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Consolidation is Happening – Wholesale Platform Cannabase Acquired

cannabase helix tcs cannabis industry consolidation

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Hi. I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I will 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 thought, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound from the cannabis or hemp plant that has many benefits. Now our friends at Treatibles have put together a one list chew that can help your dog or cat become more calm and balanced. Valerie wrote in to tell us about her experience with Treatibles.

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As the cannabis market matures and becomes more competitive we begin to see strategic alliances, mergers, and acquisitions. Recently Cannabase a wholesale cannabis marketplace announced it had been acquired by Helix TCS. Here to tell us about the wholesale cannabis environment and her recent sell to Helix is Jennifer Beck, CEO and Co-Founder of Cannabase. Jennifer welcome back to CannaInsider.

Jennifer: Thank you so much for having me.

Matthew: Jennifer give listeners a sense of geography. Where are you in the world today?

Jennifer: Denver, Colorado.

Matthew: Great and I am in Asheville, North Carolina. Jennifer you’ve been on the show twice before but give listeners a sense of what Cannabase does so they can get an understanding.

Jennifer: So the Cannabase platform is the oldest and largest cannabis wholesale market in the industry. We provide a whole suite of seed to sell marketing and sales tools for cultivators, retailers, and infused product manufacturers as well as powerful advertising tools for ancillary businesses to showcase their products and services.

Matthew: Okay. So you started Cannabase back in 2013. What was it like the first few weeks and months you were doing this? This all was just very unknown and I bet you’re probably wondering if this was even going to work but what was it like the first few weeks and months?

Jennifer: Yeah it was a really exciting, fast-paced time. Like you said we were moving a little bit in the dark. The space was much less saturated so there was a lot more discovery that had to take place. So when we began late in 2013 we went to the Marijuana Business Daily Conference in November which was way smaller than it is today. Everyone could fit in one small auditorium and we really were looking around at the other solutions that were available and were surprised how little technology there was outside of the point of sale space. So with vertical integration coming to an end in Colorado the following year we were really excited to kind of pioneer the wholesale space.

Matthew: And how could you tell it was starting to pick up steam? I mean you create this online marketplace where license holders in Colorado can come together and maybe buy from each other or sell to each other but you put the marketplace in place and then you just call people and say hey this is out here I just want to see if you want to come on or what happened next?

Jennifer: Yeah I mean those first six months were really focused on; they’ve always been focused on onboarding and user engagement but the chicken and egg problem of having buyers and having sellers which is what you need to make a marketplace work and come to life was absolutely the focus of those first six months. The beginning of getting the platform live so we went and met with tons of dispensary owners. We had over 60 dispensaries participate in our beta period where we worked really closely with them not to build a product necessarily as we envisioned it but to take their current work flow and to take their current hurdles and make them a streamlined online solution that was intuitive and saved them time and would make them excited and I think that was how we knew it was working because people were really, really excited.

Matthew: Beta is kind of an interesting thing because you have all these ideas and they sound great on paper until your customer’s say yeah I don’t care about that or they say this is really great and you’re like wow I didn’t really think they’d be using this much as they are or what were some of the initial feedback you were getting in beta? What did they like, what did they not like?

Jennifer: Oh that’s a great question. Very quickly people were accessing the platform to buy and sell but also to see prices. Before Cannabase there really wasn’t a centralized place that you could understand what the market was demanding at that moment and as you know pricing is very volatile. So we began developing Cannalytics which are interactive kind of data and charts in the app. That was a huge hit. Making listings incredibly easy to build and manage and maintain. One thing that we discovered was that our background had been in technology. Building technology solutions for companies that were more excited about I guess using technology so I came from a company called Track Via which built custom business database applications for managing your workforce and that was a very, very different environment than building wholesale solutions for these new cultivators and retailers who maybe had one computer in the back room.

So we needed to get them excited about engaging, excited about using tools to their full capacity, and what it challenged us to do was make things as streamlined and intuitive as possible. So a lot of the early (06:30 unclear) were around making feature sets more accessible so that business owners would use them to their full capacity.

Matthew: That’s a real draw to get people to log on just to see what pricing is like and then when they’re on they can then use the wholesale marketplace. When you started in 2013 what was the wholesale price of cannabis at that time?

Jennifer: So we actually didn’t go live until early 2014.

Matthew: Okay.

Jennifer: So that’s when our data starts. At the time pricing was around 2,100 a pound.

Matthew: Okay.

Jennifer: And medical was cheaper at about 1,900 whereas recreational was about 2,300, 2,500. So at the time recreational grows were just coming online and product was very scarce and it was really demanding a premium.

Matthew: So why is that then is it because of the excise tax or is someone who’s licensed to be a medical cultivator is not the same as a recreational cultivator? What’s the difference there?

Jennifer: So medical and recreational product needs to be medical or rec from seed to sell. So you have a license as a medical cultivator or medical retailer. Actually with medical you have to have both because it’s still a vertically integrated model. So you need to as a medical dispensary grow 70 percent of what you’re going to sell yourself and then there’s a 30 percent allotment for wholesale. So it keeps the market small. All of the retailers are growing their own product and then there’s a little bit of wholesale product moving around. On the recreational side it was vertically integrated for the first about ten months of 2014 just to; I mean like the current model and make it a little bit more (08:14 unclear) for the current business owners and then in October 2014 mandatory vertical integration expired for recreational product.

So at that time you could still be vertically integrated if you wanted to. You could have your own grow as a dispensary and grow your own product like you always have. A lot of business still operate that way but it also made being a standalone grow or a standalone cultivation legal for the first time which meant that we had big cultivations coming out just focusing on growing lots of product and growing it well and that’s what’s really created the recreational surplus that we don’t see in medical which is still a vertically integrated market today.

Matthew: Okay that makes sense and what besides flower is on Cannabase? You mentioned edibles and so forth but what’s the marketplace look like if someone were to log on for the first time and see it? What’s selling? What are people most interested in?

Jennifer: So in Cannabase you can buy or sell like you said flower, bud, trim, extract, edibles, seeds, clones really any type of extract or medicated product that the licensee’s are interested in moving.

Matthew: So Jen if someone’s an edibles manufacturer what’s the best way to go out there and to get other license holders interested in their product? I mean they’re brand new. They don’t have a reputation yet. They want to sell to other license holders. How do they put their best foot forward?

Jennifer: That’s a great question. So the edible market in Colorado is unique because it’s the only product that you’ll see on a retailers’ shelves that are still branded as the infused product manufacturer. So you can walk into Live Well and you can see Incredibles Bars or you can see Mary’s Medicinals. Bud tends to not be the same way because it was a largely vertically integrated market and still is most flower is branded with the dispensary’s name that it’s being sold at. So you’re not exactly sure what cultivation you bought it for. Some people try to change that and hope that their brand will live on once it hits the retailer’s store but usually the retailer is going to rebrand it and say this is our flower.

But edibles on the other hand stay packaged as the business that produces them and that’s a lot of what sales. We have brand names in edibles. We have Incredibles, Mary’s Medicinals, Edipure, and people learn what they like and they shop for those brands. So the edible space has been a really exciting space to watch grow because we’ve seen really powerful brands emerge. Cannabase has been part of this because we built early on what we call MIP catalogs. So MIP catalogs are slightly different than our traditional listings and they’re a place that infused product manufacturers including people making tinctures and patches and extracts anyone that has a product that’s going to stay branded on the retailer shelves. They can activate a MIP catalog and it’s a dynamic visual catalog of all of their offerings.

So you can see each of the gummies or the candies and what they look like. We have surveys so that the infused product manufacturers can ask retailers hey what flavors would you like us to develop next or what have your clients been asking about or hey if you’re not buying why is it? So the edible space is kind of independent and very mature and our MIP catalogs provide a great space for brands to showcase all of their different products in a really beautiful visual format to help increase the likelihood of retailers stocking them on their shelves.

Matthew: So when two license holders get together and decide they want to do a transaction how does that work then? What’s the next step?

Jennifer: So we have a couple different options. We allow users to connect over listings which opens up just an in app message center that’s fully encrypted, very private, and integrated with text messages. So they’ll get mobile alerts and they can go back and forth and have a conversation. On every listing we show the number of views that listing has had and the number of connections it has. So you get a little bit of an idea of supply and demand. We’ve also built negotiation dashboards. So negotiation dashboards give businesses a place to go back and forth on price without having to necessarily send each other messages with all the nicey’s like hey how are you? What about this strain, what about that strain? They can really just use more of a shopping cart approach. Say I want to buy this, this, this, this. Here’s the price I’m offering, here is the delivery that I need, and then the other party can accept or deny and the dashboard reflects those changes live with some messaging on the side if you do need to talk.

Matthew: Oh that’s handy.

Jennifer: Yeah.

Matthew: That’s great.

Jennifer: So it’s a really cool feature.

Matthew: Okay let’s talk about the price of cannabis now versus the last couple of years because that’s what people really; their ears perk up because they’re wondering how much profit can I make, how competitive do I have to be, how much stuff to bring down my cultivation costs, and so on and so forth. Where is the wholesale price of cannabis as we speak now in late 2016?

Jennifer: Well I mean it’s a really astute question and I like what you said about people beginning cultivations now and needing to kind of rethink their original assumptions. I can’t tell you how many people we meet who have projected selling their flower at 2,500 a pound which is what it was beginning of 2014 and then at a couple different stages when we’ve had shortages then the prices have risen there but in general they’re much lower. So prices today overall are about 1,500 a pound with med holding steady at 1,800. So you know back in 2014 it was at 1,900 today it’s at 1,800. So it’s really stayed steady. However recreational; the price of recreational flower has gone down considerably. The average right now we’re seeing on the platform is about 1,450 a pound but that’s up a little bit. A couple months ago we were seeing down at 1,000. People moving product for 800 and truly that’s for product that is testing well.

So I think a lot of the new recreational grows that come out on a very large scale their first batches they’ll pump out might have some strains testing at 6% or 7% or 10% or 12%. With the rec market becoming as flooded as it is with all of the standalone cultivations that have popped up over the last year and a half that product is really, really, really hard to move and you’re going to be demanding much, much lower prices just to get something for it. To demand that 1,450 a pound for your rec product today you really need to have high testing, high THC with great shelf display really beautiful, really full buds. It needs to be top quality to demand that 1,450 price.

Matthew: Wow. This is what I thought would happen last year and I was totally wrong and now it’s finally come around and I keep on seeing or talking to these growers in Pueblo and other places and they’re bringing more and more supply on and they’re doing it on a much bigger scale with much more efficiencies and it just makes me wonder the cultivators that are just not prepared for this or don’t have some sort of unique selling proposition I’m worried are just going to get monkey hammered here. It’s going to be a tidal wave of supply. I could be wrong about that. I’ve been wrong before but I mean do you see us moving into an era of vastly larger cultivators who are using efficiencies and economies of scale to kind of disrupt the market?

Jennifer: 100% you’re right and it’s already really in motion and when you predicted that the price would fall sooner I think you were right and it was really some extraneous factors that kept it from doing so. So last year we began to see prices spike around this time last year. It was a little later though. It was more around November. October, November we saw prices shoot back up again but that wasn’t because of anything we really could’ve anticipated. There were some regulatory and testing issues that became more stringent all of a sudden and there weren’t enough labs equipped to test for the things that suddenly needed to be tested for and so we not only had people throwing out large batches of product but we had a terrible laboratory bottleneck.

So that bottleneck eliminated supply for a while shooting prices through the roof but that was a superficial price increase in terms of the actual trend. Trend wise what we have seen is exactly what you predicted large scale cultivations coming online with much more efficient growing techniques pumping out tons of product and very few people setting up standalone retail centers especially with the moratorium in Denver on new licenses for retail centers. We don’t have enough retail centers to absorb all of the product entering the wholesale market and demand hasn’t spiked as dramatically or as quickly as these cultivations have been built.

Matthew: Yeah wow. That is why I would prefer to have a license in a state that has limited amount of licenses so you can get around this problem. You want to have constraint on supply to maintain margins if possible otherwise you just have to be the huge, huge economies of scale especially when we have cultivators coming online that have massive greenhouses. That really brings down their operational costs so this is going to be really interesting to watch. I mean I think cannabis is kind of interesting because we’re going to leap frog a lot of technologies. Just as in Africa they’re not putting down phone lines they’re jumping right to wireless.

We’re going to see cultivators jump to new technologies because they don’t have any legacy technologies and it’s going to allow for vastly greater yields and growth in the field. So it’s going to be exciting to watch. It’s good to be in the picks and shovel side of the business like you’re in not providing the marketplace.

Jennifer: Absolutely, absolutely. We’re all kind of living it live and what’s been interesting is we have the medical market to compare the recreational side to and in the medical side where you have these checks and balances that whatever you grow 70% of it you have to sell yourself there’s a natural control there. You understand your own sales cycle and you don’t necessarily grow that much more than you’re going to be able to move from your shelves. On the recreational side where we’ve seen that limitation lifted the natural tendency is like you said people to put really big money into really efficient grows where they can leap frog and discover new technology.

I mean this has been an underground plant for how many years and now all of a sudden tons of capital and time and attention is being infused into growing techniques and how to really create the best product at the lowest price possible and while that innovation is very exciting we need to make sure that the market can support all of the product that’s coming out of it otherwise we’re going to see a lot of businesses not last as long as they were hoping.

Matthew: Right and I didn’t mean to discourage anybody listening it’s just that there are opportunities to find different ways to add value and I know for example in Boulder there is some kind of artisanal cultivators that sell out their whole crop before it even germinates because they have such a good reputation. So there’s other ways to add value. The companies that have a me too product that are going to have a harder time and going to see smaller and smaller profit margins. So it’s just time to evolve a little bit I think. Unless you’re in a marketplace that has limited licenses and it’s tightly controlled. That’s a good place to be.

