contents: Q3 2018
Editor-In-Chief Jamie Solis associate Editor Ashley Bennett Editorial Benjamin Adams coordinator
Northern Influence Canada is well on its way to cannabis legalization. Here is the forecast on what to expect from the largest country to legalize cannabis so far.
photographers John Gilhooley, Tonya Perme, Eric Stoner, Steve Terrebonne Art Director Steven Myrdahl
The miraculous benefits of CBD led to the immediate success of flavored CBD water company, Cannaki.
Editorial David Branfman, Esq., Contributors Devon Brown, Hilary Bricken, Jacob Cannon, Julie Hamill, Caroline Hayes, Emily Manke, Nicole Potter
Production Michelle Aguirre Manager graphic designer John Venegas
#Trending What every business owner needs to know about getting the most out of social media.
Careful and Compliant Cannabis businesses should exercise caution when securing a reliable and trusted banking institution.
Associate Bob Waters Publisher & Advertising Director
Account Alex Brizicky, Eric Bulls, Executives Angie Callahan, Kim Cook, Molly Clark, Casey Roel, Annie Weber, Vic Zaragoza
office Manager Mikayla Aguilar
PR Perfection Hiring a public relations agency for your company can make a world of difference.
Distribution Cruz Bobadilla Manager intern Cole Graves
Dr. George Anastassov, CEO of Axim Biotechnologies, obtained a U.S. patent for THC extraction, and talked about the shift he sees in the federal government’s approach to cannabis.
in EVERY issue. CULTUREB2B.com
Publisher David Comden
Understand the intricacies of trade secret protection and how to take advantage of it.
State-By-State Many states in the U.S. have succeeded in implementing cannabis programs, but others are having trouble getting off the ground.
06. news bytes 07. by the numbers 38. event listings
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n e w s
Corona Beer company Gains $700M in Market Value Constellation Brands Inc., the owner of Corona beer and Robert Mondavi wine, reported a $700 million gain in market value
shortly after announcing its investment into the cannabis industry. Excitement is brewing, with Canada’s recreational
Massachusetts Awards First Dispensary with License
it right,” Steve Hoffman of the Cannabis Control Commission said. The business, Cultivate, located in Leicester, must finish up final inspections and background checks before it can begin operation. The same company also plans to cultivate and process cannabis. As of
The first recreational cannabis dispensary in Massachusetts received a provisional permit from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission on July 2. Some commission members expressed that there is no rush to open up dispensaries. “There is no legislative mandate that pot stores were going to be open on July 1, and we’re doing this the right way, and we’re going to get 6
cannabis market set to begin Oct. 17. Last October, Constellation Brands paid C$245million ($186 million USD) for a nearly 10 percent stake in Canopy Growth Corp. Canopy Growth plans on developing a cannabisinfused beverage for the commercial market. “In Q1 we recognized an additional $258 million pretax unrealized gain from the change in fair value of the Canopy Growth investment and warrants, bringing the total pre-tax gain on this investment to over $700 million,” stated David Eric Klein, chief financial officer of Constellation Brands. Other U.S. beer companies are interested in the Canadian market as well, including Molson Coors Brewing Co.
early July, 32 companies applied for 63 licenses in operation, cultivation, research, manufacturing, transportation and retail cannabis facilities. The Boston Globe reported that impatience is growing due to the slow rollout as state residents are excited to begin the program.
Luxembourg Legalizes Medical Cannabis The geographicallysmall 98.6-squaremile European nation of Luxembourg legalized medical cannabis, The Luxembourg Times announced June 29. Under Luxembourg’s draft law, pharmacies in four hospitals will dispense medical cannabis-based medicines, originating from Canada. Patients living with cancer, Multiple Sclerosis and neurodegenerative diseases will be eligible to receive a prescription from any general practitioner. “I am pleased that the House has agreed with the bill to legalize access to cannabis for medical purposes,” Health Minister Lydia Mutsch stated. “The medical use of cannabis is an important step in our efforts to reduce the pain and suffering of some patients, where usual treatments do not allow it or more.” A handful of MPs suggested adding more qualifying conditions to the list, including HIV. The draft law will be reviewed in two years, so lawmakers can judge how well the program is working.
The percentage of Tasmanian residents who stated in a phone survey that they support recreational cannabis decriminalization: (Source: ABC.net.au)
The amount of money, in thousands of English pounds, that Sativa Investments PLC agreed to pay for PhytoVista Laboratories: (Source: Proactive Investors)
The number of tincture units that were sold during the first quarter of 2018 in California, Colorado and Oregon: (Source: BDS Analytics)
The amount of money, in millions of dollars, that Stanley Brothers (makers of Charlotte’s Web) collected in revenue during 2017: (Source: Stanley Brothers Holdings Inc.)
The number of applications that were submitted to open up retail cannabis stores in Calgary, Alberta: (Source: Calgary Herald)
The amount of money, in millions of dollars, that an Arizona-based cannabis firm called 4Front Holdings LLC. raised during its Series D funding round: (Source: Phoenix Business Journal)
The percentage of Texans who stated in a survey that they would vote to legalize cannabis in small amounts or any amount if it was on the ballot: (Source: The Texas Tribune)
The combined amount of money, in millions of dollars, that the state of Nevada has collected in medical and recreational cannabis sales revenue between July 2017 and April 2018: (Source: NBC Los Angeles)
By Emily Manke On June 18 in Ottawa, Canada, a crucial piece of legislation making recreational cannabis legal at the federal level was passed. The simply titled “Cannabis Act” was passed by a vote of 52 to 29 in the Canadian Senate. The act will go into effect on Oct. 17, 2018. Medical cannabis has been legal federally in Canada since 1999, and was greatly expanded in 2013, but this will be the first time recreational cannabis will be legal in Canada in any capacity. Other than Uruguay, Canada is the only country to ever legalize recreational cannabis at the federal level. “We’re unique in Canada because it’s being rolled out on the national basis,” Fasken Communications Law Partner Barbara Miller and expert on cannabis legalization in Canada told CULTURE B2B. “The benefit up in Canada is that since it’s national legislation, tax law and criminal law, and banking is all federal, it doesn’t matter what province you’re doing it in, you’re safe.” Canada is taking an entirely different approach to recreational cannabis legalization than the U.S. While there will be some variations in cannabis law province to province, there will also be overarching federal regulations and protections.
Federal Cannabis Regulations Age Limit One of the main goals of the Cannabis Act is to keep cannabis out of the hands of youth. The legal age is 18, though most provinces will have a legal age of 19. There are a number of restrictions already laid out, with more to come, specifically regarding cannabis and minors.
