What if you could turn your smartphone into a cannabis testing system that provides lab-accurate results in under ten seconds? Thanks to biotech company Purpl Scientific, such a device now exists. Here to tell us more is Purpl’s Global Sales Director, John Hunt.
Learn more at https://www.purplscientific.com
Follow John on Instagram at @grimeygatsby
[2:15] An inside look at Purpl Scientific, a portable testing device that measures cannabis potency with instant results
[3:46] John’s background in cannabis and what led him to join Purpl as Global Sales Director
[10:41] The college course John teaches on gaining certification to become a dispensary agent
[13:40] The Purpl Pro’s infrared spectroscopy and how it works to provide lab-accurate results
[19:05] Advantages the Purpl Pro offers cultivators
[25:48] How the Purpl Pro stacks up against third party labs in terms of accuracy
[36:17] Purpl Scientific’s growing success in the Netherlands and the company’s goals to expand across Europe
[39:12] New upgrades to the Purpl Pro, from moisture content to extract measuring technology
[42:57] The Purpl Pro’s incredible ROI for everyone from cultivators to cannabis brokers
Matthew Kind: Hi, I'm Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I'll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at cannainsider.com. That's C-A-N-N-A-insider dot com. Now here's your program. Hi, CannaInsiders. Just a quick note before today's interview get started that my colleague, Sinead Green will be interviewing today's guest.
Sinead Green: Hey, Matt.
Matthew: Oh, my god. You scared me. Sinead, I didn't realize you were in the sound booth.
Sinead: Sorry about that, Matt.
Matthew: Well, Sinead, since you popped into the sound booth here, this is a great time to just say hello to all the listeners as I was talking about you.
Sinead: Sounds great. I'd love to. Hey, everybody. I'm Sinead Greene. I've actually been working with Matt behind the scenes for a couple years now. I'm so excited to put on
my hosting hat and really get a chance to engage with you and bring you some more great interviews. I just want to say, if there's someone you'd like us to bring on the show, please feel free to email me your suggestions at email@example.com. I'd love to hear from you and I really hope you enjoy these upcoming shows.
Matthew: Gosh. I want to get a hosting hat now that you mention it. I'm getting a huge purple velvet hat. What do you think about that?
Sinead: [laughs] I think that would look great on you, Matt.
Matthew: Okay. Really important, Sinead, we want you to do a good job but not better than me. Does that sound fair?
Sinead: We'll see about that.
Matthew: All right. Everybody, enjoy this episode with the host, Sinead.
Sinead: What if you could turn your smartphone into a cannabis testing system that provides lab-accurate results in under 10 seconds. Well, believe it or not, such a device now exists thanks to biotech company Purpl Scientific. Here to tell us more is Purpl's Global Sales Director, John Hunt. John, welcome to CannaInsider.
John Hunt: Thank you guys for having me.
Sinead: Thanks so much for coming on. John, we were chatting a little bit before the interview. You do a lot of things beyond Purpl that I want to get into, but first of all, let's keep with the basics here. Give us a sense in geography. Where are you in the world right now?
John: I'm based out at Denver, Colorado.
Sinead: Awesome. Kind of cannabis mecca down there. Very cool.
John: Cannabis capital as some people call it.
Sinead: Oh, yes. [laughs] We'll start with Purpl and then we'll work into your other projects. What is Purpl Scientific on a high level?
John: I think the highest level, there was a need for people to be able to test their cannabis for potency which was the start, I believe. As of right now, it's one of the most mobile, fastest, and probably the word we like to use is transparency. It's a free app on your phone. You get a device and it tests and tells you the total THC, the total CBD. We've made an upgrade now where it does do moisture content and water activity.
After working with numerous different cultivators across the country, the upgrade helps with the curing and the post-harvest. Then the total THC and total CBD work during the flowering cycle, whether you're growing hemp or cannabis, it woks to give you some transparency and a little bit of data that isn't as easily accessible to a lot of people as it was for the regulated market.
People that have a regulated lab to use send off samples and get it tested, every harvest or every different batch of product that they make. The Purpl PRO was thought to be that for the people that didn't have access to regulated labs. How do we make an accurate testing device that can be instant and give people some data on the potency of the cannabis and hemp that they're growing, or purchasing, or being around, or consuming.
Sinead: That's great. Yes. The way I see it, you guys are democratizing cannabis testing, which is really, really cool. I'm very excited to get into Purpl in a second here. First of all, John, can you share a little bit about your background? I know you have a long-storied background on cannabis and I would love to hear a little bit more about it if you would share that with our listeners.
John: No problem. Started in cannabis in the Colorado industry in 2009. I lived up in Aspen, Colorado and started the patient collective there. After that, moved to Durango, Colorado and helped open up a cultivation facility and a dispensary there. Then the recreational transition occurred in between, getting back into the recreational market. After leaving Durango, after selling the farm and the dispensary, I got into this digital marketing, social media, event production aspect, which is where we have a company with a portfolio called Grimey Gatsby.
They do a lot of that and they've done a lot of different things over the past decade, but got back into the recreation industry in about 2013. Took over a position to staff and train and start Steep Hill, Colorado, which at that point was the first license testing facility in Colorado for recreational cannabis. During that journey and getting all that together, was met by some investors and some people that wanted to get into the actual core industry.
We got into a dispensary and a cultivation facility in Denver and a dispensary, and cultivation, and extraction facility that was in Colorado Springs. As the owner/operator, I ran those up until 2019. In 2019, 2018, is when I met the people at Purpl and they needed to do some beta testing and get the device right, talk about what that was going to do. They needed cannabis to test on it.
We ran all the beta testing and had it in our cultivation facilities in Colorado, polished here or there, helped them out with data, making sure that it was testing all of the different cannabis that we had. All the different phenotypes, testing out everything that we sold at our dispensary, and really just data collecting and fine-tuning what the device was going to do before it launched.
