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d e e w y l l o H n i n a M g n i k r o W t s Harde


LIZ CARMOUCHE Smashes Stigmas

Winter 2018


Runner’s High vs. Running High


“Weed the People”

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Charles Warner, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Looking Back, Looking Forward


s 2018 comes to a close, I could not be happier with how our publication has grown. Since our launch at MJBizCon NEXT earlier this year, we have worked tirelessly to keep our readers up-to-date with everything happening in the modern cannabis industry. And, as the following pages will show, there is definitely a lot happening within the space, from legislation and sustainability to security and entertainment. With that in mind, I am proud to present the winter issue of Cannabis & Tech Today. As is tradition with Cannabis & Tech Today, we have multiple cover features for the new issue: Kevin Smith and CBD American Shaman’s Vince Sanders. While the two have gone down different career paths, they definitely have one thing in common: a passion for cannabis. In Smith’s feature, he details how cannabis helped him after a drastic heart attack, an inspiring story that reflects the medicinal benefits of the substance. Similarly, Vince Sanders’ feature details how his uncle’s struggles with lung cancer led him to discover the medicinal benefits of CBD. We could not be happier to feature these two major forces and their thought-provoking stories within the pages of Cannabis & Tech Today. We’re ecstatic to feature some incredible innovators in the new issue. Codie Sanchez discusses how her outsider perspective helped her approach the cannabis industry. MMA fighter Liz Carmouche explains how important CBD has been to her training regimen. Abby Epstein, director of Weed the People, reveals the inspiration for her dramatic documentary on the benefits of medicinal cannabis. Entrepreneur and activist Nina Parks explains her passion for assisting women of color within the industry. And, last but not least, ultrarunner Avery Collins discloses how cannabis helps him go the distance. But, as always, Cannabis & Tech Today explores much more than just the innovators within the cannabis industry. Our thought-provoking stories from this issue examine everything from the decrease of teenage cannabis usage and the effects of CBD on sick pets to the future of the substance in Canada and a look at the incredible products that are shaking up the industry. With Cannabis & Tech Today turning the page to a new year, I could not be more grateful to have entered the world of cannabis journalism. As a rapidly growing, inclusive, and tight-knit industry, the cannabis space has been fascinating to watch throughout the year. And, with a whole new year ahead of us, we look forward to many more issues covering the stories, innovators, and technologies that make this industry so unique.


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018


PUBLISHER/ EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Charles Warner cwarner@goipw.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Shane Brisson shane@goipw.com

MEETING OUR COVER STARS, PAST AND PRESENT At Cannabis & Tech Today, we’ve had the privilege of speaking to and meeting a number of industry leaders who are pioneering the next wave in the cannabis industry. At MJBizCon 2018, we had the opportunity to meet with cover stars past and present, including Wanda James from the fall issue, and Kevin Smith from the winter. Both were at MJBizCon, exploring everything the cannabis industry has to offer while promoting their own trailblazing ventures.

CRASHING THE GATES AT CWCBE We had the privilege of debuting our fall issue at the Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo in Los Angeles, CA. One of the largest business-to-business trade shows in the industry, the CWCBE is an exploration in successful business practices and legislative next steps. At the event, Cannabis & Tech Today was able to speak to some major players in the cannabis space, including ebbu and New Frontier. SPECIAL THANKS TO: Shawna Seldon McGregor, Zoe Wilder, Malcolm Kemp, Abby Hagstrom, Rob Greenwald, Robyn Von Swank, Briana Cook, Codie Sanchez, Louis Eugene, Jeremy Jacob This publication is dedicated to the dreamers, the innovators, the collaborators, and the doers – who can’t be bothered by those saying it can’t be done. Nicholas and Aria, the future is yours! For print or digital subscriptions, visit cannatechtoday.com, or find us on popular digital newsstands and readers.


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56 Vince Sanders: Bringing Wellness to the World By Alex Moersen Cover Photo: Abby Laub J.A. Laub Photography

88 Kevin Smith: High Functioning By Alex Moersen Cover Photo: Robyn Von Swank

Departments 12 By the Numbers 14 Know Before You Invest 18 Women In Weed 20 Education 22 Demographics

102 Top 20 Products of 2018 108 Coming Next Issue 110 Events 112 The Lighter Side

24 Innovator Profile A New Frontier in Cannabis Reporting

26 Sustainability From Farm to Lab: The Future of Cannabinoid Production 28 Cannabis Tracking’s Impact on the Environment

32 Security Security on the Go 38 Utilizing Biometric Identification


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

26 From Farm to Lab: The Future of Cannabinoid Production


WINTER 2018 40 Codie Sanchez: Invest in the Best

40 Business Innovations Codie Sanchez: Invest in the Best 42 Building Better Business 44 Tracking for Transparency 46 The International State of Cannabis

48 Legislation Canada’s Green Future 52 C  ash Crop: Why Tribal Communities Are Embracing the Cannabis Market

56 Health & Wellness 62 Carmouche K.O.’s the Stigma 66 Delusions of a Causal Relationship 68 Avery Collins: Runner’s High 74 Cultivating the Future of Veterinary Medicine

76 The Lab An Alternative to Cannabis 78 Jon Cooper on Consistency and Predictability in the Cannabis Market 80 Creating a Next-Gen Facility Blueprint 84 The Two Sides of Segra

86 Incubator Nina Parks: The Matron of Mirage

88 Media+Entertainment 94 A New Direction for Medical Cannabis 98 The Battle Against Ad Restrictions 8

Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018



by the

A look at the metrics shaping the cannabis business market — and our lives

Demographics of Consumption

As the cannabis industry continues to grow, stigma is down and sales are up. Even conservative projections see national marijuana sales hitting $21.6 billion by 2021, up from $6.73 billion in 2016. That number is then projected to hit $57 billion by 2027. It begs the question: “Who exactly is purchasing all of this cannabis?” Data shows that while the largest consumer group is millennials (those under 35), the older generation is willing to spend a bit more money on their products.

Average age of cannabis users (2017)

Share of U.S. Consumers who Currently Smoke Marijuana, by age

Source: Cannabis Consumer Coalition

8% 50-64 years

Source: Statista

16.17% 46-55 years

3% 65+ years

10% 30-49 years

3.76% Over 65 years 0.94% 18-20 years

25.75% 36-45 years 40.79% 21-35 years

18% 18-29 years

Average Item Price Per Generation

Percentage of total sales across generations

Millennials (<35)

Millennials (<35)



Baby Boomer (54-75)



Baby Boomer (54-75)


16% 15% 2016

$21.09 Millennials (<35)

Source: Headset Cannabis Intelligence



Source: Headset Cannabis Intelligence

Generation X (35-53)


Percentage of Female Total Sales 31.21% For Each Generation Baby Boomer (54-75) Male by Gender 65.45%


35.23% Male


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018




Generation X (35-53)


Silent Generation (76+)



Generation X (35-53)


12.59% 56-65 years

65.45% Female

Cannabis Consumer Combined Household Income

Source: Cannabis Consumer Coalition



16.86% 11.74% 11.36%

Silent Generation (76+) Male

77.87% 22.13%


4.36% <$25k



$76k- $101k- $150k+ $100k $150k


Know Before You Invest By Alex Moersen

It’s most important that you research your broker before committing. You’ll want to evaluate them based on a variety of factors: costs (trading commissions, account fees, etc.), investment selection, and investor research and tools.


Investing is full of complex strategies and approaches, but many people have found success by simply sticking to the basics. If you are a beginner, especially in the volatile cannabis market, it’ll be important to start slow, do your research, and learn the markets.

Top Marijuana Stocks of 2018 Now that you are set up with your very own brokerage account, let’s take a look at some of the top marijuana stocks from 2018.

Cannabis is taking a turn. While the industry has been in a state of growth for awhile, in just the past few months some key stories have caused much volatility. The substance became recreationally legal in Canada this year. Despite U.S. federal regulations, this has caused huge brands like Constellation Brands (which owns Molson Coors) and Coca-Cola to take a look at the cannabis industry. Even in the U.S., the Drug Enforcement Administration has rescheduled some forms of CBD, allowing doctors to prescribe certain CBD-based medications. However, U.S. laws classifying most cannabis products as Schedule I drugs leave a lot unknown for the industry. For example, Canadians who have invested in the marijuana industry risk being banned from the U.S. at the border. At the same time, the recent midterm elections in the U.S. further evidenced that citizens are becoming more comfortable with the substance, with Michigan legalizing for recreational use, and Utah and Missouri for medical use. Considering all of this information, the cannabis industry is in a state of growth, but with that growth there is also tension. On one


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

hand, the industry may be intriguing to those hoping they can become early investors and make some money. However, due to the tension, they might want to err on the side of caution, choosing not to engage in the cannabis industry until regulations become more clear. So what is the best way to break into the industry right now? Without forming your own startup in the space, investing in the cannabis stock market is going to be the easiest first step. Here, we’ll break down the risks, rewards, and everything you need to know about cannabis investing.

How to Invest in Stocks Well, first thing’s first: if you are a first-time investor, you need to open up a brokerage account. In order to trade stocks, you’ll typically use an online brokerage that will allow you to buy and sell. For the casual investor, there are easy-touse apps, such as Robinhood, that allow you to buy, sell, and monitor stocks with a push of a button. There are other web services like Vanguard that might be a bit more complex, but provide more options. In reality, in the Information Age, it has never been easier to break into the stock market and set up a brokerage account.

Canopy Growth Corporation (CGC) As this is written, the Canopy Growth Corporation is trading just under $40 a share. In 2014, CGC became the very first cannabis stock to be publicly traded in North America. From developing a variety of products to market execution, CGC has become one of the largest cannabis brands on the market. In fact, the corporation even caught the attention of Constellation Brands, owner of Molson Coors, which then invested $4 billion into CGC. The endorsement immediately caused a 30 percent spike in Canopy Growth’s stock prices.

Tilray (TLRY) Since its Initial Public Offering (IPO) in July 2018, the Tilray stock has grown nearly 500 percent, peaking at 856 percent in mid September before coming down. A stock that started out at about $20 is worth just under $120 as this is written. Tilray has definitely been

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one of the most exciting stocks to watch during the second half of 2018. The producer of a variety of medical cannabis products, Tilray holds one of the hottest stocks on the market and shows no signs of slowing down. Of course, it is companies like Tilray that make some fear the “cannabis bubble,” but for those early investors, Tilray has been a great addition to their portfolios.

percent. As the only company with an FDAapproved cannabidiol product, they will dominate the market until someone else steps in. But even then, they should be wellestablished enough to experience growth for some time.

Key Resources for Investing in Cannabis Stocks

Stash The Stash Investment App is a great place to start for easy investing. Since Stash groups their investments into “themes,” it’s actually a great place for cannabis-focused investors, as they can group together their marijuana investments. It’s also a great place for beginners as it lets users invest as little as $5 at a time and follow trends via news stories directly on the app.

Aurora Cannabis (ACBFF) Similar to Canopy Growth Corporation, Aurora is another cannabis company that caught the attention of a major brand. In midSeptember, rumors sprouted that Coca-Cola was looking to partner with Aurora Cannabis on a CBD-infused beverage. (Said rumors have since been dismissed). Still, the rumors caused investors to pay attention, and over the last year ACBFF has experienced a number of growth spikes, but has since returned to its median. It is on the cheaper side when it comes to stocks and has potential for major growth. Due to this, it could be a good opportunity to get in on the ground floor of an exciting stock option.

GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) Likely the most legitimized company on this list, GW Pharmaceuticals’ stock is currently worth $130, with a steady 30 percent growth over the last year. What makes GWPH so valuable and reliable? They currently produce the only FDA-approved, CBD-based medicine allowed in the U.S., Epidiolex. When the DEA elected to start allowing various forms of CBD-based products, GW Pharmaceuticals’ stock jumped nearly 10

420 Investor If you’re ready to dive deep into the cannabis investment world, then 420 Investor might be a good tool. Founded by Alan Brochstein, who has experience both in portfolio management and the cannabis industry, 420 Investor is a community for investors to follow the everchanging industry. Per their description, “The main goal of 420 Investor is to provide real-time, objective information about the top marijuana companies in the market in order to help investors capitalize on cannabis.” The subscription is $599 a year, likely attractive to seasoned cannabis investors. But, if you have the money, amateur investors too could learn a lot from their newsletters and everything else 420 Investor has to offer.

MarketWatch MarketWatch is one of the top investment news sources. While they cover the entirety of the stock market, it is also a great platform where you can read about cannabis-specific news. Additionally, it will allow you to look up individual stocks to track them, see their recent news, and add them to your watch list. h

Prices and statistics listed are from November 2018. Due to the volatility of the stock market, prices are subject to change over time. 16

Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018


The [Bulb]Tech Evolution By Ebby Stone For cannabis companies, the potential for technological integration is limitless. Nearly every aspect of the business can be streamlined and optimized with innovative tech solutions. One startup that’s curating efficiency is BulbTech, a cannabis ecosystem connecting sellers with consumers in an easy-to-use interface. BulbTech is an online store, a delivery app, and a CRM all rolled into one intuitive platform. As the cannabis sector grows, so too will the demand for tech-enabled solutions. According to BulbTech CTO and Founder Tiffany Burtt, “This is an emerging industry and one that will be worth almost $150 billion by 2025. None of us will ever see another industry emerge like this.” With so much money on the line, partnering with the right technologies now could add up to significant savings later on. We spoke with Burtt to hear about her experience as a female founder in the cannabis space and discover how startups can better integrate tech into their business plans. Cannabis & Tech Today: How would you describe your experience as a female founder in the cannabis industry? Tiffany Burtt: My experience as a female founder has been exciting. I feel compelled every day, 20 hours a day, literally. There’s never a dull moment. Everyone needs and wants quality technology. There is a lot of stress though. Banking is the bane of our existence; that’s why I’m thrilled to think about the collaboration and creativity that went into our payment solution options. I was a little disappointed that [the gender demographics] reminded me of the tech and home services industries. Then it just pissed me off to see the scale tipping. But, then I came full circle and began looking for opportunities to lead, mentor, and promote change. C&T Today: What inspired the creation of BulbTech? 18

Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

BulbTech is a female-founded online store, delivery app, and CRM that leverages an intuitive interface to connect sellers to buyers. (Pictured below) BulbTech Founder and CTO Tiffany Burtt.

TB: When I began to see the tragedy that companies were calling technology and I started listening to the pain of systems not being integrated – state track-and-trace systems taking a crap and shutting dispensaries down for an entire holiday weekend, no operational lens into the business, etc. – I decided that we needed to provide wellness to the cannabis economy. We needed to build the experience the consumer craves and a platform for the sellers and distributors to thrive in, in the integrated and automated world they deserve. C&T Today: How could the cannabis sector improve its interaction with technology? TB: I wish we could get the word out that quality technology is not that expensive and must be a part of the initial build of any business in cannabis. I’ve seen so many businesses allot tons of cash for applications, licenses, brick-andmortar requirements, product inventory, and marketing – leaving nothing for tech. Lastly, a

lot of people are afraid of tech because it “records every single thing under the sun” and somehow it knows your black-market past and is going to alert authorities. Those are fear-based rumors and totally false. Embrace the freedom! C&T Today: As a tech startup in the cannabis space, what advice would you offer other entrepreneurs entering the industry? TB: My advice: when you meet a wall, tear it down and climb on over. Network. Sponsor. Keep showing up. Grind every day. Hydrate. Be uncomfortable; it means you’re growing. h



The Cannabis Curriculum

By Jordan French This past spring, ZipRecruiter’s CEO, Ian Siegel, revealed that cannabis is the fastest growing job category in the United States. With 445 percent year-over-year growth in job listings, cannabis is far outpacing tech and healthcare career growth (245 and 70 percent, respectively). Data released by Mordor Intelligence suggested that the country’s market value could reach $65 billion by 2023. Potential supporting evidence comes from cannabis staffing agency Vangst which reported a 690 percent jump in job listings since 2017. The hottest job markets continue to be notable cities and states with recreational and medicinal use. Job seekers are finding the most opportunities in California, Colorado, Washington, Nevada, Oregon, and Florida. However, opportunities should continue to expand further into emerging markets in the U.S. soon enough. Until recently, those seeking an education in cannabis had to enroll in one of the few prominent, credible institutions like Oaksterdam University, or learn by working in the black market. While Oaksterdam is


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

recognized in the industry, its credits often could not translate beyond cannabis. Until recently, this severely limited the value of its education if an individual ever wanted to apply their skills to another industry – in addition to the stigma of going to a “pot college.” Meanwhile, the obvious risks of the black market continue to loom heavily over many seeking a career in cannabis. However, times are changing at college campuses. With the boom of the cannabis market and its legalization inching further across the country, major American institutions of higher learning are getting involved with cannabis. 2017 saw several noted universities offer classes to students. Physiology of Cannabis was offered at UC Davis. Ohio State University’s law school taught marijuana policy and the legalized industry. Progressive cannabis measures almost feel out of place without Colorado involved, so, naturally, the University of Denver was in on the trend by offering a course on the business of cannabis. The course, taught by Professor Paul Seaborn, teaches upper-level students at the Daniels

College of Business at about 25 students per class. New Jersey is another state on the cusp of adult-use legalization. With Governor Phil Murphy pushing hard for recreational approval, one state college is offering relevant classes to its students. This past semester, Stockton College began offering its students the opportunity to minor in cannabis studies. The move is believed to be the first in New Jersey and one of just a handful in the country. As of early October 2018, 30 students had been enrolled in the program. With job markets booming, it only makes sense for universities and colleges to offer cannabis education at their institutions. Not only will the courses provide the needed education to the future of the workforce, they also help boost the status of the university. Like in business, these first-to-market schools could prove themselves as the innovators among accredited universities. By offering an education on cannabis, the schools open themselves to more prospective applicants while the industry benefits from the slew of educated workers entering the market. h

AS YOU GROW, SO WILL THE NEEDS OF YOUR BUSINESS Make sure you have a cannabis software partner that can grow along with you


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The Kids Are Alright By Al Elio

In recent years, the idea of the youth being adversely affected by the legalization of marijuana continues to be a common refrain of those in opposition. As recreational marijuana has existed in several states for nearly half a decade, we have the benefit of hindsight and can know with a reasonable degree of certainty if the voters that approved the legalization of marijuana thought of the youth of America. Today, the concept of legal marijuana seems to be the domain of liberal states, but this hardly describes the state of Colorado, a mostly red state with two large blue splotches in Denver and Boulder. Colorado Amendment 64 quickly gained traction and there was little doubt as to its passage in 2012. The support for legalization spanned the political spectrum: liberals believed that legalization would end the failed “War on Drugs,” fiscal conservatives foresaw economic opportunity, and libertarians felt that their voices, often lost in the wilderness of political discourse, had finally been heard. The opposition, which banded together as “No on 64,” believed that the legislation of marijuana would lead to increased usage and would harm Colorado’s youth and pave the path to a life of drug addiction. On November 6th, 2013, Amendment 64 passed by a ten-point margin and commercial marijuana sales began on January 1st, 2014. 22

Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

But, did the legalization of marijuana impact the usage of the youth? According to a National Survey on Drug Use and Public Health study, there was an impact, but not in the way detractors prognosticated. The study followed the marijuana consumption of those aged 12-17. During the years of 2013 and 2014, 20.81 percent of participants used marijuana in the past year, while only 18.35 did the same during 2014/2015. While the marijuana consumption of Colorado youth dropped nearly two percent, the national average remained static. It should come as no surprise that more adults reported smoking marijuana in Colorado following its legalization in 2014. According to The Guardian, a report showcased that a third of Colorado citizens between 18 and 25 used cannabis within 30 days of the 2014 survey, an uptick of five percent from the year prior to legalization. A similar trend was seen for adults over 26, with an increase of 4.8 percent between 2012 and 2014. What may come as a surprise is the sheer force of economic impact that follows adults peacefully smoking a plant. According to a Denver Post article, “adult-use sales topped $1.09 billion during [2017], with the remaining $416.52 million coming from medical marijuana.