W h at w i l l b e a l l o w e d ? Canadians over the legal age in their respective province will be allowed to possess, cultivate and purchase cannabis in the following forms and amounts, according to Canada’s Department of Justice. However, the Cannabis Act will not allow the sale of edible cannabis products and concentrated cannabis products until approximately one year after Oct. 17. Canadian adults will be able to do the following: Possess up to 30 grams of cannabis in flower form. Share up to 30 grams of legal cannabis flower with those of legal age. The 30-gram limit is based on dry cannabis flower, and equivalents for other cannabis products are: 150 grams of fresh cannabis, 450 grams of edible product, 2,100 grams of liquid product, 7.5 grams of concentrates (solid or liquid) and 30 cannabis plant seeds.
good idea how long it will take to work and get into your bloodstream and how long it will last. When you [consume a derivative] it might last longer, it might take longer to get through your system and have the effects that you’re looking for. So they’re trying to study that and create new regulations.” Individual provinces can and will create additional regulations that will override some of these allowances.
W h at w i l l b e p r o h i b i t e d ? With legalization of cannabis comes regulation. Here’s a list provided by Canada’s Department of Justice of cannabis-related offenses, in order from least severe to most, that are explicitly prohibited in Canada: Possessing over the aforementioned limit (punishable by ticket for small amount, or up to five years in jail). Distributing or selling cannabis illegally (punishable by ticket for small amounts, or up to 14 years in jail). Producing more than the allowed amount of cannabis (punishable by ticket for small amounts, or up to 14 years in jail). Using combustible solvents (punishable by ticket for small amounts, or up to 14 years in jail). Crossing the Canadian federal border with cannabis (punishable by up to 14 years in jail). Giving or selling cannabis to a minor (punishable by up to 14 years in jail).
Purchase dried or fresh cannabis flower, and cannabis oil from a provincially-licensed retailer.
Making a youth commit a cannabis-related offense (punishable by up to 14 years in jail).
Residents who live in provinces or territories without legal recreational cannabis retailers will be able to purchase cannabis online from federally-licensed producers.
Cannabis-impaired driving (punishable by up to 14 years in jail).
Use licensed seeds or seedlings, to grow up to four cannabis plants per personal residence for noncommercial use. Make edible cannabis products at personal residences without using organic solvents to create concentrated products. Approximately one year after recreational legalization, edible cannabis products and concentrates will be legal for sale. It may seem odd that Canada has chosen to stall on legalizing edibles, or derivatives as they’re referred to legally in Canada. Miller explained why. “There is a concern that when you convert this into a derivative you have to have separate regulations about potentially mold, how long you can keep it, regulations around that,” Miller explained. “Another concern is that when you put it through an oil, you have a pretty
In addition to prohibiting the sale of cannabis to minors, the Cannabis Act has strict rules for producers and advertisers. The following are regulations regarding production and advertisement of cannabis, similar to restrictions already placed on tobacco. No products may be manufactured that appeal to youth. No cannabis products may be packaged or labeled in a way that appeals to youth, packages must be plain and uniform. Cannabis may not be sold in vending machines or at self-serve displays. Cannabis may not be promoted in any way that youth could see the advertisements. Violating any of these prohibitions may be punishable by a fine of up to $5 million or three years in jail. CULTUREB2B.com
“The federal g o v e r n m e n t, w h i l e it has legalized [cannabis] on a federal basis has left the distribution and sale to the p r o v i n c e s . S o w h at h a s r e s u lt e d i s t h at each province has passed their own l e g i s l at i o n . ”
Cannabis Laws by Province While the Cannabis Act lays out the legal groundwork for cannabis regulation at the federal level, provinces in Canada can also impose their own regulations. “The federal government, while it has legalized [cannabis] on a federal basis has left the distribution and sale to the provinces,” Miller explained. “So what has resulted is that each province has passed their own legislation. We have 10 provinces and three territories, so all 13 of these jurisdictions have passed their own legislation.” There are two main differences province to province, the legal age to consume cannabis, and where the 10
cannabis will be sold. While most provinces will restrict the sale and consumption of cannabis to those 19 and over, there are two provinces with the legal age set at 18 (Alberta and Quebec). Where cannabis products will be sold is another regulation that varies by province. In Canada, alcohol is sold through provincially-owned outlets. You have to go to a state-run liquor store to buy any alcohol. Some provinces will follow this model, some are allowing private cannabis retail outlets, and others will have a mix. There will be a few other regulatory differences between provinces as well when it comes to the ability to grow cannabis at personal residences and public use.
c a n n a b i s r e g u l at i o n s b y p r o v i n c e o r t e r r i t o r y, b a s e d o n i n f o r m at i o n t h at i s c u r r e n t ly a v a i l a b l e : A l b e r ta Legal age: 18 Stores: Provincial, private and online retail sales allowed Grow at home: Yes, indoor only Public use: Where tobacco is allowed
British Columbia Legal age: 19 Stores: Provincial, private and online retail sales allowed Grow at home: Yes Public use: Where tobacco is allowed, never on playgrounds, sports fields, skate parks and other places where children frequent
Manitoba Legal age: 19 Stores: Private and online retail sales allowed Grow at home: Only with medical license Public use: Smoking or vaping is not allowed streets, parks, campsites or nearly any other type of public place, but edibles are not mentioned
New Brunswick Legal age: 19 Stores: Provincial and online retail sales allowed Grow at home: Yes Public use: Private property only
Newfoundland and Labrador Legal age: 19 Stores: Provincial, private and online
retail sales allowed Grow at home: To be determined Public use: Private property only
Grow at home: To be determined Public use: Private property only
Quebec Northwest Territories Legal age: 19 Stores: Privately owned liquor stores and government run online retail sales allowed Grow at home: Yes Public use: Private property and on trails, highways, streets, roads and in parks when theyâ€™re not being used for public events
Nova Scotia Legal age: 19 Stores: Provincial and online retail sales allowed Grow at home: Yes Public use: Where tobacco is allowed
Nunavut Legal age: 19 Stores: Online retail sales allowed Grow at home: Yes Public use: Where tobacco is allowed
O n ta r i o Legal age: 19 Stores: Provincial and online retail sales allowed Grow at home: Yes Public use: Private property only
Prince Edward Island Legal age: 19 Stores: Provincial and online retail sales allowed
Legal age: 18 Stores: Provincial and online retail sales allowed Grow at home: No Public use: Where tobacco is allowed
S a s k at c h e w a n Legal age: 19 Stores: Private and online retail sales allowed Grow at home: Yes Public use: Only on private property and not in front of minors
Yukon Legal age: 19 Stores: Government-run storefronts and online retail sales allowed Grow at home: Yes Public use: Only on private property
Miller told CULTURE B2B that for medicinal cannabis, Canada will still be using the old system, where residents can go to a doctor, get a prescription, the doctor emails a prescription to a licensed producer and the licensed producer ships the cannabis directly to a residence. Online sale of recreational cannabis directly from producers will not be allowed initially, but may be allowed eventually.
