Editors’ Note: This is the transcript version of the podcast. Please note that due to time and audio constraints, transcription may not be perfect. We encourage you to listen to the podcast, embedded below if you need any clarification. We hope you enjoy!

For Gary Santo, cannabis is all about collaboration and camaraderie which is why he focuses his business model on partnership versus competition. Tilt Holdings is setting up partnerships with the Shinnecock Nation in New York state. Passionate about social equity, CEO Gary Santo is setting indigenous entrepreneurs up for success with training, resources, and business networking.

Listen to today’s episode to hear:

Partnering with brands expand East

Cannabis relationship with Shinnecock tribe

Investing in your employees

Gary Santo is the CEO of Tilt Holdings. He brings more than 25 years of experience leading lean, high-performance teams in Consumer Credit, Financial Services, Gaming and Technology, Higher Education and Specialty-Pharma. Mr. Santo holds an Investor Relations Charter® certification from the National Investor Relations Institute as well as a degree in Political Science from Boston University.

Reach out to Gary Santo through Linked In: www.linkedin.com/in/garysanto/

About TlLT Holding: TILT is a combination of leading cannabis companies that deliver products and services to businesses operating in the cannabis industry.

https://www.tiltholdings.com/


[00:00:00] Bryan Fields: This is the dime, dive into the cannabis and hemp industry through trends, insights, predictions, and tangents.

[00:00:11] What’s up guys. Welcome back to the episode of the dime I’m Brian Fields of with me as always is my right-hand man Kellen Finney. And this week we’ve got a very special guest Gary Santos, CEO of tilts holdings.

[00:00:22] Thanks for taking the time Gary, how you doing today?

[00:00:25] Gary Santo: Thanks for having me on

[00:00:26] Bryan Fields: we’re excited to dive in, Kellan how you doin?

[00:00:27] Kellan Finney: I’m doing well. I’m looking forward to the holiday season and another really good conversation

[00:00:32] Bryan Fields: I’m doing well. And just for the record, Gary, you’re currently located in what state

[00:00:37] Gary Santo: I’m sitting in Massachusetts. These days. I live in Salem, just north of Boston. And that’s where we have our biggest flagship facility. They’re not in Salem obviously, but in Massachusetts.

[00:00:47] Bryan Fields: Awesome. I’m excited to dive into that and it’s pretty cool that another east coast coaster joins and makes an appearance. Caitlin. So a talk another one down.

[00:00:55] It’s about time. So Gary, before we dive into tilt, we’d love the listeners to know a little bit [00:01:00] about your background, how you got into the cannabis

[00:01:01] Gary Santo: space. So I’ve worked in finance for the better part of 25, some odd years, mostly at startup companies, a lot of different industries. So it’d be, we’re just getting ready to go IPO, or maybe you’re already gone public and you’re looking to do some kind of some transformative MNA or something along those lines.

[00:01:17] That’s usually where I would slot in on you, the finance or the operation side. Well, I think it’s been interesting is through all of that, whether it’s in finance, whether it’s being a casino, gaming equipment, whether it’s been life sciences, they all had sort of similar talk tracks by very complex.

[00:01:31] Nobody can understand barriers to entry, but at the end of the day, businesses. So a friend approached me about cannabis about two or three years ago. I’ve been on the periphery. My, my father uses some CBD and THC cream for some joint pain. And it became pretty clear that there was a lack of operational experience.

[00:01:48] There are a lot of guys who had to raise money. A lot of people who had a passion for the plant, but marrying those two together were an issue. So I jumped in with both feet. I was lucky to start at a company Columbia care that really showed me that you can. A [00:02:00] pragmatic operator. You don’t have to be all flash and sparkle.

[00:02:04] And then I went from there to till where, you know, the, the clear turnaround story was in midstream at that point. So it was a great challenge and it’s been great to dust off things that I’ve done throughout my career and had people look at me and say, wow, you’re from the future. So, you know, I think that that’s been fun and gratifying all at the

[00:02:18] Bryan Fields: same time.

[00:02:19] So I’d love to know. Let’s, let’s go back to the origin before you got into cannabis. Was there any hesitation to kind of dive into the industry, obviously cannabis, as you were said, comes with all these challenges and sometimes some stigmas. So was there any hesitation from your part to kind of dive in head first and, and join the cannabis industry?

[00:02:34] Gary Santo: The industry now, I mean, again, having worked in casino gaming, it’s hard to sit there and talk about bias, you know, not thinking about that. And even when I was working in fine. Obviously, you know, the company I work we’re focused on student loans. So I think along those lines, I think there’s always a use case.

[00:02:49] The question is how sustainable is it? What’s the total addressable market. But most importantly, what are the bones of the companies that you’re looking at? You know, whatever industry it’s in. So I looked long and hard at Columbia care that very [00:03:00] strong. Similarly, I looked at tilt and while certainly their balance sheet wasn’t as.

[00:03:04] When I looked at the underlying businesses, I got really excited and I saw that while they haven’t really been leaning into them. So if we could just get them focused and really get a good core strategy out into the market, this thing could take off. And, you know, I think from that perspective, we, if there wasn’t any hesitation, it’s just understanding how the Canadian capital markets were nothing, a little different.

[00:03:23] Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to be back in the U S trading in the U S but you know, I think like anything else, if you’ve got a good stock and a good story and can cultivate a good investor. You can do some good things. You know, I think right now we’re all just struggling because we are, we’re missing one key piece of our pop, our investor base, the institutions, you know, they are scarcely, but no, one’s there in size.

[00:03:41] We saw. I think you’ll see a much different industry in

[00:03:44] Bryan Fields: 2022. Yeah, completely great. So I’d love for our listeners who may be a little unfamiliar about till tolding to kind of get a little more insight into some of the strategy and some of the core businesses that you discussed prior. Yeah.

[00:03:56] Gary Santo: So we’re a little bit of a different cat when it comes to being a multi-state operator.

[00:03:59] [00:04:00] About half of our operations do not touch the plant. So that’s our inhalation technology and accessories business, which really is based out of Arizona. And the primary focus is on vaping heart. So we’re one of five distributors of Cecil technology, ceramic center coil. But we were the entity that helped smore, who was the Chinese shop that actually owns the IP, migrate that technology from tobacco, where they had been doing substantial amount of work into the cannabis space.

[00:04:26] So we are the largest diesel distributor. I think about 50% of CCL distributed comes through. It’s really a business to business play. So they are, we’re not selling directly to end consumers. We’re selling to brands. MSO is LPs throughout the country and abroad that’s one half of the business.

[00:04:43] Then the other half of the business is your more traditional MSO. So we’re in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and recently signed a partnership to enter. And they are, we have vertical operations, fully vertical in Massachusetts, where we had a retail cultivation, manufacturing, Pennsylvania it’s cultivation and [00:05:00] manufacturing, Ohio, which is manufacturing.

[00:05:02] New York will be full vertical. So for us, what made it different was we wanted to take that B2B play that was happening in. But bring it to plant touching where we own so much more of the supply chain. So Jupiter is a distributor. They don’t really own the manufacturing. They don’t own the ID. I think they do have the ability or we have to have the ability to change that paradigm a bit because we do have a full-blown built out lab and we’re constantly innovating.

[00:05:26] So I could see a future where we start creating some of our own products, maybe away from seasonal a little bit and broaden the reach a little bit. I’m looking on the plant touching side we saw between the wholesale business we had in Massachusetts, already. The wholesale business we have in Pennsylvania.

[00:05:42] We saw a really strong operation. To, to be that B2B provider, the trick was how do you do that and not compete. And that’s where our brand strategy came in. So we don’t want to own brands have become a house of brands because now we’re competing again. We wanted to partner with the brands that want to come east.

[00:05:58] They might be really strong in California [00:06:00] or Washington state or Colorado, but it means something totally different to try to scale that and bring it. Each the regs are different. The form package formulations. So finding a true partner who understands that and wants to work with you to maintain your brand fidelity and also share the economics that think is a different animal altogether.

[00:06:17] And we’ve been really excited by, I think the amount of uptake. I think we had to make a lot of cold calls at the beginning of the year when we announced the strategy at M J D is we, we had any number of meetings. I had to run up and down the strip that much without someone Jason me so we probably had about two dozen meetings with brands and NSO was really looking to figure out how we can

[00:06:36] Kellan Finney: work.

[00:06:37] Bryan Fields: I think that’s really well said. And Kellen, I want you to dive into that strategy. We’ve talked to a ton of operators out there, and this one’s different than, than some of the other sides we’ve talked about. Can you kind of share a little bit about that?

[00:06:46] Kellan Finney: No, I think it is very different. Honestly, the vapor industry, like vaping, I think is going to be one of the larger product categories moving forward.

[00:06:55] And I think the early on in the manufacturing [00:07:00] and production of vape pens, I think there was a lot of issues with the hardware, which kind of put a bad taste if you will. And a lot of consumers mouse, right? They’d go buy a vape pen. It would leak. And so when Jupiter actually came on to the scene, maybe like three, four years ago is when they really started taking off the CCL technology.

[00:07:16] It was like the first reliable. Vape pen I had seen in the market from a user’s perspective, not, I mean, it’s manufactured much differently than the first-generation bay pens, where I’ve just heard stories about how clean and pristine Jupiter’s manufacturing facility is over in China. I heard it’s like comparable to Qualcomm is what I’ve heard almost.

[00:07:38] What was the key kind of factor that motivated you Gary, to kind of pursue acquiring Jupiter? Is there like a moment where you guys were like, okay, we really need to kind of double down on this technology because you saw the value. Could you kind of walk our listeners through that, that thought process?

[00:07:55] Gary Santo: So that definitely predated me. So I think the original team that. So public, [00:08:00] if you looked at their mandate, it was as wide as pretty much everybody else’s mandating Canada’s back in circuit 2018, they were going to be technology hardware, software services, vertical integration, financing, management, distribution, you name it.

[00:08:13] They were going to do it, but you can never do all of those. What they were good at was spotting very interesting assets. So they saw Jupiter and Jupiter to them was intriguing because he didn’t touch the plant. So it added the question. Could you eventually uplift onto the, you know, in the U S and if you only did that?

[00:08:29] Sure. You probably could, but I think B the fact that it’s been profitable since day one, because it went this B2B. Instead of building out this massive marketing infrastructure to maintain its own brand. It shows to sit one step behind the brands and just connect basically the hardware together with the brands and act as that intermediary.

[00:08:47] And that meant we had to be really good at supply chain management and make sure that you can get product from point a to point B, but also had those QC and QA teams on the ground in China. So that even though the factory might not be. Yeah, we are in [00:09:00] there all the time. We’re looking at the standards, we’re doing the testing and then we do regular testing in our lab in Arizona.

[00:09:05] So I think it struck us as a completely different animal than just a pure distributor. I think those that just distribute, you have to look at the relationship and say, okay, there’s some value there, but you’re truly balled into somebody’s. Here while we might not have that true manufacturing, the fact that we have the R and D and the QC means that if we did decide to do something away from Seesaw, for example, it’s going to come with the same quality, the same intent, you know, the same prowess, if you will you know, whenever we decided to roll out.

[00:09:32] So, but that’s, that’s what made it interesting. And I have to assume that’s what attracted the pilot leadership team. They also got a few clunkers in there too. So I can’t say they, I wouldn’t be here today. So

[00:09:42] Kellan Finney: as that helps you guys is networking with brands. Jupiter doesn’t have the same regulations cause it doesn’t touch the plant.

