Publisher Jeremy Zachary Editor-In-Chief Evan Senn associate Ashley Bennett Editor managing editor Jamie Solis
Advertising for All Here is everything business owners need to know about advertising in their state, and how to maximize advertising potential while still playing by the rules.
Editorial Benjamin M. Adams, Contributors Sheryll Alexander, Marguerite Arnold, David Branfman, Esq., Hilary Bricken, Natasha Guimond, Meital Manzuri, Todd Mathews, Nicole Potter, Ann Toney, Addison Herron-Wheeler
30. Doctors Know Best
Art Director Steven Myrdahl Production Tommy LaFleur Manager Graphic Designer Tanya Delgadillo
Dr. Bonni Goldstein writes a wish list for the cannabis industry, with particular attention to physicians for the coming year.
sales director Justin Olson Account Jon Bookatz, Greg Borland, Executives Alex Brizicky, Eric Bulls,
Kim Cook, Cole Garrison,
The Right Tools to Do the Job It’s essential that the cannabis industry learns how to organize proper training for dispensary employees.
Beau Odom, Gloria Santiago, Garry Stalling, Chris Walker, Vic Zaragoza
general Manager Iris Norsworthy Office Assistant Angelina Thompson
S afe and Secure How to protect yourself, your employees and your cannabis business from cyber attacks. Deutschland Dominates Things are happening fast in Germany, and here’s an insider look at what to expect from the country in the near future.
R esolution and Evolution The United Nation’s international cannabis policies are far past due for major reform.
E ast Coast Growth The New England cannabis scene is poised to be the next major U.S. cannabis hub.
G rowing Trend Thailand has approved a proposal to allow hemp cultivation in six provinces.
in EVERY issue.
digital content David Edmundson manager Interns Kiara Manns Distribution Cruz Bobadilla Manager
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n e w s
Southern California Company Will Export Cannabis to Mexico
Colorado Cannabis Sales Exceed $1 Billion in 2016
olorado’s Department of Revenue released data in January and showed that Colorado sold almost $1.1 billion worth of legal cannabis last year. This number already exceeds the state’s medical and recreational cannabis sales in the entire year of 2015, which almost hit $1 billion. “Colorado, the first U.S. state to legalize cannabis for adult-use, has already reported selling more than $1 billion in marijuana and marijuana-related products in the first 10 months of 2016, with the state on track to see a $3 billion economic impact for 2016,” the Cannabis Business Alliance said in a release. “Additionally, Colorado’s 2016 tax revenues are projected to total more than 2014 and
2015 combined.” Through October 2016, $371,428,164 of the revenue for cannabis came from medical sales, while the remaining $720,731,127 was generated from Colorado’s recreational cannabis market. The data for November was released in January. December’s numbers reflect that the state collected $32.6 million from medical sales and $82.12 million from recreational cannabis, which led the state to earning an impressive $1.3 billion in combined recreational and medical sales in 2016. Recreational cannabis excise tax sales are already up to $49.7 million. School construction projects will receive $40 million of this excise tax, while the remainder will be held in Colorado’s public school fund.
photo by ppart
The Netherlands Will Steadily Increase Medical Cannabis Exports
he Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) produces cannabis for pharmacies, universities and research institutes that is used for medicinal and 6
scientific purposes. The office shares on its website what its purpose is within the international cannabis industry. “The OMC has a monopoly on supplying medicinal cannabis
to pharmacies, and on its import and export. The OMC also processes applications for exemptions from the Opium Act relating to cannabis and cannabis resin.” The government agency is going to increase its export limit of legal cannabis, which it currently exports to countries like Italy, Germany and Finland. Right now the export limit on the OMC is 100 kilos. The Telegraaf reported that the increase aims to change the limit to 350 kilos with the potential of reaching 700 kilos in 2019. The tabloid also reported that increasing the export limits will enable the agency to turn a profit for its treasury.
empMedsX Mexico is a subsidiary of California-based cannabis company, Medical Marijuana Inc. HempMedsX will begin importing medical cannabis from Southern California. They will import various cannabis oils for patients in Mexico. One of the oils is Real Scientific Hemp Oil, a CBD and THC variety, while the other is Real Scientific Hemp Oil-X, which contains CBD only. “Real Scientific Hemp Oil™ is a non-GMO, full spectrum CBD hemp oil. The hemp used to make RSHO™ is grown in northern European micro-climates, without the use of any pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers,” according to HempMedsX. “RSHO™ relies upon centuries of traditional cultivation practices and strict EU regulations to ensure an impeccably pure CBD hemp oil. RSHO™ passes all U.S. federal requirements for open importation.” Additionally, Mexico will be working to legally export the cannabis products into Colombia as well.
The number of medical cannabis cultivation facility licenses that will be granted in Arkansas by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission:
5 (Source: UALR Public Radio)
The number of active cannabis businesses operating in Colorado, as of December 1, 2016: (Source: 9 News)
The number of districts in Thailand that have been approved for the cultivation of hemp for medical use: (Source: Bangkok Post)
The percentage of Australians surveyed in the 2016 Australian National Universityâ€™s 30-year election study who support cannabis legalization: (Source: The Sydney Morning Herald)
The amount of money, in millions of dollars, that Arizona medical cannabis sales are estimated to reach by 2020: (Source: Yahoo! Finance)
The approximate amount of money, in millions of dollars, that the Eaze cannabis delivery company received in total funding, making it the most funded cannabis technology company in the world as of November 2016: (Source: Business Wire)
The approximate amount of money, in billions of Canadian dollars, that marks (Source: the highest stock trading value of Canopy Growth Corp. in 2016: The Huffington Post)
The age, in years, of the first person in Ireland to be treated legally with medical cannabis oil: (Source: RTĂ‰)
Be Prepared How to Protect Your Business from a Cyber-Attack by David Edmundson
he internet is an amazing place, with instant access to the combined knowledge of the planet and a never-ending stream of cat videos—there’s no denying the wonderment of the web. Unfortunately, with the immense value of personal information it is also a breeding ground for cyber criminals looking to steal your information and use it for their own nefarious purposes. Recently, there have been several significant digital breaches in the cannabis industry. Nevada’s medical cannabis database was compromised in December, and application information, including names, social security numbers and addresses were stolen. This was followed shortly by a breach at Quest Diagnostics, a New Jersey Laboratory, where “an unauthorized third party” was able to access the personal information of 34,000 customers including names, birthdates, lab results and phone numbers. While information is typically the goal of these cyber-attacks, some strikes have been aimed at disrupting cannabis sales. A targeted attack recently crippled the MJ Freeway, a cannabis point of sale software and inventory system used by over 500 dispensaries across the country. Without patient records on file, shops were forced to close their doors or complete transactions and record information by hand, which delayed the process and led to longer wait times for patients. Of these attacks, the one in Nevada remains the most troubling. If a government agency isn’t capable of safeguarding its information, what hope is there for a small dispensary? A lot of sensitive and personal data on both patients and employees is stored on computers or internet-connected systems that would allow would-be identity thieves an easy target. The attack also forced Nevada to take their
application processes offline, which will significantly slow down the process. So how can a small business protect itself from a cyber-attack? It begins with educating your employees on strong security at the front end. A large portion of attacks are made possible by employees using weak passwords or businesses sharing a universal password with its entire staff. All employees should have individualized access to your network and create complex passwords; 8-12 characters long with a mix of capital and lower-case letters, number and symbols. Employees should also change their passwords regularly, and never use personal data like their date of birth. Also, it should be a no-brainer, but make sure you secure your network by putting a password on your Wi-Fi connection. At best, your neighbor is mooching off your connection and slowing you down, at worst it could be used as a front door for hackers to exploit. From a systems standpoint, your information should be behind a firewall, and the computer running the system should have a robust anti-virus software and be regularly updated. Typically, updates feature protection from security breaches that have been discovered since the last update, so don’t keep clicking “update later” when your computer tells you there is an update available. If possible keep your information in-house. Laptops and mobile devices are great for their portability, but can be easily lost or stolen. If you do need to store information on these devices, make sure that it is encrypted and secure. In
Never underestimate the importance of being diligent. If something looks fishy, take it seriously and investigate it.
