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Designing a Dispensary that Delights Customers with Megan Stone

Megan Stone

Megan Stone the founder of the The High Road Design Studio shares how most dispensaries are not optimized for an optimal customer experience. Megan shows us how to design a dispensary from the ground up to be attractive, functional and secure.

*Guess What? You could be listening to this interview on your commute. Get the FREE iPhone app or Android App*

Learn more: http://thrdesignstudio.com/

Key Takeaways:
[1:25] – Megan discusses her background and design expertise
[4:33] – How do you get to be a bud tender with no experience
[7:14] – How dispensaries can make first time customers feel welcome
[10:52] – Megan discusses common mistakes dispensaries make
[17:02] – How do you integrate security into a dispensary
[19:32] – Megan talks about displays at dispensaries
[23:47] – How should flower rooms look
[28:02] – Contact details for High Road Design Studio

Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday and Wednesday look for a fresh episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the leaders of the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com. That’s www.cannainsider.com. Do you know that feeling when you sense opportunity, when you see something before most people and you just know it will be successful, then you're ready. Ready for CannaInsider Consulting. Learn more at www.canninsider.com/consulting. Now here's your program.

If you have had the opportunity to be in a cannabis dispensary, you’ll notice there is a huge variance in how you feel when you walk in. Some are welcoming. Some feel like a frat house basement. Megan Stone is the founder of the High Road Design Studio. She’s going to share with us how to create a dispensary that welcomes and embraces customers and patients, but is also functional for the business owners and employees. Welcome to CannaInsider Megan.

Megan: Thanks so much Matthew.

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

Megan: Definitely. I run the High Road Design Studio out of my home office in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Matthew: How nice. Nice place to be. And what is your background in the cannabis industry and why did you start High Road Design Studio?

Megan: I’ve been involved in the cannabis industry in one way or another for the past eight years, and I first started off in the cannabis industry as a patient. I was a consumer. I was someone who used these stores for my own wellness and medical needs. And after having been involved from the patient consumer standpoint for about three years, I was living in Orange County, California and going through interior design school. And the local shop that I had started going to for my medical marijuana, a nice upscale, very professionally run, safe inviting place. They offered me a job as the bud tender.

So I very willingly took the position. I was very excited about it. At the time it was 2010 and the cannabis industry wasn’t something that you planned a career in. So I figured my student status made it all right for me to take this kind of interesting, fun, very unique part time job. And not long after getting involved as an employee in this industry did I fall in love and just really find the value and all of the great benefits and positive impacts that this industry has on people’s lives every single day.

After a couple of years of bud tender, I was promoted to general manager of the store. And shortly after being promoted we acquired a second location. So we had two stores operating. While I was managing both of them I had the opportunity to remodel the stores and just really have that day to day, full time longevity in the industry. And by the time I was finishing my design degree, the industry had grown and evolved to the point where having a career in the industry was something that was possible. So that’s when I took my design degree and paired it with my interest in the industry and started the High Road.

Matthew: So you didn’t feel back then like hey maybe this cannabis thing is not going to go anywhere, but now it’s so clear, but at the time it probably didn’t feel like it.

Megan: Exactly, you know, 2010 was a very tumultuous year for the cannabis industry actually, if you look back. You know there were a few states with medical marijuana laws on the books at the time, but it was really California and Colorado who had the most significant markets, and nobody was on the table at that point in time for recreational marijuana. The government at the time was actually raiding these businesses and really trying to shrink the industry. So it was actually a very uneasy time to be involved in the industry and there wasn’t a bright future. But things changed very very fast in the cannabis world, and you know fast forward five years and it’s now the fastest growing industry in the country.

Matthew: Now while we’re still on the topic of bud tenders, I want to ask because I get emailed several times a day for people who want to get into the industry and specifically be bud tenders. What’s a good way to get your foot in the door as a bud tender if you have no experience but you really want to do it?

Megan: Shops these days are really looking for high levels of customer service and professional people to help maintain their business image and their reputation and the high level of service it takes to be competitive in this industry. If you really want to be a bud tender, my biggest recommendation would be to treat it as though you were applying for any other professional job. Don’t tell credentials as a marijuana user or you know, your expertise in the product personally. That is actually something that turns more cannabis business owners off than you would think. We’re trying very hard as an industry to project a more credible, professional you. And we’re really moving away from the stereotype of the pothead, stoner, unprofessional image.

So the clients I work with, staffing is one of the most difficult things because we’re in the middle of having people that want to work for us because they love the product and they’re very interested in it from a person consumption standpoint and finding people who are really quality employees and bring a level of professionalism, a level of sophistication, good knowledge and high levels of customer service to the tables. So present yourself as a professional and treat it like you would a job outside of the cannabis industry, and that I see would be your best bet in securing a job and getting to play a role in this rapidly evolving industry.

Matthew: And I would imagine just being a personable and knowledgeable person is probably two huge things you look for I would imagine.

Megan: Yeah very much so. You know some of the best bud tenders I managed were people who came with a retail background or a background in the hospitality industry. So people who had been servers or bar tenders before or had worked in department stores or other shops. You know the core of the dispensary, it’s really a retail job. You have to be able to know your product line. You have to be able to match your products to what your customers and your patients are needing, but also you know be able to sell in a way that isn’t pushy, isn’t forceful, but is adding value to that patient’s experience.

Matthew: Now most dispensaries don’t do a good job of making first time customers feel like they’re not doing something illegal. There is still this sense like oh my god I’m approaching this, should I be looking over my shoulder as I approach this dispensary. Can you talk a little bit about that and what dispensaries can do to really get rid of that feeling so people feel welcome, especially first time customers?

Megan: Certainly. That whole stigma of walking into a shop and feeling like you’re still doing something illegal even though you’re a registered patient or you’re a legal consumer able to walk into a 21+ store in Colorado or Washington is hard to get away from, and it’s one of the things that I’m really focused on helping to change in this industry. I’m really focused on making this a normal retail experience and something that makes people feel excited and makes people anticipate the experience and makes people want to walk away and tell their friends and neighbors about what they had done that day.

So a few things that shops can do to kind of combat this feeling of shame, for lack of a better word, is again treat your business like a normal retail business would treat it. Put some effort into your image and into your branding, and show that you care as a business who you are and how you’re identified and what you’re presenting to your target market. Making sure that every part of the experience is something that’s positive is also important. So walk through the steps that a patient or customer would take coming to your store. Everything from the first time they spot it from the street to the way your parking lot is set up, organized, clean, maintained, well-lit, to what the door handle feels like. What does the first part of your business that your patient and customer is going to touch. How does that reflect on the entire experience that they’re about to have? And go through the whole process and at every step think where is my patient or customer actually touching my business? What about the chair they sit in in the lobby? What about the counter they lean up against when they’re in the showroom? What about the door handle that they touch when they leave after they’ve paid their money and they’ve got their product to take home?

Think about all those little points and those are all really places where you can elevate that feel of what your shop is doing. You know also if at all possible, bring in natural light. You know, windows can be a security issue, but that doesn’t mean that you have to block them off or put bars over them. If you do need security constraints on your windows, there are very attractive and brilliant ways to do that, and ways that can even help bring your brand onto the window and convey it into the atmosphere.

Matthew: That’s really funny that you mentioned the touch because the touch points, the literal touch points are important. I’ve heard about car manufacturers spending millions and millions of dollars to study the psychology of the thud the car makes, the car door makes when it clicks closed. Does it make you feel like hey there is some confidence here or this is a cheap door. Also like Fed-Ex spends a lot of money making sure when you put something in one of their overnight dropoff bins that there is a sound that conveys, you know, confidence like it’s going to get there. I don’t know how they do this, but you know, companies really study this because those touch points are important.

Megan: Very much so. It’s really all about the experience. And all of those little different points that send a message to our brain about what we’re experiencing and what we’re participating in.

Matthew: Now if you were just to pick maybe two or three dispensaries at random let’s say here in Colorado, what would you just guess because they’re so common the mistakes that they’re making that they could easily improve on?

Megan: Some of the most common mistakes I see in dispensaries, and I’ll just kind of go in order of the way the process actually happens, one is exterior branding. And this is hard because we’re an industry that we’re still regulated on how much we can advertise and what we can say about our business from the outside and what kind of images we can put there. But that being said we are still a business and we are still able to label ourselves. So do you just simply put a sign out there or do you put a sign out there that’s well-lit, maybe three dimensional, uses different materials, catches the eye. You know, maybe is on point with the level of design that your local coffee shop or your local boutique retailer or even your local bakery has done to the exterior of their business. So making first off that first impression, that curb appeal, something that’s attractive and clean and looks like you actually paid some attention to it is a good place to start.

The next point in the process would be the lobby. Make sure that that lobby is something that is easy to get in and out of and easy to wait in. Lobbies are, nothing bothers me more than when you open up a door of a dispensary, you’re coming in off the street, you’re looking for shelter, you’re still moving at almost a full rate of pace and you walk in a door and there’s a line right inside of it and you practically run into the person that’s waiting in line. That’s no way to enter any sort of retail space or service space, let alone a dispensary. In the retail design world there’s a concept called the “Decompression Zone” and basically what that is is it’s sometimes four feet of space, it’s sometimes ten feet of space, but it’s the space inside the entrance to a retail store where nothing happens as far as a sale, as far as a customer message because all that can take place there is the customer’s frame of mind and pace of movement changing from what they were doing outside to what they’re experiencing in the store. People have found that if you put sale messages in this Decompression Zone, if you put advertising in this Decompression Zone, it really is not effective because people just aren’t ready for the experience yet.

