently sits on the Standards Creations Committee for both Infused Products and Cultivation of the Foundation of United Cannabis Standards (FOCUS).   Transcription:   Get informed get inspired and get connected. Hello, thanks for joining us on another episode of NCIA’s cannabis industry voice on cannabis radio on your host Bethany Moore, the Communications Manager at the National cannabis industry association. today my guest is back on the show, I'm happy to have her back. Its Christie Lunsford she's been involved in the cannabis and a movement for more than a decade and provides consulting and education as well, and on top of that, she's hosting state-level symposiums on hemp throughout the year 2019 and most exciting hosting and add-on workshop to "ncia summer conference, it's called NCIA’s Hemp Biz Conference, that's the add-on workshop and it's going to be at our upcoming cannabis business Summit and Expo in July. Christie, welcome back to the show, thank you so much, Bethany. It's great to be on, absolutely, so let's catch up a little. You've been on the show before. It was a couple of years actually, but for those who didn't get a chance to listen to that episode, I encourage you to do so, but let's tell our listeners a more about your background and your experience even before being in the cannabis industry. Sure, so, so if you go way, way back. I grew up in my father's coin store in Grand Junction, Colorado which was a lot of fun being around all kinds of different coins and medals, but after I graduated from college, and came to Denver, I worked for a couple of different interior design firms, and I'm a bit of a fiber junkie. So my first experience with the cannabis plant professionally, was with have fiber. Cool, yeah, as window coverings upholstery even hemp rugs that we put into high-end homes all over the US, but primarily in mountain towns in Colorado. I wouldn't mind a hem rug myself, the the test, yeah. Okay, cool, well, thanks for taking us through that. But as I mentioned, you've been in the cannabis and hemp, world for quite a while. So, what's your reason for working in the cannabis? And he move it movement. And what kinds of things have you been doing in this space, over the years? Sure, so I migrated from into your design into cultivating marijuana under-House Bill 1284, back in the late teens and I loved to grow was my favorite thing. But as the laws change I grew my business along with them, I held some of the first licenses with the City and County of Denver for cultivation and product manufacturing because I could not get a bank account. I became a founding member of national cannabis industry association, and I have that. Yeah, well I, I absolutely and I... If you're in A or cannabis and you're having banking problems certainly look at the only organization which really has a foothold in DC at working on being access and of course that's in CIA. But having lost my big account, and I remember calling 30 different banking institutions, both credit unions and banks in 2010 trying to just obtain the basic services. Yeah, I ended up selling those businesses due to a lack of banking and went to work for one of the major infused product manufacturing companies in Colorado, and that is where we launched the first CBD product line from hemp in 2012.And I found myself in a space where a lot of people knew what the where it was and they were very passionate about THC for all the wonderful medical benefits and relaxation … relaxation. I was gonna say mind-expanding, but I like relaxation but benefits of THC, but literally only a handful of people in 2012 really understood the benefits of CBD as a health and wellness constituent of the cannabis plant. So I developed a course of study called endocannabinoid log and I was honestly just in the right place the right time with the passion and the skill set. But we were doing a weekly, monthly webcast for chiropractic and the naturopathic community back then. Oh wow, teach them about the endocannabinoid system, how CBD worked, and then to place the CBD product, line in their offices. So yeah, I've done a lot of different things. Cannabis has really been my life for the last decade. I do a lot of writing, I've been published twice my history of hand in the Kaiser magazine. It was a 5-part series in 2013 to 14, and then they used it in their national launch as an ad-free 12-page insert. So that was very cool I... Yeah, and then, having such a broad base of understanding, I do a lot of consulting and application writing in emerging states. We want a New York license one of the five for our clients. Oh, congrats, thank you, thank you. That was … a long time ago, it was And you know, mentoring and just education so industry growing the cannabis industry through either one-on-one, or different educational courses that we do. That's awesome, thank you so much for everything you do. Oh that's great. And of course, now that the Farm Bill has passed and now everybody seems to know what CBD is. It's great to have somebody that has background on it and isn't. You can sort the truth from the falsehoods that are out there pretty quickly. I'm sure, absolutely and honestly Bethany, I don't know what happened in February, it was like the CBD part of the industry just exploded over night and there was a lot of siting that needs to be done. But yes, as you were very... Where or watching the marijuana industry grows, you were right there in the mix when the site happened on the HC side of the plant. So we we're five to six years kind of ahead of what this looks like in our knowledge base. Having just gone through that plant, so I... So true. Okay, so we've got a couple of minutes before our first commercial break, so let's bring it back to the present. Yes, you're hosting the state