addition, make sure that if these devices do leave the premises, that you have all of your information backed up on your main system or on a secure drive. That way, if the device is lost or stolen, you will still have a copy of your records. Never underestimate the importance of being diligent. If something looks fishy, take it seriously and investigate it. Typically, a hacker will “probe” your system and security, looking for weaknesses they can exploit at a later time. If you catch them during their “reconnaissance,” they are less likely to bother with you and move onto an easier target. Hackers will almost always look for the path of least resistance, so attentive staffs can thwart an attack before it happens. Finally, it is also important to make sure you have a strong physical security presence. You still need to protect your hardware from being stolen. You should ensure that your facility is locked and properly secured when not in operation and that you have adequate security in place during hours of operation. In the unfortunate event that you are the victim of a cyber-attack, you should respond immediately. Contact the proper authorities and financial institutions as soon as possible. With these kinds of attacks, time is of the essence and every minute spent waiting, makes it easier for the attackers to cover their tracks. In the highly competitive cannabis industry, businesses are focused on the aesthetics of their establishment and maintaining a significant physical security force that computer security seems to be an afterthought. Hopefully those not affected by these recent breaches can learn from their contemporaries’ costly mistakes before they too become the victim of a cyber-attack. d
2017 to be ground A breaking year for german cannabis reform by Marguerite Arnold
hile Americans seem to think that “progress” on cannabis legalization means eight more states, this is small potatoes elsewhere. There are other countries right now who are managing to beat the U.S. to the punch on the cannabis reform front. Canada, of course, is one of them. America’s neighbor to the north will probably legalize recreational use in 2017. Ireland, Australia and Jamaica have also approved cannabis in medical form. But it is Germany that people in the “know” are watching, and it is already becoming a monumental year. On January 19, the lower house of German parliament voted unanimously to legalize medical cannabis. The upper house is set to read the legislation sometime in March, and then the bill will become law. This bill gives every doctor the right to prescribe the drug for their chronically ill patients. What makes the German situation even more interesting is that there are no predefined conditions for prescription. A doctor may prescribe the drug to any chronically ill patient for whom other drug regimens have not been successful. Patients will be able to obtain the drug, with a regular prescription, from regular Apothekes
(pharmacies), and even potentially obtain pharmacy discounts for the same on the small co-pays required here (between $6-$11 per script per month for any medication). What this also implies, of course, is that once larger patient populations have been established, for many different kinds of conditions, doctors will become less cautious about prescribing cannabis fairly routinely upon diagnosis. This means, essentially, that the Germans plan to normalize and integrate medical cannabis into the existing health infrastructure on a scale and from the start of federal rescheduling on a scope unseen in any other country at this juncture.
This means, essentially, that the Germans are planning on normalizing and integrating medical cannabis into the existing health infrastructure on a scale and from the start of federal rescheduling on a scope unseen in any other country at this juncture.
In both Israel and Canada at this point, for example, the drug remains a “Schedule I” even though one health insurer in Canada has already started to cover medical use and supplies. National pharmacy chains in both countries are in plans to begin widespread distribution this year. Such developments are likely to vastly increase consumption of medical cannabis in both countries, and are also a precursor to some kind of formal rescheduling. However, the German approach, to date, is the most organized, formal and comprehensive approach to not only legalization, but normalization. Domestic cultivation of the drug in Germany for medical purposes is likely to be at least partially controlled and overseen by the government. Furthermore, domestic grows will not begin before 2018—at the earliest— when the domestic cannabis agency is also established by the German government. In the meantime, the drug will continue to be imported— from both the Netherlands (which limits exports to Germany to 41kg per year) and Canada. Last year, Canopy Growth, one of Canada’s largest cultivators, signed a ground breaking deal with German company MedCann GmbH to begin importing unlimited amounts of medical grade cannabis into Deutschland. MedCann, which was founded by both an American cell stem biologist Pierre Debs and a German partner, obtained the
GAME CHANGER (Millions)
California Legal Market Projections $8,000
Adult Use California
YOY Growth Rate
Source: New Frontier Analytics & Arcview Market Research
erlin, Germany is known for being a progressive hub, which in part can be attributed to its medical cannabis industry and fierce dedication to reforming drug policy. Come learn the ins and outs of the industry at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Germany. There will be notable speakers at the event. Dr. Ingo Michaels, MD is the Head of Unit of Federal Drug Commissioner of the Ministry of Health in Germany. The famous Founder of Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California, Steve DeAngelo, will also share his expertise at the event. Even United States Congressman Dana Rohrabacher will be traveling to Germany for this iconic business-to-business event for the cannabis industry. Although you will certainly learn a ton at this event, there will also be plenty of cannabis-related vendors exhibiting as well.
International Cannabis Business Conference in Germany
first legal licenses to import the drug into Germany last year before being acquired by Canopy. How fast the growth of medical consumers will impact other issues is unclear at this juncture. However, it is clear that everyday Germans are getting the message loud and clear that prohibition is beginning to crumble there. Patient prescriptions under the current regime, while still under 1,000 country-wide, increased by over 50 percent last year, and in an environment where the drug must still be paid for out of pocket and special dispensation must still be obtained to qualify for the prescription in the first place. It is highly likely that just on the
medical front, after federal reform, medical consumers will follow growth trajectories seen in Canada (10 percent increases in total population month-over-month last year). However, it is clear that recreational use is also on the minds of those who are fighting for full reform. Last year, the city of Bremen made headway when it challenged the federal government to decriminalize cannabis in the city, and to allow limited home grow. However, as usual, on the recreational front, all eyes are on Berlin. The local and state governments are pushing the federal government to not only decriminalize the drug for recreational use, but set up a pilot program for selling it to recreational customers. As Berlin is the only city in Germany that is also a “state,” the implications of this development will be felt all over the country. Other cities are also watching the Bremen and Berlin recreational experiments carefully. Every German town, usually around the main station or hauptbahnhof, has an open air drug market and both the police and taxpayers are already tired of paying for repeated busts of low-level street sellers that never stem the problem of the black market. Frankfurt is also, reportedly now considering setting up a special “zone” for recreational cannabis purchases. As a result, by the start of 2018, Germany will not only have normalized medical use at the federal level, but will also have moved the recreational reform question forward in significant fashion in some of the country’s largest cities and its only city state. d
WHAT: International Cannabis Business Conference in Germany. WHEN/WHERE: Mon, April 10-Wed, April 12. Maritim proArte Hotel Berlin, Friedrichstraße 151, 10117 Berlin, Germany. INFO: Visit internationalcbc. com for more information.
by to Fo k
c to tS es
The Good, the Bad and the Looming Hurdles Ahead
o ot ph
The New Age for Cannabis Advertising
These federal obstacles along with the community of the plant has made this industry one of innovation and most importantly shown us all how to think outside the box for a number of basic business tactics.
by Benjamin M. Adams
Advertising in the cannabis space requires not only a polished understanding of effective advertising techniques, but it also requires a scopic understanding of state laws. An awareness of your own state’s cannabis advertising laws is critical. No two states have the same laws regarding cannabis advertising, and defining a specific and legal audience is crucial. In several states, you must prove that a percentage of your audience is reasonably expected to be under the age of 21. Particularly, the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) lack of guidance makes advertising on television difficult in legal states, such as in the states of Colorado, Washington and Oregon. Branding sophistication in the cannabis marketplace has made leaps and bounds since five years ago. The political and
social environments have changed. This election year closed with 28 states that now have legalized cannabis for medical use and eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized both recreational and medical cannabis. With the Trump Administration settling in, however, the only thing that’s certain is that the future is uncertain. Trump’s potential appointees Jeff Sessions as Secretary of State and Jim O’Neill as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) head could steer the cannabis industry in either direction. The most important factor in advertising for any industry is understanding and complying with the regulations. Following the rules in your state will save you time and money. Not all states have rules and regulations set up yet for this new industry and the new age of cannabis advertising, but many do. Here is a breakdown of cannabis advertising regulations that have been set in the United States, divided state by state. >>
Alaska Advertising regulations for recreational cannabis are currently in a gray area. Advertising cannot say that a cannabis product has “curative or therapeutic effects,” they cannot be misleading or false, cannot promote excessive consumption and ads cannot appeal to anyone under the age of 21, similar to federal alcohol advertising regulations.
including a ban on all billboards on state highways. Under Proposition 64, cannabis billboards are already banned on state highways that cross over state borders.
Colorado Colorado’s advertising regulations are well defined per the Colorado Retail Marijuana Regulations: R 1102 – No Deceptive, False or Misleading Statements.
California Generally speaking, California’s lax marketing rules make advertising slightly easier than in other legal states. Per the section 2525.5 of the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act: (a) A person shall not distribute any form of advertising for physician recommendations for medical cannabis in California unless the advertisement bears the following: NOTICE TO CONSUMERS: The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 ensures that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use cannabis for medical purposes where medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician who has determined that the person’s health would benefit from the use of medical cannabis. Recommendations must come from an attending physician as defined in Section 11362.7 of the Health and Safety Code. Cannabis is a Schedule I drug according to the federal Controlled Substances Act. Activity related to cannabis use is subject to federal prosecution, regardless of the protections provided by state law.
R 1104 – Advertising: Television (30 percent of the audience must be reasonably expected to be under the age of 21.) R 1105 – Advertising: Radio (30 percent of the audience must be reasonably expected to be under the age of 21.) R. 1106 - Advertising: Print Media (30 percent of the audience must be reasonably expected to be under the age of 21.) R 1107 – Advertising: Internet (30 percent of the audience must be reasonably expected to be under the age of 21.) R 1108 – Advertising: Targeting Outof-State Persons Prohibited. R 1109 – Signage and Advertising: No Safety Claims Because Regulated by State Licensing Authority. R 1110– Signage and Advertising: No Safety Claims Because Tested by a Retail Marijuana Testing Facility. R 1112– Signage and Advertising: No Content That Targets Minors. R 1113 – No Marketing Directed Toward Location-Based Devices(cellphones). R 1114 – Pop-Up Advertising (No unsolicited pop-up advertising).
(b) Advertising for attending physician recommendations for medical cannabis shall meet all of the requirements in Section 651. Price advertising shall not be fraudulent, deceitful, or misleading, including bait, discounts, premiums, gifts, or statements of a similar nature.
R 1115 – Advertising: Event Sponsorship (30 percent of audience must be reasonably expected to be under 21.)