In 2019, I ended up selling those dispensaries and cultivation facilities. I took a position as the sales director at Purpl and that's when Purpl launched. It was in 2019. During my time as a own/operator of licenses in Colorado, I also got involved in other states. Currently, I oversee a large group of brand. It's Portland, Maine.
We also have a dispensary that I'm part of the ownership in Conway, Arkansas. Then in Missouri, where I was born and raised, I work with a group called North Medical Group. I teach a college course that helps people get into dispensaries as a Dispensary Agent. It's a certification process that happens online for six weeks.
Throughout my time, since 2009 until now, I've been pretty well saturated in the cannabis market, either helping out cannabis brands or helping launch cannabis brands. Now, today, I still work with Purpl and oversee the college course and do all the instruction there. Then we have Arkansas and Maine.
Usually every year, there's about one two three new clients that we help out with something. Whether it's structure in their operation and training their people on the new seed-to-sale tracking that maybe implemented in certain states, or we help them out with taxes and bookkeeping and how to maximize what they're doing for their recording. How to get new genetics or structure their cultivation facility to be more efficient, and effective, and higher yields, but pretty much the whole gambit.
I've been involved with cannabis the plant since I graduated college, and then since then got into the regulated market. Now, work in multiple different states, have written applications in, I think now it's nine or 10 different states. I think a total of 15 or 17 different application. Helping different companies get acquisitions and merges that they're looking to purchase things in different states.
The Grimey Gatsby Corporation now works at that level where we do some consulting, which is always a word that some people take good or bad. We definitely work to help our clients figure out the solutions for what they need, and also connecting them to the network that we have.
In the past couple years, there's a new trend line called Hunt's Harvest that I'm involved with. There's a breeding company out of the state of Washington that I've been involved with for a number of year now. It's kind of what we can do to make either better quality cannabis, or more cannabis available to patients, or helping cannabis companies be able to understand all the hurdles and what solutions happened for their company to have the longevity that they need.
Sinead: That's great. You're all over the states. It's amazing. If you had to pick the market you're most excited about right now, what state would you say you're most excited about?
John: That's a good question. I was born and raised in Missouri, so I'm definitely very attached to the Missouri market. There's a lot of different things happening, some good, some bad. I'm really excited to see Missouri stabilize and retail prices drop, and more cannabis being available through cultivators, and new products coming. That's really exciting.
In Maine right now, we're working on our transition from medical to adult use, which is what their term for recreational. It's really exciting in Maine because there's a lot of medical patients there, but there's also a lot of adult-use customers that are looking for that transition. That's exciting to be a part of. I've always been excited about the Colorado market. Washington, California, Colorado, they're more stabilized, but there's new products that are always coming out. There's new ways to operate. They just gave out the first delivery license in the state of Colorado. I think the landscape is going to change and deliveries are going to start to be accessible.
Overall to me, a lot of the new markets like here in Mississippi is going to be opening industry or Virginia. Those new states to me always give me a little bit more excited because for over a decade now, I've spoken to, taught, or been at certain places where people didn't have accessibility to cannabis.
When that changes, it's always great to see. If I had to pick one, right now I would probably pick Missouri. I'm really interested in seeing how it becomes more patient-friendly and how there's more products and better pricing. That's something over the next year that I think will change in that state for the people that are there.
Sinead: Absolutely. Yes, so much to be excited about. John, you wear a lot of different hats here. Besides your work at Purpl Scientific, like you said, you also teach a college course on certification for those who are interested in being a Dispensary Agent. Can you go into that a little bit? What does that entail?
John: Yes. It's a course that we developed. The North Medical Group is the dispensary that I work with and the company that I'm involved with. We worked with Jefferson College, which is in Hillsborough, Missouri, just south of St. Louis. We wanted to be able to have something that not only helped us as a company find qualified candidates to bring them into work in our dispensary's, but also would help the state as well.
If you're in Kansas city, you don't know what it takes to work in a dispensary. This course is online, so anybody in the state can take it. It's a six-week course. Our next one starts early September and there's a couple of seats available, just as a shameless plug for anybody in Missouri that says they wants to take the course.
We go through everything from regulations, SOPs, and daily operations, how to work with a patient, understanding cannabinoids and terpenes and their effects. We worked through a whole six-week curriculum that I wrote and we structured with the college. It allows people to get an understanding of how working in a dispensary happens, how the regulations impact day-to-day operations. What's expected, what's happening, how to interact with patients, how to talk about cannabis.
The course itself right now, we're about to start the fourth cohort. We do have 100% pass rate. All of the people that have taken the class in the past three cohorts have passed. Out of that, I want to say it's about 65 or 70% of them have already landed a job. We do tend to hire people at North Medical Group that have taken the course, and there's another six or seven dispensaries around where we're located that also know about the course.
Then we also have some people in different parts of the state, they're able to take the course, they get the certification. I'm a reference for them if they need it on their resume during submission. The term in Colorado would be a "Bartender". In Missouri, we call them a Dispensary Agent. In some places, they call them a Sales Associate.
It's the frontline aspect of somebody that comes into a dispensary, not only knowing how the grading works, but also how the sales floor works and how all of the regulations occur and the compliance of that job as well. That's what that course is focused on for the state of Missouri. There are some talks about doing it in other states if there's other universities and colleges that want to talk about it. Jefferson college, Hillsborough, Missouri is the place where it's at.
If you do need information you can always DM me or find me on Instagram @GrimeyGatsby. We can talk about the course, the curriculum, or what you're looking to do. As, now, College Professor, I have an open-door policy to talk to people anywhere that want to figure out how to get into the cannabis industry.
Sinead: That's great. Wow. What a success rate too. That's amazing. Moving back to Purpl, what exactly is the Purpl PRO device? Can you tell us a little bit about the technology there? I know it's called infrared spectroscopy. I had to look that up before the interview here, but if you could tell us a little bit about that, that'd be great.
