Harborside is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected cannabis retailers in the world, and it’s expected to grow much bigger in 2019.
Led by CEO Andrew Berman, the company has played an instrumental role in making cannabis safe and accessible, and its stores are known for supplying the world’s best-curated selection of award-winning flower, concentrates, edibles, and other cannabis products from California growers and manufacturers.
One of Andrew’s first acts as CEO was to create a capital markets strategy for the company, and in so doing Harborside has raised over $25M in 2018.
In this episode, Andrew shares his insights, learnings, and what’s in store for the future of the cannabis industry.
– Andy’s personal journey and how he came to be the CEO of Harborside
– Harborside’s focus on California and the company’s multistage strategy going forward
– Harborside’s projections and the cannabis industry’s growth following the legalization of adult-use in California
– Andy’s growth tactics in California
– Harborside’s clean, sun-grown cannabis and how the greenhouse method is more environmentally friendly and cost-effective
– Cannabis business licensing in California
– Shifting trends in customer preferences for flowers, edibles, and concentrates
– Harborside’s $25 million capital raise and evolution from a medical nonprofit to a for-profit company
– Andy’s predictions for reduced banking restrictions on cannabis businesses
– Tips on how to break into the cannabis industry for those interested
To learn more, visit: http://www.shopharborside.com
Fresh off the heels of raising $25 million, the iconic dispensary Harborside has big plans. Here to tell us all about it is Andy Berman, CEO of Harborside. Andy, welcome to CannaInsider.
Andy: Thank you very, very much Matt. It's a pleasure to be here.
Matthew: Give us a sense of geography. Where are you in the world today?
Andy: Oh I'm in Northern California. I'm actually, truth be told, transparency, I am right now in a home office in Marin County. And just, you know, given that it's 8:00 in the morning here, about to head on the road for commute. I figured I'd just do it from here, it's nice and quiet.
Matthew: Oh, great idea. Marin is a nice place.
Andy: It is. It's a great part of the world.
Matthew: Well, I think most listeners have heard at least of Harborside, if they haven't visited it. So but for the people that don't know, can you tell us a little bit about what Harborside is?
Andy: Sure. Harborside is a...well, today Harborside is a vertically integrated cannabis company in California. It started about 12 years ago at retail. Its founders are Steve DeAngelo and his partner, Dress Wedding. They started the first dispensary in 2006 in Oakland. And today, we've expanded to a second dispensary, we've got a couple of more under construction, a cultivation facility, products, but vertically integrated cannabis operator in California.
Matthew: Okay. And can you tell me a little bit about your background and journey and how you got to this point, both personally and professionally, to be the CEO of Harborside? That's a long question.
Andy: It is. And sometimes I'm amazed myself. Good fortune, right? I'm a lawyer by trade.
Andy: And I practiced law for about 10 years, 11 years, and then went to go work for a client, not as a lawyer, but on the business side, and spent a decent amount of time in digital media and wireless and technology, and also a little, about a year in a venture capital firm. We were doing some cannabis investments. I had done some outside of California. I met Steve DeAngelo in 2016. We were introduced because we were gonna look at doing a project together. And then Steve was doing a friends and family round at the time. I did an investment in Harborside. And then in 2017, Steve asked if I'd help him. We had a couple of, oh, I would just say, you know, just business issues to work through and he asked if I would him think through all those things. I was happy to do it. And then he just asked me at the beginning of this year, "Would I come inside?" And I did. Began as acting CEO, and it worked really well for Steve. And it worked really well for me and the company. The board appointed me officially as the CEO earlier this year. And that's my story for Harborside. It's good fortune, right?
Matthew: Yeah. Well, Harborside's focus has been a little different than some other cannabis companies. You've focused strictly on California. Can you tell us about the strategy there?