Assembly Bill 64 would make several amendments to Proposition 64,
Sec. 21a-408-66. Marketing: prohibited conduct, statements and illustrations,
(a) There shall be no direct or indirect cooperative advertising between patients/personnel. (b) An advertisement for marijuana or any marijuana product shall not contain. (c) Any advertisement for marijuana or a marijuana product shall be submitted to the commissioner at the same time as, or prior to, the dissemination of the advertisement. (d) The submitter of the advertisement shall provide the following information in addition to the advertisement itself: (1) A cover letter that: (A) Provides the following subject line: Medical marijuana advertisement review Package for a proposed advertisement for [Brand Name]; (B) Provides a brief description of the format and expected distribution of the proposed advertisement; and Provides the submitterâ€™s name, title, address, telephone number, fax number, and email address; (e) Advertising packages that are missing any of the elements in subsection (g) of this section, or that fail to follow the specific details for submissions, shall be considered incomplete. If the department receives an incomplete package, it shall so notify the submitter. Sec. 21a-408-67. Marijuana advertising; requirements for true statements and fair balance. Sec. 21a-408-68. Marijuana marketing; advertising at a dispensary facility; advertising prices.
Delaware Per the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act, (k) No person may advertise medical marijuana sales in print, broadcast, or by paid in-person solicitation of customers. This shall not prevent appropriate signs on the property of the registered compassion centers/listings. (l) A registered compassion center shall not share office space with nor refer patients to a physician.
(m) A physician shall not refer patients to a registered compassion center or registered designated caregiver, advertise in a registered compassion center, or, if the physician issues written certifications, hold any financial interest in a registered compassion center.
District of Columbia Per the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations for the Medical Marijuana Program, 5105.2 A medical marijuana certification provider shall include the following subjects in its education training program; which shall be submitted to the Department for approval: (f) Advertising, promotion, and marketing of medical marijuana; 5800 SIGN ADVERTISING Visibility restrictions. 5801.1 A registered cultivation center or dispensary cannot market to children.
The most important factor in advertising for any industry is understanding and complying by the regulations. Section 1290.455 a) No registered dispensing organization shall place or maintain, or cause to be placed or maintained, an advertisement of cannabis or a cannabis-infused product in any form or through any medium: 1. Within 1,000 feet of the perimeter of a school grounds, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park or library, or any game arcade admission to which is not restricted to persons age 21 years or older;
5801.2 A dispensary or cultivation center must not have misleading labeling information.
2. On or in a public transit vehicle or public transit shelter; or
5801.3 A registration card is required for the purchase of medical marijuana.
3. On or in a publicly-owned oroperated property.
Hawaii Per the State of Hawaii Department of Health Medical Marijuana Registry Program,
b) This Section does not apply to a noncommercial message or digital advertising.
A dispensary shall not:
Per the Implementation of an Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana,
(1) Display marijuana or manufactured marijuana products in windows in public view; or
(L) Marketing and Advertising Requirements.
(2) Post any signage other than a single sign no greater than one thousand six hundred square inches bearing only the business or trade name in test without any pictures or illustrations . . .
(1) A Registered Marijuana Dispensary (RMD) may develop a logo to be used in labeling, signage, and other materials. Use of marijuana symbols are prohibited from use in this logo.
Illinois Per the Rules for the Administration of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program,
(5) A RMD shall not advertise the price of marijuana, except that it shall provide a catalogue or a printed list of the prices and strains of marijuana . . . (8) All advertising materials and materials produced by a RMD and CULTUREB2B.com
Following the age restrictions on ad campaigns on social media platforms can help reduce issues on social media, however, one complaint could turn your account status upside-down. disseminated pursuant to 105 CMR 725.105(K) or (L) are prohibited from including: (a) Any statement, design, representation, picture, or illustration that encourages or represents the use of marijuana for any purpose other than to treat a debilitating medical condition or related symptoms; (b) Any statement, design, representation, picture, or illustration that encourages or represents the recreational use of marijuana; (c) Any statement, design, representation, picture, or illustration related to the safety or efficacy of marijuana unless supported by substantial evidence . . . (d) Any statement, design, representation, picture, or illustration portraying anyone under 18 years of age.
Montana Per the Montana Code Annotated 2015 – Montana Marijuana Act, advertising is prohibited.
2. Any sign or advertisement unless the sign or advertisement has been approved by the Administrator of the Division.
NAC 453A.402 A medical marijuana establishment shall not use: 1. A name or logo unless the name or logo has been approved by the Administrator of the Division; or 18
(f) An advertisement is false, lacking in fair balance, or otherwise misleading if it:
Per the Title X – Public Health, Chapter 126-X, Use of Cannabis for Therapeutic Purposes,
1. Contains a representation that one brand or form is better, more effective/safer than other drugs.
The department shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, governing alternative treatment centers and the manner in which it shall consider applications for registration certificates for alternative treatment centers, including, but not limited to:
2. Contains favorable opinions about a marihuana product previously regarded as valid but which have been rendered invalid.
(12) Advertising restrictions, including a prohibition of misrepresentation and unfair practices.
New Jersey Per the Final Rules for the NJ Medicinal Marijuana Program,
3. Uses a quote or paraphrase out of context . . . 4. Uses a study on persons without a debilitating medical condition without disclosing that data. 5. Uses data favorable to a marihuana product derived from patients treated with a different product or dosages different from those recommended in New York State;
(d) Alternative treatment centers shall not advertise the price of marijuana, except that:
6. Contains favorable information or conclusions from a study that is inadequate in design, scope, or conduct . . .
An ATC can provide a catalogue or a printed list of the prices and strains of medicinal marijuana available at the alternative treatment center to registered qualifying patients and primary caregivers.
7. Fails to provide adequate emphasis for the fact that two or more facing pages are part of the same advertisement when only one page contains the complete information.
(e) Marijuana and paraphernalia shall not be displayed or clearly visible to a person from the exterior of an alternative treatment center. (f) Alternative treatment centers shall not produce any items for sale or promotional gifts bearing cannabis symbols.
Nevada Per the Chapter 453A – Medical Use of Marijuana,
(e) An advertisement does not present a “true and accurate statement,” fails to present accurate information.
New York Per the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York for Medical Marijuana, 1004.16 Medical marihuana marketing and advertising restrictions. (d) All advertisements must be represented accurately.
(g) False or misleading information. (h) An advertisement for any approved medical marihuana product shall not contain: 1. Any statement that is false or misleading; 2. Any statement that falsely disparages a competitor’s products; 3. Any statement, design, or representation, picture or illustration that is obscene or indecent; 4. Any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration that encourages or represents the use of marihuana
5. Any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration that encourages or represents the recreational use of marihuana; 6. Any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration related to the safety or efficacy of marihuana, unless supported by substantial evidence or substantial clinical data; 7. Any statement, design, representation, picture or illustration portraying or appealing to anyone under the age of 18. 8. Any offer of a prize, award or inducement to a certified patient/ caregiver. 9. Any statement that indicates or implies that the product or entity in the advertisement has been approved or endorsed by the commissioner, department, New York State or any person or entity. (i) Any advertisement for an approved medical marihuana product shall be submitted to the department at least 30 business days prior to the public dissemination of the advertisement. (j) The submitter of the advertisement shall provide the following information to the department in addition to the advertisement itself: 1. A cover letter that (i) provides the following subject line: Medical marihuana advertisement review package for a proposed advertisement; (ii) provides a brief description of the format and expected distribution of the proposed advertisement; and (iii) provides the submitterâ€™s name, title, address, telephone number, fax number, and email address; 2. An annotated summary of the proposed advertisement showing all claims with support. 3. Verification that a person identified in an advertisement as an actual patient or health care practitioner is an actual patient or health care practitioner and not a model or actor; 4. Verification that a spokesperson who is represented as an actual
patient is indeed an actual patient; 5. Verification that an official translation of a foreign language advertisement is accurate; 6. Annotated references to support disease or epidemiology information, cross-referenced to the advertisement summary; and 7. A final copy of the advertisement. (k) Advertising packages that are missing any of the elements in subdivision. (j) Of this section, or that fail to follow the specific instructions for submissions, shall be considered incomplete. (l) No advertisement may be disseminated if the submitter of the advertisement has received information that has not been widely publicized in medical literature that the use of any approved medical marihuana product may cause fatalities or serious damage to a patient. (m) A registered organization, its officers, managers and employees shall not cooperate, directly or indirectly, in any advertising if such advertising has the purpose or effect of steering or influencing patient. (n) The department may: 1. Require a specific disclosure be made in the advertisement in a clear and conspicuous manner if the department determines that the advertisement would be false or misleading without such a disclosure; or 2. Require that changes be made to the advertisement that are: 3. Necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare; or 4. Consistent with dispensing information for the product under review.
Oregon (2) The function, duties, and powers of the commission in sections 3 to 70 of this Act include the following:
for a condition other than a serious condition.
(g) To regulate and prohibit any advertising by manufacturers, processors, wholesalers or retailers of marijuana items by the medium of newspapers, letters, billboards, radio or otherwise Required Signage: • Entry Signage • Point of Sale Signage • Marijuana Information Card Per Measure 91, the following advertising is prohibited: (a) Is attractive to minors. (b) Promotes excessive use. (c) Promotes illegal activity. (d) Presents a significant risk to public health and safety.
