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.
Tune in to this episode to learn more about modernizing the business landscape of cannabis with Sean Dawson. Sean is the Director of IT Solutions at Office1.Office1’s mission is to innovate and progressively modernize the inefficient business landscape by providing a proactive, personalized, and eco-friendly office technology solution from planning to implementation and optimization. One solution from one company – Office1.Sean seeks to understand the heart of a challenge and then focuses on creating practical and timely solutions. He is an avid DIYer, gardener, and master house re-doer who loves spending his free time with his wife, four children, and six chickens.We start by talking about our emerging industry, and how we’re just starting to scale out of the “start-up, entrepreneurial” stage of business and becoming more sophisticated. This means more technology and automation, including our favorite Seed To Sale Software. We talk about what else companies should be thinking about when it comes to their technology solutions at this stage of the game when they’re starting to scale up. Typically a business owner hires an IT company to help them solve problems and scale their businesses up, and let’s say they’re experts at growing cannabis or extracting cannabis oil, but not so much on the technology side. Sean discusses with us a few examples of a company that came to him without any solid technology systems in place and how he helped them.
Tune in to this episode to learn more about the do's and don't's of hiring your team with Viridian Staffing's Kara Bradford, and Joanna Monroe. Today we talk to two powerful women in the cannabis space. We dive into the background of the company, Viridian Staffing, as well as how they are handling COVID-19. We also discuss their advice for the hiring process and how they have been going about it during these unprecedented times.Kara Bradford is the CEO of Viridian Staffing – which was founded in 2013 to provide not only HR consulting but also direct placements, consultants, and specialized temporary staffing solutions in the cannabis industry, and was the cannabis industry’s first staffing/HR-related company to become a member of NCIA in 2014. Known as the godmother of cannabis industry recruiting, Kara has been an HR professional for over 20 years. Her career has spanned multiple Fortune 100 companies and start-ups in a wide range of industries. Kara also sits on NCIA’s Human Resources Committee currently as chair emeritus.Joanna Monroe is a senior executive, C-Suite adviser, and board director with a proven track record of helping companies transform and grow profits while reducing risk. With close to 25 years in staffing, she is an expert on human capital management, human resources, and employment law and is highly regarded for implementing large scale operational, compliance, and legal initiatives that contribute to high-performance business results and improve the bottom line.
Tune in to learn more about Adapting During COVID-19 with Dave Roberson, Kukuza, and Javier Hernandez of Humbleroot. Dave Roberson was on the show in June 2019, and a lot has changed since then.Dave Roberson is the CEO of Kukuza Associates, a business advisory firm that solely focuses on the finance and accounting needs of cannabis companies. Its rapid assessment evaluates cannabis companies’ finance readiness and agility; and recently, the online tool helped launch one mobile dispensary’s revenue growth which doubled during the pandemic. Kukuza means “growth” and “potential” in Swahili, capturing how the firm propels clients ahead and guides them to greatness.Also on the show is Javier Hernandez from Humbleroot, which offers same-day cannabis delivery throughout the greater Sacramento area and beyond. The company was established in 2015 to break the stereotypes of the marijuana industry. They believed medication could be delivered in a responsible and respectful fashion that could be recognized, locally, and nationwide, and laid the foundation and generated a pathway for future delivery services, by co-creating the California Cannabis Courier Association and advocating legislation.We talk about some of the challenges they’ve seen their clients facing these last few months during COVID-19 restrictions. We’ve heard about some of the changes being made like curbside pickup, an increase in online pre-orders for dispensary customers, etc. So we dive into what else they have been seeing as well as changes to methods in how they do business.