John: Yes. Of course, it's definitely a mouthful. That was part of my initial training was just learning how to say words directly. The Purpl PRO is about the size of a hockey puck. What it does is it uses near-infrared spectroscopy. Near-infrared spectroscopy is used in a ton of different industries. The easiest term its reflection. A light bulb shines and there's a reflection that you can't see with your eye, but the sensor picks up.
Because of that reflection and what it reflects of how the data is captured, how it's written, how it's transformed, that data is then able to calculate what the potency is. Obviously, any of our growers out there know about trichomes and different aspects of the plant. The reflection of that plant, this device is trained through hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of tests.
I think as of right now, we're probably close to more of like 50,000 or 60,000 tests. The device is trained that it's been able to test all of these different flowers, and it's able to tell you what that reflection means for potency, total THC and total CBD. Then the water activity and moisture content are the other readings that it gives out.
In the 1940s, the FDA came out and said, NIR, which is near-infrared should be used for quality control management in multiple different fields. Pharmaceutical companies use it when they're making their pills and their medicines to get a reflection and be able to prove that they're doing QCM. Same thing with cat litter, dog food, cat food, the microbrewing industry, and beverage makers, near-infrared spectroscopy is used all the time.
One of the biggest companies that uses it that most people don't talk about would be John Deere. A lot of their combines and a lot of their machinery that they make have near-infrared spectroscopy devices on them so that they can do certain things. You can train the reflection to be data for what you want it to be. If you wanted it to say how much moisture is in cat litter, you start testing and setting it up, and then that's how you would be able to use it for the future.
At Purpl what we've done is we have a certain amount of data that we collect as a company, and we're able to use that. Then we also worked with SC labs in Oregon and SC labs in California and was able to do some validation with them on the device. We have a white paper it's on our website under the news column. That white paper talks about our variants sort of what a regulated lab would say, and then also our variants within the device itself.
Then on top of that, just most recently in the past two years, we've worked with Steve Hill in Arkansas and done the same validation with them to not only add that to be able to say, "We have three different states with three different labs." There's also two different companies of the labs trying to make it as transparent and accurate as possible for what it does.
You grind up a sample of flour, you put it in a sample holder, the light flashes, it reflects. That device then calculates and runs it through our database and says, "This is what the potency is." The result shows up on your cell phone. Like you said, in the intro, if you have a great connection and you're on 5g, it's about 10 seconds. I would say that if you're out in the field trying to do it, it's probably more of 25 to 30 seconds.
I've never seen anything take longer than 30 seconds to read out an actual result. I think you're able to use that result, keep a database of all of your samples, you can add in notes. The device, the Purpl PRO is mobile. It does fit in your pocket. You can charge it up and plug it into the wall to charge it and use it while it's charging. My best number thus far as I have seen one of our clients do about 85 tests in an hour. Drying up the samples, loading into the device, testing it all, keeping it all, separate, writing down all the stuff.
It's definitely something that cuts down the time and also gives you that instant mobile testing lab that you can test anywhere. The best sample is going to always come from the driest cannabis flour due to the fact that the potency will peak when it's cured the most. We do have some people that use it during the flowering cycle. You can take a bud off the plant, dry it out, and then test it, week two, week four, week six, week eight, week 10. For you Sativa lovers, week 12, week 14, however far you guys want to take it.
It'll do the testing on that as well. As long as it's dry, it'll give you the most accurate result. If it's not dry, the moisture and the water in that bud take up a percentage of what would be the potency. That's why the curing and the drying is always such a hot topic, which is the reason for the water activity and the moisture content upgrade that we did on it. If you do check Purpl scientific on Instagram, you can see hundreds of results. You can see videos of how the device works. I know it sounds like it's super easy, but when you watch one of the videos that you can see how fast and how easy it is.
Sinead: Wow, that's amazing. You're going into the advantages that Purpl offers cultivators. You mentioned you can test harvests multiple times throughout the harvest. You can maybe even use it for pheno hunting. Can you talk about the benefits that Purpl has offered your customer so far and what feedback you guys have gotten?
John: Yes, for sure. All of these are real case studies. We talk a lot internally about applications and how to use, but the easiest one to talk about is breeding and pheno hunting like you just brought up. You have 10 different seeds and in most situations, you probably have more than 10, maybe you have 100 or whatever. You're running 10 different seeds of the same genetic.
In the past, it was whichever one yielded the most, whichever one smelled the best, whichever one had the most colors. Whichever one was the tallest or the shortest, or whichever one was the thinnest. There's a lot of things that were just visual inspections that would occur during the pheno hunt, and at the end, "This is the keeper, this is the one." Now, with the Purpl PRO, you're able to add a whole another thing of potency. A lot of the breeders that we work with all across the country, they may not stop at the first cross. They may go into a backcross, they may go into a double backcross or, et cetera. To do that, they want to know which one is the most potent. If the one that wasn't the idea of visual, maybe didn't have the most color, maybe didn't yield the most, but that one gave you a 27%.
The one that had the most color and yielded the most was at 20%, there maybe a reason to keep both of those phenos and use those in breeding down the line, or you may just want to select the one with the most potency and breed it back to the other one and continue here with that one. There's a new data point that wasn't always so accessible.
There are some people that have been able to test stuff, and there's been need for spectroscopy devices in the cannabis industry before. There's different ways that people like to do the testing and a lot of people will say, "Well, you smoke it, you know how it affects you and that's what I want to do." I will say that in my experience, there's a big difference between an 18% THC and a 29% THC.
Now, a normal person that is a heavy consumer, may be able to tell the difference between 18% and 25%, but I don't know if they can actually tell the difference between 27% and 30%. That's a new data that they get to check out. Also, as you start to work through those seeds, you can see through the flower inside when that potency starts to peak.