Walk through your local mall and you’ll really see that most of the stores you walk into, there’s not a whole lot that happens right immediately inside the store. You’ll see about five to ten feet of space where you’re just kind of allowed to adjust to your environment, and that’s really what the lobby does in our dispensaries. It allows people to kind of come in, catch their breath, realize where they are, make sure that they feel comfortable and then get ready to actually interact with the first employee that they’re going to talk to which is probably either your security guard or your receptionist. So allow them to have that Decompression Space, allow them to come in off the street, take a breath, and then approach the first employee and make that first point of contact.

Where that employee is placed is another thing that you know is kind of a faux pas I see a lot in cannabis retail design. You know a lot of people try to put that person as close to the front door as possible, and that automatically creates that bottleneck. When I work with clients, given the space available, I always try to put that receptionist somewhere back in the space. So you’re actually pulling people through the space. It also gives you the chance to have space to form a line if you need to, and you’re going to need to. Some days are very, very busy in this industry. So use that receptionist as a way to pull your people into the space. They have a target that they can walk towards. It’s a comfortable way to kind of bring them from the door to that first point of contact, and it’s also a great way to get them into the space and out of the way of that entry and exit point.

Matthew: You mentioned a spa earlier, it sounds like you’re really trying to be delicate on the senses when someone first comes in. Are you seeing more dispensaries that are kind of trying to have a spa-like feel?

Megan: Yeah. As we have more and more target markets that we’re able to reach in this industry, more and more people I think are looking for that high end retail experience. And that’s really similar to what a spa-type environment provides or even any sort of beauty industry, whether it’s a nail salon or a high end hair salon or anything like that. So a sense of that’s calm, professional, clean, kind of a step down from a medical feel, but even some, you know, dentists offices are really becoming design Mecca of their own selves. And that’s a really good place to look for design inspiration for our businesses too because they’re there to provide a professional service. It’s again based on health in the medical sector, but dentistry has almost become like a retail business as well, and they’ve done a really great job of providing and experience and providing something that maybe makes you want to spend an extra couple of bucks on the teeth whitening or the accessories or the extra care or the cleaning or you know even the cosmetic dentistry, but at the same time, you know, making that experience match that level of care and product.

Matthew: Now that we know how it’s supposed to feel, it’s supposed to be warm and inviting and people should have a decompression zone, we also have to talk about security because you know that’s probably something we don’t want customers to really even notice it’s there, but it needs to be very secure and also functional for employees and business owners behind the scenes. What can you tell us about integrating security into a dispensary?

Megan: Sure. Well I think this kind of goes back to your previous question about what common mistakes dispensary owners make. I think failing to really integrate their security into the design is one of the things you commonly see. We need these shops to be safe and secure. There is still a lucrative black market for the products we sell, and these are all cash businesses for the most part. So people are aware that these businesses are kind of sitting ducks and definitely have something to go after an illicit standpoint.

So security is always important, but just because we have to design ourselves like banks doesn’t mean we have to feel like banks. So being able to plan well for security and make sure that surveillance is kept in mind, making sure that the sight lines in our show room allow our bud tenders and our employees to see what’s going on in the space and have a good eye on anybody that’s in there and watch and make sure that products aren’t being taken when they’re being touched and examined is very important. You know you never want tall displays in front of a bud tender. You kind of want to work from lowest height to tallest height in the order of how the customer approaches the employee.

But planning for this is important because again it goes back to the feeling of am I doing something wrong. If I’m in a place that I can see all 20 security cameras and that is the main accessory that’s been incorporated into the space, you feel a little off put, it’s a little off putting. And that’s all something that, you know, casinos, think of the level of security that we have in casinos, but think of the level that they take their design to to still make sure that that experience is the first and foremost identifying characteristic of the space.

Matthew: Right. They want you to know you’re being watched but feel comfortable about it somehow.

Megan: Exactly. Such a common theme in society today.

Matthew: In terms of displaying goods, you know, not only flower and edibles, infused products but also maybe a consumption apparatus like bongs or pipes and things like that, how should a perspective or a current dispensary owner think about displays in terms of cannabis at dispensaries?

Megan: Well it depends on the environment you’re going for. If you’re going for a high end, upscale environment, the way you display your product is very indicative of that atmosphere and that experience you’re trying to create. So with a high-end client I always talk to them about having very well edited displays and talk about the difference between displaying their inventory versus displaying the product they’re trying to sell. A good example of this is bakeries or cupcake shops. They have some of the most beautiful products on display, but it doesn’t always mean that what’s on display is exactly what they pick up and put into your bag to buy. You know a lot of times they will have preserved versions of their product.

Think wedding cake shops, beautiful beautiful examples of the products they provide, but they don’t exactly sell the inventory right off the floor, and I think that this is important. There’s a difference between walking into a jewelry store that has 400 rings on display in a glass case and walking into Tiffany’s that has maybe one $10,000 displayed in its very own case with great lighting and a great pedestal and maybe a little bit of merchandizing and props around it. So editing your displays to have a more elegant, more exclusive feel really sets a tone in your stores and can help sell product more.

Another good thing is having the proper lighting. Don’t just depend on your florescent ceiling lights to sell your products or to make them look well. Our product that we sell in this industry is something beautiful. There’s so much color to it. There’s so much texture to it. And making sure that there’s decent lighting, accent lighting, track lighting, anything that needs to be there to help accentuate that product and kind of give it some life and some experience is really important. Your signage is also really important. So are you displaying products in an upscale way, and does the signage you’re using to describe and provide information about those products is that in line with that same level of sophistication. Are you handwriting things on folded pieces of paper or are you printing things off in your brand front, in your brand colors, in your brand style. Those are very important things too, making sure that things are professionally, cleanly labeled and merchandized is very good.

And then finally adjacencies are really important in displays. And what adjacencies are it describes how putting one product next to another creates a spark and can sell more of one or both products. So a good example of this in the cannabis environment is concentrates and vaporizers. You know, are you providing those things in close proximity to each other so as your bud tender is talking to your customer about the concentrate product line, it’s a very easy segway and a very easy way to bring up the vaporizer that they can consume these concentrates with. So that adjacency key point can really benefit both the customer and the business owner. The customer benefits because they walk out with more solutions than they probably knew they were looking for, and everybody’s happy when they find new, better ways to either get their medicine or to enjoy the product that they came in to buy. And a business owner always loves being able to add on sales to the ticket price and provide more solutions to that person. Not only does it make your customers more loyal and excited to come back, but it obviously increases your revenue and positively affects your bottom-line.

Matthew: Now when a customer’s chatting with the bud tender, what’s the ideal environment when that first conversation is first conversation is going on? Do you not recommend partitions then for a semi-sense of privacy when you’re in like a flower room or what do you suggest there? Does all the people in the flower room who are looking at products, are they kind of open together by the displays, each talking to a bud tender? Because I’ve seen some that almost seem like confessionals.

Megan: Yeah. You know there’s really three different types of customers in this industry, and it’s important to design ways to accommodate each of them in your store. So you have that first time patient that is coming in, maybe is very inexperienced with the process and the product and needs a high level of one-on-one private consultative service. So you know maybe a lot of times we’re seeing people actually begin to design consultation rooms in their location. So you know places where you can actually go and close the door and have those very discreet, intimate conversation about people’s medical needs and their questions about the product.

In those instances a lot of times there’s a selected patient educator or a patient outreach coordinator that handles those first time sensitive cases and kind of walks them through the process from start to finish. So yes you have to be able to provide that level of discreet one-on-one consultation with the patients who need it, and design some sort of space or some sort of area in your showroom to accommodate those types of patients.

The second type of patient then is the one that’s pretty familiar with the process. They come in a couple times a week actually, and even though they know exactly what they typically like, and they know all about your product line, they still love that experience of talking with the bud tender of looking at all the new products, of seeing what’s the latest and greatest, smelling the Blue Dream even though they’ve bought it from you for the past six months straight. They want that engaged experience, and they are really your bread and butter customer. They are the ones that are going to be your biggest brand ambassador. They’re the ones that are going to be your biggest fans on social media and on your dispensary website reviews. So still to be able to provide the full experience to them, you know, even though they’re not that first time novice patient or customer is so important, and that’s where you know providing good product display areas, good sample areas, a good variety of product that’s well-merchandised so that these people can come in and reengage with the shop every single time.

Then there’s the third patients, and these are really the utilizers. These are the people who probably come in one to three times a month. This is an errand for them. They want to get in, get out and get on with the rest of their day. They will stay loyal to you, but they’re not there for the whole dog and pony show. They’ve got other things to do. They’ve got other places to go spend their money at, but they’re there and they’re committed and we need to also make sure that our show rooms are efficient enough to handle these people and to not inconvenience them on every single trip they make to the dispensary.

So it’s accommodating all three of those kind of patients, making sure that you can provide the level of high consultation one-on-one experience to the first time person, but you can also get the patients that need to get in and out of there in five to ten minutes and accommodate their needs as well too that you got to take into consideration when you plan out your entire dispensary. Everything about your process has to cater to those three types of people from the way you check patients in to the way you service them in your showroom to the way they pay and exit the shop.

Matthew: One of the themes of the show is that you know we’re kind of in a golden era for dispensary owners where everybody just wants, you know, cannabis so much and they’re so glad it’s legalized that they’re willing to pull up or put up with some suboptimal environments, let’s say back to that fraternity basement, but you’re helping dispensary owners now change that, transform that and if you’re a dispensary owner listening, it’s not some pie in the sky future. This is happening now, it’s transforming. There’s people like Megan figuring out how to make an absolutely joyous experience at a dispensary. So I encourage you to work with someone like Megan because you know things are changing quickly and you want to make sure that you have a business that people, you know, enjoy every single touch point as we’re talking about. So Megan in closing how can listeners learn more about your services?