Tune in to learn more about Improving Product Safety And Distribution with Tyler Williams, CSQ. Tyler is the founder and Chief Technical Officer of Cannabis Safety & Quality (CSQ). Over the years, Tyler has diligently worked with various industry stakeholders and conducted sample audits on several cannabis cultivators and manufacturers to create the first global cannabis safety & quality Certification Scheme. Tyler currently sits on the Policy Council and the Cannabis Manufacturing Committee for the NCIA, in addition to serving as a member of the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) and the Safe Quality Food Institute’s (SQFI) Cannabis Working Group.In 2019, Tyler started a non-profit organization called Show Me Food Safety. This organization provides resources to small food manufacturers and growers with help in improving their food safety practices, getting on the shelves of local grocery stores, and improve the overall health of consumers.Even with a detailed roadmap and double and triple-checking everything, we live in a world of uncertainty and chaos, so something is bound to fall through the cracks or go wrong, no matter how carefully you prepare. Tyler stated that there are some things that cannot be prevented by following basic cGMPs. We dive into where cGMPs may miss the mark and more.Tyler recently contributed a blog to NCIA’s website about getting a third-party audit, which is essentially asking experts OUTSIDE of one's company, not within, to look around, “check under the hood, check the fluid levels,” etc. Tyler tells us some of the benefits of getting a third-party audit, as well as why a cannabis company should do this.
Tune in to this episode to learn more about Black Dog LED with Kevin Frender who serves as Chief Technology Officer and Chief Science Officer. Kevin has been growing indoors under artificial lights in Colorado for over 25 years, using every commercially-available lighting technology available along the way. Over the years, he has grown thousands of different kinds of plants, from lettuce, peppers, and tomatoes to mangoes, orchids, and water lilies - all without the sun. Over four years ago Kevin turned his hobby into a full-time job when he joined Black Dog LED.We know Kevin is in the business of lighting, which the cannabis industry uses HEAVILY. Particularly because many facilities grow in controlled indoor environments. For those of us who don’t work in the grow, we just know that you turn the lights on and off when you need them, but we talk more about how the light spectrum is used and what other ways it helps plants grow healthy. The lighting certainly gives off heat which is an important component of growing cannabis, temperature management, and regulation, so the plants get too hot perhaps. Then you have to cool things down with an HVAC system. We dive into how we can use lights while still keeping that energy conservation issue in mind as we continue to talk about sustainability in our industry.Black Dog LED was founded in early 2010 when the founder spent over a year looking for legitimate LED grow lights to fill his and his friends’ growing needs. Black Dog LED is indoor gardening enthusiasts, and their passion for their work comes from the desire to create a quality product they want to use in their own gardens and their friends want to use in theirs. To accomplish this, they are pushing the limits of what is currently known about using artificial light to grow plants. Some of the research they are doing in BDL Labs, their research and development department, is being conducted for the first time ever. BDL is creating lights that, because of their combination of spectrum and power, are better for growing plants than anything produced before.
Tune in to this episode to hear more about Community And Cannabis with Debby Goldsberry, CEO of Magnolia Wellness. Debby has nearly 30 years of experience as a leader in the medical and adult-use marijuana industry. Magnolia Wellness is an award-winning dispensary in Oakland, CA, and Debby also co-founded the Berkeley Patients Group (BPG) medical cannabis collective in 1999, directing its growth for over 10 years, from 1999 – 2010. Goldsberry is the author of Starting and Running a Marijuana Business (Idiot’s Guide), a well-known industry guide and was also a top-rated mentor at Gateway Incubator in Oakland, CA, and is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs succeed. She is a former board member at California NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project and is a Professor Emeritus at Oaksterdam University.We brought Debby on the show, partially, because her dispensary is one of several stories we heard about being impacted by civil unrest and protests. We wanted to check-in and see how everyone is doing and what they have been doing to recover as well as deal with damage to her dispensary. Typically Oakland is a very competitive spot for dispensaries, even though hers has been around a very long time. New adult-use laws in California means lots of new spots have popped up in the neighborhood who were also impacted by property damage in recent months. Outside of what she’s doing with her specific business, she’s also very involved in the community in general. We talk about what she and her team are doing as far as conversations with the city and law enforcement.
