Larisa Bolivar has published articles in respected publications such as the Denver Post, and in 2017, she published the Cannabis Consumers Coalition: 2017 report on Cannabis Consumer Demographics and Consumption Habits that was mentioned by Forbe’s, Entrepreneur and Investing News. A well-recognized global expert on cannabis policy, industry and business, Ms. Bolivar has been featured and quoted in multiple publications and speaks on a variety of cannabis business and advocacy topics at major conferences around the globe.
The path to business success is paved with our business failures. It is these failures that teaches us the steps to building a successful business. Entering into business in the cannabis-cbd-hemp marketplace leaves little room for mistakes.
Where’s the Press? Your logo and branding is impeccable, your packaging is beautiful and your product or service is of the highest quality, but the press isn’t emailing you. Press has the ability to make you stand out from your competitors and bring national recognition. Coverage is a public relations tactic that ignites social media efforts organically.
Position your press. It is human nature to want to feel “in the know,” and the press is no different. What are they currently covering in your market? Is there a way to ride the wave of existing coverage on a certain niche or topic? Be strategic. Look at your target market. Where and how are they obtaining their information? What blogs and articles are they reading? Who do they consider influencers? This is an excellent outreach list to consider when deciding where to spend your time and effort.
What are other industries impacted by your service or product? For example, are you a cannabis packaging company? Are you creating strategies for the cannabis market AND the packaging industry? Let’s say you design an incredible edibles Easter basket. You need to reach beyond the edibles market. Are you reaching out to florists? Culinary press? Sending non-infused versions of your basket to press in non-legal states? Get creative in your outreach avenues.
Create a story. The press is bombarded with people who believe their product is worthy of coverage, so it’s critical you think like an editor and decide to be coverage-worthy. While the press may not necessarily be interested in covering your new product launch, perhaps there is a story related to your product that IS press worthy. Did your product have a life-changing impact on a customer? THAT is press-worthy. Be authentic in your passion for the impact your company is having on the industry. Passion is infectious and can motivate coverage from the press.
Make It Easy Do you have your style guide ready for the media to pick up the information they need to cover you? Are you accessible to them? Do you have incredible photographs of your product ready? The easier you make it on people to find you and find the information they need to cover you, the more likely you are to be covered.
DON’T allow uninteresting people to represent your product in interviews. Have an interview coming up? Prep. Know your product, your target market, and your goals. Be charismatic. People buy into the people behind a product just as much as the product itself.
Commanding excitement for your product or service and understanding how and why people choose to follow certain campaigns and companies can be intimidating. It’s essential you think about how and why your story is worthy of coverage and manifest your efforts around that belief. You have the power to design your story and share it with your audience. Make yourself memorable.
When the federal crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries in 2011 began to scare off would-be entrepreneurs, Cassandra Farrington, CEO and co-founder of a brand new marijuana trade newsletter didn’t blink. She and her business partner “kept the lights on” in their small Denver publishing house while their only competitor went dark. They ended up building what they hoped would be “The Wall Street Journal” of legal cannabis.
Reposted from Forbes.com written by
“It always made sense to keep going,” says the former Citigroup exec,Cassandra Farrington. who helms the website, print and email publication Marijuana Business Daily, a.k.a., MJBiz Daily, plus its mega trade conference that will draw more than 14,000 attendees next month in Las Vegas. The Marijuana Business Conference & Expo is the largest B2B gathering in the burgeoning landscape of legal weed and was named to Trade Show Executive’s “Fastest 50” the last two years. With 843% overall growth across its verticals in 2016, MJBiz Daily won accolades as a top media company by Inc., landing on its Inc 5000 list.
“We’re not a lifestyle publication or a culture magazine or a celebration of the plant type publication. We are truly all about the dollars, cents, actions, partnerships: the business side of the industry,” Cassandra Farrington explains of her company’s position in a market that has seen an explosion of media startups devoted to covering all aspects of legal weed like Merry Jane, Weed Week, Green Rush Daily, and Marijuana Investors News. With some form of pot legalized in 29 states plus the District of Columbia and consumer spending across North America projected to jump from $6.7 billion to $20.2 billion in 2021, the race is on to cash in on cannabis.
“It is a huge industry, not just in the United States, but globally and getting bigger every day,” says the mom of two who laughs that she was “outed” to her neighbors and friends as a cannabis entrepreneur one evening as she was co-leading her daughter’s Girl Scout troop meeting. It was November 2012, in the days following Colorado’s historic vote to end pot prohibition and after the local media covered MJBiz Daily’s very first conference in her hometown. That night, curious parents recognized her from the news. One dad shyly asked if he could take her to coffee to learn more about the industry. Another parent wanted advice on where to buy a joint.
“Between those two interactions, I was like, ‘This is going to be just fine,” she recalls.
In the years since, the legal market has swelled and so has the appetite for business content. Farrington saw early on that founders and investors venturing into the new terrain of legal marijuana needed news and timely information to navigate the changing scene. When a 2011 article in The Atlantic reported there were more marijuana dispensaries in Denver than Starbucks, she and her partner knew they were on to something big.
“We had a set of criteria that we judged everything against. Is [an industry] growing at a certain pace, at least 7% a year? Does it have a certain number of actual businesses with actual employees, not solo entrepreneurs or consultants or individuals, but people who actually have to make payroll every two weeks or every month? Pay rent on a facility that sort of thing that shows their level of investment,” she explains of the metrics they used to measure the market. What they discovered was a demand for unbiased news affecting the practical aspects of running a business, including tax policy, licensing and regulation.
Women’s Cannabis Chamber of Commerce moving women beyond empowering and inspiring into action and business success.
Minority Owned Cannabis Dispensaries and Businesses That Are Shaping the Industry: As the cannabis industry becomes more robust, one way to help combat the war on drugs and its devastating effects on minority Americans is to support your local minority-owned dispensaries and cannabis companies. This is far from a complete list, but here are some great cannabis companies that are owned and operated by minority business owners.
