Using Data to Help Cannabis Investors with Emily Fata

Emily Fata Green Pioneer

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Matthew: Hi I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com. That’s www(dot)canainsider(dot)com. Are you an accredited investor looking to be part of some of the most sought after private cannabis investment opportunities? Get on our free private investment alert service at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/invest. Once you have subscribed to the investor alert service you will get access to curated opportunities that the public will simply never see. Again that URL is www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/invest. That’s www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/invest. Now here’s your program.

This is Matthew Kind with just a quick announcement. You may have noticed that my voice at times is not loud enough during a few interviews and I just want to let everybody know that that issue is going to be resolved very shortly so I appreciate your patience. Now to your interview.

Cannabis companies raise money, create products, and make decisions based on data. To help us understand how cannabis companies are using data to make informed decisions is Emily Fata. Emily welcome to CannaInsider.

Emily: Thank you. I’m happy to be here.

Matthew: To give us a sense of geography can you tell us where you are in the world today?

Emily: I’m in Denver, Colorado.

Matthew: Great and before we dig into the data in the cannabis business tell us about your background and how you got started in this crazy world of cannabis?

Emily: Yeah absolutely. So my background is actually in finance and I moved to Colorado in the summer of 2013. So this was about six months before the adult use markets opened up here and I had previously worked as an analyst for a private equity firm. So I moved out here to start my own business and I put an ad on Craig’s List to say hey I can do financial models, write business plans for companies looking to raise capital, and the first person who actually emailed me was a grower. Someone who had owned a grow house since 2009 and they were looking to raise capital so they could build out the rest of their facility and buy enough equipment so that they would be able to start selling it to the adult use market as well in January.

Matthew: Great and so what is your day to day job look like now?

Emily: Yeah so my business has really evolved since then. So after I worked with that first client they introduced me to a few of their friends who were also looking to raise capital and I think that those first few experiences were really pivotal for me because first of all I got really curious just kind of what’s going on in this industry? Where is it going and secondly I realized how nuanced and how complex it actually is to cultivate and manufacture cannabis. So I really saw an opportunity to kind of build a business around its niche, around financial modeling specifically for cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facilities. So that’s really what I do day to day now.

I’m mostly an analyst so I specialize in financial models and data analysis but I also really do a lot of storytelling. So working with entrepreneurs and working with business owners who are looking to raise capital I help them create financial models and create projections but then also find ways to embed these numbers into compelling investment narratives. So kind of creating a story around the projections and come up with a thesis that’s going to be really interesting to potential investors.

Matthew: So your primary clients are cultivators and infused products companies would you say?

Emily: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matthew: Okay.

Emily: Yeah absolutely. So I work with; I do work with entrepreneurs and business owners. Mostly ones who are looking to raise capital or apply for state and city licenses in new medical marijuana markets but I also work with investors. So I also work with a lot of people who maybe have real estate or technology investing backgrounds but don’t really know a lot about cultivating cannabis. So I’ll work with those kinds of investors to kind of educate them on the nuances and on kind of everything that goes into operating an indoor agricultural facility.

Matthew: So what type of data is most important to communicate to investors so their ears perk up and they’re getting the info they need?

Emily: Hmm. So from the perspective of the business owner or an entrepreneur really the most important thing is doing the research to back up your projections. So anyone can put together a spreadsheet that says hey by year three we’re going to be making 100,000 dollars a month but the question really becomes what research and what data do you have to back up that statement? So it’s very important to just kind of understand. Understand your market, understand your target demographic, understand potentially the ramp up of how many sales you can expect to make in the first month and how that will ramp up over time. Yeah so it’s really important to kind of have that initial research before going into the modeling process or before actually building your projections because you really want to be able to back up the numbers and the projections that you’re presenting to an investor.

Matthew: Yeah and what’s the best way to back that up? Is it by using hey I’ve worked with cultivators in the past and this is what you can expect in terms of yield per square foot or something to that effect?

Emily: Yeah absolutely so and that’s kind of where I come in because I’ve been working in this industry for about three years now so I have collected a lot of data on kind of the true costs of cultivation and what kind of yields you can really expect based on the type of flowering lights or equipment that you’re using. What’s a realistic amount to spend on nutrients and on soil and on electricity per month? So I do think it’s very helpful if you are a grower or if you don’t necessarily have the operational history or have operating statements to back up your financial model to really seek out that data. To seek out quality accurate data that’s going to put together a realistic proforma.

Matthew: Right and just for people that aren’t familiar with the term proforma can you just elaborate on what that means specifically?

Emily: Yeah. So essentially sometimes you’ll hear a financial model or a proforma used interchangeably but essentially it means looking forward. So really the goal is to kind of create projections for the first few years of the businesses operating history or sorry of a business’s operations in the future. So it’s really kind of predicting the sales that you’ll get annually. The cost of goods sold, the cost of productions, and then as well as the operating costs, payroll, everything else that goes into operating a business. You’re kind of looking forward and you’re saying hey this is how much it’s going to cost to start this business and this is how much money we’re going to make every month, this is how much money we’re going to spend every month.

Matthew: So put together a proforma or help business owners put together a proforma and then they raise money and then when there’s a gap between because proforma is an estimate or a guess in some regards. A well educated guess or estimate with (07:46 unclear) putting in as much good criteria and variables as you can but you can’t project perfectly. When the gaps do arise between the proforma or sometimes you exceed expectations too that could happen.

Emily: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matthew: But when you do exceed expectations or fall short of expectations; when the business owner does why is that typically? Where do they fall short?

Emily: That’s a really interesting point and I always like to say that the point of the model is not to be right but it’s to be useful. So the goal when you set out creating these financial models or these proformas the goal is not to kind of have this perfect, accurate statement of what’s going to happen in the future but the idea is really to get a strong idea of how much. When you’re realistically going to start bringing revenue and kind of be in the black and how much money you need to get yourself through that period or through that burn rate. So I would say that’s the most dangerous thing. If you underestimate how much time you need to get your business up and running and really be profitable and be generating revenue then that can be problematic because you need to infuse capital into the business to keep it up and running but if you told your investors hey we’ll be in the black by month three and you’re not actually generating revenue until month six then that’s kind of where it gets problematic if your model is not accurate.

So that’s kind of, that’s the one case where you really do want to either overestimate how long it’s going to take to get your business up and running and especially within cannabis because this is agriculture. These facilities are filled with living, breathing plants that don’t always act in predictable ways. So I always really recommend that entrepreneurs and business owners that they overestimate how much capital they think they’re going to need until they can get their business kind of past that mark.

Matthew: Are there any expectations that you find investors have of business owners or the market segment of cannabis in general that’s not realistic perhaps returns or anything else where they’re just not being realistic or they don’t understand the particulars of the cannabis market?

Emily: Yeah absolutely. So I’ve worked with a lot of investors who come from a real estate or technology background. So they understand money in valuation really well but they don’t always have a good understanding of agriculture. So as I just mentioned when you have a facility that’s filled with plants a lot of things can go wrong. There are a lot of moving pieces, a lot of variables, and then on top of that you have these shifting legal regulations that can change very quickly and have major implications on revenue and operating costs. So I think that can be something that investors from these more traditional backgrounds don’t always understand right away. So that’s something that they definitely learn with time but and then another thing is when I was working in private equity we had these standard metrics for IRR or multiples for every type of deal. So we knew what kind of multiple range we could expect for a luxury hotel versus an infrastructural project.

So it became very easy to pass on a deal if it didn’t meet X metrics. If it wasn’t like it’s spects multiple or whatever it was so and I think these metrics this is something that I’d like to work on developing but right now because the regulations differ from state to state so much and the data is still relatively sparse. It’s tricky to say; to come up with this across the board metric and to say hey this multiple is really good for a cultivation facility just because every state and every market is so different.

Matthew: Right. That makes sense.

Emily: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matthew: It’s just to fractured of a market and segmented and it’s too, these that are broken up into fiefdoms so you can’t create like an IRR for California that’s also going to apply to Illinois is what you’re saying.

Emily: Exactly, exactly.

Matthew: Okay that makes sense. Now if an entrepreneur is pitching to investors, what do you think kind of the minimum math or projections they should have ready for perspective investors should be?

Emily: So I really recommend doing a three to five year proforma. So basic projections that lay out your potential revenue and your potential operating expenses for the next few years but as I mentioned before even more important than this is to really do a lot of research on your market and to understand kind of who your competitors are, what they’ve done to understand your target demographic, your potential customers or clients. So I think that element especially if you’re an early stage business. That part of the research is almost more important than these projections because projections it’s a guess. It’s a very educated guess and it’s really hopefully built around a lot of analysis and a lot of research but I think the most important thing as an entrepreneur to do is to really understand your market better than anyone.

Matthew: Yeah. Great point. Now is there any terms growers in particular or cultivators or maybe even infused products companies they just don’t understand? They don’t come from a private equity background they don’t understand IRR is Internal Rate of Return or some other acronyms that they should perhaps know or at least look up. Is there any that you feel like is important for them to know out of the gate they should be thinking about?

Emily: Hmm. That’s a really interesting question and I think yes absolutely EBT which is your earnings before taxes and depreciation. That’s a great one but I do think and when I work with entrepreneurs and business owners I always try to educate them on these just so they don’t get caught off guard in an investor meeting where someone is dropping all these terms and they don’t understand them but more importantly I think the gap in communication between investors and entrepreneurs isn’t really about terminology but it’s just about approaching a deal from a completely different mindset. So I think for entrepreneurs and business owners especially within the cannabis business they really understand kind of intuitively. They understand their costs very intuitively.

They understand how much it’s going to cost to expand a business very intuitively but they can have a difficult time communicating this vision to an investor just because it’s based on years potentially; like a decade of experience kind of running this kind of business. So that’s really where I come in. It’s really kind of capturing and harnessing this vision and creating a compelling narrative that’s going to resonate with an investor. That’s going to make them interested and have a lot of faith in this entrepreneur’s ability to start up this business.

Matthew: You really get granular with expenses. I mean apart from revenue projections that we’ve talked about a little bit here let’s kind of drill into operating costs. What are some of the costs that business owners should be focused on controlling or mitigating?

Emily: So I would say definitely energy costs and this is critical and I think this is a huge part of my business and the cannabis industry is very unique in the way that it evolved underground. So a lot of growers; so over the past decade or so there was very little technological innovation and a lot of growers were using equipment that was never really designed to flower plants or to cultivate cannabis and some growers are still kind of stuck in the old way of doing things. So a lot of growers still use high pressure sodium light bulbs to flower plants which really were never meant for actual agricultural uses. They have visual applications. They’re meant to be the light bulbs on a street corner.

Matthew: Yeah.

Emily: So I think kind of this and unfortunately it’s not uncommon for a grow house at least in Colorado to be spending 15,000, 20,000 dollars a month on electricity and to think that that’s normal.

Matthew: Yeah.

Emily: Because with these light bulbs not only are you using a lot of energy but you’re also creating a lot of heat. So you have to blast the air conditioning to kind of mitigate the heat effects of these light bulbs.

Matthew: Yes.

Emily: So even though the technology has evolved a lot in the past few years some growers and processes are just hesitant to change their methods. So I think that’s something. I think that’s something that within the next few years we’ll really see a lot of growers focus on is reducing their energy costs and moving towards more energy efficient manners of cultivation.

Matthew: Is there anything you can tell us about what you think about LED’s versus traditional lighting and in terms of yield or metrics outputs from those two different types of lighting standards?

Emily: Yeah. So I’m a big proponent of LED’s. I think in terms of yield there are so many different variables that go into that. A lot of it is not just about the light but it’s about your growing style. So that can vary and it’s not only effected by the type of light you’re using but in terms of energy costs I think if you were to switch a grow house that was outfitted with high pressure sodium lights to LED lights I think you could reasonably expect to cut your energy costs in half if not more and a lot of that doesn’t just come from the energy that you’re using for the lights but also you can reduce the air conditioning and make other subtle changes that will reduce your electricity and energy costs.

Matthew: If you were to give the same information to two business owners about a grow they might arrive at different conclusions about what needs to be done, what the problems and opportunities are. Do you ever see business owners use data to arrive at the wrong conclusions?

Emily: Fortunately no at least in my business. I really think data can give you a lot of power in terms of making the next moves in what’s best for your business and that can come from paying attention to your operating statements, paying attention to your point of sale data, paying attention to kind of the people who come into your dispensary. So I think paying attention to data is always a good thing. Potentially you might have a really good sales month and think that one particular product sells very well in the course of one month and produce that more. I could see that going on but typically I think using data is always a powerful thing.

Matthew: How about after lighting or electricity what are some other expenses that are important to find ways to mitigate their effect on a business? Any that stand out?

Emily: Hmm. I think there are definitely different types of growing methodologies that I’ve seen. Just be more efficient with the cost of goods so maybe soil and nutrients. I’ve seen a lot of people have success with Sea of Green that type of growing style but in general it really just depends; it really just depends on the grower and what he or she feels comfortable doing and what he or she has had success with. So I wouldn’t necessarily advocate for one type of growing methodology to reduce costs but yeah I think just definitely being aware and understanding what’s possible with the new technology and the new types of machinery that exists now.

Matthew: Now we had talked once before and you had mentioned that smoking cannabis is a result of prohibition and will likely go back to how we consumed cannabis pre prohibition.

Emily: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matthew: Can you tell us what you mean by that?

Emily: Yeah absolutely. So that’s actually not my theory. I took it from Ed Rosenthal. He has a book that came out maybe a year ago called “Beyond Buds.”

Matthew: Okay.

Emily: Which is about marijuana extracts and his theory is that before prohibition people were drawn towards tinctures and teas and concentrates and these products that had concentrated amounts of cannabis so and I think the data is kind of supporting this theory. In Colorado we’re seeing demand for infused products go up each year. We’re seeing more and more consumers kind of shift their demand from just raw flower to concentrates to shatters, waxes, edibles. So I think that this is a growing market segment and I think it’s a really important thing to pay attention especially for growers who are considering expanding to not only look at the market where it is right now but to look at it where it could be in five years, in ten years.

Matthew: Yeah I think particularly for the baby boomers there is a stigma associated with the smoking of cannabis and when they see it in a drink or a tincture or a salve that stigma is not as nearly as strong or doesn’t exist at all. So I think those are good points.

Emily: Exactly and I also think kind of for people that are newer to consuming cannabis even younger people inhaling burning vegetation isn’t always a comfortable sensation. A lot of people are not attracted to that. So I think when you can create ways to make the consumption process easier and also just more natural and more comfortable for people who haven’t tried it before I think you expand your market by quite a bit.

Matthew: Yeah and what about if I am considering opening a dispensary in a market is there any rules of thumb in terms of like hey I need a certain population within a certain distance of this location to get this many patients or customers in the door? I mean is there anything you could tell us there because I mean obviously placement of the dispensary is crucial. So how can we think about geography for the dispensary?

Emily: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Are you talking about in a new or medical market or an established?

Matthew: Yeah just any place I’m looking to open a dispensary. If it’s medical obviously there’s going to be probably a less perspective customers because they have to get a card or so forth but even rec too. It’s like how do I make a proforma and project demand for a certain geography? How do I get a handle on how many people might walk through the door? Is there any way to do that?

Emily: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah I think it’s very important to understand the demographics of the locations where you’re considering setting up a shop. So are the people young, are the people old, are the people wealthy, is it kind of a poor region and it’s very important to understand kind of who you would potentially be serving in that region and also what kind of dispensary are you looking to start and what kind of demographic are you looking to serve and I think certainly; yeah I think it’s certainly that’s a big part of the market analysis that goes into kind of creating a proforma or creating a financial model and specifically within medical markets. I think the first and the most important thing to do is to really look at the conditions permitted under the legislation.