Tune in to this episode to learn more about NCIA's Equity Scholarship Program with Tahir Johnson, Membership Manager and DEI Coordinator for NCIA. He is responsible for driving membership and expanding the organization’s presence on the East Coast. Tahir was born in Trenton, NJ, and has resided in the Washington, D.C. area since attending Howard University, where he majored in Marketing. First, we cover the basics of NCIA's Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Committee, which is one of NCIA’s 13 member-driven committees. Tahir is working closely with the DEI committee, so we get an update on what’s been going on so far this year and what’s around the corner and in the works.Next, taking it the next step to NCIA’s brand new Equity Scholarship Program which Tahir is also heading up, and we’re all very excited about this program here at the organization. Tahir talks more about that program, why we’re doing it, and how people can find out more. Also of course NCIA has stepped up our digital game even more during the pandemic and time of social distancing, and that includes educational webinars. One of these upcoming webinars on September 1st is one that Tahir is also leading and coordinating. There are some amazing experts joining him on this one. Tahir tells us more about what he’ll be covering and who will be joining him
Tune in to this episode to learn more about cannabis facilities during COVID-19 with Andy Poticha. Andy is a Principal at Cannabis Facility Construction, a national, full-service cannabis facility design-build industry leader.Since 2015, the company has renovated more than 30 cultivation facilities, processing centers, and dispensary projects in nine states across the country. Andy has been on the show once before about a year ago, so we’ve heard a bit about him and his background already and how he got into the cannabis industry.In this episde, we cover what’s been happening in the last year since he was on the show. We’re only halfway into the year 2020 and already the landscape of the cannabis industry has shifted in many ways. The most important of which to us is that cannabis was deemed an “ESSENTIAL” business during the coronavirus shutdowns. We dive into how cannabis companies can continue to expand facilities during COVID-19, and what they can expect from their contractors as it relates to compliance with social distancing rules and keeping on track for deadlines, etc. The reality of it is that "the show must go on." So we talk about what’s happening in Andy's world, and HOW it’s happening.
Tune in to this episode to hear more about the day-to day-work at NCIA during COVID-19 with Aaron Smith, NCIA’s CEO and co-founder.We chat about what’s fresh and new at NCIA that we rolled out this year. First of all, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee (DEIC) is one of their 13 member-driven committees, and NCIA’s Membership Manager – Tahir Johnson – based in D.C. is simultaneously overseeing the EQUITY SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM. During this super strange year of COVID-19, events are postponed, but cannabis is essential in most states where it’s legal. The cannabis industry is also stepping up to do things like donate PPE equipment or actually manufacture and produce hand sanitizer. We dive into what the cannabis industry is doing during this time and what the new day to day operations are from NCIA and other companies like it.Prior to launching NCIA in 2010, Aaron distinguished himself as a public advocate for marijuana policy reform — first under the auspices of a California-based medical cannabis advocacy group, Safe Access Now, and more recently as the California state policy director for the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project. Aaron has successfully built coalitions with elected officials on both sides of the aisle in order to advance marijuana law reform legislation in the state capitol and among the voting public. Aaron’s opinion pieces have appeared in major newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times, and he has been a frequent commentator on national television news networks. Aaron is currently based in Denver, Colorado.
Tune in to learn more about the hurdles for a cannabis startup with Ryan Douglas of Ryan Douglas Cultivation. As Master Grower from 2013 to 2016, he directed cultivation for Tweed Inc., Canada’s largest licensed producer of medical cannabis and the flagship subsidiary of Canopy Growth Corporation. As one of the company’s first employees, he helped drive the organization’s early success by designing the production facility, selecting the genetics, and hiring and training staff to produce 70,000 plants and process 6 tons of dry cannabis annually. His work at Tweed has been featured in Vice, New York Times, Bloomberg News, and on National Public Radio.The cannabis industry in its current form is relatively new and fresh and still quite entrepreneurial. A lot of “start-ups” being formed and launched, especially with every year, new states legalizing for medical or adult-use cannabis. There’s a lot of people listening to this show right now who might be launching cannabis businesses in their states soon. We discuss what advice Ryan has as someone who has worked directly with start-ups in the cannabis space. Also, some common challenges or hurdles that start-up operators might not think about.