Jennifer: Absolutely. There’s so much room for innovation. I mean especially on the edible side, the tincture side, alternative delivery methods, and people overwhelmingly don’t want to smoke. They want to find other ways to consume cannabis for whatever reason they do to sleep, to exercise, to relax, and so I think there’s so much room for innovation but it is about thinking outside the box and being a mass bulk supplier of flower it’s probably; I personally wouldn’t recommend doing it unless you are sure that you can produce very, very, very high testing like you said. High testing, well branded product that’s going to be able to differentiate itself very well in the market.

Matthew: Let’s pivot to your recent acquisition or how Helix TCS recently acquired Cannabase? When that courtship first started what was it that kind of perked up your ears like hey what’s the synergies here? How can this make sense? What were you thinking about because Helix does some interesting things? Why don’t you talk a little bit about that?

Jennifer: Absolutely. So we approached Helix because they are the leaders in transport and logistics so the absolute leaders in the security logistic space which is essential for a wholesale market and we really wanted to work with the best in that space. So that was kind of what began the relationship. Once we began working together we got a better idea of their vision which was to create integrated operating environments for these license cannabis businesses and you’ve spent a lot of time with me so you know I’m very, very, very passionate about integrated solutions for business owners, for infrastructure in this space that connects all these disjointed startups and all these yeah disjointed startups and components that the license businesses need to grow and so we really shared a common vision of building integrated solutions that would maximize efficiency.

The founders of Helix TCS have incredible experience in emerging frontier markets. So they have experience dealing with spaces with nebulous or conflicting regulations in the laws where there are many new entrepreneurs. Where there are businesses surviving off of pure fundraising model which can kind of skew the market and they have a lot of experience in growing successful companies. So for us at Cannabase it was kind of a no brainer that from the base level of being able to provide cutting edge logistics to our clients to being able to expand our capabilities to provide those integrated solutions I’ve always been talking about and wanting to see come to life as well as the deep intuition and market experience that come from people who have grown successful companies in these crazy environments.

I don’t want to say it was a no brainer because our company, Cannabase is very, very important to us and it was a decision that couldn’t be taken lightly but once we went down that road there really was no turning back. We were so excited to join with them.

Matthew: Yeah you’re merging together the online marketplace with the offline logistics and expertise so the world of bits and atoms come together. That’s a compelling offering and it’s a difficult thing to follow.

Jennifer: Thank you. Yeah it’s incredibly exciting and allows us to do much more quicker than we would’ve ever been able to do on our own and we think it’s a pretty incredible offering now that we’re able to bring to the market and able to continue expanding upon.

Matthew: Now you’re in Colorado. Where else where Cannabase and Helix extend their reach to in the future?

Jennifer: So we’re in Colorado. We’re still in beta in Washington. But however one huge change that’s happened since the beginning of our life here with Helix has been the beginning of a couple very powerful strategic partnerships with MJ Freeway and BioTrack. So we have basically entered into agreements with both companies that allow us live inventory data and integration with their systems exclusively nationwide.

Matthew: Wow.

Jennifer: So that’s going to be a very, very, very powerful channel to take the wholesale market and the live data to the next level with a more real-time live exchange model and give us a very powerful avenue for nationwide distribution.

Matthew: Wow. So for people that don’t know MJ Freeway and BioTrack are the two largest seed to sell tracking software so that’s a powerful value proposition. That’s great.

Jennifer: Thank you. Yeah it’s really huge. I mean being able to pull inventory data live and connect buyers and sellers is going to greatly increase the efficiency of wholesale transactions and the amount of data that it’s going to make us exclusively privy to is going to allow us to provide very enhanced Cannalytics and market data to our users allowing them to make great decisions, enhance forecasting. We really couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity.

Matthew: Yeah. That’s incredible. For entrepreneurs that are listening that want a product that stands out we talked a little bit about adding value; how to start on the right foot. Let’s put you on a hot seat here. If you were to create a product, if you had to wave a magic wand and you had to do something besides Cannabase and Helix and you’re going to create let’s say an infused product. What would you try to do to standout and kind of create that unique selling proposition that would allow you to have a thriving business?

Jennifer: Oh great question. I think the infused product space is really fascinating and would really encourage a lot of people who are looking to get into the space to explore that area. I would definitely start with high testing product, lab tested product, pesticide free clean growing method so really knowing where your product is coming from is baseline important these days. The old adage of well we’re just going to be the best. We have the best pot. We’re going to use the best product. That song has been sung so many times that it’s really lost its meaning in this space.

Matthew: Right.

Jennifer: So you really need to think about what does make you unique? I think the biggest thing is making sure that you have a unique value proposition. Is it the method of deliver, is it how fast does it take effect in someone’s system, how well can people control dosage, how predictable is the experience going to be? As more and more people start using cannabis in their daily lives it becomes more and more important that they’re not zonked out for longer than they think they’re going to be. That it produces a repeatable consistent experience. So I think making sure it’s well branded, it’s attractive, it sits well on the shelves, it has a long shelf life, it’s realistic in the market is very important but most importantly that the product is good, very strong quality, and that you have identified a unique value prop.

You cannot just put something great because you have the best stuff into the market and expect it to sell. You have to have something that really sets you apart but I think there is so much room for innovation especially in the infused product space and would really encourage people to explore and be creative.

Matthew: Yeah. I really would welcome more entrepreneurs that are interested in alternatives to sugar as a sweetener and who are looking to do things that are GMO free. Just healthier options and the reason I mention infused products is that for people that have infused product companies wholesale cannabis is just one input and as your prices go down you can offer your product at a lower price so you don’t have quite as much risk there if you’re risk averse. So that’s a compelling proposition but there’s just so many ways to do things. So many novel concepts still out there I think so I would encourage listeners as well who are on the fence to try something new and different just not a me too product because I think that might end in tears.

Jen as we pivot to personal development questions I like to ask a couple things to let the audience know you a little bit more. Is there a book that has had a big impact on your life where you look back over the arc or your life and say hey this has given me a new lens to look at things that’s really had an impact?

Jennifer: Absolutely. So I’m a huge proponent of The Lean Startup Methodology. The Startup Owner’s Manual is a phenomenal book to help new entrepreneurs think about how to iterate through a product and really make sure that users are engaging at any given point no matter what that product is. I think in a market like cannabis where you have to grow with it in realtime there could not be a more applicable framework for learning how to grow your business and for how to stay very cognizant of your assumptions and to be testing those at any given point to make sure that the vision is staying real with reality. So I couldn’t recommend the Startup Owner’s Manual more.

Matthew: Wow that’s a great suggestion. So did you when you were starting Cannabase then did you use The Lean Startup Methodologies to go to prospects and say hey we’re thinking about doing this are you interested in that? Does that make sense? Were you kind of bouncing the idea back on them?

Jennifer: Absolutely. I mean we were always trying to understand from the market a couple steps ahead of what we were building at that moment so that we were building the direction they wanted us to build. We’re not making this product for ourselves. We’re making it for their business so little things like it really quickly became apparent how much the high employee turn rate impacted a business’s ability to engage with our software because there is a learning curve and you need to onboard new users and what happens when someone leaves? How do they have access to that data and whatever relationships that that employee was cultivating? So although we began with just top level user accounts for each dispensary or cultivation quickly we built out employee roles and permissions that you could easily set up an employee account, it would be tied to your main account, you could set the permissions.

What should this person be doing, what shouldn’t they be doing, and then you could easily activate or deactivate that user without impacting your overall account and then you could access their messages and access what they were doing. This was really, really key for some of our earliest users who now have been through four or five or six wholesaler inventory managers and don’t want to lose the relationships, the traction, the listings, the data that they’ve built in the last couple years on their Cannabase account. So that’s just one example of listening to the problem which is hey people keep quitting and we’re switching over accounts and how can I see stuff and saying let’s really build out a piece of the platform that addresses this churn and makes this comfortable for business owners and make it a tool rather than a hindrance.

Matthew: Great points. Is there a tool web based or otherwise that you consider indispensible that you would recommend to listeners but you can’t say Cannabase?

Jennifer: I was going to say Cannabase.

Matthew: You can’t say that, can’t say that.

Jennifer: Yes absolutely. I am a huge; our whole team I should not take all the credit. Our whole team are huge fans of QuickBase and actually Eric who’s been with us since the beginning. He does all of our data and finances is a QuickBase hero. He is such a super user. He’s accumulated so many points with QuickBase. But QuickBase is a custom database application much like the company I used to work for TrackVia that allows you to create custom business applications tailored to your workflow. So it’s basically like you’re creating inner linking spreadsheets with forms on top which is what most software programs really are. So we have a custom CRM, a custom finance manager, custom dashboards, custom sales dashboard. Things that allow us to monitor our progress and monitor the app and monitor our development flow in a way that is totally unique to us and this was something we began building when it was just the founders and we just had a domain name.

We began setting up the QuickBase and all of our data about our accounts and really how we would track our workflow and manage our employees and being on QuickBase has allowed us to be as iterative with our internal processes as we are with the app and it’s allowed us to scale and keep very, very, very comprehensive records at every stage of the business which from getting off the ground to the acquisition was incredible important that we were that organized and still today every time we face critical decisions we’re able to look back at the data of the past and say hey have we been down this road before and does our data support the pivot that we’re looking to make. So I would highly recommend looking into a product like QuickBase or TrackVia instead of using just a CRM that you buy online or project management tools that you buy online.

Really thinking about your own organization and putting together those custom processes for custom workflow which allow you to really take ownership of how your team and your product is growing.

Matthew: And that’s the same company that makes QuickBooks right Intuit? Is that QuickBase?

Jennifer: Yes. QuickBase is owned by Intuit. I think that they have sold within the last year.

Matthew: Okay.

Jennifer: The actual QuickBase platform but yes it’s an Intuit product.

Matthew: Jennifer in closing how can listeners learn more about Cannabase, follow your work, and learn how to become involved?

Jennifer: So now there’s two places. You can of course visit Cannabase online at www.cannabase.io. So www.ca-nna-base.io or you can also visit our parent company Helix where we are putting a lot of press updates and recent news there as well. So that website is www.helixtcs.com.

Matthew: Jennifer thanks so much for coming on CannaInsider today. We really appreciate it.

Jennifer: Matt 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 www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com, simply send us an email at feedback(at)cannainsider.com. We would 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.


Jennifer Beck, CEO of Cannabase discusses how and why she made the decision to be acquired by Helix TCS and how Cannabase is now in a stronger position post-acquisition.

Key Takeaways:
[2:10] – What is Cannabase
[2:50] – Jennifer talks about the first weeks and months of starting Cannabase
[5:13] – What was the initial feedback in the beta phase
[7:31] – The difference in price in medical and recreational marijuana
[9:12] – What are people most interested in on Cannabase
[9:49] – The best way for edible license holders to sell their product
[12:10] – How are transactions handled on Cannabase
[13:33] – Jennifer talks about the wholesale prices today
[16:15] – Large cultivators using economy of scale to disrupt the market
[21:53] – Jennifer talks about Helix TCS acquiring Cannabase
[24:38] – Will Cannabase expand to other states
[26:42] – How to make your cannabis business stand out
[29:33] – Jennifer’s book and web tool recommendations
[34:51] – Cannabase’s contact details

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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2016 cannabis ballot initiatives results

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Matthew: Hi. I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I will 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 thought, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound from the cannabis or hemp plant that has many benefits. Now our friends at Treatibles have put together a one list chew that can help your dog or cat become more calm and balanced. Valerie wrote in to tell us about her experience with Treatibles.

Valerie writes, “My ten year old Husky/Sheppard/Lab mix Chuck is my faithful companion. Chuck got significantly quantifiably better from using Treatibles. 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 that 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 Treatibles 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)cannainsider(dot)com/pet now here’s your program.

Hi CannaInsider’s. I just wanted to let you know before this interview starts that the audio quality is not perfect on here. I kind of rushed to get this out to you as quickly as possible so you could get an update on the ballot initiatives that took place yesterday, Tuesday, November 8th so I apologize that the audio is not perfect but it will return to great quality in the very near future thanks and here’s your program.

Yesterday there were many ballot measure that affected cannabis legalization. Here to help us digest all that happened are Diane and Jay Czarkowski. The husband and wife team manage a boutique cannabis consulting firm in Boulder, Colorado. Diane and Jay welcome back to CannaInsider.

Diane: Thanks for having us.

Jay: Matt thanks for having us.

Matthew: I know you’re busy in Orlando right now welcoming in the good news with clients there in Florida. I want to jump into all the ballot initiatives that took place yesterday and what happened but before we do Jay can you tell us again what CannaAdvisors does and what states you’ve been involved in?

Jay: Sure thing Matt. So CannaAdvisors was really born of Diane and I’s early entrance and experience in the cannabis industry in Colorado. We received one of the first licenses in the state. I think it was state license #7 back in the day. A few years later we started CannaAdvisors when we were approached by a group of guys in Connecticut that wanted to know if we could help them win a competitive license there. Connecticut was really the first state to have a competitive application process. Four years into this now really Matt the majority of the work that we do is we win competitive licenses and whatever it takes to make that happen the application side, the facility design side so that’s most of what we do but we’re also a collection of a lot of smart people mostly former operators so we do a lot of compliance work, facility work, operations, SOP’s. We’re a full service cannabis consulting and services company.

Matthew: Well let’s jump right in and talk about the biggest market. Jay what was on the ballot in California and what happened?

Jay: Well sure Amendment 64 passed and it was quite contention certainly not within the industry. There were a lot of folks in the industry in California that were very much against Amendment 64 but I think it was probably the majority of the population there that was certainly ready for cannabis legalization and they passed that with flying colors by a wide margin. It’s quite a complex amendment. Certainly the most complex amendment or bill or set of rules that I think any states going to ever see. From what I understand there are 19 different types of business licenses including 13 different types just for cultivation of various sizes and that kind of thing. The state intends to build upon what already exists in the medical industry. Licensing begins January 2018.