Washington Per the Washington State Legislature section on cannabis advertising, WAC 314-55-155 Advertising (2) General. All marijuana advertising and labels of useable marijuana and marijuana-infused products sold in the state of Washington may
Rapidly changing state laws create an array of potential hurdles. There are many examples of how things can dramatically change at any moment. It is imperative to stay on top of everything, and be completely up front with every person or party involved. This year will change the advertising and marketing landscape for cannabis, and there is no telling what exactly is going to come. While we may not know what’s coming, we are able to learn from the mistakes or hurdles of others. Television networks, social media platforms and publishers have a tendency to get cold feet at the last minute. Let’s take a look at some cautionary tales of yesteryear.
(a) Is false or misleading; (b) Promotes over consumption; (c) Represents the use of marijuana has curative or therapeutic effects; (d) Depicts a child or other person under legal age to consume marijuana, or includes: (i) Objects, such as toys, characters, or cartoon characters suggesting the presence of a child. (ii) Is designed in any manner that would be especially appealing to children. (4) Giveaways, coupons, and distribution of branded merchandise are banned. (5) All advertising must contain the following warnings: (a) “This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming;”
not contain any statement, or illustration that:
(b) “Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug;” (c) “There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product;” and “For use only by adults 21 and older. Keep out of the reach of children.”
The murky state of cannabis broadcasting rules is dictated by the Federal Communication Commission, a federal regulator. In August of 2015, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference was going to be the first ever cannabis commercial aired during the network news in Oregon. Of course, last minute, ABC Affiliate KATU decided to prohibit the ad. KATU Senior Account Executive emailed OMMBC producer Alex Rogers at 10:20am Tuesday morning, stating that the ad was good to go. At 3:45pm, an ad rep called Rogers in a frantic state, saying that ‘something was going on’ and that ‘General Manager John Tamerlano needed to speak with him as soon as possible. Rogers ended up speaking with Mr. Tamerlano about 30 minutes later. He told Rogers that he had ‘no problem with the ad for the conference’ and that he was ‘happy to okay it.’ However, since the ad was getting media attention as the
“first marijuana commercial” on Portland network news, he was ‘going to pull it.’ Fear seems to have gotten the best of the murky advertising situation in this case. In July of 2015, after big announcements about Colorado’s first cannabis television ad on an ABC Network affiliate, the ad was dropped on the eve of their scheduled lineup. The 15-second slot for a Neos vapor pens ad would have run just before Jimmy Kimmel Live. The plug was pulled by Scripps, the parent company of Denver station KMGH. Cannabrand, the marketing agency behind the ad, was told that ad was put on hold indefinitely while it was under investigation. On a federal level, the Department of Justice website offers strict guidelines. The website also offers numerous examples of legal actions against cannabis businesses that failed to abide by the DOJ’s restrictions. >>
How to Create Pleasing and Effective Ads
Creating the most effective and pleasing advertisements depends on your medium of choice, whether it be print, digital, a billboard or a video production. In many cases, simplicity is the key—the concept of getting your idea across with the least amount of excessive text and images.
Public Advertising photo by Steve Estvanik
States like California are considering tightening up on billboard ad rights. Roni Stetter is Founder and lead PR Strategist at Righteous Relations, which offers consultations on content packages, social media, PR, film and television. She’s also CoChair of the San Diego chapter of Women Grow. When going public, there can be several speed bumps that can arrive, such as public outcry from nearby schools or organizations. Finding the appropriate material for the appropriate audience will give you an enduring advantage. “When you run any kind of ad, success depends on targeting, as best you can, the audience that format will reach,” Stetter says. “Whether it’s in a print magazine, online display ad network, an event sponsorship or social media matters much less than the quality and quantity of the people that will end up viewing your business name and personality.” California could soon
tighten up on public advertising. Assembly Bill 64 would impose stricter limitations on cannabis billboard advertising, but on the flipside, it would include new provisions such as permitting state trademarks on cannabis products. “I understand the rationale behind [Assembly Bill 64 and other] advertising restrictions for cannabis, especially in the context of winning an election,” Stetter told CULTURE. “The culture here in California is already saturated with medical marijuana references as it is, so the tighter restrictions don’t make a lot of sense when you consider the fact that alcohol billboards are already extremely prevalent as well. I’d much rather see an open discussion between industry and regulators, on how we can all elevate the conversation around the plant, instead of forcing businesses to hide in the shadows.”
In 2017, advertising with social media is critical, if not mandatory. Facebook and Twitter are the “golden goose” of effective advertising. One factor is weighing the risk of losing social media accounts altogether. Stephanie Tabares is Co-Founder of the 951 Wellness Collective, which provides medical cannabis delivery services. 951 Wellness Collective offers daily specials that are updated constantly. “Advertising our daily specials on social media such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter has probably been the most problematic for me personally, Tabares told CULTURE. “Updating all three sites constantly can be a
hassle, and there were times in the past when Instagram and Twitter removed cannabis club pages.” The 951 Wellness Collective, like many collective and dispensaries, has seen its share of how fragile having a social media account can be. “We had over 10,000 followers on Instagram. One morning I woke up and was informed that our entire account had been suspended because someone had reported our page. We had to start again from ground zero on Instagram.” Following the age restrictions on ad campaigns on social media platforms can help reduce issues on social media, however, one complaint could turn your account status upside-down.
Stephen Sanderlin is Co-Founder and Media Director for Direct Cannabis Network (DCN). “The variety of cannabis consumers currently range from 18-60 years old, and therefore you can really rely on a few different methods to be effective, Sanderlin told CULTURE. “Everything from viral Snapchat clips to inhome ‘Avon’ like services. You can tailor what specifically you are putting in front of their eyes, and at what times, to gain the most from your efforts. But before you can
choose what to advertise, the most important advice I can give is that you know your audience. Who you are selling to, their ages, likes, dislikes, ethos and maybe even what times they are online. Once you can align with your clients needs on a mental level, you can begin to think like them. Once you think like them, you will intuitively be drawn towards products or ideas that would be most appealing, and therefore give the most Return On Investment (ROI) on your marketing.” Broadcasting cannabis ads
brings about new challenges. “Right now the biggest hurdle for cannabis ads are our pals at the FCC, explains Sanderlin. “As most may know, no Schedule 1 substance can be advertised on any platforms licensed by the FCC. This includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, cable TV and radio. This only leaves niche websites and some periodicals for these companies to voice their solutions.” Sanderlin is fully aware of the pitfalls that can arise when dealing with major platforms. “An anecdote from experience is that some platforms will catch your ad after it’s published and remove it with no refunds, which is bad news for any business.” “Our team at DCN knows that businesses need a platform that is reliable, and not only will advertise, but will enlighten other businesses to how the entrepreneurs in the cannabis space are solving
problems and making lives better,” Sandelin concludes. “These federal obstacles along with the community of the plant has made this industry one of innovation and most importantly shown us all how to think outside the box for a number of basic business tactics. Stay informed by signing up for our newsletter on directcannabisnetwork.com.” Advertising in the cannabis space can be tricky in a constant state of change, but there are resources to help. Professionals are available and are informed of advertising laws in legal states. Mantis Ad Network offers state-of-the-art digital marketing including video content and strategic display. The Marijuana Marketing Gurus can maximize your online visibility. Cannabis advertising is on the verge of breaking into nationwide ad agencies for the first time.
get someone’s attention while flipping through the pages,” Art Director and successful graphic designer, Steven Myrdahl told us. “The more cluttered advertisements with lots of different fonts, images, coupons and specials are annoying and will be overlooked. We always follow the KISS rule (keep it simple stupid).” “The key to a successful ad is a beautiful image or logo that will catch someone’s eye immediately,” Myrdahl said. “Then once you get their attention they’ll want to know more about your business. They’ll read the coupons, specials and any other information you want people to know about your business.” Are your deals saving your customers enough to lure them into loyalty?