[00:09:48] So you can travel interstate commerce, all those kind of normal manufacturing things. But as it significantly helped your guys it’s like networking with brands and, and those kinds of conversations.

[00:09:57] Gary Santo: Absolutely. You know, we started this [00:10:00] year with about 15, 20% of our revenue coming from people who touch about the plant touching non plant touching side, and it was purely coincidence.

[00:10:07] Nobody was trying to connect those. Now that we’ve gone intentionally after that cross zone, the brand strategy, suddenly now we’re up to about 40% of our revenue just in the nine months since we rolled out, the, the plan is now attributed to people who cross both lines. And I think it’s given us an opportunity to have conversations where maybe we wouldn’t have had them otherwise.

[00:10:26] And then really even just introducing them again to who tilt is, there’s been a couple of those aha. Like when Aero was one of Jupiter’s oldest customers, we’re saying, Hey, we want to get into Pennsylvania. You know, anybody who’s doing anything in Pennsylvania? It’s like, yeah, guys, So yeah, a lot easier to do so I look forward to a lot of those ongoing conversations and look, we try to make sure when we make these arrangements, especially in the brand side, we don’t want brands overlapping each other, if we can avoid it.

[00:10:52] So we don’t want to become just a pure contract manufacturer. We’re trying to fill out what we think is a good curated portfolio that goes [00:11:00] after that 30% of the MSL shelf space that they dedicate to third party. So come to us, we’re like the Frito-Lay drop. We’re rolling. You grab what you need and we move on.

[00:11:08] So that’s the whole,

[00:11:10] Bryan Fields: how challenging. I mean, obviously everybody already know the answer. It’s got to be extremely challenging, but for a company that’s operating vertically integrated, who has operations in multiple states with all the challenges that go in just that area now to add on the technology side as well, from a day-to-day standpoint, are you being pulled in multiple directions from different conceptual thoughts?

[00:11:28] Like, can you kind of share some insights and how that. I mean, it’s easy to get

[00:11:31] Gary Santo: distracted and mean too much on one side of the business, the other. And I think putting together a really solid team and making sure they understand. Exactly what the mission is and what we’re trying to accomplish has been extremely helpful.

[00:11:43] The team I had and now you know, I think all the, all the big hiring’s done, I’ve got all the right people in all the right places. They’re handpicked and look, many of them have carried through from prior years. This wasn’t just a blowout of the team. I think getting them to understand how we need to treat our partners brands as if they were our own and not getting into these [00:12:00] arguments is a key component.

[00:12:02] And also never forgetting where you fit in that value proposition. Right? So if you’re not growing good flour and you’re not processing efficiently, and you’re not managing your supply chain or that, you’re just a good story who can’t seem to execute. And, you know, I’m lucky to have such a strong team around me that we can focus on these.

[00:12:18] We just came back from four straight days, our annual planning and budget sessions. And, you know, I could very easily get pulled in a lot of directions, but with the team I have, I could just as easily not. So I’m excited for what comes forward. It doesn’t mean I, you know, I, now can’t spend a little more time focusing on some, maybe extra ordinary things out there.

[00:12:35] Now a lot of our growth has been organic. I know that in 20, 23 and beyond, we’re going to have to think a little bit wider, a little bit bigger, and that takes some time and some focus on glad to have that availability because the day-to-day stuff, I think isn’t great.

[00:12:47] Bryan Fields: It’s really well said. So from a 20, 23 standpoint, obviously you can’t see a crystal ball into the future.

[00:12:53] And obviously a state’s kind of take a little longer looking at it in New York to kind of get their things together. How, how do you [00:13:00] prioritize, let’s say growth, growth versus optimization when it comes to budgetary versus resources, because. You don’t have capital to deploy in all the different areas.

[00:13:08] You have to be pretty strategic with which direction you want to go. And if you start deploying heavy capital assets into one area, and it takes a little longer, that might kind of tie up resources and other directions. So how does that work?

[00:13:19] Gary Santo: So, I mean, we’re not big fans of growth at any cost. I think we’ve seen that where people just went crazy growing top line revenue, and then you looked at their margins and there just, wasn’t a compelling story.

[00:13:28] And I think a lot of the larger operators starting to come through that a little bit more as the MNA has slowed down. I think for us, it’s the same thing. We’re constantly optimized. I don’t ever want to be in a situation where I know I could be doing something better, but I’m not because there’s something shiny over here to go stare at.

[00:13:43] So there’s a team that just focuses on that. At the same time, when we look at new opportunities, we acknowledge that, you know, it would be great to write checks, but frankly, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. So we looked at New York and that’s a great example. I mean, we saw our competitors, you know, taking on 75, 900 that are writing checks for [00:14:00] 45 million, you know, for us a partnership where we put a lot less money up front.

[00:14:04] So 700,000 total to partner and Intuit, the Shinnecock of which half was stock meant that every dollar we deploy is towards building a facility that will then start generating revenue that will make money for everybody. Right. So coming up with unique opportunities to do that takes a little while. But I think what we’re finding is there’s a lot of really good partners who just haven’t really understood that there are other people who are willing to partner, you know, I think reasonably, and not just take 80 or 90% of the economics.

[00:14:31] So it might mean we have to do a few more of those partnerships then, you know, if we just want for every last basis point, but I’d rather do that because that’s the definition of diversification. And if we’re building this to last, we need good strong partnerships, good diversification and rational margin, because those three things will process.

[00:14:48] Kellan Finney: I was just curious, how long do you, is it a lot longer from a betting standpoint and a due diligence standpoint to find those like the correct partner that’s willing to kind of sit down at the table with you guys.

[00:14:59] Gary Santo: It’s not as hard as [00:15:00] you think, because I think those people stand out. So the Shinnecock are a great example, right?

[00:15:04] A lot of people just want to get into cannabis and they’re not sure why, how, or. Whether this is going to work in a what level? I think they had such a realistic view of what they needed the industry to do for them. So they had, they wanted it to be an ongoing economic engine that will be sustainable over time.

[00:15:20] So this wasn’t a quick hit to clip as much coupons you possibly can then get out again. Right. So I think finding folks like that and who really thought it through, when you looked at the regulations, for example, that they drafted, they mimic New York state because they understand the future is working hand in glove with New York.

[00:15:36] Those people really jumped off the page. People like, you know, say this 2018 cannabis folks, which is like buy everything, make a lot of big splash. Those folks really stand out. Now it’s kind of pariahs. So I think, I think it’s easy to get past that first round and you have to take a look at well, what have you been doing in the meantime now, if you’re just a concept, which what Shinnecock was, it’s a lot easier, right?

[00:15:55] There’s not a lot of things to unwind. There are some other folks out there who’ve gotten a little over the tips of their [00:16:00] skis. I think they present a tremendous opportunity. But you do have to dig in deeper to make sure there’s no aha moments because how people achieve financing and some of the deals they signed, it’s kind of remarkable.

[00:16:10] Some of the things that have been out there in the industry that has to be unwound or contemplated. So that, that part takes a little longer. If it’s a more established. But the newer players, I think it’s an easier process because we know what we’re looking for.

[00:16:22] Kellan Finney: So you guys don’t have to, like with the established players, you probably have to do more due diligence in terms of how their supply chain is actually connected.

[00:16:28] And if it fits well with your guys’s current business model and those kinds of those kinds of conversations, if you will.

[00:16:33] Gary Santo: Yeah. It’s more just getting into their financing, how much not they encumbered of their assets already? How leveraged are they along those lines? You know, how much, how much our friends and family are involved and what are the expectations.

[00:16:44] And I think the other piece for existence shops is you have investors. Where really they’re doing, just because everybody’s wants to tap out. They pad all of those things are, are issues. I would never say I walk away from that because I look at that as opportunities to get good deals at the end of the day, [00:17:00] everything was shiny and bit a hundred miles an hour, and they’d all be expensive.

[00:17:03] Right. So Ben scratch never heard it. As long as you’re smart about it, you know? And I think that’s where taking the time to really dig into those details. And I’m lucky that, you know, a lot of the folks that I have I’ve worked with before in cap markets on very complex, structured finance deals, they all know how to read contracts.

[00:17:18] They all know how to break all that stuff down. So it makes the job a lot easier.

[00:17:22] Bryan Fields: I want to talk more about the Shinnecock partnership. So when you guys link up. Deployment of assets onto their site to help them kind of get started. Are you kind of more of a secondary approach from like a managerial perspective saying like here, this is some guidance, you know, what type of a partnership approach is it?

[00:17:37] Is it hands-on or is it more kind of top-level I think

[00:17:40] Gary Santo: initially it’s going to be extremely hands-on. So obviously we’re providing the financing and then also all the design and construction. So we’re, we’re designing what the facility is going to look. We’re managing the entire build out of that facility.

[00:17:52] And then we acknowledge that while they have a passion for the plant and they have a long legacy of living with the plant going from that to being able to produce it at a [00:18:00] 60,000 square foot facility is a much different animal, right? Everybody who’s ever grown in their basement can tell you that. So I think from that perspective, we’ll start off providing expertise, but.

[00:18:08] Our goal Is to hire as many of the natives, you know, live on, on sovereign land as possible and train them up. Now, obviously they’re not going to step right into senior level positions on day one, but there’s no reason why they can’t have a career progression much in the same way. We do our own leadership training throughout tilt.

[00:18:26] We want to extend that program to the Shinnecock nation as well. And for all those who raise their hand and want to be. involved There will be a career path for them. Obviously the general manager of that operation, Shanae, Bullock she has a Shinnecock member, so she will be front and center as the base of that organization and be overall manager of the organization.

[00:18:45] But we’ll be providing a lot of that structural input along the way and train them up. So it’s one of those where it’s a nine-year contract. I think if we do our job, well, we should have no trouble renewing that. And, you know, both parties, they get a significant amount of the capital out of this. I think they get about [00:19:00] 75% of the free cash flow will flow to the Shinnecock nation.

[00:19:03] So, you know, we figure a well-constructed partnership like that. As long as we both parties deliver, we shouldn’t be in business for quite some time.

[00:19:10] Bryan Fields: Yeah. And it sounds great. And Kellen, I want to kind of lean into you there because what Gary’s describing about educating them and helping them, putting them in position to seed is so crucial because as we’ve talked about a bunch of times in this.

[00:19:20] The industry’s hard and cultivation is challenging and there’s all these complex issues that go with it from a day-to-day standpoint. So having experienced individuals like Gary’s team come in and kind of assist in the process and then educate them to be able to kind of fly on their own. So,

[00:19:34] Kellan Finney: yeah, I think it’s honestly, it’s the only way not to spend a significant amount of capital learning.

[00:19:39] You know what I mean? I think that scale scalability is probably the. Hardest aspect of bringing the knowledge from the legacy market into a regulated industry, right? Like he just said, Gary linker growing in your basement is a lot different than growing a 60,000 square foot [00:20:00] warehouse that is taught the line.

[00:20:02] You know what I mean? Or state of the art. So I think that educating your employees. It’s the highest return on an investment. I think a company can make right now, especially when they’re just kind of getting their feet off the ground in a new state, people are your organization. Right? I

[00:20:16] Bryan Fields: think

[00:20:16] Kellan Finney: that the better people you have on staff is going to just create a better business.