Supposedly there’s provisions in there to prevent monopolies but it’s certainly going to be a brave new world in California and there will certainly be many, many existing operators that will probably have trouble complying quite frankly just like we had the shake up when we began to get rules in Colorado six years ago.

Matthew: Just the cost of compliance you think is going to be very hard.

Jay: Well some of that and building compliant facilities and adhering to building codes and yada yada yada. Just like any business when government gets involved all of our costs go up.

Matthew: Yeah. You’re saying it’s just basic organization skills and business skills and transitioning from no regulation to some regulation or high regulation is just not a journey everybody can make.

Jay: Certainly.

Matthew: Okay. Well next up Jay is Florida where you’re at right now and where I’m at right now. I’m in Destin, Florida right now. Tell us what happened here yesterday? What was on the ballot? What happened, how many people voted and got out there? What’s the big news here in Florida?

Jay: Florida two and a half years ago the legislature passed a very weak CBD Only Oil Bill. It was really put in place so the politicians could say what do we need Amendment 2 for we already have medical marijuana. Well the program here stinks. It’s very limited. The people spoke yesterday. As you probably remember in order for this to pass they needed to pass by 60%. Two years ago the people of Florida voted for this 57.8% in favor yet it failed. So I think everybody was adamant this time and it passed. It’s full on medical marijuana with a good list of conditions for CBD, THC, oil, pills, infused products, dried flower the works. A very robust medical marijuana program.

Matthew: Wow. That is huge and for such a populace state. Florida now more populace than New York. So that’s really big. Now in terms of how long it will take to digest this ballot initiative and have it manifest into this market that has now been voted on how long does that journey take?

Jay: Well it’s going to happen rather quickly. We’ve already been working on the draft regulations with United For Care. Those will be ready to submit to the State House I would think by January at the latest. Per the language in this law we have to have send draft regs out in six months. We have to begin accepting license applications and begin registering patients in nine months. So it’s going to happen quickly. There will be a competitive license application process in Florida probably fall of 2017 and this program will develop. The people have spoken. I could tell a little bit about the numbers if you’d like.

Matthew: Yes. Dive in.

Jay: So when we got to the watch party last night everybody was pretty mellow. I mean they were happy and excited of course but there was polling numbers on the screen that showed how many people voted and what the percentages were. By the time I looked at it it says that eight and a half million people had voted which is close to half the population of Florida.

Matthew: Right.

Jay: And with that many people voting Amendment 2 was in the lead by 73% to 27% and I asked somebody has any

Matthew: That is massive especially when it was so close last time and now this time it was just overwhelming. I guess people had an opportunity to think about it and they saw it happening in other states so it just wasn’t so bad. I mean what do you think the reason Jay was for why there was such a big difference between the last ballot initiative and this one?

Jay: Well first of all I think a lot of people were certainly aware. This has been in the news and it’s been out in front of people for years now since we tried passing Amendment 2 in 2014. People are a lot more educated. People see this a lot more. The studies are coming out that this is not a bad thing. I think there’s two additional years of looking at this in Colorado and other legal states not that its rec here but it’s still a good bill weather for what’s to come and the people are sick of the drug war, they’re sick of all the issues we have from opiates. It’s time to legalize this plant so the people have spoken.

Matthew: Great points. Di let’s pivot to Nevada and Nevada is such a big deal even though it gets over shadowed by California or Florida or some other states but it really just can’t be overstated that it’s such a huge recreational market with people visiting and so forth. Dive into what was on the ballot there and what happened in Nevada?

Diane: Well Nevada in my opinion Nevada already had a really good medical marijuana market and a lot of that was because the political vibe around that was very supportive. They had representatives that were really working with the industry. People like Dina Titus and others that really worked with the businesses to make sure this program rolled out well and they made some changes along the way to make sure that they ironed out some of those initial bumps. So I think that’s really a key to for making sure that a program can be successful is that you have that local cooperation but gosh the legal market. The ability for people who go there already for this giant tourism market, the canna tourism market that could be available now to places like Las Vegas and Reno is just; it’s enormous and I think that this will be a really good program.

They’re going to add something that we haven’t seen in a lot of states that certainly I think has a play and that is a distributor category. Typically we see licenses that are broken down more like dispensary, processor, cultivation, and labs but this will have a distributor category added which I think will allow for a more robust kind of wholesale and distribution market and then of course they have people from neighboring areas that can still come and get it for medical purposes as well. Another good thing about this program is that it does still give those who went through the process of going through the licensing process for medical marijuana a good 18 months before they’ll be accepting new licenses for people that are new to the market. So it’s good for the people that have already been invested with their businesses there.

Matthew: That’s interesting. Yes I mean Nevada is just enormous. So thanks for that update there. Let’s move on to Massachusetts. Jay what was on the ballot in Massachusetts and what happened and why is it important to talk about?

Jay: Well Matt it certainly gives me a great pleasure to talk about Massachusetts because as you know we’ve been out there for a long time although we personally put the majority of our effort into the Florida campaign this year and there were a lot of other great folks out there spearheading the effort in Massachusetts. Two or three months ago Matt it was not looking good in Massachusetts. It was maybe polling 50/50. The governor was against it. The Mayor of Boston was against it. There was a lot of pressure on folks not to come out for it quite frankly but I think a couple of things happened that changed everybody’s mind.

First and foremost there was a 2.1 million dollar donation into the campaign by a private donor that really gave the campaign a shot in the arm. Number two you may have seen this Matt. There was a National Guard, State Police raid on an 81 year old woman in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Matthew: Yeah.

Jay: They came in with a Blackhawk helicopter from the air and a state SWAT team from the ground to seize her single marijuana plant she was growing out by her raspberry bushes. So I think when that came out it cost 60,000 dollars to eradicate that one plant. I think when that came out on the news that probably gave the campaign a 10 to 15 point bump right there. People are sick of that kind of thing and they want change. In terms of what the people vote for; cannabis is legal there. They don’t have the right to grow it at home like we do in Colorado but for the most part cannabis is now legal in Massachusetts; not now but once the law takes effect then we will see additional dispensaries, we will see additional cultivation facilities, lots of additional opportunities for business, and lots of opportunities of course for the people of Massachusetts to have access to this plant which of course is most important in all of this.

Matthew: You mentioned that the powers that be in Massachusetts really didn’t support this Jay. Do they drag their feet then in kind of getting this implemented or do you think it will be measured in months how long it will take to make recreational or adult use a reality in Massachusetts?

Jay: You know I’ll tell you I don’t know the specifics of the bill and what if any timeline it requires. Kelly Cross at the Marijuana Policy Project really spearheaded the effort and is probably the most knowledgeable but again Matt the people have spoken. They want this. Massachusetts voted for rec just like wow it was exactly four years ago Matt that the people of Massachusetts voted for medical and four years ago in the 2012 election they passed medical by roughly maybe 64% in favor so it was a wider margin. It’s certainly a narrower margin this time but it’s a clear winner so I would suggest that the officials in Massachusetts they get with the right side of history, get behind this, and make it happen.

Matthew: Yeah. Great points. Di let’s move to some of the smaller markets that don’t get as much attention but there are some developments there. What can you tell us about North Dakota, Maine, Montana, and Arkansas and Arizona? Let’s machine gun through them really quick.

Diane: Sure. Well Arizona sadly failed. I think their latest polls show it’s gotten about 47, 48% of the vote. So it looks like that one’s not going to pass which it’s a shame but my hope is that as the Marijuana Policy Project has projected there could be 47 measures in 2017 pass legislatively but who knows what happens with Arizona. Maybe they’ll be able to get it either back on the ballot or pass something legislatively in the future. I just think that as the more conservative states and I also think that the perception is that they have a decent medical program and that might be enough for people right now but that one looks like that was the only one out of the 9 measures for cannabis legalization this year that looks like it failed.

Arkansas that one I did not think was going to pass. They actually had two different issues on the ballot and even though the Supreme Court disqualified Issue 7 it was still on the ballot and I was concerned that that might divide the vote and be something to put in jeopardy Issue 6 but it actually passed. So that’s great for Arkansas. Maine Question 1 to legalize marijuana that passed. They’ll be able to have social clubs there which is something that we don’t have in Colorado. We’ve legalized cannabis but there’s no place to go and use it that’s not a private place so that was good for Maine; great for Maine. Montana had medical marijuana initiative I182 and that passed. That’s going to turnover a law that was established in 2011 that limited the caregiver’s to only being able to serve 3 patients each and it basically forced the industry to kind of shutdown.

But this will expand the program. Give more access to patients there and it will be better for the businesses there as well. North Dakota had a measure, Measure 5 to legalize medical marijuana and that passed. That passed actually I think by like 63%.

Matthew: Wow.

Diane: Quite a big gap there and that one looks like it’s going to be a program similar to Massachusetts in that they’ll be vertically integrated businesses, they’ll be a nonprofit component, they’ll be residents 2 requirements, and they’ll have some strict limitations on inventory. So all in all I think for the cannabis industry I think they’re estimating the wins of yesterday were equal to about eight billion dollars worth of new industry potential that we could see by 2020 because it will take some time for these programs to roll out.

Matthew: Wow that’s amazing. So Arizona was really the only state that it didn’t pass. The rec didn’t pass but they already have a robust medical marijuana market Di so it’s not like they’re in dyer straights necessarily considering everything else was a win.

Diane: Yeah I think there’s still room for that medical program to expand and like I said perhaps there could be something that could expand the market legislatively as well.

Matthew: Jay when you look at what happened yesterday with all these ballot initiatives on a high level what’s your general feel looking over the lay of the land and can you add some context into the big picture view of what all this means? Go ahead.

Jay: I would say no matter where you were in the country last night Matt, whether you were on the East Coast, the West Coast, the South, North Central, people across the country they voted positively for cannabis whether it be medical use, whether it be recreational use, adult use, whatever. People from all parts of the country voted yes last night and that’s huge. This is a huge turning point. We’re at that tipping point right now where I mean California alone sixth largest economy in the world legalized cannabis last night. The federal government has to listen. At this point they’re just being obtuse and their stance that cannabis is prohibited at a federal level that is just not a sustainable position anymore. So I think we’re going to see some change.

Matthew: Jay do you think all the ballot initiatives yesterday is going to accelerate the forum of banking or access to banking for cannabis businesses?

Jay: Well I won’t use the word accelerate. It would be nice if it was accelerated. I’ve been waiting for the banking issue to be fixed for seven years. Every year I tell people ha ha by the time you get your license next year it should be fixed and then another year goes by and another year goes by certainly again with California speaking, the rest of the nation speaking that’s going to get fixed one day. I don’t know when. I wish I did.

Matthew: Di as we close how can listeners connect with CannaAdvisors and learn more about what you do?

Diane: Well our website is www.thinkcanna.com and we’re on all the social media outlets and for the people that like the old school telephone our office number is 720-708-3154.

Matthew: Jay and Di thanks so much for jumping on the horn with us and doing a quick run through of the state by state initiatives. I really appreciate that.

Jay: Thanks Matt our pleasure.

Diane: Thanks for having us Matt.

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 www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com, simply send us an email at feedback(at)cannainsider.com. We would 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.


A quick summary of the state-by-state results of cannabis ballot initiatives.
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Key Takeaways:
[2:33] – How Canna Advisors helps clients win Cannabis licenses
[3:38] – Jay talks about the California ballot
[5:42] – Florida’s ballot results
[6:53] – Jay talks about how long the process takes after an initiative is passed
[8:41] – How Florida’s ballot initiative differed from the last one that failed
[9:45] – Diane talks about what happened with Nevada’s ballot initiative
[12:13] – Jay talks about the Massachusetts ballot initiative
[15:29] – Diane talks about the initiatives in ND, ME, MT, and AR and AZ
[19:35] – Jay talks about what all these initiatives mean moving forward
[21:06] – CannaAdvisors’s contact information

Important: Read the cheat sheet The Five Trends That Will Disrupt The Cannabis Indusry

Join CannaInsider For FREE & Receive
The Five Disruptive Trends Shaping The Cannabis Industry Now

The Latest Technology to Optimize & Automate your Cannabis Grow Room

smart bee controllers coupon code

Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi. I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I will 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 thought, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound from the cannabis or hemp plant that has many benefits. Now our friends at Treatibles have put together a one list chew that can help your dog or cat become more calm and balanced. Valerie wrote in to tell us about her experience with Treatibles.

Valerie writes, “My ten year old Husky/Sheppard/Lab mix Chuck is my faithful companion. Chuck got significantly quantifiably better from using Treatibles. 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 that 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. Treatibles Chews are legal and available in all 50 states right now. If you want to learn about what Treatibles 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)cannainsider(dot)com/pet now here’s your program.

Because of the high value and profit potential of cannabis cultivation we’re seeing brilliant entrepreneurs come into the space to help cannabis cultivators protect and optimize their harvest. One such company is SmartBee Controllers. SmartBee is creating automation and controls for the cannabis cultivator that are so impactful that SmartBee is becoming the most important tool for many cultivators. Here to tell us how to optimize and automate your cannabis grow is Skye Hanke, CEO of SmartBee Controllers. Skye welcome to CannaInsider.

Skye: Hey how’s it going?

Matthew: Glad you’re on the show today. To give listeners a sense of geography can you tell us where you are in the world?

Skye: I’m in Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley. All of our products are manufactured in Las Vegas and so we’re pretty much a West Coast type of company although we do have friends all over.

Matthew: That’s rare to find things manufactured in the U.S. anymore so that’s interesting. How’s that work?

Skye: It works out really great. We have a really great assembly team and engineering team that we’ve built over the past several years. Some really great minds and we found some really great people to put together our products and send them out to all of our growers.

