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CannaBiz January 2018

Journal

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Pioneer Pete Why branding matters $5.95

CANNABIZ Jan 2018

JoAnn bellanti

Making A Dream Into Reality


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Pat myers patm@cannabizjournal.com

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COPY EDITOR CHERYL K. SMITH

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CannaBiz Journal is published monthly by Jasper Publications, PO Box 818, Raymond, WA, 98577. Phone: (360) 942-3466, CEO Pat Myers. Website: cannabizjournal.com. Copyright 2018 by CannaBiz Journal. All rights reserved. Reprinting in whole or in part, is expressly forbidden without written permission from the publisher. ADVERTISING Call (360) 875-8383 or email ginak@ cannabizjournal.com for advertising. CannaBiz Journal assumes no responsibility for any claims or representations contained in the magazine or in any advertisement. All materials contained are for educational purposes and intended for the legal marijuana business where allowed by state law. CannaBiz Journal does not encourage the illegal use of any of the products contained within.


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Contents

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News 10 | Montana Medical Marijuana Regulations Are Out 12 | Colorado Budtenders Arrested For Overselling To Customers 15 | Marijuana Worker Permits Add To Overregulation In Oregon Guide 14 | FDA Declares That Emotions Not Ingredients

7

16 | Why Branding Matters 7 Even More In The CNvest Links Cannabis Industry Investors And inventors in 2018 Industry

20 JoAnn Bellanti Making A Dream Into Reality 34 CANNACON

20

24 | The New Oregon Trail Pioneer Pete Blazes A Trail For Oregon’s Cannabis Industry Medical 26 | Marijuana Doctors Trending 30 | Cannabis Entrpreneurs Should Stay The Course Legislative 32 | HB-2336 And Washington State Legislator’s Plan To Change Marijuana Laws

Subscribe to the CannaBiz Journal Newsletter by visiting cannabizjournal.com and entering your email address.

Cbj

4 • January 2018


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BOOST The Jack’s Boost line is all the little extras for your crop without the calculations or mixing mistakes. Do you need calcium, extra micros, or extra iron? These supplements arrived from the results of many years of trials in order to not over complicate each step but rather provide easy to use mixing instructions that solve problems. “We created this line of nutrients and blends with a very clear vision of plant nutrition in a controlled environment. Our goal with this product line, as with all of Jack’s fertilizers, is to create innovative products whose quality & solubility is unsurpassed. High quality nutrients that grow the best plants possible. It’s that simple.” - Dr. Cari Peters Jack’s makes quality fertilizers with quality nutrient sources. See the difference our products can make on the crops that you are growing.

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Feature

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CNvest Links Investors

And Inventors In 2018 By David Heldreth

2017 may have been the year of Bitcoin, but Canna Newswire is hoping 2018 will be the year the cannabis Green Rush takes off. 6 • January 2018

While most people reading this article may not own any bitcoin, it has become ubiquitous in references on the internet and throughout news coverage. The digital currency went from being


unknown a year ago to hitting over $17,000 value per coin at the time this was written. This rush in value has drawn the market to a frenzy and created a new source of wealth accumulation throughout the world economy. Another market seeing unprecedented growth, and coming out of the black market, is cannabis. While cannabis emerges from the shadows, it is attracting a lot of attention from investors who had previously shied away due to legal issues. Canna Newswire is trying to take advantage of that momentum as it launches the first-ever CNvest: Terps and Tech—an investor event for cannabis science and technology companies that will be held at the San Jose Hilton and the McEnery Convention Center on April 9, 2018. CNvest will bring out the best in cannabis science and technology to pitch their ideas and the industry to investors at the event. The event will be co-located within the Terpenes and Testing World Conference, hosted by Terpenes and Testing magazine, which is focused on the science of cannabis and primarily extraction. Michael Gruber, managing partner at Salveo Capital, one of the premier cannabis venture capital funds, is active across the cannabis market as an investor, advisor, mentor, and speaker. “As an active investor in the cannabis sector,” said Gruber. “I’m always eager to enable family office and other investors the opportunity to access this exciting market through an institutional quality investment vehicle. In addition, we strive to partner with founders and entrepreneurs, especially those focused on the technology, agriculture, and science sectors of the cannabis market. CNvest is a specialized event that is targeting more early-stage cannabis startups than typically seen at other investment events in the cannabis industry. My fellow advisers and I are proud to be a part

of the founding advisory board helping to shape this important event.” CNvest is currently accepting applications from cannabis startups for the event. However, they are searching for science- and technology-related cannabis companies for their investors. CNvest has already had to let one applicant know that they would need to revise their application to focus on their relevance to science. “We aren’t just looking for any cannabis business,” John Sidline of the Cannabis Story Lab and Canna Newswire. “We want to bring our investors the cream of the crop in technology and science. But we remind any businesses hoping to apply to look for the science angle in what they do. It could be something for extraction, cultivation, medical—anything in the cannabis space is open.” There are also a variety of other criteria to help investors ensure that companies that will be presenting are in the right place in their growth to accept investment and see returns. These criteria include: •location in the US or Canada •start date after January 1, 2015 •at least $50,000, but less than $1.5 million previously raised •no Series A funding started. CNvest will offer an appeals process for startups that believe they

CANNABIZ Journal • 7


CNvest - Terps and Tech Advisory Board

would fit the event well, but don’t quite hit every box in that list. Startup applicants also must pay a $500 participation fee. In return, the CNvest team and advisory panel of cannabis venture capital fund experts will work with the startups to help them perfect their pitches and investment options leading into the event. “I’ve attended many cannabis investor events, but CNvest’s fresh approach includes mentoring and presentation skillbuilding, as well as helping companies that go through the selection process get a marketing benefit,” said CNvest Advisory Board Member Jeff Siegel, who is also an investment advisor and Wealth Daily editor.