P u b l i c ly T r a d e d Cannabis
Profitability R e c r e at i o n a l Cannabis Profit Projections At this point, the potential profitability of Canada’s recreational cannabis market is entirely speculative. Still, data based on United States’ sales numbers, Canada’s current cannabis market, and other factors point to a potential for huge profits. Research firm Deloite released a report, entitled “Recreational Marijuana: Insights and Opportunities,” which assessed available data on Canada’s cannabis consumption to make some profitability projections. “On sales of recreational marijuana alone, the Canadian marketplace could be as much as C$5 billion per year to start—a number on par with the Canadian spirit market (whiskey, vodka, rum, etc.),” the report reads. “At the upper threshold, which takes into account the people who are ‘likely to consume,’ marijuana sales alone could be as high as C$8.7 billion, similar to sales generated by wine.” These annual figures are based on the number of self-reported 12
cannabis consumers currently residing in Canada, multiplied by the amount of cannabis they use in grams annually, multiplied by the proposed price of cannabis per gram. Those figures are just based on cannabis sales alone, they don’t take into account all of the other profit to be made from cannabis, including testing facilities, cannabis accessories, tourism and more. Those profits are expected to be in excess of C$20 billion annually. This data is in line with Statistics Canada’s estimate that Canadians spent C$5.7 billion on cannabis in 2017. Those numbers included both medicinal and black market cannabis usage, but it stands to reason that many medicinal and black market users may convert to recreational if price and access are comparable or improved. A report by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) estimates that recreational cannabis will be a C$6.5 billion industry by 2020. Which is likely why some Canadian national banks have chosen to finance cannabis businesses. CIBC, along with Bank of Montreal, and TorontoDominion Bank, have all decided to provide cannabis businesses with traditional financing.
Since cannabis is going to be legal at the federal level, that opens up the option of cannabis as a publicly traded commodity. The Canadian Stock Exchange and the TSX Venture Stock Exchange are currently permitting cannabis stocks to be traded publicly. This has led to an increase in private equity for the forthcoming cannabis industry.
Federal Cannabis L e g a l i z at i o n L e a d s t o Legitimacy As we’ve seen in the U.S. with cannabis legalization at the state level, legalization leads to legitimacy. It’s easier to control a substance when it’s legal than when it’s not, period. With Canada legalizing recreational cannabis at the federal level, it adds a further layer of safety and legitimacy. Uniform regulations will help keep cannabis products safe throughout the country, and out of the hands of minors. Legal banking services for cannabis businesses will avoid the issue we have in the U.S. with a huge cash flow and nowhere to put it. Federal recreational cannabis legalization is truly the next frontier for the industry. And Canada is the brave pioneer. If current profit projections pan out, there will likely be more countries to follow soon. c
Silvia and Dirk Lindley
Wellness through Water
How the road to wellness led to Cannaki’s i n t e r n at i o n a l s u c c e s s By R. Scott Rappold “Maybe you should reach out and try some cannabis.” When those words came from the mouth of a doctor, it changed Dirk Lindley’s life. It was 2009 and his wife’s sister was terminally ill with breast cancer, given just days to live, and here was a doctor suggesting she try cannabis, something Lindley had never tried himself. “That was like a culture shock for us,” recalled Lindley. It didn’t save her life, but since his wife had already lost three
other family members to breast cancer, he began researching the cancer-fighting potential of the plant and specifically cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component with great medical potential. “I made it my life’s mission to learn everything I could about cannabis.” The fruits of that mission are now for sale across the U.S. and in nine other countries. Cannaki Beverage Company launched its line of CBD waters earlier this year and Lindley, CEO, expects sales to soon reach three-million bottles a month.
“There’s no such thing as overnight success. It looks like it but there was a lot of hard work and p r e p a r at i o n going in, knowing t h i s d ay w a s coming.”
“We were lied to”
Lindley, 59, had always believed the propaganda, the government-issued negativity about cannabis and all drugs. So, he never smoked it or tried any other drugs. “When I found we were lied to early on it opened my eyes to everything, that we’ve been lied to by everyone, everywhere,” he said. “Now I have smoked it, and I enjoy it like everybody else.” A lifelong entrepreneur with experience in the beverage industry, he decided to put his newfound liberating knowledge to work for himself and his family. The concept was a CBD-infused water that tasted great—which was not as easy as you might think. “The challenge is when you really put a good volume of CBD in any product, it has a taste to it. Developing the flavor without any flavoring, just developing the right combination to have it taste pleasant as you drink it, that’s really important,” he said. The years between his 2009 epiphany and the 2018 product release were spent on research and development, though he also launched the luxury CBD skin-care brand Cannamour in the meantime. Lindley knew early on that the beverage couldn’t be marketed as medicine, despite the potential of CBD to fight inflammation, pain, seizures, anxiety, depression and even cancer. People are conditioned to think of medicine as tasting bad, and Lindley worried the product would fall flat. He also knew that the hemp plant would have to be the core of the operation, so Lindley developed an operation that controls everything “from seed to bottle.” His grow operations would have to focus on strains with less than 0.03 percent THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, and he would own the laboratories to test them to be sure. “Any time it’s over 0.03 you’ve got to burn down your crop,” he said. “By all definitions, we’re not even from the cannabis plant. We’re from the hemp plant.” He takes pride in rigorous testing so people who aren’t looking to get high can have confidence in what they’re consuming, plus the fact it would be illegal to sell Cannaki beverages across state lines and online with THC. (That said, the Aliso Viejo, California-based company is poised
to launch a THC-infused beverage line “when the environment changes.”)
Cannaki sold 500,000 bottles in the first month of the launch earlier this year, as consumers clearly took to flavors like Coconut Mojito, Berry Blast, Lemon Lime and Tropical Punch. It’s already on store shelves across the country and can legally be shipped anywhere in the U.S., as one flavor or mixed packs. Lindley says he is also poised to announce a distribution deal with “two large retail chains,” though as of press time the deal had not been finalized. There’s even CBD water for pets. “One of the major pet store chains asked if we would make pet water. I said, ‘I did. It’s called Cannaki.’ Okay, so I switched the label, changed the name, and now you have pet water. It’s taking off really really well, but it’s the same water.” He attributes the seemingly instant success to sound, steady planning over years, so when the product launched the company wouldn’t have to scramble to meet the demand. And there’s also the great-tasting flavors and the reliability of a rigidly-tested product, coming on the market at a time when interest in CBD is at an all-time high. But he won’t use the term “overnight success.” There were plenty of lean times, of instant macaroni and cheese dinners while laying the foundations to be able to eventually produce 24 million bottles a month, the expected output in the foreseeable future. “There’s no such thing as overnight success. It looks like it but there was a lot of hard work and preparation going in, knowing this day was coming. From the day we created the company, when we put this all together, I knew we would be selling this much in a very short time, and I had to make sure everything was in place before I opened up those floodgates.” And as a true believer in the health benefits of CBD, he’s just happy people are partaking, including him and his family, who drink it constantly. “People ask us all the time, what’s the best application to take CBD, I say, ‘All of the above,’” he said. “We’re by no means trying to say it’s the only way or the best way. It’s just one way.” c CULTUREB2B.com
Bending social media to your will is not as hard as you might think By David Edmundson
ocial media, depending on your viewpoint, is either an ingenious way to bring together humanity into a global conversation, or the reason you no longer talk to your overly political family members. Still, whatever your views on platforms like Facebook and Snapchat are, they have proven invaluable in the never-ending 16
quest to separate your cannabis brand from the rest of the competition. By now, almost every business is familiar with the concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which involves an ever-changing series of practices aimed at maximizing your placement on sites like Google or Yahoo. The theory being that you can configure your content in a way that the search engines
will prioritize you over your competitors. And of course, once something can be manipulated, it can be exploited. Digital ninjas find a weakness and bend them to their will. Soon after, the search engines find the weakness and close it. The digital bandits then find a new loophole to exploit, and the merrygo-round continues to go in an endless circle.
