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.
Learn more about Standards in Cannabis Food Manufacturing with Merril Gilbert and Rhiannon Woo. Merril Gilbert is the Co-founder and CEO of TraceTrust, a nationwide cannabis and hemp manufacturing compliance company advocating for safe consumer experiences through HACCP training and Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) Certifications. Merril has 25 years of experience working in the food and beverage industry and has been working in cannabis for over 6 years. Merril is the past chair of the NCIA's Education Committee and a current member of the Risk Management and Insurance Committee. Rhiannon is the Co-founder and Chief Science Officer of TraceTrust. She is a sought-out leader in Food Safety development and protocol and is an expert in Good Agricultural Practices, Good Harvesting Practices, Good Manufacturing Practices, HACCP, and the Food Safety Modernization Act. She is the Secretary of NCIA’s Hemp Committee.
The cannabis industry considers itself a wellness industry, so when we’re consuming cannabis in any form, we always want to do good for our customers and not cause harm. Staying compliant and having a good understanding of these standards of food safety and GMPs is part of the solution here. Cannabis doesn’t have FDA oversight (YET!) but we as an industry are certainly looking to the future and getting our ducks in a row now. We talk about what other benefits would a cannabis manufacturer experiences, in your perspective, by embracing food safety, GMPs, and making their operations more sophisticated in this respect. This underscores the importance of collaboration and education, including NCIA’s committees which are really setting the stage for more sophistication, more education on these issues, through blogs and podcasts like this, and both of our guests are on an NCIA committee. Both guests talk a bit about their experiences collaborating in NCIA committees for the benefit of the whole industry, both operators and consumers.
Learn more about CBD Products and Food Safety Regulations with Tim Lombardo of EAS Consulting today on NCIA’s Cannabis Industry with Bethany Moore. Tim Lombardo is Senior Director for Food Consulting Services. Tim is a widely regarded expert in food safety and microbiology with over 25 years of direct experience leading these programs at a variety of manufacturing facilities. Tim’s direct experience includes dairy, infant formula, baked goods, nuts and nut products, fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, spices, color flavors, and other ingredients, and many others. He is a Lead Instructor through the Food Safety and Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) in Preventive Controls for both Human and Animal Foods, is certified in Thermal / Aseptic Processing and Sterilization through the Better Process Control School, and is a Lead Instructor for the HACCP Controls Alliance.
We jump right into the regulations for hemp and CBD products at the state level versus what we’re seeing coming from the FDA. We all talk about preparing for the federal legalization of cannabis, but the hemp-derived CBD market is already getting the attention of the FDA. We also talk about the popularity of dog treats infused with CBD among pet owners, especially around the 4th of July with animals to help animals that are frightened of the loud fireworks, creating another significant CBD food sector.
Learn more about harnessing celebrity brands and endorsements in cannabis with Dan Shapiro. Dan is the Associate General Counsel at Greenlane Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: GNLN), one of the largest global sellers of premium cannabis accessories and CBD products. Prior to joining Greenlane, Dan worked at CAA in the Sports Business & Legal Affairs division. Dan is the Founder and Inaugural Chair of the Cannabis Division of the American Bar Association Forum on Entertainment and Sports Industries and a member of NCIA’s State Regulations Committee.
We are certainly seeing a lot in the news about athletes using cannabis. With the Olympics happening this summer as well, there’s debate about whether cannabis is “performance-enhancing” but others see it more as a pain recovery for injuries. We all remember Michael Phelps the Olympic swimmer getting in some trouble many years ago.
There’s the cannabis product itself, the flower, the pre-rolls, the extraction brands and so on that celebrities participate in. But the accessory space, in particular, is what Dan wrote about in the blog most recently, so this includes vaporizers and grinders. Celebrities endorse all kinds of products all the time, like make-up lines, face creams, perfume, so seeing them move into the cannabis endorsement space seems to be helping to normalize our industry. We dive into how this is evolving going forward as we see the expansion of legalization across the country, state by state, and preparing hopefully for federal legalization.
Tune in to learn How Cannabis Operators Can Avoid A Lawsuit with Adam Patt and Ian Stewartof NCIA's Risk Management and Insurance Committee, which promotes the interests of the cannabis industry’s risk management and insurance sectors, developing strategies for their responsible advancement.
Ian is founder and co-chair of the Cannabis and Hemp Law practice at Wilson Elser, an AmLaw 200 law firm with 850 attorneys in 37 offices in the United States and London. Ian leads a national multi-disciplinary team of lawyers who serve all aspects of the cannabis and hemp industries, as well as financial institutions and insurance companies that service those industries.