[00:20:20] So I think that. When you invest into training and education of your employees, you’re investing into the company in the long, long run. And so what kind of resources are you guys going to deploy as far as, are you going to send multiple people from like your leadership team or management team from Massachusetts?

[00:20:38] Are they going to then go down to New York and spent years there? Are you guys gonna try to do it remotely? Like, what is that process gonna look like?

[00:20:45] Gary Santo: So I think it’ll come in stages. And initially, while we’re doing the build-out, we could easily identify those. We can do a hiring fair and identify those people that are very interested in learning the business and bring them up into Massachusetts and work at our Taunton facility and train with our [00:21:00] supervisors there.

[00:21:00] So that’ll be a good way to get it off the ground while we’re still building. As we go down the pipe, I would expect that we would start to hire some folks who would be positioned in. Obviously when all of a sudden they start to roll off, we can bring them back, but the expectation would be to have boots on the ground in New York as well, especially in those supervisory roles, because, you know, I think it’s one thing to sort of have a leadership training program.

[00:21:22] It’s the day-to-day reinforcement, a lot of those principles that really. And getting people to understand how important things like risk and compliance can truly be and how you have to run a certain type of facility, especially if you’re hoping to trade your product in the greater New York state area.

[00:21:35] So it will be involved how you anticipate us adding at least two dozen or so employees probably on our end, as we get closer to. And then also seeing what the uptake is on the Shinnecock Simon land. I mean, if there’s not as many people that are interested in working, we’ll give them all the first, first mover advantage, but we do still have to staff them.

[00:21:53] So we’ll see what we can do the highest in the surrounding area as well. It’ll be on a overtime and we’ve got a really great head of [00:22:00] SP at SVP of human resource who has done this for Lowe’s. So I’m pretty excited about what that will do for us as we try to roll this out. And I think it also gets the larger question of social equity right across.

[00:22:12] Easiest way to achieve social equality Please make sure people are appropriately trained and get true equal opportunity Not just Here’s a license and here’s a few dollars go have fun and build a business. It’s how do we train them to succeed? And I think it’s incumbent on all the first movers I’m going to count tilt in that first mover pile, the original MSO’s You should be trying to make this a better industry for the next round. It’s going to be more. sustainable At some point, these 60, 70, 80% margins will die away. As the, as the industry matures, you’ve got to have that next wave to take it, you know, make it one step better. And I, I feel that that’s an important mission for us.

[00:22:45] I can’t say that everybody agrees with that. I think you need a special board who would willingly say, yeah, go ahead and give away 75% of the free cash flow, but they get the joke that that’s how you build a sustainable business versus one that just has astronomical climb and.

[00:22:59] Kellan Finney: [00:23:00] I have a question. So the Shinnecock nation is indigenous people, right?

[00:23:03] So they live on sovereign land. Do they have to follow the

[00:23:06] Bryan Fields: same state guidelines as

[00:23:09] Kellan Finney: New York is setting out the state of New York because it is a sovereign nation. How does that play with each other? From a regulatory standpoint,

[00:23:16] Gary Santo: they do have their own cannabis control commission. So for example, they have already approved adult use sales on, on sovereign ground, along with medical.

[00:23:24] So if we had that dispensary up and running right now, we would be the only operating dispensary selling both medical and adult. I think the way they’ve chosen to build their program though, is they’re mimicking a lot of what New York state is doing, because they know that across state lines, you’re going to have to be somewhere in that range.

[00:23:40] Right. So, you know, whether it’s the products themselves, whether it’s, you know, what the form factors might be, they’re going to do everything they can to mimic as best possible. Right now. It’s true. You could go on the sovereign ground and if you could buy adult use, you could leave with, I think it’s up to three ounces based on New York state regularly.

[00:23:56] But, you know, I think they are, we’re going to encourage them to continue to make [00:24:00] everything you can from New York state. So when that moment comes for us, the holy grail is I’m wholesaling. It’s not that it won’t be a viable business, just selling through one dispensary out in the Hamptons, but if we can wholesale it to the rest of us, That’s it’d be a windfall

[00:24:14] Bryan Fields: for the truck.

[00:24:15] I know a lot of our long island listeners are very eager to hear you open that up so they can all get in the car pretty quickly after and make the trip including myself. So fingers crossed and that things go quick. So continuing on that path a little bit different. So I read on your website. Limited licensed states for east coast markets with operations in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York.

[00:24:36] Can you share a little bit more, is it specifically approaching the limited license that it’s attractive and east coast or they kind of independent strategy? Can you kind of break that

[00:24:44] Gary Santo: down a little bit? I mean, I’ve talked before about having this concept of a Northeast corridor, right? So you think about New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Ohio, all kind of clumped together.

[00:24:54] And one of the rationales behind that is in a fully legalized. I like having all of my [00:25:00] cannabis assets within a few hundred miles of each other. So I can literally put my head of cannabis ops in the car and he can drive each of those realistically each day. It also means that we could be tactical. So we have greenhouse bro and our high tax to use the word green and.

[00:25:13] Greenhouse style grow in Pennsylvania. We’ve got full indoor in Massachusetts. So if I now can build across state lines, I’ll grow my biomass, the greenhouse, my super high-end flower up in Massachusetts and everything is transportable, you know, without having to worry about massive shipping costs. So I think it also presents an interesting corridor for brands that want to come east.

[00:25:33] So if you’re a premium brand or if you’re not, if you just evaluate. Your Target’s probably the whole Northeast area. It’s not to say Florida, isn’t a great spot, but there’s no wholesale down there. So, you know, I think there, it’s kind of created this nice little nexus for us now, do we limit ourselves there?

[00:25:47] Not necessarily on, you know, certainly as we look out, we look at all the same states and all the other MSOE look at, but we don’t want to be spread so thin that we just have a toehold in so many different states, but no, I liked being in that one [00:26:00] area where kind of the demographic starts to look the same and the product suite starts to look the same.

[00:26:04] And yes, we have to work through some regulatory issues with medical markets versus adult use some medical markets, but it’s much easier to navigate the limited license. Also keeps us from having to worry too much about the competition. So in Massachusetts, even though we have to have three stores, Nobody has more than three stores, so we can’t be any bigger.

[00:26:22] So what we’re doing is we’re going to start sharing a lot of our shelf space with our NSO partners. Those that buy a lot from us to put stuff on our shelves. So we’ll extend near store into our store because again, we don’t care so much about our in-house brand, as we do about being a a.

[00:26:35] good partner

[00:26:36] Bryan Fields: Yeah. And there’s a couple of levels to that as well.

[00:26:38] Right? The purchasing behavior of the individuals in a, in a closer geographic region, likely resemble each other where in some, in some operations, California and Florida, the purchasing habits are very different. So having all of your entities kind of in a similar area, you can kind of lock down and understand, all right, 34 to 40 really likes these form factors.

[00:26:56] We can kind of double down here and really start pushing up. Plus with east coast [00:27:00] markets still being really new, the flood gates really haven’t even.

[00:27:03] Gary Santo: No. And you know, it’s, we’ve always felt that CPG is where this is going to go, you know, and there’ll be brands, but they’ll also be formed that are going to be very important.

[00:27:12] And what is interesting is it’s true. The east coast is just getting going. And at times there has been such innovation on the west coast that is much further along than east coast, just because they’d been with the plant that much longer, it’s a different kind of a society out there. So we’ve had to tell some brands know, you can dial it back a little bit if want, because I’m not sure people are going to pay for that extra piece that they don’t even realize they should be.

[00:27:34] So it allows you to have a much longer runway, I think, too, in terms of product development, where you can roll these things out in stages and really start to get the market excited about it. I mean, think about it. I’ve had a lot of residence start out on the west coast. There was too much grows and they had a freeze it, boom.

[00:27:48] Now we have a lot of residents, right. That probably wouldn’t start it on the east coast. Right. So now it’s just those kinds of things, how you can bring the innovation cross and watch how it grows and see what’s worked in the other markets, but frankly, if you can [00:28:00] make any California, which is, you know, clearly hyper competitive race to the bottom market, you’ve got a pretty nice runaway.

[00:28:06] I wonder

[00:28:06] Bryan Fields: in your opinion, Gary, does there need to be a difference in, in messaging between the west coast brands and the east coast, just based on the educational level and the experience between the, I don’t know if it’s

[00:28:15] Gary Santo: messaging or just a little more education, you know, let people know why they should care about a certain form, a certain terpene blend or why they should care about a certain form factor.

[00:28:24] Right? Sometimes it’s going to be obvious more times than not, it’s probably not. They’re just variations on a theme or slight gradations, you know, do you want natural Turkey for not, you want it to use. So I think a little more education I’ve noticed on the vaping side, that’s been an important piece to the Jupiter business.

[00:28:39] Why is CCL what it is? Why are certain things work better with certain concentrate, blends than others? Right. And I think that’s going to continue, especially as we look on the, on that particular side of the business. Emergence of libraries. The RA’s is that the wax shatters traditional bait products are not probably going to work particularly well there.

[00:28:57] So how do you get the fidelity that you had [00:29:00] made with the Cecil with a high viscosity concentrate and bring that over to a Ross? You know, I think those are the kinds of things that we have to work on. I think it’s up and down. I mean, somebody had to figure out why Coke was Coke and Pepsi with Pepsi.

[00:29:12] They ain’t just embedded themselves. So that’s up to us to try to help tell that story, telling your thoughts on

[00:29:17] Kellan Finney: that. I mean, I think he said it perfectly, you know what I mean? I think that as far as the want to go back to like building the Northeast corridor, I think that that is so valuable from a business perspective, because not only are you creating kind of like an incubation hub for brands on the entire east coast, you provided.

[00:29:36] All the resources to help that transition be seamless for them from a brand perspective, they don’t have to come in and look for land and build out this infrastructure that takes, you know, I mean, here’s to build out grows and dispensaries and, and build brand awareness. Instead, they can just come in and do what they do best in terms of just pushing their brand and educating consumers.

[00:29:56] And so was that part of the thought process from [00:30:00] building that Northeast corridor is being able to. Provide these brands who have just been working so hard on the west coast to survive just kind of an easy path, right. To help educate the Northeast corridor from that

[00:30:12] Gary Santo: perspective, that was a big piece of it, you know?

[00:30:14] And, and I think staying lean the way we have and sort of being a Switzerland of brands gives us that luxury, being able to be willing to share those brands. We, when you sign up with an MSO for an exclusive you’re limited to their footprint, right? So again, go back to Massachusetts, you get to be sold in three.

[00:30:29] For us, we saw about 60% of the stores in Massachusetts. In addition to our own in Pennsylvania, I think it’s about 90 or 95% of the stores we sell into. And we’re agnostic. You could be an MSO, you could be an independent mom and pop standalone shop. It doesn’t really matter. So if you think about the legalized world, the better it gets to the point where you can order online and actually get Amazon or somebody to deliver.

[00:30:49] We’re going to be agnostic to work at salt. We’ll make sure. To where it needs to be. So it could be delivered accordingly, but it won’t really matter to us. Whether somebody pops up a big box store, a weed or [00:31:00] not. So it is part and parcel with what we thought we could do for value complex value, jar, supply chain, a complex product structures and branch structures, and do our best to not only manage the chain, but keep that brand fidelity and help them understand how to get the same traction in Massachusetts that they’ve got.