A more fun, and less confusing aspect of digital marketing is Social Media Optimization (SMO). It’s not a new concept, but recent changes in how search engines access data, and users’ preference for using social media has given added weight to social media platforms. There are many social media platforms, but the most important ones are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
Facebook ( 2 . 2 b i l l i o n u s e r s ) The stigma is that younger people aren’t using Facebook, but 81 percent of adults 18-29 use the social network. It’s a great place to build a brand, and if you have a blog, Facebook allows you a lot of helpful site integrations. On the downside, Facebook has a tumultuous relationship with cannabis, and that doesn’t appear to be changing soon.
Instagram ( 8 1 3 m i l l i o n u s e r s ) Instagram has transformed from a mere photo sharing platform to a place where your brand can really set itself apart. By using unique and interesting photos and videos to tell your story, businesses can really connect to audiences on a personal level.
Twitter ( 3 3 0 m i l l i o n u s e r s ) Tales of Twitter’s demise appear to be premature. The platform gives brands a great avenue to find potential engagement. You can search for users who are talking about your niche and engage directly with them. Twitter also melds the brevity of Instagram with the robust link sharing capabilities of Facebook.
Snapchat ( 2 5 5 m i l l i o n u s e r s ) Like Instagram, Snapchat allows you to engage in a more personal way with your audience. When Snapchat burst onto the scene and became the go-to social platform for millennials, people assumed it would be the next Facebook. Its momentum has slowed considerably recently. However, its allure to the youth is still impressive.
“One of the biggest m i s ta k e s t h at n e w b r a n d s w i l l m a k e i s t o o n ly p r o m o t e t h e i r p r o d u c t. W h i l e i t i s t r u e t h at y o u r end goal is to peddle your wares, you first need to gain the trust of your f o l l o w e r s . T h e b e s t w ay t o do this is by sprinkling in content from other, noncompetitor sources.”
G e t t i n g S ta r t e d You need to decide which social networks are right for your brand. Ideally you would want to set up accounts across all platforms, but if you cannot manage and fill them all, you’re better off focusing on what you can realistically manage. Even if you are not going to use a platform right away, you will want to create a page on it, so you reserve your username, just remember to keep it private until you are ready to launch it. Reserving your username will allow you to keep the same handle across all platforms for brand uniformity. So, start with the platform that best suits you and your business, and once you have that mastered move on to the next one.
C o n t e n t, C o n t e n t a n d MORE Content Now that you have your shiny new social profile, you will need to populate it with rich and diverse content. One of the biggest mistakes that new brands will make is to only promote their product. While it is true that your end goal is to peddle your wares, you first need to gain the trust of your followers. The best
way to do this is by sprinkling in content from other, non-competitor sources. A great way to accomplish this is by sharing videos or articles that endorse whatever your product is associated with. For instance, if your company produces CBD oil, then sharing a news piece from a reputable, mainstream news agency about the benefits of CBD will position you into the public conversation, while also solidifying your product as a viable alternative.
Engagement is Key To bring this conversation full circle, engagement is the holy grail of SEO and SMO. Google and Yahoo are prioritizing social media engagement heavily in their latest algorithms—the reason being that if you care enough to engage in something, then it must be worth sharing with those using them for searches. So, make sure that when you share something on your business page, you look at it through the lens of, “would I share, like or comment on this?” If not, then consider augmenting the post into something you would engage with. Most platforms do not display content chronologically or attempt
to curate content specifically for the user. So, if someone engages on your post, it will be marked as content that interests the user and be given priority in their individual algorithm. Conversely, if you publish uninteresting content that is largely ignored, you will be pushed down the page, and eventually you will stop showing up if the user’s feed altogether. Videos and infographics are a wonderful source of engagement, and make sure to reply to any comments that warrant a response.
D on’t Sleep on Snap chat The younger generation is all about this multimedia messaging app. And while a lot of them are too young to specifically target for cannabis marketing, if you put in the work now, you will be established once they are old enough to utilize your services. To quote the legendary Wayne Gretzky, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.” But if you think you know more than the all-time hockey scoring king, we’re sure someone would love to unload a whole heap of Myspace stock on you. c
“This lack of bank access in t u r n c r e at e s d e s p e r at i o n , which hucksters and fraudsters then prey upon . . . ”
Banking Blunder O Beware of the illusion of safe banking for cannabis businesses
By Hilary Bricken
f the many issues that prevent cannabis businesses from operating like regular businesses, lack of access to banking is probably the most hindering. Since commercial cannabis activity remains a federal crime, the federal Bank Secrecy Act prohibits financial institutions from accepting cannabis-generated dollars. Most cannabis businesses therefore must operate on an all-cash basis. This makes them targets for actual criminals and helps further the need for access to a bank account. This lack of bank access in turn creates desperation, which hucksters and fraudsters then prey upon (especially in California where the regulated cannabis market is still emerging). This article aims to help
cannabis stakeholders avoid those who blow smoke about “marijuana banking.” Because cannabis is still a Schedule I controlled substance, proceeds from cannabis sales trigger anti-money laundering laws for banks. The Bank Secrecy Act requires banks to combat fraud and money laundering and protect against criminal and terrorist activity. Certain banking laws require that national banks and credit unions file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), when the financial institution knows or suspects an account holder is engaged in or trying to cover up illegal activity. Consequently, banks routinely deny or shut down cannabis business bank accounts (and cannabis-based financing) even in cannabis-friendly states.
In 2014, new FinCEN guidelines for cannabis banking provided that financial institutions could provide services to state-legal cannabis businesses without running afoul of federal regulations so long as they do the following:
What are the specific red flags to look for if you’re being pitched on a “solution to the marijuana banking problem”?
Verify with state authorities that the business is duly licensed and registered. Review the state license application and related documentation the cannabis business used to obtain its state license to operate its cannabisrelated business. Request from the state licensing and enforcement authorities available information about the cannabis business and related parties. Develop an understanding of the normal and expected activity for the cannabis business, including the types of products to be sold and the types of customers to be served.
If the third party does not discuss the FinCEN guidelines or the level of reporting you will need to do with your financial institution or the level of due diligence with which the financial institution will put you through, you are almost certainly dealing with a hack.
Huge fees to third parties, which are unrelated to opening a legitimate bank account. The third party will tell you that you need to pay them a large premium for them to get you a coveted bank account, but there is rarely any reason why this should be the case.
Running money through various accounts and third parties that are supposed to be acting as wardens of your cannabis money without direct verification of a vendor relationship with the ultimate financial institution. The FinCEN guidelines don’t bar a bank or credit union from using third parties to provide account marketing or due diligence support, but full transparency between banks and cannabis customers is mandatory.