“The specials and coupons need to be more than just ‘five percent off your total purchase.’ You’ll want people to be excited about the deal they can get and make them want to buy from you,” Myrdahl says. “Also include your social media tags. Print is more tangible. Magazines can stay in business or homes for months or even years. So give people more ways to stay connected. Peoples’ email inboxes are overflowing with unsolicited ads, most of which is largely ignored. With this in mind, designing and sharing a great printed marketing piece should be high on everybody’s list of marketing plans.” The ultimate goal is getting the results you want. Only ads that generate a response are going to make you money. “A huge problem that can
occur is the client not getting a response on an ad,” Myrdahl explained. “The whole goal of any advertisement is getting business. You have to spend money to make money. So if an advertiser runs an unattractive ad with blurry images and doesn’t offer anything worthwhile the ad won’t give the advertiser any return on their investment. When we started CULTURE Magazine in 2009 we didn’t see these national ads or adverting agency ads that we see now. The cannabis industry is grabbing design inspiration from technology, fashion and entertainment on their advertisements. The more mainstream cannabis is becoming, the more evolved businesses are becoming with their advertisements (print, digital, video).” d
There are several advantages toward choosing a printed format in cannabis advertising. “A print ad only has a split second to
International Cannabis Reform The United Nations needs to reevaluate its international policies regarding cannabis
lumped alongside heroin and cocaine in Schedules I and IV as defined by the UN General Assembly. The overall ruling was virtually indistinguishable from past drug policy convention outcomes in 1971, 1988, 1998 and so forth. Nations may observe the treaties, but federal cannabis penalties are rarely enforced the way other Schedule I drug penalties are enforced. “Soft defections” occur when the law is recognized, but seldom enforced. Obviously, the way many nations handle cannabis policy doesn’t reflect the standard set forth by the UN General Assembly. John Walsh, the senior associate for drug policy and the Andes at the Washington Institute on Latin America, issued a briefing paper in lieu of the UNGASS event. “There is no doubt that recent policy developments with regard to cannabis regulation have moved beyond the legal latitude of the [UN] treaties,” Walsh wrote. Walsh
by Benjamin M. Adams
he existing United Nations (UN) regime against cannabis and other drugs is no longer in line with today’s society. Last April, the United Nations held a special session that reviewed international cannabis policy. It would be the first time since 1998 that the threeday United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drug policy took place. Many hoped to finally see change in the UN’s sluggish approach to cannabis policy. The excitement didn’t last long. The UNGASS 2016 session in Vienna closed with cannabis still being prohibited by international treaties that govern sovereign nations around the globe. Cannabis remains
and several other activists offered side events that questioned whether the UNGASS Assembly was still relevant. Twenty-eight states have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational purposes. United State Officials claim that states that have legal cannabis do not violate the UN treaties because cannabis is already prohibited by federal law. In Uruguay, officials argued that legal cannabis should be allowed by international law because human rights override UN-mandated drug policies. A number of UN Member States, including Argentina, the Czech Republic, Ecuador and Mexico, have called upon the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) to reconsider its drug policies that are defined by the treaties. The CND is the UN’s central drug policymaker. Other nations, such as Spain, quietly ignore the treaties with the implementation of Cannabis Social Clubs. Canadian officials bravely announced that Canada would be introducing recreational cannabis legislation in spring 2017, to mixed support from UN members. The vast majority of international cannabis policy can be traced to the UN Single Convention of 1961. What that means is that international cannabis policy is based on the societal mores that existed in 1961—a time before civil rights, women’s suffrage, and many other civil rights that we take for granted. What’s worse is that according to the Transnational Institute, the UN Single Convention of 1961 stems from a
Donations to Committees For & Against 2016 cannabis Legalization Initiatives California Florida (Medical) Massachusetts
Arkansas (Medical) Montana (Medical) North Dakota (Medical)
Source: Ballotpedia, Secretary of State websites
photo by Barry Tuck
biased memo written by a WHO official, Pablo Osvaldo Wolff. The expert position of the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) was never taken into consideration. The original treaty was drafted when cannabis prohibition’s remarkably racist history defined drug policy. The original 1961 convention language was drafted during the 1940s and 1950s, when racist “reefer madness” ruled supreme in the United States. The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is the template that sovereign nations use to craft cannabis prohibition. Consequently, the United Nations is ground zero for international cannabis reform. The time to modernize UN drug policy is far overdue. Walsh offers several potential solutions, including withdrawing from the UN treaties altogether. “In light of the outdated nature of the drug control treaties and the seemingly insurmountable procedural and political obstacles to modernizing them, the question is often raised why countries should not simply withdraw from the UN drug control treaty regime,” Walsh suggested. “The option exists for any signatory Member States to withdraw from the treaties via the process of denunciation; treaty exit would technically ‘solve’ the problems of breach or non-compliance from a legal perspective.” Several of Walsh’s other suggestions are unlikely, mostly due to the fact that they involve an approval from the majority of UN member states. According to the 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document, the new challenges
. . .[current] international cannabis policy is based on the societal mores that existed in 1961—a time before civil rights, women’s suffrage and many other civil rights that we take for granted. presented by modern society “should be addressed in conformity with the three international drug control conventions, which allow for sufficient flexibility for States parties to design and implement national drug policies according to their priorities and needs . . . ” UNGASS It is simply more convenient for the United States and other sovereign governments to go along with the regulations set forth by the conventions. The UN treaties on drug reform should be drafted based on a consensus and certainly not drafted based on private biased from previous generations. d
O’Cannabiz Conference & Expo
s Canada moves closer and closer to legalizing recreational cannabis, the country continues to make headlines on a daily basis for its cannabis scene, which is on the rise. Don’t let the opportunity to learn more about Canada’s growing cannabis industry by attending the O’Cannabiz Conference & Expo. It doesn’t matter if you’re a patient, physician, licensed producer, cannabis industry professional or just an interested citizen, everyone is welcome to educate themselves about medical and recreational cannabis at O’Cannabiz. There will be very notable speakers enlightening attendees over the three-day weekend. Some of the speakers include Melissa Etheridge, the famous singer and songwriter who also has knowledge as the entrepreneur of cannabis business Etheridge Farms and Bruce Linton, the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Canopy Growth Organization, a cannabis company that offers state-ofthe-art production and cultivation of cannabis. Come network, advocate and learn at one of the hottest cannabis events in Canada. WHAT: O’Cannabiz Conference & Expo. WHEN/WHERE: Fri, April 21-Sun, April 23. Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, 123 Queen St. W, Toronto, Canada. INFO: Visit ocannabiz. com for more information.
New England Cannabis
The growing green rush in New England may help the area become a hub for hemp and cannabis as pipes, vaporizers and the like end up selling even more of their wares to the new medical cannabis patients throughout the state. Ever since Maine legalized cannabis for medicinal use back in 2010, the state has seen the number of caregivers grow to 3,000 while businesses and cultivators work together to meet the demand. The state’s Department of Health and Human Services regulates the program that oversees small-time businesses like East Coast CBD’s, or Full Bloom Head Shop and Full Bloom Cannabis, which operate out of a storefront right on Main Street.
by Jasen T. Davis
cross northeastern America cannabis is either legalized for medical use or is the subject of a ballot initiative to be legalized for recreational use. During a time when the country is still experiencing significant economic distress, cannabis is creating an industry to supply an increasing demand across the region. Other industries have also flourished, as companies that create items such
There are nearly 48,000 patients throughout the state, resulting in $23.6 million worth of profits and $1.3 million in tax revenue. Vermont is getting a lot greener as growers, providers and retailers struggle to supply cannabis to meet the needs of nearly 2,000 patients across the state. While progress is slow, and recreational legalization is probably a long way off, people who prefer cannabis to help AIDS, HIV and other issues can utilize tinctures, edibles, extracts and other products from places like Rutland County Organics or Vermont Patients Alliance. Only four dispensary licenses are authorized under state law, with the state’s Public Service Departments and Departments of Public Safety keeping an eye on each of the operations. In New Hampshire decriminalization efforts have failed repeatedly, but their modest medical cannabis industry continues to thrive. While the state’s Department of Health and Human Services and Bureau of Health Facilities Administration and Licensing working together to keep it all legal, places like the Sanctuary Alternative Treatment Center and others handle the rest. Patients may buy only two ounces every 10 days, with an ounce costing $350. Massachusetts is estimated to have 26,000 patients certified to purchase medical cannabis, creating an industry that companies such as ArcView and New Frontier estimate to
Massachusetts’ Legal Cannabis Market MArket Size (Millions)
Compound Annual Growth Rate
$817m Adult Use Market
$600 $482m $400 $200 $0
2020 Source: New Frontier Analytics
be worth $78.7 million by the end of 2017. Now that it is legalized for recreational use throughout the state, these same companies believe this industry will someday be worth $1.17 billion. Connecticut legalized cannabis for medicinal use in 2014, and since then growers, distributors and retailers have endured a gauntlet of strict regulations to get a piece of the stateâ€™s multimillion dollar industry. Even employees working for dispensaries have to go through a government background check. The state currently has nearly 10,000 patients, but this number of consumers would certainly increase if cannabis was legalized
has in other states that have done so like California and Nevada. Oregon has raised more than $25 million in tax revenue, while Colorado has already topped $1 billion in legal sales as of 2016 alone. Maine and Connecticut are only the beginning, and have very good financial futures to look forward to if the other states are a positive indication. The New England Cannabis Convention (NECANN) will take place on April 22-23, 2017 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts. With recreational use on the horizon, this yearâ€™s NECANN will be the largest yet, featuring 200 exhibitors, 100+ industry expert
During a time when the country is still experiencing significant economic distress, cannabis is creating an industry to supply an increasing demand across the region.
What you need to know
CANNABIS in Massachusetts
Personal Consumption for recreational use. Rhode Island has only legalized cannabis for medicinal use, but experts believe that if legalized for recreational purposes cannabis sales could generate up to $15 million in tax revenue for the state. Medicinal cannabis use was legalized back in 2006, and since then it is believed that more than 16,000 patients benefit from their access to safe, affordable, organic medicine, leading to $9.6 million in sales. Experts have also concluded that between 2013 and 2014 the state has brought in $269,156 worth of taxes from medical cannabis sales alone. While these industries are doing well, any successful recreational legalization effort will logically result in more profits and more tax revenue, as it already
speakers, live demonstrations and many exhibitions dedicated to cannabis industry education, investment and employment opportunities. Attendees must be 18 or over, and use of cannabis is absolutely forbidden anywhere within the convention. The good news is that NECANN is the perfect place for patients, advocates, businesses, entrepreneurs, investors, educators, consumers and entertainers can connect, network and generate new business in the industry of cannabis. Previous conventions have taken place in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine, drawing 10,000 visitors from around the world to learn more about living better, one way or another, by embracing an expanding industry with a positive financial future. d
2016 In-Home Growing
Legislation, Licensing, Personal Est.