So if it’s a limited market Florida for instance where you only have CBD and there are only like five or six conditions it’s possible to kind of do a study and understand okay how many patients with HIV are living in this region? How many patients with Glaucoma or with Cancer or like all of that data exists. All of that data is public and is online. So I think it is very important to understand kind of the conditions and the diseases and the incidences in the region where you’re going to start your business but then also in some of the newer markets it’s becoming tougher to do that because a lot of the newer legislations they include chronic pain which I think encompasses a lot of conditions that are hard to predict and there isn’t necessarily data for that.

Matthew: Yes that’s true. It’s very subjective what chronic pain is.

Emily: Exactly.

Matthew: Have you seen cultivators pivot to concentrates and what are the results when they try to do that; try to expand what they’re manufacturing from going straight from flower to concentrates and is there any words of wisdom about making that transition so to offer concentrates that the market wants?

Emily: Yeah. I think it’s important to do it slowly and exactly how you phrased it through the transition. It’s not something that should be done all at once. So actually and even to go back to your question about using data to come to the wrong decision I think it is a lot of people are kind of coming onboard with this idea that the concentrate market is really the future but there still is a lot of demand for flower currently. So it doesn’t make sense to just use all of your flower to create infused products and then offer nothing in your dispensary. So I think doing it slowly and transitioning with the market and understanding kind of how things are going to change three years from now but still responding to what the market is demanding right now. So it’s a dance in that regard. If you’re looking to expand your facility and raise capital and start a construction process to meet demand a couple years out then you really want to be looking towards that future market but I think it is important to kind of serve and to give people what they want now and what they want today when they walk into your dispensary.

Matthew: Yeah and certainly from a P and L point of view these concentrates seem to be probably the most profitable thing you can sell.

Emily: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matthew: Because that’s what consumers want.

Emily: Mm-hmm (affirmative) exactly.

Matthew: Okay and Emily switching to some more personal development questions here is there a book that you have read that stands out over the course of your life that’s had a big impact either on you professionally or personally that you would recommend to CannaInsider listeners?

Emily: Yeah absolutely. So one of my favorite books, I read it in college. It’s called “Small is Beautiful” and it’s by a British economist, E.F. Schumacher and it was published in the 70’s but I think it’s still very, very relevant today and essentially he talks about Buddhist economics and essentially creating business with a soul and approaching business and approaching economics and approaching development as if people really matter and as if the planet really matters so and I think it’s very relevant to the cannabis industry just because there’s so much responsibility when you’re building a new industry to do it in the right way and I talk about energy efficiency and I think cannabis legalization represents so much social progress but if the industry doesn’t evolve in a way that’s sustainable and in a way that is really kind of taking into account kind of the future of this country and the future of the planet then I think that just kind of becomes shadowed the progress that it represents. So yeah I definitely really recommend this book because it’s not all about making money. It really is about kind of considering the future and considering kind of how our actions today will affect kind of future generations.

Matthew: Yeah. There does seem to be something with businesses as they get bigger. They kind of lose some of their soul. It seems hard to maintain the character sometimes it gets deluded and sometimes ethics kind of go by the wayside and it’s a little bit inevitable. I mean I think about how Google has evolved from their motto of don’t be evil to something maybe a little bit from the good benevolence to over to something else.

Emily: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matthew: Or there’s a lot of other examples besides Google or it comes out that Facebook is suppressing conservative news. You hear these things and you’re just like gosh it’s hard to do that stuff when you’re small but as you grow there is this change that happens and a lot of times you’re customers don’t benefit from growth. They say well that doesn’t help us that you’re growing necessarily. It may help you or your shareholders but you can have a beautiful, profitable business and not have to have a world domination plan so I’m glad you mentioned that.

Emily: Yeah and I really believe in kind of mindful capital raising and mindful expansion and thinking about; for a business to think about their values before expanding. Sometimes there’s all this pressure to just be big. If the opportunity exists to be bigger and to make more money unfortunately kind of society and culture just conditions us to go for that but sometimes that’s not the best decision and I think yeah and I think as you mentioned there could be a lot of pressure from outside investors and outside shareholders. So when I’m working with business owners and entrepreneurs I really like to understand their values and understand what they’re looking for from an investor so they can have a partnership with aligned values and so they’re looking for the same things and that way the business will evolve in a way that kind of resonates with their original goals and their original values.

Matthew: Emily as we close how can listeners connect with you and learn more about the services you offer?

Emily: So you can go to my website which is www.greenpioneerventures.com and I have a contact form on their so you can just contact me through that.

Matthew: Great. Well Emily thanks so much for joining us on CannaInsider today. We really appreciate it.

Emily: Great. Thank you so much for having me.

Matthew: If you enjoyed the show today please consider leaving us a review on ITunes, Stitcher, or whatever app you might be using to listen to the show. Every five star review helps us to bring the best guests to you. Learn more at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/itunes. What are the five disruptive trends that will impact the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/trends. Have a suggestion for an awesome guest on CannaInsider? Simply send us an email at feedback(at)cannainsider.com. We’d love to hear from you.
Please do not take any information from CannaInsider or its guests as medical advice. Contact your licensed physician before taking cannabis or using it for medical treatments. Lastly the host or guests on CannaInsider may or may not invest in the companies or entrepreneurs profiled on the show. Please consult your licensed financial advisor before making any investment decisions.
Final disclosure to see if you’re still paying attention this little whistle jingle you’re listening to will get stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Thanks for listening and look for another CannaInsider episode soon. Take care. Bye bye.

– How much should you invest in your cannabis grow?
– How much profit could you capture if you add concentrates to your business?
– What is a reasonable rate of return for for cannabis investors?

Emily Fata of Green Pioneer walks us through how cannabis investors and business owners can answer these questions and make intelligent decisions with hard data.

Key Takeaways:
1:41 – Emily talks about how she got started in the cannabis industry
3:56 – Emily’s primary clients
4:43 – Most important data for investors
5:51 – Emily discusses how she backs up the data for investors
8:08 – Where business owners fall short in expectations
10:13 – Unrealistic expectations investors have
12:11 – What Information Investors Want
15:13 – Emily discusses which costs business owners should watch closely
17:05 – LEDs vs. traditional lighting
20:08 – Emily talks about cannabis pre-prohibition
22:28 – Geography considerations when opening a dispensary
25:09 – Advice for manufacturers moving from cultivation to concentrates
26:50 – Emily’s book recommendation
30:11 – Contact info for Green Pioneer Ventures

Learn more at:
http://www.greenpioneerventures.com/

 Important Update:
What are the five trends that will disrupt the cannabis market in the next five years?Find out with your free guide at: http://www.cannainsider.com/trends

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The Five Disruptive Trends Shaping The Cannabis Industry Now

Expert Designers Give Tips to Make your Cannabis Brand Stand Out

croc and plover cannabis brand

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Hi I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com. That’s www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com. We’ve talked about CBD or cannabidiol on the show many times. Just to review though CBD is a nonpsychoactive compound from the cannabis or hemp plant that has many benefits. Now our friends at Treatables have put together a wellness chew that can help your dog or cat become more calm and balanced. Valerie wrote in to tell us about her experience with Treatables.

Valerie writes my ten year old Husky/Shepherd/Lab mix Chuck is my faithful companion. Chuck got significantly quantifiably better from using Treatables. It took about three days of feeding Chuck two to three doses a day to see the full effect but he did get noticeably more comfortable on the first day of feeding them to him. Before CBD Chuck limped and couldn’t enjoy longer walks though he clearly had the desire for them. Once he started taking them he could leap around again. Thanks for writing in Valerie. Treatable chews are legal and available in all 50 states right now. If you want to learn about what Treatables can do for your pet visit www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/pet and get a coupon code for 10% off your order. Once again that URL is www(dot)canainsider(dot)com/pet. Now here’s your program.

Many people listening right now already have a cannabis related business and others are looking to start a cannabis related business. Either way one of the most important decisions you’re going to need to make at some point is how to create a brand that resonates with your target market. To help me intelligently think about branding for your cannabis business I’ve invited husband and wife design team Jamie and Pika Stearns from the firm Croc and Plover to the show today. Jamie, Pika welcome to CannaInsider.

Jamie: Hi Matt. Thank you.

Pika: Yeah thanks for having us.

Matthew: Sure. Jamie and Pika can you each in turn tell us a little bit about your background, your design experience, and how you pivoted to the cannabis space?

Jamie: Yeah I’ll kick things off. So I’ve been working in branding for over 14 years. Most of that time has been spent in Minneapolis and New York City. I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of the bigger brands like Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Target. I’ve worked with a variety of different types of agencies like the innovation company IDL to product design consultancy Smart Design and then in the past five years we’ve been spending most of our time working on our own startups. We’ve also been doing a lot of branding for entrepreneurs developing products and bringing them to market.

Matthew: Cool.

Pika: My background is mostly in package design and illustration. Before we moved out here to Boulder I worked in New York freelancing at some really great packaging studios and I also worked as an illustrator with innovation consultancies. I got to work with a lot of big brands and my favorite ones were Carlsberg, Bath & Body Works, and Disney and while we were in New York Jamie and I started to work on projects together outside of freelancing and we found that we actually work really well together and wanted to start trying our own thing and so started our own studio called Croc and Plover with our own clients and projects that we could just have more control and influence. Neither of us are really city people so we moved to Boulder on a gut instinct that it would work out for both business and lifestyle reasons and that was two and a half years ago and now we’re living by the mountains and we have two dogs and a baby and things are going really great for us.

Matthew: Well that’s great. I should be a Boulder tourism show. We give so much press to Boulder. It is such a little zanadoo though that it’s hard not to brag on it.

Jamie: It is.

Pika: Yeah.

Jamie: It’s a pretty great place to live in. It had everything that we were looking for and then when we came here we mostly did work with food and beverage companies but then once cannabis was legalized we saw a really great opportunity to help influence this industry from a branding and product development perspective. So I started going to the conferences that were around here and to the meet ups and because it’s such a small world I started meeting a lot of the people that are now the innovators in the space. Then we got involved with mentoring at Canopy Boulder. We’re really excited about a lot of the companies that we see going through that program and what we do is we help companies with brand strategy, we help them with naming companies or naming products, writing around story, helping to come up with marketing tag lines, and then designing logos, designing custom structures for packaging, designing all the graphics that go on to the packaging that go into marketing materials, websites, and now helping companies that are going off to investment with their pitch decks.

Matthew: Wow.

Jamie: And in some cases even if a client doesn’t have a budget to hire a photographer for a photo shoot we’ll even do that in our studio. So we’ve kind of become a one stop shop to get brands off the ground or if a brand has been in the market and they’re getting a lot of traction we really need to take their brand to the next level we can help companies with that as well.

Matthew: So for a new company that’s just starting that doesn’t have a logo, branding, or anything yet what advice would you offer so they can put their best foot forward? I mean it’s really a pivotal time because I notice that we’re moving out of the 1.0 of the cannabis world where even my own brand I have a cannabis leaf on there. It’s green but I recognize it’s time to evolve to something else, a second iteration of the cannabis look and feel of what consumers and people want in general. So with that in mind how does someone put their best foot forward in creating their cannabis brand?

Jamie: Well I think the first thing you said there is the first thing people should consider is to try to get them away from doing the stereotypical things that we see around marijuana and avoid using the pot leaf in your logo and get away from using the tie dye gradient as your color palette. I think the main thing to separate yourself is to think of your brand as more of a lifestyle brand then a pot product and then consider how your brand is going to fit in to your user’s lifestyle. I think it’s also a good idea to take a look at the landscape or the category that the brands going to live in and identify that sliver of the market that they think they can own and then just go for it.

I think it’s also a good idea to look outside of your industry for inspiration. If you have a smoking product maybe you look at furniture companies or end carriers or beauty products. Maybe the way you see that a lamp illuminates a room will give you an idea for how to package your product or maybe the way an architecture firm tells their story will inspire how you talk about your brand but by broadening your inspiration pool you’re going to have more of a unique collection of resources to pull from and ultimately it’s going to help you develop more of a unique brand for yourself.

Matthew: Okay and how about an existing cannabis brand? There’s companies out there that have some traction. Maybe they have a logo and some branding and messaging but it’s really not a fit. It’s not honed or really crafted or contoured to the needs of their customers. What would you suggest for people in that boat?

Pika: I guess the trick is to really find out why your logo or your branding or your messaging whatever it is that isn’t resonating with your customers try to figure out why it’s not resonating which I know is a lot easier said than done but one thing you could do is to start by asking a few people from your target market what they think about your branding. This could be friends or family or co-workers or anyone but really just make sure it’s your specific audience and not just a general cannabis user. Try to figure out why they would or wouldn’t buy or use your product. What do they feel when they look at your logo like if you’re selling a product at a premium price does it look like it’s worth the extra cost? Do they feel like they’re paying for the quality and are they willing to pay extra for quality?

Matthew: Yeah.

Pika: If you’re selling a medicinal product does it look effective? Does it look like it will do what you’re promising it will do and if the problem is that people don’t believe that your product will do what you’re claiming it will then you have to figure out how to get them to trust you.

Matthew: Good point. Now Pika you have a flare for illustrating ideas during brainstorming sessions. When you were talking with me about this it sounded really interesting. I had never really seen or heard someone that can do this personally. Can you talk a little bit about how you can do that and what happens during that process?

Pika: Yeah. I used to work at an innovation consultancy called What If and I’d sit in during their brainstorming sessions with clients and quickly sketch up ideas that were being discussed in the team. So whether it was trying to come up with new products or services I would just illustrate them on the spot and it was great because it would give everyone something to instantly react to and build on and at the end of the session there would be walls covered in all these visualized ideas and you could literally see everything that the group had come up with that day and so yeah it was just really great because you could figure out is this idea working or is it something that just sounded great in my head but now that I see it now it’s actually probably not something that’s right for whatever problem we’re trying to solve.

Matthew: And are there any helpful exercises an individual or team can do to crystallize what their branding and messaging should be cause that’s back to that kind of product market fit and be getting into the consumer’s head about why they’re buying it and the benefit and so forth?

Jamie: Yeah I think if the company or the people that launch their product have a unique story of how or why they came up with the product or what problem they’re solving that’s a really good place to start to build the brand and kick off the brand story and it’s great because then it’s an authentic story that you have to tell. But I think the other thing that you want to think about is if you’re launching one product you want to try to forecast what all is going to live under that brand. Maybe it’s going to be that that one product is what the brand is but if in a short time you’re going to have three or four more products under that umbrella then making sure that you set up the right umbrella brand to support everything that you’re going to have is a really good idea as well.

Pika: Just to elaborate a little bit on what Jamie was saying as far as exercises that could help I think what helps sometimes is to think of your brand as a person and that way you can start to really build its personality. So you can ask yourself is this brand fun, creative, is it serious, is it quiet and then going further.

Matthew: Does it have Tourette’s or a weird feature that people are complaining about.

Pika: Yeah and I mean when you start to personalize it in that sense or personify it I think everything else can fall into place in a more maybe tangible way. So when you’re thinking about the messaging or the colors or the visuals that you use relating it back to that person does it make sense that that person would say that or do those things or act that way? It’s easier to think about what’s right for your brand so that it doesn’t feel like a brand that’s got multiple personalities and so yeah you can see how does it speak? Is it loud? Is it witty? Does it get right to the point? What does it look like? Is it sophisticated or masculine or young and then if you want you can also take it a step further. Imagine your brand is a kid going to its first day of school and you want to know how does it stand out from all the other kids. What’s going to make it unique or different and if you can’t find a reason or a thing that does make it unique or different it could be a sign that you’re entering a super saturated market and you have a real uphill battle ahead of you.

Matthew: Great points. Now packaging let’s pivot to that. I’ve really started to notice packaging recently over the last couple years and have an appreciation for companies that can take the time to invest in their packaging and also I can tell when something is packaged well that I subconsciously maybe I’m willing to pay more for it when packaging itself is not necessarily really expensive. There’s a big ROI there so can you talk a little bit about the importance of packaging and how companies and brands should be thinking about their own packaging?