Reposted from Leafly.com written by Lisa Rough
Based out of Oregon, Panacea Valley Gardens is a medical cannabis cultivation facility owned by the co-founder and chairman of the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA), Jesce Horton. He also owns Panacea, an adult-use dispensaries.
In 2016, Horton began developing a new vertically-integrated cannabis cultivation hub known as Saints Cloud. The facility is expected to have a 20,000 foot cultivation space, a dispensary, an onsite processing plant, and water recycling, solar paneling, and a heat exchange system for maximum energy efficiency. Eventually Horton hopes to add an event space, cannabis lounge, and bed & breakfast.
Hollingsworth Cannabis is a family affair involving three generations of the Hollingsworth clan. Located in Washington, this Tier III I-502 licensed cannabis producer and processor offers cannabis flower and infused, triple filtered cannabis oil at a number of different dispensaries across the state.
Raft Hollingsworth III (also known as RT3) works alongside his father, Raft Hollingsworth, Jr., two sisters, and even their 96-year-old grandmother, Dorothy Hollingsworth. With a commitment to environmentally friendly practices, Hollingsworth uses naturally sustainable growing and harvesting practices to ensure that the company’s carbon footprint remains as small as possible.
Simply Pure, a dispensary in Denver, Colorado, is the brainchild of Wanda James and her husband, Scott Durrah. After a successful run at managing Caribbean restaurants, consulting companies, and even a bid for Congress, Ms. James saw a need to shed light on social justice issues related to cannabis. Her brother was arrested and charged with a felony for the possession of cannabis when he was still a teenager, and she saw his future branded with an irreversible mark. In wanting to put a new face on cannabis, she and her husband are aiming to change how the world views cannabis and especially people of color involved with cannabis.
Miguel Trinidad, the brain behind 99th Floor, was a renowned chef of Filipino cuisine when he decided to embrace cannabis with his own invite-only pop-up infused dinners. Trinidad hails from Dominican Republic, but spent time in the Philippines studying the local cuisine before opening a restaurant with his partner, Nicole Ponseca, in New York called Maharlika.
New York has very strict cannabis laws; ergo any invitations to this dinner are exclusive and very hush-hush. Trinidad carefully curates an entire multi-course meal that revolves around the strain chosen for each dinner. Less discreet is Trinidad’s new line of edible products and more gourmet pop-up dinners that will be available on the California cannabis market.
The American Cannabinoid Clinics is made up of a family of physicians who combined their respective fields to help thousands of patients in California, Oregon, and Washington seeking answers about medical marijuana. Dr. Janice Knox spent 35 years working in medicine, but when she retired, she continued to hear from patients that had questions about using medical cannabis.
Knox teamed up with her husband, Dr. David Knox, who has 37 years of clinical experience in Emergency Medicine, as well as both of her daughters; Dr. Jessica Knox, who specializes in Preventive Medicine, and Dr. Rachel Knox, who studied Family and Integrative Medicine. Together, the Knoxes have spent the last six years treating thousands of patients across the Pacific Northwest.
Supernova Woman is an organization formed by Women of Color in Cannabis in 2015 to help foster small cannabis business opportunities to become self-sufficient in the industry. The group, founded by Tsion “Sunshine” Lencho, Amber Senter, Nina Parks, Andrea Unsworth, offers a series called Shades of Green to educate communities of color on how to get involved with legislative efforts for cannabis, and how regulations and local politics can affect your business.
Located in California, the organization also offers professional services on how to build your dispensaries or cannabis business and how to stay in compliance. It works with people who have prior cannabis convictions to help get their records expunged, guiding them through the entire legal process. Supernova is especially aimed at creating and fostering a safe space for women of color in the cannabis industry. One of the founders, Andrea Unsworth, also owns the cannabis collective Stash Twist.
When Lynwood, California began accepting applications for permits in the Los Angeles County, Priscilla Vilchis jumped at the chance to grow and manufacture cannabis products as a Latina woman in the legal California market. With two medical marijuana cultivation and processing licenses already under her belt in Nevada, she won preliminary approval for a new dispensaries, Cali Premium Produce.
In Nevada, one of her flagship brands is cheekily named “Queen of the Desert,” and Vilchis is hoping to expand her flagship products to California. She will also be working on outreach efforts to educate the public and especially older generations in the Hispanic community on the benefits of cannabis.
Corey Stevens wanted to take advantage of the new legal cannabis market in Washington state, but he had no idea of the many obstacles he would have to overcome. Stevens had to fight tooth and nail to get a foot in the door. He applied for a license multiple times, applied for a Conditional Use Permit in the local jurisdiction, and submitted public comments to the county. Though he fought an uphill battle, his persistence paid off. Natural Blessing, dispensaries, opened its doors in July 2016 and has been serving the cannabis community ever since.
Apothecarry was started by a 36-year-old Michigan State University graduate named Whitney Beatty. Initially Beatty did not set out to enter the cannabis industry; rather, she only looked into cannabis for therapeutic reasons after being diagnosed with anxiety. As Beatty became more and more educated and versed in cannabis knowledge, she didn’t identify with the pervasive image of “stoner culture” that stigmatized cannabis for so long. More and more, she found others who lamented the lack of high-quality storage for cannabis that could keep their stash safely out of reach from children and pets.
Available in the United States and Canada, the Apothecarry line includes its most popular product, the Apothecarry Case, a state-of-the-art Humidor organizational system crafted from hardwood and secured with a dual combination and key lock to prevent kids, pets, or nosy neighbors from seeing or smelling your stash. Not only is Apothecarry challenging long-held cannabis stereotypes, it’s one of the few companies owned by a woman of color and the entire operation was funded by minority investors.