Megan: The best way to learn more about my services is to either reach out to me directly or visit my website. My website is www.thrdesignstudio.com, as in The High Road Design Studio. My direct phone number which people can reach me at is (760) 641-4998 or you can reach me by email at megan@thrdesignstudio.com. And again my website which is also the end of my email address is www.thrdesignstudio.com.

Matthew: Thank you so much for being on CannaInsider today Megan we really appreciate it.

Megan: Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure to talk with you.

Matthew: If you enjoyed the show today, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes. Every five star review helps us to bring the best guests to you. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com/itunes. What are the five disruptive trends that will shape the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at www.cannainsider.com/trends. Have a suggestion for an awesome guest on www.cannainsider.com, email us feedback at cannainsider.com. We would love to hear from you.

Cannabis Job Opening: Denver, CO – Budmeister-in-chief

Job opening
Great news, there is a job opening that could be a fit for you!
If you are interested please e-mail: Patrick@good-life-colorado.com
Include your cover letter and resume in your e-mail.
Job Title: 
Budmeister-in-chief
Company: 
Good Life, Colorado LLC
Location: 
Denver (Montbello)
Job Details:
Are you ambitious AND hard-working?
We are a start-up Denver MIPs looking for the perfect “Budmeister-in-chief” to round out our professional team.
We’re going places. You’re going places. Let’s join forces to go even farther, and get there faster.You need a broad and deep knowledge of all aspects of the plant, with a special emphasis on skills relevant to manufacturing products (both edible and non-edible.) If you really, really know your stuff, make your MJ career with us; it will be the best decision you ever made.Our team is highly professional and competent, and require the same from you.
We offer competitive salary and profit sharing.
And yes, there will be a written test.

Job Requirements:
The “Budmeister-in-chief” will fill his/her days with a wide variety of tasks:

  • Inspecting incoming delivery of flower/trim/oils/concentrates for quality.
  • Directing extractions (Although we do machine extract in-house, you should at least be familiar with machine extraction.)
  • Overseeing production and packaging.
  • Innovating new products.
  • Juggling 101 other details.

The “Budmeister-in-chief”
will know a great deal about the history of the plant, will love to tinker with new products and processes, and can work as a team member to execute on the game plan that the whole team agrees on.
If you can walk the walk, let’s talk.
If you are interested please e-mail: Patrick@good-life-colorado.com
Include your cover letter and resume in your e-mail.

David Bernstein Talks Cannabis Employment Trends

David Bernstein

David Bernstein, founder and CEO of WeedHire discusses broad cannabis employment trends, where the jobs are and more.

*Guess What? You could be listening to this interview on your commute. Get the FREE iPhone app or Android App*

Key Takeaways:
[0:52] – WeedHire’s background
[1:23] – David discusses different features on WeedHire
[2:10] – David talks about different jobs in the cannabis industry
[5:00] – David explains how employers browse through prospects
[6:03] – What job seekers are looking for right now
[8:51] – Popular question, I don’t consume cannabis, can I be in this industry?
[10:13] – David talks about the dispersion of jobs available
[12:58] – When a state votes to legalize what are the first jobs to emerge
[15:46] – Tips for employers to make their job opening stand out
[18:48] – Intelligent questions job seekers can ask in the interview process
[20:27] – Contact details for WeedHire

Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday and Wednesday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com. That’s www.cannainsider.com. Are you looking for a fulfilling and lucrative career in the cannabis industry? Visit www.cannainsider.com/careers. That’s www.cannainsider.com/careers. Now here’s your program.

Our next guest is David Bernstein founder and CEO of WeedHire a cannabis jobs board that connects cannabis employers with prospective employees. David welcome to CannaInsider.

David: Thank you so much.

Matthew: So just give us a little background. What is WeedHire exactly and why would I want to use it?

David: Well WeedHire is actually affectionately known in the industry now as the Monster.com of marijuana. Essentially it’s a jobs board that really becomes a gateway for individuals looking to enter the workforce of legal cannabis and for employers to really find the most qualified job applicants to really help grow their business.

Matthew: Okay. And how does it work for job seekers? Do you simply upload your resume? Do you build a profile? How does it work?

David: Well there’s a number of unique features to WeedHire that allow for a job seeker to upload their resume, really research companies so that they can make a good representation of their interest in working with a company, and they can actually message one-on-one to employers in a safe environment. So it’s really a way to sell yourself to employers in this sector because of the wide ranging opportunities that exist. A lot of employers are looking for well-rounded people to help grow their organizations.

Matthew: Okay. And let’s take a 10,000 foot view here. What’s going on in the cannabis industry in terms of jobs? Is there anything that surprises you or is there any jobs that you’re saying wow this is interesting I never would have thought of this as a job category, but here people are posting it? What can you tell us?

David: Well it’s really exciting because as opposed to the internet when the internet first sort of launched and the jobs market was impacted by it, a lot of technology focused individuals entered the workforce. What’s beautiful about legal cannabis is that there’s so many wide ranging opportunities for employment that it doesn’t really discriminate. If you’ve got an interest, whether you’re in agriculture, whether you’re in water filtration or lighting or growing or even sales, there’s a unique opportunity in legal cannabis for you. I have seen wide ranging job descriptions and opportunities. Everything from a candy maker to a cannabis friendly rabbi.

So you really get a unique seat at the table from where we are here at WeedHire because the industry is growing at such a pace you can really see the demands for a lot of skill sets that would be very similar to other industries whether it’s bookkeeping, sales, accounting, legal operations, security. It’s really a wonderful opportunity because the industry itself doesn’t necessarily require a lot of experience in cannabis. So your unique skill sets can actually shine bright when you’re looking for a job in legal cannabis because it’s not necessarily about knowledge of the cannabis itself, depending on the job function. It’s really about you as a person and your belief that legal cannabis can be a career for you.

Matthew: Great point there. And one of the things I’ve noticed in the cannabis industry is that it’s still mostly startups. There’re not these huge monolithic businesses. So a person that’s posting a job on WeedHire it’s much more likely that you’re closer to the decision maker than say if you were applying to Xerox or some giant company where there’s all these formal processes. Would you agree with that?

David: I would. I think that’s very much the case, and there’s pros and cons to that because a lot of these small businesses are going through any growing pains that any small business would go through. Obviously we’re dealing in a little bit more of a challenging environment because of the legal status of cannabis, however owners of these businesses are really looking for partners to help them grow their businesses. As any industry that’s on an explosive growth path, you can see the eventual entry of pharmaceutical, of tobacco, of a host of other major type entities. So the best thing people can do now and even these business owners is grow their businesses in a sound, disciplined manner and that obviously incorporates hiring good people.

Matthew: Now from the employer point of view, how do they browse through prospects in an intelligent way?

David: Well the website has a resume search function. So there is an opportunity for them to research candidates, interested candidates and overall the entire database of candidates through WeedHire. Effective April 2nd that will be a billable subscription service. It’s a very nominal fee of $4.20 per month. So the employers can scan through what we would consider to be really qualified job applicants because to get into the WeedHire system you do need to register. You do need to provide some background on yourself, and that lends itself to a little bit more of a serious job candidate. So the employer when he’s screening the resume database will really hopefully have access to a wide variety of individuals that really really care about entering the workforce and really believe it’s something more than just let’s say being a user of cannabis.

Matthew: So what jobs are job seekers looking for right now? I mean does it tend to be in a few buckets? What can you tell us?

David: I think that job seekers right now are really across the board looking for experience in any part of the industry that they can. For the most part you’re seeing a lot of job seekers interested in being involved with the plant. Speaking more in terms of the wide variety, the larger percentage of job seekers because these are mostly people that don’t have industry experience, however they want to get into the industry and understand how it works. So certainly bud tenders. There’s a lot of interest in becoming bud tenders certainly. Being involved in trimming which there’s an area that if you are looking to get into the industry and you don’t mind doing it at an entry level, that’s a high demand job that could be obtained. Certainly I think in the edibles market which I think is going to be a huge marketplace as the industry evolves, those individuals that have experience in baking or cooking really there’s going to be an evolution of how cannabis is used as time goes on. So that’s a great opportunity for those looking for a job in the sector.

Matthew: Right and trim is kind of an interesting thing because you’re usually doing it with a few other people and it’s monotonous work, but you learn a lot about the plant, and you learn a lot from the people you’re typically doing it with about the culture, about the different things with the plant. So it is, like I said, monotonous but is a great stepping stone into something else because if you’re doing trim, you’re usually talking with the growers and the growers are telling you things. You’re learning about the curing process, and it’s a great way to get your foot in the door when you really don’t have any skills to offer.

David: Absolutely, and another interesting point that we see on WeedHire is that believe it or not the minimum wage jobs, the entry level jobs are higher than the normal industry job standards, and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that these employers really do want to hire good people. Obviously when you hire a job or hire an employee in an industry as a small business, if that employee doesn’t work out it’s costly to the business. In this industry a bad hire can actually put the employer in jail. And so they’re willing to pay a little bit more even at the entry level for people that are passionate about really developing a career in the industry, but the challenge is always finding those people and doing the best that you can to qualify them so that they blend in with the organization.

Matthew: Now one question I get asked and I’m sure you do to and it strikes me somewhat odd, but I guess when you’re looking from the outside in it’s not. And that is hey I don’t consume cannabis, can I be in this industry? What do you say to that David?