$ 2016 Individuals can consume and produce in their own homes.
2017 Legislation takes place â€”tax rates, licensing procedures and personal cultivation rules established.
2018 Commercial growth and retail sales begin after obtaining licenses.
2nd Annual Policy Conference, March 7
osted by California Cannabis Industry Association, this conference will cover the state regulations and the industry as a whole. As recreational consumption begins in California, participants can expect detailed coverage on Prop. 64’s implementation, cultivation in a regulated environment, details on branding and marketing. The event will commence with an introduction, followed by a rundown on the current state of the industry given by Executive Director, Nate Bradley. The California State Treasurer will attend as a guest speaker and a networking luncheon will follow. Of course, with a conference focused on the new development of a budding industry, there will be a seminar dedicated to the banking, finance and risk management of the cannabis industry. Several co-founders of various companies will also provide their take on marketing, technology, and how to expand one’s resources. The conference will close in the evening with a reception and awards ceremony. WHAT: 2nd Annual Policy Conference WHEN/WHERE: Tues. March 7. Sheraton Grand, 1230 J Street. Sacramento, CA. INFO: Check out thecannabisindustry. org/events for details!
A Physician’s Wish List for the Cannabis Industry in 2017 A simple plan of action to improve the industry by Bonni S. Goldstein, M.D.
have been a physician for many years, working as a pediatric emergency specialist. I switched my practice specialty to medical cannabis about nine years ago after watching a friend have incredible results with it. I don’t consider myself in the “cannabis industry” per se, as I feel that I am primarily in the business of helping people by trying to cure their medical conditions or improve their quality of life. But I have come to realize that everyone I have met in the cannabis industry over the past decade is in the same business as me. Although some may have been attracted
to this industry by the dream of huge profits, it turns out that we are all helping our fellow mankind by pushing forward to free the cannabis plant for those who need it as medicine and for those who want to partake in its recreational properties. So here we are at the start of 2017 with 28 medical cannabis states and eight legal recreational states. Isn’t it fantastic? As they say, “we’ve come a long way, baby.” But there is still much to do. Although I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, I occasionally indulge in making “wish lists” for the year. Not that you asked, but my personal wish list this year includes a week’s vacation in Bali and getting my teenager to spontaneously clean his room, both of which are quite unlikely. My wish list for the cannabis industry is much more achievable and really quite simple.
All of us will talk to our personal doctors about how cannabis helps us. Many of my colleagues are still in the dark and need to hear from you about the benefits of cannabis.
Wish List: All of us will be more informed about the plant. Just knowing the terms “indica” and “sativa” is not enough. Read everything you can about cannabis that is published in the scientific literature; articles describing the medical effects, the important compounds in the plant and much more are available for free on Google Scholar. Let’s be smarter than the naysayers. All of us will not poison each other with pesticides, solvents and other chemicals used in growing. Let’s do
cannabis better than we have done the majority of our food. Our motto for cannabis should be “organic and sustainable— safe for us, safe for our environment.” All of us will endorse politicians that support access to both medical and recreational cannabis. Often we don’t know what politicians think about cannabis as no one asks and they certainly don’t tell. We must know where these folks stand and hold them accountable once they are in office. Our industry makes
lots of money, and money talks in politics. All of us will support cannabis advocacy groups such as NORML, Americans for Safe Access, Marijuana Policy Project, Drug Policy Alliance and the National Cannabis Industry Association just to name a few. These groups have worked tirelessly to change cannabis laws and policies, helping to make cannabis the fastest growing industry in the U.S. Their
efforts support our goals and we should in turn support them. All of us will talk to our personal doctors about how cannabis helps us. Many of my colleagues are still in the dark and need to hear from you about the benefits of cannabis. Print out a recent scientific article about medicinal effects of cannabis and share it with your doctor. Be gentle in your approach, there may be big egos to hurdle.
I think this is all way more doable than getting my kid to put his dirty socks in the hamper. We are a large and diverse group with a shared passion: We all appreciate and are awed by this amazing plant. If we get this right as an industry, we just may save humankind. d
Top 5 U.S. Medical Cannabis Markets in 2020 MArket Size (Billions)
Projected 2020 U.S. Medical Market
$0.5 $0.0 California
All Other Legal Medical Markets
Source: New Frontier Analytics & Arcview Market Research
Bangkok Beckons Thailand Legalizes Hemp Cultivation Per the initiative, hemp can be grown and harvested for household use, commercial use and research purposes. All areas that hemp is grown must be approved by officials. 32
by Benjamin M. Adams
hailand is guardedly opening the doors to widespread hemp cultivation. The male plant is known locally as “ganjong.” According to Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), Thailand’s cabinet has approved hemp cultivation in six Northern provinces. The nation that introduced the modern world to Thai sticks and the “shotgun method” is now finally embracing hemp cultivation. On December 27, 2016, the Thai government unexpectedly approved an initiative to allow hemp to be grown. According to ONCB secretary-
general Sirinya Sitdhicha, the plant will be grown in 15 districts in the provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nan, Tak, Phetchabun and Mae Hong Son. The ONCB is the arm of the Thai government that fights drug abuse. Thai law now allows hemp to be grown for five reasons: Household use, commercial use, research, breeding for agriculture and breeding for seeds. The initiative will be implemented by January 1, 2018. The catch is that only state agencies will be permitted to receive permits for the first three years. The general public will not be permitted to apply for hemp cultivation permits for at least four years. The trial period can be extended for an additional two years. The decision to extend or not to
extend the trial period will be decided by a committee that will evaluate the need for additional permits. When the trial period is up, any Thai resident over the age of 20 can apply for a permit, so long as he or she has no narcotics offenses on his or her criminal record. Per the initiative, hemp can be grown and harvested for household use, commercial use and research purposes. All areas that hemp is grown must be approved by officials. Hemp seeds may be sold or distributed for the same purposes with a permit. Seeds must be purchased from a provider that’s been approved by the state. The hemp grown must not contain any higher the one percent THC. Any growers caught with hemp plants at over one percent are subject to legal action. A ministerial regulation was also introduced that would lower THC levels in hemp to less than 0.5 percent. The joint effort was spearheaded by the Ministry’s Food and Drug Administration, the Highland Research and Development Institute and the Royal Project Foundation. The research team will also look into selective breeding to produce higher yields, more durability and stronger fibers.
Aside from hemp, the Thai government’s initiative includes also loosening laws on cannabis and kratom for medical purposes. Both cannabis and kratom have been used medicinally in Thailand for centuries. Kratom is a plant that has been used as an opium substitute in Asia, and has psychoactive compounds. However, the nation is far from decriminalizing
all cannabis or legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes. There was a time when Thailand dominated the world in quality cannabis. During the late 1960s and 1970s, the Thai stick was considered to be the most coveted cannabis. For many Americans, Thai sticks were their first taste of sinsemilla, which is a highly potent cannabis plant from female plants only, that are specially
The Coming Reckoning on Pesticides Total Pesticide Prevalence
of Tested Products Contained Pesticide
tended and kept seedless by preventing pollination in order to induce high resin content. The Vietnam War educated thousands of American soldiers how to turn a gun into a pipe and Thailand’s bamboo bongs. Thailand’s drug plan also involves loosening laws on ya-bah, the local methamphetamine product. Thailand’s useless war on drugs destroys lives. Where the permits will be issued depends on where the applicants live. For those that live in Bangkok, residents may apply for a permit at the city’s FDA office. For those who live in the less populated provinces, residents may apply in their respective public health district offices. The initiative invites a new era for hemp cultivation in Southeast Asia. In Asia, the hemp market is dominated by China. Thailand’s government is looking at the ways that hemp could revolutionize its textile and agricultural industries, which may change the way the international cannabis industry sees the country and the market. d
Source: Steep Hill Labs
. . . training should address the fact that budtending is not just a retail position, since budtenders are filling in for medical professionals and have the responsibility of listening to suffering patients all day long.
Budtender Training 2.0 Takes Off by Sheryll Alexander
hen it comes to training budtenders and dispensary workers—even in this age of cannabis legalization—the subject is still exceedingly complicated. And yet, as the cannabis industry transforms from infancy to toddlerhood, training the next generation of dispensary workers has become ever more important, especially as the medical profession continues to turn its back on advising those who are suffering and in need of this critical medicine. A recent study by Haug, Kieschnick, Sottile, Babson, Vandrey
Photo courtesy of The Farm in Colorado
and Bonn-Miller titled “Training and Practices of Cannabis Dispensary Staff,” showed a horrifying fact: Only 55 percent of dispensary staff reported having any formal training. And only 20 percent said they had received medical or scientific training while 94 percent of budtenders say they are called on to provide “specific cannabis advice to patients.” These findings, so says the report’s conclusion, underscores “the importance of consistent, evidence-based, training of dispensary staff who provide specific recommendations for patient medical conditions.” So, how do you properly train budtenders in 2017? We discussed dispensary training tips and trends with three heavyweights in cannabis education business to get some answers.
r. Aseem Sappal, the Provost and Dean of Faculty at Oaksterdam University interrupted the first day of Oaksterdam’s winter semester to discuss dispensary training or what Oaksterdam calls its “classic program.” He says he was encouraged by the students in this 14-week course as most of them indicated they are already hip to cannabis horticulture basics and practices. “All employees in the cannabis business need to understand the basics of cultivation,” he says. Sappal, who is also a consultant evaluating state dispensary applications, says education is hugely important in the world of cannabis sales. “Dispensary owners should set a good example and
know more about cultivation and all the products offered than their budtenders,” he says. Long gone, he says, are the days when proprietors would hire their brothers, sisters and cousins to run the clinic counter. Today, consumers are sometimes more educated than the budtenders themselves, so having a company culture of deep cannabis and product knowledge is of major importance. Sappal believes continuing education in cannabis laws is also crucial. “All dispensary workers MUST understand the law in their state, country and city,” he says. He counsels dispensary proprietors to create goodwill in the neighborhood.
