NCIA hosts a weekly podcast with guest members who share their experiences, challenges, and successes operating businesses serving the legal cannabis industry. The show is hosted by NCIA’s Communications Manager, Bethany Moore.
Today we talk about real estate in the cannabis industry with Bryan McLaren of Zoned Properties. Real estate is a weird topic these days in the housing market but we are talking commercial real estate for cannabis. We discuss why this aspect is important in the grand scheme as we move toward federal legalization and sensible regulations. We've got about 10 years of history under our belt to look at as far as how the cannabis industry has experienced commercial real estate services. Knowing that we are highly regulated, there are very specific rules so it’s not as easy as just buying a building. We dive into if it has gotten any easier or more straightforward over the years. Currently, we have 37 states with some form of medical cannabis, and 18 with adult use, and every year it seems, we see those numbers increase as we head toward federal legalization. We talk about if there’s a difference in real estate needs and processes when it comes to medical versus adult use.
Bryan McLaren is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Zoned Properties, a leading real estate development firm for emerging and highly regulated industries, including legalized cannabis. Bryan has a strong professional background in the social, economic, and environmental development of complex business organizations. Over his professional career, he has successfully implemented large-scale projects for corporate and community organizations. Prior to his role at Zoned Properties, McLaren worked as a Sustainability Consultant for Waste Management where he led the strategic development and operational implementation of zero-waste programs for Higher Education clients.
In Part 1 we covered Cannabis Consumption Lounges, what purpose they serve, as well as how the business models compare and contrast to other industries. We began to dip our toes into the liabilities and risks associated and how consumption lounges can protect themselves from something going wrong, or what to do if and when something does go wrong. We pick back up there with Jodi Green and Matt Grimes, as well as What else comes to mind about the risks associated with cannabis consumption lounges and more!
Jodi Green is a business attorney in Miller Nash LLP's Los Angeles office, focusing on cannabis and policyholder insurance recovery. Jodi is a member of NCIA's Risk Management and Insurance Committee and was named by Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star” in insurance coverage for five consecutive years. Miller Nash's 140-member law firm has nearly 30 attorneys practicing in its nationally-recognized cannabis group alone. Miller Nash's cannabis team serves cannabis companies operating in all industry verticals by providing advice in all legal practice areas, from corporate formation to employment, insurance coverage and litigation, and everything in between.
Matt Grimes is the principal of The Grimes Law Group. He sits on the Risk Management and Insurance Committee (“RMIC”) of the National Cannabis Industry Association (since 2019), currently serves as the webinar content Chairperson for the RMIC, is a Vice Chair of the American Bar Association’s Cannabis Law & Policy Committee (since 2021), is a member of the International Cannabis Bar Association, and is involved with several state cannabis industry associations and advocacy groups.
NCIA is talking to Etienne Fontan, and Michael Krawitz of the Veterans Action Council. Being in D.C.s recently with NCIA for our 10th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days event, lobbying for the cannabis industry, most were talking to Congressional offices about SAFE Banking, 280E, and comprehensive reform like the CAOA. We discuss what the VAC members' focus was on during their meetings with members of Congress, and how those meetings went.
Then we dive into the current bills out there that our guests are drumming up support for and how, if passed into law, would impact the lives of Veterans in the U.S. During the press conference, Etienne spoke at the podium set up in the Senate Swamp. He said shared very poetic and real sentiments about the sacrifices Veterans made with their lives and how important it is for Congress to act on their behalf.
Etienne Fontan is Vice President and Co-Owner of Berkeley Patients Group (BPG). BPG is the nation's oldest continuously operating medical cannabis dispensary, established in 1999. He has an extensive background as an engaged activist and public speaker seeking to make cannabis legal and safe. Starting in 1993, he was a director of the Cannabis Action Network. He is an Army combat veteran of Desert Storm and served in the WV Army National Guard. He now lobbies nationally and internationally on veterans' behalf for the use of cannabis and natural medicines.