level. Had business symposiums they kicked off earlier this year in the state of Kansas, and I understand there were more than 300 farmers at this event plus plus the workshop that's coming up at our event at our national conference. I'm sure it's gonna be big as well. Tell me more about the symposiums and the workshop and what you can expect to learn at those events. Sure, so Sue although I've been working both in cannabis, and in hemp for quite a while now, I really, I had a gut feeling that the Farm Bill would finally pass in 2018. and so I've transitioned a lot of my education over to The amide of things and after doing an assessment, of what was in the market there was no real there were lots of panels there, were lots of general conversations about what people were doing, but no real place for someone who was wanting to come into the industry as an investor. So we start a new company to really learn the basics. The Kansas symposium. And that was really tailored to what that market needed which was agricultural education and due to the vast network of professionals that I'm in touch with, I was able to find a farmer who had experience in two different climate Stones who had a three years of experience or in Hans. And when you look at it in the "mindscape of prohibition of Hal has been in place for 81 years. No one knew had it, no one knows how to grow up, no one knows really what it needs, what it's nutrient needs are, how to harvest, "what's the best planting methodology? So we have taken a really cultivated program from Kansas to Michigan to Illinois and now we'll be doing something similar with "ncia a cannabis at this summit, but it is really, it touches on so many things. What are the implications of the Farm Bill? How will it affect your business, if you are a cannabis farmer or looking to transition into hemp or soy being farmer sunflower farmer? I've learned so much about other crops like alfalfa. The use Congress or at who knew these forms are all transferring their knowledge into growing Industrial Hemp and CBD. So we have a hemp segment on agriculture, we have everything from best practices. So that would be how to transport your crap. What are the extraction methodologies that work best product development for the CBD side of things? We have developed a module on FDA labeling and marketing to keep you in compliance there so you don't get a letter or worse. Have your company shut down? Absolutely, we talk a lot about market data, how to acquire new customers, basically everything you need to know to run a successful... And profitable hemp company, and there's a lot to it. It's not like you can roll out of bed and say, "I'm gonna make this happen. There's a lot of knowledge that needs to be transferred.” Absolutely great. I'm really looking forward to it at the cannabis business Summit, and Expo and again, if you're interested, that is an add-on workshop called NCIA’s Hemp Biz conference and that's on day one, of our cannabis business Summit and Expo. Alright, we're gonna hop on a quick commercial break, here, and then we'll be right back to chat more with Christie Lunsford about Hemp and everything in between. Stay tuned Alright, we're back on NCIA’s cannabis industry voice podcast, on cannabis radio, and we're chatting with Christie Lunsford who is a hemp expert and is hosting business symposiums and workshops this year that if you're interested in getting involved in the humor CBD industry this would be very valuable for you so Christie do let's do a little background in history on hemp, how it's been used historically I think you said it's been 81 years since hemp was a part of our culture, more entrenched in it, anyway. And of course all the way to the present where the farm bill recently passed, which includes hemp production here in the United States. So, what does all that look like? Sure, so I think it's important for listeners to understand that hemp has been part of human kinds, culture since at least 3000, BC. He was regarded as one of the five grains in China, and it was formed as a major food crop. The first paper was mashed. Hemp and Mulberry wood pulp and that literally was the first recorded paper, and that was in China as well. So it's not a new food it's not a new medicine. And that becomes really important in the FDA conversation that I'm sure we'll be having that it has been part of our culture. So, if you speed up to today, what are the implications of the Farm Bill? So basically the Farm Bill has been in the works for over 10 years. It was the 2014 Farm Bill. Before it became the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law on December 20 of 2018, and basically it legalize him for agricultural production, for both fiber and anything else, we'd like to make out of it. Primarily health and wellness products from CBD cannabis I... And it's really a re-awakening of another industry. And I can't tell you how lucky I have always thought I was that I got to be part of the emergence of the marijuana industry and I thought, "Oh box checked. We're good to go. But this, the hemp industry is so much different because you can cultivate outside there. Are I assess manufacturers like Proctor and Gamble? And Cover Girl, Estee Lauder. I'm not saying those specific companies are getting into hemp industry, but they are companies like that of larger, status and financial backing are all looking at how to access cannabis isles, and be part of a brand new market that we're able to launch that is not just the minority which is the marijuana market, it is the majority. 