[00:31:17] Kellan Finney: Before

[00:31:17] Bryan Fields: we dive into the supply chain. There’s one aspect you just didn’t expand upon, which is if you see a competitor’s product is flying off the shelf in a form factor that you don’t currently produce, you likely can consider it in the future. Maybe similar to how Amazon done with the batteries. Is that a concept you’ve considered internal?

[00:31:33] In

[00:31:33] Gary Santo: terms of what working with them, or just trying to mimic,

[00:31:36] Bryan Fields: maybe mimic any and saying, Hey, maybe this let the beverage is flying off the shelf. Maybe we should consider investing in a beverage company. We’ve seen, this is really important to the demographic. We’ve locked in. In our stands. Our competitors parts is flying off the shelf.

[00:31:49] Maybe this is a good product category to look for in our core location here in the north.

[00:31:53] Gary Santo: Sure. We’re always looking at what’s hot in the market because that helps us decide which brands make sense. Right? So we’re looking for intentional brand [00:32:00] architecture you know, like some of those celebrity endorsed brands where it’s literally the name and there’s no other piece to it.

[00:32:04] That’s not exciting to us, but if you give a real thoughtful piece where there’s a great origin story, and there’s an actual construct to the brand, we love those same thing with the form package. If we see a particular form factor is flying, we really want to understand what is it about it? Is it just a great marketing campaign?

[00:32:20] Because, I mean, we’ve seen some of those where, you know, yesterday super hot edible is today’s. I can’t sell on it at a discount price. So I think trying to find something that’s sustainable to we tend to look at that and that comes down to understanding what is it that end users are looking for, right.

[00:32:34] So is it a form factor? Is it the experience? You know, what, what is it that they need out of that? And then we try to find the right brands that we can match up with that. Now there is no brand that does that. And it’s one of those opportunities where we need to develop it on our own. We do have our in-house brand standard farms.

[00:32:50] So, you know, it’s kind of there to plug the holes where there might be in certain. I have a

[00:32:54] Kellan Finney: question about kind of protecting the brands as they come from the west coast to the east coast. How, [00:33:00] how do you guys, do you have to work really, really closely with the brands from a QA QC standpoint, to make sure that.

[00:33:06] The product that they’re selling in say Oregon or California is identical or as close as you can be from a product standpoint, a QA QC standpoint on the east coast is, is that something where you guys are, your teams are just working really closely together, or that brand actually sends out operators that have kind of implemented their SOP on the west coast to the east coast.

[00:33:27] Could you, could you kind of shed some light on how that process might work to ensure the consistency across the country?

[00:33:34] Gary Santo: Sure. So our preference is always not our team, you know, doing all the labor on. So we want it to be a turnkey operation. You come in with your SLPs, we sit down, we talk about what flowers available.

[00:33:44] We talk about what’s allowable and safe, and then we start to navigate in on, can we truly replicate your product or what’s the best way to get close enough to it. That remains on brand. And that’s what we spend time working. Generally, we’re talking to CEOs. The COO is the highest levels because most of these brands are very handy.[00:34:00]

[00:34:00] And we kind of talked through whether it’s, how to create an existing product or there’s a product we’ve been waiting to create, but they just haven’t had the opportunity. So whole pals, a great example, right? They wanted to do a brownie. They hadn’t done an edible anywhere else. And of course they picked the brownie, which is totally on brand.

[00:34:15] So something as simple as that, while at the same time, trying to look at what kind of flower can get you a similar THC profile and how do we maintain. As, as close as you can get, knowing that I can’t quite get all the same plants from point a to point B. So, you know, I think not perspective, it’s very interactive.

[00:34:31] Our teams have been very good at activating and staying true to the brands and actually raising their hands. And they said, look, this is something new. This is going to be different. I’m not sure you want to go down this path or maybe you don’t want to launch all of these skews. Maybe just a few of these huge, those types of conversations happen pretty much every day between our ops teams and then, you know, the senior level teams over different.

[00:34:50] Bryan Fields: What has surprised you the most for running an NSO wa something that an everyday user of the plan or inter hobbyists of the [00:35:00] industry.

[00:35:01] Gary Santo: Wow. That’s a good one. Yeah. It’s funny. I think from an everyday perspective, I guess it does amaze me how different each harvest can truly be, even if it’s the same.

[00:35:12] Same strain, same lights, same per litigation. And you can just get somewhat different results, especially in the Northeast where you have such wild swings in the temperatures, you know, and I think, you know, the assumption is, Hey, I grow indoors home in pervious. It really not growing in Massachusetts. It’s hard.

[00:35:27] And if you look at the HVAC system we use, for example, it’s not controlling humidity by temperature, it’s controlling temperature through humidity. It’s kind of inverted, right? You have to because the Massachusetts, you get these wild swings of humidity. So I think the level of science that really goes into growing these plants, I never appreciate.

[00:35:45] Anywhere near the level now, I mean, I know soil matters and there are a few different things along the way, but when you go into these grows, it is literally science, you know, every step of the way and everything, they try and document stuff. It’s so much, there’s a field to it. Don’t get me wrong, but [00:36:00] there’s also an awful lot of science that goes into these things and how they bring certain strains together and that the genome hunting and stuff that goes on.

[00:36:07] So I’m much more appreciative of that. And you know, 15, 20 years ago let’s just say the friends I had weren’t quite as sophisticated, well said.

[00:36:15] Bryan Fields: All right. Let’s talk supply chain quickly in cannabis. How does it currently differ from the mainstream CPG? Well, I mean,

[00:36:23] Gary Santo: obviously the biggest issue, which you can’t build your traditional hotspot, right?

[00:36:26] Normally I’d put my grow out somewhere in the middle of nowhere where the temperature is pretty consistent. I’d put my manufacturing, your transportation hub, and I can get out to every state I need to be in. I think here what makes it challenging is not how many states you’re in each state is its own independent.

[00:36:41] He can’t cross the state lines. And as much as we can say, well, we can centralize certain things you can, and you can certainly manage the non plant touching parts of the supply chain. Right? So buying your fertilizer and all your supplies that way, certainly you can do that. Packaging is probably the biggest challenge I’ve seen because so much of it comes from China.

[00:36:57] So that’s the thing that at least for tilt, [00:37:00] we’ve got such tremendous experience with getting our vape products from China. We know all about the challenges of Chinese new year and getting ships to the docks and getting them online. When the air freight versus when to put them on water. So I think the packaging probably is the one that jams people up the most, suddenly working with Mayans.

[00:37:17] They wait to order packaging until they need it. And it’s too late. Next thing you know, you go from a scanner to be factored. It just really annoyed consumers. You know, so I think that’s, that’s probably the biggest challenge that faces most of the plant touching side, short of running these businesses as independent.

[00:37:31] Do you

[00:37:32] Bryan Fields: see it being more data-driven decision-making in the future where instead of being reactive and saying, we’re short on this, now it’s time to reorder kind of avoiding the bulb effect of saying here’s our stocking level. Once it hits here, we place a real. Yeah, it’s,

[00:37:46] Gary Santo: it’s true demand planning. And I think the transition you’re seeing on the east coast is a lot of these states have been supplied constraint, right?

[00:37:52] So to a certain extent, you knew whenever you made, you could bring, you were going to sell through them. And if all you do is look at your former inventory levels and you just keep working off [00:38:00] of those, that’s problematic because you’re not paying attention to where the market is going. So you really got to stay on top of your.

[00:38:06] See, what’s moving. See, what’s sitting on people’s shelves and they’re being forced to discount. And then to your point, as you look at the supplies you need to order in the packaging, you need order, you have to be way out in front of that. So it’s demand planning, which means connecting with each of the shops you sell into to understand what they need, how they tend to order and see what their habits are.

[00:38:24] I know with our Jupiter division, we do that all the time for budgeting for them. They’ll just call about all hundred of our top a hundred customers and say, okay, what are you planning on? Ordering in? And it’s hard to get some of these shops to think that way. I do not thinking 12 months. So it’s bringing them into that reality.

[00:38:40] And I think more and more are starting to see that. And they’re starting to work with us on more effectively the best

[00:38:45] Kellan Finney: in like analysts and kind of predicted models to help with those decisions. Cause they’re pretty far out, right? Like you don’t, it’s hard to predict what sales are going to be like in next July.

[00:38:54] If you’re an MSO, that’s just trying to get through the Christmas rush right now. You

[00:38:58] Gary Santo: know what I mean? Yeah. I mean, [00:39:00] that’s that’s challenge. So I think internally we have pretty strong finance team. You know, they’ve been working on. The hard part is most models is they’re backwards. And they try to predict the future using variables on past.

[00:39:12] I think that’s the part that becomes funds. The last four days in Arizona, we spent just kind of taking one of those models and turning it on and see or saying, okay, well, if we buy into that assumption, why did I just see this in our ball? And then we start working through what that looks like. So it’s, it’s an iterative process, you know, I don’t think this is one of those ones where you get a bunch of Bain guys to come strolling in and whip out a couple of supermodels and we’ll set you up for a long time.

[00:39:34] It’s gotta be a little more interactive with

[00:39:36] Bryan Fields: it. Cannabis. Wasn’t hard enough of your previous looking models included all COVID. So now you have to reduce that, that variability of understanding that you weren’t going to be locked home. So what are those real numbers? It’s hard to really, really? Yeah. I mean

[00:39:49] Gary Santo: the, the vaping alone, right?

[00:39:50] So you went from the bank press 2019. You had like one good month of 2021, right there, a respiratory pandemic. So you couldn’t throw much more vaping. He did a pretty good job of staying in touch, [00:40:00] watching people work through their. You know, as a result, you probably ended up spending a little more money carrying inventory for your customers.

[00:40:07] So right now we’re probably one of our highest inventory levels and we’ve ever been. But part of that is for supply chain management. Part of it’s because there has been some, you know, erratic behavior in some of the ordering, but we starting to see the bigger players. They’re also starting to centralize a lot of their procurement too, which is helpful before that, you know, if you dealt with a big MSL that was in 18 states, you probably got 18 different phone calls, but at the same MSL, and now they’re starting to send you.

[00:40:31] So it makes it a little bit easier now in the case of hardware, that makes it very easy because that hardware is interchange. It can go across state lines until they fill it. You know, it’s a little different with the plant touching side. Yeah.

[00:40:40] Bryan Fields: You think everyone’s moving closer to those, those centralized locations based on potential for interstate commerce coming down sooner rather than later, or do you think that’s just a strategic decision that they’ve invested in.

[00:40:53] Gary Santo: I mean, they did what they had to do, right. At one point on the sugar cane fields, and then they didn’t have, right. [00:41:00] So I think to a certain extent to operate, you had no choice. So and I wasn’t long-term if you can cross state lines, what does that mean? Probably needs at some point, you’ll see some type of centralization, but we have folks have so much invested in these operations.

[00:41:13] I don’t know if they’ll just quickly flip a switch and go get a big warehouse in the middle of nowhere. Yeah, they’re going to have to manage through that overhead and infrastructure, which is why we’re fighting so hard to stay asset light so that the assets compliment each other, but don’t duplicate necessarily except where absolutely necessary that’s been our approach, but, you know, I would suspect.

[00:41:31] And certainly one of the reasons why we’ve stayed away from that is we don’t want to be the folks sitting there with all these stores and all these different, you know elements here that we have to know suddenly managing figure out what we’re going to do because margins will start to compress.