Andy: Yeah, it's pretty...and I have, I'm glad you asked that, because I have been asked all year, you know, "What's your multi-state strategy?" And I just...California presents a tremendous opportunity. And it also presents, I would say, some very unique challenges that we're well positioned to address because we're here. If you look at market size, California is at least a third, if not more, of the U.S. market right now. It's the dominant cannabis market in the planet. The San Francisco Bay Area is equivalent to, you know, a number of other states out there. And it's projected to stay that way. Just some of the reports that have come out just in the last couple of months have the U.S. market being roughly, you know, $30 billion, $28 billion over the next three to four years, and a third of that is California, a $9 billion market, with 32% of the share. And that puts it, you know, the size of Nevada and Arizona and Florida and New York and Pennsylvania and Illinois combined.
So my focus, while we can, grab share here, continue to grow here. We are here, we know how to do it, and stay focused here. I think multi-state strategies make a lot of sense if you're not in California. But if you're in California, then you ought to grab a lot. There's a lot right here in our backyard.
Matthew: And how big is Harborside's footprint? You mentioned...I know there's Oakland and Santa Fe, and you have a cultivation center, but maybe you can talk a little bit about that.
Andy: Yeah, sure. So I'll answer that two ways, because I think you know that we have announced a reverse takeover and, you know, a merger into a Canadian public company. So we'll change very, very quickly. But today, we have a farm down in Monterey County. It's, we have a 47-acre parcel, we use about five acres of that to produce cannabis. We have two retail locations, one in San Jose and a flagship store in Oakland. We are actually under construction for two more facilities, one down in the Palm Springs area, one in San Leandro. And then with the, you know, for the California footprint with this merger and reverse takeover, we'll add another dispensary here in the Bay Area, we'll add another cultivation facility here up in Northern California, and, you know, a couple of more brands as well, too. So that is, you know, it's a pretty extensive footprint, right? And that's just..and again, that's a California focus.
Matthew: And can you give us a sense of revenue and how many customers are served by Harborside?
Andy: Yeah. Well, you know, I think it's fun to look at us historically, right? Because we've been doing it so long. We have over 250,000 registered patients and customers in our database, and over the last, you know, 10, 11 years, we've done over $300 million in sales. So that makes us, you know, a significant, you know, I think a significant cannabis business on a relative basis.
Matthew: Yeah. And it is. That is helpful to look at historical view. But now that we have adult use in California, how do you...when you make projections, and I'm sure, you know, investors, and everybody always wants to know about projections. How do you do that? How do you extrapolate where growth will be? I mean, it's an educated guess to an extent, but how do you arrive at that?
Andy: Well, I'll tell you, we are seeing about 1,000 people a day. And when I...and what we're doing is really looking at the customers that are coming in the door and getting instant feedback on their preferences and their likes. And we clearly have a different set of customers that are coming in the door today. We have our traditional customer. Remember, California was a medical-only non-profit cannabis collective regulatory environment, you know, less than 12 months ago. And it flipped on January 1 to adult use and medical use.
So we are all navigating a pretty complex set of regulations and trying to figure out, you know, where this will all be in two, three and four years. But what I can tell you is we do have new customers, and they think about brands. And of course, the Harborside brand is a very, very strong one. And then I just look at...we look at how they buy and how they purchase. We can tell where preferences are, and we can adapt our product offerings that way too.
Matthew: Okay. And you talked a little bit about your grow in Monterey County, but can you tell us a little bit about how you grow and anything you might do differently or interesting?
Andy: Sure. I'm very, very proud of that grow. I'll tell you it's taken us a while to get it where it is, because cannabis is...everyone says, you know, it's a weed and anybody can grow it. Actually, growing great cannabis at scale is not easy. So I mentioned we have the site down there. It is, it's 47 acres. We use five acres of it under a number of licenses. We are doing greenhouse growing, so these are purpose-built, retrofit and brand new greenhouses. When you're sitting inside of them, you feel very much like you're just in a room. They are environmentally controlled and we are testing a variety of strains at any point in time. We have a fantastic exclusive cultivation relationship with the Dutch consulting company, which is founded by Sjoerd Broeks. And Sjoerd really understands our environmentals and the best strains to be able to grow. And we have strains that are very traditional that folks wanna have, we also have strains that are available and that are unique to Harborside.