Matthew: Before we dive into SmartBee Controllers can you tell us about your background and how you got into the cannabis space?

Skye: I have been growing for about 20 years now. I started more on the professional level around ’99 and just taken my time and efforts and put that into what I love which is growing plants. Growing these plants and through that have been through various ups and downs and learning experiences and have now taken those learning experiences and put them into a set of requirements for the software and hardware that really solved my problem which was knowing what was growing on at my grow when I wasn’t there so.

Matthew: Let’s back up a little bit. Can you tell us about what cannabis cultivators and business owners should be thinking about but aren’t? I mean when I talked to you a couple weeks ago it’s obvious that you have a different frame of reference on how to look at a grow and I’m always interested in helping guests use your lens or your way of thinking or your pragmatism that you bring to a grow. So if you were to walk into a typical cannabis grow that’s now using a SmartBee Controller what would your first ideas be when you’re looking at it in terms of it’s not optimized because of what?

Skye: Well a lot of people don’t know what’s happening over time. They don’t know how their appliances are actually working when they come on, when they go off. If they’re effectively controlling environment and because we do the data logging it really allows the user to understand the different outliers that could be happening in their facility. What’s happening over time is very key to understanding how to modify or dial in your space. For instance we like to preach simplifying process and creating efficiency and I walk into a lot of grow facilities that have just inherent problems in design where they’ve tried to scale a garage grow into a commercial type of scenario and it doesn’t translate well.

A lot of the key things that you’re doing in a garage grow are meant for stealth and not necessarily for health. You’re trying to cover the smell so you put your room under negative pressure inviting disease in. You use wood instead of inert hard surface type materials like aluminum or steel and so you’re inviting disease into these places and there’s so many variables. All of them have their place right so if you can prevent disease, if you can keep your environment dialed in at the right levels, if you can keep your humidity on point knowing that there are mechanical failures that are inherent in this very abusive environment that we have as indoor gardeners. You want to make sure that all of your variables are being taken care of and so there’s so many small components that need to be working in concert with one another and traditional grow room control systems don’t allow for that concert to take place.

They all operate independently. It’s like if an orchestra was all playing different; every instrument was playing a different song. They’re all playing music but they’re not coming together to create something that’s greater and better and so when everything plays together and is integrated you get a better solution and you understand the inner dependencies between your systems, you understand if there’s deficits in your control strategy that could be costing you money over time that you don’t even know about. If you know when to water and at what volume to water in order to get the wet up that you want in your medium and know when to water because you’ve dried down enough and you’re not letting the onset of stress take place. All of these things are really key to having a successful garden is simplifying your process and creating efficiencies. That’s really kind of what we strive for here.

Matthew: There may be some growers out there that we could say are confident to use a kind word. They think well my temperature won’t be an issue or humidity or electricity are not a problem. What would you say to them? Would you say hey these are mechanical devices and you can’t control them? I mean what are your words of wisdom there?

Skye: What I would say is I have a lot of buddies of mine who are growers who do really great without it and I have buddies who did really great without it and once they started using it got better. It’s one thing to get a couple pounds a light or a gram a watt but it’s difficult to consistently achieve that through growing seasons unless you have a really good formula that just takes care of everything but most often there’s one or two components which are not ideal and if you think about it from the perspective of potential lost yields. If you have the potential to get three pounds a light but you’re content with getting two pounds a light you’re kind of just being complacent. Not striving to do better, not trying to learn how you could do better. How you could dial in your space more.

It’s like a boat that has a hole in it. If it’s sinking slowly you’re like oh it’s just sinking slowly but over time that water you’re taking on is potential lost yields and if you can recapture that money and keep it in your pocket instead of having to get reimbursed for it it would be a lot better. So why waste your time and money if you don’t have to. If you can create efficiency and get better yields and have protections in place that prevent you from walking into a room full of straw or a room full of wilted plants why wouldn’t you do that? Why wouldn’t you do everything you can to get the highest quality medicine that you could? So I don’t know. There’s so many different variables but I’m more than happy to go through some of the specifics if you would like.

Matthew: I want to give listeners a sense of the physicality of the SmartBee Controllers that is what your product line is exactly if you were standing in front of a listener and you had all your product line there. Can you just walk us through that so they can understand what they physically look like and do?

Skye: So what I could do is I could kind of give you the basics and then I can walk you through the individual products that make up the system.

Matthew: Great.

Skye: What I like to say is we integrate all of your grow room systems into one software application that allows you to remotely monitor and control your grow anywhere you have an internet connection. It data logs from all of the sensors that are deployed in your garden and gives you a picture over time of what’s happening in your garden. Patterns begin to emerge in the data that shows you the health or not health of what’s going on in there. We have several different sensors. We have a light, temperature, humidity sensor. We have a light, temperature, humidity pro sensor that includes the ability to plug in a par sensor that gives you light intensity, temperature, photoactive radiation, and humidity and then we also convert humidity and temperature to VPB within the software. We have water content sensor modules which allow you to track root zone temperature and root zone water content so that you can decide when and at what volume and frequency to water at so that you prevent over watering.

So our light, temperature, humidity sensors they hang in the canopy of the plants and it essentially gives the user temperature, humidity, and light data right where the plants are at versus being on the wall as a lot of old style controllers are. Not necessarily right where the plants are. They wirelessly transmit back to the hive gateway which is the decision making rules engine for our system and then the hive will send our smartplugs and smart control commands to turn on or off based off threshold set points that the users define within the software. You get to control your irrigation based off water content. We have two set points for irrigation. We have onset of stress set point which is the lowest water content you’d want your plants to have before an emergency irrigation would be initiated and then we have the over watering set point which this allows timed irrigation in the event that the water content is too high to receive any irrigation.

And so what it does is once you begin to use your gardener’s intuition to understand okay my plants don’t look as good at this water content versus this water content. You can set these parameters. You kind of survey the system first. Take your methodology and your medium and apply a little bit of thought to the readings that you’re getting and then you can assign rules to that. It allows you to set up to the second timed irrigation within the software and so we have all of these appliances that can be assigned to different rooms. One system can control multiple rooms or control groups so that you don’t have to buy more than one. It kind of all puts it into one spot. You can create different rooms within the software and add different sensors and outlets to that room and define specific appliance types that you’d like to control with that grouping.

We control your lights, your exhaust fans, heaters, CO2 emitters, CO2 burners, dehumidifiers, humidifiers, irrigation pumps, irrigation solenoids. Pretty much all of the main components for a grow facilities operation and then we provide you with when all of those devices or outlets come on and off so that you can see how the devices that are made to control the environment and the irrigation; you see when they all come on and off and you understand if they’re doing what you want them to do based off the sensor data so.

Matthew: So when you turn on the software for the first time after implementing the SmartBee Controller devices around your grow what are you looking at when you see the dashboard for the first time?

Skye: It asks you to set the time based on where you’re at. It asks you to create a room so that you can start assigning sensors to that room. Our comprehensive user guide and startup guide go through the steps and we also act in a very consultative way. All of our sales reps here have grown in the past or in some form still grow and they are able to help provide context of use to the users if need be. A lot of times there’s a mix of different types of users. You have the commercial guys who are really looking to dial in their space and then you have the guys who have done a bunch of reading and kind of are starting off and they want something that’s going to give them a tool to do it better right from the beginning.

So we wanted to make the system’s user experience very friendly to novice or professional. We wanted to take some familiar grow room cues from different devices that they would be familiar with based off of traditional controllers and put them all into one software. So we give you a daytime and nighttime high and low set points all in the control pages. So when they first get there they can go through and see all of the different controls, how they can set their thresholds with those controls, and it really gives them just a professional tool to do better faster, to have more consistency across all of their systems, and to ensure that they’re operating it.

Matthew: So Skye is there one piece of feedback you get consistently from new customers that have implemented SmartBee where they’ve implemented it, they have it in their grow room, they’re comfortable with it, and they come back to you and say Skye this has helped me so much, this one feature, this one aspect that I didn’t have before. What’s their feedback there?

Skye: Well we get a lot of feedback. Sometimes it’s more like context of use like hey I really wish it would do this and then what we do is we can add those into our product roadmap and try to add those features sets in if they make sense to our decision making process for the system. One thing that we hear often is your system saved my harvest twice this year. It let me know my AC was out and I was able to turn lights off and fix the problem before it cost me huge. I’ve heard that from several customers. Like oh it saved my room three times this year, it saved my room twice this year. So mechanical failures are inevitable within our environments and so if you have something go out and you don’t know about it you can walk into a real disaster.

I just talked to a guy who lost 160,000 dollar crop because his air conditioning went out and it went out in the middle of the night and no one knew about it and so he’s a new user. So that’s one main thing is crop loss can be huge. If you don’t know something is happening it could ruin your day and your month because as we all know the overhead doesn’t stop if you lose a crop. You still have to keep paying all the bills and sometimes those bills are expensive. So saving your grow, giving you piece of mind knowing that if something is going wrong you’re going to know about it. It sounds email notifications.

We’re in the process of building a whole new cloud platform that has a notifications refactor that’ll do push notifications in addition to email notifications into our native app and then it also allows for the system to take action. So it doesn’t just let you know about it; it actually takes action based off your thresholds and so sometimes I’ll look for my notifications to see what’s going on. Sometimes what I do is I have two levels of lighting control and that’s what I recommend most often so that you have an overheat protection at a lower temperature and so it takes some of the heat load off of the equipment and so if you know it’s hot outside that heat outside can affect inside temperature and the performance of the appliance that you have in room.

Here in Southern California it’s going to be 110 today. It broke records yesterday and air conditioners have to work extra hard so one AC going out can mean a complete crop loss if you don’t have any type of redundancy in place. We preach a lot of redundancy with our sensors. We want to make sure that you have a couple levels of protection that if one sensor were to go down you would have backups in place and make sure that you’re not left without any protection. If you put your internet connection on a battery backup our hive has a battery backup onboard. It can still send out emails if you lose power. So the other day I was shopping with my kids and my wife and I got an email that my hive had lost power and two minutes later one of my neighbors called me and said hey did you guys lose power too and I was like yeah we did and it let me know before I could even get notified from anybody else that we had lost power. Sure enough an hour later I hadn’t had a chance to get there yet and the power came back onboard and it emailed me and let me know about it.

Notifications are huge. We’ve just added some new notifications for critical environmental events. So in addition to having thresholds that control devices and turn devices on and off we also have alerts that if it goes outside of a threshold range for alerting purposes you’ll know about it. If it gets to 90 percent humidity you should know about it even if your devices are trying to reduce your humidity you still want to know if something is really far outside of your ideal or optimum range. So it’s really important to know that this protects your investment from crop loss, it gives you a tool to understand if your systems aren’t working properly, and it tells you how to fix them so all of that kind of adds up into one cohesive system.

Matthew: Just a quick interruption to this interview to let you know that Skye and his team over at SmartBee Controllers have extended a 10% off discount code to CannaInsider listeners. Simply use the coupon code CannaInsider. That’s CannaInsider for 10% off your order at www.smartbeecontrollers.com. Somewhere in the checkout there’s a field where you can just put that in there and get 10% off. Now back to your interview.

How about redundancy? You mentioned that and I think it’s something we don’t always think about too much but we should be thinking about more. So if you have your AC connected to the electrical grid should you ideally have a generator backup in case electricity goes down or natural gas or something like that?

Skye: You know air conditioning systems typically fail because they’re not using filters, they have leaks in the system, a fan motor goes out. There could be a number of different reasons why an AC goes out but all that happens when an AC goes out is there’s nothing working against the heat load that is essentially your lighting. Your lighting systems in LA are classified as heat lamps by Building and Safety and so you have 3,500 to 4,500 BTU’s of heat being produced by these lamps and if your AC isn’t working you’re just heating up the rooms and it could get up to 140 in there if you don’t have any air conditioning. Heat rises really fast, stresses out your plants, it can force them to dry down really fast so if they’re drying down and for some reason you don’t have an overheat production on your lights your plants use all the water that they have in their root zone transpiring trying to cool off so what happens is they wilt and they wilt and then once they wilt they dry out because of the heat and it turns into straw.

Redundancy is key. Having backup systems in place. If you only need one super big dehumidifier to dehumidify your room think about using two slightly smaller ones for the same space knowing that if one goes out one will still be able to keep up enough to not have it completely degradate the stress level on your crop. I was just talking to one of the owners of or not owner but managers at Quest Dehumidifier and we were talking about how redundancy with systems can really be beneficial because it buys you time. I was talking to these other guys that have an extra AC in their room that’s set just to a slightly higher threshold so that if one of their systems stops working this other one picks up the slack. It’s things like that just having extras there so that when things go down there’s some type of mitigation of the damage that’s caused if that makes sense.

Matthew: That makes sense. You mentioned before how a lot of grows will have a sensor on a wall maybe not so close to the plant or the plants their trying to monitor. How are the SmartBee Controllers different in that way?

Skye: We have a hook on top and we try to drop either like a ratch string poley or some type of a string hook to where you can hang the sensor right in the plant canopy so you know exactly what the temperature is right at the canopy level. We know what the temperature is right there at the canopy; right where the lights are shining down on the plants, right at the canopy level and then that gives us really good information to what’s going on at our plant level. If our plant level and our leaf temperatures are getting into the 80 plus range you’re going to start seeing terpenes boiling off at the low temperatures. You’re going to start seeing airier flowers. You’re going to start seeing what can sometimes look like nutrient lock out or burn and sometimes it’s just a matter of light sensitivity.

I mean if the plants are not at a comfortable temperature they’re going to be sweating and they’re not going to be growing and you really want them to grow and be happy and at the right temperature and humidity level and if they’re not you’re going to see it in reduced yields and reduced quality.

Matthew: Are investors in cultivation facilities often asking or demanding that the growers have something like this in place before they invest?