Michael Krawitz is a disabled United States Air Force Veteran and serves as Executive director of Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access [VMCA] as well as other board and advisory roles. He successfully negotiated the first ever VA medical cannabis policy in 2010 and has since overseen the WHO process in Geneva and then the United Nations process on the WHO cannabis recommendations, ultimately removing cannabis and cannabis resin from the Single Convention Treaty "most dangerous drug category”. He also serves on the Virginia Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council.
Tune in to learn more about Extraction Equipment History and Regulatory Challenges with Jack Naito, Luna Technologies today on NCIA’s Cannabis Industry Voice on The Cannabis Radio. Jack is a former Boeing aerospace engineer turned cannabis entrepreneur who started Portland, Oregon-based Luna Technologies, which manufactures cannabis extraction equipment, with his childhood friend, Kyler Buck, in 2016.
At the time, most of the equipment available was re-purposed from other industries including breweries and pharmaceuticals. These Frankenstein machines were inefficient, potentially dangerous, and difficult to operate. Jack and Kyler saw a better way. We start off by talking about some of its values as a company.
Extraction equipment is complex and expensive, we’re sure there’s some training that individuals need to go through to operate them. So with that safety is an important factor so we dive into that a bit.
Extraction equipment wasn’t originally invented just for cannabis, it came from other industries. Our guests take us through a brief history of where extraction machines came from before the cannabis industry.
NCIA represents small businesses and medium businesses primarily, or Main Street Cannabis, and we have been pushing through complex state regulations and preparing for potential Federal Legalization. We discuss some of the regulations they’re currently dealing with that give them the biggest headache. Also some improvements to regulations that he sees we need to implement.
Tune in to hear more about a busy summer in Congress for cannabis policy reform with Michelle Rutter Friberg, NCIA's Deputy Director of Government Relations. Now that it’s August recess, we take a moment to cover some of the developments we’ve seen in Congress since the beginning of the year.
Seems like things are starting to feel somewhat back to normal, but we had to adjust and pivot as an organization in many ways. We hosted a couple of VIRTUAL lobby day events earlier in the year, so we dive more into those events, and how they went, plus planning for our upcoming in-person 10th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days in September.
Tune in to learn more about Cannabis Mom, Podcasting Boss, and Bravo TV fan, Jenny Blaze today on NCIA’s Cannabis Industry Voice. Jenny Blaze is a Digital Entrepreneur, Content Creator, Cannabis Advocate, and host of GoodPods #8 in the Top 100 Indie TV Reviews Chart, the Bravo & Blaze with Jenny Blaze podcast.
She is focused on bridging the gap between mainstream pop culture media and the Cannabis industry to modernize the perception of cannabis consumption and empower others to safely & confidently come out of the “Green Closet” through the launch of her new podcast, Cannabis Mom Boss.
A Conversation with the Cannabis Regulators Association with Dr. Gillian Schauer, CANNRA today on NCIA’s Cannabis Industry Voice only on The Cannabis Radio. Dr. Gillian Schauer was elected CANNRA’s first Executive Director in 2021 and served as a Senior Advisor to CANNRA before the organization’s founding. Dr. Schauer has worked in public health and policy for nearly two decades and has a decade of experience working with federal and state agencies on cannabis policy, data monitoring, and research translation.
She has a Ph.D. from Emory University, a Master of Public Health from the University of Washington, and a Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University. The Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA) is a national nonpartisan nonprofit organization of government officials involved in cannabis regulation across more than 40 states and territories.
Tune in to learn more about designing cannabis facilities with mindful sustainability.
Facilities Design Committee, Kevin Quinlan serves on NCIA's Facilities Design Committee, and is a principal of the Chicago-based engineering firm Mintropy.
He is a professional mechanical engineer, specializing in the design of HVAC, plumbing, and process systems for the cannabis industry. Using his experience in traditional engineering methods throughout his past, he applies his team’s depth of knowledge to create eﬃcient and economically sound solutions for cultivation and processing facilities.