If we get into week four of flower and it's hitting 17%, then we get in the week five of flower and it starts hitting 24%, but the other ones are at 20%, you're starting to see that this plant is able to produce that potency quicker than when you get to the finish line and you do harvest, you're going to have more data points on what it actually did when it was cured.
That's a big part of whether you're just growing three seeds out of a bed that you bought online or if you're actually making a whole breeding project where you're going to release a whole list of genetics, that's one part. The other part is, obviously, on the exact opposite end of the spectrum. If you want to find the least amount of THC, and you're growing hemp, you can now use these with those seeds that you're making hemp and trying to say that their hemp, you have a way to actually test those and say that there is a THC in that plant.
That's another big advantage that this has, that you don't have to send them off to a lab, you don't have to pay more to get it tested. You buy a Purpl PRO, and you can start testing all of the hemp that you have no matter what and see what that lowest THC number is, or where that-- There is two points, the highest THC or the highest CBD, and the other end to that is obviously the lowest THC and the lowest CBD.
Other applications are coming all the time, where if you have a room and say, you got 15 lights in it, this corner of the room produce more potency than the other corner, or this corner is a little bit hotter and has a little bit less wind movement, and there's less air flowing through it, and the plants over here are always producing like an 18% or 19% THC.
When you get right in the middle of the room, and the air conditioning is right, and the fans are blowing right, and the plants are getting blown and stronger, those plants are now doing the 24% or 26% THC. How do we mimic that type of homeostasis around the whole room, and how do we make the whole room be more stabilized with its potency?
Then you get into the canopy, how close are your lights and it's the top of your canopy the most potent, which it almost always is. If we do and move the lights a little bit, can you say that this run was a little bit more potent than that run? I used that as dialing in your environment. What parameters are you using? Do you need to put another fan over here? Do you need to put something else over here? Do you need a bigger air conditioner? Do you need more HVAC or less humidity or more humidity?
We get into that with some cultivators on how it works. Then, a whole new application is, obviously, the people that are growing, that are seen or being around a lot of cannabis. Cannabis brokers, or people that are purchasing cannabis, or patient-to-patient sales, which is a big topic in a lot of states right now, where you can grow at home. When you see somebody else, and you're able to take a little bit, the device takes about a third of a gram, and it doesn't alter the sample, whatsoever.
There are people that will test three different samples and put those into a joint, or put those into a blunt, or roll that up after they have tested it because you can. If you're around a lot of cannabis and, obviously, you want to be able to know why these cannabis is going to cost more, or why this one is better, or why this one is worst. That gives this new level playing field as opposed to just taking somebody's word on that they grew it.
I would love to say that I trust everybody that grows cannabis, but I think we all know that the more transparent it can get, the better it can be for everybody. Those applications come in to a lot of our talks about how that works, and then you get into the whole hemp testing and happening to be under 0.03 or it's got to be this certain amount, or depending on what state or what country you're in, there's a certain threshold for CBD or THC.
Those, now, are something that the device can at least shine some light on or understand where you're going to be in that. Then, lastly, it's just the fact that people want to know the number. If I'm growing three or four plants in my basement, I want to know how potent my cannabis is, and more importantly, I want to know that my cannabis is more potent than my buddy's cannabis. Who grows the best cannabis?
There's a lot of people with the master grower title and there's a lot of people that say they have the best weed in the world. If there's an easy way to put up or shut up now. That you can have a device that tells you the number and if yours is 29% or 30% and theirs is 22%, that whole conversation now is really easy to end.
Sinead: Absolutely. Yes, very interesting to hear all the different benefits. One thing I want to get back to, John, you mentioned during your development phase, you measured Purpl's accuracy against several different third-party laboratories. How does Purpl's accuracy stack up against actual brick and mortar labs?
John: There is two different variances that we talk about. Anybody that's worked for the testing lab will know the first one, which is a device variance. A device variance is what happens with how accurate the device is. There's certain degrees of accuracy. Some people are within 20%, some people within 10%. When you get into pesticide testing and other things, you're talking about parts per billion. You're talking about odd percent or sometimes even less than a percent in variance.
The first variance to talk about with the Purpl PRO is the device variance. We have a variance of 10% of the readout rate and the best way to understand this is that if you tested a sample and it said 20% THC, the accurate realm of that is 18% to 22%. In the USA right now, there are some companies that when they get their test result and there's a variance, they're going to use the highest number on that variance.
People would say, "Oh, it tested at 20%, but with the variance, it could be 22%. It also very well could be 18%." Our device variance is 10% of the readout rate, which is smaller in variance per device than what you would find in a regulated lab. Most of the regulated labs may have a little bit higher variance than 10% for a number of different reasons which the regulated labs can to you about, if you like.
Sinead: Okay. Very interesting.
John: Yes, the second variance that we talk about is the fact that, obviously, we wanted a device to test cannabis and most of the standard for testing cannabis is a state-regulated lab. In that, we did Oregon and California to start and since have done in Arkansas, but in that variance, we're 2% plus or minus, whatever the number is on THC, and we're 1% plus or minus on CBD.
In that same situation of a 20% THC number, our variance for our device is 18% to 22%, and our variance to a lab would be 18% to 22% on THC, and they will be 19% to 21% on CBD. Now, if you were down and there was a 10%, the variance has changed, obviously, but technically, it's 1.96 on THC, and it's 0.98 on CBD. Those are all on our white paper which is on our website, but that's a big conversation that we always have.
You said that you're going to test cannabis and the first question is, "How accurate is it?" The device itself is accurate to 10% of the readout value, and we are as accurate as 1% or 2% THC/CBD from the regulated labs. In Oregon and California, were both SC Labs and in Arkansas was Steep Hill labs, which are some of the largest names in the testing game. We continue to work with those companies.