Skye: They wish they had after the fact. A lot of times these investors are going in blind just trusting whoever they think they know who’s a good grower and sometimes these guys have done really well with the twelve lighter and they get put into 150 light grow and have no idea how to manage or schedule all of the tasks that need to be put into action and so our system is really great for investors because it gives some common ground for the growers to fix problems and dial in a new space that may be larger than they’re comfortable with. They may be perfectly suited for the size of it but give the investor information that they can both look at and say okay here’s what’s happening, here’s why I need to get this piece of equipment because the assumptions that were made in the facility about cooling or dehumidifying are not sufficient for the job and here is why.

CR humidity level is sitting at 65, 70 percent and our dehumidifiers are on all night long but without being able to reduce it. That’s a problem. So it just shows that you’re undersized for the job that needs to be done and so if the investor can look at that and go okay I can see that and make decisions based off of data rather than just anecdotally from their head grower or master grower that seems to be the term going around quite often. So that’s kind of where I see investors benefiting is them being able to see the data and make their own assumptions off the data as well as having their head grower look at the data and make his own assumptions and then they can come together and make informed decisions based off of what’s actually happening.

Matthew: Skye you have a lot of knowledge locked up in your head and I want to unlock it and share it with listeners so I’m going to ask you to explain a few things and talk about why each is important and why cannabis cultivators should be thinking about each. So here we go.

Skye: Okay.

Matthew: First one what is vapor pressure deficit and why should we care?

Skye: Vapor pressure deficit is in its simplest definition it is the pressure that’s being exerted on the plants based off of the combination of temperature and humidity and so at different temperature and humidity crosshairs you get a different atmospheric pressure and that atmospheric pressure can force the plants to transpire and drink water and use water. It can also be make the plant not need to drink water and so it’s a tool is what it is. It’s a tool that you can use to manipulate the crops growth pattern. You can use VPD to try and prevent disease from growing. Higher VPD can make it not ideal for disease to thrive. You can use it to make your plants drink more if they’re not drinking a lot. You can make it so that they grow in a more generative way.

By making them drink faster; I think of it like a body builder and the meal plan. They want to grow fast, they want to put on a lot of mass, and in order to do that they have a very structured meal plan and if you miss a meal in that meal plan it slows down your growth and doesn’t keep you in that ideal kind of what it is it a pattern or phase or push towards the success that you’re looking for and feeding plants is the same way. If you’re working them out regularly you’re kind of; they have really healthy roots and they’re able to be fed in a very consistent way often but not too much. Just enough where they’re able to use the nutrients in the water and they want to be fed again and they’re getting pushed and driven to perform.

This VPD can become a very big tool to aid in that. Think of VPD as the weight the body builder uses to work out and the feeding schedule is the meal program and if they’re both dialed in you’re going to get performance and you’re going to get gains. So that’s kind of how I would describe it I guess cause it’s kind of a complicated thing to explain. The different temperatures.

Matthew: No that’s a great analogy.

Skye: Yeah different temperatures and different humidity’s there’s a different VPD. There’s a different ability for the air to hold water vapor and that’s more what it is. It’s how much water vapor can the air hold at any given temperature.

Matthew: Okay.

Skye: And then that combination and the amount of water vapor that’s being held is what puts pressure on the plants to push water vapor out their stomata and drink water up from their roots.

Matthew: How about root zone temperature and how we should think about that in contrast to say other types of temperature in the grow room?

Skye: Well you know roots are very fragile and they don’t recover from damage well. So it’s better to keep them healthy from the beginning because it’s like adults can eat junk food easily but babies can’t and it could be really dangerous for a baby to eat a lot of junk food versus an adult because they have a little bit better ability to process and filter out some of the bad stuff. So with roots you want to keep your temperature very consistent so that they don’t become damaged. You don’t want to feed them too much because you don’t want them to become damaged. You want them to thrive so you have to grow them slowly and through a very consistent type of feed. You don’t want to jump them up too fast in intensity of the nutrient. You want to harden them off and help them to stay healthy and one of those ways of doing that is to not let the root zone get to hot and so usually a fluctuation of 10 degrees in the root zone can be really stressful on a plant.

So sometimes knowing what your temperature is in your root zone you can use pulse irrigations; very short irrigations with colder water to lower root zone temperature slightly just to keep it within an ideal range and keep them not being damaged in any way.

Matthew: What about EC? What is EC and why should we care about that?

Skye: So EC is essentially electrical conductivity and it’s a measure of nutrient strength in whatever you’re feeding your plants. If you’re using Hydro it’s hugely important. With a lot of organics they’re using teas and it’s very buffered but in production environments that are using hydroponics EC is greatly important. You don’t want to go to high because it can cause lockout and excess salt buildup in your medium which can stress your plants out and cause deficiencies by having too much nutrients and making it difficult for the plant to process that salt. Too little can cause a reverse osmotic effect where it starts pulling nutrients out of the plant because there’s more salt in the soil then is in the plant and so it even compounds the issue of nutrient lockout even more.

You water with too heavy a nutrient for too long you get a bunch of salt walls built up in your medium and the next thing you know your plants are looking deficient and people start giving them more nutrients and really they just need to flush it with some lower salt water and try to just give it a very consistent feed in the middle type of range. I like to stick within the I would say 1.3 to 1.8 EC range for most of my favorite plants.

Matthew: Okay. Let’s get into some practical and tactical questions about SmartBee next. How easy is SmartBee to set up and do I need a consultant to help me?

Skye: SmartBee is pretty easy to set up. We do have a full staff support department that helps to do remote access set up and some of the more networking things where we can log into your computer remotely and configure your router for you for a small fee and then we also try to as workers of the company help the customers to really understand how it all works and how it applies to them and there’s a hundred ways to do it right and more often than not I’m seeing different variations of growing and it’s really all about how it applies to you. We set up the system to be agnostic of growing style so that any user can come grab our system and find value in it using it for their specific methodology.

I don’t like to tell people how to do things. I try to just learn myself and to also give information to other people and so I have learned things from certain growers that do things in a totally different way than I have but our system in general is very simple to use and we offer support as much as possible in order to help people to get it better. We do installations and trainings for larger facilities and just really try to help people to have a good experience with our system and see the value in it that we do.

Matthew: Can a home grow benefit from the level of automation that SmartBee provides?

Skye: Yeah I think so. If you think of a home grow you maybe have four lights in a bedroom or in a garage and you’re trying to grow your own medicine but it’s not a profit center for you it’s medicine for you and so you have a day job most likely. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what’s going on at your facility or at your house when you’re not there? It’s the same reason why a nest thermostat is so good for people. It allows them to turn on their AC before they get home and just have remote access to something that means something to them to their comfort level, to their ability to manage decisions so I see it being valuable even for a four lighter, a two lighter. It’s cost effective considering what it gives you.

Matthew: In terms of the cost for an installation I know it’s going to vary wildly depending on the size of the grow and the level of granular detail that’s needed and so forth but is there any ideas you can give us in terms of cost for maybe a certain size of grow to get up and going with SmartBee?

Skye: So if you have a four light grow facility you’re probably going to be somewhere in the 2 to 3,000 range with all the bells and whistles and if you’re in a 150 light facility you maybe you spend somewhere around 15 to 20,000 dollars but it’s all dependent on the level and granularity of the sensor data that you want to get. So you can start small and just add additional sensors and add as you grow so as you’re phase building in you can buy different products that you need and outfit the different spaces as they come online. For larger facilities we do full installation and training services and that typically is around 1,000 dollars a day and we can fly out and go through all of the systems, setting it all up, doing all the networking side of things. So that’s kind of where we go.

But for the home guy usually over the phone with the customer support that’s offered; the basic customer support that’s offered for the first 90 days with phone calling in we can help get a customer set up using the system. As far as the remote access side it’s usually less than an hour and the only reason that fee is charged is because we’re supporting other people’s hardware that isn’t our own configuring other people’s routers isn’t necessarily the business we’re in but we wanted to make it available for people who may not have another resource for it and we wanted to be trusted to help them do it right so that’s kind of why we wanted to offer that service. For the small guy usually we can handle it over the phone and for the big guy we’re more than happy to fly out or drive to you and offer you more integrated service.

Matthew: Skye I like to ask guests a few personal development questions to give listeners a sense of who you are personally. With that is there a book that has had a big impact on your life or your way of thinking that has maybe changed your lens of how the world works or has benefited you in some big way that you’d like to share?

Skye: There’s no one book that’s helped. I think it’s just a matter of a lot of trial and error and a lot of just working and finding solutions and through finding solutions some are good at solutions and some are bad and you try to learn from mistakes and always be improving and learning more. There’s so many good books and so much information and you just have to go out there and find it and make it your mission to find more information about each different topic and try to become very educated on the different things that mean something to you in your life.

Matthew: How about is there a tool web based or otherwise and other than SmartBee that you consider indispensible to your day to day productivity?

Skye: I really like the sharing that happens on Instagram. You get a snapshot into everybody’s; all these different ideas and it just is a platform that I find helps people to grow and come together and share ideas in a non confrontational type of way. So I find that pretty valuable starting conversations with other growers. There’s nothing more I like to talk about than growing and it seems that that’s a chosen platform for people to communicate and talk about things that matter to them.

Matthew: Last personal development question. I get emails every day from people that want to get into the cannabis industry and they’re not sure how to do it but they have skills from other domains and so forth. What do you think are some of the most important skills are to develop to get into the cannabis industry?

Skye: Well there are jobs for all types of people and if you have a skill set that maybe was applicable in one industry and you want to try to apply that to the cannabis industry I think that would be one of the best ways to get in is use what you know. If you want to be a grower you need to start growing. If you’re an organizational type and you want to do building brands or planning events or any of those things are all very useful in this industry because that’s what people are doing. They’re trying to build brands. They’re trying to educate other people on their products and why they’re better than the next guy. There’s so many different areas that they could go into. It’s really just a matter of meeting people and finding where they fit in.

I know that we’re looking for software engineers and we’re looking for people who see the value in our products. Some of our sales guys have told me oh we’ve worked other sales jobs before but we’ve never believed in a product like we believe in this one and so there’s always an opportunity where you least expect it. You just have to go out there and find it.

Matthew: Is SmartBee looking for more investors still at this point?

Skye: I think we have the intention to get some investment into a second round some in the beginning, first quarter of next year.

Matthew: Okay.

Skye: But we’re entertaining different things.

Matthew: If there’s any investors listening that would want to find out more about that is there any way you should direct them or is it too early?

Skye: Yeah they could reach out to our CFO who is rickm@smartbeecontrollers.com.

Matthew: Okay. Skye as we close can you tell us where listeners can learn more about SmartBee Controllers including any social media as well as your website?

Skye: Yeah we are putting out a bunch of new Instagram posts regarding tips and best practices for creating efficiencies in your garden. So we also show and share experiences from some of the other users of our systems because really what it comes down to is it may work well for me but how does it work for this guy or this guy and seeing how it’s applicable to everybody can really I think generate a lot of benefit to see how other people use the same product right. So I would say check Instagram. Check our website. We’re going to be launching a new website shortly that will probably have a lot more information on it and you can always give us a call. Our phone number is on the website and if anybody calls and asks us any questions we’re more than happy to answer their questions and try to give them information about it. So our phone number is 888-936-9277 and you can ask for Skye or you can talk to any one of our knowledgeable sales reps.

Matthew: And can you give your website one more time?

Skye: It’s www.smartbeecontrollers.com.

Matthew: Great. Skye thanks so much for coming on CannaInsider today and educating us. We really appreciate it.

Skye: Thank you for having me. I really enjoyed it.

Matthew: 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 www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com, simply send us an email at feedback(at)cannainsider.com. We would 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.


Skye Hanke is the co-founder and chief product officer at Smart Bee Controllers.

Smart Bee is creating the cutting edge in automation and cannabis grow management technology solutions.

Smart Bee is offering a 10% discount
Use coupon code ===> Cannainsider
at checkout for 10% off.

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

Key Takeaways:
[3:04] – Skye talks about his background and how he got into the cannabis space
[4:35] – What should cultivators and business owners be thinking about in a grow
[10:49] – Skye walks through the make up of the SmartBee Controllers
[15:44] – Skye describes the dashboard of the SmartBee Controllers
[18:01] – Feedback from existing customers using SmartBee Controllers
[24:14] – Skye talks about the need for a generator as backup
[27:13] – How are SmartBee Controllers different from other sensors
[28:44] – Do investors require SmartBee before investing
[31:21] – Skye explains Vapor Pressure Deficit
[34:56] – Skye explains Root Zone Temperature
[36:34] – What is EC
[38:24] – How easy is SmartBee to implement
[40:14] – Skye talks about using SmartBee in home grows
[41:36] – Costs for setting up with SmartBee
[44:17] – Skye’s book and web tool recommendation
[46:24] – Skills to develop to get into the cannabis industry
[48:24] – Contact info for investors wanting to invest in SmartBee
[48:42] – Contact info for SmartBee Controllers

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The Five Disruptive Trends Shaping The Cannabis Industry Now

These Cannabis Products Help Women Deal with Menstrual Discomfort

maya whoopi goldberg cannabis products

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Matthew: Hi. I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I will 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 thought, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound from the cannabis or hemp plant that has many benefits. Now our friends at Treatables have put together a one list 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/Sheppard/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 that 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)cannainsider(dot)com/pet now here’s your program.

Resourceful and pioneering entrepreneurs continue to find new ways to integrate cannabis into products that improve our lives. Maya Elisabeth has partnered with actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg to bring cannabis products to market that can help women experience relief from menstrual discomfort. I am pleased to welcome Maya Elisabeth to the show today. Maya welcome to CannaInsider.

Maya: Thank you so much for having me.

Matthew: Maya give listeners a sense of geography. Where are you in the world today?