Taking a custom approach to each project, Kevin has experience working in the traditional design-bid-build method, as well as in the design-build arena. Since Mintropy’s inception, he has led design projects for cannabis, commercial, industrial, and government buildings.
Since legalization in the state of Oregon in 2015, Kevin began working with the indoor agriculture community to further refine and innovate the design features for the cannabis cultivation sector, which he now brings to the midwest and elsewhere.
Tune in to learn more about the rise of cannabis consumption lounges: risks and opportunities, with Mathew Grimes (The Grimes Law Group), and Jodi Green (Miller Nash), members of NCIA’s Risk Management and Insurance Committee.
Cannabis consumption lounges: what they are, how they work, why they exist, and why we need or want them? We compare a business model like this to something else that already exists in the alcohol industry, bars. Also for fine cigars, there are special cigar lounges. We talk about how cannabis consumption lounges are similar, and how they are different. We also dive into personal experiences our guests have had with consumption lounges so far.
Learn more about evolutions in vaporizer technology and cannabis oil cartridges with Mike Hogan of Thompson Duke Industrial today on NCIA’s Cannabis Industry Voice only on The Cannabis Radio. Today we start by talking about the vaporizer market. The devices are one part, as well as the actual cannabis oil formulas go into the cartridges. There’s a kind of standard, mass-produced vape pen battery you can get for $10, and most cartridges fit them, but there are also proprietary designs that require specific pods or cartridges. So we ask, what other evolutions of the vaporizer designs and technologies have you seen?
On the other hand, there’s the oil, as we mentioned, and we saw a health crisis hit our industry in 2019 and NCIA published a white paper on the vaping crisis. The issue was with the vitamin E acetate being used in the formula, and Massachusetts even banned vape pens entirely for a while. We discuss the reports that this was putting people in the hospital with lung infections.
Learn more about new dispensary facility design trends in cannabis with Andy Poticha, Cannabis Facility Construction today on NCIA’s Cannabis Industry Voice only on The Cannabis Radio. Founder and CEO of Cannabis Facility Construction, a division of Mosaic Construction, a national design-build firm based in Northbrook, Illinois. Since 2015, Andy helped CFC become a national industry leader in full-service cannabis facility design-build working with multiple MSOs, independents, and start-up cannabis companies across the country. Currently, CFC has built and is in process of working on over 80 cultivation facilities, processing centers, and dispensary projects in 12 states.
We start off by talking about what’s new and trendy in cannabis facility construction and design. We start with retail dispensaries, which are customer-focused, public-facing, and see a lot of traffic, both on foot and literally with cars, which poses the question, what’s this new design feature you recently helped design for a dispensary in West Virginia? “Drive-thru cannabis” is an interesting new way to serve customers, reminding us of the “brew thrus” in the Outer Banks, NC, which was a new concept back then but now drive-through liquor stores are more common. This is ideal for certain types of customers but not others.
This design features really center around the customer needs, customer expectations, etc, like you don’t order a filet mignon at a drive-through. You want to sit down for a full dining experience, to draw a comparison, versus wanting a quick snack and getting in and out. As far as other facilities in the cannabis industry that are NOT so customer-facing like the cultivation facilities and manufacturing facilities. We talk about if there are any new design trends there to talk about or some standards that have developed through trial and error over the years.
Tune in to learn more about myths and misinformation about cannabis banking services with Green Check Verified CEO Kevin Hart today on NCIA’s Cannabis Industry Voice. Green Check Verified is a leading provider of cannabis banking solutions and expert advisory services for financial institutions. He is an experienced, passionate, team-oriented leader that has held executive positions in venture-backed technology companies. Hart specializes in developing strategic plans coupled with organizational development with strong metrics-driven execution to achieve the next level of results. His diverse experience includes strategic planning, start-up and/or expanded business strategies, organizational development, sales organizations, and operational execution. All with exceptional executive relationships and BOD development.