Some of those companies, the ones that I've mentioned also have Purpl PROs at their labs that they use as they want to. Some of them even have a more of a rapid test cost that you can do to use the Purpl PRO. Us being able to say, one, that we worked with labs is one thing. The other thing, to be able to say that the labs use our device is another notch in the belt that some of the other testing companies don't have.
Sinead: Right. Yes, that's really fascinating that labs as big as Steep Hill are using Purpl PRO in their facility. That's something I really am curious to hear your thoughts on, John. How do you think a portable cannabis testing device like the Purpl PRO could change the industry over the next few years? How do you think that might even the playing field and even minimize the barrier to entry for the cannabis industry?
John: I don't think Purpl Scientific will have licenses and be a regulated lab in any of the states. I think that that probably isn't something we'll see in the near future. I do know currently that there are some labs that are in talks about giving their biggest clients a Purpl PRO to keep it their facility and they can run as many tests as they want. Then that data would be shared in between that client in that lab, so that there would be more knowledge of a certain genetic and what the potency is and during the flower cycle that we've tested some things before it comes to the lab.
Leveling the playing field, I think is the topic that we talk about whether you're regulated or not, but I do know that in states where only a regulated seed-to-sale tracking business can send a sample to a regulated seed to sell lab. There are a lot of people that don't fall into those categories, and they don't have access to the labs.
I think, knowing that the Purpl PRO is used by some of the biggest labs in the biggest states and also knowing that you can use a Purpl PRO on your cannabis or hemp that you have, I think that levels the playing field that you may not have access to the state-regulated lab, but you do have access to use some of the equipment that they use.
Now, people that have been around for long enough, five to six years ago, there was a piece of equipment called the QuantaCann. It was a near-infrared spectroscopy device that was sold by Steep Hill, very larger. I don't like to use the term bulky, but it was a desktop edition. It was bigger than a laptop, and you could run samples on it and that was something that Steep Hill used to do. They don't do that any longer. Also, SC Labs has used NIR in the past in their career.
This device isn't something that's necessarily new to the testing industry, but it is very new to the people that are out there that have accessibility with the retail point being 1,500 bucks or less to be able to buy one and being able to test unlimited flour with it. That I think is what's actually leveling the playing field is being able to give the picks and shovels that the miners use to the people that aren't necessarily state-regulated miners. That analogy always comes up.
I think in the future, you'll see other different types of cannabis people using the Purpl PRO. The breeders are really on top of it. The cultivators are really on top of it. We do have some dispensaries in certain states, Oklahoma, in Maine, and Michigan. They have a Purpl PRO in their buildings so that their patients and their customers can come in and just test their cannabis.
It, obviously, brings them to the dispensary, that's hopefully helping out their sales and foot traffic. It's also just the fact that those dispensary owners and workers want people to be able to have access to testing their cannabis that they could have gotten from another patient or however they came across it. Now you can test it to see what the potency is.
Sinead: Absolutely. John, something that I've read has been really negatively influencing the hemp market is the inability to distinguish CBD flour from cannabis flour these days. CBD flour has come such a long way in the last few years. It's nearly identical to cannabis flour. In states where cannabis isn't legal, and law enforcement can't tell the difference between hemp and marijuana. It's really hurting the hemp market in these states. Is that a market you're exploring at all, the law enforcement market?
John: In the past two years, we've definitely had a lot of talks with certain law enforcement that want to talk about the Purpl PRO and if they should have it in squad cars and what it's going to be. I think the biggest thing that I understand is just the barrier to entry. I don't think there's a lot of police departments that want to pay to have a Purpl PRO put in every car, unless they figure out how to have it as a budget item.
Also, as of this point, the Purpl PRO and its results and all that stuff has never been used in court. I don't know how that whole thing works. I'm not an attorney. I don't know how that would all work to come together, but on the CBD versus THC topic, that's the the biggest thing that we deal with in Europe right now.
In Holland, we have a distributor, and they have seen a surge in use on the Purpl PRO because people were taking CBD flour to the coffee shops in Amsterdam and trying to sell this THC flour and you couldn't tell the difference. One coffee shop got a Purpl PRO and was able to turn people away and then through word of mouth, other coffee shops understood that if you had this device, you could tell the difference between THC and CBD just by the readout.
I want to say now, I think there's something like 150 coffee shops in Holland that use the Purpl PRO when purchasing. It's even spread now. The people that were trying to sell the CBD flower in Holland, went to Spain and tried to sell the CBD flower there. Those people that have those coffee shops in Barcelona in Spain, started buying Purpl PROs.
There is no lab. There's no way for these guys or guys, gows, whoever, there's no way for anybody to test that product that they're purchasing. Now that they have a Purpl PRO in their office, as soon as it comes in the first thing they do, take a sample, grind it up, and test it. I think that has been a big help with Purpl just being able to understand. If you have 7, 8, 9, 10 CBD and a three or 4% THC, you're probably not buying cannabis, you're buying hemp flours.
In Europe, that's definitely not a topic with law enforcement, but here in the States, there have been some different Police Departments and State Patrol. Same thing like you said, they aren't looking to deal with it. If it is hemp flour, then let it go, but if it isn't hemp flour, they need to be able to tell the difference. I don't think we have any law enforcement using a Purpl PRO right now that I know of. I think that conversation will continue to happen while more states, not only allow hemp to be grown but also have a THC program.
I think, if you have medical cannabis and you have hemp in a state, I don't think there needs to be an issue as long as that person's a patient, but there's still some states that don't allow any cannabis whatsoever. I think that those are the states more where those people are trying to tell the difference between hemp and cannabis.
Sinead: Okay. Great. That's a great point. I had read the thing about your market in the Netherlands, specifically with coffee shops. It's really fascinating. It's almost ironic that these scammers are almost driving your business in Europe. How do you see that unfolding over the next few years, your market in Europe as more and more countries--? You mentioned Spain has got wind of the Purpl PRO and they're not using it as well. Where do you see that heading in Europe over the next few years?