'cause literally anyone can take advantage of the health and won benefits from CBD. I can only imagine all the marketing teams of all the major companies across the country sitting around a board room, saying what's missing. I got it. What's that? Some CBD into it, the... Put a Bird on it. Yeah, I call it the... Just add water, affects... Yeah, I Agree It's great to take advantage of a trend, but it is not always appropriate for every product line. So we're seeing it's like an ocean really, like an ebb and flow, but it's happening really fast, and of course it's not that easy. There's problems, there's challenges to the hand CBD industry similar to cannabis. Do you think we're gonna see that much of the loophole or maybe not loopholes, but barriers to entry banking problems unfair tax. What's that gonna look like for him? It's gonna be a little different, right, it is absolutely. So I would say for the main problem right now is there is no industry infrastructure. There's no place to get seats if you are getting seeds and you're planting. Are they... How many males are you going to have? How do you call your mails? There are significant issues surrounding the supply chain which is not built out transistor. Yeah, how did dry... It's not like in marijuana cultivation where you have a consistent crop that you are harvesting and drying huge batches every four weeks in most of the US Farm one hand crop at a time in the southern areas. You can squeeze into maybe three. So how do you drive tons of hemp CBD before, it's processed? And then how do farmers find the extractors, and how do they transport the hemp as well? So we're seeing a instantaneous build-out of infrastructure and a lot of people are making money, but a lot of people are losing money, which is a huge concern of mine. And then, in things like banking, access I was just in touch with probably 20 different farmers and CBD product manufacturers. Just yesterday having a conversation about banking access, right? The banks are hesitant to bank him money, even though it's federally legal, and they are waiting on communication for the communication from the federal government to clarify what the banking is. Well, this is Mitch McConnell's baby. So yeah, I'm sure he'll help expedite that to the floor, but yeah, we'll see. Yeah, so it's... We are in this gray period, where that responsible business people who are in it for the long run, can get their businesses set up and make a great deal of money before a lot of regulation comes in. And the way you do that is you already build out your system to be in compliance of the regulation. A couple of things I really wanna make people... Make sure people understand though is if you are farming crop insurance is very difficult to find right now, financial institutions are hesitant to bank ham and CBD money, the Department of Agriculture is waiting on all of the states to turn in their industrial production plans for hemp, so not... It may be legal for you to grow in every state, but you may not be able to obtain a license to grow. Yeah, even though the Farm Bill removed him from the Controlled Substance Act. There are a lot of caveats to be paying attention to. And then I have something that I like to call Mind the gap because this is... These are the gap years, so state-level regulation hasn't caught up the Food and Drug Administration, we're seeing a lot of conversation in this question and answer exercise that the FDA is doing with the industry and I'm very thankful to "ncia for having a voice in that. I was able to speak with Andrew just this morning about his work in having that conversation and he is actually one of our speakers at the hem is conference that is being held a cannabis business Summit, and that's Andrew Cline, he's the CIA Director of Public Policy. And then popping back into the mind gap conversation, the... I'm sorry, the DEA, the Drug Enforcement Administration, they have not yet officially... Rescheduled. HEB and I don't know what the hold up is. So the inconsistency with the 2018 Farm Bill, the DEA is not formally on board yet to a... There are with a lot of questions comes a lot of opportunity. So if you are a legitimate business owner wanting to take advantage of getting into the hemp industry this is the time to do it. And I will say a lot of our friends who have done really well in the marijuana industry, they are looking for a safer place to place their money, and invest. And I'm seeing a lot of people who really understand creating a culture of compliance, doing really well in the CBD industry, they understand banking, compliance, they understand packaging and labeling the packaging, labeling and they understand how to run a business that is basically supporting that health and wellness conversation that we were talking about. Right, right, absolutely. So yeah, interesting opportunity where the slowness, the glacial pace of the federal government, and all of their bureaucracy, it is. This is this opportunity to get a head before those rules roll out. And you did write a really great blog post recently. I'd like to point out it lives on NCIA’s website, it's called "How to build a successful CBD successful hemp CBD company. So I would definitely encourage readers to, check that blog out and there's more information about how to get in touch with Christie and attend her conference in that blog as well. Well, we have to jump to a quick commercial break, here, but we will be right back to wrap up our conversation with Christie Lunsford. Stay   Alright, we're back on NCIA’s cannabis industry voice on cannabis radio, talking all things and CBD with Christie Lunsford. And in the last segment we talked a bit about NCIS involvement in providing public comment and testimony to the FDA when they put out a request for it on the topic of Haven CBD products. So as you mentioned, are somewhat new Director of Public Policy and Drew Cline led a coalition of dozens of individuals experts medical experts business experts to come up with testimony