Euphorium in Oakland, California, is a woman-owned non-profit cannabis collective and delivery service. The owner, Charlita Brown, comes from a background in pharmaceuticals and uses her knowledge to make sure that patients’ questions are answered and that they are satisfied with both the product and the services provided. Brown also uses her cannabis collective as a platform to help empower women of color in the cannabis industry.
Aaron McCrary got his start as a cannabis cultivator in Washington state, working first underground and then within the legal medical marijuana market. When Nevada voted to legalize cannabis, he took a chance on the emerging market and is now known as the first black master grower in the state.
Zion Gardens, his 6,000-square-foot facility in North Las Vegas, is growing like a weed, and McCrary has plans to expand to a new building by January 2018. During the hiring process, McCrary goes out of his way to provide opportunities for other people of color, women, disabled individuals, and anyone else who might otherwise be excluded.
Commencement Bay Cannabis, the first retail cannabis shop in Fife, Washington, is one of a kind. The Puyallup Tribe, native to the Pacific Northwest, transformed its former high-end cigar lounge, Stogie, into a classy upscale space for retail cannabis customers to peruse menus and make educated purchases. Commencement Bay Cannabis has inspired participation from Puyallup Tribal Council members, the Fife-Milton-Edgewood Chamber of Commerce, and other local business owners. The store celebrates the spirit of Mount Tahoma and the Puyallup River while providing high-quality cannabis in a judgement-free environment.
Women’s Cannabis Chamber of Commerce moving women beyond empowering and inspiring into action and business success.
When Stormy Simon—yes, that’s her real name—joined Overstock.com as a temp, the company was a start-up just two years in. Granted it was already at $18M in revenue, but in 2001, there were plenty of internet businesses booming.
Reposted from Forbes.com written by ,
In Simon’s case, she had a front-row seat to the evolution of an industry—e-commerce. Everyone was trying to move shopping online and making it up as they went.
Simon put off going to college because she thought Overstock.com was going to revolutionize the world. And she helped it do that with an intrapreneurial spirit and loads of energy. She says she ‘raised her hand a lot.’
Being an intrapreneur is often the best training for future entrepreneurs
Overstock.com was growing at 70% to 100% at a clip, and there was no shortage of things to be done. Simon learned early not to ask someone for help because that just ‘made the snowball bigger.’
So Simon had an idea. It was a campaign actually, ‘Discover the Secret of the Big O.’ Internet businesses weren’t marketing on TV, and she thought it would be a great way to introduce women to a new way of shopping.
She pitched her idea to the board in the midst of a flurry of agency pitches. And the board chose her idea. Then they gave her a small budget and encouraged her to figure it out in her usual style—guerrilla.
She enlisted German actress, Sabine Ehrenfeld, and flat out begged a director to help her with it. And what did that campaign get Overstock.com? It got them from $250M in revenue to $500M.
Throw your passion at all the problems you see
So in 2004, she got her first big executive title, the VP of Branding. Not bad going from a temp to VP of Branding in three years. And she loved what she did, but she was attracted to something else that needed fixing. The Customer Service Department.
Women’s Cannabis Chamber of Commerce moving women beyond empowering and inspiring into action and business success.
Never mind stereotypical stoner humor, cannabis consumers have been shown to be more intelligent than their non-consuming counterparts. And that applies especially to women. According to a new study, women who smoke weed have higher IQs than those who don’t.
Reposted from Jane Street written by MADISON MARGOLIN
Researchers from the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health looked at 800 female cannabis consumers, analyzing data on their intelligence, smoking habits, lifestyle, and schooling level. They found that the majority of female cannabis consumers had higher IQs than the general public, and were 50 percent more intelligent than the average woman — meaning that, the smarter the woman, the more likely she is to smoke pot.
However, though the data proved a correlation between women with higher IQs and cannabis consumption, it didn’t point to why this correlation exists.
Some scientists believe that smarter people might be more open to new experiences, such as new modes of thought and consciousness that cannabis can provide. People who have higher IQs might seek out different or more diverse kinds of mental stimulation. The more cerebral someone is, the more likely they may want to explore the mind in different ways.
And moreover, because cannabis is safe to use and you can’t overdose from it, a smart or cautious drug consumer might also be drawn to the plant.
This isn’t the first time science has shown a connection between intelligence and one’s proclivity toward cannabis. According to a study from the British Medical Journal, people with higher childhood IQs are more likely to use cannabis by the time they turn 30.
Meanwhile, another study from University College London found that middle-schoolers who excelled at school had a higher chance of drinking alcohol and smoking weed when they got to high school, but that they were less likely to smoke cigarettes. However, if a minor were to smoke weed, it could have effects on their performance in school, or on their cognitive development. While a number of children use cannabis for otherwise life-threatening diseases like epilepsy, and have since excelled with the use of products like high-CBD cannabis oil, the average teenager should consider their emotional maturity before altering their minds.
That said, cannabis is known to be a catalyst for new ideas and creativity. No wonder women with high IQs are drawn to cannabis, as it can help maximize and enhance all the activity that’s already happening in their heads.
Cannabis loving couples say “I do” with a few added edible arrangements compliments of Irie Weddings & Events, a Colorado-based business with weed wedding planners adding some extra greenery to the big day.
Reposted from New York Post written By Jeanette Settembre, Moneyish
“We’re a one-stop shop that helps canna couples find the right vendor and venues for their weed wedding,” says Bec Koop, co-founder of Irie, who helps pot smoking partners — or, as she calls them, “canna couples” — toke with party guests. “There’s so many ways you can incorporate it.”
In 2014, Colorado’s legal marijuana market reached total sales of $700 million, and that’s when Koop started up Cannabis Concierge Events and Buds & Blossoms, devoted to incorporating weed into events and decor. She merged the two businesses as a one-stop weed wedding planning shop with Irie in 2017, an all-female run business in Denver working with a range of local cannabis-friendly vendors. They’ve planned weddings for people ranging in age from 21 to mid-60s.