John: I think there's a huge potential. We sell the device in the EU and the UK. We currently sell the device in Canada. We have some in South Africa. To make it very clear, we work B2B. We sell to businesses, we don't sell direct. We have distributors and retailers that are in these other countries and they retail and sell the device. If you go to Purplscientific.com and try to buy a device, you'll be directed to find Purpl.com and you can find a retailer that's closest to you.
That's how we work but I think the European Union and the United Kingdom have a huge potential. There are some countries that don't allow it yet. There are some countries that are talking about it. Here in America, we talk about states, but the multibillion-dollar industry of cannabis already exists. In Europe. We don't see that yet. Germany has some aspects for it. Italy has some hemp and CBD stuff for it.
Obviously, the Netherlands and the Hollands have a lot of coffee shops but technically that isn't legal or illegal. It's just allowed. Same thing in Barcelona, in Spain, there are coffee shops, but it's not necessarily regulated and talked about. Then you get into the United Kingdom and that island in and of itself as a whole cannabis revolution that's happening right now.
I think the EU and the UK are going to be a big market that comes along with the fact that there's not much talk or anything happening on the whole continent of Africa and how that would work. Then you get into South America and how it's going to work. Columbia allows some of that. You get into Brazil and Argentina, there's just a bunch of things that I think aren't tapped or regulated or set up yet. I think that'll be great for the Purpl PRO because the more that people are growing cannabis, the more the Purpl PRO allows that instant, transparent lab testing to happen.
I would say in my opinion, right now, Europe and the UK are probably the biggest market that we have an unbelievable distributed there, Delta 9 Analytics, and they handle a lot of stuff that happens all over that continent. I think that's the biggest reason why the coffee shops were able to find us is that those people are cannabis friendly people that are for the cannabis community.
Sinead: Very cool. Awesome. You mentioned earlier that you guys have added a few upgrades to the Purpl PRO, including, I believe it's water content. What was the other one that you guys recently added?
John: They both have to do with water and I mess up the word just as much, but it's moisture content and water activity.
Sinead: Got you. That's great that you guys have added those upgrades recently. I've seen that you also have in the works, some extract measuring technology. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
John: I can tell you as much as I'm allowed to tell you.
Sinead: That's okay.
John: More of an Area 51 topic.
Sinead: I understand.
John: When the device launched it did total THC and total CBD, and then about six months after launching we did the moisture content and water activity, and so people know the difference. Moisture content is more about the cure and how much moisture is in the plant. Obviously, the more moisture, the higher the water activity, the less the water activity, the less the moisture is. They are somewhat combined. One is in a percentage, one is not. That shows up on the device now for free. Any sample that you run, you get four readouts. You get total THC, total CBD, moisture content, and water activity. That's how it currently works.
There have been many talks and there are still many talks, whether I can confirm them or not is different, [unintelligible [00:40:37] an extract software update to the current device, which means the current Purpl PRO that we sell at some point would have a software update to allow it to test extracts. Extracts is a very broad term. We're talking about distillate, live resins, live rosins, hashish, charas, bubble hash, any and everything that has to be a concentrate, or in the extract title is probably one of the reasons, but you can't quote me, but I will say it's taking longer than it probably should, is that there's so many different types of extracts.
There's hydrocarbonates, there's ethanols, there's distillates. Anything and everything that you can try to extract and make this plant more concentrated is a part of what that would be. Yes, since the start at least, we've been trying to understand and collect data and have some way that this device would be able to test concentrates for the end user without having to buy a new device, or as we would say, a new piece of equipment. There's no additional hardware, there would just be an upgrade to the software and the current device would be able to then test those extracts.
Sinead: That's amazing. I feel like the ROI for the Purpl PRO is already just astronomical, but adding that feature would be insane.
John: [crosstalk] say, there's probably no short of 300 to 400 people that will listen to this that have already probably told us, "Once those extracts are done, we'll purchase the device," or "We're waiting for extracts," or "When will extracts happen?" Obviously, at that point, you get into the double ROI because you can test the flower before you extract it and you can test the extract after you extract it and then you get into even more understanding of how potency works and how potency retention would happen through certain extract processes.
If we take a 25% flower and we extract it and it comes through in a concentrate and that concentrate is 75%, but if you did it in a different manner of extraction, it would come back at 87%. There's all types of expanded fields of conversations that happen once you can do two different things within a process as opposed to just starting material to a process.
Sinead: Gosh. Yes. That's amazing. Going off that, John, first of all, how much does the Purpl PRO retail for? Speaking of ROI, how long-- I guess it depends on the customer and what they're using it for, but how long would you say it takes for the Purpl PRO to pay for itself?
John: First question on the retail costs. We don't retail the device, but I can say that our advertised pricing is at 1495. If you go to findpurpl-- and Purpl is spelled without an E, just because I know that's going to come up at some point in your comment, so if you go to findpurple.com, you can find all of the retailers across the whole country that sell it.
Right now until August 15th, participating retailers, which means some of them, not all of them, actually have it for 10% off of that price of 1495. You can get a Purpl PRO even cheaper than you normally would right now until August 15th of 2021. You may be able to talk to some of those places if they would extend that for you if you need a week or something.
If we go off the somebody purchased it at 1495 retail and we're in the state of Colorado, for a total THC, total CBD potency test and a moisture content test, you'd be looking at a range anywhere from $50 to $250. That's a number that we can figure that out. Obviously, at $250, it's a couple tests in an hour, 10 tests, whatever, you've already got the device paid back. If you're talking about a different state, like if we were talking about Maine, where it's almost $300 to $400 for a test, it's even quicker to pay that device off.