Princessa Bourelly

(Venture Partner - Gateway)

“For many of these entrepreneurs, CNvest will be their first time representing a business in front of an audience, and presenting to sophisticated investors requires proper messaging and polish. The CNvest team is expertly positioned to provide the level of guidance these startups will need, helping ensure all CNvest participants receive maximum value from the event.” The startups won’t be the only ones paying for their place, as those in the audience will also be required to purchase tickets. “We originally thought about having participants pay $2,500 or something to join,” Sidline said. “But we just found through our contacts and thinking that doing so could limit a lot of participation from startups that couldn’t risk losing that much capital. On the other hand, we’ve also found free events tend to lack preparation from the companies and investors. It’s like mentally people associate “free” with lacking value. So we think we’ve found a great middle ground.”

Steven Ernest

(Executive Vice President – Mazakali)

The fees are also quite small when compared to those of the ArcView Group—an angel/venture capital company associated with Reggie Gaudino of Steep Hill Labs. Their programs require companies to pay $10,000 to make a pitch; investors must pay $10,000 a year to access their events and program. CNvest will work with a panel of cannabis market influencers, media, and investment specialists to judge and classify the applicants into related categories. Cannabiz Journal’s reporter/ consultant, David Heldreth, will be a member of the judging team. Sidline said each applicant will be judged and scored by a standardized system to help determine which companies have the best chance to grow in the competitive cannabis market.

Michael Gruber

(Managing Partner – Salveo Capital) 8 • January 2018

The judging will eventually whittle the applicant pool down to a group of 16 cannabis startup companies. These 16 businesses will then be placed into groups of four by category.


Each group of four will form a panel headed by a judge, and take turns discussing their companies, products, and innovations in front of the audience of investors in San Jose in April. There will be awards for the best in each category, along with a best of the event. But the real reward will be the access to the investors at the event. A ticket to attend as an investor will require being vetted and having over $50,000 in liquid financing available for investment. CNvest plans to allow many of the startups that didn’t qualify for the finals, or that missed the cut-off for entry, to attend the final event. These extra companies won’t have a chance to take the stage or be part of a panel, but they will be allowed to pitch their companies to investors in the arena—the location where activity will be centered outside the presentation hall. The arena will also play host to a fundraiser to help people convicted of cannabis crimes find employment and get back on their feet. Sidline said CNVest is trying to locate a national charity related to this aim, but may end up working with groups in Oakland, California, and the East Coast if they are unable to find one.

CNvest - Terps and Tech Advisory Board

Bill Kelly

(Partner – AgriCascadia)

If you are interested in attending or becoming a sponsor or judge for CNvest, please contact cnvest@cannanewswire.co. Companies interested in applying to present should follow the instructions on the application website at http://cannanewswire.co/cnvest/apply-to-present/.

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Jud Lang

(President – Ground Zero Ventures)

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Jeff Siegel

(Publisher – Green Chip Stocks, Editor – Wealth Daily) CANNABIZ Journal • 9


News

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Montana Medical Marijuana Regulations Are Out By Cheryl K. Smith

Montana, like other states that have had a medical cannabis program for a while, has developed new rules. This is no doubt in part due to the Cole Memo, which has led states to improve tracking, decrease “leakage,” and address other aspects of their programs. However, it also provides a benefit to the state by adding to their coffers.

•Montana residency requirement for cardholders.

Part of the proposed rules is a modest increase in the cost for a patient medical card and the addition of a reasonable change fee; the rest is usual administrative and licensing fees that come with turning cannabis into an industry. While adding testing and labeling requirements—which makes medical marijuana safer for vulnerable patients—the new rules also may make it more difficult for patients to obtain or afford their oftentimes necessary medicine because of the added cost to growers.

•Concentrate and extract requirements, including prohibition on using class I solvents; pressurized canned flammable fuel intended for use in camp stoves, handheld torch devices, refillable cigarette lighters, and similar products; and denatured alcohol.

Under these rules—which were in the public comment period until December 7, 2017—the cost of a medical marijuana card will go from $5 to $30, not an unreasonable amount compared to the $200 that Oregonians pay to the state for the privilege of using cannabis medicinally. The big change will be to a grower’s (referred to as a “provider” in the statute) cost. A provider license will increase from the current $50 to $1000 for those who serve 10 or fewer patients and $5000 for those with bigger grows. Of course, those harmed most will be the patients whose grower only provides for one or two patients—as they pay the same fee as someone who grows for more. As we have seen in Oregon, this is a deterrent to small growers who don’t want (or cannot afford) to grow a huge crop. Once the public comment period ends, changes may be made to the rules and the Montana Department of Health & Human Services must provide two months’ notice before implementation. The final rules are expected to go into effect sometime in Spring 2018. Other changes to rules include: •Addition of a marijuana employee permit—which an employee must carry while working. The rules do not address the cost to workers, although the projected fiscal impact (see sidebar) shows $50—half of what Oregon charges. 10 • January 2018

•Marijuana and marijuana-infused products licensee guidelines (including 50 square foot canopy space per patient). •Public health and security requirements.