Tune in to learn more about the Georgia medical cannabis legislative roll out with Taylor English Duma LLP’s Reggie Snyder. Taylor English Duma LLP is based in Atlanta, Georgia, but boasts a full-service firm with 175 attorneys including a geographic scope of remote lawyers situated across the country, doing business also in California, Florida, D.C. New York, Tennessee, Texas, and so on, serving over 15 industries, Reggie is an experienced trial lawyer whose litigation practice primarily focuses on contract, construction, and real estate disputes, products liability, and personal injury.We talk about what’s happening on the ground in Georgia where Reggie is based, where medical cannabis was just recently approved. It’s really exciting to see some Southern states moving in this direction, so we discuss what’s going on with the Georgia medical cannabis legislative roll out and what Georgia’s Cannabis Commission is up to.
Tune in to this episode to learn more about Government Funding For The Cannabis Business with Shane Pennington of Yetter Coleman. Yetter Coleman is a litigation boutique specializing in high-stakes business and technology litigation around the country. Shane is recognized as a “Texas Rising Star” in Appellate by Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers. He was also a panelist on a recent NCIA webinar “Just Say No – Keep the DEA Out of Cannabis Research,” with NCIA’s Policy Council.We dive into a lawsuit Shane’s firm is spearheading against the Small Business Administration because cannabis companies, who were otherwise deemed essential in many states during the COVID-19 shutdowns, are not eligible to receive these benefits. We break that down for our listeners and explain what that is, as well as why there’s a lawsuit being spearheaded in the first place.
Tune in to this episode to learn more about parallels between the wine and cannabis industry with COO of Fumé, Elissa Hambrecht. Founded in 2017, Fumé Brands is a vertically integrated cannabis company, operating four businesses from cultivation through retail. With active cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution channels, Fumé Brands recently launched its first consumer brand LAKEGRADE, and plans to launch other thoughtfully crafted cannabis products and experiences in the future. Nestled in the side of the mountains, Fumé’s plants are grown by a master cannabis cultivator with three decades of experience. The land has active hot springs on-site that we’re all jealous they get to soak in after a long day on the farm.Elissa was previously in the wine industry which a lot of folks say shares a lot of parallels to the cannabis industry. Especially with her being located in the Napa Valley which is very much known for great wine, we discuss what wisdom Elissa brings from the wine industry that can be applied to the cannabis industry, as well the similarities between those industries and how they work. The science behind cannabis over the years has been great as we unravel the facts of cannabinoids and terpenes and how they impact us. We like to envision a world where we can reverse engineer exactly what we want. We want to relax but don’t want to fall asleep, we want anti-inflammatory properties but don’t want the munchies, for example. We talk about Elissa’s thoughts on that being the future of cannabis innovation and more.
Learn more about full integration while expanding your product line with Michael Bostarr, Director of Strategy and Implementation of SPARC. Michael is a passionate organizer who produced Blunt Talks San Francisco, and helped bring to life Meadow’s first-ever camping retreat - Meadowlands. He is former Chief of Staff at Kin Slips and Michael is now the Director of Strategy and Implementation at SPARC. He is a vocal advocate for cannabis and can often be seen at local city council meetings. SPARC, whose roots began back as early as 1998 when CA Prop 215 was passed, opened its first retail facility in 2010 on Mission Street in San Francisco.SPARC also happens to be NCIA’s first official founding member, and their executive director Erich Pearson spent many years serving on NCIA’s board of directors. SPARC is one of the oldest dispensaries in the Bay Area and has been serving medical and now adults since 2008. Starting with just that single location until expanding to 5 locations over the last few years, now they’re looking to expand even more, which is the dream and ideal for most dispensary owners who start with a single location. We talk about what that process is looking like in California which already has plenty of regulatory headaches, plus other hurdles they are coming up against. Being vertically or fully integrated, meaning they produce or grow some of what they also sell to the customers, there are other models that allow a dispensary to sell products from another separate licensee to grow or process. But full integration while expanding your product line sounds like a lot to handle so we dive into advice Michael has for vertically integrated cannabis companies like SPARC.