I have yet to find a state where if you bought a Purpl PRO and you did 10 to 20 tests the first day that you got it you wouldn't have already recouped what the cost would be through a regulated test, but most of those people don't have access to a regulated test, but it does unlimited testing. Usually, people buy a Purpl PRO, they get it set up, they're testing it, and they test everything that's in their house, and then they test everything at their friends' house, and then they test anything that they come across, or they test anything that they harvest. I would assume in a week, you've probably paid that back depending on [inaudible [00:45:23] state you're in and how much it's going to be.
If you're in the state of Missouri and you're paying $500 to $700 a test, that's, what, two or three tests and you're done? The recoup on the cost really depends on where you're at and how much it would cost to do the testing. Now, I know that there are people out there that are going to say they could get a test done for $20 or $30, and that's true, it just would take you more tests to pay it back. If it was unlimited testing and didn't cost anything more than what the Purpl PRO did, and you had it in your pocket no matter where you went, I think you would be more apt to do more testing than if you had to drive it and submit it and pay for it and wait for a result. That's the other thing.
In the best states that I know of, it takes three to four days to get a result back. In the worst states that I know of, it's 7 to 10 days. In 20 seconds to get it back, I know a lot of people pay for DoorDash because they don't have to leave their house to go get their food and I'm pretty sure that the Purpl PRO price probably falls into that same type of situation.
Sinead: Clearly, well worth the price tag. That's a-
John: Asking the guy that's in charge of sales that question is a layup, but that's [inaudible [00:46:31]
Sinead: [unintelligible [00:46:33] for that one, [chuckles] but yes, you make some really great points and you guys have quite a selling point there, for sure. Speaking of your role as global sales director, what are your goals going into the next couple of years, John?
John: The biggest goal is just getting more devices in people's hands. Since we don't sell direct to the end-user, the biggest thing that we have as a challenge is just reaching the end users. Our marketing department does a great job in that. We have social media that's out there, and we also have a lot of people with Purpl PRO devices that love to talk about it. I would say that in most places, if there's somebody in your crew that has a testing device, people like to talk about that and know about it.
The first thing that pops in my head is when trade shows used to happen and we'd be at a booth and somebody would come and their cannabis would test at 29%, they'd run and grab everybody that they know and bring them over and be like, "Show them that result. This is what I grew. This is what the number was." I think that type of excitement to even have a number when you've never known the number is a big part of it.
Obviously, from a sales standpoint, we want to expand and get into more countries. We want to sign more distributors. If you are in the states or anywhere in the world and you're listening to this and you think you could sell this device, contact us. Go to our website, drop us a note. We'd love to talk about how to get you some devices, not only that you can have to demo and show people, but also devices that you can sell to them. That's the biggest thing.
I think right now our focus is tending to the people that have the devices. There are thousands and thousands of units all across the country right now that are used most likely-- the average is like every six to seven days. Some people are testing 20 to 30 products a day, some people only test when they have a harvest. Making sure those people are happy with the devices is one goal that we always have with our tech support team being in-house. I think the other part is, obviously, selling more devices, but to do that, we need more people to hear about Purpl and more people to see it and then also more people to buy them.
We work with all of our retail partners, making sure they have what they need and making sure their devices are all up-to-date. They've done all the most recent software updates, they have all the things into them, they know how to use them backwards and forwards. We even get into stuff like scientific averaging, where you can take one test of one sample, but if you did three, five, seven, or nine and made an average, it would be more accurate.
Are you really looking for an accurate representation of what your crop is as opposed to just the highest number? If you are looking for the highest number, there's obvious ways to do that. You take the top cola and grind it up and test that, but when you get into like the top, the mid, and the bottom of the canopy and homogenizing the sample and testing it--
The education is a big part for us too. I think that's an easy goal that we always have. We train all of our retail partners. We handle all the tech support and train any of the end users on what they're looking for. That education is what helps set us apart as well. You can call Purpl and talk about how to test many different ways to see what your cannabis is doing, and how to test throughout the growth cycle to see what's going on, or how to test your [unintelligible [00:49:48] so that you have more data to pick the right keeper.
Everybody wants to be the next AJ's Sour Diesel, or Grape Ape, or whatever it is that you want your next strain to be, and we want to help you figure that out. More countries, more retailers in the states. We are always looking for retailers in new states because we don't want to have somebody wait to have it shipped. They could go pick it up at your store today. Let's make that happen.
Sinead: That's great. As we close in a few minutes here, we'll give the listeners some info on how they can connect with you online. If they're interested, they can certainly connect with you. That's great. John, moving into some personal development questions, first of all, I wanted to ask, is there a book that's had a big impact on your life or way of thinking that you'd like to share?
John: Oh, yes, for sure. On a business sense, one of the best books that I have that I recommend to a lot of people is The Tipping Point. It's by Malcolm Gladwell. If you don't know Malcolm Gladwell, that's where I would start with any of his books. Definitely changes perspective and changes understanding and how to work with data. More importantly, it changes your mental perspective on how you look at a lot of stuff, but The Tipping Point is a great book.
From management and leadership and skills, Jocko Willink is a guy that a lot of people know, but he has a lot of great books out that talk about things from his time with the Navy SEALs. I think it's Extreme Leadership, is one of the books that I would probably start with. Also, to go back to our consulting corporation and everything else, The Great Gatsby is a great book to read no matter what you want to learn about, The Haves and the Have-Nots and How Life Works. There's a big part of the sales in that with that guy selling himself as not being who he was. Those would be the three. I would probably start with Tipping Point, Extreme Leadership, and The Great Gatsby.
Sinead: Those are some great picks. The Tipping Point has been on my reading list for a while now. I'll have to get to that one soon here.
John: [crosstalk] bump it up. He's got a lot of good ones, but The Tipping Point is by far the one for me that always sticks out. I have a lot of people that are in all kinds of different industries, but after reading that book, you can really look at things a little bit differently and figure out, one, how to maximize things, but also how looking at data one way or a different way can help figure out where the solution is.