Jamie: Yeah when we approach packaging we always try to find a design or find a structure that’s interesting to the product and houses the product properly but if your long term goal is to have a custom structure but you’re just getting your product into the market you might end up going to a stock structure that’s cheaper just to get your product to market and then once you see that there’s a need for it and you’re generating some revenue then you can go to that custom structure that you’re looking at. Another thing like you talked about if it feels nice in your hands that’s going to draw people to it as well. So you might look at different finishes that are in line with your brand and in line with your price point. Do you use gold or silver foils or do you use screen print metallic ink or do you use spot varnishes?

These are all options that can really help elevate what your packaging is but when you package your product I think it’s also a good idea to think about how your customer is going to see your product and how they’re going to interact with it so you might look at where it’s going to be displayed and where it’s going to be sold. For example if it’s going to be in a dispensary you might talk to the dispensaries or talk to the bud tenders and find out if it’s going to be in a glass case, if it’s going to be hung on the wall behind them, or maybe you have the opportunity to do a little display that’s going to sit on top of the countertop and then if you sell your product online you’re going to have to rely on your photography to capture the unique features of what your product has and then your opportunity is when you package it for them to receive in the mail you make sure that it’s a memorable experience.

What kind of materials are you using? Do you have any clever little messages that are revealed as they open the product? I think everybody always uses Apple as a good example for packaging and I think it does apply in this case. When you get your Iphone or your computer it really is an experience and the products reveal to you as you open it. It’s not just thrown in a box. So the best thing is to do what you can to show your product well and make it feel like something that your customer is going to be really excited to open and they might even want to keep the packaging because it’s so nice.

Matthew: Great points and also a lack of packaging sometimes. In Apple’s case I think the first Iphone came with no instructions. I mean that’s pretty telling in its own way that you don’t even need instructions to operate it.

Jamie: Yeah absolutely and then in some cases it is a matter of you have to educate them. So then we always look at what is the Apple way of doing that? What’s the 1, 2, 3 that tells them perfectly clear of how to use this product.

Matthew: Let’s talk a little bit about mistakes and what people run into when they’re creating branding and packaging and all these things. Is there one or two things that stand out in terms of mistakes you see clients make or have made by the time they get to you that maybe people can think about sidestepping when they create their brand?

Pika: Yeah. This is I guess the most common mistake is one that we find isn’t really intentional and a lot of people might not even be aware of it but it’s when owners of companies or products get too personal with their brand and by this I mean with their branding and specifically their logo. For example if they first launched their company maybe they were bootstrapping their branding and made their logo themselves or they had a cousin or an aunt who could help them out for free and so they have this really emotional connection with their logo. It was their first and it was the face of their company for a long time so they don’t think there is anything wrong with it and are reluctant to make any changes or too many changes.

And so really the thing that we try to tell people is when you create a brand try to separate yourself from your brand. The brand isn’t you. It’s not art. It’s not an extension of yourself or an expression of your feelings. It’s a product or a service that is hopefully filling a need in another person’s life. So when you make decisions make sure you’re asking yourself what’s right for the brand not necessarily what do I like personally. So don’t rule out the color yellow for instance just because you or your partner hates it but to that same point you’re the one that has to live with your brand so at the end of the day make sure that whatever you create is something you’re happy and proud to live with and then the second point would also be to find good partners to help build your brand in an effective way. Don’t think you can or should do everything yourself. You’ll still be the captain. You’ll steer the ship but find good product designers or web designers or marketing people or whoever the expert is in the field that you need help with so that you can really focus on what you do best for your company.

Matthew: Great points. I want to really zero in on differentiating and give listeners some public examples of brands that have done a good job of differentiating themselves. Is there a company or two you might be able to highlight that has done a good job branding their cannabis company?

Pika: Yeah. I think this might be an obvious designer choice but Leafs By Snoop is really great and this will go against what we said earlier about not having to use the obvious cues but even though they use the leaf on it and it’s like their main symbol I think it’s done in a really elegant and classy way. The branding and packaging overall just look like a range of beauty products and not your obvious cannabis product. They have interesting structures to house their products. They have different finishes to add that premium touch to the brand and they also have it’s like a more subtle detail but the copywriting is really cool. One of their products is called Dog Treats and it’s playful and descriptive and it’s not trying too hard and then also carries in a little bit into the types of flavors that they’re offering for their edibles. So it’s not just a dark chocolate but there’s strawberries and cream with waffle bits and peanut butter gems and I don’t know that I would try all these things but they were really different and it’s cool just to see that out there.

Matthew: That is cool. He has some talented people that help him for sure. He’s got so much stuff going on.

Pika: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jamie: Yeah and then another brand that I think they’re doing really good stuff is IVXX. It’s a very minimal design that’s executed very well. It’s really nothing more than a well crafted logo with a unique name. A very subtle pattern and some gorgeous colors on simple elegant packaging and then they also take it a step farther and their website is done really well. It’s a real branded experience where every little element is considered from the black and white photography and videos that you see on the homepage to the rollover effects and then the pop out windows. I really think they did a great job and I also think companies like IVXX and Leafs By Snoop is really elevating the way people in cannabis are seeing branding and packaging. So it’s really great to see stuff like that out there.

Matthew: Yeah. So IVXX is an infused products company?

Jamie: Yeah.

Matthew: Okay pretty cool. I’m at their website now. I just pulled it up. You’re right. It’s www.ivxx.com. Very sleek minimalist and very interesting overall. So I encourage people to check those two out Leafs By Snoop and IVXX. So how do you text your color and narrative get woven together to give a cannabis focused business its unique brand identity?

Jamie: Yeah so a brand is made up of all the components that are going to live out in the world together. Once you identify what your brand is going to stand for and then what sliver of the market you’re going to own then you’re going to develop a look and feel through a logo, through color palettes, icons, supporting patterns, unique packaging, website, product design but all these things are going to have a consistent esthetic to them to make them feel like they’re part of the family and then the other important part is the tone of your brand. How does it sound? Are you giving it a point of view and a certain attitude that’s going to help to distinguish it from the other brands? The idea is that every time somebody interacts with your brand they get a consistent quality experience that’s in line with what you set out to create for the brand.

Matthew: So let’s go to personal development questions here. I’ll start with you Pika. Is there any book that when you look over the arc of your life has had a big impact on your that you’d like to share with the CannaInsider listeners?

Pika: Yeah. I wouldn’t say that it was one book that has a massive impact on my life but one that definitely influenced how I think and work was its called “Sticky Wisdom How to Start a Creative Revolution at Work.” It’s just a great guide on how to be creative. How to think about being creative, how to problem solve creatively no matter what the task at hand is, and it’s a super quick and easy read. It’s something you can always refer back to if you need a creativity refresher. So I definitely recommend that to anyone that might feel like they aren’t creative or they might say oh I don’t know how to think like that. It’s something that can apply to anyone no matter what your background is.

Matthew: That’s great. I want to check that out. One book that I’m going to throw in there is called “Cradle to Cradle” by William McDonough.

Pika: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matthew: That book is probably one of the top five best books I’ve ever read and the book itself is actually not even made from paper. He made the book of some other compound that’s recyclable and when put in water can be molded into other things as an expression of how to think about design differently right down to the very book he wrote it on and he challenges the reader all the time when there’s problems in your life you run into. It’s a design problem. It’s nothing more and has you reorient your thinking. I just found it extremely helpful and I still go back to that book all the time. So I’ll throw out that plug for “Cradle to Cradle.” Jamie how about a tool web based or otherwise that you use daily or weekly that you consider an absolute must have that you would recommend to listeners?

Jamie: Well I think when we approach design problems we always approach it from gathering all the information that we have to solve for and then we sit down at the table. We grab a paper and pencil and we start sketching out ideas that solve the problem. So a lot of people will go right to tools to execute ideas where I think it’s solving the problem, coming up with a lot of solutions, and then deciding what you’re going to move forward with; what’s worth moving forward with. So I recommend paper and pencils.

Matthew: I like it. You’re going Amish on us and we probably need to do another one once in awhile and get away from the technology. So I like your recommendation.

Jamie: Oh and then we do use the computer but after we have the ideas done we go to it and we use Adobe Illustrator to render our ideas in a finished, polished way.

Matthew: Okay.

Jamie: Yeah.

Pika: I think just to add to that the reason pencil and paper are so great is that you don’t become too precious with what you’re drawing or sketching up. It doesn’t feel like it has to be perfectly in place or finalized by sketching it. You can be loser and rougher and just get that idea out of your head and on to paper to see if it’s working or not.

Matthew: Great points. Pika and Jamie as we close how can listeners find out more about your firm and the services you offer?

Pika: You can check out our website www.crocandplover.com and I’ll just spell that in case anybody has trouble finding us. It’s c-r-o-c-a-n-d-p-l-o-v-e-r.com.

Matthew: Great. Jamie and Pika thanks so much for coming on CannaInsider today. We really appreciate it.

Pika: Thank you. Thanks for having us.

Jamie: Thanks Matt.

If you enjoyed the show today please consider leaving us a review on ITunes, Stitcher, or whatever app you might be using to listen to the show. Every five star review helps us to bring the best guests to you. Learn more at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/itunes. What are the five disruptive trends that will impact the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/trends. Have a suggestion for an awesome guest on CannaInsider? Simply send us an email at feedback(at)cannainsider.com. We’d love to hear from you.

Please do not take any information from CannaInsider or its guests as medical advice. Contact your licensed physician before taking cannabis or using it for medical treatments. Lastly the host or guests on CannaInsider may or may not invest in the companies or entrepreneurs profiled on the show. Please consult your licensed financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

Final disclosure to see if you’re still paying attention this little whistle jingle you’re listening to will get stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Thanks for listening and look for another CannaInsider episode soon. Take care. Bye bye.


Husband and wife design team Jamie and Pika Stearns have helped many famous brands hone their branding, packaging and design, including; Disney, Best Buy and Coca Cola. Jamie and Pika have now turned their focus to helping cannabis-focused companies improve their branding and customer experience.

Key Takeaways:
2:18 – Jamie and Pika’s background as artists and designers
6:37 – Jamie talks about creating your cannabis brand
8:19 – How to improve your cannabis branding
9:56 – Pika talks about brainstorming idea
14:26 – Jamie talks about the importance of packaging
17:45 – Pika discusses common branding mistakes
20:12 – Examples of companies with great branding
24:16 – Pika, Jamie and Matthew’s book recommendations
27:38 – Croc and Plover contact info

Learn more at:
www.crocandplover.com

Important Update:
What are the five trends that will disrupt the cannabis market in the next five years?Find out with your free guide at: http://www.cannainsider.com/trends

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The Five Disruptive Trends Shaping The Cannabis Industry Now

Cannabis Stocks Getting Better? with Alan Brochstein

alan brochstein

Alan Brochstein of 420 Investor walks us through publicly traded cannabis companies. He makes important distinctions between the Canadian and US traded cannabis stocks and looks ahead to what will be the tipping point to look for.

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Matthew: Hi I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com. That’s www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com. Are you an accredited investor looking to be part of some of the most sought after private cannabis investment opportunities? Get on our free private investment alert service at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/invest. Once you have subscribed to the investor alert service you will get access to curated opportunities that the public will simply never see. Again that URL is www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/invest. That’s www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/invest. Now here’s your program.

The different ways you can invest in cannabis businesses and cannabis business can raise money is changing. There are a lot of pitfalls and opportunities that come with investing in any new market. To help us walk through the cannabis investing landscape is Alan Brochstein of 420 Investor. Alan welcome back to CannaInsider.

Alan: Hey Matt. Thank you so much it’s great to be back.

Matthew: Alan to give us a sense of geography can you tell us where you are in the world today?

Alan: I am smack dab in the middle of Houston, Texas.

Matthew: Great. Alan we had you on a couple years ago and we were talking about cannabis investment then but can you tell us a little bit about how that’s changed in the last couple years?

Alan: Yeah sure. Actually this is my third time on. I had a really good time with Jay Czarkowski.

Matthew: That’s right, that’s right.

Alan: Yeah, yeah, yeah but that’s been a long time since that first one even though the amount of months that’s passed may not be that great. I have to answer that question two ways Matt. First of all things have not changed that much unfortunately but at the same time they’ve changed a lot and so the ways they haven’t changed and I know we’ll talk more about this is the wild west mentality of the penny stocks remains. So that’s unfortunate and I mean I guess I should be thankful that’s why my subscribers at 420 Investors stay with me because it is just very; a lot of potholes pun intended there when it comes to investing in publicly traded cannabis companies.

But I’ll tell you what’s changed; two things. First of all the environment for the overall industry is improving and so one of the things I talk about a lot at 420 Investor is to be careful about the correlation between the stocks and the industry. They’re not the same because unfortunately most of these penny stocks aren’t real cannabis companies. So that’s a difficult lesson for people to learn. So we’ve had a lot of progress since I was on with you the first time. The CARERS Act that was introduced a little over a year ago and a lot of other legislation. We are now seeing the real beginnings of the Federal government trying to figure its way out of this war on drugs. How they can remove marijuana from that debate and we’re not quite there yet but I think anybody looking at this industry has to appreciate that and also at the same time we’ve really seen a lot of progress in the industry with more states moving forward all these experiments that have been going on.

Nothing is perfect but even Governor Hickenlooper in Colorado who was an opponent initially; certainly not an advocate has come full circle now and sees the real potential. So I think that part is all good and I’d say also from the stock investors perspective we’ve seen the development of the Canadian market and we can talk more about that later but I think that’s one of the big differences between now and when I spoke with you in I guess 2014 about I think we have some real cannabis companies that people can invest in and there’s probably one in the U.S. as well but that’s the big changes Matt.

Matthew: Let’s rewind a little bit and talk a little bit about your credentials and your background so people will get a sense because not everybody may have heard the first interview. I just want to give people a sense of why you’re involved in cannabis investing and so forth.

Alan: Sure. So this is not where I would’ve ever imagined I would’ve been. To back it up a lot I was a capital-l Libertarian in high school. I never tried cannabis back then; I did in college but I was out there arguing for legalizing cannabis as a 15 year old and I worked in the Libertarian party well it was called marijuana back then obviously but so I had a long history of being pro cannabis and then obviously like most people in college I was definitely pro cannabis but I got married when I was 25 and I guess I was dating my wife for a year before that and that’s how I know. That’s when I didn’t use cannabis from age 24 on until all of a sudden I stumbled onto the cannabis publicly traded stocks in early 2013 and I was horrified.

I looked at these companies that were trading and they were a joke and they remain a joke for the most part; those specific companies but I started to write about them. I had a very large following on Seeking Alpha at the time and tens of thousands of people that were following my normal investment articles that I was writing on Seeking Alpha and I was an independent analyst working with several different institutional money managers at the time and just started to spend more and more time on the sector and brought myself up to speed on the medicinal benefits, a lot of the social aspects, social injustices, the economic benefits, public policy benefits, and really learned more and more about cannabis and six months later I launched 420 Investor.

Matthew: Okay and what is you have the initial CFA after your name what does that mean?

Alan: Well so I joked that it stands for Cannabis Financial Analyst but it actually stands for Charter Financial Analyst and a lot of your listeners may not be familiar with that but the CFA Institute which oversees that they have been doing this I think since the 60’s or the 70’s. I earned mine in the mid 90’s and to earn it you have to pass three tests. I just barely passed the last one but I did pass on the first three tries and so the charter basically signals that you have made a commitment to learning a body of knowledge and that you embrace strong ethics which we know is lacking in the financial industry unfortunately. So that’s what it is.

Matthew: Now that’s an interesting background to get into the cannabis finance space. When you’re looking at the over the counter stocks which some people call perhaps penny stocks, they are extremely volatile. Is there room in everybody’s portfolio for some cannabis stocks do you think?