Learn more about cannabis and taxes: the future of compliance with Calvin Shannon from Bridge West CPAs and Nick Miller from Greenspoon Marder. Bridge West CPAs, where Calvin Shannon is principal, is one of the first accounting firms in the world to focus solely on the cannabis and hemp industries. Since 2009, the practice has expanded to more than 400 cannabis and hemp clients nationwide. Greenspoon Marder is a national full-service business law firm with over 200 attorneys and 26 locations across the United States. Nick Richards is a Partner in the Tax practice group at Greenspoon Marder LLP. He represents individuals and businesses in tax audits & trials, M&A, in managing tax debt, and he advises cannabis companies, owners, and investors regarding tax and regulatory compliance matters.We start by talking about the burden of taxes in our industry, 280E in the IRS Tax Code. Cannabis businesses are paying 70-80% effective tax rates because cannabis is a Schedule 1 substance. But both our guests recently co-authored a blog about some other interesting nuances in the tax code that they’re taking a closer look at right now. We hear what a business owner should do from here to find out if they can potentially benefit from new tax provisions.
Learn more about regenerative cannabis cultivation with Tina Gordon and Michelle Carter. Bethany hands the microphone over to Jacob Policzer for this conversation on a very special episode of NCIA’s Cannabis Industry Voice. Jacob is with The Cannabis Conservancy and Sun + Earth Certified and is on NCIA’s Cannabis Cultivation Committee.So what is regenerative agriculture? We’d say that it’s a holistic land management practice that goes beyond organic and focuses on building soil health by improving soil biodiversity and increasing soil organic matter. It also pertains to the human element of farming.Sun+Earth, in addition to cultivation practices, is a human empowerment component that focuses on workers’ rights as well as community engagement – cultivating community.Tina Gordon has been a traditional Cannabis farmer for over a decade at Moon MadeFarms in Southern Humboldt County. Prior to being an amazing cannabis grower, Tina resided in San Francisco and has worked as a producer, documentary filmmaker, and musician, with an emphasis on underground and alternative subcultures. In all of her creative projects, Tina has endeavored to empower the self-expression of those who are underrepresented or marginalized. She now brings that focus to the traditional Cannabis farming community, with a desire to dignify the efforts of the pioneers who built this historic movement.Michelle Carter hails from the other side of the country in Asheville, North Carolina, where she co-founded Living Web Farms and spent 8 years honing her organic and regenerative farming practices. Her focus is on bio-nutrient crop production, holistic management, microbial soil analysis, and biodynamic applications. Michelle is also a plant medicine certified instructor with the Appalachian School of Holistic Herbalism and a leader in the international pollinator resilience movement. Recently she has been researching hemp genetics in an effort to find more suitable strains for the Southeast and she is also the co-founder and board member of Circadian Craft Cannabis which will hopefully get a license in Illinois.
Learn more about shifts in cannabis stigma during COVID-19 with Autumn Shelton, Chief Financial Officer of Autumn Brands. Autumn is a partner as well as CFO of Autumn Brands, a 50% woman-owned cannabis business located in sunny coastal Carpinteria, Santa Barbara County, California. In her position as CFO, Autumn is a strategic decision-maker for the family farm, which started in Holland more than 100 years ago. Along with overseeing the company’s financials, she is in charge of legal compliance on the local and state levels. Autumn champions the health and wellness benefits of cannabis and is committed to cultivation free of pesticides and other harmful chemicals.We start by talking about current affairs, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world. The silver lining is that cannabis was deemed essential in most states where it was legal during massive shutdowns. This implies that the public, and governments, see the value of cannabis. We talk about what shifts in the stigma have happened around cannabis since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Having gone through the process of launching a brand, and now Autumn is rockin’ and rollin’ and in business, we talk about the advice Autumn has for individuals who are starting this process, as well as any obstacles Autumn has come across that she can advise others on especially if you’re a woman business owner.