Maya: We are in Northern California, the Bay area to be exact.

Matthew: Okay. Before we dive into all the things that you’re doing and these cool products you have and are making for women, give us a little background about yourself and how you got into this business?

Maya: Absolutely. Cannabis is my life. It’s my true passion and I enjoy making medicine for people. I was a bud tender at one point. Served thousands of patients and learned so much about cannabis and started my own company and it’s been the most fruitful, fulfilling, beautiful path since. Nothing in the world gives me more gratification than creating small opportunities of self-care and relief for medical cannabis patients.

Matthew: And how did you and Whoopi Goldberg get connected?

Maya: Well it’s actually an interesting story. My company is called Om Edibles and we’re an all-female collective and we like to compete in the High Times Cups. So because of a series of victories when Whoopi reached out to a man by the name of Rick Cusick. He started looking over his resources and our name was mentioned. He gave me a cold call and asked if I would be the woman to talk to about this and I said absolutely and we went from there.

Matthew: Wow and what’s the focus on menstrual relief? How did you come up with that?

Maya: It was actually Whoopi’s idea, 51 percent of the population are women and if I were to ask you how often you’re sick and you told me one week out of every month you were having feelings of discomfort and pain. I would say you should go to the doctor. So as it turns out its crazy but the average western woman menstruates for approximately eight years cumulatively of her life.

Matthew: Wow.

Maya: Yeah. It’s something we don’t really talk about and it’s something that we don’t really even think about and there’s a lot of ways for women to find relief. So the intention of this company is just to provide tools for women to have relief that make you feel good during your moon cycle.

Matthew: Can you walk us through your product line so we get to know it a little better?

Maya: Absolutely. It’s everything that a woman wants on her cycle. It’s a bath, a rub, some medicine tincture, and chocolate. These are all super foods. Two of our four products are multi-herb. We work with an in house herbalist by the name of Alexis for two of our four products and the other two are medical cannabis products. All of them have cannabis in them. So it’s an Epsom salt soak that comes in three different flavors. It’s a tincture that’s multi-herb and has many herbs that have been helping women find health for thousands of years. Some of them are even named what their named because of that and it’s two types of raw chocolate. Raw cacao is a super food. It’s the highest magnesium containing food on the planet. It’s raw organic fair trade, six ingredients you can pronounce, one CBD chocolate and one is a THC chocolate and then it’s a topical; a rub that is multi-herb as well which came from Alexis and it’s to be rubbed all over your belly and your back and anywhere you feel pain really.

Matthew: Is there historical precedent of women throughout history using cannabis at all to help the menstruation cycle or is this a new thing?

Maya: It’s definitely not a new thing. Cannabis has been used for thousands of years for pain relief. One great example is Queen Victoria who Whoopi was inspired by. She took a menstrual tincture with cannabis in it during her time of the month and there have been many, many, many other recordings.

Matthew: Yeah it’s crazy how tinctures really seem to; cannabis is kind of bringing them back but as you explore history they were really popular for a long time and just kind of went by the wayside.

Maya: Absolutely. Tinctures are a great way to medicate. You have two main veins under your tongue. Sublingually enters your body quickly and they’re relatively easy to make and they can be made with either glycerin or alcohol or vinegar. Like an apple cider vinegar.

Matthew: And what symptoms are relieved with your products?

Maya: The beautiful thing about cannabis is it can help you with physical symptoms and physical discomforts and it does and it also helps other things like emotional support, anxiety, depression, sleep. Things that happen to go along with PMS and some women experience more than others and some cycles more than others so it’s really a full picture for relief.

Matthew: I asked a bunch of women before this interview questions like hey what are you interested in in relation to menstruation relief and one of the questions I got a lot was how can it help with my irritability and I was like wow that’s a great point. Does this help with irritability?

Maya: Yeah. Cannabis is wonderful for mood support. CBD is a miracle for anxiety and depression and also inflammation and other physical things and it doesn’t get you high. It’s not psychoactive. THC is a very nice mood elevator and they can help you deal with your stresses of PMS.

Matthew: Do you know how much food people eat impacts their menstruation pain or women’s menstruation pain if they’re a vegetarian or they’re heavy meat eaters? Do you hear anecdotally anything like that?

Maya: Yeah and I know from my own experience. Women that exercise and get enough magnesium in their diet which is typically done by eating a natural rainbow on every plate or taking supplements or taking Epsom salt soaks tend to have much better menstrual cycles. Magnesium is really important for overall human health and women’s health especially and cacao is the highest magnesium containing food on the planet. Herbs are here to support us. In our tincture we have a lot of uterine toners and things that can help your next cycle actually be better and I think it’s kind of a myth about the meat thing.

Matthew: Okay.

Maya: Because you can get iron in a lot of different ways. Broccoli has I think more protein than meat I read recently and so just through the right diet and through the right lifestyle and improving your overall health your menstrual cycle can improve as well.

Matthew: I eat these little shards of cacao beans; raw cacao beans and I like them a lot but they’re just a little bit bitter so I add goji berries to them and that really; there’s something about that combination that’s really something else and there’s like a cousin of caffeine I think in cacao. Theobromine I think it might be called and there’s a little kick there like something happens.

Maya: Absolutely. That is a winning combination. You’re speaking my language. I love to do goji berry with cacao nibs. We sweeten ours with a raw organic Agatha which it comes from a cactus so it’s a much healthier sugar. It’s lower on the glycemic index and better for your overall health.

Matthew: Yeah.

Maya: Yeah the Aztec’s revered cacao as the food of the gods. In fact cacao does mean gift from the gods and it’s one of the oldest words ever recorded and if you were being sacrificed and you were just a normal person in the Aztec times you would have the cacao drink which was bitter and unsweetened one day of your life, the day before you were offered to the gods. Yeah early voyagers wrote of it that never had they found such a sustaining food where you ate or drank such a small amount and felt sustained for so long and to me that’s kind of the definition of a super food. Something that is really nutrient dense as opposed to the latter which a lot of people are dealing with with obesity which are these huge servings of nutritionally void foods.

Matthew: Yes that also spike your glycemic index and force your pancreas to secrete all this insulin and the fast storage hormone and then we wonder why everybody is fat.

Maya: Exactly and the toxins and the chemicals.

Matthew: Yeah.

Maya: A great filter to run it through is like did this come from the earth or did this come from a science lab.

Matthew: Right, right. Now onset of cannabis is a very difficult thing to measure. People are slow metabolizers, fast metabolizers but is there a general theme you can give to people listening on how fast some of these products help with menstruation?

Maya: Absolutely. I love this question because this is the ongoing discussion. Cannabis is really personal. Everybody has different receptors all over their body. Each one is like a key hole and each strain develops with its environment and then through the botany of desire and our breeding and stuff human influence you end up with different cannabinoid profiles. So cannabis is really personal. What works for one person might not work for another and what works for one person for a long time might shift too. Patients’ needs shift. So that being said topicals are not psychoactive however I do believe the baths kind of deserve a category of their own. They don’t get your mind high but they relax your body so much we don’t recommend driving afterwards nor will you want to.

So my recommendation for patients is I really don’t say how many milligrams anyone should consume but more encourage through education and for people to start with a very small amount and work their way up and always wait a few hours because there’s so many variables involved. Even what you may have had for lunch. So knowing that cannabis is fat soluble did you just have a juicy burger or are you doing this on an empty stomach? All these variables can make a difference especially the company that you’re with in my perspective. I think that’s one of the biggest variables is what’s your mood and how are you feeling and what’s your intention? Yeah so the cacao is available in CBD and THC. Many patients are perfect candidates just for topicals or CBD. Not every person who wants to use medical cannabis has to feel high. That’s something I love teaching people too.

Matthew: And I’m sure you get feedback on all your products but is there one of the products that you get the most passionate feedback about where people are kind of saying the same thing?

Maya: I am blown away and I’m not just making this up because it’s my line but we get the most overwhelmingly positive for all of our products truly and really. The cacao is like through the roof with positivity. That CBD cacao has helped people with so many different muscular disabilities and all types of serious ailments. The tincture blew my mind when not one, not two, but five and six independent testimonials without me asking for them came back and said that women’s next cycle was actually improved. So we’re moving from acute symptoms to now an overall lifestyle enhancer because of some of the herbs in there. The salts we’ve always gotten the best feedback for. Those are great for sleep and pain and dermatological issues. The magnesium goes inside your uterus and relaxes your muscles which are contracting because you’re shedding your uterine lining and that’s what a cramp is and the salve is filled with herbs. It has white willow bark which is something very similar to aspirin and other healing herbs and the efficacy of it is also mind blowing. We’ve gotten overwhelmingly positive response for everything.

Matthew: What advice do you give to customers that are trying to find their intake topical like your product rub and maybe an ingestible where they are trying to maybe create some sort of hybrid experience because a topical and an ingestible are two different things? Do people use those in tandem to help with menstruation relief?

Maya: This is a great question too. Our line was specifically designed for versatility and freedom. You can mix and match any different product for any different time. Our tincture is actually made with an organic overproof alcohol so you can actually make an adult bevy out of it. We do one called the blood orange with an orange squirt and rosemary and a Pellegrino. It’s delicious. It really calms you down. You can do that while you’re in the bath. When you get out you can rub the salve. The CBD cacao is wonderful any time of the day. The THC one is a psychoactive so you can mix and match and put one scoop of one in a cup of cacao and one scoop of another if you’re just feeling like a light serving. It’s not intended to replace whatever women normally do for relief. It’s really just compatible. It’s a lifestyle enhancer and it’s all about versatility and choices.

Matthew: For a topical like rub; obviously you don’t ingest. How does that interact with the receptors on your skin specifically?

Maya: Another great question. You have CB1 and CB2 receptors all over your skin epidermis and we all know the skin is the largest organ. People put hormones on their wrists and rub them together and raise their hormones levels so never underestimate the power of a topical. It’s really getting in there. Those CB1 and CB2 receptors in your skin epidermis are right next to all your nerve endings and that’s one of the reasons why it’s so effective for pain. We also have a philosophy in our company that if you can’t pronounce it don’t put it in your mouth and if you can’t eat it don’t put it on your skin. So you could eat the balm if you wanted to. We don’t recommend it because it won’t taste good but it would be safe. Everything besides jojoba oil and patchouli you can pronounce in our line. Maybe cacao some people stutter on too but you won’t find any ten syllable chemicals in anything that we create.

Matthew: You have an herbalist that you work with that helps you with your recipes. What’s it like working with her and how has that impacted your products?

Maya: Well it’s actually enhanced our products tremendously. A woman by the name of Alexis Gandara and she has a company called Rooted Grounds and she was already making a moon line and we were actually friends for a long time. As soon as I got the phone call I called her and said shoot the moon it’s time to put our medicines together and her and I started formulating from there on out. Looking at cannabis for what it is which is a healing herb and super food we found that when you pair it with other healing herbs and super foods the healing properties and benefits and efficacy is greatly increased.

Matthew: Now being an herbalist she probably has a lot of other interesting things like she approaches wellness and sickness in a different way, different mindset entirely. Is there any other kind of interesting things she does or how she approaches life or sickness and wellness that you could share that maybe the general population doesn’t know about or think about?

Maya: Yeah.

Matthew: We’re kind of trained to think about pills like hey it’s like a drug.

Maya: Totally. She’s very, very, very talented at what she does. She communicates with the plant. She listens to the plants. She’s very knowledgeable and I think we both share the same philosophy that all the cures that we need for our ailments and health are really here growing on the earth and they’re here for us and all we have to do is learn about them and learn how to use them really.

Matthew: Yeah. It’s kind of a reawakening art form. I mean probably like the Salem witch trials was the bottom for herbalists when they’re pretty much witches and so that was kind of cast out from our society but it seems like it’s making a comeback.

Maya: Absolutely.

Matthew: So let’s pivot to some personal development questions to let the audience know you a little bit better. As you look over your life is there a book that really stands out as having a large impact on your thinking or how you view the world?

Maya: I love this question as well. I love the book “The Alchemist.” Have you ever read it?

Matthew: I have heard of this book but I’ve not read it.

Maya: It’s a short read and it’s amazing. It’s just about reading the signs of the universe and good omens and how to pay attention and following your heart and just the world is really working in your favor when you go for a dream. It’s a beautiful, beautiful story full of archetypes and zymology and lots of wisdom. Another one has in my opinion kind of a funny name but it’s called “Conversations With God” and it’s not a religious book but it’s about a man who is channeling some type of higher wisdom and the whole book is question and answer and it is filled with the most profound information on a spiritual level. It has just brought me so much good.

Matthew: Wow. Great suggestion. Is there a tool web based or otherwise that you consider indispensable to your day to day productivity?

Maya: Google.

Matthew: Google. Okay me too. I use the Google Drive a lot now too. All the spreadsheets and docs on there. It’s like my go to. In fact I’m frustrated when I have to use Excel or something now because it always crashes.

Maya: Yes. I love Google. I’m self-taught. Everything that I’ve learned I’ve typed into Google and just done research on and I always encourage people to do the same. I notice that everyone wants the new Iphone but they’re not necessarily open to new information about cannabis coming in and really that reframe and showing people a new way to look at things because if cannabis was discovered today we would be revering it as a very important medicine that was some type of cure all.

Matthew: Yeah that’s true. It’s true. We have to break through the old stigma unfortunately.

Maya: Yeah and let the new information in.

Matthew: Where can people get your products or is it only available in California right now or is it nationwide in the medical states? Where can we find it?

Maya: Right now we’re only in California as we are a medical cannabis company. So it’s federally illegal to cross the state line with medical cannabis. We do have a full list of dispensaries on our website if you go to www.whoopiandmaya.com and just click the link to see our outlets. You can see every dispensary that carries us.

Matthew: Okay. Well Maya in closing is there anything else you’d like to share or how we can follow you?