and recommendations for the FDA. So that's really exciting and we're glad to have Andrew for sure, and looking forward to on seeing what happens after the FDA kinda digest all that information for sure. I would like to take a moment to look to the future look into our crystal ball dream of all the possibilities of him. It once provided humanity, all kinds of products, textiles here. He creates the future, but there's all kinds of businesses and products that could pop up for people interested in investing. We've already talked about all the CBD products at just a CBD health products. And create is such a cool idea. I think the uses in possibilities are kind of expansive. Can we talk about that for a minute? Absolutely, I think from the root up cap was planted at Huron, Russia after the nuchal nuclear plant melted down as as to remediate. So … cannabis plants, have this remarkable ability to draw toxins from the soil. So hemp is not only going to be a food and medicine for the future. It also adds this other layer of sustainability to business development, which I find incredibly exciting. But I had it split up into three categories: flour, food and fiber. So flower is CBD, and their manufacturing opportunities basically anything that touches the plant extraction, machines knowledge cannabinoid fractionation knowledge, product formulation quality consent and compliance and that's the flower side of things, and food is delicious, but there's a lot of technology that is needing to be developed there. When you harvest hemp seeds, they're very fragile and they need to be gently harvested and then drying the dealing. There's so many things that we could add. ESET products for human consumption, seed cake and Amol, for animal consumption. And when I say So, point in pre-Very important point here, CBD oil is the medicinal Health and Wellness derivative hemp oil is the cooking and nutrition derivative of the absent the very different things. So we've got flower food, and then the really exciting things that are happening in fiber amazing innovation. So everything from the cortical on machines to break up the very fibrous, most bandit stands of industrial hemp, processing those fibers fast and core fiber development, and then taking these things into industrial applications, and that would be micro-fine Graphite for batteries, using the HEB plant as biofuel. There are so many different opportunities, which exist in just making clothes, an oil and Kevlar like for law enforcement. I read a very interesting article on how we close our armed forces and the lowest bitters materials and how we fail them when they're in the field because they're cotton clothes just disintegrate in say a desert setting where the tensile strength of a had fabric would last for 10 times longer than... So there's a lot of benefit to be added from utilizing happens. So maybe you have a defunct paper mill in your town and there is no jobs and all of your teenagers are going to college and then not coming back to your community. Why not find an investor to start manufacturing have products at that mill? And then from the supply chain of things there's all that knowledge going into farming opportunities certified seeds understanding germination rates harvest opportunities in different farm equipment, they're doing very well with the re-emergence of the hemp industry transportation and logistics, and then that conversation about supply chain management, banking, finance, insurance, the marketing companies really love Him because where a lot of them were not a more cautious, not wanting to get involved, they're a very interested in, he and then education, government affairs. So the opportunities are numerous. If we have fix a couple of things that are holding us back, which is this conversation around banking and finance, and then not being able to promote our heaven products on popular social media sites. Totally, alright, yes, it sounds like here, no matter what your background is, you can probably apply it to this next new industry. So how... That's the cousin of marijuana? Awesome, well, we only have about a minute left here, but let's wrap just first of all, mentioning our cannabis caucus event series is happening throughout the month of June, I personally will be at our Northeast cannabis caucus on June 27th in New York City so I look forward to seeing NCIA  members there. And finally, in July is NCIA’s three-day conference, the cannabis business Summit, and Expo and as I mentioned, Christie is hosting the add-on workshop called The Hemp Biz Conference. In the last few seconds here, anything you'd like to tell our audience about the Hemp Biz Conference certainly. So the best way to find out more about the have conferences on the cannabis business Summit, dot com website, go to the agenda and there's a drop down button for pre-Summit workshops you can find all about the learning objectives that we will go through in our full day have education, and then get to understand who some of the experts speakers are who are coming in to educate with us and help you develop the hub industry. Awesome, yes, if you're at all interested in him and CBD add that workshop on to your ticket at the conference for sure. Alrighty, well thank you so much for coming on the show today, and really taking that deep dive into the human CBD world that's emerging here, re-emerging, and I really look forward to the workshop at the cannabis Summit. Thanks for being on the show today, absolutely thank you Bethany for having me on, I really appreciate everything. National cannabis industry association is done for the industry. We appreciate you, and thanks everybody for tuning in to NCIA’s cannabis industry voice until next time.  

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