•Limitations on visitors to various provider and lab sites. •Inventory tracking of any plant over 12 inches tall with a unique identification number. •Transport between lab and grower or processor. •Recalls. •Waste and destruction of waste. •Reporting requirements for patients—including moving a grow site, loss of a card, change of address, change of referring doctor As in other states, labeling requirements are detailed, with warnings to “keep out of reach of children,” “driving under the influence is illegal,” and FDA has not approved the product to “treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” Also mandated to be labeled is the concentration of THC, THCA, CBD and CBDA. Those providers who are supplying 10 or fewer patients are not required to have their products undergo testing, but any container must be labeled as such. In an abundance of caution, the rules also require that ointments, suppositories, or topicals must be labeled “DO NOT EAT.” This exemplifies the overkill that occurs when drafting rules regarding marijuana. I am not aware that any other similar products (without cannabis) are required to have such wording, and never once


have I or most people been tempted to eat Tiger Balm or steroid cream, for example. Testing rules require 5-pound lots for testing, a requirement that the product be cured, and copious other mechanical and documentation requirements. Batches that fail a test must be re-tested by the lab. Labs must be ISO 17025-accredited. The rules also add the term “exit package,” referring to a sealed container in which the cannabis is placed at the point of retail sale. This is slightly better than “exit bag,” used in other states. (The term “exit bag” was first used in the 1990s to refer to a plastic bag placed over the head by a terminally ill patient, along with carbon monoxide, nitrogen, another gas, or even by itself, to kill oneself.) Notice of the public hearing with proposed rules can be found at http://dphhs.mt.gov/Portals/85/rules/37-820pro-arm.pdf. If the Oregon experience provides any guidance (I served on several of their rulemaking advisory committees), we can expect to see more changes every year or two.

Fiscal Impact Current Program Numbers Current Fee Proposed Fee Cumulative Amount 20,000 cardholders $5-$30 ($25 increase) $500,000 387 providers with 10 or fewer cardholders $50-$1,000 ($950 increase) $367,650 222 providers with more than 10 cardholders $50-$5,000 ($4,950 increase) $1,098,900 Four testing laboratories $0-$2,000 ($2,000 increase) $8,000 137 chemical manufacturer endorsements $0-$500 ($500 increase) $68,500 Other Estimated Actions/Fees: 1,400 licensee’s employees $50 ($50 new fee)

$70,000

100 dispensaries $500 ($500 new fee)

$50,000

4,000 change requests $10 ($10 new fee) $40,000 Cheryl K. Smith is a freelance writer and copyeditor for Cannabiz Journal. She previously served on the Oregon Advisory Committee for Medical Marijuana where she was chair for two years, was a founder of Compassionate Oregon, and has been involved in medical marijuana patient advocacy for many years. She served on several advisory committees developing rules related to cannabis in Oregon. CANNABIZ Journal • 11


News

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Colorado Budtenders Arrested For Overselling To Customers By David Heldreth

A group of budtenders from a Colorado cannabis retailer is facing charges after a year-long sting in Denver. Thirteen budtenders from Sweet Leaf cannabis retail locations in the Denver metro area were arrested in connection with allegedly exceeding state sales laws on December 14. Sweet Leaf operates a vertically integrated chain of cannabis cultivation, processing, and retail businesses. The Denver District Attorney’s office has currently filed felony charges against five of the budtenders for felony distribution of marijuana (more than four ounces) and misdemeanor charges for five more budtenders for misdemeanor distribution of Marijuana (more than one ounce). Three of the arrested budtenders have yet to be charged. In addition to the charges against the budtenders, the state of Colorado has suspended several licenses for Sweet Leaf ’s operations following the arrests and pending conclusion of an

investigation. Search warrants in the case included one for Sweet Leaf ’s headquarters. Officers had permission to look for and seize money; plants; records; documentation on operating procedures; video surveillance recordings; computers, thumb drives and passwords; and any evidence related to money laundering. Police have also frozen their bank accounts along, and have requested access to their safe deposit boxes and storage units. The owners have not been charged in the case. The budtenders’ charges followed the December 14 raids at Sweet Leaf locations throughout the Denver area. A series of complaints from a neighborhood resident against the Sweet Leaf retailer initially drew the scrutiny of the Denver Police Department. Law enforcement officials said the neighbor reported people “making multiple trips each day to and from their parked vehicles to the store, and continuing these ‘loops’ for several hours at a time.” Colorado law limits the amount of cannabis a person can possess to one ounce of marijuana flower or its equivalent in extracted form, and an additional rule limits the amount the can be sold in a transaction to that same amount. However, the time length between transactions, as well as how “transaction” is defined is not address in the law. Due to this apparent loophole, customers would use what investigators cal; “looping,” where customers purchase an ounce, return to a car a block away, and come back several times in the same day. Lawyers from Sweet Leaf have argued publicly and in court that the limit in the law is for each purchase, not each day, and the onus is on the customer to not exceed the possession limit. However, law enforcement officials in Colorado point to the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division’s earlier statement on its website related to these issues: “The division will seek administrative action against licensees attempting to circumvent the statutory and rule requirement imposing the limitation of one ounce per transaction of retail marijuana. Sales that are structured as multiple, stand-alone transactions may be viewed by the division as an attempt to evade quantity limitations on the sale of retail marijuana, resulting in recommendation[s] for administrative action. Further, an individual in possession of more than one ounce of retail marijuana or its equivalent is acting unlawfully.” Looping was a known issue and the state recently amended the rules to solve this problem by explicitly limiting customers to a single transaction per day. The new rules also punish establishments that sell marijuana to a person if employees know within reason that the person has already purchased his or her limit.

12 • January 2018


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Guide

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FDA Declares That Emotions Not Ingredients By Karen Carter

Taking a page out of real life, edible companies can learn a lot about what not to do by examining the case of a bakery. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a warning letter to the Nashoba Brook Bakery in Concord, Massachusetts, this past summer. Among a host of food safety violations, one item stood out as unusual. It was the company’s use of the word “love” in the ingredient list on their granola label. Placed between oats and sweetener on the label—as a whim, in a display of humor—the bakery thought that they had a long-lasting marketing strategy. They claim that the word “love” has been on the label for close to 20 years. 14 • January 2018

Who doesn’t want more love in their life? The ingredient “love,” when mixed into a food item, conjures up images of grandmother’s homemade baked treats.