Sinead: I'm going to have to bump that up the list a little bit then. That sounds like a valuable read there. Awesome. Next personal development question here for you, John, what is one thing going on in the industry that you think will have a big impact down the road but might be a little underappreciated right now?
John: My biggest thing would be just the whole attention to accounting, bookkeeping, reporting, and taxes. I deal with this all the time in multiple different states. Unfortunately, there's a reason why Amazon doesn't pay any taxes and why their accountants know how to figure that out. In the cannabis industry, there's a lot of different things that you can figure out through that as well. I think it's underappreciated because a lot of the smaller mom and pops don't have access to how all of that works.
With 280E and the inability to write off a lot of costs of goods sold or COGS as it's called in accounting, it makes a big challenge for smaller cannabis businesses to figure out how to get through some of those, and coupled with the fact that almost every cannabis business is going to get audited at some point. If you don't have an enrolled agent IRS accountant that knows how to handle an audit, that's probably an issue. There's going to be adjustments, and hopefully there's no penalties, but all of that requires more money to be paid.
How you're doing your reporting, your accounting, and not simply just having a time clock and a balance sheet, but understanding how to work things into different categories, how to set up your companies. There's a lot of people that set up LLCs that would probably be better to set up an S corp. All of that is stuff that I think in the industry right now, with the evolution from taboo to medical to recreational to gigantic conglomerate multi-state operators, that's where you're going to fall into some of those things that you may not make it through the next transition if you don't have your books super tight and you don't know how to record everything, you don't know how to work through everything that you can.
Those to me I think in the next two to four years, we will see a big transition in how that works. One, people continually talk about it being federally regulated or that banking is going to open, but in Maine and Arkansas, Missouri, and all the new states, they require banking to happen through that state. It's a state bank that does it and charges the regulated licensees for that. The banking I don't think is going to be the big issue, the big issue is going to be reporting, taxes, bookkeeping, and all of the things that usually an entrepreneur doesn't want to focus on or take care of and hires an accountant to do it.
If your accountant has done it before or has no experience in cannabis before, they're not going to know the same way to do it the way that people do. That would be my underlying one. I talk about this topic probably three to five times a week with people because it's such an outside realm that a lot of the cannabis industry doesn't want to talk about or figure out.
Sinead: That's a great point. Like you said, it's only a matter of time before their arm is forced and they have to figure that out. Great point there, for sure. Great, John. Wrapping up, I got a real hard-hitting question here for you. You can only watch three movies for the rest of your life, which do you choose?
John: I guess my preference is-- Do I have to have my family and kids around? Because then I know it's going to be-
Sinead: Not at all.
Sinead: Yes, three whole movies that aren't in the Cars franchise.
John: [inaudible [00:56:17] I feel like one of has got to be a comedy. You got to be able to laugh and check stuff out. I'm going to say Eddie Murphy Raw would be one of the first ones-
John: [inaudible [00:56:28] myself, but that would be one. Then I probably would pick Caddyshack.
Sinead: Good pick. That's a good one.
John: Another [unintelligible [00:56:41]
Sinead: This could be a TV series too. I'll throw you a bone there if you've got a--
John: Yes, so Eddie Murphy Raw, Caddyshack. I'd do Predator with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Sinead: Oh, okay. You've got the whole gamut there. Comedy, you have some tears in there. That's a great list.
John: That's a hard question. I'll give that to you. That's a good one.
Sinead: Oh, yes, that's a tough one. I'm not even sure I could answer that one. Probably not fair that I'm asking guests that.
John: Music would be totally different, but movies, you're like, "Oh, man, I only get two hours of it."
Sinead: That's true. I might just have to change my question there going forward to music. That's great. John, wrapping up here, how can listeners find you online and connect with you?
John: The easiest way for finding me would definitely be through Instagram, which is @grimeygatsby, G-R-I-M-E-Y-G-A-T-S-B-Y. It's an open account. You can drop me a follow, you can drop me a DM, you can ask me questions. If you are looking for Purpl Scientific or Purpl PRO, that would be www.purplscientific.com, but there's no E on Purpl, again, to bring that up. You can also go to findpurpl.com if you want to actually purchase a device. That'll have all of our retailers.
If you're in Maine and you want to talk about those things, I would still hit me up on Instagram. Alternative Essence, Refine New England, and Iron Lung are our three brands in Maine that we have. If you're in Arkansas, it would be Harvest Cannabis Dispensary in Conway, Arkansas. In Missouri, it would be North Medical Group. Outside of that, you can hit me up about anything.
If you have questions about growing cannabis, if you have questions about breeding cannabis, if you have questions about getting into the cannabis industry for a job, or you want to talk about a new state that is about to accept applications and you're really trying to get a license, or you want to talk about nutrients, or you want to talk about skiing or fly fishing or anything else, I'm always open. I'm always down to have a conversation. Instagram would probably be the easiest and then I can give you whatever email is correct for what you're looking for from there.
Sinead: Great. John, you said your Instagram handle is grimeygatsby, is that correct?
John: Yes. That is the one.
Sinead: I'm guessing that's a reference to The Great Gatsby, right?
John: It is a reference to The Great Gatsby. [crosstalk]
Sinead: Nice. Little slow off the blocks, but just occurred to me.
John: Yes. We started Grimey Gatsby as a consulting company and it has taken on many different shapes, but it is definitely a nod to The Great Gatsby and The Haves and the Have-Nots and How The World Works.
Sinead: Awesome. Yes, another classic book there. That's great. John, thank you so much for coming on. We really appreciate it and we wish you the best of luck with everything going on with Purpl. Lots of exciting things to come.
John: Yes, it's awesome. I appreciate it. Big shout out to everybody at CannaInsider. We appreciate the time to be able to talk and have your listeners vibe out with us.
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