[00:41:42] Prices will come down and you’re not going to have that first mover advantage. No way

[00:41:47] Bryan Fields: since you’ve been in the cannabinoid industry, what has been the biggest mistake?

[00:41:52] Gary Santo: You know, it’s funny. I think that everybody just wants to get hot. It’s not episodic. There are certainly folks out there who definitely do [00:42:00] purchase that way, depending on the demographic, but the number of use cases.

[00:42:04] The medical aspect I didn’t really fully appreciate. And I sometimes wonder if you discovered this plant today and you showed the medical benefits of it today, you’d probably be buying it down the house with whole foods and so many different form factors, but you got over a hundred years of prohibition.

[00:42:18] You’ve got the toner culture. You’ve got, everybody has a view on Canada’s, right? It’s like the only emerging industry I’ve ever worked in where you don’t really have to educate people about the core product. In fact, you have to an educate them and. Because they all have you know, bizarre view on how you can make money or not make money with cannabis.

[00:42:35] So I think that that’s been probably the biggest eye-opener for me, that there’s so much good that can be done here. If we could just get past some of those other pieces and just to have it on schedule one with the other drugs that are there, it’s like, I get it, some call it a gateway drug, but you look like you look at what this particular drug does.

[00:42:51] If it’s used in the right way. There’s a lot of benefits here that are just being pushed over. You know, when, when they tell us when it comes up on a schedule,

[00:42:59] Bryan Fields: Before [00:43:00] we do predictions, we ask all of our guests, if you can sum up your experience in a main takeaway or lesson learned to pass onto the next generation, what would it be?

[00:43:10] Gary Santo: Business is business. I’ve heard people say to me, Hey, budgets, don’t matter in cannabis productivity, doesn’t matter in cannabis. And most of those people, maybe it didn’t. And they’re probably trying to figure out what their next career move looks like. The reality is. At the end of the day, you’re trying to turn a passion and something that you’re intimately attached to an OD with, into a career, into a business, into an industry.

[00:43:34] So you have to remember that there are some rules of business that do have to apply, and it doesn’t mean that you’re selling out to the man. It doesn’t mean that you’re becoming some big business, you know start shirt on a corporate type. It’s just, you need capital. You need resources to be able to do what you’re going to do.

[00:43:49] And if you truly are. Because you believe in the plant and you’re trying to spread you know, that print plant around as many people, as many form factors, you need those resources. So [00:44:00] never, never convince yourself that the rules don’t apply to you just because you happen to work in cannabis. Well

[00:44:05] Bryan Fields: said, all right, prediction time.

[00:44:07] It’s 2025 for plant touching businesses is vertical integration. The most profitable business model for.

[00:44:17] Gary Santo: Predicated on legalization. I don’t think, I think, I think it starts to become a drain on the market. I think you’re carrying way too much of an infrastructure. And if it’s truly legalized, you don’t want to be carrying 18 independent businesses in 18 different states.

[00:44:31] At some point you’ve got to consolidate and whether you hold on to vertical integration, but just do it from a more central. Location or whether, I mean, you hear a lot of people talk about the grow will get commoditized. I think retail could get commoditized too. People like to go to those big box stores, right.

[00:44:46] They might want to buy online, but that centerpiece that the complex supply chain, right? The complex manufacturing, those things are still going to map. And I think they’ll always be a place for that. So true. Vertical integration probably might become an issue, [00:45:00] but I do think they’ll still be a place to connect some of those dots together and take advantage of the parts of the business that commoditized.

[00:45:07] Bryan Fields: I

[00:45:07] Kellan Finney: agree with Gary. I think he said earlier on the pod Coca-Cola used to own the sugar fields they don’t anymore. So they moved away from vertical integration to kind of focus on what, what they were good at. Right. Also, I mean, if you look at like other manufacturing or other large. Industries, right?

[00:45:22] Like GE GE is breaking up. Now I’m into three separate entities. Originally. They were completely vertical because everything that they made required electricity. Right. So they could just electrify everything. And now they’ve learned that a hundred years later or so, right. It just doesn’t play well when you’re trying to focus on all of these different businesses.

[00:45:43] And I think you even said it earlier, too, Brian, when you were like, is it challenging diversity of conversations that you’re going to have running a completely vertical company, or you’re going to have agricultural conversations, running an agricultural business, right. You’re going to have chemical manufacturing

[00:45:57] Gary Santo: conversations when

[00:45:59] Kellan Finney: you’re dealing with [00:46:00] derivative products such as live resin, right.

[00:46:01] And then you have CPG conversations from a business perspective. I think. That’s just too much to be successful when you. Say you’re competing against a group that is solely focusing on one business. They’re going to get better at it than you when you’re spreading your resources. That then what do you think, Brian?

[00:46:17] Yeah,

[00:46:17] Bryan Fields: I don’t think the everyday person understands the complexity and the challenges that Gary kind like simplified for them of running 18 different businesses, all wrapped up into one. And within that, each state operates completely differently. It’s not like it’s like, okay, just as a universal standpoint, like New York, Pennsylvania, California.

[00:46:35] Here are the rules. Everyone has their own challenges, their own issues and their own kind of every day surprises for example. But at 2025, I would imagine that some of the bigger players aren’t going to be ready to kind of divest some of their assets because they’ve invested so much to grow, grow, grow, grow, grow.

[00:46:51] You hear Boris Jordan up purely, always just smash the table. Grow, grow, grow, grow, grow. And he’s not going to be wanting to kind of shuffle up his chips back into the [00:47:00] middle to have a more centralized, specific USB. So I think by 2025, Vertical integration still stands for a bunch of companies, but I think as time progresses, they’re going to look to kind of double down on USP’s, but maybe someone ends up trying to own the whole thing.

[00:47:15] And that’s their strategic approach from seed to, to smoke.

[00:47:20] Gary Santo: That’s interesting. You know, cause you certainly, you heard it in some of the earnings call or last couple of weeks that. With some of the demand waning a little bit, and certainly with disposable income being hit with inflation, you figure don’t use markets, probably the most prone to a downturn.

[00:47:36] You know, that they’re starting to focus more internally on their own brands and not having the, I hear that. And I kind of cringe a little bit. It’s like, I get why you’re doing it, but you’re doing it for the wrong reasons if you’re doing it because you have the best brand. And by all means, please go ahead and do it.

[00:47:48] If you’re doing it to protect them. To me, that’s not a long-term strategy, right? Somebody will kind, especially if the world’s going to CPG at some point, you don’t want to be that guy. Who’s trying to own all of it, just to make it squeeze as much out as you possibly [00:48:00] can recognize what the new world looks like and see if your operating model.

[00:48:04] In some way, shape or form. And I think that’s, that’s going to be hard for some of these guys cause they spent a lot of time telling everyone how vertical was so critical and so important and the way to go. And it has been that when it’s not really as important anymore, how are they going to be able to explain what they’re going to do with all these assets that were once value in it?

[00:48:20] You know, millions upon millions of dollars. So. They can’t, they can’t talk quickly. You’re absolutely right. It’s going to be a gradual progression

[00:48:27] Kellan Finney: conversations are going to be tough too with stakeholders, right? Because they were promising these investors, these probably grandiose visions of returns and look at all these assets.

[00:48:36] We now have, this is on the balance sheet and X, Y, Z. And so I think that that’s going to be another challenging conversation that they’re going to have to have from an operational.

[00:48:45] Gary Santo: Well, yeah, but you got to state callers and it’d be possible. You are lacking those institutional investors. I mean, this is a market that this is an industry tailor made for like institutional growth oriented investors that have a three to five-year horizon and understand what that you can have 80, 90% margins.[00:49:00]

[00:49:00] I mean, this is one of the few industries. If you’re growing 30% year over year and your lacquer, that’s like, that’s insane,

[00:49:09] Bryan Fields: Gary, just expand your point real quick. I think it’s so important though. When operators have that north star metric, where they understand all decisions are predicated based on this is what we’re driving towards and not looking inwards and more of a defensive metric, like you said, saying, you know what?

[00:49:22] We’ve got to protect. We’ve got to protect because I think that standpoint in an industry that is growing as fast as. Is going to hinder the long-term success of companies. And I think if you’re making decisions like that, now I can imagine what you’re doing on a day to day, all the way down through the lower level employee who is thinking that same perspective, because as you know, better than anyone, you know, messaging starts up top and everyone else falls through that.

[00:49:44] Yeah. I mean, you never

[00:49:44] Gary Santo: want to sacrifice quality. We pick a lot of people out who complained about coming from other shops where they talk quality, but they don’t practice it because they look at the budget, you know, we’re doing it the other way, because we want to have quality. We can’t attract brands.

[00:49:55] We don’t to try. We don’t have products. So I think from our perspective, we’ve kind of [00:50:00] hitched our wagon onto the fact that. We’ve been in rented space for quite a while, with these crazy high prices that people would pay for a flower and a bat. And that at some point it’s going to mature and just looking at other industries and certainly looking at California and what works there and bringing it to the east seems like a reasonable way to go.

[00:50:16] Now, I’d say the last six months, I’ve sort of proven that out a little bit. We didn’t think it was going to happen as fast. Don’t get me wrong, but we thought it was fall 18 months out. But just in the last six months, you know, we’ve seen that sort of margin company. And people starting to pivot for us, we were one of the few MSLs that had double digit sequential growth.

[00:50:32] I mean, it was, you know, 10%, nothing around home about don’t get me wrong, but it still showed that there is some validation to that model. And it’s a flexible model. As a result. We are not being so asset heavy, we can adjust to the market a little bit easier. So we’re not overly committed one way or.

[00:50:48] Bryan Fields: For those who are looking to get in touch and learn more, where can they reach you and other

[00:50:52] Gary Santo: members of the, sure.

[00:50:53] So obviously eating on our website, www dot till Pauline’s dot com. There you’ll find contact information. You can reach out for [00:51:00] investor relations, general inquiries, pretty much. If we have any jobs posted that’d be a way for you to, to join the firm as well. So that’s a good starting point, pretty much all of our news and all of our events coming up.

[00:51:10] Cool.

[00:51:10] Bryan Fields: We’ll link it all up in the show notes and we’ll be looking forward to the long island operations. So all of our listeners who are out here can get out there, including myself. Thanks so much for your time, [00:51:18] Gary Santo: Gary. Thanks for having me on guys.

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Editors’ Note: This is the transcript version of the podcast. Please note that due to time and audio constraints, transcription may not be perfect. We encourage you to listen to the podcast, embedded below if you need any clarification. We hope you enjoy!

We are starting the year off on a high note! Dive into the world of cannabis research as Bryan and Kellan talk with Nicolas Schlienz Ph.D. about his work with cannabis.

Nicolas Schlienz is passionate about Eliminating health inequities and barriers to healthcare which is why he joined Realm of Caring as their Research Director.

Listen to today’s episode to hear more about:

Cannabis for PTSD

Endocannabinoid Systems

Tobacco vs Cannabis withdrawal

Clinical cannabis trials

Veterans using Cannabis to treat Vietnam and Iraq PTSD

Cannabinoids as a natural means for relief.

Realm of Caring is a 501(c)3 non-profit redefining cannabis through innovative research, revolutionary education, and empowering global community connections.

Visit realmofcaring.org to learn more.

#cannabiscommunity #cannabis #thc #cbd #weed #medicated #sativa #indica #marijuana #cannabisculture


[00:00:00] Bryan Fields: This is the dime, dive into the cannabis and hemp industry through trends, insights, predictions, and tangent.