Colorado collected upward of $247 million in taxes and fees revenue from marijuana sales.” Clearly, adults in Colorado thoroughly enjoyed obeying the law. Ultimately, there is not a singular explanation for the declining usage of cannabis among Colorado’s teens post-legalization, but there are several reasonable hypotheses. First, the fact that a once-subversive and outlawed substance had become as common and mainstream as the contents of their parent’s liquor cabinet dulled the appeal. The procurement of marijuana, which once involved clever code words and covert missions, was now reduced to asking an older sibling for a favor. It’s also possible that small-time dealers, once the bastion of teenage weed dealers, closed their shops to sell other wares or move into the newly legit marketplace. Hindsight is not 4/20, but we now know that the proponents of legal cannabis were correct in their assumption that legalization would not harm teenagers. Not only are fewer teens using marijuana, but adult usage has contributed a sizable amount to the public till. The aftermath of Colorado’s legalization has proved one thing: if you’re worried about the perils of marijuana use, focus on the adults. The kids are just fine. h



A New Frontier in Cannabis Reporting How one woman’s vision is bringing data-driven solutions to a global market By Patricia Miller The legal cannabis industry is rapidly expanding across the U.S. In fact, it generated more than $8 billion in 2017 and is expected to surpass $23 billion by 2025, according to a 2018 industry report. This is critical information for investors, operators, and policymakers involved in the sector. Further, it’s information that is only available thanks to the rigorous studies conducted and compiled by New Frontier Data (NFD), an independent, technology-driven analytics company. NFD is providing detailed analytical data on nearly every segment of the cannabis industry. Their insights have been shaping policies, changing business strategies, and influencing investors since their debut in 2014. Now, nearly five years later, NFD is reporting on cannabis markets across the globe. Their latest reports, such as the Asia-Pacific Hemp Brief, the Oceania Cannabis Report, and the Canada Cannabis Report, are informing influencers on all seven continents. In part, NFD owes its success to its forwardthinking Founder and CEO Giadha Aguirre de Carcer. She created NFD to provide unbiased, vetted, and actionable intelligence to those operating, researching, or investing in the cannabis industry. Her leadership and vision have


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

propelled her company into a global powerhouse, and their work will only increase in relevance as more markets enter the legal cannabis space. We had the opportunity to speak with de Carcer at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition, where she revealed what’s next for the groundbreaking company.

say, and sticking to reporting factual information. We provide data analytics and high-level, actionable intelligence. In order to do that, we had to create a massive technological infrastructure. The data in the industry remains fragmented and disjointed due to regulation, and now that we cover not only the United States but the globe, we needed to adapt and technology is the solution for that. So in terms of what is the play for technology in the cannabis industry today, well, it’s critical. Information flow and the speed of information flow will be critical to continue to see a more cohesive evolution of the industry in North America, where it started, but also, across other regions such as Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and even Africa.

Cannabis & Tech Today: How does New Frontier Data use technology to elevate the discussion around cannabis? Giadha Aguirre de Carcer: I started the company in 2014 with a vision and mission to elevate the discussion around this emerging market. “Removing the scarlet letter,” I like to

C&T Today: What is the most overlooked investment risk within the cannabis market? GC: I’m truly happy the question of risk is being asked. Oftentimes our clients and our audience focus on what is, of course, the excitement of this booming industry: massive consumer base engagement and the fact that cannabis is going viral around the world. But, all

“The data in the industry remains fragmented and disjointed due to regulation, and now that we cover not only the United States but the globe, we needed to adapt and technology is the solution for that.” that glitters isn’t gold. There is a need and we certainly have committed to that; to report the good, the bad, and the ugly. So in terms of risks, one of the most eminent and newly emerged risks, which pertains to the United States specifically, is what’s happening around the border. For the U.S. to give lifetime bans to Canadian investors coming in, given the fact that 40 percent of investment in the industry today is in someway touching Canada, could cripple the cannabis industry in the U.S. The United States is already facing some critical challenges when it comes to global dynamics because of the lack of federal regulation and the fact that cannabis is not federally legal in the United States. Operators and stakeholders here cannot get involved in what is an emerging import/export arena. That already was a challenge, but if, in addition to that, you begin challenging or prohibiting the flow of investment, which has fueled innovation – the livelihood of the industry – that could have some very longstanding negative effects. The second thing I would like to bring to bear is, let’s not be myopic in terms of what cannabis is. This plant has recreational and adult-use applications and, of course, it has medical applications. The plant also has industrial

applications via hemp, so not thinking about the versatile aspects of this plant could also be a risk for those looking at short-term, mediumterm, and long-term opportunities in the U.S. and abroad. C&T Today: How have federal regulations in the U.S. impacted New Frontier Data? GC: In terms of what we, New Frontier Data, have faced as far as challenges stemming from the current regulatory environment in the U.S., I would say none. We do not touch the plant; we’re an objective, neutral broker of information and intelligence. Candidly, we had some hiccups over some critical things, like payment processing. We did have a couple of accounts closed but overall, nothing compared to what others are experiencing, so we’ve been very lucky. C&T Today: What are some unique challenges cannabis companies are facing in regard to raising capital? GC: As far as raising capital, in terms of the greatest challenges that we all face, I would say transparency. We have to remember that while all of us in the industry feel the scarlet letter is no longer a concern, there are still those, especially in the mature financial space, who question what the plant’s future will really be and the socioeconomic impact of the plant.

Given that in the U.S. it is still not federally legal, banks are going to hesitate to come in because they are facing massive liability. So, we have a very narrow pool of investment sources and the more we adopt sophisticated reporting practices and embrace the need for transparency in all things in our businesses, then we are more likely to continue to attract those mature investors that will help us continue to operate in this wonderful space. C&T Today: What’s next for New Frontier Data? GC: What lies in the future for New Frontier Data is global expansion via some pretty amazing companies that are emerging regionally. We are going to begin by establishing ourselves in Europe – we’ll soon be announcing who that partner is – but we are covering all countries legalizing across the European Union. Followed very closely by our presence in Latin America, we’ll soon be in Panama as of February 2019, and we’ll have a large announcement in terms of that. We also went to Sydney and Hong Kong this October, where we are beginning to have mature discussions around, not only cannabis and CBD production, but hemp’s advanced industrial applications, with some serious stakeholders across the region. So again, global expansion. h

Winter 2018 // Cannabis & Tech Today



From the Farm to the Lab: The Future of Cannabinoid Production By Allen St. Pierre

In the near future, cannabis consumers and medical patients will very likely find themselves purchasing cannabis products that were not derived from the marijuana plant. Instead, the cannabinoids could be derived from yeast, gene graphing, or even moss. If all the quality control, consumer safety, and satisfaction boxes get checked, does the source of the cannabinoids really matter? There are seemingly endless varieties (strains) of cannabis plants found around the globe, the quality of each being greatly impacted by soil, climate, and weather conditions conducive to maximum botanical potential and crop yield (WeedMaps and Leafly list over 500 different strains of cannabis currently marketed to medical patients and recreational consumers). However, there are effectively only eight components of the cannabis plant that humans most likely benefit from. The major psychotropic ingredient in the cannabis plant is delta-g-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly referred to as THC, along with cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), cannabavarin (THCV), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), delta-8-THC, cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabitriol (CBT), and 26

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cannabielsoin (CBE). In total, there have been 86 cannabinoids identified in nature and others have been synthesized chemically.

water consumption, olfactory mitigation, clipping and trimming, and curing and packaging.

There are numerous biotech companies, notably in the nation of Canada where cannabis is 100 percent legal, that are now able to openly pursue scientific processes similarly found in the food, beverage, and consumer products industries, benefiting from brewer’s economics rather than those of farmer’s.

However, once scientifically derived, the cost to create genetically modified components of cannabis to that of traditionally cultivated cannabis plants are fractional.

Greenhouse Grown or Genetics Lab? Firstly, for the number of cannabis flower consumers (joints, buds, and loose-leaf), they’ll always have their vegetation-based product to purchase, but the more diverse consumers of concentrate, wax, shatter, edibles, tinctures, and balms in the ever-expanding legal marketplace for marijuana products will very likely be seeing an increased share of the cannabis market being serviced by genetically engineered cannabis components rather than the plants themselves. The economic benefits for the producers are manifest. The capital outlay for cultivating and processing large amounts of cannabis is substantial for necessary real estate, building customization, cultivation lighting, energy and

The idea is not new. According to The New York Times, efforts to get yeast to synthesize cannabinoids date back to 2007, when Japanese scientists published a study detailing how they inserted a gene into Pichia pastoris that coaxed it to secrete an enzyme necessary to produce THC. But the researchers did not know all of the other enzymes used by the cannabis plant to make THC. Over the last decade, with the help of cheaper and faster DNA analysis tools, they have found those key genes.

Competitors Galore in Ganja Genetics While the first wave of capital investment in a recently legal cannabis industry were largely directed at cultivation facilities (and then, logically, retail facilities), the second wave of ganjapreneurs appear to be focused on “lower input costs.” To remove the myriad of confounding factors and maximize agricultural output (for both outdoor or indoor cultivation),


Ginkgo, which cut its teeth in the fragrance industry perfecting similar functions, has a 100,000-square-foot facility, over 100 PhDs employed, and phalanxes of robots performing the tedious task of isolating active compounds that can be infused with other mediums (food, drink, lotion, concentrates, etc.)

more reliable, predictable, stable, and economical means to produce cannabinoids typify where a considerable amount of capital will be invested in the cannabis space in the coming years. Apropos, this September, Canadian cannabis company Cronos announced a $122 million agreement deal with Ginkgo Bioworks of Boston to genetically engineer the active ingredients in cannabis. Ginkgo, which cut its teeth in the fragrance industry perfecting similar functions, has a 100,000-square-foot facility, over 100 PhDs employed, and phalanxes of robots performing the tedious task of isolating active compounds that can be infused with other mediums (food, drink, lotion, concentrates, etc.). Ginkgo is already a well-established biotech player with Bayer AG, Archer Daniels Midland, and Cargill as current partners and investors. In explaining the deal with Ginkgo to BNN Bloomberg, the technology’s application to the cannabis industry is clear, said Mike Gorenstein, CEO and Chairman of Cronos. For example, a compound called tetrahydrocannabivarin, or

THCV, acts as an appetite suppressant, potentially offsetting the “munchies” effect of pot. It appears in very small quantities in the cannabis plant, making it difficult and expensive to produce at scale. Using Ginkgo’s technology, pure THCV can be produced in a lab.

premium grown [flower] product,” explained Engel to BNN Bloomberg. “But when you start to look at how cannabinoids are going to be produced in the future for various edibles, vaporizable products, etc., this is infinitely scalable at a fraction of the cost.”

“Being able to consistently and efficiently produce high-purity cannabinoids, that’s the Holy Grail,” Gorenstein told Bloomberg.

Another Ginkgo competitor, San Diego-based Cellibre, says it plans to use microorganisms that will produce cannabinoids more efficiently than Ginkgo. Its CEO, Ben Chiarelli, told The Guardian that their proprietary technology, comparatively, is similar to how insulin was produced in livestock pancreases before it could be synthesized from E. coli. Anandia Laboratories of British Columbia and Amyris of California also labor in the “yeast rather than cellulose” part of the cannabis industry.

A more cannabis-centric player in this increasingly crowded space is Hyasynth Bio; the Montreal-based biotech’s enzymes and yeast strains have enabled the company to produce cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) that can be used for cannabis-based products such as beverages or pharmaceuticals. The CEO of Canadian cannabis company OrganiGram, Greg Engel, told BNN Bloomberg that Hyasynth’s technology is a game-changer, and that their $10 million investment into the company this past September is aimed at helping scale up to commercial production in the coming months. “There’s always going to be a place for that

Looking at these cases, and the multitude of them, the near future of the cannabis industry may be rooted, not in plants, but in genetic engineering. h Allen St. Pierre is the vice president of Freedom Leaf Inc, partner at Sensible Alternative Investments, and a member of the NORML board of directors. Winter 2018 // Cannabis & Tech Today



CannabisTrackingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;sImpact on theEnvironment An Opportunity to Do Better By Patrick Vo, President and CEO of BioTrackTHC

As the industry continues to charge forward at a neck-breaking pace and more states and countries implement legal cannabis programs, businesses and regulators are looking beyond the early-stage issues of our industry and are beginning to factor long-term sustainability into their decision-making. Though the product is plant-based and commonly thought of as â&#x20AC;&#x153;green,â&#x20AC;? producing and distributing billions of dollars worth of cannabis inherently creates significant environmental impact. Governments and businesses are now seeking ways to mitigate that impact by focusing on resource 28

Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

consumption, energy usage, and waste management. This brings into question a key component of many state-operated cannabis programs: one-time use radio frequency identification (RFID) tags composed of plastic.

certain types of decomposing, un-recycled

The damage to the environment caused by plastic waste cannot be overestimated. Several states have banned one-time use plastic bags in grocery stores, some have banned plastic straws, and internationally we have even seen K-Cups being banned. Just this year, researchers from the University of Hawaii determined that

industry that is mindful of its environmental

plastics are actually prolific contributors to greenhouse gases. As the cannabis industry faces increased scrutiny for its environmental impact, there is an opportunity to build an impact on the world. RFID tags have great potential, but deficiencies and lack of usefulness in cannabis settings aside, it would be irresponsible for the industry to continue employing millions of one-time use, nonrecyclable plastic tags.



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(Left) Patrick Vo, President and CEO of BioTrackTHC. (Bottom Left) An example of RFID tags used in cannabis tracking.

Some Background Cannabis regulatory agencies typically use a combination of specialized software and physical tags to track state-authorized product through the entire cannabis life cycle from seed to sale. The goal is to create an audit trail of any given product so that all parties involved in the supply chain operate transparently and are held accountable. Of the 32 states that have medical or adult use industries, roughly a third of them require that the physical tags attached to plants and inventory are RFID tags, while the rest allow for traditional printed barcodes.

What’s the Difference Between RFID and Barcodes? In terms of data storage capabilities, there is no difference. Tags are just tags and convey no useful information without the software system. The theory is that RFID tags allow for scanning groups of products to move through large numbers more quickly. However, in practice, few cannabis businesses actually use RFID scanning. Scanning groups of RFID tags does not guarantee that you’re scanning every tag in a given group. In most cases, users find that plants and products get missed due to “shadowing,” where one tag blocks the scan from reaching the tag behind it. Additionally, areas of high density metal and water are known to cause interference with RFID scanners, resulting in read issues. That brings into question the overall 30

Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

effectiveness of RFID tags in cultivation environments, where thorough scanning is essential to effective auditing. Barcodes require that you scan each and every plant or product that is part of a given audit, which can be more time-consuming, but better guarantees accuracy.

Sustainability of RFID The issue of plastic waste and its outsized impact on our environment is one that has been thrust into the spotlight and can no longer be ignored. Considering RFID tags in the cannabis industry are one-time use, composed of nonrecyclable materials, it would be irresponsible for leaders to avoid the glaring question, “Is RFID sustainable for the future of the cannabis industry?”

which by itself is also recyclable. A key component to effective recycling is the requirement of separating recyclable materials, often referred to in the waste management industry as “sorting.” This sorting is done either in the individual recycling bin (think airports and mall cafeterias) or at a facility. In order to recycle an RFID tag, you would have to manually separate the metal antenna, which is embedded within the plastic device. Considering an average grower can use up to 1,000 tags a month (a very conservative number), it would be a painstaking process to manually remove a small metal piece from each and every RFID tag the business uses.

Picking a Path

Ultimately, states must determine which tagging methodology is most advantageous for their framework, industry participants, and ultimately, the patients/consumers. Considering cannabis businesses across the country are literally going through millions of RFID tags a month, the elephant in the room is the fact that nobody in the industry is recycling them.

Cannabis businesses are inherently costintensive and the financial obstacles they face are mounting, making it unreasonable to expect an emerging startup business to spend hours on a task that does not result in ROI. Factor in the endless nature of this process and companies are faced with countless hours spent on a task that does not benefit the business directly.

RFID tags are composed of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET. Under the right conditions, this type of plastic is highly efficient and recyclable. However, inside of each RFID tag is a small metal antenna that is responsible for communicating data to a handheld scanner,

Regardless, the only real potential benefit of RFID is the appearance of being high-tech, but appearances are not worth the high costs of the tags themselves, nor the irreversible damage to the environment to which they will ultimately contribute. h

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Security on the Go How Cannabis Companies Can Utilize Mobile Surveillance to Protect Their Products


By Kent Gruetzmacher

In today’s world, cannabis business operations are complex, multifaceted affairs – this notion is heightened with the nuances of transport in the industry. With cannabis products still demanding a large price on the black market, and business operating in a “cash only” industry, cannabis companies have plenty to protect. As such, forward-looking security technology companies are implementing mobile surveillance systems for transporting sensitive assets. While mobile surveillance systems are not required for the transport of cannabis products according to most state compliance standards, they can still prove quite valuable. This is namely because, if a delivery is compromised, a cannabis company can easily lose its operating license, or simply go out of business. Mobile surveillance can also be used to monitor the behavior of employees working remotely. Safety Vision is an industry-leading mobile surveillance technology company that is actively engaging the cannabis industry. According to their Marketing Director Jamie Hawkins, “Safety 32

Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

Vision has been leading the mobile surveillance industry for over 25 years. Our revolutionary solutions give fleet administrators the ability to track, view, and monitor their products with ease knowing their inventory and delivery routes are always protected under video surveillance.” Safety Vision’s history in traditional forms of mobile security systems, as well as their impact on the cannabis industry of today, makes them one of the world’s foremost authorities on the issue.

The Use of Mobile Surveillance Systems Mobile surveillance technology resembles standard camera security systems concerning infrastructure, but also includes innovations such as GPS tracking. The crux of these systems is that remote cameras report real-time imaging back to a data center where video is recorded and monitored. This data is then available for viewing remotely by way of computers and cell phones. GPS tracking systems also give business owners a real-time understanding of where their cargo is located during transport.

Mobile surveillance operations face several challenges not experienced in more standard security protocols. Trials mainly have to do with the fact that this delicate technology must operate in conjunction with the demands of the road. Hawkins explains, “The mobile environment presents particular challenges that stationary systems don’t face. Simply driving a vehicle down a normal road induces a huge amount of vibration, dirt, dust, water, and whatever the environment plans to throw at you that day … The cameras and their associated equipment must be able to withstand these conditions.” Looking to unique applications of mobile surveillance systems, the technology is used to monitor events related to travel. Traditionally, mobile surveillance systems have been utilized in transport heavy industries like shipping and public transit. Looking to the trucking industry, security companies have developed driver monitoring systems to gauge the roadworthiness of truck drivers. Interestingly, this technology weighs driver actions against computer algorithms to detect

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anomalies in vehicle movement, such as sudden braking. Concerning public transit, we see mobile surveillance systems in buses and trains in most cities in the United States. While this is not necessarily an arena in which one would expect to see such measures, camera systems help curb crime in public transportation. Finally, in situations most applicable to the cannabis space, mobile surveillance systems are employed to monitor the transport of valuable or sensitive cargo. The most obvious of these applications is the oversight of armored trucks that transport cash and valuables between banking institutions.

mandated security technology required to “remain compliant” get handed down from such state ordained entities as the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED), the same departments dictate who can legally transport cannabis products. The rules and regulations relating to cannabis transportation protocols vary from state to state and across different business verticals, including cultivation, processing, testing, and sales. To help understand this somewhat convoluted flux of compliance regulation across evolving state cannabis programs, a brief look at the state of

delivery.” Finally, all this data must be recorded within the track and trace protocol of BioTrack THC, the chosen seed-to-sale platform for Washington State. In relating the state’s cannabis transport platform to mobile surveillance systems, the technology is quite useful in ensuring that businesses know exactly what is happening with their products during transport. However, Washington does not require that cannabis businesses to use mobile surveillance technology.