Out-of-state bank accounts require significant caution. For banks and credit unions to comply with FinCEN, they need to have a due diligence system that is tailored to each specific state. Cannabis businesses need to verify not only that a bank is willing to take cannabis customers but also that the bank has the due diligence and cash handling resources to take customers in the specific state.
Monitor publicly available sources for adverse information about the cannabis business and related parties. Periodically refresh information obtained as part of customer due diligence using methods and timetables commensurate with the risk.
These guidelines are still in place, despite Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ rescission of the 2013 Cole Memo, and the Department of Justice’s Guidance Regarding Marijuana Related Financial Crimes. Banks acting under the FinCEN guidelines must file SARs for all their cannabis business customers. There are no direct consequences arising from these SAR filings, but this means that the federal government knows exactly who is involved in the cannabis industry and with whom they’re banking. The FinCEN guidelines demand transparency and strict due diligence of cannabis customers. Because of this, in states like California that are just coming online with a regulated cannabis regime, there are a host of fraudsters who claim to have access to “marijuana banking,” when all they are really doing is opening bank accounts with shell companies and/or obscure offshore entities and then running cannabis operators’ money through those accounts. This clearly violates the FinCEN guidelines, and it puts both the financial institution and the cannabis company at great risk. Harris Bricken law firm’s California cannabis lawyers are seeing a lot of this in California, to the point that many cannabis companies are convinced that what they are doing is legal.
A refusal or inability to disclose the actual financial institution is the biggest red flag. There’s no reason why the financial institution that will hold your cannabis funds cannot be disclosed to you by the person pitching you. And any third party that’s telling you otherwise is probably illegitimate and not planning to operate in line with the FinCEN guidelines.
At least twice a week, one of Harris Bricken law firm’s cannabis business lawyers will be contacted by an ancillary company trying to pitch us on referring our clients to them for “marijuana banking services,” claiming they’ve cracked the code on cannabis banking. We routinely ignore these solicitations and all cannabis stakeholders should do the same. c CULTUREB2B.com
Pivotal Promotion H i r i n g a p u b l i c r e l at i o n s a g e n c y m i g h t b e t h e p e r f e c t next step for your cannabis business
By Caroline Hayes It’s no secret that starting a business is incredibly challenging. From idea to execution, business owners are undoubtedly busy and stretched thin financially. Yet, a business needs to spend money to make money. Companies of all sizes and statuses hire public relations (PR) agencies. PR professionals create digital platforms, assist with product development, create a positive brand image and help companies reach their target audience. The goal of these services is to get the word out about a company’s products and services, reach more clients and customers, create awareness and ultimately increase return on investment (ROI), all of which are especially useful for cannabis-related businesses. CULTURE B2B will identify the various duties of PR companies and help determine if hiring a PR agency is the right move for your company.
Why PR? Hiring a PR company can create a unique, identifiable brand that helps a business stand out among its competition. This is especially helpful in a saturated industry like the cannabis industry. A good PR person will get their client the right amount of exposure to the right audience and create overall brand awareness. PR services include, but are not limited to, website construction, product development, creating press releases, event planning and landing product reviews. Judy Campbell, PR specialist and founder of Campbell Consulting Group in Oregon, works closely with cannabis companies and offers
insight on her services. “Lately, we’ve been involved in organizing cannabis-infused dinners, developing creative cannabis press kits, organizing meet-ups and events with cannabis journalists along with writing press releases and media alerts and other activities,” Campbell said. She also touched on the importance staying ahead of the news and trends in the industry so that her clients’ message remains relevant. Lily Colley, national director of marketing for Medically Correct LLC, the parent company of the Colorado-famous edible company, Incredibles, explained that a multifaceted PR approach with tactics like guerilla marketing and press releases has worked well for Incredibles. “We even had a sticker that made an appearance on an HBO show. Every little way that you can get exposure for your brand in an organic way is incredibly and exponentially valuable because of the restrictions on traditional advertising,” Colley said. While PR companies are valuable in all markets, the cannabis industry faces countless restrictions on
advertising at local, state and federal levels. “Most cannabis companies are not allowed to, for instance, buy a radio ad or a print ad unless they can verify the age of the people who will be observing it,” Colley explained. Restrictions like these pose obstacles for business owners that an industry savvy PR professional will know how to handle.
Timing is Everything Deciding when to hire a PR professional will be different for every company. First, consider whether there is room in the company budget. Retainer fees and á la carte style pricing can add up quickly. Also, you want to make sure that the idea or service that you’re looking to promote has been
Choosing the Right Fit When hiring a PR agency, it’s important to seek out a reputable company that has proficient knowledge of the industry. Although there is a learning curve in the fast-paced cannabis industry, it isn’t up to a client to coach the PR professional. Establishing good communication from the get-go is crucial and all parties should vibe well together. Strategy, pricing and determining who will be communicating with whom should be discussed, and it may take some shopping around to find a successful business match. First, ask the PR agency that you’re considering if they have worked with others in the industry, and check their references. “Cannabis companies need professional and experienced PR counsel. They should look for a strong
“The last thing a company should do is go out to the media p r e m at u r e ly. ” track record of PR success and find out if the firm has good media relationships and is up to speed on the cannabis industry in general, as well as their sector within the cannabis space,” said Campbell. A cannabis business seeking PR should also look for professionals with social and digital capabilities that match up with what they hope to achieve from their services. “Often, traditional agencies, which require a long-term retainer contracts, don’t truly understand the nuances and complexities of the cannabis industry,” Colley added, “So be sure when looking at a candidate to seek individuals who not only have PR and traditional media experience but also people who are familiar with the nuances of cannabis products, preferences, laws and trends.” From her experience as the in-house PR person and a member of Medically Correct’s management team, Colley explains that finding someone who is truly invested in the business by taking the time to understand the products and services will be most effective in generating original news. Taking on PR is a long road of building relationships and developing the right pitch while maintaining resilience, said Colley. She added, “There’s a famous saying, ‘there’s no such thing as bad press’ [but] when it comes to the cannabis industry, it’s such a tight knit and small community that I would say that advice does not hold true. Something like a product recall or a poor quality product can have a very wide and fast effect on your reputation and direct sales.” It’s not always the right time to go public with your product or service, but by taking on a PR company, a business can create a positive image, boost sales and gain exposure. What will your company do? c
Experience a hands-on workshop that covers everything on the cannabis spectrum from cultivation and extraction to analytical testing and edibles manufacturing, while learning from trusted cannabis experts. The Cannabis Science Conference is aimed at educating attendees through presentations, round table discussions and a plethora of exhibits. Sponsors of the conference will demonstrate techniques, instruments and technologies in a “canna-boot camp” where you will gain a full understanding of the many aspects that make up the cannabis industry. In addition to the medical and scientific technical sessions, this year’s conference will also feature a pharmaceutical cannabis session. (Cole Graves)
Cannabis Science Conference
executed and tested before taking it to the public. Campbell shared that it’s important to ask if the business is ready for PR. “The last thing a company should do is go out to the media prematurely. We’ve had clients ask us to promote their products or services, only to realize later they either can’t meet consumer/customer demand, or that their product or service is flawed. We like to present our clients in the best possible light,” she said. However, even if the development stages aren’t going well or the business timeline goals aren’t being met, a PR company can still be hired to help provide consultation in those areas. Campbell said her company loves consulting with businesses prior to their launch, because it creates solid communication from the beginning. A PR professional lays the groundwork so that media generated news and overall good hype about the business is produced, which ultimately increases ROI over time.