Since 2008, Adam Patt has served in leadership roles as President for both ICANN Insure, LLC and Maxam Assurance Agency. With over 20 years of experience, Adam’s industry knowledge and attention to detail have earned his agencies multiple insurance awards for Best-Practices and Best-In-Class. His strong background in risk management, safety programs, and IT solutions supports their continued success. Both serve on NCIA’s Risk Management Committee.
Learn more about Emerging Markets and Data Compliance with Chad Bronstein of Fyllo. Chad Bronstein is the founder of Fyllo and brings expertise gained during a career leading the sales and marketing teams of some of the largest businesses in advertising, media, and technology. His experience leading large-scale acquisitions, venture fundraising, strategic partnerships, and corporate exits has resulted in the scaling of several startups into national leaders. Under Chad’s leadership, Fyllo has revolutionized marketing technology for highly regulated industries, allowing the most ambitious cannabis, CBD, and consumer brands to overcome the complexities of compliance at scale.
Since founding Fyllo in 2019, Chad has overseen the product development, marketing, capital raising, and M&A deals that have uniquely positioned Fyllo to solve the challenges of these fragmented and inefficient markets. The Fyllo Compliance Cloud is a suite of software and services built to overcome the complexities of highly regulated industries.
With Fyllo based in New York with offices all over, we start by chatting about some new states coming online on the east coast, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut recently as well. It’s great seeing these smaller states and Northeastern states moving toward cannabis legalization, so we talk about what Chad is seeing there. Each state is its own unique world of laws and regulations, and the demographics of the customers in California are going to be considerably different from the customer demographics of people from New York. As they say, data is king, so we dive into the world of customer demographics and much more.
Learn more about Harnessing the Ecosystem of Business Partnerships in Cannabis today on NCIA’s Cannabis Industry Voice. John Shearman is Vice President of Marketing and Cannabis Business Lead at Applied DNA Sciences and has over 30 years of deep enterprise and advertising agency experience across all marketing, sales, and IT disciplines. John spearheads the Applied DNA Sciences cannabis vertical leading the vision, strategy, and product development for this emerging market. John also oversees the marketing for the entire company driving the marketing strategy for its other core verticals.
In the cannabis industry, we’re harnessing technology to improve how we run our businesses, which are highly regulated and ever-changing. The systems in place need to actually make life easier for the operators, not more difficult. But there’s Seed to Sale compliance, inventory, quality management systems, laboratory information management, it goes on and on. We talk about what other kinds of technology systems are seeing cannabis operators implementing. As part of this sophistication of our industry, we don’t have to wear 20 hats on a single person anymore. We’re expanding, we’re delegating, we’re getting more done, and we’re working smarter, not harder. That means harnessing partnerships across the industry as well, what are some of these partnerships that are crucial to expanding one’s business.
Tune in to this episode to learn more about Grow America Builders with David Fettner. David is a managing partner of Grow America Builders and has been one of Chicago’s premier general contractors for over two decades. As a third-generation builder, David’s expertise in high-end retail and commercial construction provided a seamless transition to the cannabis construction industry. Grow America Builders is a national design-build construction firm specializing in the cannabis industry, dispensaries, labs, extraction, grow houses, and greenhouses. Grow America Builders is all about serving the cannabis industry, building and upgrading facilities, which can be an exciting time for their clients.
We hear David share some stories about the complexities and roadblocks of our industry which is riddled with many regulations and compliance issues. We know you can’t build a dispensary within a certain number of feet of a public school or church, for example, but David dives more into the details of these regulations. We talk all the time about the fractured state-to-state regulations, and even within the state. This means getting into specific construction laws which are totally separate from seed-to-sale compliance. We discuss the complexities and nuances in construction law when you’re dealing with one state versus another. All that and much more on Grow America Builders with David Fettner on NCIA’s Cannabis Industry Voice only on Cannabis Radio.
Learn more about the state of security in cannabis with Scott Thomas of Genetec Inc. Scott Thomas is Genetec’s National Director of Sales for Signature Brands in the United States. Genetec Inc. is an innovative technology company with a broad solutions portfolio that encompasses security, intelligence, and operations. In this role, Scott and his team are responsible for Sales to the Retail, Financial, Hospitality, Gaming, and Cannabis vertical markets via Genetec’s network of system integration partners. Genetec was founded in 1997, and headquartered in Montreal, Canada, and serves customers in over 80 countries.