Alan: So I think that that’s a very dangerous assumption. These stocks are extremely volatile Matt and for the most part even the ones that I think are legitimate companies being on the OTC or over the counter really makes it difficult. I started 420 Investor with a lot of optimism. I maybe should have called 420 Trader but hope springs eternal. Here we are almost three years later and it’s still pretty much a trading mentality and you have to be very careful. So when you say is there room in someone’s portfolio I’d say only for those that are fully aware of the risks of the volatility and the risks of fraud. The OTC consists of companies that either file with the SEC or if you can believe it many that don’t even file with the SEC. So I don’t think there’s any room for a company that won’t file with the SEC in anyone’s portfolio for the long term.

Matthew: That’s pretty funny. I can’t be bothered to file.

Alan: I’m too busy defrauding people.

Matthew: Yeah.

Alan: So yeah. No I think we’re seeing some progress and we’ve seen some companies come to market in a more respectable way but even that we’re just not there in terms of liquidity, in terms of earnings things like that. The real cannabis industry is outside of the publicly traded sector.

Matthew: Now just how volatile are we talking about here when we say cannabis stocks are volatile?

Alan: So they vary. Sometimes they just sit there to be quite frank which can be a little bit frustrating for a lot of people but a really good story this year; one that I followed. This one goes back as a matter of fact if I could rewind a little over three years ago when I started looking at the space this one was there. It’s Terra Tech and there symbol is (TRTC).

Matthew: Sure.

Alan: And I think it’s probably the most widely held name now most actively traded and I followed it very closely really since the summer of 2013 and it’s probably the only stock that was around back then that was a U.S. company cause there is one foreign company we could talk about but the drill the rest of them aren’t real and they’ve always filed with the SEC and it’s been a mess. I mean it’s been a struggle and it’s a real company but it’s been a struggle and so when you ask about the volatility it was sitting at really between 8 and 10 cents for about six or seven months in the back half of 2015 after the end of 2014 they got a license or several licenses in Nevada and the stock had spiked up to as high as about 60; so 60 cents down to 8 cents in about five or six months. It bases between 8 and 10 cents roughly; maybe a little bit higher than that for seven months. The next thing you know it’s at 60 cents again and now it’s back today down to 30 cents but so that probably gives people a sense of the volatility. In early 2014 there were a lot of stocks that went up 20 fold, 30 fold, 40 fold that was just crazy.

Matthew: Wow, wow and there’s a momentum to that where people go oh my God it’s doubled now I’m going to jump in and then they say it’s triple and other people jump in.

Alan: Yeah.

Matthew: And it’s like a crazy train.

Alan: Yeah and you go to the grocery store and when the prices go up you cut back. You find something else but stocks don’t work that way. It’s the exact opposite. When they’re going down presumably getting a little bit better people want to sell. They don’t want to buy and when they’re rising people want to chase them. So yeah you got that one nailed.

Matthew: So you mentioned the OTC stocks or over the counter stocks in one bucket is companies that don’t file and in another bucket is companies that do file. For both those buckets if you were to put them together what percentage would you say are quality enough to even look at?

Alan: So okay there’s not a single one that doesn’t file that I would put into that camp even if they did file. So I understand why they don’t file. Of the 360 names or so that I’m tracking and if I pull out the Canadian ones that have U.S. listings maybe we’re down to about 340 or something like that. I don’t see how there’s more than about 20 that are even worth paying attention too.

Matthew: Wow okay.

Alan: And paying attention too does not mean invest in them either Matt so.

Matthew: They have potential so you’re watching.

Alan: They have potential and I have a focus list. One of the things; so I’ve been in stocks really since 1998. I was in bonds before that. Investment is my whole career since 1986 but one of things I started to do and I found really helpful especially when I was working for multiple clients or managing other people’s money as well is to create a watch list. So a watched focus list is the same concept and a lot of investors in general don’t understand that concept. They just get an idea on Tuesday and they buy it on Wednesday. That’s not the way I roll and so just when it comes to investing in general I follow the technicals or the charts on the watch list. I keep up with the fundamentals and the watch list so I’ve done the same thing at 420 Investor where I create a watch list and sometimes this is difficult for people to understand.

I have some real crap on that watch list but it gets on there because it’s actively traded in liquid and it represents the market. So the best analogy I could see would be not every company in the SNP 500 is really a great company necessarily. Some of them aren’t going to be around in a few years. They’re going to fail but at the same time you should pay attention to them because they represent the market. So in that same vein a lot of my focus list are these crappy names that people trade because they have Q Tickers or whatever it is and then I have some other names on there that are decent companies that trade so that’s a really good one and then I have some companies on there that hardly ever seem to trade but they seem like they have some promise. So that’s kind of what I do but my focus list is 25 names right now. It’s very heavily dominated by Canadian names. If you strip those out we’re below 20 and I don’t see how I can ever recommend more than 10 of those maybe if that gives you a sense of how narrow the universe is.

Matthew: So you mentioned fundamentals there and I appreciate looking at the fundamentals but I also have come to the realization that we don’t really live in a free market economy. We live at least in the financially we have a command control economy where we have the Federal Open Markets Committee at the Federal Reserve that dictates the price of money. They also do a lot of crazy, desperate shenanigans like quantitative easing and through kind of opening and closing these flood gates not only do we experience inflation and higher asset prices but it distorts markets in a lot of ways. Does that make it more challenging for you to say well here’s what I think from a fundamental point of view because the fundamentals are somewhat distorted because the mal investment genesis being these central banks that control everything?

Alan: Well so let me acknowledge that I agree with what you’re saying but I’ll say I don’t think it really impacts to a great degree the cannabis stocks. So one of the manifestations of what you say if money is too easy then people will borrow and they’ll speculate and so that feeds into real estate and things like that. I don’t think that really feeds into the cannabis sector. It’s too much under the radar. The OTC really keeps out 90% of the people in the world would never touch an OTC stock. So I don’t think that there’s a really big reach from these overarching market forces into the cannabis stocks but I would say it’s a very valid criticism. I’m one of the few people that really does look at the fundamentals which is not fun trust me on that. Not fun to look at the fundamentals of these publicly traded stocks but I do it. So I have to say that in the long run the stocks are going to attract their fundamentals but you mentioned the volatility earlier price momentum, technical’s really dominates right now.

Matthew: Now the Canadian market is really interesting in a lot of ways. What Canadian stocks do you look at? Are there any that stick out and how do you think about Canadian stocks in general?

Alan: Sure. I’ve probably since our first interview I’ve been to Canada twice and the last time was really instructive. The first time I was in Vancouver. The second time I was in Ontario; different parts of Ontario and I got to meet with in the facilities of three of the leading what they call licensed producers at the time (17:05 unclear). So I’ll talk about them all in a moment but so I’m very grateful for Canada for a lot of reasons. Number one it’s been great for my subscribers at 420 Investor. Maybe we got lucky and for those that aren’t listening what happened was so they have a federally legal medical cannabis program which is pretty cool but it was pretty nasty the way they set it up mail order only and flower only and look what’s going on in the United States concentrates are really big.

It’s still mail order only and they now certain oils but they’re not so great. So the program is not great but it’s growing and as a matter of fact it’s growing at about 30% quarter over quarter. That comes down to about 40 million residents. You would expect ordinarily to have maybe 800,000 to a million potential patients in a country with; that’s based on looking at certain states in the United States and Israel places like that. Well that whole system is up to about I estimate about 55,000 right now. So it’s still early. So investors should at least go on the fact that unlike in the United States where all these cannabis companies have to deal with 280E or banking problems, the cash problem. All sorts of problems that companies here have to (18:33 unclear) with it’s perfectly legal in Canada and so that’s a good thing.

So we were excited about just that and then in October, Justin Trudeau who is running on a platform that included legal cannabis for adults 19 and over he won. It was amazing because it wasn’t supposed to be a win. It was supposed to be a minority; a win but with a minority and so that set off a huge rally in the Canadian stocks and so the people that were in the stocks made a lot of money. Luck? I don’t know whatever.

Matthew: Yeah.

Alan: I didn’t predict it was going to happen but you have to be in the right place at the right time so Canada now looks like it will legalize and there are; I’m tracking. I have an index. I think it’s the only index out there where I track the Canadian publicly traded stocks. There’s eight licensed producers out of about I think there is about 20, 22 total right now eight of them that are actually trading on their own. Then I included ninth company that makes investments in several of them and owns one 100% so I mean if you want to talk about these companies we can but these companies is able to raise capital, they have decent liquidity, some of them do anyways and they have a good future Matt.

Matthew: Are you curious about what CBD can do for you? Our friends at Pure CBD Vapors have created vaping liquid with CBD in it. They are offering CannaInsider listeners a 10% off coupon code on all CBD vaping liquids. Use coupon code INSIDER 10. That is INSIDER 10 and you can use that code at www.purecbdvapors.com. Again that is www.purecbdvapors.com. Just a reminder I am not a doctor and I’m not encouraging or discouraging any listener from using CBD. Consult your physician before making any medical decisions or using CBD. Now back to your program.

Matthew: Now let’s just maybe pick out one or two that you think are the most interesting.

Alan: Sure. So I’m going to tease any of the listeners. If they want to know the one I like the most I’m not going to talk about it but I have one I really love but I’ll talk about the ones that people probably want to hear about which is; so the biggest one is Canopy Growth and that was a merger between Tweed and Bedrocan. Those were two of the ones that I went to visit and I started off being a little bit leery of at the time Tweed because they were first to market and they were talking about first mover advantage and it didn’t sound right at the time but because of a huge delay by Health Canada which oversees this system. The first movers actually did have an advantage. So Canopy Growth has put together just some incredible assets. They have a massive greenhouse, they have a huge facility that used to be a Hershey’s factory and they bought Bedrocan which is more of a medicinal brand. So they’re very well positioned for legalization ahead as well as for the development of the medical market and so that’s the biggest one.

It may be a little bit expensive but Matt you’ve been around. You’ve seen this before the good stocks usually are expensive. That’s the way it works. So when I do my CFA type of analysis I come up with there’s some cheaper alternatives all things considered to Canopy Growth but Canopy Growth certainly is in the pole position right now and it’s there’s to lose but it’s not a one man; it’s not a winner take all type of thing. The other company that I like to talk about it’s really an interesting company and it’s called Aphria and it’s really gained some popularity. It has the best chart I would say of all the Canadian’s. It’s trading above its initial first trade when it went public and above the last private raise. Every raise has been at a higher and higher price.

What separates these guys they’re in Leamington, Ontario. These guys were growing flowers like not the kind you smoke but real flowers and they’re farmers. They know how to grow. What’s really kind of the greenhouse capital of North America and I went there and visited with them. Great people. They have a CEO who comes from the nutraceuticals industry and they take a very; I mean these guys are not very savvy when it comes to cannabis on any sort of personal level but they’ve brought in their expertise and I think that’s a really great story and I like Aphria as well.

Matthew: Let’s pivot to an American OTC stock MassRoots. Can you give us a little background on MassRoots?

Alan: Sure.

Matthew: Where they are now and what they’re trying to do in terms of getting on a different exchange?

Alan: Yep. So for those that don’t know of MassRoots they really go after a very big problem that people that pay attention to the cannabis industry know about which is it’s very difficult to advertise. We’ve seen all sorts of things where you can have a Facebook account with 10,000 followers and then the next thing you know you’re shut down and they don’t even explain why, the rules aren’t real clear. We’ve seen Google ads turn people down. It’s very hard to use digital. It’s very hard to use things like billboards or I’ve seen people get in trouble in Boulder, Colorado just for sponsoring a not for profit. Just putting their sign in a not for profits booth at some sort of event. So what MassRoots has done is it’s built a close community. They have about 900,000 registered users now and it allows people to be semi anonymous so they can post their cannabis related content without worrying about stigma or job related security issues; anything like that so and the idea is MassRoots creates this community and then advertisers can tap into it.

And this company became public in a very good way. They did what’s called an S1 instead of a reverse merger. A reverse merger is typically how an OTC company comes to life. It’s basically a shell. It’s not the real word because there’s a meaning for show but it’s basically you take a stock that’s not trading and it’s not worth anything and you find a real company and you push it in and so that’s not what MassRoots did. They actually started fresh and filed with the SEC. Went through what’s called the S1 process and started trading publicly. I would have to say a year and a month later it’s been a little bit disappointing. The stock has had some fits and troughs but at this point the stock is back below a dollar, it has a series of lower highs and lower lows since it started trading publicly, and they just reported; they just started to monetize and they probably started a little bit too early but this quarter that end in March 31st they had 93,000 in revenue and they had 150,000 in the prior quarter.

So they’re not moving in the right direction but it’s a great concept. They’ve done a lot of things right. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt and I think one of the things you asked about is the NASDAQ and that’s if any company has a shot of moving to the NASDAQ it will be a technology company like MassRoots. It’s probably premature for them to do so but they have filed to trade on the NASDAQ and I assume they’re still waiting to hear back. They first started talking about this at the end of August and they filed I believe in February. So this has been a long drawn out process. If they succeed I think it would be positive for two reasons; number one it would give them better liquidity and allow them to raise capital more easily and number two it would help them build their community because it would build further awareness.

Matthew: Apart from MassRoots are there a few other names in the cannabis space we should know about outside of MassRoots and Terra Tech?

Alan: Yeah. So I talked about Terra Tech and just so people understand and I do run model portfolios. I’ll disclose. I like Terra Tech a lot but I have zero position now. I have zero position in MassRoots right now. SRNA would be another one. I know you know that company.

Matthew: Yes I do its right in Boulder.

Alan: I think they’re a real company and I think I might have mentioned earlier that these OTC companies have to contend with a lot of issues. It’s hard enough being a cannabis company; it’s hard enough trying to get people to pay you when they have wheelbarrows of cash. There’s all sorts of issues that make it difficult to work in the cannabis industry in general but when you’re a penny stock it’s even harder and let me give you the positives on SRNA are; one of the big problems with the cannabis industry is it sucks up energy. The lighting creates a lot of heat and then you have to cool and so SRNA has some technology to address this using chilled water and they have some dehumidifiers as well and that’s been their bread and butter and then they have a new product which has some patent protection to it reflectors some of which are cooled with water and then they have a future product that they’re developing as well which is essentially a hybrid greenhouse that also integrates their technology. So I’m not going to get into the negatives too much but this is a company; I just told you I was kind of disappointed MassRoots had 93,000 dollars in sales. These guys just reported 2.5 million in sales.

Matthew: Great.

Alan: And so the sales part is going in the right direction. They’ve struggled historically with too much cost. I’ll tell you a funny story quickly which was they sent out a holiday card at the end of 2014 when they had a million in revenue for that whole year and they sent out a holiday card with 30 people in it and all my subscribers like whoa this isn’t going to work. You can’t have 30 people working for a company with a million in revenue. Well they’ve grown a lot since then and they’ve cut back but the moral of that story is you don’t have to make a profit Matt but you have to be in a position to scale and you can’t just be throwing money down the drain. This company had really bad management. The founder picked the wrong partners to start with and he spent a lot of time fixing it. I think they’ve addressed it now. I don’t know if you ever met their new CEO that they just named yesterday. He started June 15th as CEO but he’s their COO now, Trent Dusay. Do you know him?

Matthew: I think I have, I think I have.

Alan: Yeah. So and I don’t know his cannabis experience so I always tell people when you’re looking at these companies whether they’re public or private you want to find teams that have a good balance of just normal business experience; hopefully successful business experience and so this guy built an IT outsourcing firm and sold it for millions of dollars so that kind of fits the bill but you also want to find people that do have that cannabis expertise. Well Steven Keen the Founder of Hydro Innovations which was merged into SRNA he knows cannabis very well. So that’s something that when people are looking at SRNA they should take into account that you can check that box. The management there now reflects both sides of the equation; the cannabis experience and the real world business experience.