WHEN: Mon, Aug. 27-Wed, Aug. 29 WHERE: Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Portland, Oregon WEBSITE: canna bisscienceconfer ence.com
K e e p i t S e c r e t, Keep it Safe Identifying and protecting your cannabis trade secrets
By Alison Malsbury
n the world of intellectual property, there are four categories under which your Intellectual Property (IP) may fall. A trademark is any word, phrase, symbol and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A patent is a limited duration property right relating to an invention that is granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in exchange for public disclosure of the invention. Copyrights protect original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, including
poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software and architecture. Lastly and most importantly, trade secrets in general can be comprised of any confidential business information that provides a company with a competitive edge. Trade secrets can include manufacturing or industrial secrets like recipes, formulas, processes or techniques, as well as commercial secrets, such as client lists or business plans that have commercial value because of their secrecy. Unauthorized use of this information by anyone other than its owner is an unfair practice and violation of the trade secret. The key to understanding trade secret law is that something is only regarded as a trade secret so long as itâ€™s kept secret.
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the number of individuals who know the secret, implementing security protocols in the facility that holds the secret, and requiring employees and others with access to the trade secret to sign a thorough confidentiality and nondisclosure agreement (NDA). Although trade secrets abound in the cannabis industry, information and techniques have also been shared quite freely for a very long time. And information that has been disclosed is not subject to trade secret protection under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act or the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016. However, even if you determine that your recipes, processes or other business information don’t qualify for trade secret protection, they may still have value as proprietary information, which can be licensed. For this reason, every business should have confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements in place with their employees and with other key individuals with whom they transact business. Even if you don’t have a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets under trade secret law, you can still go after someone in court to try to stop them from disclosing your confidential information or for damages for having disclosed such information pursuant to your NDA. The necessity for keeping trade secrets classified is why it is important to consult with an IP attorney as early in your development process as possible to determine whether patent or trade secret protection makes the most sense. And regardless of whether your business materials meet the criteria for trade secret protection, every company should have a NDA signed by employees and others who are exposed to confidential information. c
“It is a widespread b e l i e f t h at p at e n t protection is more valuable than trade secret protection, b u t t h at i s n ’ t a l w ay s the case.”
Looking for a way to strengthen your knowledge of cannabis and the rapidly growing industry? Get educated with a range of cannabis exhibits, panels and networking activities put on by the best minds in the industry. GROW UP Cannabis Conference and Expo has decades of experience producing national events and creating global connections between business communities in arts, broadcasting, media and technology. This particular conference will focus on the growth of the cannabis cultivation industry, with help from many licensed producers, investors, lawyers, cannabis entrepreneurs, suppliers and companies, including Grow Opportunity, CannTrust and the Cannamation Corp. The event is presented by Tweed and Advanced Nutrients and features the celebrity keynote speaker Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank. (Cole Graves) WHEN: Fri, Sept. 7-Sat, Sept. 8 WHERE: Scotiabank Convention Centre, 6815 Stanley Ave., Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada WEBSITE: growupconference. com
GROW UP Cannabis Conference and Expo
It is a widespread belief that patent protection is more valuable than trade secret protection, but that isn’t always the case. Where patent protection is available for a limited duration, trade secrets can provide their owners with protection so long as the secrets are not disclosed to anyone. In some cases, this can be a very long time. Perhaps the most famous example of a trade secret is the recipe to Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola claims this to be the “world’s most guarded secret,” as it is known to only a few key employees at any given time. The recipe is locked in a purpose-built vault in the company’s museum in Atlanta, Georgia. If Coca-Cola had opted instead to patent its recipe, it would have been disclosed to the public, and the company would have had the ability to exclusively exploit the recipe for only 20 years. Protection under trade secret law, however, will benefit Coca-Cola for much longer, but the key is in taking adequate steps to prevent trade secrets from being revealed. In a case for misappropriation of trade secrets, one of the factors considered by the court is whether the owner of a purported trade secret implemented adequate measures to keep their secrets classified. Steps that can be taken to protect trade secrets include limiting
Turn the Tide
D r . G e o r g e A n a s ta s s o v o f A x i m Biotechnologies weighs in on federal progress in the U.S. By Devon Alexander Brown In June, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first medically extracted cannabis-based drug. The oral solution, called Epidiolex, will be used to treat severe forms of childhood epilepsy like Dravet Syndrome and LennoxGastaut Syndrome, which cause daily seizures linked to injury and early death. The disorders are rare, afflicting less than 45,000 people in the United States, but the FDA’s approval of Epidiolex marks a stark shift in federal thinking on the medicinal merits of cannabis. Likewise the United States Patent and Trademark Office recently issued Axim Biotechnologies a patent for its tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) extraction and purification method. This is significant because an increased availability of pure cannabinoids is essential for future clinical developments. CULTURE was able to catch up with Dr. George Anastassov, CEO of Axim Biotechnologies, who spoke about the new patent, his thoughts on the recent FDA decision and how he envisions the future of cannabis.
Dr. George Anastassov
When did you first get involved with cannabis? I’m a surgeon by background, but I’m also the founder of Axim Biotechnologies. We started 15 to 16 years ago as Sanammad Pharmaceuticals, a Dutch-based pharmaceutical company in the Netherlands, and we were looking for safer alternatives to opioids or painkillers. So that’s how we stumbled upon cannabis. We knew it’s been around for thousands of years, so we decided to see if we could find a reasonable delivery method, something not smoked or swallowed, and we looked at chewing gum
as a delivery method based on nicotine replacement therapy models. The FDA recently approved the first cannabis-derived drug, which uses CBD. Likewise, your company recently received a U.S. patent for its THC extraction method. What’s your take on the FDA’s decision, and how do you see the future of cannabis? I think this is a fundamental shift in FDA thinking, because this is the very first cannabis-based product, and I’m talking medically extracted because, as we know, we’ve had Marinol on the market since 1985.
Can you tell me more about the clinical development process for cannabis-based pharmaceuticals? As of today, cannabis is a Schedule I substance, so you need to have a Schedule I permit from the FDA, and everywhere the regulatory landscape is different. I would say today the best regulated [clinical development process] is in the Netherlands and also Israel and, as of late, Canada. But in the United States there is only one legal facility that produces cannabis and that is at the University of Missouri and the quality of this cannabis, which is supervised by the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA), is extremely poor. There is only one company in the world that has GMP [certification], which is good manufacturing
“ I n a w ay, I think it would be inhumane for the FDA not to approve this m e d i c at i o n . ”
practices, and this is Bedrocan from the Netherlands, which we have been working with for the past 15 years or so.