David: I say absolutely. I say that you have just as good of an opportunity if not better in some cases, depending on the job function. These are business owners. They’re looking to grow their business just like any other industry. They are looking for the most qualified people they can find. They’re looking for people that are reliable and people that see legal cannabis as a career. And so I would say to those individuals that you have a great opportunity, and we’ve actually seen in talking to some dispensary owners about the type of applicants they’re seeing to work in their operations, a large percentage of them are not cannabis users. And so my advice to anyone who is not a user, if you believe this is an industry that interests you, and we see the healthcare benefits and it will become part of the healthcare industry just on its own and separate of all the other opportunities, you should go for it. You should absolutely not be intimidated by it, and again it’s like any other job, any other business. Employers are looking for the best candidates.

Matthew: What state has the most abundant jobs would you say right now. I mean I know California is a huge marketplace with 40 million people, but we have 23 states now where cannabis is legal in some regard. What can you tell us about the dispersion of jobs available?

David: Well it’s interesting. Time is definitely the factor, the biggest factor in how mature either the medical or recreational cannabis laws are in a state which directly translates into the job’s growth. Colorado clearly has seen a tremendous amount of jobs growth as we’re going to be discussing in our next quarterly cannabis jobs report, how the state had issued licenses several years ago in comparison to 2014, and how the size of applicants and the size of companies that are registering quadrupled. Which lends itself to the states that have the licenses and the permits issued will become, as time goes on, the more favorable states in terms of amount of job opportunities.

Colorado and California, California being the most with the longest time under its belt as a medical cannabis state, has the most jobs. Colorado is very much closing the gap behind Colorado, I’m sorry, behind California, and we’re seeing Washington and Oregon and Illinois and Massachusetts and Arizona, as these programs become more and more mature and standardized, the jobs growth follows. It’s a formula we’re seeing now, and it’s beautiful to watch. So the biggest barrier to the growth of the jobs in all these states and states that come on board in the future is really the government within that state and then how they administer the programs and allow the businesses to set up and then hire.

Matthew: Great points. It is a beautiful thing to watch because here in Colorado you see a lot more specialization going on because the market’s becoming more mature. There’s people that can have a great business having, you know, just identifying, you know, problems in plants or infections or funguses or molds or insects, all these things that would really be considered just kind of an esoteric knowledge set before now. You can create a business around that and go around to different cultivators and help them. So it’s amazing to see how entrepreneurs and how businesses can evolve when there’s a market, and obviously you’re not going to have something like that right away in a brand new state, but it comes after a couple of years. In that vein talking about mature cannabis markets versus a brand new market, let’s say, there’s a state that comes online, maybe a listener is listening and it’s not legal in their state yet, but next year in 2016 it will be. What are the first kind of, the first jobs that emerge when a state decides to legalize?

David: Well we would define it as manufacturing. Go growers would be very much in demand. Skilled, as they call, master growers are very high profile individuals in the industry. They are getting salaries in the $80,000 to $100,000 a year range. They are very sought after. And these are horticulturists. These are people that understand the growth of the plant, and certainly how to implement a large scale grow operation which is I think the first and foremost area you’re going to see a lot of growth in jobs. Again it’s the trimming, the manufacturing side and of course then it gets into the retail or the dispensary side of the jobs. We’re seeing very much that methodical growth. It becomes manufacturing, and it becomes distribution resale, and those are the fundamental sort of jobs that start to spring up when the states go.

I do want to add one point for the listeners. The November election in 2016 is going to be significant for the industry. I think everybody’s sort of talked about that. One of the things WeedHire is very focused on is paying more attention to what the jobs growth will be as a result of those states passing either medical or recreational laws. There’s an interesting statistic that came out. ADP provides a national employment report every month on the jobs growth in the United States. And in February 2015 ADP said that there were 212,000 jobs that were created in the month of February, 94,000 of those jobs were small businesses, 1 to 49 employees.

So the interesting thing about that statistic is cannabis is probably not really represented in that. Because of the banking laws and the challenges associated with having payroll and having banking relationships, as we know, in many cases many of these dispensaries and businesses that handle the plant are actually operating in a cash business. So the point I’m making with all this is that if you do live in a state that is not necessarily legal today, but maybe there’s discussion clearly for elections coming up, specifically in the November election in 2016, number on go out and vote. Please go out and vote in favor of it, but number two realize that you have a unique opportunity to be part of the industry that is going to be here for a long time, and the jobs growth it’s not as traceable as we would like it to be right now because again how it’s classified. Be aware if you can get experience, you can have a unique opportunity to be part of this industry for the rest of your life.

Matthew: Now for an employer that really wants to make their job opening stand out, do you have any suggestions?

David: Well certainly. WeedHire has some services again, fee-based services that allow the employers to profile their jobs at a little bit more of a featured place on the website. Certainly talk to your customers and your job applicants. You can market yourself on WeedHire. You can post YouTube videos. You can really help the candidates learn about your business. Get them excited about working for you. I think that’s one of the things that they can do. Certainly like any job that’s looking to hire have a job description that’s clear, concise, specific about what you’re looking for. Communicate through WeedHire, through the one-on-one messaging with the potential candidates if you like to really understand who they are, and leverage some of the other tools on WeedHire, one of them being a service called Hireology that will help them promote their jobs’ availability as well as screen the employee candidates. So it’s really about what you do and it’s no different than selling to your customers if you’re in the industry. Sell to the employee candidates. Get them excited, get them to really want to work for you so that the best comes out.

Matthew: In your experience are there any questions that do a better job of helping understand what an employee’s all about? I mean what questions do you ask if you’re hiring someone? What are some good questions?

David: Well I think it’s about long term commitment. I think it’s about looking for the reliable people. Asking them about their goals and objectives in life. What do they want to achieve? And I’m not just saying in cannabis, I think it also has to do a lot with the people and what they’re all about. If you’re going to work for a job in cannabis, obviously you’re excited about being around the plant and being involved with the plant, but using the plant is not necessarily something employers want to know about necessarily right up front. So they’re looking to really understand skill sets. What do you bring to my organization that fills the need that I have, and what way do you address problems and solutions and how do you work with others? It’s really no different than any other industry, any other challenge that a small business goes through in trying to hire the right people. The one thing obviously we have to be sensitive to is what we’re dealing with as the product. And so there lies the reliability factor and the trustworthiness going far beyond what a lot of other industries may have to look for initially out of a candidate.

Matthew: Now at the end of an interview it’s pretty common for an employer to ask do you have an questions for me. And I feel like that’s a great opportunity to kind of make sure you address any objections they might have on their mind, but also kind of sell your unique selling proposition. Do you have any questions you can lend to prospective employees or job seekers, you know, to make sure that they ask intelligent questions when it comes to that point in the interview?

David: Absolutely. I think like any job that you’re looking or any company you’re looking to be a part of you want to understand what their goals are. What’s their mission? What’s the management team like? How do they deal with day-to-day operations? Questions that could be asked are, how long have you been in business? What your background in the industry? How did you get started? One of the things you don’t want to ask is can I have free cannabis. I don’t think that’s something in an interview that you really want to put out there initially. Again, these are employers. They’re looking for the best possible people. So you want to challenge the employer. You want to ask them, I’m going to get into this business, and I want to know that I’m working for somebody that’s responsible. I’m very serious about it and I’m committed to put 110% in, but I want to know about you. I want to know about your background. I certainly want to understand why did you get into the industry. What is it about it that you saw that had you create this. And it’s important because cannabis is an industry and it’s a movement, and people that enter this industry are very passionate about it in a lot of cases, and they want to have the idea, the same as the companies they work for. And it’s like anything else, people do business with people they like. So sell yourself, be personable, but really be a person that if you were hiring you what would you want to see, and you would want to see reliability, consistency and a skill set that can deliver value to the company that’s actually looking at you.

Matthew: Great points. David in closing, how can listeners learn more about WeedHire?

David: Certainly visiting the website at www.weedhire.com. We’ve got a host of information on the site. We’ll continue to be building the site. It’s only been live for about 10 months now. We’re really excited about the growth of it. There’s news. There’s a lot of information about companies in the sector. A lot of information about the type of jobs that are there and really look at the job descriptions. Look at what skill sets companies are seeking in trying to grow their organizations. We also come out with a quarterly cannabis jobs report which will cite trends and statistics in the industry which we’re very excited about because it’s been featured in a lot of mainstream media now. And so use the site as a tool because it’s going to continue to grow along with the industry to help you find the best opportunity for yourself to grow your business or to enter the workforce.

Matthew: Great. Well David, thanks so much for being on CannaInsider today. We really appreciate it.

David: Thank you so much Matt. I love the show, and I’m a avid listener and I appreciate the time.

Matthew: If you enjoyed the show today, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes, Stitcher or whatever app you might be using to listen to the show. Every five star review helps us to bring the best guests to you. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com/itunes. What are the five major trends that will impact the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at www.cannainsider.com/trends.

Cultivating Women Leaders in Cannabis with Jazmin Hupp of Women Grow

Jazmin Hupp

Learn how Women Grow connects, educates and empowers women with co-founder of Women Grow, Jazmin Hupp.

*Guess What? You could be listening to this interview on your commute. Get the FREE iPhone app or Android App*

Key Takeaways:
[1:25] – What is Women Grow
[2:47] – Jazmin talks about how Women Grow came about
[4:30] – The different areas in the cannabis industry in which women can get involved
[5:41] – Can women get in the industry if cannabis isn’t legal in their state yet
[7:03] – Jazmin talks about Lobby Days
[9:44] – Jazmin talks about women’s purchasing decisions in cannabis
[10:39] – How do you make cannabis products women friendly
[13:26] – How will Women Grow evolve over the next few years
[14:48] – Jazmin explains what a Women Grow event is like
[17:32] – Success story of Women Grow
[18:41] – Women Grow sponsorship opportunities
[19:59] – Jazmin talks about her key takeaways from her travels around the country
[22:34] – Contact details for Women Grow

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

Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday and Wednesday look for a fresh episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the leaders of the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com. That’s www.cannainsider.com. Are you looking for a fulfilling and lucrative career in the cannabis industry? Visit www.cannainsider.com/careers. That’s www.cannainsider.com/careers. Now here’s your program.