Who doesn’t want more love in their life? The ingredient “love,” when mixed into a food item, conjures up images of grandmother’s homemade baked treats. But the FDA passed judgement on this ingredient in a warning letter sent to the bakery on September 22, 2017.

“Misbranded Foods: 1. Your Nashoba Granola and Whole Wheat Bread (wholesale and retail) products are misbranded within the meaning of section 403(i)(2) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 343(i)(2)] because they are fabricated from two or more ingredients, but the labels fail to bear a complete list of all the ingredients by common or usual name in descending


order of predominance by weight as well as all sub-ingredients, as required by 21 CFR 101.4. For example, Your Nashoba Granola label lists ingredient “Love.” Ingredients required to be declared on the label or labeling of food must be listed by their common or usual name [21 CFR 101.4(a)(1). “Love” is not a common or usual name of an ingredient, and is considered to be intervening material because it is not part of the common or usual name of the ingredient.” Basically, the FDA requires that labeling on food products not be false or misleading, and because the amount of love in a product cannot be measured, it may not be included in the ingredient list. Co-owner of Nashoba Brook Bakery John Gates said, “The idea that we have to take the word “love” off of the ingredient list for our granola feels a little silly.” Gates claims that the ingredient is important to the image and attitude of the company. “We have to bring passion and love to what we do because we’re making fresh bread and granola and pastry every day.” In extreme circumstances the FDA can take enforcement action, such as hold-

ing a shipment of a mislabelled product. With additional legal action the product never gets to its market until all the violations within a company are fixed. The most common action the FDA takes is to issue a warning letter listing all the violations and asking the company to fix them. Most companies cooperate with the FDA and comply with the established rules and regulations. Unfortunately, all FDA warning letters are made available to the public as soon as they are issued and the company’s trust with their customer base can suffer. If the violations are bad enough, customers will leave and never return. With Nashoba Brook Bakery, the main quantity of violations dealt with the unsanitary conditions in which the baked goods were made. This included a 1-inch long, crawling bug discovered in one of the bakery’s bread storage rooms. This makes it hard to determine which violation caused the FDA to take a closer look at the company. But once the FDA started digging, they found enough violations to begin action against the bakery. Will mislabeling be an FDA issue in the cannabis industry? The FDA tends to see things in black and white. They define

items that people ingest as either a drug or a food. Anything a person eats, which is labeled with a claim that it will cure or treat a medical condition is considered a drug. Everything else is a food. Even though edibles might help with medical conditions, producers do not want them placed in the drug category, because they are then subject to more rigorous regulations than if categorized as a food product. Currently, many cannabis edibles are under scrutiny regarding the amount of THC they contain. If a label is wrong, the consumer will question the product quality. If a product contains less THC than stated on the label consumers feel cheated. More THC in the product than stated on the label may cause an accidental overdose. These concerns are causing consumers to call for stronger oversight of cannabis edibles through FDA regulations— not the best solution, from a producer’s viewpoint. The moral of the Nashoba Brook Bakery story is to correctly label products so the FDA doesn’t have a reason to examine your company through its magnifying glass. The FDA is a government agency that has created pages and pages of food regulations that it expects food producers to follow. Producers who do not play by the FDA game plan will have their products wrapped in red tape by the FDA. CANNABIZ Journal • 15


Guide

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Why Branding Matters Even More In The Cannabis Industry by Monica Jones

Reality Check: If you’re not managing your corporate image, who is?

What is branding? Your “brand” is composed of experiences customers can expect when they deal with your company. That can be anything from your website and brochure to your office décor to the way you answer the phone. Many small businesses assume that branding doesn’t apply to them and that it’s only for the Nikes and Coca-Colas of the world. Reality check: If you’re not managing your corporate image, who is? This goes double for businesses operating in the cannabis industry. Cannabis has a perception problem. Years of bad press and government demonization have left many legitimate businesses struggling to achieve respectability in the industry. That is where branding comes in. Their perception is your reality. At no time has this been truer. It is important that your legitimacy as a business resonates

with your marketing materials and your business ethos. Whether the customer’s first experience is through your website or the business card that you hand out at an event, that first impression isn’t one you can get back. Professionally designed and branded marketing materials tell potential clients that you value your business and that you are serious about the product or service you provide. If your corporate image is sloppy and unprofessional, why would someone trust you with their business? Look at branding efforts as an investment. What’s the old adage? You have to spend money to make money? Well, the only thing more expensive than hiring a professional is hiring an amateur. You are really good at what you do. If what you do doesn’t include graphic design and marketing, then put down the mouse and

step away from the computer. Too often businesses that try to create their own marketing materials fail to understand the true benefits of hiring a professional. We have clients who come to us and say, “Oh, I just designed it on my computer and printed it in the office.” That’s when we start to cringe. Poorly designed materials will damage your brand—and that can have far-reaching consequences. It can affect your ability to get new customers. It can affect your ability to charge the rate your services are worth. It can affect your ability to have the business you dreamed of. Add to this the choppy, ever-changing waters of the cannabis industry and you have a recipe for disaster. Find an experienced firm that specializes in navigating those waters and let them guide you in the right direction.