Matthew: Institutional investors like pension funds and mutual funds and insurance companies need to trade much larger volume of stocks and securities and is currently available in the cannabis marketplace but do you see the sentiment changing at all where some of these big institutional players are starting to maybe think hey at some point we may look at this?

Alan: So mixed answer on that. We didn’t talk about GW Pharma but that’s probably the best publicly traded stock. It’s a biotech so it’s risky but institutional investors definitely invest in that one. We talked about Canada. They definitely invest there. Fidelity for one but there’s others so but when it comes to the rest of the space I mean your question pretty much answered it. There’s just not enough liquidity right now. A lot of times institutional investors are prohibited from buying an OTC stock. So we’re just not there yet but when you step back and look at the broader industry we’re definitely starting to see; in Silicon Valley we’re starting to see some traditional type of investors. These aren’t the type anybody listening to this would necessarily know very well but we’re starting to see that.

I thought we’d see these cannabis funds do really well. That’s been slow to develop. I’m hopeful that we’ll see more institutional interest. I partnered with somebody who works with institutions. What he does is sets up these lunches where a company will come in and typically a public company and discuss their company and he answers questions and so the first one he did was with a private company. It was supposed to be first; got delayed but he took Canopy Growth which is as I said earlier Tweed and Bedrocan to San Francisco and Seattle and the institutional interest was very high. So I’m hopeful that we’re going to move there but we have to have better companies and we have to have better listings I think.

Matthew: Okay. How about family offices, offices of high net worth individuals or families do you see that?

Alan: Definitely.

Matthew: They’re getting interested okay.

Alan: Yeah and there’s some people that are having events around that and I hear from people every now and then and they always make me promise not to say who they are but it’s some pretty impressive people.

Matthew: So who are they Alan?

Alan: Yeah I’ll tell you.

Matthew: Okay here’s a challenge for you. If I were to give you a 100,000 dollars in cash right at this moment and say it had to be invested in cannabis stocks by the close of the next trading day and you’d have to leave the funds invested for at least a year what stocks would you pick?

Alan: Do I get to keep the money at the end or no?

Matthew: We’ll talk about that later.

Alan: Oh okay. Well I don’t know if I want to answer this one. I have a model portfolio and so I’m not going to answer that one. People pay me a lot of money to answer that one and I’m not giving that away for free.

Matthew: Okay, okay.

Alan: But I would say this I am not; that whole premise doesn’t work unfortunately to buy and hold for a year. I just want people to understand that. I’m very careful with what I say and how I say it to my subscribers. Unfortunately a lot of people came in. We talked about this earlier how people like to buy when things are going up and in 2014 I had; my subscribers went from 165 to 2,000. We’re down below a 1,000 now but a lot of people chased when those prices were going up. Now a lot of these people stayed with me and some of them didn’t but some of them got down right suicidal. They were doing all sorts of things that they shouldn’t have been doing. Poor risk management but I’m very careful what I say. I will say this as a tease to anybody that wants to connect with me later. There’s one stock that I’ve told my subscribers I think it will double by the end of this year and triple by the end of the next year.

Matthew: Hmm... interesting that is a tease yeah.

Alan: I won’t say that (35:06 unclear) I mean what we usually talk about is how this stock looks good right now compared to that stock. That type of discussion it’s all relative not absolute.

Matthew: Right, okay. Fair enough.

Alan: I would tell you not to do it is what I would tell you.

Matthew: Okay.

Alan: There’s your answer.

Matthew: It’s a hard impulse. I mean you’re talking about people are getting suicidal but it’s a hard impulse to train yourself for good stocks to buy low and sell high.

Alan: Yeah.

Matthew: Because your impulse is when it’s going down it’s going to go down further and I’ll wait and your impulse when it’s high.

Alan: Hear this out.

Matthew: Yeah. So it’s a muscle that needs to be trained. I’ve been trying to do that over the years. I’ve gotten better at it and especially when I talk to people; senior citizens that are savvy investors. They’ve just seen the cycle repeat so many times. Again we’re talking about quality stocks.

Alan: Yeah.

Matthew: That they can say oh well they’re buying now what everybody else is depressed about.

Alan: Right. That works in quality.

Matthew: Yeah.

Alan: But unfortunately I mean just to give you a little bit of a hint Canada is quality and it drops off after that real fast in my opinion.

Matthew: Okay, okay cool.

Alan: There’s something about federally legal. There’s something about the fact that not everybody has their eye on Canada so a lot of reasons. I’ve been proselytizing Canada for a while. I actually the last time I was in Denver was in October and I set up a conference; I mean a meeting there and I had Bruce Litton from Canopy Growth, I had Paul Rosen who just left Pharma King Capital, I had John Fowler from Supreme Pharma, had Adam Greenblatt who runs a clinic, and I had Greg Engle the CEO of Tilrey which is owned by Privateer.

Matthew: Sure.

Alan: On this panel and just to go to that whole point about contrarianism. I thought this was going to be a huge draw. This is the first time we had these leaders from Canada in the United States on the same podium and there were like 15 people in the room. It was a complete embarrassment.

Matthew: Wow those are big names.

Alan: Yeah and so and then okay just to back it up that was October 12th I think. Well the election was a week later and the stocks like doubled. It was a great time. I hope that the 15 people that were in the audience then bought at least one of those stocks but anyway.

Matthew: Very interesting. Alan let’s talk a couple personal development questions here. As you look over the arch of your life is there a book that stands out as having a huge impact on your personal or professional development that you would recommend to CannaInsider listeners?

Alan: So I hate to do this. I listen to all of your interviews. I appreciate that you do them all. I listened to Roy Bingham a few weeks ago and he took my book and so rather than come up with a different book I’m going to go with the same one. The author is Clay Christensen and it’s called “The Innovators Dilemma.”

Matthew: Yes.

Alan: And he has a whole series of books by the way that were similar to this. The Innovators Dilemma.

Matthew: How has that helped you frame?

Alan: So here’s the thing I’ve been an equity analyst since 1998 and one of the things I’ve always struggled with is what makes a company a good company and I could probably throw another few books too but a lot of times you’ll have a company that’s considered to be a great company but then they get their clock cleaned by new competition.

Matthew: Yeah.

Alan: And this book really addresses that and the need to cannibalize yourself. It’s a weird thing and so there’s going to be a lot disruptive technology in the cannabis industry over the next couple decades that’s why I think this is a really appropriate one and I’m willing to still Bruce’s; not Bruce, Roy Bingham’s book.

Matthew: Now how about is there a tool web based or otherwise that you use on a daily or weekly basis that you would say is indispensable tool to your work life?

Alan: Sure. I have a bunch of them. We can probably do a whole; I’m a small business operator and a new cannabis business I have a partner. At 420 Investor I work by myself so I’m a one and a half person firm and so there’s a whole bunch of small business tools that I could talk about but instead I’m going to tell you one that I find extremely helpful and that’s LinkedIn and a lot of people don’t use it and I’m not sure why but I have created; I started this in late 2013. It’s a LinkedIn group called Cannabis Investors and Entrepreneurs and we have about 4,100 people now; a little bit over that and it’s just a great way to connect with people and I have found if I need to reach somebody in the industry and I don’t know them LinkedIn is very helpful at me getting to those people.

Matthew: Good point. I think for me anyway I see LinkedIn and I see it’s a vast network there’s a lot going on but I don’t really leverage it like I should so point well taken there. Alan as we close how can listeners learn more about 420 Investor and New Cannabis Ventures?

Alan: Yep and we didn’t even talk about New Cannabis Ventures much but I’ll give it a two liner in just a moment but 420 Investor which is a subscription based online community that’s www.420investor.com. Pretty easy to remember and for those that are kind of not so deep into it that they want daily or 24 x 7 information I also offer a newsletter that’s a monthly summary but even within the service we have people that seem to live on the site and they’re there all the time which I appreciate it keeps it fun and we have other people that just like; I send a really good weekly summary as well. So that’s half my life and then the other half is New Cannabis Ventures and New Cannabis Ventures is kind of my attempt to connect the private cannabis industry with investors and it’s a B to B content platform aggregate so in other words like when you do an interview I will summarize it, include a link so the people can listen to it, and they can hopefully decide they want to listen to it but for our clients it’s really a platform to help them connect better with our subscribers or our readers I should call them which number about 30,000 uniques per months.

Matthew: Great.

Alan: Or we have a newsletter that goes with that also so that’s easy and it’s free. www.newcannabisventures.com.

Matthew: Great. Well Alan thanks so much for coming on CannaInsider and educating us about the cannabis investment eco system. It’s always interesting to see how it’s evolving and next time you come on I’m sure it will evolve quite a bit more.

Alan: I sure hope Matt because between this time and the last time it hasn’t quite evolved as much as I had hoped but next time hopefully.

Matthew: Well at least we’ve got something going on north of the border to talk about.

Alan: Exactly. Alright thanks so much.

Matthew: Take care Alan.

If you enjoyed the show today please consider leaving us a review on ITunes, Stitcher, or whatever app you might be using to listen to the show. Every five star review helps us to bring the best guests to you. Learn more at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/itunes. What are the five disruptive trends that will impact the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/trends. Have a suggestion for an awesome guest on CannaInsider? Simply send us an email at feedback(at)cannainsider(dot)com. We’d love to hear from you.

Please do not take any information from CannaInsider or its guests as medical advice. Contact your licensed physician before taking cannabis or using it for medical treatments. Lastly the host or guests on CannaInsider may or may not invest in the companies or entrepreneurs profiled on the show. Please consult your licensed financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

Final disclosure to see if you’re still paying attention this little whistle jingle you’re listening to will get stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Thanks for listening and look for another CannaInsider episode soon. Take care. Bye bye.

Key Takeaways:
1:30 – How has cannabis investing changed over the last couple of years
4:37 – Alan talks about his background in cannabis investing
6:31 – Alan explains what a CFA is
7:37 – Is there room in everybody’s portfolio for cannabis stocks
11:42 – Alan talks about the quality of OTC stocks
15:15 – Alan discusses the fundamentals
16:39 – Alan talks about Canadian stocks
23:53 – Alan discusses the state of MassRoots and other companies
31:11 – Alan talks about big institutional investors
33:37 – Matt challenges Alan to pick one stock to invest in
37:55 – Alan’s book recommendation
39:24 – Alan’s tool he uses on a daily basis that is crucial to his work life
40:41 – 420 Investor contact details

Learn more at:
http://www.cannainsider.com/141
and
http://marketfy.com/item/420investor/

Important Update:What are the five trends that will disrupt the cannabis market in the next five years?
Find out with your free guide at: http://www.cannainsider.com/trends

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Integrating Cannabis into Traditional Medicine – Dr. Gregory Smith

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Matthew: Hi I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com. That’s www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com. Are you an accredited investor looking to be part of some of the most sought after private cannabis investment opportunities? Get on our free private investment alert service at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/invest. Once you have subscribed to the investor alert service you will get access to curated opportunities that the public will simply never see. Again that URL is www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/invest. That’s www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/invest. Now here’s your program.

As the ecosystem of cannabis professionals grows often doctors are left out of the conversation. Many doctors are concerned about their reputation if they recommend cannabis and many don’t yet understand what conditions can help or how to prescribe it. That is why I’ve asked Dr. Gregory Smith on to CannaInsider today to help us understand how physicians are beginning to grapple with cannabis in traditional medicine practices. Dr. Smith welcome to CannaInsider.

Dr. Smith: Oh yeah thank you Matt. I’m glad to be here.

Matthew: To give us a sense of geography can you tell us where you are in the world today?

Dr. Smith: I am at the beach in St. Pete Beach, Florida.

Matthew: Oh great.

Dr. Smith: 80 degrees and sunny here.

Matthew: Now tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into cannabis?

Dr. Smith: Yeah. I’ve been a physician for about thirty years. Six of those years in the United States Army and about fifteen years ago when I was a California physician I took the course on how to prescribe medical marijuana and I’ve been using it as part of my practice since that time. I do primary care practice, family practice, and some public health. Several years on and off in public health as well.

Matthew: Okay and recently you’ve written a book about cannabis can you tell us about that?

Dr. Smith: Yes. So it’s called “Medical Cannabis, Basic Science, and Clinical Applications” and during these years I’ve been practicing there has been no textbook out there, no science based textbook at all to help a doctor give him a companion manual to go to as different conditions arise that may respond to cannabis. So over the years I gradually transitioned so now I’m full time in medical cannabis and about two and a half, three years I started writing a textbook working closely with a very prestigious Boston publisher and to make sure it’s a peer reviewed, high quality text and it just came out about a month ago.

Matthew: Okay. Do you see doctors hesitant to recommend cannabis to patients? Is there a stigma?

Dr. Smith: Those are two questions. That first one I’ll give you a couple numbers here in the states like Colorado and California where they’ve had medical cannabis for decades; two decades only 10% have ever prescribed it once and 1 1/2% have prescribed it with any regularity. So that gives you some idea of what a minority of the population. It’s something like 700 doctors in the whole country have ever prescribed medical cannabis out of about 700,000; so one in a thousand. So yes I would say there is a problem with doctors prescribing it and the stigma is half the problem.

Matthew: Yes. Now I notice when I go to the doctor if I bring up certain topics they kind of roll their eyes like uh oh we’ve got an internet doctor here in the building. He’s got just enough information to be dangerous but do doctors have the information in general to help their patients with cannabis? I mean is that changing? Where do you see it prescribed where it is prescribed that 1% of the time?

Dr. Smith: Oh okay so that goes to; it’s being prescribed 94% of the time in states like Colorado, Washington, California. 90% of the time is for chronic pain condition which is a very huge distribution. However it’s very easy to get a recommendation letter with an issue like chronic pain where there’s not a lot of objective things to go after like there is with multiple sclerosis, PTSD; there’s some very objective findings as to just saying you have chronic back pain. So traditionally or historically it’s been 94%. Also there is a stigma because I think a certain significant proportion of the patients over these past twenty years in California and Colorado were using the medical cannabis system to bypass prohibition against recreational use of marijuana. So that’s what was going on in California for many, many years and Colorado until recently so there is that always in the back of your mind that this is a drug seeker trying to get marijuana and not for a valid medical reason and that is how most of the medical community doctors and doctors groups have looked at medical marijuana until the last couple years.

Matthew: So let’s say there is a doctor listening and they’re curious or would like to begin incorporating cannabis into their practice. What’s a way they can start to integrate cannabis into their practice for their patients as one tool on their tool belt?

Dr. Smith: Okay without plugging my book alone; a book whose title I mentioned earlier; a medical cannabis book there is a wonderful treatest which was put out about three or four years ago by the Canadian Health System which is a couple hundred page summary. It’s a little obscure the way they cite the science. It’s not so easy to use in a day to day practice for a doctor and whereas my book is specifically targeted to make it easy for day to day use for different diagnoses and there is a JAMA Summary Journal that came out about July of last year that also gave some pretty good insight to what conditions; to gain insight into what conditions it can be used for effectively.

The only thing I can think of that can tell you how a doctor can use it for dosing, for managing a patient month to month and year to year is the book I wrote. I can’t think of another without being self-aggrandizing; I can’t think of another document that tells doctors how do I start the patient, how do I follow them, what tests do I do, when do I stop it, when do I increase the dose? So that has been missing.

Matthew: Now you mentioned that you were in the Army. Were you in the Army as a physician?

Dr. Smith: Correct yeah. It was a scholarship program where they paid for medical school and I did six years active duty and got out as a major and they shot at me too many times. I thought it was time to get out.

Matthew: Did you see any use of cannabis for PTSD?

Dr. Smith: Not in the slightest. In fact we could probably use our medical license to bring up the subject in the exam room with a patient. I could probably lose my medical license.

Matthew: Wow. That’s harsh. So let’s talk a little bit about a patient kind of bringing up the subject of cannabis with their doctor. What’s a way to do that so you maximize your chances of the doctor being open to it?