Washington will help illuminate the details of cannabis transport in an established market.


Cannabis Transportation Regulations The cannabis industry presents an extremely unique environment for applying mobile transport surveillance. This is due to the fact that security protocols in cannabis are intimately entwined with the compliance standards of a given marketplace. As such, not only does the


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

Washington provides some very clear guidelines on who can legally transport cannabis within the state. According to the Washington State Legislature website, only a licensed “producer, processor, retailer, or certified third-party testing lab” is eligible to legally transport cannabis products. Additionally, licensed businesses must notify the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) when transporting products, including information on “the type and amount and/or weight of marijuana and/or marijuana products being transported, the name of the transporter, information about the transporting vehicle, times of departure, and expected

Mobile Surveillance Systems for the Cannabis Industry Mobile surveillance systems can be of value to cannabis business owners interested in taking the extra step to ensure safe delivery of assets. While it might seem like an extra expense to some, taking this additional precaution can be beneficial regarding internal controls as well as protecting against outside criminal activity. Mobile cameras and GPS tracking ensure honesty and safe driving on the parts of


Safety Vision’s platform allows business owners to track, view, and monitor their products on the road via security cameras and GPS tracking. While not necessarily a part of every state’s security regulations for the cannabis industry, this type of mobile surveillance can add another layer of security for owners and allow them to stay ahead of regulations.

cannabis industry employees who work remotely in transport-related jobs, such as sales and delivery. To this end, Safety Vision includes “interior and exterior cameras that ensure every step [of the transport process] is not only recorded but stored for review and playback at any time.” Looking more specifically at driver tracking, Hawkins explained that mobile surveillance technology “comes equipped with email health reports that connect to set Geofences to alert the logistics coordinator when anything out of the ordinary takes place, such as erratic driving, prolonged idle periods, or off-route activity.” Companies like Safety Vision are seeing an upswing in business in established arenas of the cannabis industry like Colorado and Washington and their technology is being used to protect a variety of assets. According to Hawkins, “Developed markets are more receptive to our products because states that have legalized the cannabis business already


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

have fleets to implement our solutions.” Looking to the specifics of transport, mobile surveillance technology can be utilized to protect both cannabis products and cash. Depending on the regulations of the cannabis market in question, Hawkins feels that this technology is an affordable and practical alternative to hiring armed guards for transport. Not only does mobile surveillance technology “continue to pay for itself years after purchasing,” according to Hawkins, it is often far more dependable than an employee making a small hourly wage.

The Future of Mobile Surveillance Transportation is an extremely important facet of cannabis business operations, yet it is easily overlooked in the development of a business plan. This makes sense, as cannabis operations have grown into complex endeavors with inflated operating expenses. Companies like Safety Vision run into these issues on a regular basis, as they must explain the differences between such things as “stationary cameras in a facility or dispensary and proprietary mobile

surveillance cameras that are used for securing transportation.” This can be a tough sell, as stationary cameras are almost always required by the state, while mobile surveillance often is not. Nonetheless, taking extra steps beyond mandated compliance standards could prove beneficial for business owners in the end, especially concerning internal controls on employee actions. Looking forward, Hawkins is optimistic that mobile surveillance systems will eventually be required in cannabis compliance protocol, as “other high-value industries” require the use of similar technology. h Kent Gruetzmacher M.F.A. is a Colorado-based freelance writer and the Director of Business Development at Mac & Fulton Talent Partners (www.mandfconsultants.com), a recruiting firm dedicated to the indoor gardening and cannabis space. He is interested in utilizing his M.A. in the Humanities to critically explore the many cultural and business facets of this youthful, emergent industry by way of his entrepreneurial projects.

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Utilizing Biometric Identification By Kent Gruetzmacher

According to SearchSecurity, biometric identification is defined as any form of biological trait that uniquely identifies a person. For example, fingerprints are the original form of biometric verification, used to identify people in law enforcement and security applications. As biometric identification technology has advanced, it has started to utilize other genetic identifiers, such as retina shapes, iris profiles, DNA sequencing, hand geometry, and voice waves. Thus far, biometric verification technology has seen innovations and applications in the private sector of the cannabis space. For starters, cannabis tech company American Green has developed a biometric marijuana vending machine. The idea behind American Green’s “ZaZZZ” vending machine is to use biometric technology to verify the age and legal status of a consumer in an unmanned retail exchange. Due to obvious legal issues with cannabis sales and compliance, the ZaZZZ vending machine is still in its development phase. In a more operational application, safe manufacturers such as Brown Safe have created biometric locking mechanisms on their safes. These safes utilize biometric screening to keep cash and inventory secure from all but a few key employees at the business in question. Brown Safe is actively engaging the cannabis market with this technology. While these sorts of applications of biometric technology are doubtlessly both innovative and 38

Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018


The modern cannabis space is marked by an ebb and flow of business opportunities within specific market locales; opportunities that arise out of market demand and operational requirements. This notion informs technological innovations in security, including the advent of biometric identification. As the industry continues to mature, business owners in cultivation, processing, and retail environments are entertaining the use of this technology once reserved for such applications as national security.

exciting, they are not necessarily applicable across the cannabis industry. This is largely because, in each legal cannabis market in the United States, minimum security standards are set forth in accordance with state mandated compliance programs. Looking to biometric identification technology, its most practical application is the within internal controls of a business, essentially regulating which employees, vendors, and visitors can access sensitive portions of the operation. To this end, states like Colorado have preordained badging systems that regulate the flow and access of people to different parts of a business. As such, cannabis businesses in Colorado must abide by this badge system to operate legally – stifling the need for biometric verification with internal controls. Currently, no state-mandated compliance programs require the use of biometric verification in their minimumsecurity standards. For cannabis business owners and managers, the use of biometric identification boils down to preference rather than necessity. The technology is attractive on a couple of levels. For starters, retail operations like dispensaries

generally have large sums of cash on hand, as well as an inventory of flowers and concentrates that can demand a healthy sum on the black market. Therefore, cannabis business owners may choose to implement biometric identification protocols for internal controls as a proactive measure against criminal activity. This notion is especially attractive concerning employees and vendors, who could potentially circumvent a badging system with a simple exchange of IDs. For companies like Brown Safe, the offering of biometrically verified storage for assets like cash is a great option for those businesses interested in an extra level of security. For cannabis business owners, security protocol boils down to local compliance standards as well as personal preference in securing their physical assets. Looking to potential applications of this technology in the cannabis space, cultivation, processing, and retail businesses must weigh their security infrastructure between these two criteria. However, in the race to legalization, more businesses may continue to adopt biometric identification technology in order to stay ahead of compliance standards. h



Invest in the Best Codie Sanchez Discusses Her Fascinating Venture into the Business of Cannabis By Alex Moersen fringe investments, but I really didn’t know very much about the cannabis space at all, and it started because I personally work with a lot of veterans. About two years ago, we started trying to get a lot of these veterans jobs and money and all of that, through some of the charity activities I do. What I realized is these men and women, they’re not ready for that. They’re literally trying to restructure their minds to come home completely, and they’re not all about these crazy opioid cocktails that are slowly killing them.

She successfully built an asset-management business in Latin America. She served as an investment consultant at companies such as Facebook, Apple, and Amazon. She is a prominent entrepreneur, investor, and speaker. Now, Codie Sanchez has her eyes on the cannabusiness. As an early stage investor in cannabis companies like Cresco Capital and BlueBonnet Ventures, among other private entities, Sanchez brings her outsider expertise to a blossoming industry. This year, she shared her inspiration and wisdom at MJBizCon 2018, contributing her investment knowledge to attendees. In this exclusive interview, Sanchez explains how she broke into the cannabis space, what she looks for in a company, and her opinions on the future of legalization. Cannabis & Tech Today: How did you get into the cannabis investment space? Codie Sanchez: It was definitely not something I thought I was going to invest in, to be perfectly honest. I’m always interested in


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

So, all of these people – who are faith, God, love, and family first – were now talking about cannabis as the solution. I don’t know how much I believed it at first, until I started actually seeing these guys utilize it to stop all the things we now know in the industry at least are pretty normal (anxiety, depression, and hypervigilance). That’s why I got in. I started getting in by originally investing in some veteran-owned companies. Then I backed a cannabis hedge fund that was investing in a slew of companies across the space. Now I back a venture, which is probably my largest investment, called Texas for Veterans, which is the operating company behind BlueBonnet Ventures. And these two groups are really focused on legislating in the state of Texas to allow for medicinal cannabis for those with PTSD or TBI or chronic pain. So, it really came out of a need of the community, not necessarily an opportunity seen monetarily. C&T Today: How does investing in cannabis businesses differ from other industries? CS: Well, I think the number one difference is probably professionalism. Anytime I’ve invested in any business, it’s all about investment in people ultimately, right? Which sounds super

cheesy, except it’s absolutely true. If you talk to any venture capital investor out there, the idea is important, yes, and the execution is important, yes, but it’s the grit to just deal with all of the completely heart-wrenching things that will happen to you in business that’s really important. For me, it was trying to find, in cannabis, individuals who had a really high level of professionalism, who had a high level of ethics and morals to speak of, and who weren’t focusing on the “f*** the man” aspect. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about a little rebellion now and then too, but I want to invest in people who have a track record. I can actually see they’ve done some sort of business and they have a high level of professionalism through education or other ventures that they’ve been a part of in cannabis. C&T Today: This year, cannabis became legal in Canada, and just a few weeks before that the DEA rescheduled some CBD-based medications. How are these shifts in the legality of cannabis changing the investing landscape? CS: Personally, if we’re talking about my gut, I think it’s just an eventuality for widespread legalization. However, I think sometimes we can get ahead of the trend. I only touch the medicinal side of the plant right now. So, anything that we’re investing in is really not on the recreational side, and that’s for a couple reasons. One, I want to feel really clear, from a legal perspective. Two, I want the research and the science behind it. From my perspective, I’m just not as interested in recreational investing right now. I also think in that space it can get crowded fast. I mean, look at Oklahoma, right? Anybody can get a license in Oklahoma. So, your prices are going to get driven down really, really quickly, and your barriers to entry are going to be really low.

I think if you can tax it, if you can police it intelligently, and if we can put the money and the revenue from this back into the government, into the community, into the state, I’m all for it. But I think we have a little ways to go. C&T Today: What qualities do you look for in a business before you make your investment? CS: If I’m a novice, or a new investor, and I’m just looking to dabble in this space, there’s a couple key tenants that I would have. If we’re talking about private investing … then, I think, if you’re new to this, you need to make sure that you don’t buy ideas, buy products first. There are a lot of people out there saying, “I want to build this, and this, and this,” but they haven’t actually built it. If you’re brand new to investing, I would never do that. I would only invest in companies that have traction. They have revenue already, they’re a real business, and you can actually see some of their financials and sales. You can see how they manage their money. When I first started investing in startups, I wouldn’t invest in a company that had less than 12 months of traction. In cannabis, that’s pretty long, right? Then another thing that I consider is, I don’t invest in anything I don’t understand … I focus on parts of the business that I totally understand, such as individual brands, distributors, and logistics. I could understand businesses that actually focus on products that touch the plant, but aren’t the actual plant. So, as long you don’t invest in ideas, invest in companies with traction, and you invest in companies that you understand, and then lastly, you expect to lose everything, always. Anytime you invest in any of these startups, it can’t be play money, because you’re going to lose at least 50 percent of the time. h Photo by Caleb Fox


Building Better Business By Everin Draper

In the U.S., 99 percent of companies are private, with 3,000 going in and out of business every day. Access to information on these companies has been a challenge with traditional sources. “We were born out of a frustration with the lack of good insight into private companies,” explained Jim Swift, CEO of Cortera. “It’s really hard to make decisions when you don’t have any data to go on.” Because of this, Cortera set out to make business easier by helping supply chain industries understand the various companies they interact with in order to manufacture and sell their products. Of course, the business of cannabis falls under this umbrella of “supply chain industries,” and as the sector has expanded, Cortera has been an early player, helping owners put in place better business practices. Here, Swift explains how companies can protect themselves financially and how business owners can best prepare for the future. Cannabis & Tech Today: What can cannabis businesses do to protect themselves financially? Jim Swift: Number one is knowing the health of your customer. That’s really important, especially for earlier stage companies, because if your customers aren’t healthy, it directly impacts your sales because they can’t buy from you … The most important thing in protecting your business overall, I think, comes from a deep understanding of your customers. What’s going on with them? Are they growing? Are they healthy? Are they still going to be around? 42

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Then, the second thing is taking the same types of analytics and looking back at your suppliers to make sure that they’re healthy. If you have a growing customer base but you have an unstable supplier base, you’re going to have a hard time preserving your reputation and delivering. It really does boil down to just understanding who you’re selling to, who you’re buying from, and making sure that chain is as efficient as possible and you know what’s going on. C&T Today: As legalization continues to spread, how can businesses responsibly scale up their operations? JS: I think the first thing is to build and document processes because as it becomes legal in more places, what’s going to happen is the volume of everything is going to go up. A lot of businesses fail or don’t grow as fast as they can because they didn’t build simple processes that would allow them to handle more volume. If you aren’t ready for it, it’s the kind of problem that can crater you. For example, picture a world where it’s legal federally, and so you can issue credit. Now the stakes are getting higher. It’s not cash business anymore, so you have timing-related issues. You

deliver a product and then you have a 30- or 60day window before you see cash from the product… You have more orders coming in, and you have more credit building up. If you don’t have just basic processes for being able to verify that the customer can pay you back, extend the right terms, follow up promptly with collection reminders and other things, then you start to build those processes when the volume is high and you’re going to lose more money than you need to. It may not drive you out of business, but why waste any money that you don’t have to? Have simple processes for understanding every new customer that comes into you and keep tabs on them. Have simple rules and processes in places for when you follow up. For example, they promise to pay you in 30 days. If they haven’t paid you in 30 days, what happens? Have a process for that ... If you don’t put those processes in place early, they’re really hard to implement when the freight train is going 100 miles per hour down the tracks. h Stay tuned to cannatechtoday.com for Swift’s full interview.

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Tracking for Transparency How seed-to-sale tracking software is providing transparency and legitimacy to the emerging market. By Patricia Miller The legal cannabis space only exists in its current form thanks to the hard work of thousands of coders, designers, and engineers who created complex tracking systems based on the needs of cannabis consumers, regulators, and businesses. Compliance, report generation, and seamless integration with state systems like BioTrack THC and Leaf are not only utterly necessary within the industry, they’re all services provided by tracking software. As the leading provider of software for cannabis testing laboratories, Confident Cannabis is more than a thought leader, they’re an authority on trackand-trace seed-to-sale systems. We spoke with their VP of Growth and Marketing, Brad Bogus, to learn how seed-to-sale tracking adds validity to the industry. Further, Bogus reveals how Canada’s federal climate will spur innovation in every area of cannabis development, at least north of the border. Cannabis & Tech Today: How is cannabis supply chain tracking different from supply chain tracking in other industries? Brad Bogus: Cannabis is one of the most regulated consumer products out there. When you’re talking about going to the store and buying food items, or alcohol or tobacco, we are far more regulated. For instance, if you buy a bottle of vodka, you don’t have any information as to where that wheat came from that made the vodka, or the potatoes that made the vodka, let 44

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alone how that wheat or how those potatoes were grown, what chemicals were used in them, or what seeds they were derived from. Or, if you went to a grocery store and tried to buy some pesto, you’re not going to have a report on where the basil was grown, how it was grown, and what we fed the cows before we milked them to turn it into Parmesan cheese. But that’s the actual reality of the cannabis industry. Whether that product is an edible, raw flower, or oil, every step of the process has to go through laboratory testing and has to be tracked from seed to sale. Your seed is tracked in the system, then it grows to a clone and it’s tracked in the system and sold as clones. Or it grows into a plant and it’s tracked in the system as it moves from room to room. Once it’s been harvested, you have to track its wet weight. Once it’s cured, you have to track its dry weight. There are so many different checks and balances put into this process, you literally cannot accomplish it without technology. Tracking and knowing that everything you’re seeing has been tested and verified is a necessity for a healthy cannabis market. C&T Today: Do you think accurate supply chain tracking helps the industry’s validity? BB: What will help create that paradigm shift is showing a responsible market that is tracking every single step of the way, that is creating healthy products for the consumer, and that is provable down to the certificate of analysis of every lab test. That’s why we initially became involved in lab testing. We provided


The Confident Cannabis team work closely with one another to develop industry-leading software for cannabis testing laboratories.

a platform for laboratories so they could send these things to their clients in an effective manner, that it would look good, they would understand the information, and would actually be able to use that information in their marketing or on their labels. We want companies to be leading with this information. When it comes to validity, the market needs transparency. It needs authenticity and it needs verified information that is already required by regulations. If we can showcase that in much greater detail and add a bit of volume to our marketing messages so that everybody understands this is one of the most responsible products on the market, that will shift the mindset of some politicians who still are a little bit skeptical as to whether or not this is a healthy product. You can kill that skepticism pretty easily if you’re able to show them all the data and science behind it. C&T Today: What are some of the legislative barriers that are hindering technological innovation in the industry? BB: The biggest one is the state of federal legalization, which has a ripple effect. It’s

preventing investors from traditional backgrounds from getting involved in the industry. That lack of major cash infusion is preventing innovation. We’re not able to bring in legacy business owners, even with the allure of a new industry starting from scratch, because at any point in time it can be taken away by the federal government. That alone is enough to prevent money from coming into the industry and helping us blossom with innovation. Banking is another major stopping point. Most technology companies are trying to enable either customers or businesses to transact with one another. But we can’t because we can’t use credit cards, generally speaking, to do anything with one another, especially when it’s buying the actual cannabis product. That final little bit of being able to process that payment means the difference between current tech companies having some resources or having a ton of resources. Federal legalization and federal banking, those two obstacles alone have kept a lot of money and a lot of innovation out of the industry. Those

things could change anytime within the next two to five years, and then you’ll see the floodgates really open for innovation in the industry. C&T Today: How do you think Canada’s recent legalization of adult-use cannabis will affect American cannabis markets? BB: My idealistic side wants to say that Canada is going to provide competition, sort of like the Space Race, to accelerate our adoption of federal legalization. With this administration though, that just doesn’t seem like a reality. I don’t expect it to have a major impact on the consumer market in the U.S. Conversely, when you’re talking about where investors are placing their money, and where you will see more innovation and more investor dollars, Canada will definitely have more of that. Their innovation won’t be as stymied as our innovation, and as a result, it could make them much more dominant in the cannabis space than we are. With those obstacles that I mentioned earlier out of the way, I can only imagine how much more rapid their innovation and development will be than ours. h Winter 2018 // Cannabis & Tech Today



The International State of Cannabis By Carl Wellstone

When founding the International Cannabis Business Conference in 2014, Alex Rogers had a vision that cannabis legalization would move state by state and that we’d see similar progress around the world. Four years later, Rogers’ vision has become a reality – and at a faster rate than anyone expected. With ten states and Washington, D.C, having legalized cannabis, 30-plus states that have voted to legalize medical use, medical programs taking off around the globe, and Uruguay and Canada ending prohibition, it is now easy to see that the future of the industry is bright. Rogers, building upon his background as an activist and businessman, was a few years ahead of the curve. His team has turned the ICBC into a preeminent global marijuana business event, with events in San Francisco, Barcelona, Berlin, Vancouver, and Zurich in 2019. Rodgers opines about the future of the industry in this exclusive interview. Cannabis & Tech Today: The spotlight is on Canada, but what is one other country to keep an eye on? 46

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Alex Rogers: The United States is the biggest country to watch. There is a good chance that we legalize within the next two to five years. Once the U.S. legalizes, we’ll see the global momentum really pick up. Germany is also a big nation to monitor because it’s the economic engine that propels the European Union. Continued success on the medicinal front will lead to legalization in the near future and we can then expect nations across Europe, starting with Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, to follow suit. C&T Today: What does the pace of countries legalizing cannabis look like? AR: Just as we’ve seen dominos fall for medical cannabis in the United States and around the world, we’ll see a similar process after nations that help drive the world’s economy, like the U.S. and Germany, end prohibition. It will be slow at first and then the dominos will pick up speed. All of a sudden, we’ll have an interconnected global market that’s similar to wine. C&T Today: What role does the ICBC fill within the industry and what are you most

looking forward to at your upcoming 2019 events? AR: We provide the best networking and informational events that combine business, politics, activism, and culture together like no other. We help businesses acquire the knowledge and partnerships they need while having a great time and keeping true to the activist roots of keeping people out of prison and helping patients. I’m certainly looking forward to returning to San Francisco, Berlin, and Vancouver, but I’m probably most excited about our events in Barcelona and Zurich as we are entering new, amazing cities and looking forward to helping continue the great momentum we are seeing around the world. h The next International Cannabis Business Conference is in San Francisco, California on February 7-8, 2019. The ICBC will be heading to Barcelona, Spain, on March 14, Berlin, Germany, on March 31 to April 2, Zurich, Switzerland, on May 15-16, and Vancouver, Canada, on September 15-16. For tickets and info, visit: www.internationalcbc.com.