Learn more about advanced transpiration solutions with Adrian Giovenco from InSpire. Adrian is a passionate engineer with over a decade of experience designing, selling, and commissioning HVAC and process systems throughout North America. Recognizing that there is a knowledge gap around fully understanding plant transpiration rates and how they impact controlled environments, he founded InSpire to focus on Advanced Transpiration Solutions, which allow for precise environmental control throughout the growing cycle and into dry/cure and process manufacturing. Adrian currently serves on the NCIA Facilities Design Committee. We start by talking about healthy plants, how we grow, and nurture healthy plants that will make it to the dispensary and ultimately into the happy customer’s hand. This is part of a healthy supply chain, so we dive into the controls needed in that cultivation room to make sure no little pests, bugs, COVIDS, or any other unwanted things get on that plant. As a leader who’s seen a few projects come and go. Ranging from successes and failures and lots of money being spent on investments, Adrian talks about big picture advice on choosing your project teams and how to assess who is legit, as well as who is a right or wrong fit, and who is a snake oil salesman.
Learn more about Cannabis Jobs During COVID-19 with Meadow CEO and Co-Founder, David Hua. Meadow is a software company built from the ground up for California cannabis, and Y-Combinator’s first start-up to operate in the cannabis space. Meadow’s all-in-one platform allows dispensaries to sell products, manage menus and inventory, reward customers, dispatch delivery and pick-up orders, and create exceptional in-store experiences for customers. Meadow has been Headquartered in San Francisco since 2014. Hua has also collaborated with California’s cannabis community and California regulators to draft, implement, and provide stakeholder feedback of medical and Adult-Use regulations. Hua sits on the boards of the California Cannabis Industry Association, the Cannabis Distribution Association, as well as the NCIA Retail Committee.The cannabis industry in California has had some ups and downs in the transition to adult-use laws from Prop 64, and the COVID-19 crisis is no exception. In Colorado, as in California, they almost had legal cannabis shut down alongside bars and restaurants. The announcement was reversed in about 3 hours after everyone rushed the dispensaries. We talk to David about what it looked like in California and how they as cannabis software providers reacted. Cannabis is essential but federally illegal, so they didn’t initially get access to SBA COVID-19 financial relief. Perlmutter and Blumenauer introduced a bill specifically to include cannabis. We did get SAFE Banking Language in the 2nd coronavirus relief package approved out of the House of Reps, even tho some of the senates complained about seeing the word ‘cannabis’ in the bill. David explains his thoughts on this reaction even tho the industry has been an unbelievable job creator.
Tune in to this episode to learn more about the future of Colorado cannabis with Jonathan Singer. Jonathan is the State Representative for District 11 in Colorado and has been based in the city of Boulder since 2012. There he serves as the Chair of Public Healthcare and Human Services Committee. He has a background in social work, including work as a peer educator at the Boulder County Safehouse, counseling, and advocacy for abused and neglected children, and has been a champion of cannabis reform here in the state of Colorado.We start by talking about the evolution of the cannabis industry and movement in Colorado, which had a strong medical program before legalizing for adults which rolled out in 2014. Johnathan explains if he was immediately a supporter of cannabis or did he have to come around on this issue. As we look back on the last few years, Colorado was one of the first two states to legalize cannabis for adults, Jonathan rates how the state did with cannabis implementation. As well as where they succeeded, and where they fell short. We also touch what issues are next for our industry as we continue to evolve and so much more.
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.