Today we talk about the current state of the security industry from Scott’s perspective as it relates to cannabis which includes retail stores, cultivation facilities, and so on. We dive into what we consider the lay of the land these days in the cannabis industry. Our industry is certainly evolving and we are seeing more multi-state operators, or MSO’s, emerging. We discuss trends and designs that Scott sees at it relates to MSOs who have footprints in multiple states.
Learn more about Medical Patient Privacy in Cannabis with Elizabeth Litten of Fox Rothschild today on NCIA’s Cannabis Industry Voice only on Cannabis Radio.
Elizabeth G. Litten, Partner and Chief Privacy & HIPAA Compliance Officer at Fox Rothschild. Named one of New Jersey’s leading health care attorneys by Chambers USA, Elizabeth serves as national and regional counsel to a wide range of healthcare-related entities including hospital systems, health care facilities, regulated and self-funded health plans, and health care technology companies. With more than 25 years of experience in the industry, she is known nationally as a go-to source for insight on health care law and regulation.
We talk about the medical cannabis programs in various states, and they’re all unique, some are called “caregiver” programs where one must register as a patient. There’s not necessarily anonymity like you have in adult-use cannabis dispensaries. So we ask, how does a medical cannabis patient know their private medical information is being protected? we also dive into what can medical cannabis patients do to furtther protect themselves. As well as who do they ask, and what can they do to lower the risk of their private information being unprotected as medical patients. We try to find out if this is the dispensary’s responsibility, too.
Learn more about NCIA's Medicine of Cannabis policy paper with Paloma Lehfeldt, Paul Muchowski, Vireo Health/Defined Research.
As one of the only physician-founded, physician-led medical cannabis companies in the world, Vireo Health collaborates with research organizations to better understand medical cannabis, its applications, and its safety. These partnerships help to reinforce and improve the scientific underpinning of the beneficial effects of cannabis and its ability to treat a range of medical conditions.
Today we’re here to talk about the Medicine of Cannabis paper. We start by talking about what our guest’s goals were for this paper, and more about the other authors including doctors of medicine, as well as veterinarians. We also go back into the past and talk about the history of cannabis being used as medicine. We dive into pre-prohibition, the war on drugs, and much more.
Learn more about mg Magazine and Incunabulum Inc. with Kathee Brewer. Kathee Brewer is the editorial director for Incunabulum Inc., including award-winning publications including mg Magazine and CBD Today. Kathee is an award-winning journalist, author, and Air Force veteran, and has covered everything from dog shows to airline disasters and political corruption. mg Magazine is the premier trade publication for the legal cannabis industry. Dubbed “weed’s hybrid of Forbes and Inc.,” each month mg analyzes and demystifies the people, plants, processes, and products fueling an economic engine rapidly expanding across the globe.
Cannabis has a lot of advertising restrictions, but we’re a strong industry with a lot to say. So we talk about how people in the industry who are looking for media attention go about doing that in a compliant way. We gotta stay compliant though, have some etiquette, and there’s some DOs and DONTs when it comes to pitching the media. We dive into the certain common mistakes that people might make in trying to do this. It seems like the narrative has changed and evolved over the years. Now we’re looking at canna-wives and canna-moms and a more mainstream storyline. We discuss what are our guests are seeing there and much more!
Learn more about odor emissions technology with Marc Byers, Founder and President, and Dr. William Vizuete, Chief Scientific Officer, at Byers Scientific. Odor emissions, which is purely a regulatory issue that doesn’t seem to impact the product itself, so we talk about why emissions and odor at cultivation sites are an environmental and social issue. Our guests explain more about the impact on air quality and/or community odor issues and why they matter for regulations/policy development. When working with cultivation sites to help improve their odor issues, we walk through the Byers’ approach as to how they assess emissions profiles from cultivation & processing sites. As well as how that translates into the result of more optimized, sustainable, and effective operations.
Marc Byers is the founder and President of Byers Scientific where he oversees business operations for all divisions, leads the product research and development team, and is actively involved in customer/client relationship development. Marc is the inventor of the firm’s patented vapor-phase technology as well as the designer of the firm’s advanced molecular scrubbing technology which is revolutionizing the Cannabis odor control industry.
Dr. William Vizuete, Ph.D., is Chief Scientific Officer, and co-leads the Byers Emissions Analysis division, and is a key member of the Byers Mitigation Technologies division product research and development team. For the past six years, Dr. Vizuete has led a team of cannabis industry experts focused on site-specific research to increase overall knowledge of cannabis industry emissions, educate local communities, and improve the tools and methods that cultivators and policymakers use to evaluate the environmental impacts of cannabis cultivation and processing.