Maya: I just wanted to say thank you so much for the time and thank you to all the listeners for listening and we’re on Facebook and Instagram and we have a website so if you want to see what we’re up to make sure you check it out.

Matthew: Okay. Well thanks so much for joining us on the show today. We really appreciate it.

Maya: Thank you Matt. 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 www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com, simply send us an email at feedback(at)cannainsider.com. We would 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.


Maya Elisabeth discusses how she created a line of cannabis products to help women that are dealing with menstrual discomfort. Maya shares how she partnered with famed comedian and actress Whoopi Goldberg to make these products a reality.

Key Takeaways:
[2:11] – Maya’s background and how she got into the cannabis industry
[2:46] – Maya talks about how she connected with Whoopi Goldberg
[3:22] – Using cannabis for menstrual relief
[4:12] – A walkthrough of Maya’s product line
[5:29] – Is the use of cannabis new for menstrual relief
[6:25] – Maya talks about what symptom relief her products provide
[7:47] – Do certain types of food cause menstrual pain
[9:05] – Maya talks about using cacao and goji nibs
[10:51] – Maya talks about how quickly the products start to give women relief
[12:43] – Maya talks about which product gets the best feedback
[14:14] – Using topicals and edibles in tandem
[15:21] – How do topicals interact with the receptors on your skin
[16:23] – Maya talks about working with an herbalist
[18:21] – Maya’s book and web application recommendations
[20:23] – Maya’s contact information

Learn more at:
http://whoopiandmaya.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

Join CannaInsider For FREE & Receive
The Five Disruptive Trends Shaping The Cannabis Industry Now

Savvy Entrepreneur Helps Customers Hide Their Stash in Style

stashlogix

Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi. I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I will 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 thought, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound from the cannabis or hemp plant that has many benefits. Now our friends at Treatables have put together a one list chew that can help your dog or cat become more calm and balanced. Valerie wrote in to tell us about her experience with Treatables.

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Matthew: When new markets emerge it’s often the merchants that make the picks and shovels for the new industries customers that end up doing the best. Today we’re going to talk with one of the entrepreneurs who is not focused on the cannabis trade itself but instead focused on helping cannabis enthusiasts keep their cannabis secure and organized in a fashionable way. I’m pleased to welcome Skip Stone, co-founder and CEO of Stash Logix to the show today. Welcome to CannaInsider Skip.

Skip: Thanks Matt. Glad to be here.

Matthew: Skip give us a sense of geography. Can you tell us where you are in the world today?

Skip: Sure. I’m in Boulder, Colorado about thirty miles north of Denver.

Matthew: Great and I am in Athens, Georgia today. Skip what is Stash Logix? Give us a high level overview.

Skip: Stash Logix makes stash bags that fit into any cannabis lifestyle. Many people call it their go to cannabis storage bag.

Matthew: Okay and just to be clear there’s a lot of stash bags out there that are kind of disposable like you get from a dispensary. This is totally different.

Skip: It is. This is more like a camera bag, more like a high end camera bag with adjustable padded dividers. I like to use the analogy of a padded lunchbox. We kind of have sizes ranging from like a sunglass case size up to a large lunchbox.

Matthew: Okay. I want to get into more details and nuances about the bags themselves but before we do can you tell us a little bit about how you got into the industry because so many people email me every day asking how I can get into the industry? How do I do it? How do I do it? And you made a career transition. You had a successful career in a different industry entirely and just dropped everything and got into this industry. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got off the fence and jumped into this industry?

Skip: Sure. Yeah that’s right. I was an engineer for twenty years. For the last fifteen years was VP of Sales Engineering for a company and had this storage bag epiphany and just started taking baby steps to move it forward and as part of that process a friend of mine that I had met that was in the industry mentioned listening to Canna Insider and so around September 2014 I started listening to them and as a sales engineer I had a lot of wind chill time so I got to listen to all of them and some of them multiple times but one of the real takeaways that I got from your podcast was that this industry wasn’t even on the ground level yet. It was really like in the basement or maybe even more like the bottom level of a parking garage. So I think that something that you and a lot of your guests kind of reiterated is that now is the time to make a move, to carve out a name for yourself.

It would be several years before any big players would take a risk to get into the game so if you wanted in now is the time and that really resonated for me. So some of the podcasts that really were influential or really I remember a lot were Steve DeAngelo, Leslie Bockster? Bock?

Matthew: Bocskor yeah. I like Bockster though that’s pretty cool. Maybe you can change it to that. Like a Porsche Boxster.

Skip: Yeah. Cheryl Shuman, Ean Seeb, Representative David Simmons. A lot of really great podcasts.

Matthew: Wow.

Skip: And it really helped me feel like I did my research before taking the risk. I think I kept hearing that this was a new frontier much like the .com era was in 2000 or earlier.

Matthew: Yeah. Well gosh that’s very flattering. Thanks for mentioning those episodes and I’m glad that Canna Insider has had an impact on you. I know early on when you were developing these bags we met for a beer in Boulder and you were showing me these bags and ironically that very day or within 24 hours I was searching online for something similar and I was like this is just bizarre that I got an email out of the blue from a listener that says I’m making bags like these and we kind of tossed it around a little bit but I think one thing it’s really helpful for listeners to understand is that there’s not; you don’t go into this without fear because a lot of times we look at entrepreneurs from the outside and we say well they have something I don’t have.

He’s got something I don’t have. He’s got this courage. I say I’m 51 percent courage and the rest is fear. You don’t need to be all courage to take that step out and wonder what’s going to happen. Did you have some fear, reservations, or kind of nagging thoughts like am I doing the right thing before you just did it anyway?

Skip: Yeah. I think myself and maybe others probably thought I was going through a midlife crisis. I don’t know if that’s really true but it definitely could have been but I just kept having this nagging thought in my mind but what if this worked. You get one shot at life. This just seemed like such a fun industry to be a part of and I just couldn’t let go of that. What if it worked? The risk was high. I have a house in Boulder, two young kids, and my wife’s a teacher. It’s not an easy balance to make but I think my wife was amazing and she was also probably blissfully ignorant about what is involved in getting something like this off the ground as I was as well.

Matthew: Yeah.

Skip: It was a very challenging; it’s been a very challenging last year and a half or longer but you’re right. When I met with you I just made some prototypes. As I kept making these baby steps to see where this might go one of the natural progressions was to talk to you and at that time you mentioned maybe I should apply to Canopy Boulder. So I did and I got accepted after only ten companies are accepted out of 120 applicants and to me this was the vote of confidence I needed to really take that plunge. Boulder is known to be a great startup town so that was one advantage I had over maybe others in different locations but joining an accelerator is a pretty common way to launch a business. So getting accepted gave me that vote of confidence I needed.

Matthew: And for listeners that aren’t familiar with what CanopyBoulder is it’s a seed stage accelerator for the cannabis industry and if you look up interviews with Patrick Rea and Micah Tapman you can get all the details on what that is exactly. So back to you Skip. So when you make this transition into the cannabis industry start/Stash Logix what’s the reaction from your current employer and also from extended friends and family because you mentioned your wife was supportive but what about the rest? I mean do you get kind of like chuckles at Thanksgiving? Pothead Skip he’s joining the cannabis circus or anything like that?

Skip: Yeah I had a lot of friends that were trying to talk me down. Some high school friends were calling other high school friends of mine saying trying to talk some sense into me. So that was pretty entertaining. Typically most of those friends were supportive and told me to go for it. So still it definitely gave me some pause before I made the decision. As far as my parents and relatives and my parents have more of a reefer madness view of cannabis so I didn’t tell them that I got into the industry until I was in Canopy Boulder for a couple months. That was not easy to avoid but they’ve come around but I still try not to bring it up at Thanksgiving dinners, but they’re coming around. They ask about the business. They just try and not ask specific questions about the industry.

Matthew: So when you jumped in with both feet and burned the bridge behind you to an extent did you feel like the universe came into support you in some way. You mentioned Canopy. Getting into that accelerator. Was there any other industry connections or things that happened that kind of you were like wow this is the type of thing I was hoping would happen once I jumped in with both feet.

Skip: Yeah Canopy Boulder was really a great decision. This was the first of its kind accelerator for cannabis. So we had a lot of support, we had a lot of PR, and everybody was in the same position. Everybody had just dropped whatever it was that they were doing. Some of them were Harvard business professionals and some were really established in their careers and I think everybody had that nervous energy of what was going on and how were they going to be a part of this and it created great strong bonds and friendships. So immediately I had nine other companies all with the same sorts, reservations, and excitement and feelings and that was extremely helpful getting into a new business and a brand new industry. Every time I went to a tradeshow or a meet up I knew people and that’s a really great position to be in instead of being out on your own trying to fend for yourself.

So I think the industry in general was so new that there really are no good old boy networks. The barrier to entry just really didn’t exist and it wasn’t just Canopy but everybody I met in in the industry was very supportive and very helpful and eager to help.

Matthew: Yeah I’ve found the same to be true. Let’s dig into the Stash Logix bags a little bit. Can you paint a picture for the audience in terms of we talked about a camera bag but in terms of size, functionality, features, and benefits of the bags themselves?

Skip: Sure. That’s a pretty common question. Our tag line is thoughtful, secure, and discrete. So the secure part refers to we have a built in combination lock. It locks the zippers of the bag up so unwanted prying eyes can’t get into your bag. The thoughtful part refers to the functionality of the bag and the accessories we included. I wanted to reimagine what a cannabis storage bag could be. For instance the tube jars that cannabis flower was sold in met regulatory standards but practically speaking they were obviously not made for a good customer experience. They were narrow, they were deep, they were opaque. You couldn’t see what you had and you couldn’t take care of the product very well. So I thought we needed wide mouth jars that were designed to handle the fragile buds and to be clear jars so that you could quickly inventory your stash.

I also wanted a way to label it clearly. So I made the jar so you have dry erase lids and all the options were really pretty mind boggling. How do you remember all these different strains and products? There is Blue Dream, Alpha Blue, Blueberry, and how do you keep track of it all?

Matthew: Yeah.

Skip: So we made a journal to track these strains that’s also part of the thoughtful part of the bag and then the final part of our tagline is discrete and that part refers to not having pot leafs on the outside, not having rasta colors, and taking it one step further I didn’t even want the name of our company on the outside of the bag because I didn’t want my kids as they got older or the man to be able to Google and know exactly what’s inside our bag.

Matthew: Good thought yeah.

Skip: And then the final aspect of the discrete tagline was the odor. If you smelled like a skunk it was kind of a dead giveaway. So we made these odor packets that will absorb the odors. I guess there was one more aspect to the discrete part. We also include a charging port so you can power a vaporizer while it’s plugged in but it’s locked. Nobody knows what’s in there and if you got a hotel maid or visiting in-laws they can’t be snoopy and try and figure out what you’re doing.

Matthew: Right, right. Well you do a great job of making the bags look unique. So when you see it right away you say hey this is kind of cool. I haven’t seen this before but you don’t get the sense there’s cannabis inside. When you’re going through the design process what’s it like? I mean are you white boarding things, are you talking out loud with other people on the team, are you asking perspective customers? I mean what is the process from starting at zero to arriving at the finished product you hold in your hand?

Skip: Well the bags are designed to be modular and clean. It’s really focused on function more than anything. It just was a lot of challenges for everybody whether you’re a man or woman, old or young, everybody’s got the same challenge of how do you store all these things. So we really built them designed for function. But this year we’re coming out with some new products and a couple of them are going to be women focused bags because I know that different people have different needs and different wants. So we’re trying to tailor similar concepts more specifically geared toward different demographics.
Matthew: One of the hidden benefits or I guess the primary drivers when people are starting to look for these bags is like hey I’m sick of using a huge Zip Lock bag and putting this in my nightstand or something like that because it leads to an awkward moment if some family member or their kids or something find that. Is that one of the primary drivers you’re finding with customers at Stash Logix?

Skip: Yeah I do believe that. Part of the process of going through this and deciding to jump into this was because I discovered the low dose edibles; particularly gummy bears probably some point in 2013 and then I had this idea around January 2014 that the first month that cannabis legalization happened in Colorado which was the first of its situation in the world. So I thought a lot of these edibles having micro dosing and being able to have something predictable and repeatable really offered a lot of value but I also saw the concerns that people would have with storing these items and particularly myself having young kids it made me nervous. I have a lifelong relationship with cannabis and a lot of times when the kids go to bed I’d go out in the garage and smoke a little weed and work on some projects and this was kind of when I had this epiphany and realized that it would be a bad situation if my kids found me and so I decided I can’t be the only one with this tricky situation. So I decided to start moving this concept forward.

Matthew: Just a quick interruption to this interview to let you know that Stash Logix has generously extended a 15% discount on all their bags to Canna Insider listeners. Simply visit www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/stash to get the coupon code for 15% off. Again that URL is www(dot)cannainsider(dot)/stash. That’s S-t-a-s-h. Now back to your program.

Matthew: How did you get the Stash Logix bags into dispensaries and start building your network of wholesale partners and so forth because that’s kind of tricky chicken and the egg thing is that maybe some of the dispensaries want to see other dispensaries selling the bags before they do or they promise and never get back to you. It’s kind of an uphill battle in many ways. What’s that journey been like trying to get the bags into dispensaries?

Skip: Yeah it’s been a challenging and interesting road map we’ve followed. This is a brand new industry for many reasons. There really were not any distributors selling for medicated products or ancillary products. So we had to kind of forage that territory on our own. Dispensaries have historically been making money on selling weed and head shops were known for ancillary products. But there are no distributors in this space. Mostly the companies are handling sales in house. But we believe that the future of head shops was iffy. We kind of thought that a dispensary would ultimately become a one stop shop.