Monica Jones is the owner and president of Bud Branding 3D Studios. Bud Branding helps businesses grow their influence and brands. As a cannabis marketing firm, we begin with a thorough analysis of your needs and partner with you to develop and execute a marketing plan that will help you navigate the complicated marketing waters of the cannabis industry. To learn more about how Bud Branding can help grow your business, visit us at www.bud-branding.com or call 212-491-7318. 16 • January 2018


World’s Leading Annual Conference & Exposition for Laboratory Science February 26-March 1, Orlando, FL, Orange County Convention Center

Get a hands-on look at the latest instrumentation for cannabis testing and analysis from leading companies such as: • Waters

• JEOL

• Horiba

• Julabo

• MilliporeSigma

• SPEX SamplePrep

• Environmental Express • Bio-Rad • Anton Paar


Spotlight on Cannabis: Discover the latest research, developments and techniques Symposia

Oral Sessions

Analytical Cannabis Symposia

Multiresidue Analysis of Pesticides in Cannabis-Infused Oil and Edibles by Various Extractions and Enhanced Matrix Removal-Lipid Cleanup, Joan Stevens, Agilent

Why is Sample Preparation so Important, Sandy Morgan, SPEX SamplePrep Cannabinoid Quantitation in Hemp Oils Using LC-UV-MS based Solutions, Anthony Macherone, Agilent & Johns Hopkins A Survey of Analytical Instruments Used in the Cannabis Testing Industry, Robert Clifford, Shimadzu Scientific Instruments Reassessing Potency Analysis: Investigation of Interferences and Method Specificity Using Liquid Chromatography-Ultraviolet Detection and Tandem Mass Spectrometry, Julie Kowalski, Trace Analytics

Poster Sessions Analysis of Cannabidiols found in Cannabis by Thermal Desorption GC/MS, Ronadl Shomo, Scientific Instrument Services Nuclear, Chloroplast, and Mitochondrial Data of a US Cannabis DNA Database, Rachel Houston, Sam Houston State University Advantages of Complimentary Column Selectivity for Determination of Pesticides in Cannabis by LC-MS/MS and Potency by LC-UV, Ramkumar Dhandapani, Phenomenex

SFC Applications for the Cannabis Industry, J. Preston, Phenomenex Controlling Terpenes and Cannabinoids in Flower and Extract, Markus Roggen, OutCo Fingerprinting the Terpene Profiles of Various Cannabis Strains using GC and GCxGC with High Performance TOFMS, David Alonso High Speed, Consistent Extraction for the Compounds of Interest in the Potency Testing of Cannabis, Ruud Addink, Fluid Management Systems Approaches for the Analysis of Pesticide Residues in Cannabis, Katherine Stenerson, MilliporeSigma Comprehensive Residual Solvent Method Optimization Using Proven GC Chromatography Column Selectivity, Ramkumar Dhandapani, Phenomenex Using Pressurized Liquid Extraction for the Extraction and Analysis of Pesticides in Cannabis Samples, Fluid Management Systems Fast Quantitative Analysis of THC and its Metabolites in Biological Samples Using Captiva EMR-Lipid and LC/MSMS, Joan Stevens, Agilent

See complete exhibitor and program listings at www.pittcon.org


Feature

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JoAnn Bellanti:

Making A Dream Into Reality By Karen Carter 20 • January 2018


JoAnn Bellanti’s product, Pot Pockets, arose from a need expressed by her sister Carol. Carol was diagnosed with cancer and recommended medical cannabis. She needed a discrete way to carry her treatment around with her, so Bellanti developed a carrying case for her. “Pot Pockets was started [as a business] after a nurse at the Dana Farber Center saw one of the Pot Pockets I had made for my sister, Carol; and so my story begins,” stated Bellanti. Bellanti and her sister had had a close relationship, so she was devastated when her sister died. “I started making Pot Pockets three years ago, after being in a slump over losing my younger sister, Carol, to the horrid disease of cancer,” Bellanti said. “She worked alongside me at the travel company and she was one of my favorite people in the world.” Bellanti took this experience and turned into something that will help others. The idea developed from the idea that other patients and cannabis smokers could use a product like this. Bellanti started her small cannabis accessory business in Wrentham, Massachusetts. “I went on Craigslist and purchased some used woodworking tools for $300,” said Bellanti. “I had no prior experience with most of the tools. Along with my husband and some friends, [I] slowly began making the templates and jigs that would enable us to produce the Pot Pockets in our barn. Our barn became Pot Pocket headquarters. With some trial and error and a little luck, we were on our way.”

We are all about keeping the fun in smoking weed. It seems that it is getting way too serious lately. - JoAnn Bellanti

Bellanti took her product to the first-ever New England Cannabis Convention in Boston in 2015. “You have to remember that there were no dispensaries opened yet in Massachusetts and everything was still in a grey area surrounding cannabis,” said Bellanti. “We all thought we were going to get arrested for selling our goods. Well, we survived and sold over 300 Pot Pockets. They were a hit!” CANNABIZ Journal • 21


Once Bellanti knew she had a great product idea, she then had to deal with officially setting up her business in an anticannabis environment. Even though she was selling hand-carved wooden boxes, the government still frowned on the endeavor. Government entities caused Bellanti a few problems, but she found a creative way to work these issues out. “There were so many struggles in setting up a company in Massachusetts that was affiliated with cannabis. Even though my product was made from wood,” explained Bellanti, “it was considered paraphernalia. I went to my local bank to set up a company bank account under Pot Pockets and they wouldn’t allow it. So I left and went across the street to another bank and set it up under Johnny Road King Company. My husband and I are big motorcycle enthusiasts—hence the name.” “I decided to start the process of getting it trademarked,” continued Bellanti. “It was a long and expensive process, as we were first denied due to the word pot. The trademark office said since it is federally illegal they would not allow it. We went back and forth for over two years and we were finally registered and approved in July of [2017]. We said that the word POT stood for Personal Organizational Tool, and I had to make some adjustments on my website showing them used for rolled cigarettes.” Taking the word cannabis out of the design appeased the government entities. Pot Pockets started as a side job for Bellanti and her group. In the beginning they had regular day jobs, but that was before they became busy. “Now it is a full-time gig, whether it is making them or selling them, and everything else that goes along with it,” Bellanti stated. “We are always working on them. [My husband and I]—along with our right-hand man Kevin and our tie-fly girl Sandra. It certainly does take a village to do this.” Pot Pockets look like a flat wooden boxes, but when the sections are bent they open up to reveal joint-sized spaces. “We use all different types of wood to create them,” 22 • January 2018