Taking a look at the big picture, dispelling the misinformation and myths about banking in the cannabis industry, all of the challenges, and we know the SAFE Banking Act has passed the U.S. House six times now but died in the Senate. So there’s a lot of cash-heavy operations happening out there, but there is SOME KIND of banking services being used in our industry. We can use our debit cards at certain dispensaries for an extra fee, for example. Let’s say Congress passes some comprehensive federal legalization legislation or the standalone bill the SAFE Banking Act somehow makes its way to the President’s desk and gets signed into law. The idea is that this will allow banks to work with cannabis companies without getting in trouble with the DOJ. So we talk about what would that look like from Kevin’s perspective. Bigger picture, federal legalization will likely lead to opening up interstate commerce and even international commerce for our industry which would open up a whole new can of worms. We dive into what would the relationship between bankers and cannabis companies look like in that scenario.
Learn more about navigating the process of cannabis technology patents with Paul Coble and Scott Seeley. Paul is an intellectual property attorney with Harris Bricken and Chair of NCIA’s Cannabis Manufacturing Committee; Scott Seeley is an intellectual property attorney with Eastgate IP and is an Organizer of the Cannabis Manufacturing Committee.
We dive into some high-level topics surrounding patents in the cannabis industry. You can get a patent for just about anything, you just need to be the first person to invent it and submit the paperwork. Everything in our houses like paper towel rolls had patents, so now in the cannabis industry, we’re wrapping our arms around patents for things like vaporizer technology, and plant genetics. So to start, we ask what are the impacts of a patent, and what does it mean for a company.
Next, we define the challenges we’re seeing. There is a problem with bad patents being issued in the cannabis space, so we dive into what is a good patent versus a bad patent. We also discuss how they are being used in the cannabis space, as well as why they are important for cannabis operators.
Tune in to learn more about crafting New Jersey’s cannabis laws & regulations with Fruqan Mouzon of Fox Rothschild. Fruqan helped craft the adult-use cannabis legislation in New Jersey, giving him a very unique perspective on the market in that state. We discuss what his role was and what the process was like writing that legislation, as well as what he believes were the mistakes and lessons learned in hindsight. Fruqan also explains some of the unique aspects of New Jersey’s cannabis market versus other states with legal cannabis, including social equity licensing provisions in the law. A partner in the national Cannabis Law Practice Group at Fox Rothschild, he played a central role in New Jersey’s successful effort to legalize recreational marijuana. As former General Counsel for the New Jersey Senate Majority, Fruqan worked closely with legislative leaders to craft the state law that cleared the way for adult-use cannabis in the Garden State. Fox Rothschild is A national law firm with 950 attorneys in more than 70 practice areas and is a true pioneer in the field of cannabis law. Fox was among the first major law firms to embrace the industry and is consistently ranked among the nation’s top cannabis law firms in Chambers USA.
Our guest helped craft the adult-use cannabis legislation in NJ, so which gives him a very unique perspective on the market in that state. We talk more about what that process was like, what Fruqan’s role was officially, as well as who he worked with to accomplish all this. More specifically, New Jersey of course is an east coast state, and we’re seeing all these little colonial states get on board with cannabis in recent years. We dive into what are some of the other unique aspects of New Jersey’s cannabis market that Fruqan can point to or explain for us. We are really encouraged to see more states including social equity licensing in the regulations from the get-go rather than as an afterthought, and we’d like to hear more about what we can expect from New Jersey. Also in that respect how its cannabis market will reinvest and perhaps alleviate some of the damages done by the war on drugs.
Tune in to learn more about the new cannabis and hemp symbol standardization with NCIA's Cannabis Manufacturing Committee and Facilities Design Committee members Darwin Millard of TSOC and David Vaillancourt of The GMP Collective.