So with that mind set we started working towards getting it into dispensaries and being in Boulder we had the advantage of getting to see; being the first to market with legal cannabis we got to see some of the differences and many of them operate much like a pharmacy or a doctor’s office where you have the waiting room and you have some magazines to look at but mostly people are just kind of sitting around wondering is my boss going to walk in the room and who am I going to know in here and it’s just not a comfortable situation but most of them weren’t taking advantage of this space but some of them were like the Farm in Boulder and Ajoya in Lewisville which is Boulder county.

They started making a true customer experience with these dispensaries and giving them something better than that; a doctor’s office. So we knew with 600 dispensaries in Colorado we were pretty sure that there was going to be some consolidation and the dispensaries that offered a better customer experience were likely to survive. So we tried focusing on those dispensaries first and both of those two that I mentioned were our first two dispensaries that we got to work with and they allowed us to play around a little bit with what that experience might be and it’s still a really big challenge. Colorado is becoming more mature but it’s still a long ways from where it’s ultimately going to be but places like California are really still too immature for us. We are selling in a handful of places but the primary reaction from the dispensaries was that they didn’t feel like this was a good fit for them and mostly because they’ve been making money on selling medicated products.

Matthew: Right.

Skip: And even though this is considered an exit bag they still didn’t see the value in selling something other than medicated products. So it just and along with that the distributors was such a brand new thing that really the distributors that we found we were either the first or second line that they started carrying and it’s really fun because we’re starting to see them be successful and bring in new lines or products that fall in line kind of with us. Something a bit more sophisticated and something that connects well with the shop. So it’s been really fun. It’s also been really challenging and we still have a long way to go to help the industry mature.

Matthew: Yeah and I think; I mean you mentioned the Farm in Boulder and they are very savvy in understanding they want to be like a solution oriented instead of just product oriented where you come in for cannabis. They have that whole relationship in mind. You’re sitting on comfortable couches in a waiting room and while you’re in this waiting room you can’t by law be looking at the product just yet; the cannabis product. So why not show all the accessories to your customers while they’re sitting there talking and chilling out with their friends. I mean it makes a ton of sense to provide everything instead of just a point product to your thinking about okay how are they going to store this. What other things might my customers want besides just infused products or flower and so forth? So I think as it matures hopefully we’ll see more dispensaries thinking this way.

There’s so much transaction volume going on right now that they don’t have to stop and focus and think like that but I think we’re coming to the point that it’s starting to happen. So when you get; when you talk to a dispensary manager or purchaser or owner and you put it in their hands what’s the general reaction? I mean you mentioned that they’re more interested in selling infused products but what do they say about the bags themselves? What’s the feedback they give you?

Skip: They often love the product. They just assume that their customer is either can’t afford it or won’t see the value in it. So that’s been a challenge but what we do in those situations is we offer consignment and in almost every case those have converted into orders.

Matthew: That’s smart.

Skip: Yeah.

Matthew: Risky some might say but smart.

Skip: Yeah the whole retail side of things is challenging because we’re working often times a lot of counter culture people that don’t come from professional retail backgrounds. So they don’t often know how to merchandise products and they’re all learning just like I am as almost everybody in the industry is learning.

Matthew: Now you mentioned that you try to mute the smell of the cannabis so you don’t get this strong pungent wafting smell from the contents inside the bag. How is that achieved exactly? Can you walk us through that?

Skip: Sure. Well it’s all; we associate that all with the discrete part of our tagline. If you smell like a skunk you’re not being very discrete. So as an environmental engineer I came from treating water and carbon was a tool that many different municipalities and engineers used to handle different impurities and often that was odor. So activated carbon has very microscopic pore space that allows for absorption and in the creation of this activated carbon there’s microscopic tunnels throughout this product and it creates a large surface area in a very small piece. So I knew this so I just started buying the pieces and parts to make these odor absorbent packets. So the first probably thousand of them I made in my garage but we’ve since made some improvements.

And really in a couple weeks we’re going to be launching a much improved odor packet that’s going to have a lot more of the absorption material. They’re also made with this beautiful hemp packet and we feel like they’re going to be a great add on feature. It doesn’t necessarily even need to be in our bag. You could throw that in your sock drawer or your shoebox that you keep your cannabis in and still offer some benefits but the design that we have is that it’s not so that you put that carbon inside your jar with the weed because that would absorb all of the odors and most connoisseurs don’t want that to happen. So really it’s designed to remove the ambient air odors. So it stays in the place you want it and doesn’t escape and give you a way that you’re carrying it around with you, traveling with you, and things like that.

Matthew: Right. So you put it next to a closed jar as opposed to in the jar with the cannabis is what you’re saying?

Skip: Yeah. We just leave it in the bag. There’s a little place for it and it will absorb the odors from a half used joint or a pipe with residue in it and any odors that are escaping we’ll try and contain that.

Matthew: Now you mentioned launching products that are more geared toward women. How do you balance the bags esthetic to the different genders? Would you say they’re kind of unisex now? Do you find that more women are buying the bags so you’re maybe pivoting more to women or what are the thoughts around that?

Skip: I do think that they’re fairly unisex as they are now. We make one out of hemp and one out of black cordero. I think that catches a pretty good range but we definitely want to come out with more colors and patterns but we also see a need for many different sizes both smaller and larger. So I think we’re going to instead of focusing on new colors we’re going to try new products that we feel would resonate with people. So women typically like to be organized and like to have different bags for different purposes so we see that as a next good step to take.

Matthew: Now I notice that sometimes men will use products designed for women but women won’t use products designed for me. I don’t know what that says but it does seem to be true. Like hey if this is good enough that a woman would use it it’s okay for caveman Matt. Do you find that to be true at all?

Skip: Yeah. We originally thought and I’m not totally sure if I can comment completely on that without offending anybody or without even talking intelligently about that but we are a bit surprised about who our demographics are. We assumed that it would be much like me; parents that were trying to keep their products safe from their kids but we actually seem to be finding millennials and younger people being attracted to the bags more and I suspect it’s for traveling and just trying to have some level of protection to keep them out of trouble but we really seem to be spanning the whole demographic range. We have lots of fans of all ages and genders. So I haven’t really put a lot of study into it.

Matthew: Now in terms of working with manufacturing partners what’s that like? I mean is hard to negotiate, is it hard to get the level of quality you want, is there a lot more back and forth than you originally anticipated? What are kind of the challenges and opportunities there?

Skip: Well I think the way we’ve approached this is just having a really solid protocol. We never order anything in bulk without having samples and we learned that the hard way a couple times but they were not very costly mistakes but that helped us accept this protocol for moving forward and that rule now applies from large changes of bag dimensions and new features down to minor changes like the hang tag string. So we want to get the exact sample of what they're going to use no matter what scale of a change we’re making, but soon we’re going to be bringing out three new products in two different Colorado facilities and that’s going to really help because we can make smaller batches. We will have an agile manufacturing process. So we can sit down with the head seller and quickly prototype and quickly get a new product to manufacturing.

So we’ve got several different manufacturers we’re working with; with all sorts of pieces and parts and it’s been an interesting process. So far we’ve managed to steer clear of any major catastrophes but it’s always a concern. You just have to be diligently making sure people are doing what they said they would.

Matthew: That’s interesting. There’s I think more manufacturing returning to the United States. It’s kind of happening in a trickle but with the advent of 3D printing and the exact type of thing you’re talking about where you want to have more control and faster iteration. I think that’s starting to happen which is exciting. Maybe reversing some of the negative effects of globalization off shoring. We’re getting more on shoring and that would be exciting to see how much it would contribute to jobs and GDP in this country. So I’m glad to hear that. You talked a little bit about the road map for other storage bags. Are you thinking just in terms of the next six to twelve months or is there a revision three to five years out or is that just too far to plan for?

Skip: We’re just hoping to be around still then. We have five new products. We think they’re great. Some of them we think are a game changer so we’re really excited to unveil these new products. We’re bringing these to Champs next week in Denver which is one of the largest tradeshows for head shops and smoke shops. So a lot of big distributors will be there. We’ll be unveiling these and trying to get feedback on what products they feel may be the best to bring out quicker but we’ve got a fanny pack and a messenger bag with two women’s products and a pocket size case. So we’ve got a bunch that are production ready prototypes and we’re just trying to figure out which way to go with which of them.

Matthew: Nice. I love fanny packs. I don’t like to admit that out publicly normally but love them.

Skip: Yeah the baby boomers have done a number on the fanny pack image. So we’re hoping to reverse that. We’re not sure we want to put all our eggs in that basket just in case that fails but I think what we made on the fanny pack is really awesome.

Matthew: I think one way you could start to build excitement around that Skip is maybe if you could get like a sequenced, jeweled fanny pack that you would wear as a CEO to kind of get the message started. Is that something you’d consider?

Skip: It’s an interesting concept, possibly.

Matthew: Let’s not write it off.

Skip: Okay.

Matthew: Let’s just say maybe.

Skip: Yeah.

Matthew: Okay.

Skip: I have been wearing mine around and I’ve been feeling more and more comfortable wearing a fanny pack. I think a fanny pack is a great thing to have but it’s something I haven’t been wearing in a while but I’m really happy to have one and I definitely use it when I go hiking and things like that which is great but wearing it around out to dinner and coffee shops I haven’t completely wrapped my head around all of that yet.

Matthew: Yeah. Well let’s pivot to some personal development questions. I like to ask some personal development questions so listeners can get to know you a little bit. Is there a book that looking back over the arc of your life has had a big impact on your thinking or how you perceive things maybe giving you a new lens that you would share with listeners?

Skip: Yeah that would be Dale Carnegie’s book on “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” I read it as part of a sales course I took a long time ago and it’s really a study on human behavior and how to make the most of your interactions with people and really the book is filled with takeaways that I continue to use in my life and I’m always trying to work on getting better at this but one of them is just showing general interest in people and they say that the best communicators aren’t often the most charismatic people. They aren’t maybe the best storytellers. They’re just really interested listeners and people walk away with really positive experiences when you can remove yourself from and your stories and really focus on what somebody else is saying and just doing a good job at listening and providing good follow up questions.

My wife is really good at this so she’s kind of my mentor for this but I’ve gotten better but it’s something I continue to work on. Another takeaway I got from that book is you can’t win at arguments. So try to avoid it and at all costs make efforts to allow others to save face because even if you feel like you won that means somebody else lost and in the end you really both lost.

Matthew: That’s a great point. I don’t think we’ll be seeing much of that going into the political election season but I definitely agree with that. Try to look for win/wins wherever possible.

Skip: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matthew: Is there a tool web based or otherwise that you consider indispensable to your life for productivity besides fanny packs?

Skip: Well we’re trying to; we have a very small company but we’re trying to set it up with Fortune 500 infrastructure. So we’re hoping to set it up to scale and that means improving inventory, shipping, project tracking, accounting, customer service. Really just trying to automate and make a process for each step so that it is something that we can scale and we don’t fall on our faces if things get really busy, customer service drops off. We think customer service is a really, really important thing and we’ve been trying to find the software to improve on all of these things and we think we’ve got a pretty good fundamental company infrastructure for handling a lot of this stuff.

Matthew: So if there’s one tool I was going to take away from you and you would feel the worst about having it gone which would it be okay software tool, physical tool, vaporizer, anything that you just love and you’re like I can’t imagine not having that day to day and week to week.

Skip: I like the software called Pipedrive CRM system. It’s a really good place for me to organize all our different sales channels. Our distributors, our in house sales accounts, our sales reps, online retailers, You Tube reviewers, magazine reviews, affiliates. It’s just really concise and easy to work with program that keeps my life organized.

Matthew: Oh wow. So is that companywide then? Do you share it with everybody in the company or is just you?

Skip: We do all use it. I primarily manage it but we all do use it.

Matthew: Great. Well Skip as we close how can listeners find out more about Stash Logix bags?

Skip: You can go to our website. That’s got the most comprehensive store front. There you can find a lot of our accessories that we may or may not be offering in stores but we are in about 250 or more retail stores. You can find a list of that on our website as well. It’s www.stashlogix.com. www.stashlogix.com and hopefully you can find them in a smoke shop or dispensary near you.

Matthew: And are you still looking for investors for Stash Logix at all?

Skip: We are. We closed our seed round a couple months ago and we will be looking for more funding to get some of these new products off the ground here probably right after the holidays. Immediately after the holidays last year we discovered that trying to talk to investors during the holidays is not worth the effort.

Matthew: I can understand.

Skip: So we’re setting ourselves up to need more investment very soon.

Matthew: Cool. Well Skip thanks so much for coming on CannaInsider. We really appreciate it.

Skip: Thanks Matt. It’s really an honor. You were very inspirational in me getting into this and I’m very thankful to be a part of the podcast.

Matthew: Thanks Skip.
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 www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com, simply send us an email at feedback(at)cannainsider.com. We would 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.


Skip Stone left his lucrative career outside the cannabis industry to pursuit his dream of creating StashLogix.
Stashlogix is the leader in creating stylish, functional locking bags that allow you to discreetly store and carry your favorite herb or flower.

Learn how Skip made the transition from traditional career to full-time entrepreneur and how to create a product that customers want.

Key Takeaways:
[2:18] – What is Stash Logix
[3:29] – Skip talks about how he got into the cannabis space
[6:36] – Skip discusses his fears of stepping into the industry
[10:31] – Skip talks about his experience with CanopyBoulder
[12:18] – Skip talks about features of the Stash Bags
[15:26] – Skip walks listeners through the design process of the Stash Bags
[19:00] – Skip talks about getting distribution and dispensary wholesale partners
[23:55] – Incorporating feedback into the design
[24:54] – Neutralizing cannabis odor to avoid detection
[27:43] – Designing for both genders with one style
[30:00] – Ins and outs of working with manufacturing partners
[32:12] – Skip talks future development roadmap
[34:32] – Skip’s book and web tool recommendations
[38:18] – Contact details for Stash Logix

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

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