Tune in to this episode to learn more about product safety in cannabis with Terra Vera CEO and Co-founder, Carlos Perea. Terra Vera is an agricultural technology company offering innovative solutions to replace conventional pesticides and increase product safety and consumer confidence within the agriculture industry. Carlos is a serial entrepreneur with a focus on the intersection of technology and social impact. Carlos has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Mexico.
We start by chatting about product safety, as we all remember back in late 2019 when mostly unregulated cannabis vaping products hit the market with vitamin E acetate. We called it the “vaping crisis” or “vape gate” at the time and NCIA published a paper about it as well. So now that’s behind us, we talk about what are we still discussing when it comes to product safety. Of course, we don’t want cannabis products to harm people because of toxins or pesticides or mold issues, for example, particularly because we see it as a wellness product, but these issues aren’t unique to cannabis. We learned something new about cannabis recently – cannabis flower is being irradiated in certain cases, and there’s no way the consumer would know this. So we discuss what irradiating cannabis does, and why should there be concerns about it.
[caption id="attachment_39648" align="alignright" width="300"] Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Barbara Lee[/caption]
Tune in to this episode to learn more about Movement in Congress In Cannabis Policy Reform with Michael Correia and Michelle Rutter Friberg today on NCIA’s Cannabis Industry Voice. Host Bethany Moore checks in with NCIA’s D.C. team about the most recent movement in Congress in cannabis policy reform.
NCIA’s Director of Government Relations, Michael Correia, and Deputy Director of Government relations, Michelle Rutter Friberg, check in with the show to discuss the reintroduction of the SAFE Banking Act in the 117th Congress, plus the reintroduction of the MORE Act. Michael and Michelle offer insight into the balance of bipartisan support for these bills, as well as the nuances of what those bills contain, and what changes may have been made in these newer versions.
Bethany also reflects on the 7 to 8 years that Michael and Michelle have been working on Capitol Hill as NCIA’s full-time lobbying team, representing the legal, regulated cannabis industry in the halls of Congress, and how their day-to-day lobbying work is slowly returning to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic impacted how they conducted their efforts with Congressional staff.
Learn more about a new documentary called 'Weediatrics' with Erin O’Hearn. Erin has a passion for producing thought-provoking, compelling, and entertaining films with storytelling that delves into significant social issues. After graduating from Cornell University, she worked in the corporate communications department at HBO and went on to produce news specials and documentaries for MTV. Erin made a career transition into news reporting and worked for ABC in Philadelphia for more than 13 years.
Oakz Media/Open Water Studios is a small production company. They wanted to produce a movie that was significant on a variety of levels – socially, politically, and emotionally. Weediatrics is more than a movie, it's a rallying cry. Even in states where medical and recreational marijuana use is legal, parents risk being charged with "severe medical neglect" for treating their extremely sick children with cannabis.
Weediatrics is a film about parents who are desperate to help their sick children and because of antiquated laws are left knowing there is a viable treatment but do not have access to it. The fact they are forced to choose between helping their child and breaking the law is a medical crime. Many states are legalizing at least for medical because of the very impactful stories that parents are bringing to lawmakers about their children. There’s a lot of bravery for these families. We dive into how they find the families featured in the documentary and if it was difficult convincing them to be on camera considering the potential legal consequences of giving their children medicinal cannabis.
Learn more about how company culture within the cannabis industry looks with Cassandra Michaud of Elev8 Cannabis. Cassandra is a marketing professional who has worked in various retail management positions, strategizing business development and sales training to drive record-breaking revenue margins. Since then, she briefly managed Elev8 Cannabis’s Oregon store, before becoming Elev8’s Operational manager; coaching store managers across all locations, while learning about the cannabis industry and the unique and varied needs of cannabis businesses.
As COO, Cassandra offers first-hand experience in each role we offer at Elev8. We discuss Cassandra’s role and some of the values she’s instilling within the company culture, and how company culture within the cannabis industry looks a little different than other industries. Back in the earlier days of cannabis companies, we heard a lot of stories about start-ups hiring friends and family rather than going through formal recruiting and hiring practices. Maybe sometimes that worked out just fine, but in other cases, it caused some issues down the road, so hiring is a huge component of the success of a cannabis company.