“People fear what they don’t understand, so go the extra step to keep your neighbors happy,” he says. One way dispensary owners can do this is to train workers to sweep and clean 20-30 feet past your business, have your security guard patrol the entire block and send your customers to adjacent shops and restaurants. “You can change mindsets by showing love to your neighbors,” he adds. “Cannabis clinic owners and their employees have to set a good example and work 10 times harder than any other business.” Above all, Sappal says, teach your employees to always be compassionate. “People are seriously suffering,” he says, “so remember we are in the business of taking care of our communities.”
a nielle Schumacher, Partner of THC Staffing Group has been at the forefront of the cannabiz for almost 15 years. The first chancellor of Oaksterdam University, she has gone on to a stellar career in the cannabis industry as a dispensary manager, an event planner and, most importantly to Schumacher, a social justice activist (she was named a Freedom Fighter by High Times magazine at the age of 22). “The real problem that isn’t talked about much is there’s so few doctors who give real advice to patients,” says Schumacher. She says medical doctors should be the ones giving out detailed plant, product and dosing advice to patients. “This is the big void in our industry, and it is totally backwards.” Schumacher says this and the fact that the clinic science isn’t “there yet,” puts a “heavy burden” on dispensaries and their workers. “Budtenders are considered entry-level workers, but they are actually the most important person in a dispensary,” she says. They get paid the least, so they are not going to be motivated to give medical advice. “I think training should address the fact that budtending is not just a retail position,” she muses, “since budtenders are filling in for medical professionals and have the responsibility of listening to suffering patients all day long.”
Schumacher counsels budtenders to only give out information they are certain is correct “It’s okay to say I don’t know. It’s better to say that then give a patient misleading information.” She also warns owners that dispensary staff are easily swayed by free samples from brands. In this way, budtenders are not giving the patients the full story, but are just trying to push their favorite brands. Employment law and diversity, so says Schumacher, is also being taken more seriously by dispensaries. She says sexual harassment training is being incorporated into company education programs as well as a wider range of employees of all ages, races, cultures and sexual preferences. “Having a more diverse staff is another way to improve the patient experience,” she says. “Your budtenders should represent your patient base.” Schumacher says medical cannabis legalization in more states has increased the number of children and elderly seeking cannabis treatments. “Since November, there’s been an influx of people who are willing to try medical cannabis, especially the elderly and the parents of children who need medical answers.” She calls these new patients “naïve users” because they have never identified as recreational users. These first-time patients need much more education and Schumacher
Photo courtesy of Healing Canna in Colorado
believes this means dispensary staff should be provided extra training. Another trend Schumacher says will continue is microdosing. For example, she is personally hypersensitive to THC. For her, a 5mg dose is normal (she prefers Kiva’s 2.5mg mints and 5mg blueberries and coffee beans). She says dispensary owners need to make certain budtenders understand microdosing and how lower doses are better for sensitive patients. >>
California Bears the Brunt of Federal Cannabis Eradication Cannabis plants eradicated (Millions)
12 10 7 Year Average
Source: Drug Enforcement Agency
Photo courtesy of Healing Canna in Colorado
r. Robert “Doc Rob” Streisfeld is a powerhouse in the natural health and cannabis industries as a naturopathic doctor and certified natural food chef. Currently, he’s the Co-Founder of cannabis consultancy agency Beyond Brands as well as the medical director for two Arizona dispensaries. Plus, he has been furiously writing training manuals for dispensaries in several medical cannabis and almost-legal states as of late. Doc Rob says he has noticed more consumer demand than ever for product knowledge, traceability and certifications. “Truly, most people who work in dispensaries are not qualified in treating or diagnosing conditions or recommending products based on conditions.” As a result, he says, more and more dispensaries are requiring third-party training. “That’s a good sign
because cannabis has a lot of gray areas and is still in the infancy stage,” he explains. He also says training is necessary because of the ever-changing cannabis industry when it comes to new laws and newly-found scientific research. For now, he says dispensaries should offer quality educational materials, reference lists and good resources (such as downloads or books to purchase). “There’s a great need for good quality information delivered in digestible content so people can understand, share and utilize it.” It’s certainly unfortunate the least paid cannabis industry workers are also the least trained for such powerful positions over patient health. Hopefully, current and future dispensary proprietors will make education and continuous training one of the most important parts of this expanding job market. d
Colorado cannabis Market Projections 2014-2020
MArket Size (Millions)
$679 $500 0 2014 Medical
Compound Annual Growth Rate
2016 Adult Use
Source: New Frontier Analytics & Arcview Market Research
TRADEMARKS AND BRANDING –KISSING COUSINS
by David Branfman
We love observing ever-changing trends in the world of delivery of cannabis and its byproducts to patients and non-patients alike. The only thing that stays the same is that nothing stays the same. This last year we’ve been hearing a lot more about the important of “branding” in cannabis world. Platitudes and recommendations abound–everything from “know your brand” to “establish an identity that sets you apart” to “pick a consistent voice for your brand” and everything in between. But “branding” and the “brand” don’t necessarily have the same meaning
in the non-legal and legal senses; they’re similar– but not the same. In general terms, branding has been defined as the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme; branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers. Yet, all that hard work that can go into creating that name and image and the hoped-for attraction and retention of loyal customers can
A protectable and registerable trademark name must be: Clever, Unique and Uncommon, Arbitrary or Evocative, Memorable, Easy to Remember, Easy to Spell.
be wasted because of a lack of attention early in the process to developing and protecting the legal underpinnings of the brand, namely, the trademark/name, the copyrightable graphics and sometimes voices and likenesses. Our observation over the years has been that the name/trademark is the key or foundation to the whole effort, so for these purposes we’ll focus on the trademark for starters. While lots can be said about the legal underpinnings for establishing a great name, in order to try to keep it simple, let’s not forget the two rules of the road:
A protectable and registerable trademark name must not be: Generic, Descriptive, Common, Geographic, Surname, Laudatory.
If you can observe those two rules, you can avoid a lot of heartache (and wasted time, energy and money) and maybe–just maybe–create a brand that helps you attract and retain your customers.
Here are examples of some good cannabis industry names: • • • • • • • • •
Fire Stop Pakalolo Sunshine Blossom CPA Outliers Collective Chron Don Clean Gene Freedom Farmers Flashy Buds
Examples of OK (but not great) names: • • • • • •
Green Nectar Green Hope Community Green VIP Express Alpha Medic California Kindness • Exclusive Meds • Aztec Meds • Diego Kush
Examples Of Lousy Names: • • • • • • • • •
Chula Vista Meds Best Meds San Diego Organics SD Cannabis Connection SD Greens South Bay Greens Pacific Greens Alternative Wellness MJ Wellness
BONUS After you feel confident in your brand name, your social media accounts are going to be your bread and butter to start off your marketing and gain awareness in the market. There are a few other things you should consider, to help market your brand to be strong and resilient online.
Produce value Find ways to add value to your audience by creating or curating content on social media platforms and outlets that’s in line with your brand, and that sets you apart from the crowd.
Be purposeful in sharing Every post you make on your online accounts contributes to your personal brand. You should make sure to consider how you want your brand to be perceived, and then you can post via socials in a strategic way.
Associate with stronger brands Your personal brand can be strengthened by your connection to other brands. Find and connect with strong brands that may elevate your own brand. Kind of like “guilty by association” only backwards. It is worth looking into what your former college buddies are doing, if there are any associations related to your school that could benefit you or your brand. Perhaps there is a networking group specific to your brand and product.
Presentation is key A strong brand is dependent on a strong presentation and a strong story. Press is great, but in order to pitch a publication or media outlet on your story, you’re going to have to write one. In other words, take some time to craft your brand’s story and what makes it unique to the industry. Put together some nice high resolution images, and keep it in a press kit folder you can use to submit to publications, events, and vendors! Great presentation and a great story will make a great impact.