Women Grow connects, educates and empowers cannabis industry leaders by creating community and events for aspiring and current business executives. I am pleased to welcome Jazmin Hupp, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Women Grow to CannaInsider today. Welcome Jazmin.

Jazmin: Thank you so much for having me.

Matthew: Sure. To give us a sense of geography where are you today?

Jazmin: I am mostly based out of a suitcase. Today I am in New York City. Women Grow was founded in Denver. The majority of our national staff are there, but I have bases in New York City and San Francisco, but I’m mostly on the road. We have chapters operating in 20 cities, and my goal is to visit every city at least once a year.

Matthew: Wow. For listeners that may not have heard of Women Grow in the past, can you just give us a high level overview of what it is?

Jazmin: Sure. Women Grow is a professional networking organization that supports female leaders in all segments of the cannabis industry. Our goal, as you said, is to connect, educate and empower women to lead America’s fastest growing industry. Our largest program is the signature networking events which our held on the first Thursday of every month in 20 cities across the country. We also hold cooperative events with the top conferences, host webinars, publish a lot of content. And on February 12th we recently brought together 76 women in cannabis in Washington, D.C. Then I flew to San Francisco, held an event for 200 entrepreneurs and investors called Creating Cannabis Products for Women featuring 6 of the top female cannabis business owners in the Bay Area. And then I went to the Emerald Triangle and met with women organizing in Humboldt. That’s a pretty typical month for me in Women Grow.

Matthew: Jazmin you’re so lazy. We’re going to have to talk to somebody about that.

Jazmin: Of course.

Matthew: Now I want to rewind a little bit. I want to talk about the, you know, making cannabis products more friendly to women, but I want to rewind a little bit to back in the very beginning with you and Jane. What was the impetus to start Women Grow? What was the conversation you were having with Jane, and how did women grow spark? What was the first spark where you said we got to do this?

Jazmin: Sure. And you’ve interviewed Jane before so I will have to reference your listeners to her edition to get her perspective on it because of course it’s a little different from mine. But Women Grow was announced at NCIA’s national conference last June by Jane, and I was sitting in the audience. Jane had organized the top women business owners in Colorado who wanted more women to join the industry but had run out of steam to do it in their spare time.

She had been producing events for international organizations like UNICEF and G Medical. I had launched six businesses before this and had about a decade of practice in branding and communications. And I had been working with an organization called Women 2.0 based in the Bay Area. And Women 2.0’s mission was to get an equal amount of venture capital funding for women in technology, and I had helped Women 2.0 from grow from the Bay Area to do events in 6 countries for about 100,000 entrepreneurs. But even after 9 years of Women 2.0 only about 4% to 6% of venture capital funding goes to women which severely limits the types of technology products we see on the market. The script for how technology funding worked had already been written and it wasn’t inclusive. Coincidentally Jane had fashioned the Women Grow launch after Women 2.0. So we decided it was meant to be and started collaborating right away.

Matthew: Great idea. Now there are a lot of different areas under the cannabis umbrella where women can get involved, but they may not be aware of all the different ways they can get involved in the cannabis industry. Could you name a few to help add some color around that?

Jazmin: Sure. Well your audience is probably a lot more sophisticated about the types of cannabis businesses out there because you’re interviewing all these great people. But a lot of people start out thinking that there’s only two jobs in cannabis. Either you’re producing cannabis products or you’re selling them. And the truth is that this is a multibillion dollar industry with dozens of different specialties.

Some of the areas that I don’t see a lot of competition in, but I think women are particularly great at are cloning banks, trim crew services, HR services, marketing and training. We have a webinar that should be available by the time this podcast is released. It goes into depth about all the different industry opportunities and how to decide which one might be right for you.

Matthew: Great point. We also interviewed one of the founding members of Women Grow from Cannabis Trainers, Maureen McNamara. And she’s an excellent trainer. So that’s to your point, you know, there is a lot of opportunities in training as the other aspects you mentioned. Now for women that are in states where cannabis is currently not legal, what should they do? Should they just wait or is there any opportunities to get started doing something now?

Jazmin: Yeah, you’ll notice that a lot of the successful business owners in cannabis actually came from the legalization movement. Working to legalize in your state will instantly connect you with other like minded people, educate you on all the issues and give you the confidence to move forward. Additionally having women help write this legislation make it more likely that the final results appeal to women who are often cited as the swing vote in legalization. And it helps make sure that the final results are fair and inclusive.

So if you’re in a prohibition state, find the legalization organizations near your and volunteer. Some of the groups that we partner with are NORML, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Marijuana Policy Project, MAPS which is the Multidisciplinary Associate for Psychedelic Studies and so on. And so get connected with those folks and start volunteering and start making a difference.

Matthew: That’s an excellent point about the volunteering and activism because you are dead right. There is so many people I’ve met that are really leaders in the space from a commercial side that have their origin story in the activism. So it was a natural progression. So a lot of people out there what are listening that are wondering how to get in that is an excellent suggestion. Now you were recently at Lobby Days, what is that and why is it important?

Jazmin: We just had our first annual Lobby Day event, and it was a fantastic experience for everybody that attended. To steal a line from my friend Joe Brezny, “If you’re in the marijuana business, you are now also in the policy business”. And the cannabis industry is one of the most closely regulated, and we don’t expect that to change any time soon. Unlike most developed industries where multibillion dollar companies pay hoards of lobbyists, there are actually few lobbyists involved in cannabis. So each individual person can actually make a big impact on how we get to serve patients. After 80 years of Reefer Madness, the staffers creating marijuana policy may know very little about what we do and why we do it. So we have to show up and tell them.

As you would expect from an industry that is legal at the state level but illegal federally, there are a lot of conflicts to be resolved in a short term. So as your listeners probably know, access to banking for cannabis businesses is spotty at best. One of our founding members,Brook leads the Live Green Group in Colorado, and they’ve lost 34 bank accounts over the last five years. Last year they did over $10 million in revenue and didn’t have banking services for half of that. So forcing these cannabis businesses to be conducted in cash benefits no one, and that’s why we were there supporting HR 2652 which is the Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act of 2013. Notice it’s of 2013 because we’re still trying to get this passed.

The second major conflict that we were working on is the section of the tax code called 280E. I don’t know if your listeners are familiar with 280E.

Matthew: Sure, you can cover that briefly.

Jazmin: Well so 280E prohibits businesses involved with drug trafficking from deducting normal business expenses from their income. This was written so that drug cartels couldn’t write off their speed boats for example. Unfortunately the IRS has interpreted that to apply to our state legal cannabis businesses. So many dispensaries pay 50% to 70% of their net income, not profit, income in federal taxes because they can’t write off salaries, health insurance, retirement benefits, business equipment, rent, marketing, utilities, so on. Cannabis business owners want to pay their fair share of taxes, but we need to make it fair.

Matthew: Gosh that is totally unfair. You’re right. Now you have somewhat of a controversial position on women’s purchasing decisions of cannabis. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Jazmin: Yes. Women are going to be the dominant cannabis product buyers after national legalization. Right now it appears that more men than women consume cannabis, but that’s mostly related to its illegal status and the types of products on the market, not because there’s anything about cannabis that’s better for men versus women. Once prohibition is lifted cannabis products become just like any other household good, and we know women already control the majority of household spending. On top of that women are more likely to be diagnosed with a chronic illness, more like to try alternative health therapy, and are more likely to be in charge of the wellness decisions for their families. One on five women will face depression. One in eight will face breast cancer. There is no scenario where I can imagine where women don’t become the dominant buyers of cannabis products.

Matthew: Right so make your cannabis products very women friendly and how do they do that?

Jazmin: Well the first step is to get more diversity on your leadership and marketing teams. Having an inclusive team where people of all genders and colors are heard are going to help you make the best decisions day in and day out for your brand to attract an inclusive audience. I especially encourage you to pick a woman to run your social media marketing. We’re seeing a ton of brands take the easy route for quick attention by posting bikini babes with bongs. If you’re treating women like decoration to attract men instead of serious customers, you’re missing out on a loyal audience. A loyal audience that very few brands are actively serving. I think anyone who probably picked up a podcast with Women Grow on it gets this, and I can’t wait to see the new products and services you come up with. The guys with their heads stuck in the sand will be quickly surpassed.

Matthew: Now is there any examples you’ve seen recently of companies that have put out in the market women friendly cannabis products that you were impressed with?

Jazmin: Absolutely. We’re seeing a lot of great work being done on the edibles front to serve a more diverse customer than just candies or cookies. So in Colorado one of our founding members is Julie Dooley, and Julie’s Baked Goods specializes in gluten free edibles with no refined sugar. Which honestly she was just a patient on the market who had to be gluten free herself due to a health concern, and there were no products available on the market for her. And so she brought those products out to the market and they’re wildly popular. We have another brand called Auntie Delores out of California who sponsors Women Grow who is going to rapidly expand into multistate operations because they’re creating products that just nobody else was in a brand that’s friendly to both men and women.

Matthew: You know one other thing that Julie Dooley is doing that’s interesting is she actually names the strain too on her edibles so you know exactly, it allows you to dial in your experience which is very helpful which I don’t see a lot of edibles doing. I know Julianna and Lauren at Auntie Delores, you know, they talk a lot about their ingredients and being very transparent with the ingredients and that’s helpful. And they also talk about, you know, doing things that other people aren’t doing. They’re like hey there’s a lot of chocolate bars out there, we’re not going to make a chocolate bar. So being innovative in that way I think really helps you stand out. So great points. Now Women Grow is still a young organization. Where do you see it going? I mean even since we had Jane on, maybe Q3 of last year, it’s changed. The scope has changed. How are things evolving? Where do you see it going in the next few years?