Dr. Smith: Very good question. I would say for your symptom or your diagnosis. You just have a symptom that you’re wondering if it may be helpful and you do your Google search and you print that up and you bring it in to the doctor and they especially if it’s got some interesting information because there’s not much real good research. There’s going to be anecdotal information. It’s going to be non clinical trial kind of information. People with case studies or some doctor that observed this or that after you used cannabis so but bring that into the doctor so that he knows there’s some foundation and you’re not just trying to get cannabis to get high and then if you have an open minded doc he’ll go out there and research it and get back with you. He may just refer you to a website and there are two websites which I hope you bring up eventually. Where to find a doctor that is already educated and willing to listen to your needs for medical cannabis.

Matthew: Where do you see cannabis having the best response to certain symptoms or conditions?

Dr. Smith: Another good question. I’d say it has moderate effects with pain. The best evidence has been showing it helps you cut your opioid use so these people; several million in this country that are on chronic, daily opioid use. You can cut your opioid use dramatically and maybe 10% can actually stop opioids altogether and substitute it just with cannabis. So pain is a big one and along those lines then we move to arthritis and inflammatory processes. Not acute pain or acute injury but chronic pain from arthritis, chronic inflammation from an inflammatory bowel disease. It’s very, very effective in these chronic, inflammatory, painful, achy, stiff conditions that the older population tend to have.

Matthew: Yes and I witnessed that in Colorado with the baby-boomers starting to age and getting different creams and stuff for arthritis and different tinctures and similar things to help them with inflammatory or autoimmune issues. Do you think as there’s more cannabis medications available such as oils and so forth that are maybe in tablet form or something like that doctors will feel more comfortable prescribing it?

Dr. Smith: That is a huge observation Matt and so other than the stigma the other half of the reason why doctors are not prescribing it is because it’s unlike any other medication. There’s nothing else in our armamentarium; a doctors bag where it’s a plant and then you send them to a dispensary and they go home and have to smoke or vaporize or eat a cookie there are no water soluble versions in a pill and there’s no injections of it. So 99% of all medicines are water soluble and you can make a pill or an injection but the cannabis is oil based and fat soluble and you can’t make a pill or a reasonable injection yet. So it’s a different substance. There’s very little advice to them on dosing and you can get high. You can go have a car accident if you give the patient too much. So those are barriers. Other than stigma there are these barriers and they are changing quickly with the advent of biosynthetic cannabinoids.

Matthew: You are involved with Marijuana Doctors is that site where people who want to connect with a physician that’s familiar with cannabis can find those doctors?

Dr. Smith: Yeah Matt just so you know my involvement is only to help those guys grow. I have absolutely no business connection or paperwork connection other than I love what they do.

Matthew: Okay.

Dr. Smith: And the gentleman behind it is a very bright young man probably in his thirties who has produced a wonderful website. So I’m helping him get specialists. He has a real need for specialists. 95% I’m going to guess that number of the docs in the country the 700 doctors are family practitioners or general practitioners who and generally much older doctors who are willing to prescribe medical cannabis and what we need is neurologists, pediatricians, oncologists working at medical centers willing to take a look at this as a medication. So I have been giving him free advice and recommendations on how to build up his specialist database.

Matthew: Let’s go over a hypothetical treatment that involves cannabis. Could you just maybe highlight one that you see used often so we can just kind of get a sense of what that would look like?

Dr. Smith: Yeah. Let’s go with Alzheimer’s one of my particular favorites at the time. I’m involved with some Stage II trials for a cannabis medication. So there are five FDA approved medications for Alzheimer’s right now. All of them work for about six to twelve months. They reduce symptoms and then they stop working. They do not reverse or stop the progression and just making the symptoms go away for six to twelve months and then they don’t do anything. Cannabis is amazing both CBD and THC are amazing medicine for this at a low dose once at bedtime for an elderly patient 2.5 mg of each of CBD and THC; sometimes 5 mg each. It can be any format you want to give to get those medicines into the body. They prefer an edible. The old population don’t like the idea of smoking. It’s a drug in a pipe but you can give them that kind of dose once at bedtime. It takes months to make sure it’s the right dose because the evidence that it’s working is that they don’t get worse.

So if they get worse that dose isn’t working and you have to bump up to the next dose. So it’s a slow process but very effective and it actually halts the progression as well as doing the same thing that the FDA approved drugs do that helps the symptoms but it also halts the progression. So if you find someone early on in their 60’s, 70’s with only a mild case you can actually stop it from becoming a condition that requires day care and those kind of things.

Matthew: Wow. Let’s clarify I haven’t really heard too much about Alzheimer’s and cannabis as a treatment for that. So you’re saying like a one to one ratio THC to CBD?

Dr. Smith: Correct and again a bedtime dose. It can be given an edible, it can be a tincture, they can vaporize four hits and get 2.5 mg and the nice side effect is a little anti anxiety and a little relaxation which is always helpful to Alzheimer’s patient to get rid of a little bit of the agitation and the anxiety that they have.

Matthew: Let’s talk about CBD a little bit for a second. Do you think that’s kind of a gateway for physicians because there’s really no associated high with CBD so that’s how they may start is recommending something that’s CBD primarily as they warm up to cannabis as an application and they start to round it out with THC?

Dr. Smith: Yes and that’s already happened. So CBD oil is the treatment for all these little kids with intractable epilepsy’s so the 17 states that don’t have medical marijuana that do have CBD is because of these kids with the intractable epilepsy’s. If you add the 24 states and the 17 we’re getting way up there and it’s the 40’s of the number of states where you can get CBD to use for medical purposes and so docs; unfortunately it’s just pediatric neurologists who are using it and it is over the counter. It is considered a nutritional supplement and it’s over the counter in all 50 states but it’s good to get a doctor’s advice on how to use it when you’re dealing with something like intractable epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and things like that but you literally can buy it. In fact I bought some the other day at my vapor store.

Matthew: Okay and for people that aren’t familiar with CBD let’s back up a little bit. How do you describe it to patients that maybe have never heard of CBD before?

Dr. Smith: It’s a nutriceutical. So it’s a lot like all the other things at the GNC counter that have small doses; tablet size or capsule size doses that can have an impact on your health. So a small amount will have a nutritional and health benefit and its safe and doesn’t require a doctor to use it. It has very, very few side effects until you get way up in the 100s of mg so there’s essentially no side effects until you get up to the 100s of mg. So it’s a nutriceutical like you’re CoQ10 something or other oils. The fish oils and things like that. It’s that safe; literally as safe as fish oil.

Matthew: Okay.

Dr. Smith: In fact it’s safer than fish oil.

Matthew: So it’s a compound of the cannabis plant but you have some concerns about the stalk and the stem when extracting the CBD compound from a plant. Can you describe why that might be?

Dr. Smith: Yeah, yeah. You really know how to cut it right to the issues. So the CBD oil that is available in all 50 states has to originate from a hemp plant which is a cannabis sativa but it’s cannabis sativa that has less than .02% THC and so it’s essentially THC free but it also has to remain from either the stem or the stalk. You can’t take it from the bud of the hemp plant even though there is no THC in that either but the way the law is written so what happens is something called bioaccumulation. The stems and stalks accumulate pesticides, heavy metals, whatever is in the soil is multiplied by dozens of times in the stalk and stem material and not in the flowering bud at the top of the plant. So when you take that stem and stalk and hundreds of pounds of it to extract maybe one pound of CBD oil you’re getting a lot of contaminates that you really don’t want to put into what you think is a healthy elixir.

Matthew: Okay. So how do you remove impurities from CBD?

Dr. Smith: Multiple extraction processes. So most of the CBD oil that you can buy from these online websites or at your vapor store or wherever mini marts sometime have gone through three extraction techniques and so they’ve extracted with different methodologies and they’ve gotten to a liquid; a green smells like grass liquid that’s probably 70% CBD but the 30% is other things that we don’t know. So that’s what’s mostly available. There’s maybe two companies in the United States that use four extraction techniques and they end up with a 90 to 99% pure CBD oil and those companies their product would be called pharma grade and that’s a very important thing for any consumer when they’re buying CBD oil to look pharma grade. It means that it’s been certified that that’s what’s in there and 98 or 99% CBD oil and the contaminates are at a minimal level and you can get a consistent dose. So you know you’re consistently getting 5 mg when you take 2 cc or whatever it is it says on the jar. So that’s huge difference between the different CBD oil products that are out there.

Matthew: In general since The Affordable Care Act passed what kind of impact has that had on doctors in general? When you speak with other doctors over the water cooler how do they feel about it?

Dr. Smith: Well we have a lot more patients.

Matthew: Okay.

Dr. Smith: Which isn’t necessarily a good thing. It has facilitated the addition of mid level providers so nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to help us with the increased volume. So I’d say there’s pros and cons like anything. I don’t think it’s a perfect law and it was modified by politics heavily as we probably all know. So it’s not a perfect program and the results are not perfect but there are a lot more patients and we’re seeing a lot of people that would have been uninsured getting free preventative care and very inexpensive or less expensive care than they would have got without insurance.

Matthew: Okay. Now you’re working on a CBD oil would you like to tell us a little bit about that at all?

Dr. Smith: Oh okay yeah. So I’m working with a company and this company I am associated with called CBD Biotechnology’s and they are using yeast fermentation and enzymes to create biosynthetic CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids. So what they will have is a 99. something percent pure product that was never in a plant at a cost of about 1/6 per gram of material that comes from a plant so it’s much less expensive and much more pure and they’re well underway to having this kind of product. That product can then be made water soluble through some new nanotechnology and so you can now have tablets of THC, tablets of CBD, tablets of one to one. Also it’s a wonderful thing to have injectable CBD’s and THC’s. All sort of pharmaceutical grade 99.9% pure products will be coming along the pipeline that did not go through the plant growing process.

Matthew: Interesting.

Dr. Smith: Very interesting.

Matthew: Now switching to a personal development question is there a book that you would recommend to listeners that’s had a big impact on your life?

Dr. Smith: Yeah I think it’s called “Cannabis Pharmacy.”

Matthew: Okay.

Dr. Smith: It’s been out several years. I’d say 2010, 2011. I think it’s targeted at the patient. So they’ve seen the doctor, they have the diagnosis; they went to the dispensary and now what do you do? Not only what do you do at the dispensary but what do you do when you get home from the dispensary. So it’s really much more targeted at the patient, end user and what to look for. Good science, bad science that sort of handbook for the patient called “Cannabis Pharmacy.”

Matthew: Okay great and as we close can you tell listeners how they can learn more about your work and your book and so forth?

Dr. Smith: Yes so the book title I gave you and it’s at Aylesbury Press and it’s www.aylesburypress.com and we have a newsletter which you’ll be directed at medical professionals not just doctors but nurses and caregivers called the Medical Cannabis Advisor and it’s coming out every quarter where we summarize all the new studies coming out of Israel, Europe, and some in the U.S along the way like the Alzheimer’s, Melanoma, Glioblastoma Cancer, Psoriasis but there’s so many interesting articles finally coming out now that we can do the research. The last three or four years we’ve been able to start doing these clinical trials that we hadn’t been able to do for forty years. So that’s coming out every quarter.

Matthew: Awesome. Well Dr. Greg thanks so much for coming on CannaInsider. We really appreciate your time in educating us.

Dr. Smith: Oh you’re welcome Matt. I appreciate the opportunity.

Matthew: If you enjoyed the show today please consider leaving us a review on ITunes, Stitcher, or whatever app you might be using to listen to the show. Every five star review helps us to bring the best guests to you. Learn more at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/itunes. What are the five disruptive trends that will impact the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/trends. Have a suggestion for an awesome guest on CannaInsider? Simply send us an email at feedback(at)cannainsider(dot)com. We’d love to hear from you.
Please do not take any information from CannaInsider or its guests as medical advice. Contact your licensed physician before taking cannabis or using it for medical treatments. Lastly the host or guests on CannaInsider may or may not invest in the companies or entrepreneurs profiled on the show. Please consult your licensed financial advisor before making any investment decisions.
Final disclosure to see if you’re still paying attention. This little whistle jingle you’re listening to will get stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Thanks for listening and look for another CannaInsider episode soon. Take care. Bye bye.


Who better than a doctor than to help doctors understand the benefits of cannabis and then show them how to integrate cannabis into their traditional medicine practices. Dr. Gregory Smith walks us through how he is leading this change.

Key Takeaways:
1:42 – Dr. Smith’s background
2:12 – Dr. Smith talks about his book
4:09 – How often is cannabis prescribed
5:42 – How doctors can integrate cannabis into their practice
7:46 – How to bring up cannabis to your doctor
8:59 – What symptoms or conditions have the best response to cannabis
11:41 – What is the Marijuana Doctors site
12:46 – Dr. Smith talks about using cannabis to treat Alzheimer’s
16:29 – Dr. Smith describes what CBD is
18:41 – How do you remove impurities from CBD
21:07 – Dr. Smith talks about CBD oil
22:33 – Dr. Smith’s book recommendation
23:19 – Dr. Smith’s contact details

About our Guest:
Dr. Gregory Smith, MD, MPH earned his medical degree from Rush Medical School in Chicago, and a Masters of Public Health from Harvard University. He completed residency training in Preventive Medicine at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Since leaving the US Army with the rank of Major, Doctor Smith has been in primary care practice in California, Georgia and Florida for the past 25 years. He first trained on use of medical cannabis in California in 2000, and has made medical cannabis and CBD oil part of his practice since that time. Dr. Smith is an avid writer, having published two medical textbooks, a novel called Malpractice, and articles with many magazines and over a dozen peer reviewed medical publications.

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Important Update:
What are the five trends that will disrupt the cannabis market in the next five years?Find out with your free guide at: http://www.cannainsider.com/trends

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The Five Disruptive Trends Shaping The Cannabis Industry Now

Creating Quality Cannabis Infused Products That Customers Embrace

nancy whiteman wana brands

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Matthew: Hi I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com. That’s cannainsider(dot)com. Are you an accredited investor looking to be part of some of the most sought after private cannabis investment opportunities? Get on our free private investment alert service at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/invest. Once you have subscribed to the investor alert service you will get access to curated opportunities that the public will simply never see. Again that URL is www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/invest. That’s cannainsider(dot)com/invest. Now here’s your program.

As the public interest and appetite grow for edibles and infused products certain companies are assuming leadership positions and grabbing market share from competitors. One of those companies commanding a leadership position is Wana Brands. I’ve invited Nancy Whiteman, Founder of Wana Brands onto CannaInsider today. Nancy welcome to CannaInsider.

Nancy: Thank you so much Matt. Thank you for having me.

Matthew: To give us a sense of geography can you tell us where you are in the world today?

Nancy: Yes. I’m in beautiful Boulder, Colorado.

Matthew: Great and how did you get involved in the cannabis industry and come to start Wana Brands?

Nancy: Well initially I became involved in it. I had a neighbor who was making infused soda pop and we ended up teaming up with him. It turned out to be a short term partnership but I really was intrigued by the whole industry. So initially it was more of a business opportunity that attracted me but once I got into it and I started to get feedback on how our products were helping people I completely fell in love with the business and got very committed to it and very dedicated to it. I like to say it’s the only thing that I’ve done in my career professionally where people out of the blue contact me and tell me how much their products; how much my products have helped them. So that’s a pretty cool thing.

Matthew: Yes that’s very rewarding; keep you going.

Nancy: Yes.

Matthew: What are your most popular products?

Nancy: Our most popular product is our sour gummies which come in several different flavors but they are artisan made. We make them from scratch. They’re infused within the gummy not sprayed on and they’re absolutely delicious and we sell a boat load of them.

Matthew: That’s a good point there infused versus sprayed on. Can you tell us a little bit about the difference there in some of the other gummies out there?