Canada’s Green Future By Jordan French


On October 17th, 2018, Canada joined Uruguay as the second nation in the world to legalize adult-use cannabis. It won’t take long for the nation to feel its effects. Projections from CIBC this past spring suggest that the Canadian market could take in $6.5 billion in retail sales by 2020. To put this further into perspective, Canada’s legalized marketplace is set to rival California’s. That demand will include 800,000 kilograms of product valued at around $6.8 billion. Of that amount, it is believed that 95 percent will be for recreational use. If projections prove true, Canadian cannabis will eclipse spirits sales. With Canada’s legalization era now underway, key regulations vary from province to province. With the market heading into the winter, it is best to stay abreast of current regulations and significant developments coming up in 2019.

Canada’s Cannabis Adult Use Laws in 2018 After much back and forth, Canada was able to hammer out a broad structure of rules on the federal level for cannabis. Though the market was expected to begin in the summer,


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

regulations and implementation issues forced the start to October 17th. Starting legalization day, the Canadian Cannabis Act permitted users 18 years and older to buy and possess up to 30 grams of cannabis at any time in public. At home, users can have as much cannabis as they would like to have. When it comes to cultivation, lawmakers federally approved residents to grow up to four plants at their residence. Those seeking edibles, drinks, and concentrates are out of luck for now. As has been the plan for some time, Canada opted to put a one-year prohibition on the aforementioned products for the market to become better educated about its regulations and other information. While this has caused quite a bit of contention amongst lawmakers, consumers will continue to buy on the black market, hurting one of the country’s prime goals of legalization. The government also established an excise tax on cannabis products. Depending on the province, this tax could be either five, 13, or 15 percent. In addition to being taxed, the country

uses excise tax stamps on products to verify if a product is legal in the province. Additionally, employees working with dangerous materials or heavy machinery face the potential of tougher drug screenings. Going a step further, employers can even ban employees from using during off hours, though this rule could be contested by unions. One rule that will continue to stay the same is driving impaired. While testing still lags, officers continue to test and arrest anyone who appears to be driving impaired.

Laws Varying by Province While federal lawmakers have provided a framework for governing, the bulk of the decisions are deferred to the provinces. Overall, the government allowed for the provinces to set their own laws surrounding how cannabis is sold, the location and operations of stores, possession limits, age of use, public consumption, and home cultivation. Each of the 13 provinces adopted similar yet modified regulations, with details varying around age, public consumption, cultivation, and other points key to users. Another sticking point centered on who exactly would operate



the dispensaries. While most provinces opted for a government-run system, Ontario will use private run operations that won’t be open until April 2019. Until then, consumers must purchase through a government-run website.

MacKay explained to the Washington Post that, “It’s going to be thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Canadians who are suddenly going to find themselves inadmissible to the United States.”

Despite the federal level allowing 18-year-olds to consume cannabis, most provinces decided to align the consumption age with the drinking age, 19. Provinces varied rather differently when it came to public consumption as well. While most prohibit its use in public, Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador do allow for use to varying degrees. The same can be said for home growing, where many provinces stuck with the federal approval of up to four plants. However, provinces like Manitoba and Quebec opted to ban the practice altogether.

Border frustrations could extend well beyond tourists. Those working in the legal cannabis industry could find themselves also turned away from entering the U.S. Despite working in a federally approved market back home, the U.S. continues to operate in a murky quasi-legal market. Recently, defense attorney and cannabis reform advocate Douglas Hiatt told Washington Examiner that those entering could face charges under anti-money laundering laws. “You’ve got the entire panoply of federal charges available. There has not been one iota of change in federal law ... Anyone who’s involved in any way [in Canada’s retail market] can be prosecuted under federal law. There’s no doubt about that. None.” As of late, U.S. customs has revised its statement for Canadian cannabis employees, but it does not clear up the issue much. As it currently stands, individuals can enter the U.S. for noncannabis reasons but may be deemed

Troubles at the Border Lawmakers are reminding Canadians that even admitting to using cannabis could get them turned away from driving or flying into the United States. Former Conservative Party Justice, Defense, and Foreign Minister Peter


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

inadmissible if they come in for reasons related to work. At home, Canadians are now growing accustomed to life in a legalized marketplace. What was once a fight to achieve is now a reality. That said, the reality does vary slightly from one province to the next. Consumers are advised to stay informed of the regulations wherever they may find themselves in the country. What works in Ontario may not in Quebec while Manitoba and British Columbia take on varied approaches as well. Regardless of the minor differences, the general consensus appears to be that of positivity. While hurdles are sure to present themselves, Canadians head into this great white winter knowing that cannabis is legal in their country. With a market set to boom, jobs being created, and cannabis flower being sold legally, there is much to be happy about. While those waiting on edibles and concentrates need to be patient a bit longer, its addition may just provide a second wave of good tidings that comes with cannabis legalization in Canada. h

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Cash Crop

Why Tribal Communities Are Embracing the Cannabis Market By Patricia Miller

Though many tribes have yet to enter the cannabis space, those that have are cashing in on the versatile crop. In 2017, the Paiute Tribe in Nevada opened legal cannabis dispensary NuWu, one of the largest recreational dispensaries in the world.

Tribal populations are in dire need of a cash infusion. Most are too isolated to bring in tourists, others lack the infrastructure to bring in new business. Some forward-thinking tribes are capitalizing on the cash crop of the future and investing in cannabis companies that could revitalize their lagging economies. However, tribal lands are designated federal property, which means tribes must obey federal laws despite their distinction as sovereign entities. The contradiction is forcing some tribes out of the cannabis conversation and leaving billions of would-be dollars on the table.

Barriers to Entry The Cole and Wilkinson memos issued by the Obama administration were meant to protect cannabis businesses from federal interference. After their rescission in January 2018, legal marijuana businesses were susceptible to federal raids, particularly those operating on federal 52

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lands (i.e. tribal businesses). Native Americans were essentially blocked from entering the legal cannabis space, a sector which could generate billions in revenue and create thousands of jobs for a historically underemployed and impoverished population. According to a 2018 report by New Frontier Data (NFD), â&#x20AC;&#x153;Cannabis & Native Populations,â&#x20AC;? the marijuana market could generate a total of $2.7 billion in economic activity on Native American lands by 2025. It would also increase employment on tribal lands, with NFD projecting employment of more than 30,000 people, assuming tribal operations could capture at least five percent of U.S. market share. This could be a serious economic driver for a population with an unemployment rate of 8.9 percent at the end of 2016, more than double the national average during that time period. Geographic isolation and a lack of economic

infrastructure play a significant role in faltering tribal economies. Many reservations are located in isolated areas, far removed from city centers and tourist destinations. Further, many tribes lack access to the capital required to update local infrastructure, such as water, power, and sewage. As such, developers seeking to enter tribal lands must also include infrastructural improvements in their lease agreements, a move which could add time and expense to building projects.

Economic Drivers Some tribes attempted to resolve these issues by using their sovereignty to establish gaming businesses, or legalized gambling. Though the practice has been a strong economic driver for some tribes, of those with gaming operations, only 12.5 percent share per capita payments from gaming revenues with reservation inhabitants. Further, many tribes are too isolated to draw tourists to their reservations for


If Native American populations could capture even one percent of the U.S. cannabis market share, tribes collectively could generate more than $500 million in revenue by 2025. That revenue could have a large impact on tribal communities considering, on average, Native American median household income is 31 percent lower than the rest of the U.S. population.

gambling. Whether due to isolation or other barriers to entry, more than 58 percent of Native American tribes do not operate any gaming operations, according to NFD’s 2018 report. Other options for economic development include selling natural resources (coal, oil, minerals), but the practice is often environmentally destructive and unsustainable. Once the resources are exhausted, the tribe may once again face an economic downturn. The question becomes: how can tribal populations use their sovereignty and isolation to their advantage? Cannabis-related jobs may hold the key. As NFD reported: “Many reservations are isolated relative to large population centers, so they are unable to capitalize on local visitors our tourism. So, in order to create sustainable economic development, tribes must provide a product or service that is in high demand and can be transported to consumers rather than relying on consumers to come to them (as in the gambling model).” The report further added, “Cannabis-related jobs also fit the mold, and the fact that most cannabis jobs (cultivation, extraction/ processing, health-oriented products) are manual and do not require higher education degrees mean that cannabis operations could have a nearly immediate effect on the community, and would be located on tribal lands.”


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Reinvesting in Tribal Economies One tribe to capitalize on the opportunity is the Paiute Tribe in Nevada. They opened NuWu, which, until recently, was the world’s largest dispensary and also Nevada’s first retail dispensary to operate on tribal lands. Its opening was dependent on the passage of Senate Bill 375, which authorized the Governor to enter into negotiations with Native American tribes in the state regarding the regulation and use of cannabis. NuWu committed to using all profits to fund the tribal community. In a statement provided to News 3 Las Vegas, Las Vegas Paiute Tribal Chairman Benny Tso commented: “We want the dollar to roll around in our tribal community before it leaves the reservation.” Those dollars will be significant to the tribe’s economy, considering Nevada pulled in over $30 million in tax revenue during its first six months of recreational cannabis sales. Native Americans aren’t the only indigenous people hoping to enter the cannabis space. First Nations tribes are also involved in legal battles to decide their role in Canada’s highly anticipated national legal marketplace. First Nations’ leaders have yet to receive information from Canadian government officials regarding revenue-sharing arrangements, taxation guidelines, or a determination on self-regulation. According to a resolution posited by the

Assembly of First Nations, “The federal and provincial governments must recognize and respect First Nations sovereignty and jurisdiction over their reserves and traditional territories.” Leaders argue that cannabis production, distribution, and sales are covered by the right to self-determination in the Canadian Constitution. As with Native American populations, First Nations communities are fighting for their autonomy, and with it their ability to generate income and make decisions pertaining to the health and safety of their populations. Tribal populations throughout North America stand to benefit from incorporating cannabisrelated businesses into their economic development plans. Hemp production, cannabis cultivation, and cannabis extraction facilities are all viable options for generating revenue on isolated tribal lands. Though there are potential risks to entering the legal cannabis space, including federal interference and expensive sovereignty-related court battles, they are far outweighed by the potential benefits. In an interview with Ozy, Las Vegas resident Miranda Brode said she’s grateful the revenue will go back into the tribal economy: “A lot of American tribes you don’t hear about anymore because they all died out. This is helping conserve them. It means we can have tribes in the future, and I can show my kids that we are part of this heritage.” h




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Bringing Wellness to the World

Owner of CBD American Shaman Vince Sanders explores the wide world of CBD medications

Abby Laub J.A. Laub Photography

By Alex Moersen

When his uncle was dying from stage four lung cancer, Vince Sanders looked for anything that could possibly help save his life. In his research, he came to discover CBD and cannabis, leading him to develop a CBD oil specifically designed for his uncle’s condition. After a month of using the oil, the cancerous tumors not only stopped growing but began shrinking, and after three months, they were nearly gone. “It was a miracle, truly a miracle,” Sanders expressed. This experience inspired Sanders to pursue CBD-based medications to hopefully cure other people’s ailments as well. The end result was CBD American Shaman, one of the only CBD-based companies to ship products nationally. In this exclusive interview, Sanders highlights the science behind CBD, his


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

company’s patented nanotechnology processing, and the future of the cannabis market. Cannabis & Tech Today: Hearing about CBD American Shaman’s products and all of the CBD-based products out there, it seems like CBD has a wide number of applications. Could you speak on the actual interaction CBD has with the body which allows it to accomplish such a variety of benefits? Vince Sanders: The misconception, I think, is that CBD is going in there like a little warrior and fixing all these things, when that’s not what’s happening at all. What happens is: you have your own endocannabinoid system; it’s called 2AG. It’s a modulator, it balances your

body, it keeps it in homeostasis, and that’s why it works on so many different things, because your body, when it’s healthy and working properly, does all those things naturally. You don’t have anxiety, you don’t have arthritis and inflammation and all the different things that come with it. But because our modern diets are low in Omega-3s and 6s, which is what cannabinoids are made out of, you don’t have the precursors to make it. It’s like trying to build a brick house without bricks; it doesn’t work too well. So, virtually everybody in western society is walking around endocannabinoid-deficient. When you add CBD, you replenish what your body would naturally be making, so it puts you

Abby Laub J.A. Laub Photography

CBD American Shaman utilizes patented nanotechnology to increase the bioavailability of their products. Through this process, users will absorb a higher percentage of CBD, meaning that they can use less product.

back into homeostasis and allows your body to do what it’s designed to do, which is repair itself. That’s why it works on so many things. Your body’s been carefully designed for millions of years to do all these things. If it doesn’t have what it needs, it can’t, right? That’s why once you understand the science and why it works and how it works, then you get over the “Hey, it’s too good to be true” type of thinking. That’s a lot of people early on: “It does all these things? How is that possible? Obviously, this is snake oil. Nothing’s doing all this stuff.” Well, your body, when it’s working properly, does do all these things. C&T Today: Tell me about CBD American Shaman’s patented nanotechnology process. VS: What happened early on, considering how expensive it was, it was obvious we couldn’t get it in the hands of people in a large role. If someone is suffering from cancer, the quantities you need to take, it was just hard to do. Somebody in a situation like that might be broke anyway in our “wonderful” healthcare system.

So I kept thinking, as we get bigger and things get more normalized, this would become more commoditized, and prices would fall. Well, that didn’t really happen. So I went back to the start. I said, “Look, I know lipids are not absorbed very well by the human body. Best case scenario, you hold it under your tongue and your mouth will absorb it.” But even then you would get about 10 percent, with 90 percent literally wasted in your GI [gastrointestinal] tract. So if you have to do 10 mg, only one of it gets into your bloodstream. Then I thought, “Wait a minute, can we improve the bioavailability somehow?” So I started doing a lot of bioavailability research, and that’s when I came across nanotechnology. Nano is under 100 nanometers; over 100 nanometers is a micro. A lot of this is hypothetical because it’s very hard to study things at this level within a human body, but it’s believed that there’s a “goldilocks” zone. If you get too little, it actually just passes through the cell. Too large, you lose the nano-ability. So everybody shoots for about 50 nanometers. That is what science’s best guess

is. Why do we make it so small? When it gets that small, your body cannot stop it from getting in. To put it into perspective, the smallest bacteria is 200 nanometers. So, when we make a product, our average droplet size right now is 62 nanometers, so under a third of the size of the smallest bacteria. When it goes into your stomach, it literally all goes in. There’s no way for your stomach wall to stop it. It also goes in very quickly. This is within 15 minutes, you’re at max in your blood. And it also lasts longer. Due to that tiny droplet size, your liver has a hard time filtering it out. So we get 10 times the absorption, we get it several times faster, and it lasts longer. It’s like going from walking to riding on a jet air flight. It’s that big a jump. It’s a disruptive technology. It took a lot of time and effort and, as always, money, but, after about 14 months of R&D, we figured it out. We could have never figured it out had there not been all the studies that we could follow from big pharma. So we got lucky that way. That’s one good thing big pharma did anyway.

Winter 2018 // Cannabis & Tech Today



CBD American Shaman has developed a new product based on Kava kava, a pepper plant that grows naturally in Polynesia and has similar properties to cannabis.

C&T Today: The cannabis market is always changing, with new players stepping onto the field everyday. What is CBD American Shaman doing to stay ahead in this everexpanding market? VS: Obviously, there are numerous things. But what we rely on is quality of products, which is based in science. We’re always looking at how we can do this better. It doesn’t have to be a breakthrough. If it’s micro-changes, those micro-changes add up over time. And we’re always tweaking and tuning and trying to make things better. We’re in the process right now of launching the “2.0” of our water soluble. We’ve gone from 62 nanometers to the low 50s. We’ve also greatly improved the flavor profile. When you’re dealing with a natural substance that’s loaded with turpentine like this, it’s not the most pleasant taste. We know that it doesn’t matter how good something is if somebody doesn’t take it. So, we’ve been constantly tweaking it. Over the last two years, back to those little micro changes, every week, every month, we changed a little something different, until we felt we were as close to perfection as we can get right now. We’re going to launch it and go from there. That’s an example of how we continue to tweak it. 58

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We do the same thing with all of our body care products, and we’re working on a number of other ethno-botanicals. Kava kava is one of our featured products, basically a pepper plant that grows naturally in Polynesia, and they’ve used it in Hawaii and the Polynesian Islands forever. It’s typically used ceremonially to relax, talk with the gods, communicate, get in a deep trance with your dead loved ones, et cetera. It’s really popular. On the east and west coast, there are all these Kava bars opening up. I knew about the anti-anxiety properties of Kava, but it also has a lot of similar properties as cannabis. Cannabinoids are what work in cannabis. Kava lactose are what work in Kava. So we applied science to it. The strongest strain is called noble Kava, and it’s called that for a reason. It was reserved exclusively when there was a beef between tribes where two chiefs would then sit down and drink it, calm down, and hopefully prevent war. So we took the noble Kava, we did the CO2 extraction on it, we get about an 82 percent pure Kava lactose extract, and then we applied our nanotechnology. But Kava tastes terrible. I mean, it’s almost impossible to ingest. I’m shocked that humans ever drank it. But when you apply nanotechnology to it like we did, you can put it

in anything: put it in your water, your orange juice, and you literally don’t taste it. So we’re going beyond just cannabis. There are a lot of natural things out there that offer a lot of medicinal properties. So we’re progressively trying to locate those and apply the science that we’ve applied to cannabis products to these other natural ingredients. C&T Today: Could you talk about the Grow With Us program and how you connect with entrepreneurs? VS: We’re only looking for good partners. This is a team effort, but we are fairly selective. We only look for people who are in this for the right reasons, not somebody looking to make a bunch of money and will do whatever it takes to do that. The DNA of this company was started for the right reason, and we continue under that guidance. We’re looking for people of the same cloth, if you will, that want to heal and help and offer an alternative to conventional medicine. C&T Today: Where do you see the future of the CBD market going? VS: You know, I think it depends on one big thing right now. It’s exploding. We know that. On average, we increase 30-40 percent a month,

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month-over-month, which is hard to even comprehend, really. A business that did that in a year’s time would be amazing in a normal world. So we’re constantly building out more equipment, larger factories. We’re increasing our factory right now. By the first of the year, we’ll increase our production by 10 times. But that’s the kind of growth that we have to prepare for, because of what’s going on. To continue, what will really make it explode, what will probably change the landscape, is if the 2018 hemp format goes through and hemp is made just a commodity like corn or wheat or flour. I think you’re going to see a lot of larger supplement type of companies come into this market. Right now, it’s just a handful of us that are strictly from the CBD world. But I think what you’re going to see is these big vitamintype companies and things rush in. The playing field is going to be interesting, shall we say, assuming this passes.