Jazmin: I mean it was just since you’ve interviewed her we really seen what an amazing opportunity we have to create a new industry with a new script that’s diverse from the very very beginning. This is an industry that’s going to serve people of all colors, of all genders, of all ages, and the best way to do that is to invite all of those people into the industry. So from our humble beginnings as a professional networking organization we’re now working to create programs to push women into the cannabis and up to the top.

Our monthly events in 20 cities are a great introduction to the cannabis industry for women. They can learn a bit about the industry in a supportive environment without quitting their day job or investing $1,000 up front. We hope that our events and content online are part of a very successful research phase that convinces them to get their first job or launch their first company in cannabis. From there we hope they attend one of our national events like our leadership summit which teaches women how to grow and expand their businesses to rise to the top of the market. And we’re just going to keep going from there.

Matthew: So walk me through what it’s like to attend a Women Grow event. For someone that’s walking in for the first time, what can they experience? What’s it like? What do they do? How long do they last? What’s the vibe like?

Jazmin: So our monthly networking events in these 20 cities across the United States are the first Thursday of every month. So you have a consistent time and place that you can plan to, you know, make your first entry or your fifth entry into the cannabis market. And that was something that no other organization across the country was offering was a consistent, pre-planned time to meet which seems so simple, but consistency is one of the things that this industry is lacking on many levels.

So when you arrive we hope that you will be greeted with a crowd that is the exact opposite in ratio from what you would see at a typical cannabis industry event. The majority of cannabis industry events are about 80% men and 20% women, and our events are the exact flip of that. So you’re going to have 80% women and about 20% men at our events. You’re going to have time to mix and mingle. And again these people tend to be very open and welcoming. The marijuana industry is blue ocean right now, blue sky. There’s no reason for us to even treat each other like competition because the market is going to be large enough that there is room for everyone right now. And then we listen to an industry speaker and get a current perspective on what’s going on in the market.

This is an industry that’s difficult to research online. Remember it was illegal not too long ago, and it’s still illegal in a lot of states. So there’s not a ton of information available online. You really do have to show up in person and talk to the folks doing this and do the research on your feet to really get a sense of where the market’s going and where you might belong in it. So you’ll get some great information from an industry speaker. And then we do some sort of activity at almost every meeting that will force you to introduce yourself to as many people as possible. So for example my meeting here in New York, we go around the room and everyone gets up for 15 seconds and just says who they are and what they’re interested in so that after we have the speaker people can just jet over to meeting new people. When is the last time you went to a networking event and knew all 50 people in the room, that’s the type of event that we hope to create.

Matthew: Do you have an example of a woman that came to Women Grow and didn’t have any background or history in the cannabis industry and was successful in kind of breaking into it, because I want to leave listeners with actionable information or examples on how they can get into it. You mentioned a little bit about the social media and women tend to gravitate to that because they’re good at it. That’s an excellent way you can provide value I think out of the gate. Do you have any other examples of how women kind of busted into the industry with no previous background into it?

Jazmin: Sure. I think a lot of people think that you know you had to be an underground grower for the last 20 years to be a part of this industry, but the truth is the vast majority of people getting into this industry are new to the industry. They’ve got great professional backgrounds in maybe related fields, but being new doesn’t make you unqualified. It just makes you kind of like everybody else. And so one example is we had a member come out to our Denver chapter named Lauren Gibbs, and she runs a business that does social media strategy and was able to very quickly assess what the cannabis industry needed in comparison to our other clients, and now has cannabis clients within her larger social media strategy business.

Matthew: Now there’s a lot of cannabis companies out there that are looking to get their brand out there in a national way, and you offer some sponsorship opportunities that I think do this well because everything is so compartmentalized in states or cities. Can you talk a little bit about the sponsorship opportunities you have?

Jazmin: Absolutely. Like you said there are very few national organizations in cannabis. I actually was just in Humboldt County last week, and the women there asked me well what are the women doing at a national level. How are the women organizing at a national level? And I kind of looked over my shoulder and I was like oh shoot we are the women organized at a national level. There really isn’t anybody else. And that applies to the industry in general is that there’s only a very few organizations working on a national, and we’re lucky enough to be one of those.

We’ve been really fortunate to have nearly 50 companies come out to support making cannabis an inclusive industry, and in order to make our events as affordable as possible we depend on this companies who want to be known for attracting female customers and female employees to sponsor us, and that covers the majority of our expenses. So if anything I’ve said resonates with you and you want to be part of creating something awesome, email Julie@womengrow.com to talk about those sponsorship options. The cannabis industry will never be this small again. And so your small gesture now can make a big change to our collective future.

Matthew: And before we close, you were just on a bunch of trips all around the country. Can you just give us a few nuggets of what you learned or key takeaways, you know, visiting different people in different parts of the country?

Jazmin: Oh wow. I mean I think the thing that you learn the most is that this is a very very local industry, and what is so stunning to me is how different everything is, you know, in Colorado versus Washington and Washington versus California. And then once you get within California the difference between Humboldt and L.A. they’re just different planets. So I guess my first advice is to recognize that to the outside world we may look like one cohesive industry, but there is actually so much happening and so much that varies depending on the local level, and that’s why we do have these local chapters that can talk to people about what’s happening locally in their state because a program that I might give in San Francisco that generates a ton of interest… so for example we did Creating Cannabis Products for Women for 200 in San Francisco and we got great feedback from people who said yes I’m going to start my business now, yes that really encouraged me to start fundraising, yes that was exactly what I wanted to hear. And then I drove up to Humboldt and started talking to women there about becoming executives and leaving the industry and they were like hold the phone, we don’t think of ourselves as executives. We think of ourselves as farmers. We don’t think of, you know, we’re not out here to lead an industry. We’re out here to protect our families and to protect our livelihood. It’s just a whole different mindset and a whole different set of priorities. So I think the first tip is just to remember just how actually diverse the industry is.

Matthew: Now for women listening right now, you said 20% of the people that come to you, the different chapters are men, do men come? What are the reasons that men come?

Jazmin: Men come because they are very smart and they know that what we’ve got going on is pretty powerful. Many come just as a support or maybe they’re business partner is often very common, but the other guys who come on their own without a female friend, you know come because they tell me that they understand how well connected and how fiercely intelligent the women are that are a part of this industry, and they want to be a part of that. They’re looking for female cofounders. They’re looking to add women to their team, and we’re a great event for that.

Matthew: Now as we close how can listeners learn more about Women Grow online?

Jazmin: Definitely go to www.womengrow.com and sign up for our list. That’s how we publish all of our future events, all of our content. Go to our blog and just read everything I’ve ever written about how to research the industry, how to figure out what event is right for you in the industry. We also encourage you to make a plan to attend a national conference this year if you haven’t already attended a national conference. It’s a great way to give you a good picture of the industry, and we host kick off events for the largest of the national conferences. So you can join us in May in Chicago. In June we’ll be in both New York City and Denver, and in November we’ll be in Las Vegas, and we do these kick off events to set you up to be more successful and make connections there. You can also follow Women Grow on Facebook and on Twitter.

Matthew: Jazmin thanks so much for being on CannaInsider today. We really appreciate it.

Jazmin: Absolutely. Thank you Matt.

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

The Marijuana Investor Summit with David Friedman

David Friedman

Find out why investors and cannabis companies are converging on The Marijuana Investor Summit in April in Denver. Avoid the mistakes that most rookie cannabis investors make and understand where the market is heading before the masses.

Get a Discount on the Marijuana Investor Summit
Use coupon code: cannainsider
http://www.marijuanainvestorsummit.com
for a discount between 10-20%

Key Takeaways:
[1:22] – David’s background
[3:55] – David talks about the rate of growth in the cannabis industry
[5:35] – Family offices getting into the cannabis space
[7:09] – David talks about the biggest mistakes cannabis investors make
[10:35] – David discusses different ways to invest in cannabis
[12:05] – Valuations of younger companies
[13:30] – David talks about how supply and demand affects the ecosystem
[16:25] – Startups doing interesting things in the cannabis space
[19:53] – David recommends funds for investors
[21:53] – David deals with investments that don’t touch the plant
[23:12] – David talks about the Marijuana Investor Summit coming up in April
[27:31] – Contact details

*Guess What? You could be listening to this interview on your commute. Get the FREE iPhone app or Android App*

Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday and Wednesday look for a fresh episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the leaders of the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com. That’s www.cannainsider.com. Do you know that feeling when you sense opportunity, when you see something before most people and you just know it will be successful, then you're ready. Ready for CannaInsider Consulting. Learn more at www.canninsider.com/consulting. Now here's your program.

Investing in the cannabis industry is a bit like throwing your money over a wall and hoping for the best. That is the say it is very opague, fragmented and there’s a lot of disinformation out there. That’s why I brought on David Friedman founder of Marijuana Investor News and the Marijuana Investor Summit to tell us how to navigate cannabis investing. Welcome to CannaInsider David.

David: Great, thanks Matt.

Matthew: To give listeners a sense of geography, can you tell us where you are today?

David: I am in the cold, windy city of Chicago.

Matthew: Okay. I want to dig into all the different ways people can invest in the cannabis industry, but can you give us a little background on yourself first? Your background professionally and how you came to start Marijuana Investor News.