Nancy: Yes. So other gummies when we actually make the gummy itself and our gummy actually is a vegan gummy. It’s made with pectin rather than gelatin. We are actually putting the medicine right into the gummy mixture itself and that way first of all it tastes really good because we’re very careful with our recipes and it’s very homogenized. Everything is exactly the same. When you spray hash oil or something on top of a gummy first of all you can usually smell it. You can open up the container or the bag and you can smell a big whoosh of kind of hash oil and it’s usually a pretty harsh taste and it’s also very difficult to get it consistent from gummy to gummy. So we think that infusing it is really a better way to go for gummies; really for all products.

Matthew: Yeah I actually read some research reports about how well the gummies are doing at dispensaries so well done.

Nancy: Thank you so much.

Matthew: Can you tell us a little bit about the extended release capsule and how that works?

Nancy: Yes that’s actually our Wana Caps and they come in three different THC/CBD formulations. We have a high THC which is a 10 to 1 THC to CBD, a balanced which is equal, and then we have a high CBD which is 10 CBD mg to 1 THC and the thing that makes this product really unique is that we have partnered with a pharmaceutical company in Israel who developed this extended release patent and we use their technology in the product and what it does is well several things. It basically extends the life of the product if you will. Most people report getting benefits for 8 hours and some people even up to 12 hours but the other really important thing it does is it smoothes out the experience. So unlike edibles where they can take up to 2 hours for onset this you feel the first wave of this in about 20 minutes because it’s very bio available and then it kind of builds up in the system and then as it starts to decline the second part kicks in; the extended release portion kicks in and so it’s very, very comfortable for people. They don’t have big ups and downs like they can have with edibles sometimes.

Matthew: That’s pretty interesting. How does that work? It’s like the second stage of a rocket that comes off after a period of time.

Nancy: Yes. It’s actually called fractions and they’re two different mixtures that we make for the capsules with different parts of the formulation going into each of the fractions and the first fraction releases quickly in about 20 minutes and then the second one kicks in about 4 hours later.

Matthew: And how did you arrive at what products to launch when? Is it through customer feedback, gut intuition I mean how do you come up with that?

Nancy: Oh that’s such a good question. In the early days and we’ve been around since 2010. There was a little bit of hit or miss about it. We would try stuff that we thought would be delicious and we would see what sold well but as we got into the business a little bit more what we realized is that our sweet spot if I can make a little pun here was things that had a long shelf life. We ended sort of moving out of more of the baked goods arena and more into the confectionary products. So we have the gummies, we have a lozenger called a jewel, we have the most delicious caramels in the world. I love them. Unmedicated they’re just so yummy. We’ve got drink mixes. We’ve got a chocolate roll type product. They’re all things that have a very stable shelf life and in a state like Colorado that has a pretty big geography we can only deliver to the Western slope which is the farthest most part of the state once a week.

So what we found is that the baked goods just didn’t hold on the shelf long enough. So then we’re thinking about what products to release we start there. We also have to be thinking about whether they can be clearly delineated into 10 mg serving sizes. So packing is a part of it and then of course we look competitively for what’s on the market and we try to develop products that are not just me too products but have something unique about them.

Matthew: Now in terms of the ratios; let’s circle back to the caps. You talked about a THC heavy cap, equally weighted cap, and then a CBD heavy cap. Which are most popular?

Nancy: The two most popular ones are the balanced ones and the high CBD. I think people; it’s a really interesting thing. So of course we have medical and recreational in Colorado but what we are finding is that a more medicinal product like our high CBD caps or our balanced CBD caps are actually very popular within the recreational market because a lot of people do want the medicinal benefits without all the THC but they don’t want to go through the trouble of getting their red card. So we do see it tilting towards more of a medical usage the high CBD products.

Matthew: That’s interesting and how about getting in front of dispensary owners or buyers for dispensaries? I mean at this point it’s probably not difficult at all for you because you have relationships in Colorado but if you’re going outside the state or looking to expand I mean how you present a unique value proposition to get dispensary owners interested?

Nancy: That’s a great question because the biggest challenge is that most dispensary have relatively limited shelf space. So it really is a battle for shelf space. We do I think what probably most companies do which is that we provide samples so that their patients can try them or their customers can try them, their bud tenders can try them but I think it’s gotten so, so much easier obviously now that we are better known but it really is being very persistent, being very professional, following up with people, really listening to them about the products that are working or not working, and also really wanting to work with and to understand what works for their dispensaries. So encouraging them to try some products understanding that we’ll take them back if they don’t sell and replace them with things that are selling better; that sort of thing.

Matthew: You kind of reverse the risk proposal. You put all the rick on yourself instead of them and that really makes it easy to say yes.

Nancy: Exactly because we’re very confident that our products will do well once people have an opportunity to try them and of course a lot of this business is about winning the hearts and minds of the bud tenders. So we also try to do a lot of customer events and bud tender trainings just so that people are really familiar with us as a company and are familiar with our products.

Matthew: Looking back from 2010 or even the soda pop; the cannabis soda pop days how have you seen the infused product market segment evolve since you got started?

Nancy: Oh my gosh it’s changed so, so much. When we first got it started there really was not a lot in the way of really professionally made edibles out there. A lot of them looked like something that people had made in their home kitchen and had wrapped in Saran Wrap and thrown a label on. So all of those people really either upped their game or they’re just out of the business at this point and time so there’s a lot more professionalism now then there was then. I think the second thing that I’ve really seen change is that there’s a lot more consistency in the products. I know for us we actually used a third party lab to test right from the beginning because we didn’t know how much tincture to put into a product if we didn’t know the potency of it and we adjusted that tincture with every batch but not everybody did that.

Now that we have laws in place that say basically you must third party labs and you’re held to very strict standards in terms of what the potency on the label says and what the lab says it is the products have gotten a lot more consistent and that makes me a lot more comfortable with edibles in the market place because they can be very strong for people.

Matthew: Right. Good points. Now how do you educate customers about the ways that Wana Brands differentiates itself? I mean you have a very limited label space to do that.

Nancy: Yes.

Matthew: So how do you do it? Is that more back to the bud tender as your ambassador to do that?

Nancy: Yes. That is a big part of it. We also try to provide materials that are educational both as a company and as an industry so we often are putting information pieces into our packages for example, doing bud tender trainings, making PowerPoints available to people so that they can review them after the training. I’m also the chair of the Edibles Council for the Cannabis Business Alliance here in Colorado and we’ve really worked as an industry group to put educational materials for people about edibles and safe use of edibles in general. So you have to come at it from a bunch of different angles.

Matthew: Circling back to the extended release capsules you can tell I’m interested in this is how do you or what kind of feedback do you get from customers that have used this; especially the maybe 1 to 1 CBD/THC or the CBD heavy capsules? What kind of conditions are they using this for medicinal linked use?

Nancy: Oh my gosh yeah so we’ve gotten amazing feedback on it and I should say before I even get into that one thing that I would like to mention is this is very exciting to me. It’s actually in full clinical trials in Israel right now with cancer patients and specifically looking at contribution to improving appetite, increasing weight gain, pain reduction, and just general quality of life and feeling good about life and that’s really exciting. We’re just starting to get the first round of feedback on those clinical tests but in terms of what we’re hearing here we have people who are using it for Multiple Sclerosis, we have people using it for cancer, people who are using it for Crohn’s Disease, all kinds of different conditions. People have found it to be extremely helpful and some of the testimonials we get are really, really touching in terms of what a difference it’s making in their life and often making much more of a difference than prescribed medications that they were using sort of Western medications if you will.

Matthew: Gosh that’s so true. I can’t wait for this to be widely adopted. It’s really going to have a huge impact on society; especially just even the cost. The cost of pharmaceuticals are just so high.

Nancy: Oh my gosh yes.

Matthew: (14:51 unclear) cannabis. So what are some of the challenges in being in the infused products business? I’ve heard others in the infused products business say you’re really in the regulatory business. I mean that’s what you have to cover first. What do you see as kind of your day to day challenges and long term challenges that you have to surmount?

Nancy: Well certainly I would agree with that. I recently had the opportunity to speak at the Marijuana Business Conference and my topic was about building a sustainable and strong infused products brand and my comment was it’s sort of like trying to build a brand with one hand tied behind your back because of all the regulatory constraints that are put on us as an industry and there’s challenges really constantly. Literally every year if not more frequently than that there are new regulations we have to comply with in terms of packaging, labeling, dosages. The one that’s coming up soon in October is that every product is going to have to be sprayed or stamped with a universal THC symbol so that anybody picking it up knows that there’s THC in it.

There’s just a host of regulatory issues that we’re always dealing with but I would say even beyond the regulatory issues I think the challenges for infused products have a lot to do with as an industry us doing a lot of education with people in terms of using products judicially and slowly and safely so that people have good experiences with them and don’t have any kind of a situation where they’re uncomfortable or feeling like they’re too high or they’ve taken too much. So I think that’s a really important part of our challenges as an industry as well and then just the ongoing demonizing if that’s a word cannabis both as a medicine and a form of recreation. I think that that’s clearly still a challenge for the industry when we have a substance as helpful and benign as marijuana still classified as a Schedule 1 substance you know we have a long way to go.

Matthew: You covered the challenges there how about the opportunities? What opportunities excite you the most in the next few years?

Nancy: Well certainly just for us we do have a lot of opportunities in terms of expanding our brand outside of Colorado through licensing agreements. So that’s a very exciting opportunity for us. I would say that’s probably our biggest opportunity although I think even within Colorado we have opportunities for innovation and more product introduction which we are actively working on.

Matthew: Looking at the price of wholesale cannabis and the wholesale market is the price surprising to you? High, low I mean is it where you thought it would be roughly?

Nancy: Well you know it’s funny when the recreational market was legalized there was a seed change in terms of growers. So for the first time people were allowed to be independent growers which they really were not able to do under the medical market. They had to either have their grow tied to a manufacturing or a MIPS license or it had to be tied to a dispensary. So I think we were all predicting with all of these independent grows on the rec side that the price of trim which is what we use for our products would sharply decline. In fact for the last year or so it actually didn’t decline at all and in fact went up which speaks to the growing popularity of infused products because so many people were trying to buy that trim. Just in the last month or two I’ve started to see it look more like we were expecting which is that the prices are falling but it’s always sort of a supply and demand issue. My guess is over time as these recreational grows kick in and are more consistent that we will see it stabilizing somewhat at a lower level than we’ve seen.

Matthew: If you could wave a magic wand and change just one thing about the cannabis market for infused products what would it be?

Nancy: Hmm... magic wand. Gosh I would love one of those. I would like to see some stability around the regulations. I think Colorado has actually done a pretty good and reasonable job about putting good regulations in place. I think public safety has been addressed. I think child safety has been addressed. I’m a mother myself and I care about that stuff but I’d like to see some stability. The constant change makes for a very challenging business environment and it doesn’t allow us to focus on the things we’d like to focus on like innovation and brand building.

Matthew: Yeah I think that’s one thing I noticed. The regulators in Colorado do seem open to feedback which is great and not the case in other states but there’s not always a sense of like hey we’re going to change something here with the flick of a pen and they don’t understand the huge cascading effect.

Nancy: Yes.

Matthew: On the lives of so many people and how that one turn in the cog at the top just affects everybody so I wish there was a way to do that. To have them understand at a gut level what this does to business and people’s lives when they make a change; especially one that has to be enacted quickly.

Nancy: Yes and that is very key. I think just the way you put it is perfect and I will say about the MED or the Medical Enforcement Division is they are open to sitting down with the industry groups and discussing that stuff and they have I think come a long way in terms of understanding that there are things that we simply can’t implement that quickly and so building that into their timeframe’s a little bit more but certainly a year without major upheaval and major change would be fantastic.

Matthew: Alright. Just one that’s fine.

Nancy: Yes just one would be awesome.

Matthew: Are you beginning to license the Wana Brand outside of Colorado?

Nancy: Yes we are. As a matter of fact we are eminently about to launch our brand in Oregon and we’ll be launching in Nevada sometime in the summer. So that’s really exciting and we’re in discussions with several other states as well.

Matthew: Okay. Any reasons you jumped at Oregon and Nevada first?

Nancy: Oregon for the obvious reason which is it has both medical and recreational and in fact it’s just beginning it’s recreational program sort of in baby steps on June 1st which is exciting. Nevada is an interesting one. Right now Nevada is just medical but it is widely expected that the 2016 initiative to legalize for recreational is going to pass and then Nevada will be an enormous market. There’s forty million tourists that go to Nevada every year. So it has the potential to be a truly huge market.

Matthew: When you talk with partners in other states is there an expectation gap at all in terms of what they think they should get as a licensee and how you have to educate them on intellectual property or anything like that or are people pretty much in line; perspective partners?

Nancy: Well you know that’s an interesting question. I think even before we get to sort of the licensing piece of it that sometimes people will have unrealistic expectations of just what getting into this business is going to look like in general and that’s something that I’m now I’m always when I talk to a potential partner I’m always trying to probe and understand what got them interested in this? What are their expectations for the business and gauging whether they feel realistic based on what I know about the market. So for example if people think in Illinois that they’re instantly going to make a huge amount of money and they’re just getting in they don’t understand how much the restrictions on the medical conditions allowable is going to limit the patient count.

A lot of times I’m just having some discussions with them about sizing the market and understanding what it takes to build marketshare within a market. So that’s a part of it. In terms of the licensing stuff we’ve been pretty satisfied with our conversations and discussions with people on the licensing end of it. I think what’s happening is that a lot of these states now are requiring people to have pretty significant investments before they’re going to grant a license and so people do understand the importance of speed to market and while we had five years of luxury of experimenting and building their brand etc., etc. with investors expecting paybacks and all of that they understand the value of going with a brand that is already proven. So we haven’t had too much of a misalignment yet on the licensing side of it.

Matthew: Yeah I really see it as a great deal for a perspective licensee because they get the full download of all your trial and errors.

Nancy: Oh yes.

Matthew: So they can see everything that worked and didn’t work without having to try it themselves. So there is a lot of benefit to that.

Nancy: Agreed, agreed and believe me we’ve made lots of errors along the way. So if we can shortcut that for people and get them to market quicker I think it’s a huge benefit to them.

Matthew: When you look at California and that market and obviously we have a big vote coming up here in November but how do you gauge the California marketplace? What are your thoughts about it?

Nancy: Well I would say that just strictly from a population point of view and the size of their economy point of view there’s no doubt that California is going to be a hugely important market. What will be helpful is when they have a clear regulatory structure in place so that companies can go in and really be confident that their brands won’t get caught up in anything that you wouldn’t want your brand associated with. So I think it’s in the process of becoming an amazing market and it just needs a little bit more structure and regulation around it. Who would have ever thought I would be saying it needs more regulation but I think it does.

Matthew: Okay and what about women entering the cannabis space? Do you have any suggestions or tips for women listening that maybe would help them get success earlier, a more direct path, and avoid some pitfalls?

Nancy: That’s an interesting one. I’ve been involved with Women Grow which I think is an awesome organization and I support women entrepreneurs and I think risk taking is just an amazing thing but I tend not to divide up the world that way from a business point of view. I don’t think about these are good opportunities for women and these are good opportunities for men. I would say the same thing to a woman that I would say to a man is figure out what it is about this industry that fascinates you and what’s in best alignment with your skill set and your experience and try to be creative and figure out how to enter it in a meaningful kind of a way. I don’t think there’s anything that is closed off to a woman in this industry because she is a woman and as a matter of fact some of the statistics that I have read indicate that the cannabis industry has more women in key positions than many other more traditional industries that are out there. So I think women are already seeing the opportunity and taking advantage of it.

Matthew: I would agree with that. It seems like its compared to other industries I’ve been in in like technology that’s top heavy male I just don’t see that in the cannabis space. People tend to be more open minded in the cannabis space because they got into it early and they see the light about this plant. So it just doesn’t seem to be any kind of things preventing women from getting to where they want to go.

Nancy: I agree, I agree. I think it’s wide open and women and men should jump in with both feet. It’s fascinating.