said Bellanti. “We source the wood from all different outlets and that is a job in itself. We purchased an entry-level CNC machine this year to assist us with the routing of them as well as drilling the holes for the elastic. Everything else is still done by hand, including the hot branding of our Pot Pocket logo on them.” Pot Pockets also offers a custom design option. Custom logos and digital designs can be added to the boxes. “We do it a few different ways,” said Bellanti. “The most cost-effective way is using an ink stamp. Otherwise, we can have a brass brand head made so that we can burn the logo into the wood. We sell them to dispensaries and smoke shops, as well as on our website.” “We make three sizes: regular, large, and phat,” continued Bellanti. “We sell all three sizes for $20 on our website. The reason we sell them for the same price is because my husband [wears an] XXL tshirt, and he was always mad that he had to pay a few dollars extra for his size. So we decided not to discriminate on size and sell them all equally depending upon your smoking preferences.” “A Pot Pocket is a discreet way to carry your rolled joints and blunts,” said Bellanti. “You just roll, load, and go!” Bellanti continued to discuss the benefits of her product, “ I think the nicest part about

them is that you can place a lit joint into one of the separate chambers and just close it. It will automatically go out … so you can save it for later. I know when I smoke a joint I do not smoke the whole thing, so it’s a nice way to keep track of your half-smoked joints. In the long run, it will you save money because you do not have to stub it out and lose some of it or lose the whole thing altogether.” “We are all about keeping the fun in smoking weed,” said Bellanti. “It seems that it is getting way too serious lately. So that’s our story, and we will keep rolling along and see what the future holds for us and our love of our Pot Pockets.” “Massachusetts still does not have any recreational stores opened yet,” stated Bellanti, in discussing the cannabis climate in Massachusetts. “We did [legalize] it in 2016, and they are scheduled to open in July of this year.”

tinued Bellanti. “Never in my life would I [have thought] this would happen. We do have an opioid crisis here in Massachusetts, along with the rest of the world. We are losing so many people over it. I am hoping that cannabis is the answer for a lot of it. We have to get people off the big pharma drugs. I do a lot with New England Veterans Association—NEVA—and their motto is ‘Cultivate or Die.’ It is that simple.” For more information about Pot Pockets, visit www.potpockets.us.

“It certainly is an exciting time for all us weed smokers,” con-

CANNABIZ Journal • 23


Industry

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The New Oregon Trail

Pioneer Pete Blazes A Trail For Oregon’s Cannabis Industry By David Heldreth When the words “pioneer” and “Oregon” are used in the same sentence, thoughts usually drift to the Oregon Trail; but Pete Gendron is trying to shift that to visions of the cannabis industry. 24 • January 2018

Gendron has been involved in cannabis cultivation, advocacy, and policy creation for more than 30 years. His work in the cannabis industry and his organic farming

methods have earned him the nickname “Pioneer Pete” from those in Oregon. Mirroring the pioneers who came before on the Oregon Trail, Gendron wasn’t born in Oregon. He moved there from Indiana


grocery department in Indiana at Goodness! Grocery. Gendron is a pioneer in fields beyond event planning: He also created cannabidiol (CBD) extracts in 1990, had one of the first medical cannabis cards in Oregon, and has been offering classes on the plant for decades. “I just learned from a young age that the government wasn’t telling the truth about drugs, especially in those DARE antidrug campaigns they had,” Gendron said. “Once I tried cannabis and saw the effects it had on my health, it made me want to keep going and find out what else they were lying about.” That drive to learn and to educate about uses for the cannabis plant—as hemp or for medicine— has pushed Gendron further and further into the expanding cannabis industry. He was so involved with Oregon’s medical cannabis program and had recommended legislation or rules so often that he was drafted to help with drafting rule for the Oregon recreational laws. Gendron was one of 15 people who created recreational cannabis rules as part of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) Recreational Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee. He also serves on several subcommittees for the OLCC. Gendron said the biggest issues facing Oregon’s cannabis industry currently are related to the opening of the market to those who don’t live in the state, as well as the elimination of options for medical patients and cultivators under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP).

in search of a more cannabis-friendly environment. Despite the conservative values and laws in Indiana, Gendron ran several cannabis and hemp events on Earth Day in the state. He even created the first organic

“We started with having an option for a 5-year plan to phase out a residency requirement for Oregon’s recreational cannabis market,” Gendron said. “That would allow for a free market system after some time, to allow the local producers and people who had built the industry to have some time to develop. There was kind of a shift and it looks like it’ll just be open immediately. While that is a drawback a bit, and doesn’t give locals a head start, it does get us to a free market. This goes back to