Tune in to learn more about Medical Cannabis Access and Insurance with Anne M. Davis, Esq. of Bennabis Health. Anne has been practicing law for 20 years. For the past 12 years, she has been recognized as one of the state’s leading experts in marijuana law and policy. In that role, Davis has presented workshops and seminars nationally about marijuana law reform. Since her diagnosis with MS, she has dedicated her skills and experience to create programs and expand access for medical marijuana patients. As part of that mission, she is a Patient Advocate for Bennabis Health, the first health care company in the nation covering medical marijuana. As a community leader, Anne serves as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) working with foster children; she teaches CCD at her local church and has served as a Girl Scout leader for 11 years. Anne was recognized as a “Woman of Distinction” by the Girl Scouts at their annual Gala in 2020. Working with children, keeping them safe, and giving them the best opportunities possible are some of her top priorities. We review a bit more about her background in cannabis and her personal story.
Anne published a blog with us recently about her journey with MS. Although federal legalization isn’t quite here yet, there are many cannabis patients all across the country whether in medical-only states or full-on adult use. They are replacing certain pharmaceuticals with cannabis products for their well-being. Unfortunately, health insurance isn’t quite there yet. We discuss the progress being made on that from, and how cannabis patients are getting their needs met as a benefit, especially when it is needed for medical reasons and it can become very expensive without insurance.
Cannabis Big Data with CEO & Founder Henry Finkelstein today on NCIA’s Cannabis Industry’s Voice. Henry empowers colleagues and clients by spinning data into gold with intuitive, actionable insights. After working in e-commerce, consulting, healthcare, and government contracting, Henry saw the opportunity to create a modern-day data toolkit for cannabis businesses that connect the data dots with one-click reports & dashboards that help companies earn more and stress less.
We all know the cannabis industry operates in “dog years,” so one year is like 7 years in any other industry, so a lot can happen in just a few years. We talk more about DATA and what we do with it. Data looks great on paper in a fancy report with charts and graphs, but it can be a lot of math. We dive into how do we get over that mental block that keeps us from making the most of using our data in a meaningful way to grow our businesses.
Learn more about ever-changing cannabis laws with Michael Williamson of Pipp Horticulture.
Michael currently serves as Director of Cultivation for Pipp Horticulture and Chief Operating Officer for Catalyst BC is a legacy licensed cannabis operator and pioneer in vertical farming. Michael relocated to Denver, Colorado in 2009 and co-founded and operated Kind Love; an award-winning and vertically integrated medical cannabis company. Then in 2013, co-founded Greenhaus Industries which was then acquired by Pipp Horticulture in 2018.
Michael has been in the cannabis game for quite a while compared to many others. 2009 was like a million years ago, back when Colorado and California were many different landscapes, medical-focused, caregiver laws, and then it evolved into vertically integrated adult-use companies, and so on. So we dive into what he’s seen on how the structure of these laws and how they’re changing over the years. Requirements over the years have evolved, and technology and methods have evolved and become more sophisticated. So we’ve gone from busting out of our greenhouses to multiple tiers of plants growing in larger buildings. We talk about how that is impacting the landscape of our industry and much more.
Learn more about NCIA's Cannabis Manufacturing Committee's nomenclature project with Jacob Enslein from AJ Cannabis Consulting, and Paul Coble at Thalo Technologies. We dive into their subcommittee, Cannabis Nomenclature, and talk about the purpose of the subcommittee. We have seen tons of value in having shared language in our industry. So we talk about the difference between terminology, jargon, and nomenclature — many of us know the basics like cannabinoid or terpene, but there’s a lot more, so we get into the purpose and expected outcome of the nomenclature project.
Jacob Enslein is a knowledgeable occupational safety and compliance expert with real-world experience in cannabis manufacturing. He graduated from Pitzer College with a mathematics degree in 2016 and has seven years of experience in cannabis manufacturing. In 2013, Jacob co-started and ran a prop 215 extraction company and designed and operated closed-loop extraction systems, and helped develop processes for distillation. Consulting since 2013, Jacob co-started AJ Cannabis Consulting LLC in 2019 and has been designing and commissioning hydrocarbon and ethanol cannabis extraction facilities around the country. Jacob is currently NCIA’s cannabis manufacturing committee organizer.
Paul Coble is an intellectual property attorney and cannabis software executive with a deep background in science and technology. He is a registered patent attorney and has litigated complex intellectual property cases across the country. After a decade of practicing law, Paul decided to enter the cannabis industry and launched a startup, Thalo Technologies, to develop software to help cannabis and hemp manufacturers better capture and interpret their lab data to make more profitable decisions. He is currently serving as Vice-Chair of the Cannabis Manufacturing Committee and sitting by designation on the Policy Council.
NCIA is leading the cannabis industry's unified and coordinated campaign to ensure our business sector is treated fairly and has the opportunity to reach its full potential. Now - more than ever - is the time to invest in your business and the future of the industry by becoming a member.