“I’m a daily medical marijuana user and I was not going to go through one of the most stressful and exciting days of my life without the way that I manage my pain,” says Lauren Gibbs, who hired Irie last year to serve weed and provide the decor and flower arrangements at her wedding.
“Weddings create a really great opportunity for people to be exposed to cannabis in a really classy setting. People were so excited to try it, and it really created a festive atmosphere that I couldn’t have gotten with alcohol alone,” she adds.
Couples simply visit a dispensary of their choice and select and purchase cannabis in their favorite strains. An ounce of it can cost around $100 to $250 at Colorado dispensaries. Irie offers cannabis packages that will incorporate weed in bouquets, flower arrangements, centerpieces and cocktails, complete with bud-tending services. (That’s a weed bartender, btw.) Budtenders offer up strains to achieve ideal highs and serve up weed cocktails to enhance the experience. Couples can choose a build-your-own “Bud Bar” complete with joints, glass pipes, small vaporizes, and edibles.
If you’re unfamiliar with the kind of weed you want, Irie serves as a consultant helping customers create a customizable strain menu catered to the intended wedding vibe. For those looking to get a body high there’s “BC Height,” which is an earthy blend of vanilla and berry. “Cherry Lime Haze” gives off a more uplifting high that’s great for guests looking to party. Another more relaxing strain is “Good Medicine,” a sweet mango flavor that gives off more subtle high.
“Sativa is more uplifting. It’s going to make you get up and dance,” assures Madlyne Kelly, co-founder of Irie. “Indica is much more relaxing and has more of an effect on your body,” she explains of the two cannabis plant varieties.
Bud Bar packages cost between $250 and $500, not with cannabis but including lighters, cleaning materials and selected smoking apparatuses like bowls or bongs. For weddings with more than 30 guests, an additional budtender is required for $15 an hour. Planning packages start at $200 and cost as much as $5,000 depending on customization. The $3,000 O.G. Kush plan, for example, offers everything from coordinating vendors and the $420 Elopement Plan includes an officiant, photographer and dinner reservation for the couple. For a steeper $5,000 Irie will plan your entire event from venue selecting to floral arrangements, party favors and all other stressful logistics.
“Might as well enjoy it on the biggest and most stressful day of your life especially if it helps with anxiety and puts you in a better headspace for your big day,” says Koop.
Charities are reluctant to take donations from cannabis companies, even if the state has legalized the industry. Organa Brands learned this the hard way. The company was flush with success and wanted to give back to the community, but charities just said no.
Reposted from Forbes.com written by Debra Borchardt
“It felt like a slap in the face,” said Organa Brands President Chris Driessen. “Because the message was essentially you’re a drug dealer.” Organa Brands is the parent company of O.penVAPE, one of the largest cannabis vape companies in the country. Organa is also home to cannabis brands Bakked, District Edibles, Magic Buzz and Organa Labs. Driessen said that if a charity was willing to take the money, it wanted it to be anonymous. “The optics were more important than helping the people,” he said. Some of the charities that turned down Organa included Wounded Warriors, American Cancer Society, Children’s Hospital Foundation.
This created a conundrum for the company. Was the donation to be public in order to pat the company on its back for its generosity or was it simply an attempt to be considered as legitimate as other businesses? Does a public donation bring more attention to the company making the donation or does it bring attention to the charity itself? Driessen knew that Organa felt it should not have to hide in the shadows.
One group that was willing to work with Organa was the Denver Rescue Mission that works with the homeless. Not only did they happily and publicly take Organa’s charity, but the group also volunteered man hours. “We had 29 people at 5 am the day before Thanksgiving. Certainly not the image of stoners that people expected.”
Another charity that has been working with Organa is Grow for Vets. Driessen said that Organa was hosting a golf tournament on September 11 to raise money for the charity that helps veterans that need cannabis to treat pain and PTSD. Again, golf tournaments break the stereotype of what one may think of a cannabis company.
“We turn down probably 25 companies that want to work with us,” said Roger Martin, Executive Director of Grow For Vets. As far of the other charities that turned down Organa’s help, “They have a snooty, up in the air attitude,” said Martin. Grow For Vets is an organization that helps a veteran get medical marijuana for free. Martin noted that veterans get opioids for free through their medical benefits to treat pain and PTSD, but while these prescription drugs were free the cost was high in the terms of overdoses and suicides.
“They had to pay for marijuana, but not opioids,” he said. Martin said the money raised at the golf tournament will be used to help expand his program into all 50 states. While some states haven’t legalized marijuana, Martin said he can get these vets hemp-based CBD, which is more easily obtained. “Cannabis is the only thing that has helped me with PTSD,” he said. “Cannabis money isn’t dirty money.”
The Women’s Cannabis Chamber of Commerce moving women beyond empowering and inspiring into action and business success.
The Cannabis Industry is a burgeoning industry, and as pioneers in this exciting new world, we have the honor of breaking ground and setting standards to pave the way for generations to come. One of the most fascinating developments in the cannabis industry is the rise of women in the workplace, most notably in positions of power and leadership at the head of cannabis companies.
Women Holding Leadership Positions
The cannabis industry is comprised of scrappy, tenacious individuals who aren’t opposed to taking a risk, and in a sector that’s struggling to break free of former stoner stereotypes and debilitating social stigmas, women are leading the way. According to a 2015 survey from Marijuana Business Daily, women held 36% of leadership positions in the industry, including 50% of leadership roles in processing and infused product companies, and 63% of executive roles at testing labs.
When MJBiz conducted an updated survey on the topic in August 2017, the number of women in leadership roles had fallen to 27% of executive-level roles, although the presence of women in leadership roles in ancillary sectors of the industry holds strong: 42% of women held executive roles in supplemental cannabis services companies, and women still own and operate 35% of medical and retail cannabis shops.