the constitution in my views; we’re guaranteed the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We’re not guaranteed to succeed or not lose money in business.” Gendron is now making his years of experience with the Oregon legislature, cannabis cultivation, and event planning available to the masses with his consulting business Omnibudsman Enterprises. He offers a variety of services, including connecting new entrepreneurs to other experts in the field, and helping to source and store cannabis genetics according to new laws. Omnibudsman Enterprises is working with building inspectors in their newest consulting projects. Gendron said that as the cannabis industry is being developed, one hole has been the building code. Not much written has been written on the safety issues and fire concerns that may be important for an extraction facility or an indoor cultivation site. Gendron said that these issues and a lack of knowledge have led to delays in certification of businesses upon inspection. To help remedy some of these issues he is teaching classes to groups of 250 building inspectors, firefighters and code officials so they can better determine occupancy limits and procedures. Gendron made it clear that he isn’t a lawyer, but he can provide knowledge and outlets a lawyer couldn’t. “I tell people that what my contemporary Lee (Leland Berger), a cannabis lawyer out of Portland, does and what I do aren’t the same,” Gendron said. “He helps people with legal issues they get into from cannabis and I like to say that I’ve spent 25 years avoiding the kinds of problems and legal issues his clients face.” Gendron also serves as the President of the Oregon Sungrowers Guild and runs the Oregon Cannabis Cup and the Oregon Hemp Festival. For more information on Omnibudsman Enterprises you can visit them at www.facebook.com/omnibudsmanenterprises/ or e-mail omnibudsmanenterprises@gmail. com. CANNABIZ Journal • 25


Trending

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Cannabis Entrepreneurs Should Stay The Course

By Serge Chistov As I write this, Donald Trump is one year into his four-year term as President of the United States. What have we learned to date? To put it simply, we’ve learned that Donald Trump says one thing on the campaign trail, but a completely different thing in the White House. That’s a dangerous precedent to set. Case in point: his stance on marijuana legalization. Donald Trump announced his run for president on June 16, 2015. Four months later, and repeatedly throughout the next year, Trump’s pledges on the issue of marijuana legalization could be encapsulated by this quote from the The Washington Post: 30 • January 2018

“In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state. I think medical should happen — right? Don’t we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.” That’s pretty clear, don’t you think? Fast-forward to February 28, 2017—a little more than a month after he took office—and senior Trump administration officials were already hinting that they planned to more strictly enforce federal drug laws. In effect, those federal laws would trump (no pun intended) the state laws that were voted on by the people who live there. Marijuana legalization would no longer be a state issue. That flies directly in


In a word, yes. Cannabis entrepreneurs should continue sailing toward the horizon and shouldn’t alter course one bit. Whether it’s recognized as legal by the federal government or not, the cannabis industry is experiencing huge growth. - Serge Chistov the face of everything Trump said during his 17 months on the campaign trail. And it’s not like no one saw this issue coming. It wasn’t a surprise. We’ve been talking about marijuana legalization for five years. That’s plenty of time to at least form an opinion. But still, Trump can’t make up his mind. So can we take anything President Trump says seriously? Only time will tell. This conflicted, convoluted, and inconsistent message has left cannabis entrepreneurs—many of whom may have voted for Trump because of his campaign “promises”—wondering what the future holds for their now thriving businesses. And thriving they are. Legal marijuana sales in Colorado alone topped $1 billion in 2016. That’s billion with a “b.” That’s a large number in and of itself, but just think of the tax revenue brought in by state and local jurisdictions. According to the website Colorado.gov and the publication Colorado Use/Tax Rates (DR1002), the consumer tax rate approaches 15% (depending on location), which—when multiplied by $1 billion—equals (conservatively) $150 million in tax revenue that can be used for things like infrastructure and schools. That’s a lot for an industry that no one in the federal government is even sure will be allowed to continue. That brings us back around to the cannabis entrepreneurs who have worked so hard to build their legal (according to the states and their citizenry, at least) business up from scratch. In light of the uncertainty that surrounds cannabis in this country, should they continue growing their businessesin a landscape where the future is so volatile? In a word, yes. Cannabis entrepreneurs should continue sailing

toward the horizon and shouldn’t alter course one bit. Whether it’s recognized as legal by the federal government or not, the cannabis industry is experiencing huge growth. And that growth isn’t just limited to sales. Investors are seeing the power and potential that our burgeoning industry holds and are jumping on board in droves. Very soon, should Trump and his administration choose to overturn the Cole Memo (the Obama-era deprioritization of federal marijuana enforcement in states where the drug is legal), they could find themselves in a fight—not just with the American people who have voted to legalize marijuana, but with a newly-created, very-well-funded marijuana lobby backed by investors, growers, and dispensaries around the country. In effect, the cannabis industry doesn’t yet know how much power it can exert on the legislators in this country. Why? Because there hasn’t been a need to flex those money-based muscles. But, if the rumblings in Washington turn out to be true, that time may be rapidly approaching. In the meantime, we wait. But that’s not a bad thing, either. I like to look at this uncertainty, this holding pattern, if you will, as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to make plans for the future. Are you thinking about expanding into recreational marijuana? Are you considering expanding your product line to include more varieties? Are you looking to get into a bigger space in anticipation of increased demand? Now is the time to begin laying the groundwork for that growth. I’m not saying you have to pull the trigger on any major endeavor. But you can start scouting locations, talking to builders, lining up funding. That way, when the dust finally settles, and the Trump administration realizes they’re butting heads with an immovable object, you’re not left struggling to catch up. The cannabis industry is here to stay. It’s a wave that has yet to crest … regardless of how a flip-flopping, wet-behind-the-ears president and his naive attorney general feel. Take advantage of this fact and forge ahead with the growth of your business. Soon, all the uncertainty will be gone and you—the cannabis entrepreneur—will be at the forefront of a multi-billion dollar industry (yes, that’s billion with a “b”) that has finally moved from basements and backrooms to glittery storefronts on Main Street. Make plans and keep true to experience that future for yourself.