David: Sure. Well I started, I was an entrepreneur, and have always been attracted to closely held small businesses, but I learned early on that I was much better starting businesses, buying businesses than really running them. I have a very Type A personality so when stuff starts operating smoothly it’s best for me to get out of the way or I start changing things that aren’t broken. So I moved more into the outsource nature of financial consulting and then eventually into private equity and venture capital. And we still have an outsource CFO firm that services a number of industries. And after doing distressed assets for a number of years we decided that we really wanted to focus on emerging markets, just a better place to play. So we did a lot of early stage Tech. And about a year and half ago we were all individually kind of thinking about the cannabis industry and made the decision to dive in, and we’ve done that here now in the last year.

Matthew: Yeah it is a huge opportunity. Maybe once in a couple generations I think.

David: Yeah I would say so. I mean, you know, it’s got some makings of the internet bubble and the real estate bubble, but it’s different. It’s more like prohibition. When a market goes from being illegal to legal, people forget about the fact that you’re not creating any market that already exists. The guesswork is taken out of what the size of the market opportunity is to a large extent. Even though nobody will agree on a number, we all agree it’s somewhere between $40-$70 billion direct product sales of the agricultural commodity. And yet on the ancillary and you’re into a couple hundred billion. So, you know, that’s always an interesting way to look at it.

Matthew: Valuations could be screwed up and there could be a bubble blowing up right now, but do you feel like the bubble can’t really expand the way the tech bubble could because it’s a state by state market still? So there’s not this national blowing into equities and there’s not NASDAQ or NYSE listed stock. So it really can’t blow up with the same velocity as Tech stocks. Would you agree with that.

David: Yeah, I think that’s a spot on analysis. You know, it kind of goes backwards. I’m not sure if that’s a problem or the symptom. I think what it really comes down to is real institutional money is not available yet. The reason it’s not available is because it’s illegal. So it’s all cyclical, and so you took a part of the circle, but it all comes back. Until it is legal, until you can ship it over state lines and build distribution platforms that are similar to other industries and create economies and scale, and create a national brand and do those things, it’s really going to be difficult to scale a business.

Secondarily while it’s illegal it’s impossible. So the institutional money is not coming in yet. The explosion will come when it becomes legal federally, or at the very least when the banking problem is figured out people will start to make a move. Peter Thiel made a move in the last couple of months, but he’s a bit of a renegade and I don’t expect everybody to come jumping in behind him, and he also made a very small move. And that’s the other thing,institutional markets can deploy money into this sector yet. They can’t do $50,000 or $100,000 deals that’s just not set up for when you have a billion dollars in capital. They can’t keep track of deals that small.

Matthew: I heard recently that the, I think it’s the Pritzker Family in Chicago invested in Dow Capital, and now Dow is making some investments in different companies in the cannabis industry. Have you heard anything about family offices starting to get into the cannabis space?

David: Yeah I mean I still talk to quite a bit of family office people. I used to run a family office. They’re like everybody else. Some will and some won’t. I had heard the Pritzker Family specifically though, I was told and these are unsubstantiated, but Joby Pritzker who works out on the West Coast was doing something. I don’t believe J.B. and his group here in Chicago have done anything officially. I’ve heard he’s asked questions but so has everybody else. So I don’t know beyond that, but I’ve heard from a number of people that Joby Pritzker’s got a group that’s involved. So that might be it.

But other family offices, yeah you bet, they’re looking at it. They don’t have as much of the reputational risk, you know, that funds do, but they still have the legislative risk, and that scares them. They’re smart people. So they’re taking it as it comes and making assessments, but some are jumping in. If you can imagine some families are more aggressive than others.

Matthew: Sure. And for listeners that aren’t familiar with the Pritzker name, that is the family either owns or used to own or currently owns Hyatt Hotel, and they’re usually considered very savvy, wealthy investors. But I want to jump into how we can help investors, either first time cannabis investors or current cannabis investors. So what is the number one mistake you see first time investors making in the cannabis space David?

David: Yeah, you know, making decisions too quickly, going it alone, moving too fast in general. There’s just not a lot of information out there, and you have to be really prudent about how you invest your money. It’s hard enough when you’ve got analyst coverage coming out of your ears for a publically traded company to determine if that company is going to make money, when you not only don’t have analyst coverage, but you don’t have industry data or even, you know, market segmentation breakouts. Understanding what you’re investing in is so hard. And then obviously because of the fact that it’s illegal and unregulated, it can’t help but attract some of the less savory characters. They’re in every industry. There’s no question about it, but as you can imagine, you know, I think it tends to be a little bit higher. There are some people that play around this industry because of their ability to do so who are, you know, a little savory. Regulation will hopefully send that to the sidelines, but we can’t regulate until we legalize so it’s again another vicious circle.

Matthew: So with your background in understanding financial statements and being a CFO would you look at profit/loss statements, bad balance sheets and all the different ways you can assess a business, I’m just curious of what your lens is. If someone gives you ten minutes and says, or twenty minutes or an hour, and says David, what’s the health of this company, what is the first lens you put on when you look at it?

David: I mean the first thing I’m going to do is look at the book value which is going to be zero on all of these companies. Most of them are startup businesses. They’re low, they don’t have a lot of capital invested in equipment and things like that. There are some. So I’m not saying that they don’t exist, but a lot of them are more service based businesses, internet companies, you know, data and research companies, and these are ancillary businesses that I’m speaking of, touching the plant. I’m looking at cash flow, and cash flow’s a very difficult thing to analyze because you’ve got specific sections of the internal revenue code that are some of the goofiest I’ve ever heard in my life that make it really unprofitable. You’re paying taxes essentially on a large portion of your gross revenue, income.

What’s funny about it is that in their infinite wisdom they decided that you can deduct the cost of the product, the cost of goods sold as it’s shown on a P&L, but you can’t deduct your ordinary business expenses. So what that translates to in the cannabis industry is you can deduct the cost of the illegal drug that makes this whole thing a train wreck, but you cannot deduct your payroll and your rent and all of the other things that you need to run a business because it’s an illegal enterprise. So you really got to kind of wonder who was smoking what when that law was written.

Matthew: Government knows best David, don’t question.

David: Yeah exactly.

Matthew: So most people know they can invest in some cannabis companies via Penny or OTC stocks, but what are some other ways they can invest in cannabis?

David: Yeah, so you know, there’s a big Angel Network community. Most notably ArcView, a lot of people keep threatening to do what they’re doing, but really nobody else has yet. And you know, that’s a phenomenal community, that was the first meeting I ever went to when I went into this business. I’ve really never gone anywhere else. I’ve met everybody through that network. Everybody you need to know is part of it at this point in time. You have to be an accredited investor so it is somewhat limiting. And accredited investors, a lot of categories, but generally speaking you either have to have $200,000 a year in income or $1 million in net worth. There’s some variations on that, and a lot of people don’t qualify.

So in those cases they are only left to either get into the public markets or start a business or go to work for a company and get stock options and things like that. Now there are some creative ways that you can get involved in the business. You can do consulting for them and get compensation, you know, as stock. You’re just not allowed to “invest”. And so that gets a little dicey. And education around how to do that without getting yourself in trouble is really important.

Matthew: Now you’ve seen a lot of entrepreneurs make pitches. What are their valuations looking like for young companies, and do you think they’re fair, overvalued in general? What can you tell us about that?

David: Yeah, I can tell you that they’re all over the board for the most part. They’re way overinflated. You know it’s not any different than the dot com days when people just pick a number of the air because it’s internet related and the internet is going to make money no matter what you do so we’re going to randomly pick this valuation. I’ve seen, I don’t know, if I see another pre-revenue, pre-money, $10 million valuation for an app that is the same as 20 other apps I’ve seen, I think I’m going to throw somebody out of the window. But the ones that are out there, I’ve started, I know it could be deal sourcing could be getting better, but in the last 3 to 6 months, I’ve started to see have a little bit more substance that still have some hefty valuations, but they’ve got the ability to get there. Those are certainly interesting. You’re going to make more money in those deals, but they’re few and further between. So you know it’s still the dawn of a new industry. Let’s put it that way.

Matthew: Now how do you feel about the supply and demand dynamic of cannabis, and how do you think that will shake out in the future as markets become efficient? How will that affect the ecosystem?

David: Yeah that’s a great question, and one I hadn’t contemplated until a few weeks ago when Tripp Keber and I were talking about the summit that we’re having in April, and he’s actually going to give a presentation on market saturation and the risk that it poses to investors who are, you know, running to Colorado to stake their claim and don’t realize that the price of cannabis is dropping rapidly. And nobody’s telling that story, you know, because it’s happening so fast. I know the same thing has occurred in Washington. We ran a story a while back about an auction that went off. You know the market is getting saturated in certain places. Eventually it will equalize itself out, but this is how it is in a new frontier, you know, especially one that’s unregulated. It’s quite interesting and no matter how smart you are, as I have said to several people, you know the more I learn the less I know.

Matthew: It’s true. Now do you think more companies should validate their idea? Can they get one customer before they start seeking money from investors, or in some cases that’s not possible, but do you think there’s more startups that should do that?

David: Well you know that’s a great question, and it depends on how you frame it, but I’ll tell you this, I think in general the longer you can wait to take money the better off you’re going to be. And that’s just simple, you know, theoretical physics here. You are going to be worth less money until you prove that you aren’t. And the earlier you take money, you’re going to be giving up a larger piece of equity because that’s just the way the numbers work. If you’re worth less and somebody gives you $100,000 today, you’re going to give up X, and if they give it to you three months from now, and you’re worth more, you’re going to give up Y, and I would rather have Y. Too many people jump in and just pick a number and say alright we’re going to go for a million and a half.