[00:00:10] What’s up guys. Welcome back to the episode of the dime I’m Brian Fields. And with me as always is my right-hand man Kellen Finney. And this week we’ve got a very special guest Nicolas Schlienz, research director of realm of caring. Nick, thanks for taking the time. How are you doing today?

[00:00:24] Niclas Schlienz: Doing great. Ah, having me on the show, looking forward to talking about anything and everything about cannabis

[00:00:32] Bryan Fields: Kellan, how you doing?

[00:00:33] Kellan Finney: I’m doing well. I’m really excited to talk some science today. So looking forward to the conversation, how are you Brian

[00:00:39] Bryan Fields: doing well and I just want to let the record state in another east coast area in the field.

[00:00:45] Niclas Schlienz: I was going to say that I was like, it’s just been the last, so many episodes have just been me trying to hold down the west coast,

[00:00:51] Bryan Fields: but I need to go with this here. So let the record be stated. So Nick, before we dive in, I’d love to get a little background about.

[00:00:58] Niclas Schlienz: Yeah, sure. [00:01:00] Born and raised in good old Buffalo, New York. So what comes to mind is, as we were just talking about, you know, before this some great for bowls and cold winters, but did all of my education largely at Buffalo. I completed my PhD in clinical psychology in 2015. And during my time in Buffalo, my research was largely focused on drug addicts.

[00:01:22] But not cannabis at that point in time, it was focused on nicotine and tobacco and looking at, you know, what happens when people abstain from smoking for 12 hours or 24 hours on certain, you know, questionnaires and, you know, laboratory tasks. So you can imagine how great it is to come into a laboratory on a Saturday morning, with someone who hasn’t smoked in, you know, about a day, we’re real thrilled to see you.

[00:01:48] So a big contrast between. That work. And then the work that I would go on to do at Hopkins, which I’ll mention in a moment with cannabis. But yeah, so I really, I was formally trained as a clinical [00:02:00] psychologist, but also as a clinical research scientist. So kind of gives me the best of both worlds where working with patients in know in real-world settings gives me ideas for.

[00:02:11] You know, research and grant applications. Whereas just keeping up with the research and, you know, the current literature helps me stay on top of, you know, cutting edge or just the best treatments available for whatever topic it is that I’m looking at. Following my graduation, I got a Buffalo, nowhere warmer, but I spent a year outside of Boston, Massachusetts, where I did a one year clinical fellowship at the Bedford, Massachusetts.

[00:02:38] And that would be where my, my interests in cannabis began to bud pun intended, you know, as the addiction intern there, I was working with a lot of veterans and beyond, you know, men, women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan that had seen a lot of terrible things. And. As, you know, you’d expect that the most common thing you see that is, [00:03:00] is PTSD.

[00:03:01] And a lot of times there’s, co-occurring substance abuse with that. And, you know, still the gold standard for PTSD is exposure therapy where you, you know, it just sounds exactly like it is, you just , you know, you know, re-imagine different degrees of that trauma or that stressor, you know, to the point where you hope that eventually.

[00:03:24] You know, you don’t have that strong visceral response to it, but as you imagine, for a lot of people, they don’t want to know that that treatment isn’t exactly appealing or sexy to come in at the end of the day. Talk about their time in Vietnam or horrible things seen in Iraq or Afghanistan. So naturally cannabis was discussed, you know, you know, near daily while I was there in 2015.

[00:03:50] And. They were just feeling very strongly about this should be legalized. You know, we made sacrifices for our country, but yet this is still [00:04:00] something that, you know, I can’t have prescribed to me. I mean, let alone at a VA a federal institution, but on top of that, you know, another big complaint was just a lot of these veterans.

[00:04:11] And people that were active duty or on, you know, along this medications. And Manny really did not like that. And they were going after the cannabinoids as an all natural means for, for relief from symptoms, which I can completely understand and, and support. So that shift took me to Hopkins where I was privileged to work with Dr.

[00:04:32] Ryan boundary for three years. And he’s been doing cannabis research. No. At the top of his field for over probably 15 years. And I thought. I thought that there’d be a quick, you know, that the learning curve wouldn’t be so steep for cannabis compared to nicotine and tobacco, you know? And so I’m sure Kalyn and I will chat about it.

[00:04:54] Boy, was I wrong? I didn’t know where to start in terms of like learning. I’m like, do I go into the endocannabinoid [00:05:00] systems by looking at them, you know, the city one and CB two receptors? Like what do I do? There’s, you know, different strains, potencies. But at the same point in time that that overwhelming like need to learn was like so exciting because I felt like there was an opening up this box that no one really knows.

[00:05:15] And admittedly, when people ask me what I do, when I would say smoking research, they’re like, okay, well then we’ll just change topics. When you mentioned cannabis research, you know, there’s usually not in the media topic change, which makes sense for a number of reasons. But at Hopkins, I was just exposed to a number of different populations, but also, you know, studies clinical trials.

[00:05:35] Drug self-administration studies with volcano medical vaporizer. There were also, you know, studies, edibles, brownies. I honestly say this to my friends, you know, and this’ll show my age, but I honestly felt like I was, you know, like the scientist and half past. When I was there because my office was directly across the hall from the research pharmacy.

[00:05:59] So during [00:06:00] those brownie studies in the morning, I could smell them baking in the brownies and I’m like, this is surreal. It was. Fascinating. And then sometimes at the end of the day, the pharmacist would say, Hey, do you want one? And they gave me the first time, but not the second. I’m like, I’m like what?

[00:06:16] They’re like, they’re like, no, there’s nothing in these. I’m like, oh, I’m like, sure. So it was just seeing how fascinating that setting. What was phenomenal, but at the same point in time, I saw how challenging it was to get off the ground, to do cannabis research at the behavioral pharmacology research unit at Hopkins, they have a long history trafficker.

[00:06:39] Investigating every drug under the sun. Now cannabis is still a big one. And then, you know, now more recently psilocybin, but other institutions in places don’t have the infrastructure out of the gates to support that research. So it’s a move to a different position. Oh man, I really was preferring. And still, you know, miss [00:07:00] my time there have great colleagues and collaborators, and then to close out this another long-winded response that took me to Rome.

[00:07:07] While I was at Hopkins, I helped to build a patient research registry, which was tracking people’s use of, you know, myriad number of cannabis products in their national environment, across a range of health conditions. And that’s been ongoing since about 2016. So five years of data. And it’s been very humbling, but also very exciting.

[00:07:29] And yeah, I am now talking to you guys and excited to see what else. I appreciate

[00:07:34] Bryan Fields: you taking us through that backstory. And before we dive into realm, I’d love to stay with Hopkins. So when you got started there, was there a certain project that you, you, you got initiated with? I know you said there was a bunch of different directions you could start with, but can you elaborate on the first

[00:07:47] Niclas Schlienz: project and the first undertaking

[00:07:48] Bryan Fields: you went.

[00:07:49] Niclas Schlienz: Sure. You know, I think one thing that Ryan boundary lucked out to have me there was, was it was a clinical trial. That was actually interesting. It was a clinical trial for individuals with [00:08:00] cannabis use disorder, but I mean, there’s currently no FDA approved. Treatments for cannabis use disorder. She didn’t

[00:08:07] Bryan Fields: elaborate what cannabis use disorder is for those who might not know,

[00:08:11] Niclas Schlienz: learn to like, you know, any other problematic, you know, disorder, but it’s just, you know, characterized by problematic use where that the use is very frequent and interferes with your, your, your, your roles and responsibilities.

[00:08:23] You know, you experienced craving withdrawal syndrome, which people are always like really that existed. I’m like, yeah, it’s a real thing. But it varies. And. You know, so people, yeah, the jury is kind of out, I think, in the, in the lay public in terms of does it exist, but, but anyhow, conducts your question.

[00:08:39] Brian, you know, the study that Ryan I’m going was actually quite neat. We gave people either placebo or. Extended release Ambien to see how that would operate on their cannabis use because insomnia among like, you know, heavy users and even frequent users insomnia is one of the most [00:09:00] highly, you know, endorsed withdrawal symptoms from cannabis.

[00:09:03] So that, I mean, know under that logic, if you target the sleep and other things should kind of fall into place. That’s still, you know, an under analysis, but it was really, really interesting. And we also, another part of that treatment was what’s known as MC management, where you basically pay people for like clean urines.

[00:09:22] And that’s been used for a long time now, especially in the stimulant literature like cocaine, but as you both know, it doesn’t work well with a substance that is heavily lipophilic and stays in your body. For, you know, any number of weeks, depending on how, how often you use, how recently you used, or even like your body weight.

[00:09:45] I had one amazing guy who was great during the study who stopped using, but I think out of, out of the 12 weeks of, of, you know, that that was the duration of treatment, I don’t think he had a clean urine for [00:10:00] probably at least six or eight weeks. Which was it, unfortunately, because he wasn’t being, you know, incentivize for that.

[00:10:07] So that’s still an ongoing challenge in the field. So that was the first study. The second study I was a part of was, you know, comparing smoking cannabis via handheld pipe versus the, you know, the Cadillac that stores in vehicle vaporizer. So that was, you know, one of our, probably most highly cited papers.

[00:10:27] But basically people would come in early in the morning, the conditions were counterbalanced and they would smoke and we’d watch them smoke for the volcano medic. It’s a little more challenging to study that because we got these big balloon bags that, you know, fill up with, you know, the vaporized plant material.

[00:10:46] So there can be a little bit of a haze to it based on like the non, like the non components, like the terpenoids. So we could put like garbage bags over there. But, you know, for both, both conditions, pipe and [00:11:00] Deborah riser, I mean, I think they position, they had to come, you know, consume three bags and the pipe, they had to consume all of it.

[00:11:06] So we had a pharmacist would come and check to make sure that everything was consumed and then they would stay there for the, you know, the whole day in our residential unit. I mean, these people are like, sign me up for this. I’m about it. Take out who’ll play pool, you know, sleep, play video games. And then, you know, they get poked and prodded periodically for like blood to look at different blood levels, some cognitive tasks for like an attention working memory.

[00:11:33] Another, just, you know, drug effects, ratings, and That study I think it was one of my ones I probably enjoyed the most because it was so it’s done really impactful in the field because it just really shows how much stronger the drug effects are for vaporization. Compared to combustible, you know, smoking via pipe where it really becomes really, if you want to make the most out of what you have of your cannabis, you go to vaporize throughout, because it doesn’t have all this extra runoff if you were smoking a pipe, but at the same [00:12:00] point in time, you know, with stronger drug effects that, you know, brings concerns about, you know, impairment and intoxication.

[00:12:08] So those were, those were like, you know, a couple of the two that really stopped.

[00:12:12] Bryan Fields: Let’s talk about realm of caring to be, give a little bit background about how the non-profit works.

[00:12:17] Niclas Schlienz: Yeah, sure. You know you know, essentially. Yeah, this was largely founded by two moms, you know other Jackson and page Figgy who had children that were really having, you know, nightmare of a time with very rare seizure disorders and were looking for some kind of treatments, some, some help, some hope.

[00:12:37] And you know, back when they were approached by the Stanleys, the Stanley brothers who farm Charlotte’s web which is named after the late, you know, Charlotte and Vicki of course. You know, you know, both pages, you know, daughters, Charlotte, and how there’s sons, the Chi had fantastic improvements, you know, in terms of like seizure reduction.