And in terms of, you know, production, look we're vertically integrated, right? So at maximum capacity, there's an awful lot we can do down there. We don't push it to maximum capacity, right? Because we're feeding...the goal for me in terms of our business model is to feed our stores with the flower that they need, and to also feed our ecosystem of partners, right? Whose products are coming back on our shelves, too, whether that is with flower or whether that is with, you know, feedstock that can go into extracted products as well, too.
Matthew: What was kind of the particular reason to go with the greenhouse method? Is it to save on electricity and get fresh air in there, and is the sun's light the best or? Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Andy: Well, that's it. I mean, and this very much Steve, right? The notion of having sun-grown, clean cannabis. Remember what Harborside has always...Harborside was offering products and sun-grown, clean cannabis since the very beginning. We pride ourselves on, you know, we were pioneers in testing of cannabis. When there wasn't a lab to test cannabis, Steve went out and founded an independent lab so we could do cannabis testing. But yes, it's very much about doing environmentally sensitive flower and feedstock production that is sun-grown, get the full spectrum of the sun's light to be able to grow the best cannabis.
Matthew: And so there's a lot of different kinds of licenses in California, or I should say a lot, but there's a few.
Andy: There's a lot.
Andy: You were right the first time, there's a lot.
Matthew: All right, the first time. Maybe you could go over those and which ones you hold and how you think about the licenses in California?
Andy: Yeah, it's very, very complex. You know, every step of the value...so California is so interesting, right? Because it was not regulated. And in many respects, that's a real challenge for us, for others that have been in the business. People forget that we've had this, you know, 1996, Prop 215 was passed and we began a legal cannabis environment here. And now, they're just putting a whole bunch of regulations. So every step of the value chain has regulations around it, from growing to production, processing, transportation, distribution, obviously selling, branding, labeling. I mean, it's just...it's very, very complex. Our licenses, we have 30 licenses. We'll acquire about seven more with the merger. But our licenses are geographically located at the farm and in the stores. And then inside of each of those are distribution licenses, manufacturing licenses, processing licenses, nursery licenses, cultivation licenses, packaging and retailing licenses.
So we are allowed to transport our own cannabis, we can distribute our own cannabis. Those are all separate licenses. We can have a nursery and create clones to be able to grow our own cannabis, we can grow our cannabis, we can process it, and we can sell it at retail. And each of those require separate licenses. It's very complicated.
Matthew: It is, it is.
Andy: It really is. And it's really challenged the industry in a lot of respects here in California as well, too, right? Because this all went into effect on January 2. And people scurried at the end of the year to try to get temporary licenses. And if you didn't get your temporary licenses, then you woke up and...we all woke up in January with actually a smaller market right? Because folks didn't get all their licenses. Now we're compliant. There's a massive market here. There's a huge black market here. And the regulations and the taxes have just given it a real energy boost, frankly. But if you're compliant, right, the number of retail locations shrunk in January, slowly creeping back up. The number of distributors in the state shrunk, slowly creeping back up, you know. And cities, even though we have adult use, there are a little less than 500 cities in the state, and there's probably less than 100 that actually allow adult use. So it's a market in transition, in flux, in growth.
Matthew: Now, Andy, how do customers' preferences break down in terms of flowers and edibles and concentrates, and any shifting trends there, or has it been pretty consistent?
Andy: Shifting trends, Matt. And we were very, very surprised by it. And I don't think...look, geographies are a little bit unique. Right? So I know that there are retailers around the state that have experienced something a little bit different than what I'm about to share. But I would...you know, 18 months ago, 2016 and early 2017, and before that obviously, right, folks loved flower, we were selling a lot more flower. Two thirds of our product was flower. And folks are smoking less right now. Flower sales are about a third of our business. And what you've seen over the last 18 months in particular are the rise of oil-based products, whether those are, you know, vaporizing pens or vaporizing devices, or extracts, and of course, edibles. Right? And a lot of low-dose edibles as well, too, right? Where the unit, even though the state allows packaging of 100 milligrams, and up to 10 milligrams per unit, a lot of folks liking these, you know, two to five-gram doses that they can learn to use, right? Truly in the go low, go slow environment.
So edibles are probably 20% of our business today, oil-based products, and in particularly, these vape cartridges, right? Convenience items. And discrete items, probably another 30% of our business. So when you think about, you know, 80% of our businesses is flower, cartridges, oil-based products and edibles, that's a shift, right? That's a shift.