The Influx of Cannabis Trade Organizations
Finding the Best Organizations to Support Your Business and Advocacy by Jamie solis
s the cannabis industry continues to expand across cities, states and even countries, the number of trade associations representing cannabis businesses and advocates is growing. If you’re looking to find which organization is the best fit for your advocacy or your business, then it is important to do a little investigating before making your decision. Some trade associations exist in order to turn a profit, while others aim to have an influential impact on cannabis-related legislation, research, education and business. Depending on what you want out
For Advocacy, Not Profit If being an advocate for smarter cannabis legislation is your motivation to joining a trade group, you will find yourself with countless options of organizations to join. There are some long-withstanding nonprofit organizations that have been key influencers in lobbying for smarter cannabis legislation for many years now. Drug Policy Alliance is completely funded by private donations as a 501c3 private, nonprofit organization that has been working to end the “war on drugs” since July 2000. Whereas Americans for Safe Access is a nonprofit advocacy group for patients who are trying to get the medicinal properties of cannabis recognized and further researched. Another well-known, national advocacy nonprofit is National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), which also has local chapters across the United States. All three of these advocacy group have held a long and respectable relationship within the cannabis industry.
Business Comes First Being an advocate is great, but it might not be the driving force for an entrepreneur to join a trade association. The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is one example of a nonprofit association that focuses on 40
of a trade organization, there are plenty of options for both advocates and business owners. Ben Gelt, Executive Director of Organic Cannabis Association (OCA), spoke with CULTURE and provided insight into how to choose the right trade association for you, your business and the industry. The first step is to do research. “Understanding who has leadership positions and what their priorities are should be step one before joining any professional association,” Gelt said. “Pick one or two—and know what you’re getting. Many have bigger players involved and aren’t terribly transparent—but—they can give you great insight in to what’s happening legislatively and regarding regulation.”
the cannabis industry and advancing the interests of its jobs, revenue and economic activity. National nonprofit organizations are vital in furthering the political representation of the medical and recreational cannabis industries. However, localized cannabis trade associations also have an important appeal to cannabis business owners.
Local Flair CULTURE connected with Mark Malone, Executive Director of Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) in Colorado, which is a nonprofit group that focuses on furthering cannabis businesses in the state. Malone shared the importance for interested individuals to join both a national and a local trade organization. “I would encourage membership in a local/state association and a national association. You join a local association, like the CBA, because it gives you a voice on legislation that is going to directly impact your business,” Malone said. It’s important to join a local trade association, however there are many choices available. For example, while cannabis cultivators can certainly find like-minded people in The California Growers Association, there are even more localized groups that focus on specific cannabis growing regions in the state. One word of advice for choosing a
local association is ensuring the benefits outweigh the costs. “You want to make sure you are getting good bang for your buck. Lobbying at the state level is not cheap, so a lot of associations are set up on a tiered model where the higher you pay in dues the more influence you have over the association,” Malone said. “You want to ensure that the board of the association is not in control over the members or that the higher tier members direct the association; the worst thing you could do is join an association where you do not have influence or control over the direction of the association.” It is also worth considering other benefits trade associations offer, from business-to-business events and social activities to advocating on your behalf to state government organizations, like the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) in Colorado. “The CBA is also a big advocate for our members; not only do we propose and influence legislation, we act as a conduit between our membership and the MED, so if a member has a rule interpretation issue they can not only bounce their issue off of similarly situated business owners in the CBA, but the CBA will contact the MED and propose the question or request for a position statement,” Malone said. “A lot of owners do not want to bug the MED or raise any red flags with the MED, so the CBA acts on their behalf.” d
The fact that it’s basically a fully comprehensive one-stop shop for people to be able to pick up medicine or flower and has or edibles is a definite advantage.
The Cannabis Mall
Aurora, Colorado explores a center for cannabis-related businesses in the country’s first hemp and cannabis-themed shopping center by Addison Herron-Wheeler
espite the success that recreational and medical cannabis has had in legal states, prejudice definitely still persists when it comes to stigmas about cannabis businesses. Many dispensaries and cannabis businesses give back to charities and turn a nice profit, yet renters still worry about increased crime due to cannabis patrons. This is why it is so refreshing to have a place where cannabis businesses are not only tolerated, but celebrated. Aurora Hemp Marketplace is that positive cannabis space. Leased by Western Centers, the Aurora, Colorado shopping mall is slowly becoming a haven for all things hemp. Starting with just a Myxed Up Creations “head shop,” the center has now expanded to also include Rocky Road, a dispensary and Grofax 4, a hydroponics shop in Aurora. While the center is not completely full of cannabis shops yet—it still contains a nail salon, donut shop and a dry cleaner, among other businesses—it is slowly becoming more and more cannabis focused. Corey Wagner, Executive Vice President of Western Centers, told The Denver Post that the shopping center would like to open even more cannabisthemed businesses, such as a cannabis club if one were to become legal in
Aurora, or a cannabis themed restaurant like the sandwich shop Cheba Hut. For the businesses housed in the mall, Aurora Hemp Marketplace is a center for synergy and a leg up on the competition due to the comradery they share. “The fact that it’s basically a fully comprehensive one-stop shop for people to be able to pick up medicine, flower or edibles is a definite advantage,” explained Tyson Place, owner of Grofax. “There is the headshop factor with Myxed Up and there’s us, the grow store, and then of course the dispensary, so it kind of encompasses the whole culture. We’ve definitely felt a kind of synergistic partnership or benefit from being near similar businesses.” While Grofax was not the first cannabis business in the shopping center, they came onto the scene before Aurora Hemp Center was known by its current name. “I opened this business over three and a half years ago, and at that point it was just called Chambers Point Plaza, so it wasn’t a hemp-specific type of complex back then,” Place told CULTURE. “When I opened it, I liked the idea that Myxed Up was over here; I liked the distance between other hydroponics stores.” After these two businesses were settled, Rocky Road moved in, and the cannabis triumvirate was complete. The cannabis industry has relied very heavily on synergy and community since its inception. In a country where cannabis is still illegal, advocacy groups
and networking are the building blocks that the industry is founded on. As such, it makes sense for cannabis retail businesses to cluster and band together for support, just like those in advertising, consulting and advocacy. “I think it is a plus for people to look at work centers that are offering multiple aspects and multifaceted options in cannabis, so I think it’s definitely a benefit,” Place explained when asked about the advantages he experiences having his store in Aurora Hemp Marketplace. “I think there are other shops that have something similar going on, but I don’t think there are other areas that have titled themselves a hemp center officially, so we are kind of a first. I think it is definitely a good thing for cannabis in Colorado, and for all its citizens.” Since it is business 101 that the clustering of like and complementary vendors is good for revenue, it won’t be surprising if other states and areas in Colorado adapt a similar practice when it comes to cannabis real estate. Landlords and realtors who are willing to look past cannabis stigmas will be rewarded with shopping centers that far surpass the profits turned by your average strip mall businesses. “We are happy and grateful to be here and be able to help a neighbor out, provide quality equipment and consulting to our customers, along with competitive pricing,” continued Place. “We like being here, and we do a good, thorough job for our customers.” d
Stock Insight Diving deep into investment can be tricky and nervewracking—let’s simplify some of the best options
by Alex Bradley
he cannabis industry grew 24 percent to $5.7 billion in 2015, and North American cannabis sales grew by 30 percent in 2016 to $6.7 billion, as the legal market expands in the U.S. and Canada, according to Arcview Market Research. Arcview also said that cannabis sales are projected to top $20.2 billion by 2021 assuming a compound annual growth rate of 25 percent. Forbes has said that this industry growth is larger and quicker than the dot-com era of growth. The GDP grew at a pace of 22% during that time. Bank of America Corporation (BAC) had said that the U.S. cannabis market could reach a worth of around $30 billion annually by 2020, almost thrice the yearly revenue of the National Football League.
Cannabis sales are projected to top $20.2 billion by 2021, assuming a compound annual growth rate of 25 percent. Investment dollars are pouring into California, Florida, Massachusetts and Nevada. 21 percent of the total U.S. population now live in legal adult use markets, and Colorado, Washington and Oregon saw their sales jump 62% through September of 2016 (increase over 2015 sales). Here is our latest round-up of cannabis-linked stocks that are poised to grow substantially, according to Zacks, Arcview, New Frontier, Forbes and InvestorPlace. 44
GW Pharmaceuticials plc The British biopharmaceutical company is one of the most successful companies, together with its subsidiaries, is discovering, developing and commercializing many cannabinoid prescription medicines, including a CBD-based anti-seizure medicine that could hit the U.S. market by 2018. GW Pharmaceuticals’ (NYSE: GWPH) stocks soared 60.5 percent last year.
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company In 2013, the company’s CEO Jim Hagedorn made a call to go after an emerging market—cannabis growers. The company is presently researching a line of branded pesticides designed for cannabis. Scotts’ stock surged last August after it was announced the company had acquired Botanicare, an Arizonabased provider of cannabis nutrient and hydroponics products for $40 million—the stock surged 37.4%.
Pepsico, Inc. The food and beverage company offers a wide range of snack foods, and its stock has gained 6.7 percent in the last year. With legal states helping sales soar sky high, Pepsico (NYSE: PEP) is investing in cannabis consumerdriven marketing.
Mondelez International The snack side of Kraft has options for cannabis consumers with a sweeter tooth, providing nibbles like Oreos, Chips Ahoy and Nutter Butters. Mondelez International (NASDAQ:MDLZ) is also marketing toward the cannabis consumer, and sales are skyrocketing.
Philip Morris International, Inc. The tobacco company invested $20 million in Israeli company Syqe, which patented a cannabis inhaler. The company increased their stocks by 9.4 percent last year.