Your latest patent involves the extraction of “pure THC molecules.” How does your extraction method differ from others? The difference between our technology and the synthetic pathway is the steps involved. If we’re talking about synthetic THC, it is an extremely lengthy process with many, many steps involved and in our case it’s just a few steps, which produces the same quality, but I would say probably better because it’s organic, naturally extracted and it’s from the best plant, if you will, on the face of the Earth. […] Also the thing about the process of synthesis is that it can have unpredictable consequences. So when we work with synthetics it’s a difficult process, a multistep process and it’s [an] expensive process. Our process produces a product, which is just as pure as synthetics but it’s cheaper by a factor of 10. What’s next for Axim Biotechnologies? We have a rather deep pipeline. We have an expansive portfolio of intellectual property and trademarks, but it doesn’t mean we are working on all of these projects at once. Our most advanced project is MedChewRx™, and we hope to complete phase three by the first quarter of 2019. We’re also working on an analog to Marinol. The problem with Marinol is that it’s in a capsule and when the capsule is swallowed with the oil inside, it goes to the gastrointestinal tract then it passes through the liver and then breaks down into multiple metabolites, and one of them is extremely toxic, which is, 11-Hydroxy-THC. So we are developing a product that will utilize, again, a control released chewing gum with the intent to deliver the medication to the oral mucosa and this way it will largely bypass the [gastrointestinal] tract. Whether this will happen, time will tell, but it’s another way we are moving forward. c
Dedicated entirely to CBD, the CBD Expo West event will feature more than 60 exhibitors, with discussions and presentations from experts in production and distribution of CBD products. This one-ofa-kind event attracts everyone from casual consumers and entrepreneurs and buyers from well-known companies such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, GNC, Vitamin World and dispensaries all over the world! The event is powered by CBD Health & Wellness Magazine, putting focus on THC’s more recently popularized cousin. Learn about and network with the biggest names in the CBD industry. Don’t forget to visit the Pet CBD pavilion, which will focus exclusively on pet products that are infused with CBD. (Cole Graves)
CBD Expo West 2018
Again, I think this is an amazing decision by the FDA, but it is very well supported, because GW Pharmaceuticals [has] presented ample data from world-clinical leaders, and it unequivocally shows that the medication is efficient. It’s effective, and it improves the symptoms of these rare and horrible diseases like Dravet Syndrome which, unfortunately, have no effective treatments, let alone a cure. I mean, these are children who have sometimes in excess of 300 seizures a day, and Epidiolex is making a tremendous difference, almost 40 percent improvement, which is quite significant. In a way, I think it would be inhumane for the FDA not to approve this medication.
WHEN: Fri, Sept. 21-Sat, Sept. 22 WHERE: Anaheim Marriott Hotel, 700 W Convention Wy., Anaheim, California WEBSITE: cbdexpo.net
Six States Legalized Cannabis: W h at â€™ s t h e D e l ay ? By John McClain
hirty-one states and the District of Columbia (D.C.), Guam and Puerto Rico have approved comprehensive medical cannabis programs, with Oklahoma as the latest state to support medical cannabis. Nine states and D.C. have also legalized recreational cannabis. The battle over legalizing cannabis for medical and/or recreational use can be a drawn-out process, sometimes between the will of the people and the will of the state. Over the past couple years, many states have passed ballot measures that approved medical and/or recreational cannabis. However, delays in progress have happened for various reasons. Concerns over the federal status of cannabis make state officials hesitant to regulate a program that may conflict with federal law, while citizens worry over legal cannabis leading to increases in crime and unlawful sales to minors. Unfortunately, states like Arkansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, North Dakota and West Virginia have suffered delays that have kept cannabis out of patient and consumer hands. Here is an updated breakdown on the progress and delays happening in each of these six states.
Arkansas One of Arkansas’ medical cannabis legalization bids, The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Question, failed in 2012 before voters approved Issue 6 on Nov. 9, 2016, which adopted it as an amendment of the state constitution and allows for medical cannabis. According to the original timeline, patients were expected to have access to medical cannabis by late last year. However, Arkansas’ effort to launch its medical cannabis program has been delayed or derailed multiple times. In 2017, Issue 6 was delayed to give more time for regulation to be finalized, and legislation limiting cannabis regulation in a further effort to control its use was implemented. Hundreds of applications came in last minute, overwhelming clerks. A lawsuit from one of the unsuccessful cultivation applicants stopped the process entirely when a judge ruled the Medical Marijuana Commission’s decision-making process to be flawed, full of bias and unconstitutional. The dispensary application review process stopped completely until on June 21, 2018, an appeal at the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that judge did not have jurisdiction in the decision, allowing the process to now continue. The state is already taking patient applications but will not issue recommendations until one month before cannabis becomes available. Patients under 21 will not be allowed to smoke cannabis, and patients are also forbidden form smoking around pregnant women or anyone under 14. Possession of cannabis otherwise is still a criminal offense in the state.
Louisiana Act 261 legalized medical cannabis on June 29, 2015, and it was expanded the next year with Act No. 96 on May 19, 2016, but regulation and availability of cannabis has been slow to start. Doctors were protected in the document by being permitted to “recommend” rather than prescribe cannabis to avoid breaking federal law, but those recommendations only last 90 days and must be renewed with an office visit. On June 29, 2015, Louisiana had reduced the penalty for possession with House Bill 149, but New Orleans decriminalized possession entirely in 2016, making it instead punishable by a ticket. Unfortunately, another problem slowing the process for patients is that there are currently only 15 doctors in the state qualified to recommend medical cannabis. Patients are allowed a 30-day supply of low-THC medical cannabis to be collected from one of the 10 permitted pharmacies but aren’t allowed to smoke or vape to consume. Additionally, they must be counseled every time they pick up a prescription. Licenses are being issued and hopefully dispensaries will be open early next year. Louisiana only approved two growers, both of which are universities who have contracted with businesses to cultivate. In 2017, Louisiana signed a bill that protected medical cannabis industry employees from being arrested and prosecuted for their employment. Louisiana recently expanded its list of qualifying conditions for cannabis with House Bill 627 on May 23 and House Bill 579 on June 1, becoming the sixth state to allow autism to be treated with cannabis.
Maine Maine has seen a battle of wills lately, with Gov. Paul LePage vetoing bills that would have established a marketplace for recreational cannabis twice since it was legalized by voters in 2016. This year, the compromise bill LD 1719 passed with a vote of 112-34 on May 2. That was a wide enough majority to override LePageâ€™s following veto and put commercial cannabis regulation on the books. With this, retail cannabis stores will hopefully be in place by fall of 2019. However, the promised social clubs for cannabis consumption are no longer allowed, meaning consumers have no publicly accessible place to consume. Recreational cannabis law dictates adults over 21 can possess up to two-and-a-half ounces of cannabis and cultivate up to three mature plants, down from the six on the original law voters passed. Medical cannabis has been legal since 1999 in the state, but it took until 2009 for the state to create a patient registry and develop a nonprofit dispensary system along with decriminalizing possession of under two-and-a-half ounces.