Matthew: That is.
Andy: It's very investing. I have to say, Matt, it is very, very interesting in what, you know, for a store like Harborside, seeing the people that we do, we get instant feedback on which products are liked and what kind of preferences people are experiencing.
Matthew: Now, I know Harborside has a reputation, you know, for being transparent, kind of leading the legalization front and leading in a few different ways as a name and a dispensary. But now that adult use is passed, how do you think Harborside's tact and direction and brand is going to change and evolve?
Andy: Well I hope it doesn't change or evolve much from what it's known for. We have always been about trust and choice and value. And we've prided ourselves on being a trusted source of clean cannabis, again, from the very, very beginning, right? We couldn't find a lab, Steve couldn't find a place that would test cannabis. And so he created Steep Hill labs, and it's an independent lab to look at that. So a place to come get, you know, trust that you're gonna get a good product, a quality product, a choice. We like to have choice in the stores. This is not...we have not created, you know, a Patagonia shop or a Lucky Brand store, where you're coming in and only getting our brand. We have our products, we have a few of our own brands, but we want people to come in and know that we're purveyors of very nice cannabis and there's a variety of choice out there, and of course, value right? We are not the cheapest company on all products, but we always have something there that can provide good value to a customer as well too.
So I hope those values around trust, you know, I hope those missions around trust and choice and value stick around and that we remain known for that, right? Just more of it, right? More retail locations.
Matthew: As you look out into the future and you see kind of a fiscal crisis on the horizon or what appears to be one for California as there's more expenses than revenue, maybe a demographic picture where there's a very small or actually a large group of very wealthy people, but the majority, perhaps not so wealthy, and a lot of people leaving the state in many ways, do you see Sacramento dealing with the fiscal health and kind of the demographic and migration shifts of California in a meaningful way?
Andy: In some ways, yes, and in some ways, no. And you've absolutely, you know, hit spot on the issues that a large state has. I don't think Florida, any different, lots of people populating it. Arizona, New York, California, these are big, big states. I think Sacramento's, you know, what they're doing with cannabis and trying to capture some revenue and putting it into the coffers is smart. I think they continue to struggle on the education front. I think the UC system, you know, at the post high school level still remains an excellent system, but it too struggles with rising in-state tuitions in order to maintain its academic standards. And on the education front, I have concerns also just in the public school systems, right? Very much ZIP code driven on where you're gonna get the best education.
And it hits home for me, obviously, because I do have, you know, I've got four kids. I've even got one that's a teacher in a very challenging school district here in the Bay Area. And it's sad because these are kids that need great teachers, need great, great teachers. And she earns very, very little. I mean, this is a Berkeley Phi Beta Kappa grad who is, you know, really giving back to the community. And her siblings, you know, her siblings love the kids, but she's got a sibling's gonna earn, you know, twice what she earns coming right out of college. Right? Just going into a different skill. So education I worry about with the state, and I don't know how they're gonna solve it. Housing, very, very difficult, right? Getting affordable housing here in the state. On the other hand, they are finding some ways to do some of the infrastructure repairs that California definitely needs as well, too.
Matthew: Okay. Can you tell us about the recent capital...
Andy: Probably more than you wanted, but [inaudible 00:22:34]
Matthew: No, no, I actually could talk about it quite a bit because I'm really...
Andy; Yeah, me too.
Matthew: I'm wondering how, like, I look at this, and it just looks like a big fishing knot. Like it's all gnarled and a mess. I don't know how it's gonna be fixed.
Andy: I mean, I don't know how much you know about me, I was...I mean, I've been very involved in my local community. I've been the mayor of Mill Valley, California, twice. I really believe that the only place things are getting done truly in America right now are at the local level. So I'm a very local, local mindset here, right? That we have to fix things at the local level because in the big picture, you know, Sacramento and the federal government just can't do what needs to be done. And so I do think about local level and local support and local funding. So this stuff, you know, you asked me a question, you know, edit it as you want, but you hit something that's very near and dear to me. And the only way to really fix some of this stuff is for people to get involved, not get paid for that, and work it at the local level.