Matthew: Nancy let’s turn to some personal development questions. As you look over your life is there one book that stands out that has had an impact on your life that you would recommend to listeners?

Nancy: My favorite book when I was in high school and it’s still one of my great favorites was; I don’t know that this is what you’re looking for because it’s not really a business book but it was “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Matthew: Sure, sure. That’s great.

Nancy: A classic book but I think it said so much in terms of social justice and kindness and people caring about each other and Atticus of course was one of my all time favorite father role models. So yeah I think there was a lot in that book that I would recommend to anybody if they haven’t read it in a long time to have another read.

Matthew: Yeah that’s a great suggestion. I know Harper Lee has a second book I think out. I haven’t read it yet or heard any feedback about it but she just had that one “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Nancy: Yes.

Matthew: And I’ve been curious to hear what the second one is like so we’ll see.

Nancy: Yeah.

Matthew: Now if you could go back and talk to the 18 year old version of Nancy what advice would you give her?

Nancy: Well I think what I would tell her is to take more risks, to travel more, to experience other cultures more, to live life fully before settling down into a more conventional lifestyle, and just to not be afraid of trying things and having them not work out that that’s part of the process.

Matthew: Great point. I’m heeding that point myself. I’m trying a new experiment every month in my business just to see what works and I fully expect at least a chunk of them to fail and I’m alright with that. So it’s not a big deal.

Nancy: Yes. That’s great. That’s fantastic and I try to keep that philosophy in this business too. I really do think if you’re not blowing it every now and again and failing every now and again you’re probably not taking enough risks.

Matthew: Well Nancy as we close how can listeners learn more about Wana and find you online?

Nancy: Probably the easiest way is to go to our website which is www.wanabrands.com. w-a-n-a-b-r-a-n-d-s and there you can find out all about our products and a little bit more about our company. So that’s probably the easiest way or if you’re in Colorado go into almost any dispensary and you’ll see all our products there.

Matthew: And when can listeners in Oregon and Nevada look for Wana Brands?

Nancy: Well in Oregon we should be hopefully on the shelves in the next couple of weeks. Nevada I’m thinking probably August.

Matthew: Okay. Nancy thanks so much for coming on CannaInsider. We really appreciate it.

Nancy: Oh thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

Matthew: If you enjoyed the show today please consider leaving us a review on ITunes, Stitcher, or whatever app you might be using to listen to the show. Every five star review helps us to bring the best guests to you. Learn more at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/itunes. What are the five disruptive trends that will impact the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/trends. Have a suggestion for an awesome guest on CannaInsider? Simply send us an email at feedback(at)cannainsider(dot)com. We’d love to hear from you.

Please do not take any information from CannaInsider or its guests as medical advice. Contact your licensed physician before taking cannabis or using it for medical treatments. Lastly the host or guests on CannaInsider may or may not invest in the companies or entrepreneurs profiled on the show. Please consult your licensed financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

Final disclosure to see if you’re still paying attention. This little whistle jingle you’re listening to will get stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Thanks for listening and look for another CannaInsider episode soon. Take care. Bye bye.


Nancy Whiteman is the founder of Wana Brands. Wana has emerged as a clear leader in the world of cannabis-infused products. Most notable among Wana’s products are their sour gummies that are frequently the most sought after infused product in cannabis dispensaries. Nancy shares her secrets and outlooks on licensing her cannabis brand, what she thinks about wholesale trim prices and more.

Key Takeaways:
1:32 – How Nancy got in the cannabis industry and started Wana Brands
2:27 – Wana Brands most popular products
4:05 – Nancy talks about Wana Caps
6:05 – How do you decide which products to launch
8:57 – Nancy talks about getting dispensary owners interested in her products
10:31 – Evolution of infused products
13:22 – Medical reasons for using Wana Caps
15:11 – Nancy talks about challenges of being in the infused products business
19:25 – One thing Nancy could change about the infused market
25:16 – Nancy talks about the California marketplace
26:17 – Nancy’s advice to women entering the cannabis space
28:13 – Nancy’s book recommendation
30:21 – Contact details for Wana Brands

Important Update:
What are the five trends that will disrupt the cannabis market in the next five years?
Find out with your free guide at: http://www.cannainsider.com/trends

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The Five Disruptive Trends Shaping The Cannabis Industry Now

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How long do Treatibles take to work?
Pet owners notice various lengths of time the CBD treats start working. It could be anywhere from five minutes to an hour. Taking time to observe your pet is important; you know your animal companion better than anyone else. If you do not see a difference within an hour, give another 1/2 to whole treat. There is no amount that is too much. Each animal is different and it is totally safe to increase the dose as needed.
How much can I give at a time and in a day?
Every animal is different and requires different amounts of the treats. Please use our recommended usage instructions as a guide. Treatibles can be given at any time of the day and as frequently as needed.
Can my animal take Treatibles daily? And for years?
Yes. Treatibles contain cannabinoids that are safe, nontoxic, and can be taken for any length of life. Research shows that cannabinoids can provide preventative care over time as well.
What is the shelf life of opened and unopened Treatibles?
Treatibles are free of preservatives and proper storage can preserve your treats up to 2 years. The shelf life of unopened packages is 9 months. When opened and sealed in the airtight bag and stored in the pantry shelf life is 6 weeks. We recommend refrigerating after opening as it can prolong the shelf life. When stored in a sealed bag in the refrigerator shelf life is 3 months and when stored in the freezer 2 years. The cannabinoids will remain effective and not lose any efficiency over time; however the preservative-free ingredients require proper storage to maintain freshness.
How should Treatibles be stored?
Treatibles should be stored in an airtight, sealed bag and in a cool, dry place. To prolong the shelf life, keep refrigerated. Freeze package if you are using Treatibles many months after opening. Please do not store in a hot enclosed car in heat of summer. Visit our Storage page for more information.
My animal won't eat the treats but I think they could really benefit from Treatibles and CBD. What's another delivery method?
We recommend crumbling up the treats and using a bit of warm liquid poured on top. It will then be easy to mashup and give as is. Any liquid can be used that your animal loves. Alternatively, add the mixture to their food.
How long does one dose last?
One dose of CBD Treatibles will last 4-8 hours.
How long does it take to see results from my pet using Treatibles and CBD? Is it immediately or cumulative?
Results can be immediate. Cannabinoids are not cumulative, they work right away.
Can I bring Treatibles on the plane when I travel domestically and internationally?
Yes! Treatibles are totally legal and safe to bring everywhere. In fact, they are fabulous for animals traveling and needing a calming treat for the journey.
Is it possible for my pet to overdose on Treatibles and CBD? What if my dog accidentally eats the whole pack?
Treatibles are totally safe and nontoxic. It is not possible to overdose on CBD or any of the cannabinoids or foods found in our products. If your animal accidentally eats the whole bag, rest assured there is absolutely no harm or toxicity whatsoever.
What is the recommended dosing? How many treats should I give per day?
We recommend 1 small treat per 10 lbs of weight for animals up to 50lbs and 1 large treat per 25lbs of weight for animals 50lbs or more. However, every animal is different; some need more, some less. Your pet may need 1-4 doses per day, and we suggest observing your animal's response closely to determine best dosage. Use our recommendation as a guide and then feel free to adjust. You know your animal better than anyone.

How many treats are in each bag?
Products are sold by weight, and the quantity of treats in package may vary. The small treats bag contains roughly 36-38 treats, and contain 1 mg. per treat. The large treats bag contains roughly 24-26 treats, and contain 2.5 mg. per treat.

Can cats eat Treatibles and CBD?
Yes. Treatibles are safe for any animal. All animals have an endocannabinoid system, except for insects. For cats, we recommend crumbling up the treat into tiny pieces and giving on its own or with their food.
Can animals take Treatibles with other medications?
Treatibles are safe and non-toxic, and can be used in conjunction with any other medications your dog is taking. We are not veterinarians and cannot advise on whether Treatibles would be a replacement or concomitant regimen, but many Treatibles customers use the product solely for their pets for a myriad of conditions. The endocannabinoid system regulates many homeostatic functions and can provide overall health to the whole system.

Can Treatibles be shipped to my state? Is it legal?

Yes, we can ship Treatibles anywhere in the country. International shipments vary by country, and we hope to be able to ship worldwide soon.
Treatibles are made from CBD extracted from hemp, as opposed to cannabis, and is therefore legal to ship anywhere in the world. There is a legal threshold for THC content and shipping across state lines; because our product has no THC in it, it is legal to ship, import/export, possess etc anywhere.

Why do Treatibles cost more than most of the other treats I buy my dog?

Treatibles is not a product that should be compared in price to other dog treats or foods, as this product is medicine disguised as a treat your pup will love! Compare the cost of Treatibles to your dog’s other medications and consider the love you are giving your animals by giving them phytocannabinoids.

What are all of the ingredients in Treatibles?
They come in two flavors; Pumpkin and Blueberry.
Ingredients for pumpkin are: Hemp derived Phytocannabinoids (CBD,CBN,CBG) from seed and stalk, Gluten-free Oat Flour, Pumpkin, Peanut Butter, Organic Coconut Oil, Brown Rice Flour, Apple Sauce, Organic Coconut Nectar, Organic Hemp Seed Oil, Turmeric, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Xanthan Gum, Potato Starch. No gluten, Non-GMO, Vegan
Ingredients for Blueberry are: Hemp derived Phytocannabinoids (CBD, CBN, CBG) from seed and stalk, Gluten-free Oat Flour, Pumpkin, Peanut Butter, Blueberry Juice, Dried Blueberries, Organic Coconut Oil, Brown Rice Flour, Organic Coconut Nectar, Organic Hemp Seed Oil, Turmeric, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Xanthan Gum, Potato Starch
What is the purpose of some of the ingredients in Treatibles?
Superfoods like coconut oil are antioxidants and great for the coat and skin. Hemp seed oil is an anti-inflammatory and provides natural levels of CBN (cannabidiol). Pumpkin aids in digestion and also provides a great flavor. Peanut butter is included because of its high level of protein. Blueberry is high in antioxidants. And, turmeric and cinnamon are anti- inflammatory.
Do Treatibles have grain?
We use very small amounts of high protein oat flour and whole grain rice flour so there is very little in the treats. There is no wheat or gluten in Treatibles.
Are the ingredients in Treatibles organic, non-GMO, and gluten free?
All of our products are gluten free, non-GMO, vegan, and whole foods.
Are Treatibles certified organic?
Some ingredients are organic, but not all. We are organic certified in California.
Do you use human grade and all whole food ingredients?
Yes. Every ingredient is as good for humans as it is for animals.
Where does your hemp come from?
The cannabinoids used in our proprietary formula are sourced from hemp grown in Europe. Our hemp source is clean, reliable, high quality, pure, and lab tested.
Are Treatibles third party tested? How are they tested and are the results available?
Yes. We do three stages of lab testing at third party labs. We test for heavy metals and contaminants in the cannabinoid materials, cannabinoid levels in the raw material and the
finished product, and do guaranteed analysis. See our Lab Testing page for individual results and more information.
What temperature are Treatibles baked at?
We bake our Treatibles at 325 degrees.
Where are Treatibles made?
The treats are made in small batches in our California kitchen by hand and with a lot of love.
Is the packaging safe for children?
Unopened packages are child resistant. We do recommend keeping Treatibles out of reach of pets as certain dogs can rip through the heavy plastic bag.

What is CBD?
CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, which is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. For more information about CBD, check out our Cannabinoid and Science page.
What are the key benefits of CBD-rich Treatibles?
We at Treatibles do not make any health claims about cannabinoids or any of the other ingredients in our products. The results noticed by pet owners using our treats are empirical and anecdotal and include the following:
• Pain, inflammation, and stress.
• Anxiety from separation, fireworks, grooming, car rides, panic, obsessive behavior, and socializing with animals or people.
• Seizures: CBD is the same compound in Epidiolex (a pediatric epilepsy 
medication). Some pets are using Treatibles for epilepsy.
• Cancer: Some pets are using Treatibles for palliation of the associated pain and symptoms of cancer, as well as a concomitant regimen alongside chemotherapy treatments.
• Heart conditions and their associated symptoms.
• Pancreatitis: Treatibles used to stimulate appetite, calm inflammation and reduce 
anxiety associated with the disease.
• Musculoskeletal issues, joint/muscle pain, hip dysplasia, trouble walking, and arthritis.
• Quality of life at the end of life: Treatibles are used by some pets for support during hospice care.
• Trauma and the accompanying emotional and side effects.
• Appetite stimulation.
• Sleep problems, pets with anxiety and health issues that keep them from getting a restful night of sleep.
Are there any adverse side effects of using Treatibles and CBD?
Customers and vets using the product have reported no negative side effects and no adverse effects.
Can my animal take Treatibles with other medications?
Yes. There are no contradictions as reported by vets and customers.
Is there any chance my animal will get "high" from Treatibles and CBD?
No. Treatibles do not utilize THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid, nor do they contain any cannabis. CBD is a non psychoactive cannabinoid and does not cause any "high" whatsoever.
Does heating the CBD make it inert or less effective?
No. Heating below 400 degrees has no effect on the CBD.
How does freezing and oxygen affect CBD efficacy?
Freezing and oxygen has no effect on CBD efficacy.
Does the CBD have a flavor?
At Treatibles, we use a refined extract of CBD from the hemp plant that is virtually flavorless. Dogs generally do not like the flavor of cannabinoids so we mask them with other delicious and nutritious ingredients.
Do Treatibles need to be compliant with any special laws if it has no cannabis?
No. Since it has no cannabis, less than .3% THC, and the CBD is derived from hemp, it is totally legal.
What is the endocannabinoid system? And what animals have one?
All animals, except insects, have an endocannabinoid system and respond to cannabinoids. The endocannabinoed system is made up of receptors through the brain and the body. Please visit our Cannabinoid and Science page to learn more!
When was the endocannabinoid system first discovered and what does it regulate?
The endocannabinoid system was first discovered by Rafael Mechoulam, an Israeli scientist, in the 1960's. the endocannabinoid system helps to regulate homeostasis in the body. Please visit our Cannabinoid and Science page to learn more!
How do cannabinoids work in the body?
Your pet has natural messenger cannabinoids called anandamide that stimulate receptors present in their brain and throughout the body. The cannabinoids in cannabis attach to those same receptors and resist letting go,making the effect more powerful and longer lasting. For a more detailed explanation, please visit our Cannabinoid and Science page.

How long has Treatibles been around?
Treatibles has been around since 2013. We first began selling Treatibles in CA Medical cannabis dispensaries after many requests from patients inquiring about using CBD for their pet's needs.
What has the response been like for Treatibles?
The responses collected from pet owners that are using the product have been fascinating and are helping us to learn so much more about these powerful nontoxic compounds. The first 2500 bags of treats sold included a feedback card and we are logging all results received back from pet owners, explaining the reason for the purchase and observed results. We continue to receive positive feedback daily from thousands of our customers.
Does the Treatibles team work with any veterinarians?
Yes. Many veterinarians are currently using the products in their practices regularly. For example many veterinarians use the treats when clients first arrive at the office with their animals to ease the anxiety of the visit. They also recommend the products for a myriad of other acute and chronic issues in animals they work with.
Are there other professionals who use Treatibles in their practice?
We also have trainers, behaviorists, animal communicators, and groomers all over the U.S. that use the product with clients in their practices. For example they often use the products for stress/anxiety, trauma, aggression, socializing with dogs and people, panic, and depression.
Does the Treatibles team work with any rescue operations?
Yes. We donate to many rescue organizations in California and are funding a small study with dogs in need from the Milo Foundation in Northern California.

When will there be cat specific products and what other products are you developing?
Although it is perfectly safe for cats to use our current Treatibles, we hope to release cat- specific products in 2016. We are working on grain-free dehydrated treats for dogs and cats, horse treats, treats for farm animals, and more varieties of treats for dogs.

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