No matter how you slice it, when comparing these numbers to women in the general US workforce, the difference is stark. Women hold 52% of professional level jobs, but make up only 26.5% of executive or senior-level roles, hold only 21% of board seats, and comprise just 5.2% of American CEO positions.
Why are women so prominent in leadership roles in the cannabis world? One factor could be related to the relatively low barrier for entry―because the industry is still growing and there’s no concrete blueprint for success, right now anyone can try their hand at making it big with some overhead cash, grit, and a little creativity.
Secondly, although cannabis consumption generally skews male, women are becoming increasingly interested in the plant for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. In a 2017 study published by the Drug and Alcohol Journal, the percentage of women regularly consuming cannabis is on the rise, although the gender gap still remains prominent. Between 2002 and 2014, the percentage of women using cannabis increased by 3% overall, and Leafly saw a significant increase in female interest between 2015 and 2016, with 27% more visits from female consumers than male consumers.
Attracting female consumers means making a new space for women to co-exist in the industry, and who knows how to do that better than women themselves?
Challenges and Complexities
Leafly recently attended Intersection, an event designed to confront and discuss how women can impact technology in the cannabis sphere, featuring an all-female panel to gain a better understanding of the complexities and challenges confronting women in the cannabis industry. AC Braddock, the CEO of Eden Labs in Seattle, was one of the foremost panelists who offered some advice for women in the cannabis industry.
“In order to move forward, you have to understand the rules and regulations, you have to understand the legislative process,” she recommended. “You must be politically savvy and understand the political process, and you’ve got to be mainstream.”
Sarah Blankinship, CEO of Right Sciences, expressed her surprise at ending up in the industry. “If you would have told me that I was going to end up in the cannabis industry, I would have definitely thought you were smoking what we are here to talk about tonight.”
Dr. Janice Knox, one of the founders of the American Cannabinoid Clinics, after being contacted by former patients who were seeking assistance entering the medical marijuana program and looking for answers from a certified physician, found herself at a bit of a loss. “How could I be a doctor and not be able to answer questions about the endocannabinoid system?”
Six years after her formal retirement, Knox re-entered the medical world, this time as a medical marijuana-certifying physician and advocate. “My mission now as a scientist is to spread as loudly and as far as I can that cannabis is medicine,” she explained.
Medical Cannabis First
Knox’s mission seemed to be a consensus across the group. “This industry will not flourish, will not move forward, unless it’s on a medical platform,” emphasized Braddock.
Mara Gordon, a cannabis researcher and founder of Aunt Zelda’s and Zelda Therapeutics, described her frustration entering the medical marijuana realm as a patient. “When I came in as a patient, I entered into an industry with no lab testing, and no dosing,” she said.
Rather than leaving empty-handed, the lack of specialization inspired her. “I was going to solve the dosing conundrum,” she told the Intersection audience. “This was why I had to create all these companies. I had to create a medical practice, I had to create medicines that were well-understood, with testing labs, software to allow the doctor to make dosing recommendations.”
Braddock spoke up about the importance of vigilant patients, as well. “Get politically involved. Go into the dispensary and ask for organic cannabis, ask for the medicinal products that they’re required to have…The average consumer spends about $70 per month as a recreational consumer, compared to about $800 per month as therapy. Wellness products should range from ‘I just wanna feel good,’ to ‘I want to treat my cancer.’”
She also brought up the stigma that still plagues women who are curious about cannabis for treatment or therapeutic purposes. “There’s such a stigma―50% of women on pharmaceutical drugs who try CBD stop taking the pharmaceuticals and they start to see real change. You have to really think about raising your hand, not just as a retailer, but as a patient.”
The Future of Women in Cannabis
“Hopefully, what we’re seeing is the last flash and burnout of an old way of politics and medicine,” Braddock speculated. “It comes from a very patriarchal basis of power our world has been run from for thousands of years―forever. I feel like people are holding onto that as hard as they can, and just showing who they really are, and I really hope that it’s their last dance.”
“What’s going to come from that is a new modern way of doing business, of healthcare, of everything.” She paused. “I would love to see this industry change the social justice system.”
With women taking the driver’s seat and the industry evolving at a breakneck speed, it’s only a matter of time before we see women and cannabis changing the way businesses are run, and, hopefully, taking aim at the glass ceiling.
“All we have to do is keep backing it and keep doing this, because,” Braddock surveyed the audience, “we are at the precipice for a massive change.”
“If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” —Margaret Thatcher
If you’re into social media, you may know that sites like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter can at times police sites for what they deem to be promoting illegal activities. However, in the age of cannabis legalization, these 10 people have maintained a strong foothold in social media spaces and the cannabis community at large becoming social influencers.
Social marketing is a bit different than traditional marketing, where social influencers marketing uses people and personalities to represent a target market. It works by having brands identify individuals who are resonating with target markets, who have a social media presence, and it allows a brand to build their marketing strategies around that person.
Cannabis is full of social influencers, but for this cause, they aren’t only representing certain brands that align themselves to them, but they’re also representing the cannabis movement as a whole. Each influencer represents a different aspect of the marijuana business, and thus, are valuable for brands in their own ways.
This blog post was reposted from Marijuana Retail Report
Cheryl Shuman has been named “The Martha Stewart of Marijuana” for her high-class image and her alignment to her creation Marijuana Moms, a community-building initiative for mothers who are interested to use cannabis without the stigma. Shuman is an outspoken member of the cannabis community, offering insights into cannabis investing and more recently becoming an outspoken advocate against Roger Stone’s appearance at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo (which sources say he’s been recently dropped from). Shuman is at the top of the social influencers list.
Krishna Sai Andavolu
If you’re a fan of VICE and Viceland, and enjoy learning about all things marijuana, Krishna Sai Andavolu is your guy. Host of the web series WEEDIQUETTE on Viceland, Andavolu couples extensive marijuana knowledge with opportunities to test out different marijuana strains, methods and smoke spots across the world.