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C&T Today: Do you think the rush of big, outside companies could have an adverse effect on some of these smaller CBD companies? VS: It may very well. But, the smaller CBD companies, all these people who rushed in, aren’t going to last anyway. There’s a handful of us. I’m on the Hemp Roundtable with the largest CBD companies and we’re all CBD certified, working at pharmaceutical standards. We’re the guys that are doing all the lobbying and that type of thing. So if it stays like it is, there’s not really that much of a market for somebody to start at this point, in all honesty, unless they’re very well financed coming in. Now, although we have all gotten to be pretty good in size and have a pretty good presence, if some of these multi-billion-dollar companies say “let’s start rolling in,” suddenly we can become the little guys. So it will be interesting

to see how this all plays out. Nobody can predict that. We’re going to count on always doing the things we do the right way, for the right reason, and continue to raise the bar and educate people. I think that is the big thing that will separate us. This is not a “vitamin A” you just throw on a Wal-Mart shelf and somebody grabs it. There’s a big learning curve to know how to sell titrate and a variety of things to really make this work. I think the educational element that we add will keep us out in front. It’s hard to say where this is all moving in a couple more years. The next year or two, even with a bigger player rolling in, it will take a long time to make a product, then market it, and then get it on the shelf, et cetera. So I don’t foresee any of that changing for 2019, but you can see a lot of people laying down the base, and 2020 could be a very different playing field. h


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Carmouche K.O.’s the Stigma Professional MMA Fighter Liz Carmouche Discusses Battling the Stigmas of CBD and the UFC’s Embrace of the Substance By Anthony Elio CMW Media

Even with all the big steps CBD has made over the past few years, professional sports as a whole appear to be behind the curve. Despite stars such as NFL wide receiver Deandre Hopkins voicing the benefits of the substance and leagues such as the UFC and BIG3 allowing it to be used legally, CBD has held this stigma. For mixed martial artist Liz Carmouche, CBD is much more than medicine, it’s a major part of her MMA routine. A former Marine Corps aviation electrician, Carmouche (also known by her nickname “GirlRilla”) launched her MMA career in 2010, eventually compiling an 11-6 UFC record, gaining wins over fighters such as Kaitlin Young and Jan Finney while rising to the rank of sixth in UFC’s women’s flyweight division. The first openly gay fighter in UFC history, Carmouche has also voiced her support of CBD usage, appearing at events such as the Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo and becoming the 62

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spokesperson for CBD oil company HempMeds. Additionally, she introduced her mother to the substance in order to combat her chronic pain. In this exclusive interview, Carmouche discusses her views on CBD for athletic recovery, why the substance still holds such a stigma, and what other sports leagues could learn from the UFC. Cannabis & Tech Today: It seems like the UFC, unlike so many other sports leagues, has embraced CBD. Why do you believe that is? Liz Carmouche: I think the UFC wants to spearhead in all growing trends and they’re always looking for the next new, scientific wave of things. They want athletes that are going to be able to stay in the game as long as possible. They work with Cleveland Clinic researchers, who had originally been with the NFL studying brain trauma, and they collaborate with them to make sure that they have recurring checkups on their athletes.

Everything they’re doing is so progressive and what they’re always trying to do is find new things that are going to help their fighters and keep them in the game. And I think that’s why they allowed CBD to be incorporated. They were finding that the fighters they had up and coming from UFC 1 to today, a lot of them were on pain medication to endure what they had done to their bodies for so many years, and they saw the effects and the damage it was doing to them. So they’re looking for something different, and I think that’s why they’ve embraced CBD, is that they can see firsthand how it’s benefiting the athletes. C&T Today: When did you first begin collaborating with HempMeds? LC: I want to say a little bit over a year ago. I told my management team that I had been trying CBD for about a year prior to that and I really liked what CBD stood for and that it was something that I wanted to connect with, with a


brand that I really believed in and that I really liked. I met some amazing people in the CBD industry. That’s just been across the board, that no matter what brand it is or who they are, they always just seem to be amazing and kind-hearted people. And so I was always connecting with them on that level, but their product itself wasn’t really dealing the results that I was looking for. I connected with a former employee of HempMeds; he was a veteran as well. So I really connected with them in this way and he even came and helped me train. He helped explain CBD and then was able to give me some products to try and I fell in love with them. That’s when I knew that this was the company I had to stick with. C&T Today: Why do you believe the stigma around CBD still exists? CMW Media

LC: Because there are not enough educational tools out there. There are still people that are living under a rock, which is the best way that I can phrase it. They really just don’t know about the difference between THC and CBD and they don’t know all the benefits.

LC: Things like reaching out and just telling people around me. I think that most people see me as being this professional person, not just in how I train in my career field in MMA, but also as a gym owner and an instructor. I pride myself on professionalism and I think that they see that very clearly; I’m not the person who is using recreationally, and that’s why I’m using CBD. That is not what it’s for, and so I think that they trust what I have to say. So I just try and speak out in that way and be a representative the best way I can. h


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

Carmouche vetted dozens of CBD companies prior to partnering with HempMeds. Their scientifically-formulated concentrates aid the MMA fighter during both training and recovery.

CMW Media

C&T Today: What do you personally do to combat those stigmas?


Delusions of a Causal Relationship Why Cannabis is Not the Trigger for Schizophrenia It’s Been Thought to Be By Josh Kaplan The wave of cannabis legalization exposes many to its therapeutic benefits, but it also promotes a healthy discussion of its risks. The heightened risk for cannabis users to develop schizophrenia is a common fear among those skeptical of cannabis’ safety. After all, since the 1960s, scientists have described numerous cases of cannabis-induced psychosis, and this has been extended to suggest that cannabis can even cause schizophrenia. Yet, many push back, touting cannabis’ therapeutic potential to treat psychotic symptoms. How do we reconcile these arguments? Can cannabis be both a gift and a curse? Several recent scientific studies suggest that cannabis may be an unjustified villain in the schizophrenia scare. Instead of cannabis causing schizophrenia, those at risk for developing schizophrenia are more likely to use cannabis, which in part may be driven by its self-medicating properties.

A Brief Primer on Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is a complex syndrome that affects around one percent of the population that often manifests between 16 and 30 years of age and is comprised of numerous debilitating symptoms. A common misconception is that schizophrenia patients only exhibit psychosis, a “loss of reality” characterized by hallucinations and delusions. Psychosis is an example of a positive symptom and indeed, most antipsychotic medications mainly target these symptoms. But schizophrenics also have a host of negative symptoms, such as the inability to feel pleasure, social withdrawal, and low energy. Most patients also exhibit cognitive impairments. The combination of these positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms makes it challenging to engage in society and creates great barriers to achieving a high quality of life. 66

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Many have attempted to identify a cause for schizophrenia, but there’s no single factor that guarantees one will develop the syndrome. Even if one identical twin has schizophrenia, the other’s chance of also having it is only 50 percent, so genetics alone are no guarantee. Environmental factors are also proposed to increase risk, such as complications during pregnancy, older paternal age, living in cities, and of course, adolescent exposure to drugs such as cannabis. Since no single genetic or environmental factor causes schizophrenia, it’s thought that schizophrenia arises from the interaction between multiple risk factors. Usually, it’s the combination of one’s DNA combined with the environmental risk factors to which their developing brain is exposed. The environmental factor that’s on many people’s minds these days is weed.

Why Do People Think Cannabis Triggers Schizophrenia? Where did the idea that cannabis could trigger schizophrenia come from? On the surface, there’s compelling evidence to support the scare. One study found that cannabis users were over three times more likely to develop schizophrenia if they started using by age 15 than if they started after age 18. Another assessed the drug habits of 50,000 members of the Swedish army at age 18. Those who were regular cannabis users during that time of their lives were six times more likely to develop schizophrenia within the next 15 years. These studies clearly show that adolescent cannabis use is associated with schizophrenia, but importantly, they fail to show causality. Causality is at the heart of the problem. Based on these population studies, scientists have claimed that cannabis is responsible for 8-13 percent of all schizophrenia cases. In some


cases of high genetic vulnerability to developing schizophrenia, cannabis is thought to increase risk tenfold. This pervasive idea that cannabis can trigger schizophrenia doesn’t seem that far-fetched. Overactivation of cannabinoid type I (CB1) receptors by THC have been shown to cause short-lasting psychotic episodes as well as longer-lasting effects that persist beyond when THC is in the body. The higher the THC dose, the greater the risk of experiencing a psychotic episode. It’s not hard, then, to link THC’s ability to induce a psychotic episode with contributing to the development of schizophrenia, especially in light of the elevated associational risk between adolescent cannabis use and a schizophrenia diagnosis later in life. But there’s a hitch that blurs the cause-andeffect relationship between cannabis and schizophrenia. That is, the symptoms of schizophrenia present before a diagnosis is made. That exposes the possibility that some of the negative symptoms and cognitive difficulties may present years before the psychotic symptoms that contribute to the formal diagnosis of schizophrenia. Did cannabis trigger schizophrenia or were some of the symptoms already present in the absence of a diagnosis? Were these undiagnosed symptoms driving people towards cannabis to self-medicate and help cope?

Does Cannabis Cause Schizophrenia? The “chicken-or-the-egg” debate over the causality between cannabis and schizophrenia got one giant leap closer to being resolved in 2017. To gain insight into the causal direction of cannabis and schizophrenia, scientists used a technique known as Mendelian


Randomization, developed in the 1980s to better understand causal relationships in epidemiology. For this technique, you need the DNA, cannabis use characteristics, and schizophrenia diagnosis from a whole bunch of people. Fortunately, scientists had access to this information from over 40,000 patients with schizophrenia. This remarkable number of subjects, coupled with the improved understanding of the link between certain DNA features that heighten risk for schizophrenia and substance abuse, provided hints of causality for the first time. The scientists revealed that there was a much stronger causal relationship between having schizophrenia and beginning cannabis use than cannabis use causing schizophrenia. This past summer, a report was published that included an even larger pool of subjects. With 185,000 cannabis users, it was the largest study to date to use Mendelian Randomization to capture the causality between schizophrenia and cannabis use. Again, they revealed a weak causal relationship of cannabis causing schizophrenia and a much stronger causal relationship for schizophrenia leading to cannabis use. The difference in the strength of the causal direction is an important consideration for interpreting previous studies that only looked at the causal effect in one direction: from cannabis use to schizophrenia. These earlier studies failed to capture the strong causal influence that early symptoms of schizophrenia may have on initiating cannabis consumption.

Why Do Schizophrenics Turn to Cannabis? The causal relationship identified in the Mendelian Randomization studies suggests that patients with schizophrenia may turn to cannabis in order to help cope or self-medicate during the early stages when symptoms are just beginning to emerge. One common feature of the schizophrenic brain is higher-than-normal

dopamine levels. Antipsychotic medications work by blocking these dopamine receptors in the brain, but this comes with its own challenges since dopamine plays important roles in normal brain function. When you block the receptors, you get the numerous undesired effects that are common for antipsychotic medications. For instance, antipsychotics can reduce sex drive, dampen mood, cause drowsiness, and promote weight gain. Longtime usage can also lead to a motor disorder known as tardive dyskinesia, where the patient makes repetitive and unwanted movements such as grimacing or eyeblinking. At this point, it remains unclear how THCrich cannabis improves symptoms of schizophrenia, especially because THC itself can induce psychotic episodes. Interestingly, postmortem brain tissue of cannabis-using schizophrenics had elevated levels of a protein, called the dopamine transporter, that reduces the amount of dopamine that’s available to activate receptors. This should theoretically return dopamine levels closer to normal and reduce the need to block dopamine receptors themselves with antipsychotic medications. An additional hypothesis is that chronic use of THC-rich cannabis reduces dopamine levels indirectly through the desensitization of CB1 receptors. Chronic THC use is associated with blunted dopamine signaling in the brains of people without schizophrenia, which is an underlying brain feature of cannabis dependence. If this also applies to the schizophrenic brain, THC-rich cannabis could help restore normal dopamine levels. Beyond THC, CBD is emerging as a promising antipsychotic treatment strategy. Not only is it well-tolerated by most patients, but it can help improve many of the negative and cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia as well. One study found that CBD reduced psychotic

symptoms when used in conjunction with the patient’s antipsychotic medication compared to a placebo. Another study in people at risk for developing psychosis found that CBD improves the strength of communication between brain regions during a learning task. This improved cognitive function by CBD may underlie some of the motivation for self-medication in schizophrenics before they are officially diagnosed. Numerous studies in humans and pre-clinical rodent models have demonstrated CBD’s benefits on many of the negative symptoms associated with schizophrenia. For instance, CBD has anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects, and has even been shown to reduce the social withdrawal that isolates schizophrenia patients and dampens their quality of life. Together, there’s building evidence that CBD should be thoroughly considered as a therapeutic strategy for many of the debilitating symptoms of schizophrenia.

Is Adolescent Cannabis Exposure Safe? Flipping the causal relationship for schizophrenia and cannabis use is not a greenlight for safe adolescent cannabis consumption. Frequent use of THC-rich cannabis during adolescence is associated with numerous longlasting cognitive, emotional, and mental wellness problems. While CBD-rich cannabis is being studied for its treatment abilities for numerous childhood conditions including epilepsy and autism, there’s little understanding of the longterm consequences it has on the developing brain. A better understanding of the risks associated with balanced THC and CBD cannabis on brain development is much needed if we are to turn to cannabis-based medicines for treating the adolescent brain. But when it comes to the risk of cannabis causing schizophrenia, the evidence seems weaker than ever. h

Winter 2018 // Cannabis & Tech Today



Runner’s High By Alex Moersen

“THC allows me to break away and really enjoy running for what I got into it for, which is just to be outside, to be in the mountains, and all that more cliché, hippie stuff; but it’s real.” – Avery Collins, Ultrarunner Whether it’s national sports leagues like the BIG3 allowing players to use the substance or the large variety of CBD-based supplements for athletes, the cannabis plant is slowly sinking its roots into the world of sports. Colorado resident and ultrarunner Avery Collins is leading the charge, bringing cannabis into the running community. But Collins isn’t just your everyday jogger. He runs 100-mile races, and The New York Times even hailed him as “among the fastest in the world.” All the while, he regularly incorporates cannabis (both THC and CBD products) into his training regimen. In this exclusive interview, Collins breaks down both the mental and physical benefits of his unique running strategy. Cannabis & Tech Today: Which came first, the running or the cannabis? Avery Collins: I mean, the cannabis came long before the running – not to brag about it. But, I ran for a year before I incorporated any kind of cannabis usage into training. Then one very random night my buddy was like, “Hey, why don’t you just toke up and then go for a run?” It was like a light bulb moment. “Oh man, that sounds like a great idea. Why don’t I do that?” The very next day I gave it a whirl, went out and ran at one of my favorite parks that has a trail system. (I’ll just go ahead and keep that disclosed.) 68

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Photo: Jeremy Jacob


Collins often runs between four and six hours a day. The runner takes CBD in the morning to help with vitamin absorption and ingests again in the evening to help his muscles recover from the strain.

I just remember it being ... I hate using the word euphoric, but it was. I was enjoying it so much; I felt so in tune; I almost forgot about the mileage and forgot where I was. It made the experience much more enjoyable. I think, if anything, it almost slows me down. It allows me to enjoy what I’m doing a little bit more. C&T Today: How do you incorporate cannabis into your training routine? AC: A standard summer day would consist of … Well, I wake up and take a CBD supplement, or I guess you could call it a multivitamin, per se. It’s called PurePower. And, so, I take two different CBD supplements in the morning. It helps with a quick energizing boost. I find it also helps with recovery. Then, I’ll either eat an edible or smoke a bowl or even a vape pen. As far as the actual run itself goes, depending upon the run, say if the run is over three hours, I may take an edible with me for during the run. Right around the two-and-ahalf to three-hour marker, I’ll go ahead and take another edible. For the post-run, I always consume some kind of THC product, but it is a habit of mine to use


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

some kind of a salve or CBD compound, either medicinals or nutritionals, whichever one I actually have on hand. And then I usually just rub down any sore muscles. Especially if it’s been a longer run day, say six hours plus, it’s pretty common for me to just go ahead and use anywhere from thirty to fifty milligrams of compound on my legs. C&T Today: What are the benefits, both physically and mentally, of using cannabis for training? AC: For me, THC and CBD are two totally separate entities, because THC, for me specifically, I’m not using it for any kind of physical benefit. For me, it’s 100 percent mental. It’s just something I enjoy. And don’t get me wrong, I love running even without it. But, what it does for me is it allows me to break away and escape from the competitive nature that I think I may naturally have without it. It’s easy for me to perhaps think too much about hitting mile paces and really running more on a competitive drive. THC allows me to break away and really enjoy running for what I got into it for, which is just to be outside, to be in the mountains, all that more cliché, hippy stuff; but it’s real.

And then CBD would be the physical side of things, more on the recovery. One, I notice specifically from the supplement, typically, I just have an easier time getting going, getting out the door, getting moving again. The biggest benefit is after a six-, seven-, eighthour run when your body is still in this moving state where it thinks it’s still going, going, going. There’s throbbing and restlessness. Just rubbing down with a bunch of CBD compound allows for a lot of that uneasiness to be eliminated. It

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“There are a lot of closet users out there. Especially in trail running specifically, it’s something that a large percentage of the people are doing.”

takes a lot of the edge off. There’s definitely a better term for it, but it makes your legs feel “high.” It allows them to just relax and then gear up for another big day. C&T Today: Could you break down the effects that CBD has on the muscles and body? AC: So, the whole concept behind the CBD supplement company, PurePower, is you take the CBD oil first, and what that allows is for the cannabinoid receptors in your body to open up. Once the receptors are open, you take the multivitamin, which also has CBD in it, alongside Vitamin B6, B12, and a handful of other things, and because the receptors are now open, your body can actually ingest and process much more of the vitamins. So, the entire concept behind PurePower is your body’s taking a lot more of the vitamins that you’re giving it, because of the CBD.