[00:12:56] So the point where, you know, each of these two wonderful moms and strong [00:13:00] mounds were finally being able to like, you know, start out a relationship and learn about their child for the first time. And. I can’t imagine what that’s like, you know, as a parent, but I remember a conversation that I haven’t had there in Montreal, and she just stated, you know, when you finally have that experience of something that works, you want to just, you know, scream from the mountaintops.

[00:13:24] We got to put more time and money and effort into, into studying. And I think, you know, both Heather and Paige are trailblazers. But that’s how rum got off the ground. And to this day it has, you know, three main, you know you know, main aims, which are respect. Education and also advocacy. So I’m kind of the, the guy that’s in charge of the research, but importantly, the, the education, we get a lot of people that call in to our care specialists who just don’t know how to, you know, where to start, they’re thinking about using, but it can be very dark.

[00:13:58] So they give a lot [00:14:00] of great recommendations and support, you know, and what I love about it is is that the recommendations are based on, you know, ongoing, you know, drawing literature. They’re not just what your gut feeling is or your intuition. So it sets people up for you know, hopefully a good experience, but then advocacy again, is really focused on, you know, really trying to de-stigmatize cannabis, you know, and it’s, you know, valuable role as a, as a therapeutic, you know, I think the three of us can all agree that.

[00:14:27] There’s been tremendous reform in the U S that there’s still, you know, some, a lot of states that just aren’t budging. So I think, you know, as, as time passes, you know, our initiatives, that realm and other foundations and institutions will just really help to normalize the use of, of this fascinating plan, going dive

[00:14:46] Bryan Fields: in there, explain a little bit more about how important, the value that realms bringing to the end of.

[00:14:52] Kellan Finney: Well, I mean, when I first got in the industry in 2015 or so, honestly it was really, really challenging to find primary literature, [00:15:00] right? Like you can even look up the boiling point of THC and stuff. The fundamental, like scientific knowledge associated with these chemicals just was lacking. Right? And so research is going to be the most important undertaking for the canvas community, just so we can actually tie hard science to a lot of these anecdotal claims that are out there as far as everyone using the cannabis plant to treat a different illness and coming up with kind of different results.

[00:15:29] And that’s where science comes into play. I’m really curious about your transition from. John Hopkins to a realm of caring. What was that transition like? Because I know it can be kind of a unique experience going from a very formalized Institute to almost just a private non-profit organization.

[00:15:48] Can you elaborate on that transition?

[00:15:51] Niclas Schlienz: And before I do, I just want to say like, you know, what, you just, I couldn’t ascend what you just explained, you know, you know, more eloquently. So I really appreciate just how you summarized the [00:16:00] importance of this work, but it was a bit of a, of a shift, you know, from being at an institution where, you know, the name carries so much cloud.

[00:16:09] You also just go into an office you know, where and moving to a realm where I’m. You know, telecommuting, you know, having met any of my coworkers in person. So I think, you know, I think I’ve been accustomed to just being in my office as you know, during graduate school and post-doctoral training. So it’s not really that different in terms of like doing my work or checking things off the list.

[00:16:33] But it does make me urine for like a time when we can all kind of get back to baseline. And I don’t know, just group experiences are just so much different, you know, even in person. I don’t know if you guys, I think you guys would MJ Biscaro we did. I mean, one of our around staff, Adam Young was just really marketing.

[00:16:52] Man networking in person just is so much better than doing it over the phone or versus zoom. And I can, I can’t [00:17:00] even imagine it’s been a pretty good experience. Kaelin, I think been working on this registry for five years. So there was really no anything new, but I will say, and I think you can probably appreciate this and realm.

[00:17:11] I’ve worked more closely with industry, so Charlotte’s web and some of our other sponsors. And that actually required me to really. Learn a new vocabulary, if you will. Because when I have meetings with various associates at any cannabis or company, they’re not scientists, you know, that I can be talking with sales, marketing associates, you know, you know, each time that each meeting there’s usually someone new and the frame has to be adjusted for that.

[00:17:44] And initially. It was, that was the most challenging experience that I had. I’m like, okay. You know, the CEO, that person, you know, I haven’t interacted with them yet, but their time is money. I’m gonna have to condense, you know, my, [00:18:00] my, my, what I wanna say. Into, you know, like, you know, that elevator pitch, the sales and marketing, I’m going to have to just also break down the scientific jargon and, you know, translate to what it means.

[00:18:12] You know, what do you say to a consumer who calls in? So that’s still an ongoing, you know, area of growth for me. Cause it’s, it’s markedly different than academia industry wants, you know, deliverables. When will you have this paper to us by, and as you both know, you know, just, it’s not like you’re putting something together, like physically just a cognitive labor things to come up and LLCs, you know, go and unexpected directions.

[00:18:38] But I do appreciate this experience because I think it, it helps me. Be more sensitive to, I have all these great findings to communicate and I don’t want to have those be lost by not communicating them in the right way to stakeholders and the public. So I’m mindful of that still, when you share one of those [00:19:00] great.

[00:19:00] Of course our recent work without a registry. Basically the people that are completing this registry are people that have registered with realm of caring. And it’s basically an online survey that contains a bunch of different measures that look at quality of life, anxiety, depression, pain, healthcare utilization.

[00:19:18] So that would include like, ER, admissions, outpatient visits, insurance costs, sick days. And we will also ask about specific products that they were using because as, as Kellen, you know, mentioned, you know, a few minutes ago when this first began 2016, you know, it was like the wild west, you know, in the absence of clinical trials where you can really just have tight control over who you’re bringing in and also what you’re studying.

[00:19:44] You know, we don’t have that still for the most part. So this was an excellent opportunity to. just have real people, you know, compared to your typical clinical trial patient that has to meet certain strict criteria that are using a variety of products for a variety of conditions [00:20:00] telling us the dosing. But importantly also letting us know, like the effects that they’re experiencing those conditions.

[00:20:07] Because a lot of you know, again, we don’t know a lot of that information still, and this data, even though it’s not as rigorous as a clinical trial, Can provide really, really strong insights for future clinical trials. Anyhow with that said, you know, our most recent paper focused on the use of people that were using CBD for, you know, either, you know, as a treatment for anxiety or depression.

[00:20:33] And then we had a control group as well, and it was really unique. But I’ll just drop that real quickly. So everyone completes a baseline survey. Then they go on to have complete additional surveys every three months, you know, invites. So it’s some great longitudinal data, but the anxiety and depression paper, it was interesting because there’s been mixed literature on both worlds in terms of CBD.

[00:20:58] But we found that in that [00:21:00] paper, that at baseline individuals that were using she’s no CBD products. Had significantly lower scores on the depression measure, but that finding didn’t carry over to anxiety. So that was really interesting. A unique part of our design is that like, well, what about people that are not using, but at follow-up start using, like, that might be interesting to look at.

[00:21:25] So we call them initiators and we found that people that baseline, but then began using at a follow-up time. Had drastic reductions in both anxiety and depression. So that was really fascinating to see. And among the people that were using it out of the gates and continue to use at follow-up, you know, the effect was still there, but a little bit weaker folks that didn’t use throughout the entire study had much lower, you know scores for Africa, other measure like sleep pain, quality of life.

[00:21:59] So [00:22:00] that was really interesting to, to see that finding, because again, couldn’t eliminate data out there and a lot of it’s preclinical, you know, the rodent data. So it’s different, you know, going from, you know, like a Rodan, you know, paradigm where they stressed out a rat to looking at, you know, how, you know, help someone that’s anxious for whatever reason or you name it.

[00:22:19] So what do you think the mechanism.

[00:22:22] Kellan Finney: Do you have a theory? I mean, I know that there’s nothing concrete right now, but I’m just curious about how you think that CBD is actually causing that biological.

[00:22:33] Niclas Schlienz: My guess is that, I mean, it’s not so much of a, of a big agonist at, at CB one CB one receptors, but you know, I have to imagine that I think there’s a pretty well known potential interaction or cross-reaction with serotonin.

[00:22:48] So that could be it, but at the same point in time, I don’t know, in terms of like the pharmacological economic mechanisms or even just in neuro you know, physiological mechanisms, I’m not quite sure. But once I saw that you had the [00:23:00] chemistry background and like, okay, I’m going to ask Helen. I’m like, what are some of the slots?

[00:23:07] Kellan Finney: I mean, serotonin has to be what’s going on as far as the depression aspect, right? I mean, positive serotonin or serotonin inhibitors. Right? That’s what most antidepressants are. Correct. I didn’t know. I’m not familiar with the link between depression and anxiety, honestly. I mean anxiety would be, the symptoms would be like increased heart rate, lack of focus, maybe.

[00:23:28] Right. Restlessness is that one, right? So I would say that, I mean, there’s gotta be tied to the endocannabinoid system as a whole, because would you think so?

[00:23:40] Niclas Schlienz: I would definitely think so, because I think, you know, kind of, you know, as a clinical psychologist kind of like the difference, you know, between mood and anxiety, you know, that we’re just talking about, I think with anxiety.

[00:23:49] Yeah. You’ve got a different constellation of symptoms, but I think that fear that dread is much different and much more salient. It brings up. Then depression and, you know, there’s [00:24:00] been a number of studies, ongoing studies where they’ve been looking at, you know, cannabis for PTSD, and that, that kind of speaks to can cannabis help with PTSD by helping to extinguish that fear response via interaction with the endocannabinoid system.

[00:24:18] And there’s, I think there’s some great initial data there, but. Anything canvas, there’s still a, you know, a ways to go, but it’s just not your sense. Was this study, did

[00:24:28] Kellan Finney: you guys just use pure CBD?

[00:24:31] Niclas Schlienz: These were just, you know, whatever people were using. Okay. Yeah. So we, we actually excluded people that were, you know, using pharmaceutical CBD.

[00:24:41] So like the dialects, no, in markedly different from the majority of, you know, CBD products, but by and large, you know, a lot of like isolate use, but also full spectrum products that you don’t see with, like the pharmaceutical grade.

[00:24:55] Kellan Finney: Yeah. And that makes it even more challenging from a poly pharmaceutical.

[00:24:59] [00:25:00] Yeah.

[00:25:00] Niclas Schlienz: So

[00:25:00] Bryan Fields: if I have a product that I use for my anxiety, that helps me, is it safe? Which is probably the wrong word to use if I don’t have that product, but still have anxiety and I’m on the road and I grab another CBD based product. Can I feel comfortable that they’re interchangeable to both treat my anxiety or is that one where there’s other components inside of the products that play a vital role?

[00:25:25] In helping my anxiety really, really,

[00:25:27] Niclas Schlienz: really, really great question. Brian I was fortunate enough to dabble in some, some, some pharmacokinetic work while I was at Hopkins, but you know, it’s still like learning about CBD and the onset of therapeutic effects and how long that takes. It’s still not completely, you know, understood, you know, in general realm of caring and even Charlotte’s web tell our clients, you know, start low, go slow.

[00:25:53] And of course, you know, that would be the case for a lot of anxiety medications. Like here, you have your assets arise. So [00:26:00] yeah, it’s, I mean, I would air, I would, I would, I would play the conservative card and say, you know, I don’t know. I don’t think that we don’t have data right now to suggest that you can just swap one out with the other.