Her name is synonymous with cannabis in Canada and Jodie Emery’s flame isn’t showing any signs of burning out anytime soon. Connected to Cannabis Culture, Jodie and her partner Marc have been persecuted over their dispensaries and have emerged as strong advocates against the criminalization of marijuana in Canada. If there is any legislative hearing to be had for marijuana in Canada, Jodie is sure to be there having her voice heard.
If you’re looking for marijuana statistics and data, Troy Dayton is your guy. Head of ArcView, one of the U.S. biggest investment and research firms, Dayton has emerged as a strong voice for cannabis and the investment potential within the business and can back up any cannabis growth claim with many statistics.
Dr. Michele Ross
Dr. Michele Ross is the influencer on this list who represents the medical community and the medical perspective on cannabis. She specializes in neuroscience and is dedicated to advancing the knowledge and research on cannabis within medical communities and within public health. She is the founder of IMPACT Network, which focuses on the advancement of research on cannabis for women’s health.
Women of Cannabiz
This online community, founded by Rachel Garland, is a place that celebrates all the amazing contributions of women in cannabis across the world. All women who show up on Women in Cannabiz represent a different part of the cannabis industry and share their story with the greater cannabis audience. The site celebrates female entrepreneurship in the cannabis industry and serves as a source of empowerment for not only women, but all cannabis entrepreneurs.
Studio 420 is a Denver-based agency that identifies as a cannabis-friendly creative agency, providing web services for the cannabis industry worldwide and also acting as an authority for best practices in web development, marketing, and content creation for the cannabis industry
Aaron Justis is one cannabis influencer to thank for laying the groundwork for legalization through his work as a drug law reform activist. He currently resides in L.A. and is the president of the dispensary Bud & Roses. Justis is often a go-to as he’s been working within his dispensary since 2007, which represents some of the best practices in licensing and training of employees.
She is best known for her 2014 “Fuck it, I quit” stunt on Alaska news that went viral when it was revealed that she was the founder of the Alaska Cannabis Club (ACC). Since then, Charlo Greene has proven herself to be an important voice for cannabis in the northern state and across the nation. She hosts “The Weed Show” and has become a popular public figure.
Known to be one of the most influential of “WeedTubers”, Joel Hradeck’s YouTube channel CustomGrow420 has become one of the most followed 420-related channels, with almost one-and-a-half million followers amassed since 2013. Hradecky is famous for on-screen smoking antics, such as ripping a 3-inch bong to providing product reviews of all things 420. Note that all his content is marked 21+ and is more of the taste for those who love “stoner culture”.
“I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” ―Malala Yousafzai
Marijuana industry looks to get more women and other minorities in marijuana.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has raised “serious questions” about legalization, appears less friendly to the cannabis industry than his predecessor. Even after the District of Columbia permitted recreational use of the drug in 2015, arrests in the city for public use of marijuana are on the rise.
Yet a panel of speakers who gathered Wednesday at Howard University said entrepreneurs — particularly minorities in marijuana — should not fear what those in the marijuana industry call “the cannabis space.”
“It’s a good business — we’re at the start, it’s brand new,” said Lisa Scott, a former chef who runs Bud Appetit, an edibles company based in the District. “So many minorities are locked up — white people are getting filthy rich from it.”
Chanda Macias, head of the group’s D.C. chapter and owner of a dispensary in Dupont Circle, said cultivating diversity in the marijuana business is vital.
“We are the leaders — the minority leaders — in cannabis, and we make cannabis look good,” Macias said at the event.
The hurdles to people of color seeking to produce and sell marijuana products are significant, those on the panel said. The war on drugs disproportionately targeted minorities, and criminal histories can complicate applications for dispensary licenses.
Meanwhile, communities destroyed by the crack epidemic are not always eager to welcome a pot business to the block — even though those communities could benefit economically and physically from marijuana products, advocates said.
“Prohibition is built on a racist formula,” said Rachel Knox, a member of a family of doctors in Portland, Ore., whose practice focuses on cannabis. “The health-care disparity between blacks and whites is large.”
After the election of Donald Trump, some minorities in marijuana worry about the specter of federal action against the marijuana industry. The drug, a federal Schedule 1 controlled substance, has a “high potential for abuse” and “no medically accepted use” in the eyes of the federal government.
“I can’t say I feel comfortable,” Macias said. “As the industry continues to change, less minorities participate because of their fears.”
But according to Marvin Washington, a cannabis investor and former New York Jets defensive lineman, minorities have a historic chance to turn a bad break into a good one.
“We have the opportunity to do this right and make sure the people that suffered when cannabis was in the black market . . . have the opportunity to participate in the upswing,” he said.
Washington, a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit against the Justice Department that seeks marijuana legalization, also discounted the possibility that Sessions would somehow re-criminalize marijuana across the nation after legalization in the District and elsewhere.
“The genie is out of the bottle,” he said. “I’m not sure how you get it back in.”
As the issue winds its way through the courts, Gia Morón, Women Grow’s communications director, said it’s important for a new industry to address diversity early — and avoid the battles that Silicon Valley is fighting over minority representation.
“We are calling it out early,” Morón said. “We’re starting out saying, ‘You’re going to do better.’ . . . I hope in five years we’re not talking about diversity.”
Reposted from TheWashingtonPost By Justin Wm. Moyer
The Women’s Cannabis Chamber of Commerce moving women beyond empowering and inspiring into action and business success.
Cannabis business opportunity has attracted women in other states, where they have stepped up as leaders in the industry. Could Ohio women follow suit?
The following blog post was reposted from the Columbus Navigator and written by Nora Jaara
“I see a lot of women who either hold high title positions or are coming together to take lead in this industry,” Alyssa Baker, the deputy director for the central Ohio chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), said.