Matthew: Yeah. Well, let's switch gears to your capital raising and what's going on with the reverse takeover and everything. So tell us about the recent $25 million raise and then what's going on with the reverse takeover?
One of the other things that I learned in the whole capital markets approach is, you know, folks have shifted very, very quickly. The investors that...when I joined Steve as an investor, I didn't particularly worry about the fact...I wasn't thinking about whether this was a plant-touching or non-plant-touching business, but we had created a services business so that we could have investment for folks that wanted to be in a non-plant-touching business. And of course, by this year, the world has shifted, folks are more comfortable investing in plant-touching and non-plant-touching. But what they've also gotten in a more traditional sense is you wanna be able to figure out, "Well, when will I have some liquidity?" So that required me to raise money and also think about truly being in a capital market. That led to looking at mergers, looking at acquisitions, looking at sale of the business, looking at doing a public listing on our own, or merging into an existing public company. And Canada is where this is happening right now because of the schedule one controlled nature of the cannabis plant, so plant-touching businesses, which we are, can't go public in the United States. So that led to the decision on the RTO, being able to give investors a sight towards liquidity.
We announced a merger with Lineage Grow. It's a reverse takeover. They're not your typical public shell in Canada, because they came with some cannabis assets. That's why I like Lineage, right? We weren't just, you know, we weren't just bringing our own assets into it. We grew as a result of it, with an additional dispensary and another grow facility as well, too, and another brand. So that all made some sense to me to give our investors path to liquidity, doing it in Canada, because that's the market where you can do it in a public market, doing a reverse takeover, because it is a little bit easier than doing a full public listing on your own, and then choosing Lineage Grow Company because it was already in the cannabis space.
Matthew: Okay. And what's Steve DeAngelo's day to day role these days?
Andy: Oh, he's great. He helps me, gives me a lot of great cannabis advice. We're both on the board of directors. He is the chairman emeritus of the company. And Steve is doing what Steve does best, right? He is outward-facing for the company. He's a very, very big name in the industry. Harborside has great name, Steve has a great brand. So we have two great brands out there. He's doing his speaking engagements, he's doing media work, he is a daily advisor for me on cannabis-related pieces. When we go to market, Steve and I, we went on the road together to raise money. It's a very unique proposition in a room, a business focus, a cannabis focus, you have both of those sitting in a room in front of a table. He's very, very articulate, if you've ever listened to him. And he will continue to stay with the company in a chairman emeritus role.
Matthew: Any predictions on banking restrictions being eased for cannabis businesses in the next 12 months or so?
Andy: I hope so. Yeah. I mean, it's a hard prediction, right? We see, I don't know if it's in the next 12 months. I certainly expect it to be in the next couple of years. Right? What you see, our California's Treasurer John Chiang has already created a banking committee here to help do that here in California, maybe leveraging state chartered banks. You see things happening. State of Ohio, for example, in its medical cannabis program, has created a safe harbor for banks, Ohio state banks, to not be criminally prosecuted for working with, you know, working with local operators. So I think it's gonna have to be state driven at first. There is some legislation, obviously, pending in Congress to ease that up. So I don't know if it happens in 2019, but I certainly expect it to happen by 2020.
Matthew: Okay. And if you had to pick a market besides California, what would it be?
Andy: Well, I pretty, I mean, I would do western state adjacencies here. I've already started looking in Nevada and in Arizona. We do have two small dispensaries that we're acquiring in Oregon through the Lineage RTO. And that helps me in time zones, it is similar regulatory environments with medical and adult use, and sort of that western state alliance. A lot of the western state operators at some of the states' attorneys generals out here are already talking with each other about how you work with maybe the STATES Act that's pending in Congress and allow some collaboration between and among these states, which are big cannabis states, you know, once you have some federal...once you're alleviated better at the federal level.
And by the way, all that's gonna come, it has to come with descheduling right? So I think the Farm Bill passing and hemp-based products now being legal, which was all announced yesterday, you know, you begin to see, you know, the iceberg or the tip of iceberg. And I think you're not gonna fix banking till you get, till this becomes descheduled. And I'm hoping some of yesterday's news begins to tip that, tip towards that.