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C&T Today: What has been the response of the running community to your unique training regimen? AC: It’s ever-evolving. I would say four or five years ago, there was a little more backlash than there is now. Well, I should say there was a lot more backlash than there is now. But even with that being said, I think it was pretty much fiftyfifty. There were people that thought, “Oh this is great.” And in that fifty percent, a lot of those people were already users. There are a lot of closet users out there. Especially in trail running specifically, it’s something that a large percentage of the people are doing. It’s just that a lot of people aren’t open about it. I mean, even a large percentage of the elite level professional athletes are doing it. There are a few elite-level athletes in the Boulder area that are open to CBD now. But, there’s still a bit of stigma attached to THC use. I think that’s going

to take a little more time, but I will say people are much more open to it. C&T Today: Do you have a personal strategy for combating stigma? AC: I think just in the fact that I’m a professional runner. You know, that kind of does it, itself. I guess playing devil’s advocate, someone would say, “Well, most people that are cannabis users are stoners.” My typical response to that is more than likely that person is probably lazy to begin with, or unmotivated. I mean, that’s usually the case; that’s just the person they are. Whether I eat an edible or smoke or don’t do either of those, what I get done today, cannabis plays no relevance in it. That’s for me personally. I think that applies for a lot of cannabis users, or non-cannabis users. If you’re lazy, you’re lazy. And if you’re inspired to get out and do something on a daily basis, then that’s what you do. h


Cultivating the Future of Veterinary Medicine Dr. Casara Andre, owner of Cultivate, a veterinary coworking community, discusses the benefits of cannabis-based medications for pets.


By Kelsey Elgie Domier

After working as a veterinarian for the military, Dr. Casara Andre turned her focus to holistic medicine, with the hopes of achieving a more balanced approach to wellness than that provided by pharmaceuticals. This idea lead her to found Veterinary Cannabis Education & Consulting, which helps to educate both veterinarians and pet owners about the potential of CBD and cannabis-based medications. Her robust resume also includes: owner of Cultivate, a veterinary coworking community; director of the Colorado School of Animal Massage; and manager of Scheduled Relief, a networking service connecting veterinary clinics and relief veterinarians. In this exclusive interview, we discuss with Dr. Andre her switch to holistic medicine, how to choose the right products for pets, and how to best educate the public on cannabis-based medication. Cannabis & Tech Today: Can you tell us about your decision to take a more holistic approach to your veterinary practice?


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Dr. Casara Andre: It has been a long road transitioning there. I was a veterinarian for the military for a while, so that was my introduction to working with dogs in rehab. One of the biggest things that I wish I had while working in the military was more holistic modalities, more mild modalities, to help the animals, because these are amazing athletes. We know everything about them from puppyhood. We don’t get surprised by heart disease or kidney disease. We see it coming. So the majority of what we deal with are training injuries, or slowing down as they get toward the end of their career and are about to retire. What I always wanted was better modalities to support this really amazing body throughout its working lifetime that wasn’t as strong as the pharmaceuticals that I had. I didn’t need all these heavy hitter pharmaceuticals. I needed supportive mechanisms. That really formed my interest in rehab, acupuncture, and massage, which is still a very important part of my practice.

We currently run a co-working group for veterinary professionals … It’s a huge community working with older animals, hospice animals, and the questions about cannabis were so big from everybody, so a year ago, when we held our first symposium, it was really with the intent of, “We don’t really know what we know, and everyone’s saying something different, so let’s at least get together and be on the same page, and at least share some information.” That symposium was last year, and the culture has changed so much in this one year. My clients are really asking me for more information. So, there’s a bigger push from the pet parent side, wanting to know more, and more acceptance from the veterinarian side. So we’re holding our second symposium this year. It’s about three times as big. C&T Today: It’s so amazing to see this rapid progression in medicinal cannabis. It’ll be exciting to see how you will be able to expand once more states start opening up to it.


iStockphoto.com/Roxana Gonzalez

CA: We really hope to be able to positively influence states that are looking for ideas to implement. One of the big things that happened in Colorado that makes it difficult is that when physicians are allowed to write a recommendation for their human clients, that allows them to circumvent some of the DEA restrictions and stay within state laws. We have the same DEA license as human physicians, but veterinarians were not included in that little piece of legislation that allows them to recommend cannabis, and we’re hoping to push that soon. Just to add veterinarians to that and say all medical providers who carry this type of DEA license, which we do, can make a recommendation for cannabis, it means that we could actually give that full recommendation to our clients… So how we currently approach it and encourage other vets to approach it is through harm reduction education, which means providing our pet parents with all information, both good and bad, about cannabis so they can wisely make decisions. It’s more from the direction of the pet owner; you’ve decided to do this, we’re going to make sure that your pet is safe while you’re utilizing this. It is a semantic dance. We do very much want to stay within the bounds of DEA federal regulations and state regulations, but we also have a duty to our clients and our patients to make sure that they’re safe. C&T Today: How do you distinguish which products or brands are reputable? CA: That’s a really tough one, especially in Colorado where it’s very easy to get, especially on the hemp side, even more than the marijuana

side. We see companies popping up all the time that do not appear trustworthy to begin with, which doesn’t mean they’re not, but at first blush, they are unable to answer some really basic questions about where their hemp came from, what else is in there, what’s the processing mechanism, all those pieces. Now, because there is so little regulation in this field, really trusting the ethics of the company and the transparency of the company becomes really important. So, we are starting to have some brands that we trust, but it’s a huge problem, because the pet owner has to get the product themselves. We, as the vets, can’t really assess it. We can maybe make a suggestion or use whatever product they bring and make the plan from that, but we can’t really help vet the products. So that’s a really tough thing to be in the middle of. We do have a plan in the works for a product approval program. We would have a list of criteria, and then we would review the product and say, “Yeah, they’ve done really well. They’re trying really hard. We really like this product.” Currently, it is a really big point of concern for us that pet parents get the right product. We do have the buying guidelines on the website to hopefully help with that, but it’s tough. It is tough to know the difference between all the available products. C&T Today: How are these products being used to treat ailments like epilepsy, anxiety, arthritis, and cancer? CA: Well, we do, anecdotally, see really good clinical success with the use of cannabis in most of the ailments you mentioned. Although, hand in hand with that, comes the fact that we don’t know a lot about what causes those diseases you mentioned. Anxiety, as a quick example, is such a big overarching name. Even in humans with anxiety, we don’t always know what to do or how to help, and if we don’t know what is causing the anxiety in that animal, it’s really tough to be able to help them as well, so it is important that anybody starting down the road to use cannabis is really good at setting initial goals. We’re not exactly sure how this works yet, or what we’re addressing. We’re going to have to be willing to change products, change ratios. You can’t be stuck in, “I’m going to try one thing and it’s either right or not.” You have to pay

attention to the animal and make sure that it’s very individualized medicine. That’s the biggest thing I would say about cannabis medicine, it is very individualized. You do find trends, but you have to read that particular animal and not have any biases one way or the other. C&T Today: What would you say to someone who is considering a CBD/ cannabis regimen for their pet? CA: It depends on the case. You should make sure your vet team knows that cannabis is being used, because it does potentiate other medications. It does change decisions that we make in a clinical sphere, so knowing that’s happening is really, really important. Being careful in the product purchase, because there are ingredients that we’re starting to see included for the human products that are not safe for animals. We offer 15-minute free consultations just to see if cannabis is the right direction, and for more complicated cases, we’ll absolutely create a plan, talk to their vet, review records, all those pieces. It is definitely something people can start on their own, but they really need to be doing it with their team, at least letting their veterinary team know that it’s happening so that we can watch the animal for any toxicities, or for the benefits, and help watch for those improvements as they come. C&T Today: What are the preferred delivery methods for pets? CA: We recommend using tinctures. That’s the easiest for us to use in a medical case, because we can start really low and creep our way up, so it gives us scalability. It also gives consistency that is harder to find in the treats. For the cases that we usually see, tinctures tend to be the best, most consistent, most accurate, and scalable. Topicals are hard to use because of fur, although we probably will see that soon in more rehab or surgical patients. There is a lot of application potential for vaporizing, for exposure of inhalation of cannabis. I have a friend in Canada who’s done some of this with her own cat, some cannabis vapor, and it did fantastic. It couldn’t eat, so we couldn’t use any oral administration, but we could still modulate that endocannabinoid system with inhalation. h

Winter 2018 // Cannabis & Tech Today


// THE LAB //

An Alternative to Cannabis By Dusty Marie Langdon Cannabis has long been used as a therapeutic and recreational tool. There have been an abundance of stories about scientists finding new ways to use cannabis, THC, and CBD to help people with symptoms such as nausea, muscle aches, glaucoma, loss of appetite, and many more. The FDA recently began testing medical marijuana and researching its applications as a therapeutic treatment for several diseases and disorders (cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy, anxiety). As legalization has slowly crept its way across the country – and the world – researchers have discovered some interesting things about THC. Around 1994, a Japanese phytochemist, Yoshinori Asakawa, discovered a THC-like substance (the psychoactive component found in marijuana) in a species of liverwort (Radula perrottetii) and named it perrottetinene (PET). This same cannabinoid was later found in Radula marginata, another type of liverwort, in 2002. Now, scientists are trying to use three strands of liverwort from the Radula genus as an alternative painkiller to cannabis. Several plants other than marijuana are known to have cannabinoids, but cannabis is the only one that contains THC. However, this form of liverwort contains a compound that is structurally similar to THC but is significantly reduced when it comes to its psychoactive potency. PET also has similar anti-inflammatory properties like THC, but it may offer better medical outcomes. These strands of liverwort have long been marketed as a “legal” high. However, the high is significantly reduced compared to that induced by THC. Because of the low levels of PET found in these liverwort strands, the idea is that it won’t give patients pronounced psychoactive effects, and will instead help more with nausea, loss of appetite, anxiety, and many other symptoms associated with illnesses for which THC has typically been used.


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

The utilization of perrottetinene, a cannabinoid similar to THC found in Radula perrottetii (pictured above), could provide medicinal benefits similar to cannabis without the legal restraints. Photo: Bernd Haynold/Wikipedia

Liverwort is a form of moss, separated from cannabis, a flowering plant, by 300 million years of evolution; thus, it’s a surprising similarity to find between the two plants. This discovery could help push society toward overcoming the stigma of using marijuana for medical purposes. While structurally similar does not mean structurally same, scientists could still use the Radula genus of liverwort to study the effects of using a psychoactive cannabinoid for medical purposes without the ever-looming shadow of the FDA. They could study these effects and apply them to helping

people who are struggling with chronic illnesses now and use that information to extend the legality of using cannabis for medical use. People with a variety of illnesses and disorders would benefit greatly from a painkiller and antiinflammatory on the same level as THC while still leaving them lucid. Because of the many medical and FDA restraints put on cannabis, there hasn’t been enough research on their medicinal benefits. However, with this “legal” form of cannabinoid, the FDA will be able to test and understand its effects and apply it to medical research. h

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// THE LAB //

Jon Cooper on Consistency and Predictability in the Cannabis Market By Patricia Miller

How ebbu is creating repeatable and reliable formulations using precision laboratory testing.

With more than 1,500 inventions and over 40 cannabis-related patents, it’s not surprising that ebbu was recently acquired by powerhouse Canopy Growth for more than $330 million. Some of the biggest names in cannabis are choosing ebbu to formulate their products because the company is doing something very few others in the space are able to do: create customized formulations for consistent user experiences. We spoke with ebbu Founder and CEO Jon Cooper to learn how his company is doing such innovative work and discover his secret for formulating impactful cannabinoid combinations. Cannabis & Tech Today: How does ebbu create consistency in their formulations? Jon Cooper: To create consistency, we first had to think, could we create consistency from the plant? In other words, what most people do today is take an extract from the plant and put that directly into the product. When we looked


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

at the plant, we started realizing it wasn’t possible. In fact, we even took it to extreme levels where we examined trichomes that were literally on the same leaf, right next to each other, and put them in a fluorescence microscope. It allowed us to understand the chemical compositions and what’s actually in these different trichomes right next to each other. To our surprise, they were different. We’re dealing with dozens and dozens of active compounds all being created inconsistently in this plant. We came to the realization that it was never going to happen; we could never take an extract from the plant and create a consistent product. With that in mind, we started asking, “What if we just take all of the core compounds of what we want, we separate them out, and we rebuild from scratch every time?” We take the plant – it doesn’t matter what plant comes in – and all the THC ends up in the THC bucket, all the CBD ends up in the CBD bucket, CBG, CBC, THCV,

etc., and then we build them from scratch. The bigger ultimate question here is, “How does this work?” “Why does this work?” And that’s actually the core and the heart of what we do as a company. We’ve been trying to learn how cannabinoids and terpenoids work in the body and determine how we can produce the right type of products and truly efficacious medicine for different medical conditions. C&T Today: How would you describe the entourage effect and its role in mood modulation? JC: I think for most people, their understanding of the entourage effect is that, by taking all the different compounds in the plants, taking the full spectrum, you’re going to end up with a better result than just using an isolated compound. The reality is, that’s the wrong way of thinking about this. This isn’t magic. There are specific combinations of exact compounds that are interacting with receptors in your body,

// THE LAB //

and depending on that specific combination of cannabinoids and terpenes, you’re going to see dramatically different effects. To give you an example, if we give you pure THC and apply that to the CB1 receptor (the one that makes you feel high), and we measure that, we’re only going to see a 40 percent reaction. Most people think that’s going to be the highest high you can have. But, if we reduce the amount of THC and add in a couple of very specific cannabinoids and a couple of very specific terpenes in a specific ratio, we can boost that reaction to over 80 percent while tripling the potency. If we choose other cannabinoids and terpenes, we can actually reduce that reaction to under 15 percent while wiping out the potency. That’s just a good example to help you understand how important it is to have the right combination of cannabinoids and terpenes put together, in order to create either the product that you’re looking to deliver into the marketplace, or as a consumer, the product you’re looking to have.

C&T Today: How do reliability and consistency impact consumer preferences? JC: If cannabis is going to grow, it really has to focus on the mainstream audience. A mainstream audience is not going to accept an inconsistent psychoactive product. Could you imagine drinking a light beer and not really feeling anything, but because it’s wildly inconsistent, the next one is like taking four shots of scotch? Alcohol, possibly, would not even be legal right now if it was inconsistent. The reason why drinking a beer or multiple different beers works is that the individual is always in control. And ultimately, this is about control and trust. Those are the two most important words when it comes down to it. So, if we are going to create a mainstream audience, what’s going to really matter is how we deliver control and trust. In order to deliver control and trust, you have to deliver a consistent product that users are going to start adopting and understanding so they can create a relationship with the brand.

C&T Today: Do you see the field of cannabis research playing a more vital role in the industry as legalization continues? JC: Definitely. Cannabis research is really the heart and soul of what’s going to be the future of this industry. There’s not one aspect of this industry that won’t be transformed over the next five to ten years by technology that people are working on today. The world today primarily only has access to THC and CBD. Soon, we will have access to 10 or 20 cannabinoids. That’s going to create a massive shift, the cost of growing the actual cannabinoids is going to drop probably 50 to 80 percent. I think for a lot of people, the most important question you have to ask yourself is, are you a cannabis company or are you a cannabinoid company? Once you actually understand that, it allows you to start rethinking your business. For most people who are trying to go mainstream, you are not a cannabis business, you are truly a cannabinoid business and you need to unleash the potential of what that means.h

“A mainstream audience is not going to accept an inconsistent psychoactive product,” Cooper claimed. For this reason, ebbu utilizes their laboratories to develop formulations that have consistent effects, adding another layer of reliability and validity to the industry. Winter 2018 // Cannabis & Tech Today


// THE LAB //

Creating a Next-Gen Facility Blueprint Using the Flower-in-Place Method and Vertical Racking to Maximize Yield and Quality By Andrew Myers

As with any business, the bottom line often hinges directly on the quantity and quality of a product. Nowhere is this more true than in a facility where growers often face the quandary of successfully cultivating a large harvest that produces a high-quality yield within a limited area.

Perhaps one of the most efficient ways a grower can improve the pace of their facility is to streamline operations, eliminating unnecessary steps or stages that may slow down or impede the growth process. Implementing a flower-in-place method is just one example of a smart, efficient way to improve operations.

From irrigation and light to soil and layout, a lot of factors can impact the cultivation process, especially as plants transition through their growth cycles. Today, in creating a nextgeneration grow facility, cultivators have unprecedented technologies and methods at their fingertips to transform their operations into high-yield, high-quality production venues, while maximizing efficiencies. The flower-inplace method and vertical racking are two of the simplest ways to improve yield and quality.

A plant’s natural life cycle responds to the transition between the seasons. Ideally, a grow facility should closely replicate the cooler light to provide an artificial spring, a warmer, more intense light for summer, and then transition back into lower levels of light for autumn and winter. Adjustable LED lights with advanced spectral tuning capabilities allow the cultivator to mimic the transition of seasons. When these lights are successfully implemented, cultivators can streamline their operations, starting with the veg room, which is where young plants mature before moving to a flower room.

Reaping the Benefits of the Flowerin-Place Method


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

In the veg room, lights replicate a springtime environment to give plants the chance to transition from an immature stage to adolescence. The correct lighting technology – specifically LED lights with spectral tuning capabilities – can render a veg room unnecessary, instead allowing the grower to keep the plants stationary. Eliminating the veg room has several benefits: • Reduces labor and time investments as there is no need to replant. • Allows a grower to transition a veg room into a grow room. • Provides the most accurate indoor representation of the natural cycle of seasons. • Encourages resilience across strains and crops against pests and disease. • Gives the grower more control over the final results, such as height, plant mass, and appearance.

// THE LAB //

Why Seasons Matter Seasons bring either longer or shorter daylight hours that are complemented by varying light spectrums and intensities. For many plants, new seedlings typically sprout in the spring, as the days are lengthening. As summer approaches, the light intensifies, allowing plants to gain more mass by growing taller and producing more leaves. Many growers circle June 21 on their calendar as this is the summer solstice, when we receive equal hours of daylight and night. From this point, days get shorter as autumn approaches and many plants enter their flowering phase, releasing seeds before the colder months set in. For millions of years, plants have evolved specifically to respond to this natural rhythm, which is why it makes sense for grow facilities to recreate this environment. Unfortunately, some growing techniques rely on outdated technology and result in plants thrust from an artificial spring where they enjoyed a low intensity, cooler light, to the middle of summer, when the light is at its most intense. Others tend to fall back on providing “June 21” conditions every day during the grow. While this will propel plants to flower, it throws off the natural clock of a plant’s most basic biology. As a result of this biological confusion, many plants tend to go into shock, become more susceptible to disease, or even fail to reach the flowering stage at all. Instead of focusing on the natural order of growth, they react to the sudden change in temperature, light intensity, and location.

LEDs: Helping Recreate Mother Nature LED lights offer the most accurate replica of natural sunlight. But not all LEDs are created equally. LED lighting with spectral tuning capabilities helps the cultivator easily adjust the intensity and temperature of the light the crop receives. These advancements in LED lighting technology give growers the control to almost perfectly recreate the seasons – whether spring, summer, autumn, or winter – in their grow room. This adjustability is a powerful asset to any facility, whether cultivating cannabis, greenery, or edible foods. The end result is a resilient, healthy crop.


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

Growing Up, Not Out, Through Vertical Racking The biggest advantage growers have when building out their facilities is to start thinking in cubic feet versus square feet. Growers often don’t have an unlimited amount of space to expand their operation, which is why smart design is vital, especially for high density areas. Just as a city builds vertically to accommodate more people, so too can growers take advantage of wasted space through vertical racking. In fact, this new way of building grow facilities is the future of cannabis and other horticulture across the world.

Vertical Racking Creates Efficient Use of Space, Better Growth Opportunities One of the best ways to immediately boost a harvest’s yield is to vertically rack the crops. This efficient crop layout maximizes the benefit of the space available to growers, which is vital for states that only permit cannabis to be grown indoors, or to cultivators with limited square footage. As the cannabis industry has grown in the U.S., the cost of appropriate facilities for large indoor crops has increased, which makes space efficiency a vital business decision. Vertically racking crops can be best described as a leafy green skyscraper. There are multiple tiers, each with space for the plants to thrive. Some companies, like ProGrowTech, have specifically designed efficient LED lights for vertical racking, with each plant receiving an equal and appropriate amount of light. This multilevel approach allows for more seedlings to grow together, resulting in potentially doubling or tripling a harvest.