The big exciting news here is that the global cannabis/hemp industry now has a universal symbol designated by ASTM International. Hooray. It looks like a yellow triangle with the cannabis leaf in the center and is pretty straightforward. But first, we back up by reminding our listeners what ASTM International is and does. In the last few years, we’ve had a hodgepodge of symbols imposed across various states here in the U.S. and Canada for packaging and even on the edibles themselves … which have been all across the board and problematic in some cases. We ask our guests what they have seen so far before this ASTM symbol came out. Back to the logic of the design of the symbol itself, we dive into the rhyme and reason for the triangular shape, the yellow color, the very obvious leaf plant in the center, and so on.
The Future of Social Equity and Interstate Commerce with Mark Slaugh from NCIA's DEI Committee today on NCIA’s Cannabis Industry Voice. CEO and owner of iComply, Mark works in the specialist sector of compliance for the medical, retail, and hemp industries and has over 13 years of experience in cannabis industry development, consulting, and operational compliance and over 22 years experience in regulations and risk management. He is a qualified expert witness on cannabis compliance and regulations in Colorado. iComply provides operational compliance services and validation of over 200 cultivation, manufacturing and processing, and dispensing facilities since 2011, and iComply consults for a variety of communities, organizations, and governments.
We dive into the intersection of DEI issues and how interstate commerce plays into that. First, we define what interstate commerce is and why the industry as a whole wants to achieve this. We talk about how social equity licensees and operators going to be impacted when federal legalization finally happens and we have some form of interstate commerce available to the cannabis industry. So currently in our 36 states with legal medical cannabis and 18 with adult use, most if not all have some form of social equity program giving black and brown business owners more equality in our industry. We talk about what’s working so far currently, as well as where it falls short.
Mark Slaugh is a leading niche asset for the dynamic cannabis market worldwide. His innovative work in cannabis compliance, regulatory affairs, policy monitoring, political reform, and social justice reflects an extensive understanding of cannabis, its benefits, and its social transformation from illicit “vice” to a legal substance under licensing and regulation. Mark progressively works to move this new market forward at political, policy, and operational levels. He represents objective knowledge about cannabis and its economic, social, and political implications on society as a trusted resource for the media, marijuana businesses, and governments. He regularly speaks at National and International conferences on topics regarding policy, market development, and operational cannabis compliance. All today on The Future of Social Equity and Interstate Commerce with Mark Slaugh, DEI Committee on NCIA’s Cannabis Industry Voice.
Tune in to learn more about sorting through the chaos of expanding into new cannabis markets with Jennifer Spanos from CannaBusiness ERP today on Cannabis Radio. Jennifer Spanos is the VP of Product and Vertical Strategy at CannaBusiness ERP. She has 15+ years of experience in cannabis and food software and operations, working to maximize the efficiency and profitability of customers’ businesses. Jennifer started out doing research and development for food companies, launching new products across North America. She is currently based in Ottawa, Canada, and has a Bachelor of Science in Food Science from the University of Guelph. CannaBusiness ERP is the go-to answer for cannabis cultivators and processors seeking a software platform to manage their entire business. More than basic seed-to-sale or compliance-only software, CannaBusiness ERP tracks production, inventory, sales, finance, quality, and clients.
Emerging Markets are a really exciting opportunity here in the United States and we imagine the same in Canada. In just the last few years of legal cannabis, we’ve seen the growth in our industry to the point where MSOs are now stepping up and out and expanding into new states. This kind of move is a great sign for our industry overall, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. So, we imagine being a large cannabis company that’s well established in a single state, like California or Colorado, for example, getting to the point where you’re ready to bring your product to a new state like Massachusetts. New York in particular right now is still sorting out their regulations. We dive into what the process is like for an operator, as well as what they should know in order to set themselves up for success.