Ohio’s fledgling medical marijuana program is expected to be fully operational by September 2018. While women’s impact on the state’s industry has yet to be seen, Baker said women will be a “huge presence,” both in Ohio and nationwide.
A survey conducted by Marijuana Business Daily in 2015 found women made up a greater share of leadership in the cannabis industry than they did in others. For example, the report found that women held about 36% of leadership positions in the industry as a whole.
Women made up about 63% of high-level positions in testing labs and 50% of high-level positions at infused products and processing companies, according to Marijuana Business Daily’s survey.
However, women remain underrepresented in other areas of the industry. They held 28% of executive-level positions in investment, for example.
The application period for medical marijuana cultivators closed in June. Baker said she looked over the list of applicants and was disappointed to see few women pursuing cannabis business opportunity. However, she said their leadership presence doesn’t necessarily have to come through with cultivation facilities.
According to Baker, emerging cannabis business opportunity may draw women into the industry.
Gia Morón, the director of communications for Women Grow, said there is “great potential” in cultivation and ancillary services. Ancillary services providers don’t directly deal with cannabis like growers and dispensaries do. Rather, they provide other kinds of assistance, such as consulting, packaging, security, and equipment. Women Grow used to have a market in Ohio and hopes to have one again. “We think Ohio is a great market for women leaders in the cannabis industry,” Morón said.
Women have also served as a powerful force in the realm of advocacy, Baker added, and she has seen many of them take on leadership roles in that area of the industry. “There’s a lot of strong women in Ohio who I feel have done a lot of thankless work,” Baker said.
How do legal marijuana business entrepreneurs raise money to start or expand their business? The big banks won’t open a checking account for them, let alone lend them money, because cannabis production, processing and selling is still illegal at the federal level. Banking and financing options are limited, but there is a need and funding can be found.
The following blog post was reposted from Forbes, and written by Julie Weed Follow her on Twitter @julie_weed and at www.julieweed.net
A plethora of reasons could spark the need for an influx of capital for legal marijuana businesses. Peter Barsoom of the edibles-maker 1906 said distribution of his products expanded rapidly in Colorado, and are now stocked in 100 dispensaries. That success comes with new expenses to service the additional accounts and manage inventory. The company has also been creating new products including two types of chocolate covered cannabis coffee beans, and is working on swallow-able tablets for those who want a zero-calorie option. Besides research and development costs, each product needs packaging designed, production lines set up and marketing communications created.
Some entrepreneurs can self-fund from personal savings or business profits. Others need to seek money for legal marijuana businesses elsewhere.
Both debt and equity financing resources exist for the cannabis industry, according to Scott Jordan who works with entrepreneurs in the industry as director of business development for Colorado-based Dynamic Alternative Finance. The firm has arranged over $27M in loans and leases for cannabis businesses in the past two years by connecting their network of private investors with business owners seeking capital.
Because there are few traditional lending sources available and no SBA or similar government programs for cannabis businesses, Jordan says that small business owners typically take out a home equity line of credit, use credit cards or raise funds from friends and family.
There are some, mostly small, banks what will fund cannabusiness. In Colorado, there are at least eight banks and one credit union actively taking deposits said Jordan.
The first step for entrepreneurs seeking funding for their business is to decide between debt (a loan) and equity (selling a piece of the company).
Debt-based lenders work mostly by the numbers and have a fairly straight-forward application process according to Jordan. “They are focused on what I call the five C’s : credit score, character, capacity to repay, cash flow and collateral,” he said. Business owners going to a bank for help should be able to communicate how much they need, and how it will be spent, and have well-organized current financial information including credit score, balance sheet, and valuation of assets that can be used for collateral.
Equity investors will require a more formal pitch deck describing the team, the product or service, market size, competition, etc. said Jordan. Investors provide funds based on the potential and future expansion of the business and typically seek a larger return on their investment than a debt provider does.
The main additional risk to investors in this industry is that technically, a cannabusiness can be raided and shut down by federal authorities at any time. State and local laws are evolving too, as the news stream collected by WeedWeek and WeedReader demonstrate. The playing field is constantly shifting.
A handful of large venture capital and investment funds are targeting the industry. Privateer Holdings has raised more than $100M to fund legal marijuana businesses. Tuatara Capital, MedMen Capital, and Snoop Dogg’s Casa Verde are other large firms in the industry.
Jordan’s firm helps cannabis companies find the funds to start or expand a business, by connecting them with private investors interested in the industry. The companies may need help leasing equipment or buying real estate. One of the firm’s clients, a chain of cannabis store in Colorado, was able to expand from four to twelve stores by taking on outside investors.
To entrepreneurs who will be looking for funding, Jordan says it is important to maintain a strong credit rating and keep excellent financial records. He also says, “Do things both ethically and honestly. Don’t take shortcuts because savvy investors will likely uncover any issues in the due diligence phase.”
Looking to the future, Jordan believes there will be more choices available for borrowers. “We’re seeing some lenders that are looking for higher yields and returns, venturing into this space,” he said. “In terms of equity, we also are seeing some of the larger hedge funds and other family offices,” getting involved in cannabis finance.
‘I raise up my voice – not so I can shout, but so those without a voice can be heard… we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.’
Emerald Cup Victory: In a little over a year, Chelsea Dudgeon has gone from whipping up experimental topicals for her grandma to an Emerald Cup winner ready to take her company to the next level.
The first batch of Deep Skin topical was made around March 2016, and forms the backbone of the quickly growing Newell’s Botanicals line.
“I just explicitly made it for my grandma,” Dudgeon said.
At the time she had no regards for the cost of production and used herbs from her garden she had on hand.
“I just knew I wanted to formulate something that was going to work because there was a lot of skepticism directed at me by my family,” Dudgeon said. “I’ve spent that last several years trying to convince them [cannabis] is a medicinal plant.”