Matthew: Now, Andy, I wanna turn to some personal development questions to help the audience get a better sense of who you are personally. With that, is there a book that's had a big impact on your life or way of thinking that you'd like to share with listeners?
Andy: Sure. I would encourage everyone...I love this book. There was, Larry Brilliant wrote a book called "Sometimes Brilliant" and I just happened to read it last year. And it was a good time for me read it. If you like history, you're gonna love the book. And if you enjoy a good spiritual journey, you're gonna love the book. On the history side, the backdrop of the book, Larry's a doctor and a leading physician at the time with the World Health Organization, does a lot of work with the CDC, has a number of TED Talks, and I happen to know him as well, too. And on the history side, the backdrop of the book is the eradication of smallpox in the '70s. You know, it's not that long ago that we had the worst plague that was still in existence and still sitting in India. So the backdrop of the story is a historical view of a group of doctors that actually finally eradicated smallpox from the planet.
Larry is on a spiritual journey at that time. He was a young doctor, actually finds himself at an ashram in India. That's how he met Steve Jobs, who was also studying at that ashram. So it's a book on the spiritual side, I have to say. It's a book about love and compassion and determination, you know, to get through all this, to get through the mission they were on. Lots about having faith and appreciating the fact that faith is, faith's best friend is doubt, which makes faith so delicate and tender. And about service, right? Doing good. And that's a lot of what Harborside's, you know, and it's a lot about me, right? Just joining my community and being a mayor and giving back and trying to do good even though it's a slugfest out there almost every day. So yeah, I enjoyed it. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I really did.
And again, if you're a history buff, just learning about the eradication of smallpox, what a chore that was, and the odds, insurmountable. You know, it's a war against a plague. And it didn't happen that long ago. So yeah, "Sometimes Brilliant," great book.
Matthew: How about is there a tool that you use personally or as a team that helps you a lot with your productivity?
Andy: Yeah. I would say...I mean, I don't wanna sound trite here. I don't know..this is a technology-driven world and texting and phones and everything. I actually make people meet with me face to face. Tuesday is my "in the business day." You know, I don't take phone calls, I don't do email. This is when I meet with the managers, particularly the critical high-value people that are putting food on the table, the people doing production, the people doing sales, the general managers, will, you know, let's spend time together, let's talk, let's look at each other, you know, across the table. The other thing that I do just for the team, I minute the week every Friday. You know, when you think about investors and you think about how you look at businesses, where do you start? You look at, you know, show me what your board does, show me what your board's approved, let me look at your board minutes. I minute the week for the company for my key team every Friday, and just go over the week, the view from my eyes and, you know, what I've learned from the week and share it with them. I did that when I was mayor here. I used to write a little post in the local paper every Friday, right? Just tell the community what's going on in my head. And I think they're good tools. Right? They force me to look back, reflect on the week, what's important, what rises to the top, and what do people need to know about what occurred that week and where we're heading next week. So those are two big tools for me.
Matthew: Is there one thought or idea that you have that most people would disagree with you on?
Andy: On the business setting, I'll tell you, and I don't know whether it's...I still believe, and it's not that they disagree, but maybe it's a small d, right? You're the CEO of a company that's about to go public, there are decisions I have to make that are unilateral, you make decisions. I am still a very firm believer that there's an opportunity out there to have a discussion, right? To build some...to find a compromise among divergent views and think about this. You got shareholders and you've got founders and then you've got management sort of running a business. So I still try to find a way to listen to people and find compromise and build consensus. The problem is that takes time, so I find myself a lot, folks saying, "Andy, you gotta move faster. You gotta move faster," right? And so I'm trying to be on a personal journey, right? Balancing that way of doing things with the need to move very, very quickly.
Andy: And not everybody agrees with me on that, right? Not everybody agrees that I should be doing...you know, sometimes people they say, "You know, just make the decision and move on."
Matthew: Yeah. Now, I get questions all the time about, "How do I get into the cannabis industry?" Are there any recent hires you can think of where maybe someone came from outside the cannabis industry or did something that was valuable to get your attention and found their way into Harborside, or you saw them go elsewhere in the cannabis industry that you could share?