And you really don’t even have business plans, source and use of funds, all the basic blocking and tackling that you need to know about. But I always advise entrepreneurs who are raising money to take as little as you possibly can, push yourself to the point where you’re working 90 hours a week and everybody donating every spare second that they can and then go out and get your first round and get your valuation, and even then only pull yourself back a little bit. You know, you got to still continue. And if you do that, you know, by the time you get to an MVP, a minimum vital product, whatever that might be, you’re valuation could go up 10X, and that’s a really important thing because you can’t usually get the equity back that you’ve given away. And so once you dilute you’re playing with a smaller piece of the pie, it’s harder to get big.

Matthew: Now speaking of startups, are there any companies out there that you feel like are doing really interesting things in the cannabis space?

David: Yeah there’s a lot. You know I’m a data junkie, and that’s a big reason why we got into the industry. We just invested some money so full disclosure in a company called New Frontier which, you know, in short will be Big Data for cannabis. The exit is Bloomberg or Reuters or somebody like that, but the data doesn’t exist, and it’s only just coming online. Theirs is some historical data. So getting that data repository where people can go in and grab the data, pull it. Legislators can use it to justify bills that they’re bringing to the House floor. You know, governments can use it to justify changing the laws around cannabis, and then of course businesses can use it to figure out how to make money. It’s a game changing piece of technology in business we always knew we wanted to be in that space. We’ve looked at a lot of different people trying to get into the data, and there are a few other companies out there that we’re actually talking to to try and bring onboard. We think there’s really no such thing as competition in the industry in general, but state specifically, you know, there’s so much to be gotten. So that’s a really interesting thing.

I see a lot of the branding that’s very interesting to me. You know, it’s amazing what a good brand will do. Everybody in the market knows Dixie Elixers. Tripp’s got an amazing brand, and if the market blows open that guy can be the first pot billionaire because he would go national. And I mean, a legitimate one, not one that wrote his Penny stock up for three days and was a billionaire. No, that’s negative. So those brands and the people fighting for those brands, you know, there’s Incredibles, there’s Cheeba Chews, there’s Bhang Chocolate. Those are only one brand, but those people are all positioning themselves to go national with a brand when the market opens up. This about it, if you own Nike or Nestles or something today, you know, how will that be. That would be great.

Matthew: Yes and I think a company like Dixie or some of the larger successful brands have a real advantage over people that are just producing flower because the oil or concentrate is just one input into their whole operation. Whereas if you don’t have a brand or an edible or some value added good, then you’re just subject to the whims of the market price. So I think there’s some advantages there.

David: Yes, there’s a commodity aspect to this. It’s still a very volatile commodity, but it will level itself out. We’ve also been interested in the commodity side of it. One of the other publications that we own is Futures Magazine so we’re very interested in what marijuana futures might look like someday in the future, but that’s not an easy thing to accomplish. Tobacco is not traded on the futures exchange because there are too many strains. We think it might be the same way, but some derivative of this product will be traded and that will be interesting to see.

Matthew: Now are there any funds out there that you would recommend for investors?

David: There’s only a few that really exist, I mean legitimate ones. I should say this, there’s only a few that I know of, and because I think we’re the largest investor news publication in the marijuana industry, I would be surprised if there are others out there, but they could be out there and just be stealth, and they just might not be taking investors which is kind of the problem even with some of the ones that exist. Duchess Capital, they don’t have any outside capital, but they’ve got I think the second largest fund in the industry behind Privateer. Privateer just raised $5 million or $30 million I think or something like that from Peter Thiel, who’s very well-known. And their fund got a $475 million valuation. They also have the license on Bob Marley, but their minimums are pretty huge.

Another couple of funds out there, smaller funds, there’s MJIC in which, the marijuana index. There’s Poseidon Asset Management. Those are both funds that accredited investors can still get into. I’m trying to thing, I know probably 15 more that are kind of sort of almost there, and a lot of individual investors who are looking to connect with other investors to form funds. So I think more will be coming online. But those are the main ones at this point in time. Supposedly High Times has a fund. I did meet the guy they hired to to run it. It’s mostly soft circle money right now, but they do intend to do deals. They’re being pretty quiet about what they’re looking at. And then the guys from Lead Maps, Justin Hartfield, I think Emerald Ocean Capital or something, but I don’t know if they’ve got any velocity. I haven’t heard any of them talking about any deals that they’ve done or anything like that.

Matthew: Now in general are you more excited about investments that touch the plant or don’t touch the plant?

David: You know, I don’t really care. Honestly I am excited about investments that are going to make me money. You know from my perspective right now there’s still so much money to be made, that touching the plant is a risk that I don’t feel I really need to take. That’s not to say that we won’t take. I’m sure we will at some point in time. I just don’t know when and I don’t know what, but right now there are too many other opportunities for us to leverage that we want to go after first. I certainly think the quicker money and the more money is going to be made by the people who are touching the plant successfully. And I think by in large most of them will be successful. But you know I just don’t want to be the 1 in a 1,000 that the DEA raids. And even if you don’t go to jail, they take all your inventory and you’re out a couple million bucks and you’re bankrupt and you’re done. I just don’t want to do that. Even with the laws that they’ve passed and the safeguards that are in place, you know, the changing of an administration or an Attorney General, you know, a lot of different things can happen. So just prefer to limit my risk if it all possible right now, and I think that’s for me a smart move.

Matthew: So you have a cannabis investing conference coming up in April. Can you give us an overview of what will be going on there?

David: Sure so the Marijuana Investor Summit is being co-produced by our company, Marijuana Investor News, Panther Media and Crowd Fund Connect and specifically CannaFunder. And it’s really going to be two hard days of education around investment opportunities and risks in the legal marijuana industry. We’ve got a lot of different general sessions that will cover everything from key legislation, how to find the right investors, what are deal terms. We’ve got two boot camps that we’re running; one for investors, one for entrepreneurs that will dive deep into details, touch on things like evaluation, how to structure your deal, what type of investor is a strategic investor. Some of the questions that you asked on this interview will be things that we’ll address. We’ve got a live pitch session. We will be awarding money or people will be able to invest live. As far as we know this is the first of its kind in the cannabis industry. There’s been a number of competitions. ArcView does them quarterly, but people invest money offline. Nobody is required to invest money, but we will have Kevin Harrington who is one of the original Sharks from Shark Tank, and sitting on the pitch panel along with several other investors. And if they decide that they like an investment then they may make an investment. So we hope to see that happen.

And then we’ve just added actually and the details are still being finalized, but on Monday 4/20 when we’re running the boot camps the Medical Marijuana Conference has been added to the agenda, and that’s being done through another group, and it will be for healthcare professionals and I believe they’ll have continuing education credits available through that conference as well.

Matthew: And for people that aren’t familiar that specific week is going to be a big celebration in Denver. I mean 4/20 it will be a big party week, big learning week, there will be a lot of stuff going on. So it’s an exciting time to be in Denver when you have that conference going on. So just so I make sure we get the full information for anybody that’s on the fence about going, let’s say I may a somewhat sophisticated investor. I feel like I know a good bit about traditional investing. What will I’ve learned after the conference? You know I’ve come in kind of not knowing that much about cannabis investing, but I’m interested. How will my perspective have changed by the end of the conference do you anticipate?

David: Yeah so there will be stuff there for novices, and there will be stuff there for intermediate, you know, and there will be stuff there for people who are advanced. We’re going to have a couple of sessions that just kind of focus on the laws and, you know, what the risks around that. Several different attorneys will be presenting in those sessions. We’ll have sessions on where do you look for deals and how do you find deals. We’ll have sessions on due diligence in the cannabis industry. So a lot of those are a little bit more advanced sessions for somebody who understands what those things are to begin with which is not everybody.

A lot of people are coming in, this is the first business they’ve started or the first investment that they’ve made, and they don’t know what any of those things are, and so there will be some basics. And again the boot camps on the first day will address some of those in depth a little bit more. We also plan to have pitch coaching available I believe for a full day where people will just be able to sign up and go make their pitch and have some professional investors critique them and beat them up a little bit so that they can go home and also even have the opportunity through our partners at Cannabis FN to video their pitch and create one they can use on the crowdfunding sites, because those can cost money to do, and if you’re all assembled in one room you can get them for a much better price. We’re hoping to provide a lot of resources for everybody.

Matthew: David in closing how can listeners learn more about Marijuana Investor News and the Marijuana Investor Summit?

David: Yeah sure, so the Marijuana Investor Summit is www.marijuanainvestorsummit.com. And I think my team’s done a pretty great job of getting a lot of information up there. We’re adding more every day. We’re adding exhibitors every day. We’re adding speakers every day, but we’re pretty close to finalizing everything here 45 days out. Marijuana Investor News is www.mjinews.com. And you know we would love to have your listeners come and view us, and at the summit we have created a series of discount packages for your listeners. We have a lot of different things available and separate tickets. But if they enter the code CANNAINSIDER, I’ll spell it, but hopefully your listeners know how to spell it. Then they will get a mystery discount probably between 10% and 20% depends on what’s going on. Charity events probably much, you know, much less. We are running a couple of charity events. So come on in and check all your surprises.

Matthew: Well all right well I definitely appreciate that David, and of course I’ll be there and this is one of the three conferences that I will attend and I recommend. There’s a lot of conferences out there that are let’s say, not the most, don’t have the most integrity behind them. This one does. I definitely recommend the ArcView Group and the Marijuana Business Daily Conference. So I will be there, and I hope to, I’ll see you there David, and I’ll hope to see a lot of listeners there. So thank you for that coupon or discount, and thank you for being on CannaInsider.

David: Yeah my pleasure. Thanks for having me. I really enjoyed it, and I hope to see you and many of your listeners there as well.

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