Serge Chistov is the financial partner for Honest Marijuana Company, which uses all-natural cultivation methods to produce only the finest organic and ecoconscious cannabis products. Their marijuana is packaged in Earth-friendly recyclable tin cans with pure nitrogen to ensure only the highest level of integrity and quality. The company also recently launched their new Honest Blunts, the first organic hemp-wrapped, machine-rolled cannabis blunts. Visit the site at https:// honestmarijuana.com/. CANNABIZ Journal • 31


Legislative

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HB-2336 and Washington State Legislators’ Plan to Change Marijuana Laws By Jeff Clemens

A new bill introduced in the Washington state senate would change the current ability of cities, towns, and counties to prohibit the sale, production, or processing of marijuana by ordinance without a public vote. Washington’s 29th District Representative David Sawyer, one of bill’s creators, said, “We are seeing areas with outright bans being controlled by the black market [which] ultimately defeats the purpose of controlling marijuana in our state. It’s become a lot like when the mob had control of liquor during prohibition and it’s up to us to stop it. The only way that can happen is if we seize control.” Sawyer continued, “Another concern is the ability [of ] medical patients to get the medicine they need in those areas. There are numerous areas of our state and actually other states in the contry where marijuana is now legal where local jurisdictions have a complete ban. And patients are either having to travel long distances to get it or resorting to [the] black market. It’s just not right. So we proposed this bill to make a difference, and difference we feel is needed. We will need bipartisan support and I’m hopeful we will have it.” The bill proposal is rather simple: It would change the power of the few to the power of the many. Local officials would still be able to propose a ban through an ordinance and approve it, but the law could not be enacted without a majority vote from citizens. Contrary to the power of the people to keep an ordinance from being enacted, 32 • January 2018

the bill also gives the power to the people to propose an ordinance to be enacted through a petition. The petition would then have to be signed by a minimum of 30% of the voters in the jurisdiction. In Grays Harbor County, the cities of both Westport and McCleary have outright bans on marijuana, claiming that “if legal in their jurisdictions it has the potential to increase an already high rate of drug use.” Ocean Shores has a moratorium that bans the establishment of any new marijuana business until at least March of 2019, when the moratorium runs out. In Pacific County, there are currently four recreational marijuana shops and 18 producers or processors under I-502. The bill would also change the law regarding licensing. Most notably, producers would be able to sell immature plants or clones to qualifying patients or providers who have an active Washington state medical marijuana card. Currently, medical patients are left to the black market to obtain seeds or clones for use in approved grow sites, often shipping seeds from outside the country and running the risk of federal prosecution. Washington legislators also are currently pondering the idea of allowing recreational users to grow their own marijuana at home under strict rules. Washington is the only state that has legalized marijuana but does not allow recreational users to legally grow their own. The Washington state legislature directed the Liquor and Cannabis Control Board (WSLCCB) to conduct a study of regulatory options for legalizing marijuana

plant possession and cultivation by recreational users. The report was completed on December 1, 2017, and the results have been published, with three viable options expressed. Two options would allow home grows under specific rules, while the third option would keep the law as it is and not allow home grows except those for medical patients. The decision is now up to state legislators, who will weigh all options to make their final decision. Legislators have hinted recently that not allowing recreational grows of some sort would be detrimental to the state and the additional revenue that could be collected through sales or a licensing program. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson had previously criticized Washington for not including home grows in the bill, asking, “Why should it be illegal for recreational users to grow their own marijuana within reason while state residents can brew their own beer or wine?” The Washington State Cannabis Alliance, which represents recreational marijuana dispensaries in Washington has already stated that they don’t think allowing home grows will negatively affect business. The WSLCCB stated in a memo that they have a “strong desire to see adults granted the ability to grow in small quantities at home.” As of now both the proposed bill and options for home grows are left up in the air, while the uncertainty cast by the shadow of Jeff Sessions and the changing federal stance have left the entire industry unsure of the future.


Events

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By Jeff Clemens CANNACON 2018 will be held February 15–17, 2018, at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Washington. This year there will be over 400 exhibits and 40 seminars.

She continued, “During that time, if people have something that they would like to pitch to the ladies, then they can do that, with the possibility of making it onto season 4 of The Marijuana Show, which is pretty cool.”

“We will have three keynote speakers this year,” according to CANNACON Client Relations Official Angela Grelle. “Governor Inslee will be speaking on Thursday, we have former President of Mexico Vicente Fox speaking on Friday, and then we have a gentleman by the name of Dr. Sean Myles, who is a genetic specialist, coming to speak on Saturday.”

Currently, CANNACON is sold out of booth space in Seattle, but still has booth space available at their events on June 1–2 in Boston, Massachusetts, and July 27–28 in Detroit, Michigan. “We currently have a waiting list for Seattle,” according to Grelle.

The seminars will cover a wide variety of topics such as Cultivation, Compliance, Business and Legal, Science and Genetics, Extraction, Retail, Incannavest, as well as Marketing and Branding. “We also have The Marijuana Show, which is a show on Amazon Prime. It is a lot like Shark Tank, but for the cannabis Industry,” according to Grelle. “The ladies from that show are coming and they’re doing a two-hour seminar called ‘The Art of the Successful Pitch.’” 34 • January 2018

“We are at a better venue this year: the Washington State Convention Center,” Grelle tells us. “So we’re really gearing up to have what we’re hoping is going to be our best event yet. Our exhibitors are planning to do a large amount of business at this year’s show.” This year’s event will feature a lot of new businesses that will be introducing new innovative products. “It will be really exciting to just walk through the floor and see all the new cool technology that’s coming out in the industry,” Grelle told us.


January 2018 CannaBiz Journal  

CannaBiz Journal: Marijuana Industry Magazine Your source for cannabis business news and B2B education. January Highlights: CNvest, JoAnn B...

January 2018 CannaBiz Journal  

CannaBiz Journal: Marijuana Industry Magazine Your source for cannabis business news and B2B education. January Highlights: CNvest, JoAnn B...