Andy: Totally. I think it's a great time to get in the cannabis industry. And I think it's a fantastic time to actually get in the cannabis industry if you're not in the cannabis industry. Because what we're looking for is some of that outside-the-industry thought leadership as this becomes a much more mainstream business. You know, our general manager in Oakland came from Target. Our general manager in San Jose came from Whole Foods.
I see people also...the second part, so yeah. So that expertise, the nice part is under a regulated environment, is that, you know, you could sell books, you can sell cannabis, you can sell, you know, you can sell clothing and apparel. At the end of the line, where Matt is purchasing some cannabis product, it's a retail experience. So if you've got retail experience, and know how to talk to a customer and how to answer their questions about the product, there's no reason why you can't come into the cannabis business, and I think there's a lot of opportunities there. On the folks that are inside the business looking to go elsewhere, definitely opportunity there too, right? Because look at the value chain. I just described a cultivation, and when you think about cultivation, it's growing and genetics and breeding and all the ag tech that goes around that, the environmentals in the systems and the soils in the systems, curing plants, curing chambers, right? Post harvest production, lots of interesting electrical stuff, mechanical stuff, engineering going on. And then, obviously, products and brands. This is where things are heading. Right? Consumer preferences, no different, right? Everybody needs to have an experience and an association and an identity with a brand and a product. That's what Harborside has tried to do. So that bad aspect of, you know, folks are...if they leave us, I wanna go work at that brand. Or I wanna go work in manufacturing, right? Processing. I'm interested in these oil-based products. I have a science background.
So I think yes. Right now, if I were telling somebody to come in, don't think about the fact that it's cannabis, accept it. You have to have a comfort level that you can be in the cannabis space. And I can tell you, I've had people who came all the way down to the last mile with me, and then said, "Oops, I suddenly woke up one day and realized I couldn't look my kids in the eye and tell them I'm working in the cannabis space." So if you can get around the comfort that you're working in an industry that is still involved with a schedule 1 controlled substance at the federal level, it's no different than anything else, right? The same skills can apply. And if you wanna get deep in a particular aspect of the industry, then there's more and more of those coming on. Look at the research side. We have a medical and research side, right? That's so fascinating. Just thinking about our own internal endocannabinoid system and how cannabis interacts with our own systems. Studying the plant. Because, there's a ...I find it fascinating. And if you're a lawyer, go practice law. Fascinating, interesting environment. Our general counsel came over from federal, former federal prosecutor, our tax counsel, former IRS prosecutor. Lots of ways to get into the industry. Don't think, you know what I mean, it's any other industry right now.
Matthew: A lot of good suggestions there. Thanks for that.
Andy: Yeah, you're welcome. Yeah.
Matthew: Well, Andy, as we close, how can listeners learn more about Harborside, visit your dispensaries, and find you online and learn more about investment opportunities, the RTO, etc., etc.?
Andy: Yeah, you know, I think most people today we have retail-facing websites I'm building a, as we speak, I have a couple of calls today, obviously, with the RTO, we're building a, you know, a true investor relations website as well, too. Do your Google alerts on, or whatever you're using on your alerts, for Harborside, Steve DeAngelo, we're putting myself out there these days obviously as well too. There are a number of conferences that take place, both business and cannabis related. And I would encourage people to do the tools that people use best and social media. You can follow us on Instagram, you can follow us on Twitter. You can follow Harborside Farms. Just go sign up on Instagram, follow Harborside Farms, just to see how beautiful that product is coming off the farm.
Matthew: Great. Well, Andy, thanks for, so much for coming on the show and talking with us. Really appreciate it. And good luck with all you have going on. You've got a lot of moving parts here and a lot of growth planned, so you're gonna be busy.
Andy: Yeah, it's busy. It's seven days a week. Matt, thank you very much. I wanna thank everybody also who just is taking...whoever is taking the time to listen. But thank you very much for thinking of Harborside and giving me this opportunity as well too. It's been a real pleasure.
Matthew: Oh, you are welcome.
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