Tune in to hear more about How Cannabis Companies Pivoted Marketing During COVID with Dan Serard today on NCIA’s Cannabis Industry Voice. Dan has been working in the cannabis industry for over four years. Currently, he heads business development and strategic partnerships for Cannabis Creative Group – a top marketing agency in the cannabis industry. He is a member of many cannabis associations and serves as a committee member of the NCIA’s Marketing and Advertising Committee. Cannabis Creative Group (CCG)’s services include branding, strategy, packaging, SEO, SEM/PPC, social media, and email marketing, and has been a leader in digital marketing in the cannabis industry since 2017.
We bring up that 5 letter word that we’ve all learned to adjust to as much as we can in the last two years… COVID. It definitely impacted everyone including the cannabis industry, however, we have deemed an "essential business" in most places which were kind of groundbreaking for me at least. So we talk more about how COVID has impacted our industry, and what Dan has been seeing in how it’s changed how the cannabis business is marketing their products and getting customers in the door. So as we’re mostly vaccinated and the hospitals are moving in the right direction as far as cases go, in-person events are returning, maybe we’re over the big scary hump here. But we dive into what can we expect in the future as long-term or even permanent changes because of what we’ve been through. As well as what should we be thinking about as an industry as we move forward.
Learn more about education and training for cannabis industry professionals with Mila Marshall and Dale Sky Jones today on NCIA’s Cannabis Industry Voice. They discuss how the committee helps identify emerging topics in the cannabis space. They also discuss the challenges surrounding education in cannabis for those just entering the industry, as well as those who are long-term veterans of cannabis.
Mila Marshall is a doctoral candidate in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. She currently is the Principal Owner of Herb & Planning Associates where her small firm focuses on the intersection between the environment and the economy. Mila serves as an adjunct instructor of cannabis for City Colleges of Chicago, creator and co-host of the podcast To Be Blunt with Mila and Boom, creator/Committee Chair of the BIPOC Banking and Cannabis Summit, and is a current Education Committee member for NCIA.
Mila is coordinating the NCIA Educator’s Roundtable Webinar on April 29th to bring together educators of all kinds to discuss needs and gaps in the educational space, as well as share resources and network with one another.
Dale Sky Jones began working with patients in 2007, joining OU’s education and cannabis policy reform as a spokeswoman for the first legalization voter initiative. Dale became President & CEO of Oaksterdam University in April 2012 after a four-agency federal raid. Now, Oaksterdam is proud of more than 50,000 alumni from over 100 countries. OU offers Business, Horticulture, Budtending, Extractions, and Manufacturing Programs and is contracted by the Cities of Los Angeles and Palm Springs to provide technical assistance for professional and workforce development for the Social Equity Program. Dale continues to work towards federal de-scheduling and the legacy of quality education for the cannabis industry.
Tune in to this episode as NCIA's Bethany Moore speaks with Governor Jared Polis. Polis born and raised in Colorado, is an entrepreneur, education leader, and public servant. Prior to becoming Governor in 2019, Polis brought medical experts, advocates, attorneys, and scientists to D.C. to legitimize cannabis legalization in the national conversation, and led the way for new market opportunities for agriculture while serving as the Congressman for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional district. From growers to producers to every strain of innovator in between, Governor Polis remains committed to ensuring that the success of Colorado’s fast-growing cannabis industry can be cultivated by all. We begin with why he supports these issues.
Even as a Representative in the House before becoming Governor, our guest was a co-founder of the first Congressional Cannabis Caucus back in 2017. We dive more into his reasoning for being a vocal supporter of cannabis reform when it was still a fringe issue. We also talk about more of Governor Jared Polis’s efforts over the years including introducing the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act many times during his time in Congress. This would have rescheduled cannabis entirely. We’re still dealing with challenges with banking and taxes in our industry. Now the CAOA has been introduced in the Senate, which has similar goals. The CAOA is much more comprehensive, so we talk more about the letter he sent to Congress with feedback about the CAOA.
This episode was brought to you by Bridge West CPAs, one of the first accounting firms in the world to focus solely on the cannabis and hemp industries.
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