Dudgeon ’s grandmother was in her 70s dealing with the results of a life of hard work. She’d spent the last 40 years working on her hands and knees scrubbing as a cleaning lady, this had led to a lot of joint deterioration, a new hip and arthritis. She has recently retired.
We asked Dudgeon, just a regular young woman from Sonoma far from the face of the green rush these days, if part of the process in developing her product line was due to a lack of satisfaction with what was already on the market.
“A lot of stuff smelled like weed,” she said. “That was a nonstarter.”
Her past exposure to the topical industry also had a certain lack of consistency.
“I wanted what I gave her to be both personal and effective,” she said.
The first batch she made lasted months. Dudgeon provided it to her grandmother in mason jars, then came batch two. She noted the first batch was a quart of this, a quart of that, and batch two was a lot more refined.
“We ended up going with the roll on so people won’t get greasy.”
The second batch was prepared about a month before the cup and she was torn over whether she would enter her experiment alongside some flowers she thought might have a chance at the Sustainability Award.
“In the aftermath of winning it was pretty funny,” said Dudgeon. “The reason I wanted to put a second product in was because I wanted two VIP competitor passes. I made this thing for grandma, [I thought] we can put it in a nice little bottle and make it all official.”
She wasn’t expecting to win but entering, “seemed like a good idea at the time.”
It was the first cup she had entered and the first time she had attended the Emerald Cup. the definitive outdoor cannabis world championship. Even placing in the prestigious contest that spans flowers, hash, edibles and topicals, is a huge notch in the belt of any grower, processor, or brand.
“I had no idea I was going to be competing against big name companies,” she said while noting the organic farming aspects were what got her most excited about the event she was essentially clueless on.
To this day she tells the tale without expectation, as if she didn’t take home one of the most competitive awards in America’s fastest growing industry, saying she wasn’t taking herself very seriously.
At the awards ceremony when they called her name she couldn’t believe it. She thought she’d heard the announcer say third but someone said, “No that was the last one… You won.” She made her way to the stage confused as she told security she believed she just won. She was right, grandma’s topical now called Deep Skin was the Emerald Cup champion.
“I wasn’t even sure we’d won until I was standing on the stage,” said she said. ”I didn’t know what to say.”
We asked Dudgeon about scaling up as she, in that moment, became extremely well positioned in the cannabis world with an Emerald Cup-winning topical she controlled 100 percent stake in.
“I didn’t sleep for two days,” she said. “I couldn’t stop shaking with excitement and terror.”
Now, six months later, she’s finally getting caught up. The excitement around the cup win and various write ups have had her working overtime. With the exception of a small loan from her father and her partner providing production assistance, she’s continued to build the brand solo. She now, like many, stand on the edge of California’s forthcoming regulated adult market ready to be a big winner… just with a better trophy case to back the effort than most.
Written By Jimi Devine on June 29, 2017 Reposted from CannabisNow.
Marijuana Marketing for Businesses teaches entrepreneurs the “how to’s” of marketing with focus on increase profitability and market position. The lack of a good marketing strategy and the knowledge to initiate it affects profitability and expansion. Your marketing campaign can make or break a business.
Starting a business is a huge commitment of time and money. You can have the best product or service available. You have a website, logo, fanpage, cards, you are ready for the customers or clients. “If you build it they will come” only worked the movie (Field of Dreams). Your company needs a plan to bring the customers or clients.
You need a marketing plan and strategy – Marijuana Marketing for Businesses
You may be thinking that you do not need a multi-level marketing plan and strategy, all you have to do is set up a table at an event. What distinguishes your business from the other businesses using the same strategy? Are you reaching the people who cannot get to your table? How do you turn the attendees into your customers or clients?
You need a marketing plan and strategy – Marijuana Marketing for Businesses
How do you reach the people who do not attend the events?
What type of networking events are effective?
Are print ads profitable?
Can you be doing more with social media platforms?
Is your SEO current?
Are you doing SEM?
You don’t have the answers. Consequently, you randomly select an action to focus on or you begin looking into hiring a marketing agency and realize it is not in your budget.
Marijuana Marketing for Businesses is limited to four entrepreneurs. It is an intense one day workshop that provides you with a personalized marketing plan and strategy, the tools to initiate and maintain it, and marketing resources. The workshop is a cost-effective solution to launching a successful marketing campaign. Marijuana Marketing for Businesses is an investment in the success and growth of your company.
For more information visit The Women’s Cannabis Chamber of Commerce
Marijuana Marketing and Why Your Company Needs It.
Marijuana Marketing is complex due to the advertising restrictions and legal status.
Therefore marijuana businesses have relied on social media platforms to deliver their marketing message. Ultimately consumers find and connect with marijuana businesses and information online. It is crucial to your business to be able to maximize your online marketing and presence.
To summarize, Marijuana Marketing for Businesses gives you the knowledge and tools to maintain and manage your marketing strategy. In essence the workshop enables you to set up and control an in-house marketing department.
Marijuana Marketing for Businesses – What to Expect:
First of all, we require NDA’s to explicitly protect the business, creative and intellectual property of those attending.
Marijuana Marketing for Businesses is limited to 4 entrepreneurs in order to provide each attendee with more personalized instruction.
By the time the workshop ends each attendee will have a completed marketing strategy that is uniquely theirs. and schedule for initiating strategy
Knowledge not Bullshit.
Who should attend Marijuana Marketing for Businesses:
What you will learn from Marijuana Marketing for Businesses:
Best Keywords specifically for marijuana searches
Best Hashtags for your business
Boosting online rankings
How to interpret and understand website and social media analytics
How to set up tracking.
Profiling and Analyzing Your Competitors
How to Market to your Demographics
How to Expand your Demographics through marketing.
Writing Content for the purpose of reaching different markets.
Marketing Regulations, Restrictions, and equally important, how to keep Facebook from closing your account.
How to Utilize Social Media to drive traffic to your website and business.