Massachusetts While cannabis was decriminalized in 2009, medical cannabis was approved by voters in Nov. 6, 2012, and recreational cannabis was approved in Nov. 8, 2016. However, several bills were introduced following 36
recreational approval, which limited the voter-approved rules. For instance, allowing cities to have the power to require permits and block recreational sales brought along challenges, as 59 municipalities enacted permanent bans. The Massachusetts Cannabis Commission began immediately reviewing license applications, but recently had toÂ rescindÂ 10 of them for accidentally being approved instead of denied. The original start date for recreational cannabis sales was July 1, but the state has only just approved its first recreational cannabis retail business license on June 21, which is for cultivation. The state then approved the first recreational cannabis dispensary license on July 2. It has not had any laboratory applicants for the mandated testing. Possession of up to one ounce or up to 10 ounces in the home is legal for adults 21 and over. Medical cannabis patients can only get up to 10 ounces every two months, but the state allows for home cultivation.
N o r t h D a k o ta North Dakota lawmakers originally tried to pass a bill to legalize medical cannabis, but it was widely voted against due to concerns of regulation and safety. However, the traditionally conservative North Dakota voters took matter in their own hands and approved medical cannabis with Measure 5 on Aug. 1, 2017. Unfortunately, after the approval, lawmakers made 40 amendments to the original legislation, destroying what voters approved. Changes included removing the option of home cultivation for those who live 40 miles or more from a dispensary and removing the option of edibles. Additionally, there are
only two producers and eight dispensaries permitted in the state, meaning patients and caregivers must travel a distance to obtain up to three ounces at a time. The two producers were given their licenses this May, but there is no timeline set for the dispensary applications and licensing process. North Dakota law otherwise criminalizes possession. Carrying under an ounce is punishable by one year in prison and/or being fined up to $1,000.
West Virginia West Virginia attempted to legalize medical cannabis yearly between 2010 and 2015, but was thwarted by House Speaker Tim Armstead, who opposed medical cannabis regulation. On July 5, 2017 Senate Bill 386, which was heavily amended and restricts cannabis in flower form, was passed and signed into law. The rules are still being drafted, and identification cards for patients and caregivers will not be issued until July 2019. Earlier this year, another bill that included raising the number of licensees and tried to include whole plant and flower cannabis bounced between the House and Senate before the House ignored it the last day of the session, letting it die. This is unfortunate considering a 2018 survey conducted by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources showed that 82 percent of physicians in the state are interested in medical cannabis. House Speaker Tim Armstead will not be seeking re-election this fall, paving the way for new leadership and hopefully a smoother course for cannabis regulation. Cannabis possession is otherwise a felony in the state. c
NCIA’s Cannabis Business Summit® & Expo, July 25-27 The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is back with its award-winning cannabis trade show to celebrate the summit’s fifth year anniversary. Listen to keynote speaker James M. Cole, a federal prosecutor and author of the Cole Memo, or participate in the summit’s many informative sessions and workshops with speakers covering many aspects of the cannabis industry. San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, California www.cannabisbusinesssummit.com MJBizConINT’L, Aug. 14-16 Cannabis entrepreneurs, investors and many others will make their way to MJBizConINT’L to discuss problems and solutions in the cannabis industry. Notable industry experts like Tilray’s Brendan Kennedy and Chris Walsh, editor of Marijuana Business Daily, will share invaluable investing and business know-how for entrepreneurs eager to learn more about cannabis business opportunities. Metro Toronto Convention Center, Toronto, Canada mjbizconference.com/intl U.S. Cannabis Conference & Expo Miami, Aug. 24-26 Hundreds of business leaders and professionals from around the world will gather to produce presentations and participate in discussions on the evolution and impact of the evolving cannabis industry. Attendees will gain valuable insight on all avenues of medical cannabis, from pain management awareness and restorative health to using CBD for pets. Hyatt Regency Downtown Miami, Miami, Florida www.usccexpo.com Cannabis Business Europe 2018, Aug. 27-28 Leaders in the medical cannabis and industrial hemp industries will participate in presentations, Q&A 38
sessions, discussions and hands-on workshops for two full days at the Cannabis Business Europe 2018. Participants can customize their experience with two streams of participation and learning that focus on “Best Practices from Production to Distribution” and “Regulation and Business Strategy.” Fleming’s Conference Hotel, Frankfurt, Germany www.manetch.com/events/ cannabiz-europe BIG Industry Show, Aug. 30-31 “Big” is the keyword here, where you will find an impressive number of manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers eager to show off and sell their wares and services on this event’s massive expo floor. Browse through endless vape products, glassware, hookahs, gifts and plenty more at one of the most busy and comprehensive business-to-business shows around. Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, California bigindustryshow.com CannMed 2018, Sept. 22-24 Medical cannabis researchers will present their latest findings and share compelling case studies of their experience treating patients with cannabis. Topics such as treating cancer and neurological disorders with cannabis among other relevant discussions will be held. UCLA Luskin Conference Center, Los Angeles, California www.cannmedevents.com International Cannabis Business Conference, Sept. 27-29 From cannabis business owners to recreational consumers, people from around the world will come to network and share knowledge here. The International Cannabis Business Conference has become the world’s premier B2B cannabis networking event for entrepreneurs and investors, with attendees from over 50 countries. Downtown Hilton, Portland, Oregon internationalcbc.com/blog
New West Summit, Oct. 11-13 The best and brightest minds that the cannabis industry has to offer will be at New West Summit, along with over 100 exhibitors, 50 panelists and 150 speakers. It’s one of the most respected cannabis events, and speakers include Krishna Andavolu of Viceland’s Weediquette, Dave Morin, Steve DeAngelo, Jim McAlpine, Ricardo Baca and Ophelia Chong of Stock Pot Images. Marriott City Center Oakland, Oakland, California www.newwestsummit.com Cultiva Expo & Congress, Oct. 12-14 Attendees will enjoy three separate days of educational speakers presenting their research and discussing the medicinal and political aspects on cannabis. Topics like cannabis in medicine, cannabis as a raw material, legal issues and indoor cultivation will be discussed. The fun doesn’t stop there, as there will also be entertainment in the forms of live bands, DJs, workshops, food vendors and drinks. Eventhotel Pyramide, Vienna, Austria www.cultiva.at/index.php/en CANAPA in MOSTRA, Oct. 26-28 This international exhibit of hemp looks at the crop for its uses in the medical, recreational, textile, paper and bioconstruction industries. The goal of this conference is to demolish the socio-cultural misconceptions of cannabis by bringing together workers, experts, enthusiasts and others in the industry. Mostra d’Oltremare, Naples, Italy www.canapainmostra.com CannaTech Cannabis Innovation Summit, Oct. 29-30 Leading minds in the global cannabis network will come together and present information that will help put you a step ahead in one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Delve into topics like science, medicine, investment, finance, ag-tech, innovation, policy and regulation. Dolton House on Darling Island, Sydney, Australia www.canna-tech.co/sydney-2018