Not All Lighting is Equal for Vertical Racking While vertical racking isn’t a new concept, it has only recently been embraced by the cannabis growing community. That’s because many grow facilities have traditionally relied on

HPS lighting solutions, which are not suited to this design as they cannot deliver the same level of lighting uniformity as LEDs. And as LED technology continues to advance, the design intelligence of vertical racking is expected to become an industry best practice for grow operations.

Easy Changes Bring Big Returns Increasing yield and improving harvest quality are within arm’s reach for today’s growers as they look to enhance their operations to keep pace with market demand. Smart design combined with scientifically backed technologies currently available on the market can help propel any grow facility into a 21stcentury operation that’s ready to grow more plants in smaller spaces without compromising quality. h Andrew Myers is CEO of ProGrowTech. The company helps commercial horticulture operations increase profitability, yield, and energy efficiency with industry-leading LED lighting systems. For more information, visit progrowtech.com.

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// THE LAB //

The Two Sides of Segra An exploration into the world of micropropagation, molecular biology, and how they relate to cannabis cultivation By Alex Moersen Only a month into legalization, many Canadian provinces began experiencing cannabis shortages, and it’s been reported that these shortages could persist for years to come, according to Vancouver Sun. Naturally, this has had an adverse effect on retail stores and other business. As supply cannot keep up with demand, some stores have been forced to shorten hours or even close down altogether. (Left) Dr. Sma Zobayed, (Right) Dr. John Brunstein While it’s been argued that the shortage is the result of tough regulations being forced onto Zobayed; and molecular biology, explained by producers, it still brings to light the issues Dr. John Brunstein. around how the cannabis industry will keep up Dr. Sma Zobayed, Micropropagawith demand as legalization slowly but surely tion & Tissue Culture continues to expand. The plant material we collect to regenerate Micropropagation is a technique that allows tissue cultured plants is meristematic tissue and cultivators to produce a large number of is virus-free. Now, why is meristematic tissue genetically similar and pathogen-free transplants virus-free? The meristematic cell division is from just one plant. By using plant tissue culture faster than the virus multiplication rate, so the methods, cultivators are able to rapidly expand virus cannot actually hook onto those cells. their grow operations. After taking an extremely Then, we do the clean-up of the bacteria and small sample from the mother plant, sometimes fungus, it’s called surface sterilization. We clean just a single cell, scientists can grow and all of these by adding some kind of disinfectant multiply the sample to produce multiple plants. in the solution to clean. It is a process that Segra International, a plant And eventually, one of the major advantages of biotechnology company, excels in. Here, we micropropagation is getting a disease-free plant have the two sides of the process: micropropagation, explained by Dr. Sma because they don’t have any germs. The second


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

advantage is, if you need millions of plants, how do you scale up? It’s not feasible to produce millions of plants through conventional cutting. But – say the multiplication factor is four – from one transfer, in four weeks time, 100,000 plants can make 400,000. One more transfer, and in four weeks time, you get 1.6 million. So scaling up is easy once you set up everything. Another benefit is the uniformity. You get very uniform plants because they are identical and they’re coming from one mother plant. If you need millions of plants, there is no point in propagating through the conventional way. Everybody should do tissue culture. That’s my point of view… The cannabis industry is different; it’s nonstop plant production. So it’s easier for us, for

According to Dr. Sma Zobayed: “One of the major advantages of micropropagation is getting a disease-free plant.” Other advantages include easy scalability and crop uniformity.

the tissue culture people, to generate plants. With every batch, every month or every week, they can come out of the lab. So it’s an easy way to scale up. There is an added benefit for the cannabis industry. You get a pathogen-free plant, you get easy scalability, and you get uniformity… Segra is a tissue culture-based company and the future is tissue culture. The production coming for the industry is in the billions. So how do you produce that? I know lot of companies are building a lot of greenhouses, a lot of space for cultivation and flowering, but where will the plants come from? Obviously, it will have to depend on tissue culture. We are one of the pioneers for tissue culture. I can see a very bright future for tissue culture and Segra for fulfilling this demand. It will take a little bit of time to scale up the whole thing, but once everything is set up, Segra will generate revenue nonstop.

Dr. John Brunstein, Molecular Biology & Genetics Once the company branched into focusing on tissue culture, the question was what, really, do the genetics bring to that? We have this dedicated genetics laboratory here, and

we can do a couple of things that are very important there. One is, we can do strain tracking. So, Segra’s model is that a large producer would come to us and say, “Rather than us using 10 percent of our canopy towards mother plants, we would like to offload those mother plants to you, have you propagate them clonally in tissue culture, and provide us with our juvenile starts at a certain size on regular interval.” But, when they bring these plants in, they’re little tiny plants; like, alfalfa sprouts-sized, maybe a little bit bigger. They don’t want to spend months growing those up through vegetation and flower, and then find out, “Well, guess what? That was a wrong strain.” They wanted something with certain phytochemical properties … So, when we induct a strain into the system, we can get a unique fingerprint for it. Then, we can confirm to them that the strain they’re getting, that they’re about to invest a lot of time and effort in, is, indeed, the strain they want. The second problem that’s ancillary to that pertains to the cultivation facility. Those places are very worried about primarily fungal, but also, potentially, bacterial contamination. So, when they bring in juvenile plants, if those are

vectoring in Sclerotinia or Fusarium or Phytophthora, and they simply go out and put those on the cultivation floor, they can lose an entire crop. They can lose millions of dollars in crop losses due to pathogen infection. Right now, with traditional methods, what they’re doing is either taking a risk of that – and those sort of losses do occur – or else they’re having to run quarantining, which means you have to have compartmentalization in your buildings. It gets very complicated to quarantine things. Even with quarantining, you may have crosscontamination. So, we can address all that by using the same molecular tools to examine outgoing shipments for the presence or, more hopefully, the absence of a number of these really critical pathogens. So, they can get that certification that the correct strain is coming in and that it has no detectable amounts of the following organisms of concern. In addition to these things we can do, immediate utility in supporting tissue culture, we can also use the molecular lab to uncover details of genes and pathways responsible for producing various phytochemicals – including those which are currently understudied and of possible interest. From that, we can develop markers for selective strain breeding programs. h

Winter 2018 // Cannabis & Tech Today



The Matron of Mirage Cannabis activist and entrepreneur Nina Parks discusses her passion for both advocacy and business By Anthony Elio


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018


ntrepreneurship and activism can be looked at in a very similar vein. Both take courage, both take determination, and both come from the desire to change and disrupt the established order. Nina Parks is the perfect example of someone who exemplifies the best qualities of both, with her passion and drive showing throughout her ventures. Parks is the founder and CEO of Mirage Medicinal, a cannabis delivery service based out of San Francisco. Additionally, she is the co-founder of Supernova Women, an organization that supports women of color within the world of marijuana entrepreneurship, combining her passions for activism and business.

Oakland was the only local jurisdiction that was actually talking about transitioning to adult use.

This passion has clearly been recognized, with Parks being featured in The Huffington Post and Women of Cannabiz, as well as being named on High Times’ “Top 100 Influential People In Cannabis.” In these exclusive quotes, Parks discusses her journey into the world of cannabis activism, the power of social media, and the need for change in cannabis policy.


Activism My brother was arrested for cannabis possession in New York, and he was looking at two to seven years. He had this idea for a delivery service prior to him getting locked up, and he had already filled out all the paperwork. He had the co-op paperwork done, he did the branding, and he built a website. So, with the fear that my brother was going to fall victim to the prison-industrial complex, I dropped everything that I was doing. I just dropped everything and started running this delivery service for my brother. He ended up getting sentenced to a year at Rikers Island. During the process of me running the delivery service, which was in 2015, California started moving towards adult-use legalization. And as we were reading the legislation, there were actually blocks: things that were making it so people that had former convictions weren’t able to participate, which is crazy. How could you block people from selling weed for selling weed? It seemed really illogical to me. So, I began going to the meetings in 2015 in Oakland because

There, I was able to link up with four other really amazing individuals to co-found an organization for women of color called Supernova Women. We really established ourselves as a group that was trying to support language that was more equitable and also help educate people all over the country on what the potential opportunities were for women of color in the cannabis industry and how there was a need for more representation of women of color as well as people that had been formerly incarcerated to participate in the emerging cannabis economies that are coming up all around the state. Mirage Medicinal is a home grown brand. We’ve done everything very guerilla-style up until now. We’re going to continue to trailblaze moving forward, learning how to navigate through this new corporate cannabis structure. What’s always going to set us apart is our authenticity and our commitment to providing quality cannabis, you know, because there’s going to be a lot of cannabis flooding the market at a low cost or that is mass-produced. And we are still really trying to provide an experience for our patients and our customers that’s not just a generic cannabis experience, but it’s still rooted in cannabis culture.

Social Media I think it’s always really important because it was the propaganda created, you know, by the government and by other special interest groups that gave this wrong perception of cannabis. So it’s really essential that we create new content that helps to re-educate people. I love social media. I think it’s such an amazing way to disseminate information, and it allows for so much creativity as well. I definitely feel like social media and other outlets like blogging are really going to help to normalize cannabis. For us in Supernova, it was essential for us to be able to get our talking points out quickly to other people that were coming to meetings. We use our social media outlets to be able to coordinate with people, and we’ve seen a lot of

movements across the world. The ability to communicate on social media, to gather people in one place, to be able to disseminate talking points, or to give new information that’s being discovered is the easiest way to spread information. Not the most secure way obviously, but the most mass-impactful way.

Other Work I’m really proud of all the work that we’ve done so far. I actually recently left the Supernova Women board to focus more directly on the things that are necessary in San Francisco. So, right now I’m facilitating the San Francisco Cannabis Equity Working Group to be able to focus on a real equity program for San Francisco, because San Francisco only started working on it three months before the end of last year. The only thing that we were able to address was equity licensing or permitting, so pathways to permitting. We were not actually able to address the rest of the program piece. So now a lot of my activist focus is on building out curriculum and getting some coalition building around realist education and realist technical assistance for equity applicants at this time period. And, my brother’s out of jail now, and he’s working on getting the dispensary up and running. We are actually in line to be able to open up a dispensary here in San Francisco, which is super exciting because we’re from out here, and it means a lot for us actually to be able to get some traction on still being out here since there is a massive exodus of people of color out of the city because it’s just really expensive to live out here.

Future of Cannabis I’m really hoping with future cannabis policy that systems are put in place first before they start filtering people through them, because right now it’s a detriment for the businesses. People aren’t able to get their permits; they’re being enforced upon, which creates this really horrible environment where people are trying to participate in the legal market but are being fined and slapped with civil penalties and all sorts of things because their paperwork isn’t straight. h

Winter 2018 // Cannabis & Tech Today



High Functioning

An Interview with Kevin Smith

By Alex Moersen


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018


If there were a Mount Rushmore of stoners, it’s likely that Kevin Smith’s face would be chiseled upon it. Starting with the 1994 film Clerks, which he wrote, directed, and acted in, Smith has charmed stoner comedy fans everywhere with his depiction of Silent Bob. Since then, Smith has built his very own film universe, the View Askewniverse, worked on a variety of TV shows, written comic books, and started his very own podcast. To what does Smith credit his expansive portfolio? Cannabis. But it isn’t just his portfolio. Smith may very well owe his life to cannabis after a doctor claimed that it was a joint that saved him when he had a heart attack. In this exclusive interview, Smith breaks down the modern stoner, his upcoming show Hollyweed, how he’s breaking into the cannabusiness, and how one joint saved his life. Cannabis & Tech Today: Since you worked on Clerks back in the 90s, how have you seen the stoner comedy genre evolve? Kevin Smith: We were – I’m not going to say the first – but maybe one of the first generations removed from Cheech and Chong. So, we got to see what they did, and they kind of laid the stoner template down for like, “Hey, man, I’m stoned.” So, when Jay and Silent Bob stepped up to the plate; Jay doesn’t play it like a typical stoner, but he is definitely a little spacier than most, and then the other guy doesn’t talk at all. But for me, they’re not indicative of true stoner culture. I wrote those characters back before I was a stoner, when I had smoked weed like a handful of times, and [ Jason] Mewes never stayed a stoner for very long, so a lot of that was guess work and building on stereotypes that already existed. It wasn’t until years later that I became a stoner at age 38 that I finally

watched the movies as a stoner and it was like, “Oh, I understand why people find them funny now. I kind of get it.” But at the same time, now I’ve been a real stoner; I’ve been a wake-and-baker. I’m more productive in the last 10 years than I was in the first 10 years of my career. I just do way more because I made this little deal with myself when I started smoking weed on the regular. I said, “Look, you don’t want to be the stereotype. You don’t want to be lazy, wind up losing a lot of time watching TV and stuff like that. If you’re going to smoke weed, you have to be doing something productive. You can smoke as much weed as you want, but you always have to be moving forward and doing something productive.” So at age 38, I went from just making movies to making movies, podcasts, TV shows, live shows, because I wanted to smoke weed. It was like the more I smoked, the more I had to show that I was being productive. So it wound up making me even more productive, man, and I got to do things that I never would’ve considered doing or dreamed that I could do... I’m sure there are some people that smoke weed and watch TV, but in my world, man, those that smoke weed are productive, like people that are constantly doing, dreaming, making, and stuff like that. So if I were to create new characters, it would be closer to the characters that I created in Hollyweed. People that can hold their smoke incredibly well. You’d never even know they were stoners. That’s the thing. The modern stoner is hardly slow-witted. High-functioning, the modern stoner is... C&T Today: Speaking of Hollyweed, where did that idea come from?

KS: That came from a friend of mine, Kim Leadford, who was a producer on Yoga Hosers. She had a buddy, Pete, who runs a store that’s right on Melrose. She said, “Hey, Pete has this interesting story about coming from the east coast, and coming out here to do movies, but instead he wound up opening up a dispensary … He has a script and we want to try to turn it into something. Can you read it?” I read the script, and I was like, “Yeah, I mean, look it’s a good idea, but you’d have to really kind of go in this direction with it and whatnot.” She said, “Do you want to write it and direct it?” So I talked to Pete and he was like, “Go crazy.” We found some money from the cannabis space. Weedmaps, they put in money, and that’s how we were able to shoot the pilot, but then the pilot didn’t go anywhere. No network wanted it or anything like that, so it just laid dormant for two years. Then I met these Rivet TV people, and they were like, “Hey, we’ve got this crowdfunding platform.” So we decided to dust it off, shoot a new ending, and put it out there. People responded really well to it. It’s fun to do, man, and it gives you a chance to do stoner stories that aren’t the typical stoner stories, to show the stoners as they are today. I know one of the storylines that we’re going to do is Pete’s store, L.A. Confidential, like in real life, they kind of got screwed by legalization. They’ve got until about 2020, and then they have to close up shop even though they’ve been doing it for a decade, because suddenly they’re close to a school, which was never a problem before. So I said, “I’m going to borrow your real life problems and put them into this pilot, man.” Because you want to reflect real stories that are happening in the weed space, not just the fun of like, “Hey, we’re smoking weed, and it’s Winter 2018 // Cannabis & Tech Today



It was after filming this comedy special, coincidentally named “Silent But Deadly,” that Smith suffered a severe heart attack. Later, his doctor claimed that the joint Smith had smoked earlier in the day may have just saved his life.

awesome!” But there’s a reality to it. There’s a business to it. There’s a culture that surrounds it, so I wanted to depict that accurately. C&T Today: You mentioned earlier how, when you started smoking weed, it actually expanded your horizons. Could you talk a bit more about the specific role weed plays in your creative process? KS: It’s weird. I tell people all the time, weed will not give you a good idea. It’s not like suddenly you’ll smoke and be like, “Oh my god. I never would’ve thought of that before.” But what it does is lower your inhibitions, because we have a lot of things that hold us back from trying things we want to do, because we never think highly of ourselves. It’s so easy to think less of ourselves. It’s so easy to look at other people who are succeeding at what they’re trying to do, and go, “Well, that’s them, and they’re special and not me.” That crazy self-doubt that is self-imposed, that doesn’t come from the outside world. The


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

outside world is tough enough, man, but getting past yourself, that’s the biggest hurdle most times. So I light a joint and I’m like, “Pfft, why not me? Why them? How come I’m not special enough? Of course I can be special enough. Let’s do this. Let’s give it a shot.” You take that fear out of the equation; you remove that trepidation, the idea that it ain’t going to be you, it’s going to be somebody else. Look, that’s just a story you’re telling yourself. You don’t f***ing know. You don’t know the future, so if you’re going to tell a story to yourself, tell a positive one. Don’t tell one where it’s just like everything didn’t work out. Tell one where it’s just like, “Oh my god! Everything worked out. It was the best decision I ever made.” C&T Today: Earlier this year, you had a heart attack, and the doctor basically said that weed had saved your life. From then until now, did that experience change your view on weed at all? KS: What it did was ratify my belief in weed in terms of like, I knew this stuff was doing

something. I knew this was good for me. I knew it kept my tension down. I knew I’m not a stressed person by any stretch of the imagination, and that has everything to do with the fact that there’s always THC dancing through my system. After the heart attack, I was real afraid to bring it up to my general practitioner. It was a week after the heart attack, and so I said, “Hey, I’m almost afraid to bring this up, because I don’t want to hear the answer.” I said, “But I smoked a lot the day of my heart attack; smoked a big, fat joint right before I got on stage. It pains me to know the answer, but is it possible weed had something to do with my heart attack?” The doctor was like, “No, quite the opposite actually.” She said, “You were calm the whole time, you told me.” I was like, “Yeah.” She’s going, “That’s because you were blazed ... You know what happens when you have a heart attack? Somebody tells you you’re having a heart attack and it compounds the heart attack ... But you, you were calm as a cucumber. You let them






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done professionally on one, and they’re reliable, and I get them. I love hockey jerseys; it’s the fat guy’s muumuu for heaven sakes. I stand by that product, and it’s the same thing here, man. Weed is just something I can wave the flag for in a thousand different ways. I hope people look at me as a modern stoner and go, “Well, he’s doing a bunch of things, and he never seems dopey or out of it. He seems fairly lucid all the time.” And I’ve been baked for 10 years. So I stand out there as an example for some cats who could really need it… C&T Today: Could you dive a bit deeper into your collaboration with Chemesis and how that all came together?

“Now that it’s gotten its foothold, forget it, man. This is the next cultural boom. This is the next industrial revolution.” do what they needed to do.” She’s going, “It had everything to do with that joint. I believe that joint probably saved your life.” So I was like, “I’m going to put that s*** on a t-shirt.” C&T Today: It’s amazing to think how your story might help battle a lot of those stigmas and show that cannabis can actually be a health benefit. KS: Absolute benefit. Now, I saw some doctors when I told that story came out on social media and they’re like, “He’s wrong. This is impossible, blah, blah, blah.” But all I know is that I lived. I know the truth that I lived, and there’s a lot that weed can do. When you get into the Rick Simpson oil end of things, it can shrink tumors for heaven sakes, so we know that it’s a powerful agent for change. That’s why working with the Chemesis cats, aside from just doing the recreational side with Jay and Silent Bob’s private reserve, they also do the medical side. For me, I’m brand loyal to things that work like crazy for me. I like Apple computers, because I’ve written almost everything that I’ve 92

Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

KS: The Chemesis folks, God love them, literally cold emailed us to the Smodco email account. You know how cool that is? Normally somebody’s like, “Hey, I want to introduce you to somebody. There’s money involved and blah, blah, blah.” This was literally as if a fan was approaching us like, “Hey man, we got this weed company. We want to make weed with Jay and Silent Bob.” We met with them, loved the cut of their jib, and then they let us sample their product, and once I did that, I was like, “I will definitely be in business with you guys.” So they brought over this guy, Adam, who’s just a creative genius. And just three weeks ago, we were in the living room of my house talking about the concept, what it could be, what it could look like and whatnot. Adam had this great idea. He’s like, “I want to do these little boxes that sit on a counter. They’re for the single roll joints, and we’ll do 12 or 15 in a case, in a little package, but when you open up the package, it folds into looking like the Quick Stop, or it looks like RSP Video.” So instantly it’s tied in with our movies, and our legacies, and s*** we’ve been talking about for 25 years. So I was like, “Oh, that sounds cool, man. What a cool idea.” And God damn, if I didn’t go to MJBizCon and Adam showed me the actual things that we were just talking about three weeks ago. He built them, man. I shed a f***ing tear looking at these gorgeous, gorgeous single roll joints that are in these little glass containers that have me and Jay’s pictures plastered onto them. And it’s a reusable dube tube, so at the end of the day, when you’re done

smoking the joint, you get to hold on to it, man. Because my thing was like, “Let’s make it collectible; let’s make it so that whoever’s smoking the joints, they collect all six.” Because they all got different pictures on them and s***, like Burger King Star Wars glasses when I was a kid. So I was on the floor at MJBiz showing it off to everybody. It’s nice to be on the manufacturing end and the marketing end. They’ll put it all together, and I’ll be the guy out there being like, “Step right up. Head to every weed legal state and you can pick up Jay and Silent Bob’s private reserve.” C&T Today: So as you’ve moved from being a consumer to actually participating in the industry, is there anything that has surprised you so far? KS: I was flabbergasted by the breadth and scope of MJBizCon. I went to the CHAMP Show – I think it was almost a year ago – and that was impressive. It was like, “Oh, this is fun. I get it.” But then I went to this show, and it was massive. You should’ve seen the lines of people to get their badges to get on the floor. And the floor was as big if not bigger than the San Diego Comic-Con. This industry is massive... I was up at one of Aurora Cannabis’ places up in Edmonton. They took me on a tour of their growth facility, 750,000 square feet, and it’s robotic and automated, so human hands only touch the trimming when it goes into the block, and then at the end when they pull it all together. The rest of the time whole tables are picked up by these giant robotic arms and shuffled to the next room. It is mind-bending what’s gone into it. I was like, “Somebody invented all this?” They’re like, “Yeah, man, the food industry.” So watching what I’ve always known to be a business where somebody’s like, “50 bucks,” and they give me a little plastic bag, watching it become what it is today, when I walked into the MJBizCon, that was eye opening, to say the least, man. This industry isn’t going anywhere, man. It’s not going away. It’s going everywhere. It’s going up. But now that it’s gotten its foothold, forget it, man. This is the next cultural boom. This is the next industrial revolution. h

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A New Direction for Medical Cannabis By Anthony Elio

“When your kid’s got cancer, the rulebook goes out the window, really. I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t explore everything that there was.” This quote comes from a mother featured in Weed the People, a documentary that follows a number of families with children suffering from cancer. The quote perfectly exemplifies the theme of the film, where the possibilities of medical cannabis as a treatment is examined as families desperately look for a safer alternative to chemotherapy and prescription drugs. In this exclusive interview, Weed the People director Abby Epstein discusses the inspiration for her film, the longstanding stigmas surrounding cannabis, and the personal connection she maintains with the families featured in the documentary. Cannabis & Tech Today: What was your inspiration for Weed the People? Abby Epstein: The inspiration for this movie was a little bit unorthodox because we didn’t really set out to make a film about medical marijuana, or a policy film. The film actually came from the executive producer Ricki Lake and her husband. They actually got very involved in helping a little girl who was suffering and undergoing chemo and had a disease where she had tumors all over her body. They were researching alternative and integrative therapies for this little girl, because the chemo was really destroying her quickly. And they came across cannabis oil, and a compound with CBD, and the anti-tumoral effect that’s been studied, and so that really launched the film. They were really trying to help this little girl and, through that, open the door to this whole world of medicine and trying to figure out why nobody knows about this. C&T Today: Why do you believe that so many people don’t seem to embrace cannabis on a medicinal level? AE: I think it’s just the stigma. I think that everybody’s been so brainwashed by their understanding of what is a drug and what is a medicine. I think that most people think it’s okay to Weed The People / Mangurama


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

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give seven-year-olds a prescription for Oxycontin even though that can really easily inadvertently kill a child. They think that’s okay because it comes from our pharmaceutical industry and it’s doctor prescribed, and insurance paid for it so it must be okay. And unfortunately, I think marijuana just has this reputation for being a drug of abuse and it’s very, very hard to undo that thinking. I think that’s why this movie is so important. Because, for most people seeing this movie, it’s the first time their eyes were really ever opened to the fact that this is no different. This is no different than any other plant that we derive medicines from, whether it’s chemotherapy, drugs, or painkillers. A lot of things are derived from plants. So, it’s kind of this incredible double standard and I think that it just has to do with the way the culture has been brainwashed.

definitely in touch with them and the reason that we started a GoFundMe campaign on the website for the kids is because, since we made the film, the regulations in California have honestly been so difficult on these families and on the oil makers. Honestly, the regulations have made it so that families who were getting free oil are no longer getting any free oil. It’s really made it quite difficult for these kids, and all the kids in the film who are actually still taking a daily dose, a maintenance dose of oil – it’s expensive. It continues to be expensive. That’s kind of what we’re hearing all around from people, that the regulations have made it very difficult for pretty much everyone you see in our film, both the people making the medicine and the children trying to access it.

C&T Today: Do you believe those stigmas will ever be a thing of the past?

AE: For us, I think the big takeaway is that we really would like people to see that this is truly, really a human rights issue. These are children who are sick, facing life-threatening illnesses,

AE: I think so. I mean, I really see that day. It’s hard because when the medicine is smoked, I think that people have such a connotation with inhaled marijuana, rolled cigarettes, or flower, even vaping to a certain extent. I think people have such a connotation with that as a street drug. So I think that’s difficult and there is no other pharmaceutical right now that is smoked.

C&T Today: What message do you hope viewers take from the documentary?

and the government is telling them that they can use every toxic treatment known to man but, “Oh, this one plant is off limits.” This one plant, which you see in the film, is potentially, anecdotally, maybe saving some of these children’s lives. So I think that people need to start to look at this as a human rights issue. That’s why we called the film Weed the People, because we feel like this is a right of citizens to be able to heal themselves, to choose how they feel, and be able to access a full range of holistic and integrative options in addition to what the allopathic medical system is providing. To take that away from people, to take that out of people’s access and say, “No, this is illegal and it can’t be studied and your doctors can’t prescribe it.” It is truly what I think we’re showing in the film, not only a heartless act, but a really ignorant and criminal position that will cost people lives. h To see upcoming showtimes or host your own screening of Weed the People, go to www.weedthepeoplemovie.com/

But I do think that, in terms of the other formulations, whether they’re pills, oils, tinctures, or pharmaceuticals that are being derived from the cannabis plant, I think that the stigma will go away with that. You see it already happening with the CBD craze and all these products that are coming out in the CBD market. It shows that there’s this public embrace that there’s good sides to this plant. So I think that will also help turn the tide. C&T Today: In order to raise money, you had started a GoFundMe page for the families that were featured within the documentary. Do you still find yourself keeping in touch with them? AE: Oh yeah, quite a bit. The families, they were all just at the Los Angeles premiere. We’re

Weed the People director Abby Epstein (left) poses for a photo with the film’s producer Ricki Lake (right). Weed The People / Mangurama


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018


The Battle Against Ad Restrictions By Patricia Miller & Anthony Elio

“Good advertising does not just circulate information. It penetrates the public mind with desires and belief.” These are the wise words of advertising executive Leo Burnett, founder of one of the top ad agencies in the world. His sentiment rings true to this day, as the vitality of advertising for businesses is ever-present in the digital age. After all, 2017 alone saw $283 billion in economic activity for users of Google’s advertising and search tools. However, when it comes to the cannabis industry, the use of these tools becomes a bit more complex. According to the Washington Post, cannabis ads are disallowed on the Google platform as it is still illegal federally, and Facebook’s policies block any ads for recreational drugs, meaning the substance cannot even be promoted in legalized areas. This poses a problem for businesses such as To The Cloud Vapor Store, an innovative herbal vaporizer store based out of Walnut Creek, California. Tyler Browne, founder of To The Cloud Vapor Store, discusses the complications with these ad restrictions and how he is attempting to grow his business without traditional online advertisements. Cannabis & Tech Today: Tell me a bit about what To The Cloud Vapor Store does. Tyler Browne: So we actually do things a bit different from our competitors. We basically sell high-end herbal vaporizers, but we allow the


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

Ad restrictions from Google and Facebook are having a negative impact on ecommerce cannabis sites such as To The Cloud Vapor Store, an online retailer specializing in second hand vaporizers.

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popping up. They contact you all the time saying things like, “Hey, you’ll get better targeted traffic because we only put banners on marijuana-related websites.” And they’re just garbage. We stopped using them because they have low retention rates. They just get new clients to sign up all the time. We were spending with them and we were losing money. For every sale, we probably lost $150 with Mantis. What they decided to do is just move over to an affiliate model because people were getting so mad with their advertising.

Tyler Browne, founder and CEO of To The Cloud Vapor Store, puffs a vaporizer from his selection of gently-used products. Traffic to his website has decreased since Google and Facebook implemented their latest ad restrictions.

customers to return them. So we get a lot of cancer patients, for example. They’ll use it for chemo, then send it back. Or we get people who don’t have the money for a brand new item, so they’ll buy a refurbished one. We also buy them back. For example, the Digital Volcano is $600, so they’ll buy it, they’ll use it for a year, and then want to try out something else. So then they can sell it back to us after they used it, obviously not for $600, but they use that towards their next purchase. It’s like a thrift shop for vaporizers. C&T Today: Which advertising restrictions are having the largest effect on your marketing practices? TB: Definitely Google. Google Shopping was our bread and butter. It’s funny because there are all of these marijuana pay-per-click networks


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

There are bigger players who don’t mind losing $200 per sale. They just want to get their name on every website possible for more brand recognition. It’s kind of like when Coca-Cola puts their logo on a soccer ball. Coca-Cola isn’t sitting there saying, “How much money do we make every time someone sees the Coca-Cola logo on a soccer ball? Are they buying a Coke?” They just want more brand recognition. They don’t care that they have to spend $5,000 to put a logo on a soccer ball, whereas people like us, small businesses, are just hemorrhaging money into these other pay-per-click networks. C&T Today: Have you noticed a link between ad restrictions and a loss in revenue? TB: Most definitely. Like I said, the affiliate model was good, so now we use that. We get influencers and reviewers to link back to our website and they get a cut of every sale. But, it was about a 50 percent decrease in sales with Google Adwords. I actually even had a friend who worked at Google who said, “Don’t worry about it. You’re not selling E6. It’s an herbal vaporizer for potpourri or chamomile, or all these legal herbs. There’s no nicotine in it, so

you guys will be good to go.” And then it just fell down one day. We hired an agency to optimize our ads. Once we hired them, it was kind of crazy. We don’t need to do anything as far as making the website good for organic search content. It’s like everything is pretty much coming in thanks to Google Adwords. C&T Today: Have you developed any creative marketing strategies in response to the restrictions? TB: Right now it’s all blogging. It’s all about getting really good content out there. That has helped a lot, especially with our involvement because it means everyone who works here likes these items. They use them regularly. So we have a lot of expertise to offer. When we put out content it actually ranks really high and then from there we just direct people to the product page. It’s still not as good. They still have to go digging and do their research. So we’re able to boost sales about 10 percent with all that content. The one unfortunate part of that is the content has to be original and it has to be quality. And that takes time, that takes a lot of time to create that stuff. You can’t just outsource it. We get people who say, “Oh, we’ll create content for you.” And it’s just some kid who’s working for some SEO company and he creates a terrible blog that has absolutely nothing to do with herbal vaporizers. I’d say it’s all just content creation and finding your niche. h

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Winter 2018 // Cannabis & Tech Today



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Otto – The first of its kind, the Otto by Banana Bros is a smart filling machine that automatically grinds your flower and fills your joint with the simple press of a button. Using artificial intelligence to perfectly mill the materials, Otto’s futuristic technology will make you completely forget about your old grinder. $130

NOVA Decarboxylator – One of the simplest ways to decarb and infuse your cannabis, Ardent’s NOVA Decarboxylator is a great way to activate your THC. Odorless, quiet, and easy to use, the Decarboxylator helps you get your ideal dosage and even make edibles. $210

STM Rosin Press 4.0 – Applying even pressure and heat to every square inch, the STM Rosin Press 4.0 combines mass production and efficiency. With the ability to press over 45 pounds of flower in eight hours, STM has created an incredibly intuitive commercial rosin press. $20,000 Hemp Pre-Roll Straights – Much easier than rolling your own joint or carrying around an old school corn cob pipe, Bhang’s Hemp Pre-Roll Straights are ideal for the cannabis enthusiast on the go. Available in Durban Menthol, GDP, and Kentucky Blue, these Pre-Roll Straights work with your busy lifestyle. $40


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

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LEVO II - Allowing you to infuse butter and oil with nutrients and flavors from herbs, fruits, and much more, the LEVO II makes infusing simple. This new release includes three cycles – dry, activate, and infuse, streamlining the process of herbal infusion from start to finish. Plus, you can connect wirelessly via the LEVO app to adjust settings on the go. With dishwasher-safe components, LEVO gives you the power to find your perfect flavor. $350 Paracanna Zen Zingers – Why buy edibles at the dispensary when you can just make your own? A gummy candy kit that lets you decide on everything from the strength of the edible to the cannabinoids included, Zen Zingers let you craft some delicious cannabis confectionaries. $15

Stash Jar – The very first of its kind, the Smokus Focus Stash Jar is a pocket-sized rechargeable magnifying display jar. Allowing cannabis enthusiasts to examine their plant indepth, this innovative jar also comes in a variety of colors. $50

St. Bernie’s CBD Gum – Environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and digestible, St. Bernie’s CBD Gum is handcrafted and comes in a variety of flavors. Available in Buttered Rum, Coffee Liqueur, Moscow Mule, and more, St. Bernie’s CBD Gum combines robust flavors with natural full-spectrum CBD. $30-45 Magic-Flight Launch Box – Allowing for healthy, clean vaporizing in a stylish fashion, the Magic-Flight Launch Box Kit combines fashion and function. Coming in such styles as Original Maple, Premium Walnut, and Tree of Life Laser, the Launch Box Kit ensures that you can perfectly match your vaporizer to your personal style. $119


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018


The State of the Cannabusiness The world of cannabis is in a state of transition. Between the past few years of legislation, the continuing massive economic growth, and the results of the recent election, that transition period looks to be in full force throughout 2019. Looking at the current climate around cannabis, where the substance is legal both medicinally and recreationally, and quotes from leaders within the industry, our â&#x20AC;&#x153;State of the Cannabusinessâ&#x20AC;? piece will keep you informed on where the substance stands in the spring.

Innovative Cannabis Products As the cannabis industry continues to grow, products continue to push the boundaries of technological innovation. Our first issue of 2019 will highlight the new releases that deserve a place in your cannabis collection. Rosin presses, vaporizers, grow lights, and more will get the spotlight as we review the best that the industry has to offer.

People to Watch Cannabis & Tech Today has made it a priority to highlight the brilliant minds that are pushing the cannabis industry to new heights. For the spring issue, we will compile a full list of personalities within the industry that you should keep an eye on in 2019. From dispensary owners and legislators to activists and celebrities, the list will spotlight the movers and shakers that continue to drive the industry forward.

How to Run a Sustainable Grow Operation While the cannabis industry is undoubtedly booming, sustainability is still something that the industry struggles with. Because grow operations take so many resources, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vital that sustainability remain a priority for the cannabusiness. Interviews with cultivators, statistical analysis, and new technology will be analyzed as we build the blueprint for an environmentally-friendly grow operation. h



Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018





HEMP EXPO Largest Gathering of Hemp Industry Professionals Under One Roof



Sponsor & Exhibitor Registration Now Open!

produced by CoHempCo

Tickets On Sale Now!

events JANUARY 23-24 CCC PDX 5.0 5th Annual Cannabis Collaborative Conference Portland, OR

26-27 Indo Expo

Denver, CO

FEBRUARY 1-2 The Asian Hemp Summit Kathmandu, Nepal

7-8 ICBC San Francisco

12-13 NCIA Seed to Sale Show 2019

29-30 NoCO Hemp Expo

31 - April 2 ICBC Berlin

San Francisco, CA

Boston, MA

MARCH 14 ICBC Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain

Denver, CO

Berlin, Germany

APRIL 1-3 CannaTech Cannabis Innovation Summit Tel Aviv, Israel


Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

1-3 Cannabis Conference Las Vegas, NV

You can’t be everywhere and we understand that. If you feel like you’re missing out, stay tuned to our website and social channels for premier event coverage.



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So You’re Moving To A Place

With Legal Weed By David Rodriguez

Are you moving to a place with legalized marijuana and wondering what it’s going to be like? You have probably heard a few things from friends, social media, and online articles, but what is it really like? Here are a few tips for adjusting to life in a green city.

It’s Everywhere Just kidding, it’s not everywhere. That is a common misconception about cities with legal and decriminalized cannabis. People who are afraid of weed freak out, thinking, “I can’t trust any baked goods in this city because there’s pot in everything!” I can assure you that everything is clearly marked and packaged. I promise that no one is bringing a tray of weed cookies and not telling anyone that there are drugs in them. This isn’t a lame sitcom. I saw a guy at an elementary school bake sale yell, “What’s in these brownies?! Oh, nothing? Well then why are they NINE DOLLARS, HUH?!” Relax. They are nine dollars because little Trevor only bakes smallbatch artisanal organic brownies – not because everyone in the world is high all the time.

Your Friends Will Want Some Don’t try to mail edibles to all of your friends! It’s still illegal in places and most people don’t quite seem to get that. When you live in a place with legal weed, whenever you go back to New 112

Cannabis & Tech Today // Winter 2018

Mexico or wherever you moved from, your friends will all ask, “Hey bro, did you bring some weed? Did you bring us a whole suitcase full of weed, bro?” And you’ll have to say: “Listen, idiot friends who still live in the desert even though humans have free will, enjoying marijuana in Colorado is like paying for a prostitute in Amsterdam. Sure it is legal there, but as soon as you put it in a suitcase and go somewhere else with it, you’re a criminal.” OK, maybe that analogy isn’t perfect, but you get the idea.

Final Tip for Anyone Wanting to Move to a Place with Legalized Weed Don’t. We’re full. The rent is high enough here already. Just stay put there in South Dakota or wherever you are and it will be legal soon enough. Don’t worry, I’ll come visit you and bring a whole suitcase full of weed, bro. h David Rodriguez is a Denver-based comedian who has performed at events such as The Bird City Comedy Festival, Altercation Comedy Festival, and the High Plains Comedy Festival.

“Budtenders” That’s a real job title! Like a bartender but for “Bud.” How fun! You used to have to buy weed out of a backpack from some sketchy teenager named ‘Batman,’ but now it’s from a well-lit store and some bubbly millennial named Alicia with a Chinese symbol tattoo for peace will break down the differences between Indica and Sativa for you. It’s pretty interesting to me that all the kids in high school that said “I’m gonna sell weed for a living” are now living their dreams, and meanwhile how close am I to being an astronaut? Not super close. It’s OK, I might not have a chance at being an astronaut anymore, but I can try this new strain the dispensary just got in called “Fake Moon Landing.” It’s practically the same thing, I’m told.


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