[00:26:10] That’d be really interesting if you could, for a number of reasons, especially. You know, given how much, you know, insurance plans costs and prescription medications. I mean, you can really lower the overall healthcare costs, but I had another different interview a while back where a person had asked her, what if I was trying to stop or discontinue taking benzodiazepines for anxiety and I wanted to use CBD or cannabis.

[00:26:34] What would you reckon? And I said, well, as a, kind of, not a real doctor, I would say in the position, because, you know, benzos, benzodiazepine withdrawal can be lethal. And just, I mean, you gotta like follow the current literature. I think people are really excited about this, but it’s also can be challenging to not know how you can actually use it or maximize the use of it for therapeutic [00:27:00] efforts.

[00:27:01] And. I get that. I mean, as human beings, we wants to fast, you know, like here we are 20, 21, you know, Amazon culture, like you get something like a day, sometimes the same, you know, at Baltimore, you know, the same day. But like, I think to make my childhood of like, you know, Saturday morning cartoons and like whatever, like dumb toy was on there and be like, Call us now and shipping and handling, we’ll be like 15 bucks and you’ll see it in like eight to 12 weeks.

[00:27:26] Yeah. So kind of aren’t fond on unweighting and I think a lot of times we do see people discontinue treatment prematurely now, cannabis and CBD, because they’re not like, you know, where where’s the fact,

[00:27:39] Kellan Finney: doesn’t it take. A couple of weeks for even antidepressants to kick into, once you start anti-depression medication, right?

[00:27:47] It’s not like a light switch where they like take the pill the next day. And they’re like, oh, I’m doing good. Like it, it takes a long time to re reregulate those like biochemical pathways in the body.

[00:27:57] Bryan Fields: I wonder though, if, if people associate the [00:28:00] cannabinoids all together, right. Where like, if you take a hit of a ball you’re instantly high.

[00:28:03] So the same concept. If you consume a cannabinoid CBD, maybe you’re instantly feeling or looking for that same. Fact, which is of course not correct, but also off-putting for the person who is like, I took this, this edible CBD edible, and I feel nothing was like, wow.

[00:28:18] Niclas Schlienz: Yeah. I think there’s some really interesting points in there.

[00:28:21] Continue to be really, you know, not having formal training in pharmacology, but. The route of administration, you know, influence on the type of product being used. I think it’s very fascinating. And I think that’s why, when you look at the marketplace for cannabis, you know, you’ve got edibles, you’ve got tinctures, you’ve got vape cartridges and they all have different, you know, you know, durations up of their, you know, the onset of the drug effects.

[00:28:44] You know, I think now, you know, some of the larger companies have pushed out, you know, CBD vape cartridges. I’m curious how people will respond to that, because I think you would imagine with that rather than ministration bypasses, a lot of things and play has less products, you know? [00:29:00] That’s also lost in the process.

[00:29:01] You’d have just in the stomach and tablets. And so I’m really, really curious, honestly

[00:29:07] Kellan Finney: my experience with CBD and the only time I’ve ever felt, something like for sure that something happened was when I, the CBD concentrated CBD oil. Right? Yeah. And it was instant. Like, I literally felt like my shoulders relaxed, wild, and like I’ve taken CBD pills and it’s just like, it’s like nothing, but it’s the only time I’ve actually ever felt an effect from CBD is.

[00:29:29] Smoking it honestly. And so I’m curious, were you able to look at that data from your guys’ recent paper and notice if the majority of consumers were either like ingesting pills with CBD from an edibles perspective, or was it kind of mixed 50 50 even having. And some of that data,

[00:29:46] Niclas Schlienz: you know, as you want expect, just for given like the nature of like how run with Karen start with like the focus on epilepsy we search, you know, for our epilepsy research, almost the majority is people using tinctures because they’re children, adolescents, [00:30:00] and even with anxiety and depression, it’s, it’s similar.

[00:30:04] It’s tinctures. You’re also seeing what you are seeing planets. And kind of, again, some variations in whether or not it’s balanced in terms of its chemo type or like THC dominant or CBD dominant. So there’s some signal in there, but I think it requires some more, more unpacking because just, I think that’s the challenge of cannabis right now is just the product alone, the plant alone is Incredibly complex in our endogenous cannabinoid system. And then you’ve got route of administration and then you have how the drug is you know packaged like in terms of just edibles. I mean, I learned that depending on the fat content in the product might alter, you know, about the time course of that drug effects.

[00:30:46] And I think that’s now where I think I’ve noticed that some, you know, within the industry, there are, there is a greater focus on the, how to. Maximize, you know, the drug, you know, in terms of its, its onset and not having to [00:31:00] wait. So I’m really curious to see where that goes, you know, could that mean you’ll have some that you can adjust that doesn’t take an hour and a half to take again where it could be, you know, 30 minutes who knows, but I think we’ll probably a lot of great stuff.

[00:31:14] We’ll see, probably very soon with that and excited. John,

[00:31:18] Bryan Fields: I’m going to push back on, on you. When, when I consume CBD it’s because my anxiety is running rampant and in those moments, I’m not looking to feel anything except for not have my anxiety run rampant. So for me, when I take those, those edibles or those consumables, I instantly feel better.

[00:31:34] And wonder if it’s placebo effect, if it’s my breathing, whether or not it matters or not, but I start to instantly feel like calmer. And I wonder if it’s my brain’s kind of kicked into gear knowing. Things are gonna slow down or maybe if it’s all just mental and it’s all just one of my own issues, but for me, I’m not taking CBD to feel I’m taking it to kind of slow me down.

[00:31:53] I mean,

[00:31:53] Kellan Finney: I’m not doctor, but I’m say totally, but like my guess would be like, if you [00:32:00] take a pill and instantly. Feel something from it. And then like, it’s

[00:32:03] Bryan Fields: placebo. When I say instantly, I mean like rather like shortly after, right? Like if I consume that and I go to sit down and my breathing starts to slow down and maybe it’s all mental base, but at that point I don’t really care.

[00:32:16] Right. I’m just looking for some sort of relief to slow it down. Yeah. In those moments before it’s not going so well for me. Yeah. Know what

[00:32:24] Kellan Finney: I mean? Everyone’s different. Right. And this is the whole personalized medicine thing, but yeah, for me, for me personally, smoking it like in a vape pen was the only way I’ve actually felt like the, like the body effects of it.

[00:32:36] Does that make sense? I don’t think, I, I don’t know if I have anxiety, to be honest with you. So like, I don’t know if I’ve ever taken CBD to treat anxiety from that perspective, but I mean, if it works, what are your thoughts?

[00:32:48] Niclas Schlienz: I think you’re both right on the money. I think it’s all of the things that, you know, Brian, you mentioned, and I appreciate you sharing your experience.

[00:32:55] I’ve definitely experienced my share of anxiety in life, especially graduate [00:33:00] school. And I think that I really like the thought about, I think there are expectancies of like, When I take this, there’s a thought, okay, I’ll finally have some relief and whatever expect expectancy. You know how that operates.

[00:33:15] I don’t know that they’ve figured that out, but that’s something interesting. There’s this other, you know, there’s this other, you know construct in the field of psychology, that’s called like distress tolerance. Were just like, it sounds like how much distress can you tolerate. But again, knowing that if you have something available to you versus say not having a pill or edible or anything available to you, there’s like some, there’s some decent, you know, calm and, and just design and knowing like, okay, Right here.

[00:33:45] This I’ve got something I can use it whenever I want. And then I do think, you know, people just respond differently in terms of CBD, you know, people have, we’ll talk about, maybe you have to take it longer for certain, you know, conditions. [00:34:00] But also they talk about how well, what if you stop seeing your response, which could be a possibility because of just, you know, tolerability, but I think combination of, of just product administration, expectancies, just pharmacological mechanisms, they’re all at play.

[00:34:14] And I think that’s the beauty of, of what makes the science. So it’s a really interesting. I shouldn’t say that. Who knows, but we wanted to ask it right. Many,

[00:34:24] Bryan Fields: too many problems. So Nick, what’s one area of cannabinoid research that would surprise or shock the average day individual,

[00:34:35] Niclas Schlienz: in terms of

[00:34:37] Bryan Fields: just anything in your research that you’ve come across that you think would shock or surprise, let’s say an every day cannabinoid.

[00:34:45] Niclas Schlienz: That’s a really good question that I haven’t thought about because, you know, it’s a pretty, like relatively like, you know, nuanced state a little bit with, with brown, but I think maybe I’ll just go back to what I briefly spoke about earlier on with withdrawal again. I mean, you [00:35:00] know, the three of us, we are, we’ve all watched like the classic movies, you know, wait, you’re a guest.

[00:35:05] You know, cheating, you know, teaching John, like, you know, half-baked you name it. But when I got to Hopkins and was learning about canvas withdrawal, I don’t know what the current field is like still. But it was very divided earlier on, but that’s like the early to late nineties bowlers have known that it’s not a thing because.

[00:35:28] Put that against tobacco withdrawal. Obviously we would say, you know, nicotine withdrawal is going to be much more severe compared to, you know, cannabis withdrawal. And then we’ll look at other drugs of abuse, like opioids. Now that’s withdrawal. I mean, you’re talking like extreme GI distress, you know, sleep problems, things.

[00:35:46] I mean, think like, you know, like train spotting, you know, and not to like say that that’s the clinical picture or even cocaine. I think cannabis is withdrawal is closest to. Nicotine, but it still is possible. I [00:36:00] think people are probably not are, are reluctant to believe it because I don’t think your average user is probably using it daily, or even if they are using it daily, maybe they might be, it might be, it’s such a small dose.

[00:36:11] There’s any number of reasons, but you know, it, it’s, it’s a thing that’s been replicated time and time again, it’s different in terms of its onset, where with nicotine, if you don’t have, you know, I’m a former smoker, if you know, phonetic cigarette in an hourly, I would, after an hour begin to feel it. But with cannabis it’s, you know, around like two days is where it begins to peak.

[00:36:31] And then it is, you know, it takes about a month or so to resolve. And you can even have like, just residual, like protractive withdrawal. I bring up the withdrawal because. I think You don’t really hear much about that topic withdrawal, you know, in our current climate of, of legalization and reform, we talk about like the therapeutics and I’m not, and I’m not trying to be like, oh, this is like, you know, gray cloud.

[00:36:54] That’s just like, you know, in a room ruin all the fun, but I, you know, it makes me wonder. [00:37:00] In medical patients, you know, is it possible, w w will you see that? Will you see different withdrawal symptoms based on again, like different routes? Like if you’ve got something that’s vaporizing it versus edibles So I think that’s really, really interesting and intriguing. And again, of all the drugs of abuse, I think that one probably has the least street cred but it’s still an area that’s being targeted for, for treatment. Your favorite.

[00:37:26] Bryan Fields: Minor cannabinoids that you don’t think gets enough love in the medical cannabis.

[00:37:32] Niclas Schlienz: That’s a good one, because this is like a point of, I should say confession for me and the folks that wrong. So you have to understand too, that I have this, this research position there at realm. And then a lot of the other on my amazing staff, Tony Sasha, Adam Zerick bell, and our exit executive director, Steve young, they’ve had all these interactions, but with Fox, they do do seminars, webinars about the latest trends in blogs detailing like the latest results, like your CDG, like Delta [00:38:00] eight and.

[00:38:02] I took it at the time, like a deep breath in, and they’re just like, eh, I guess if I wasn’t a scientist, I wouldn’t be, I don’t wanna say like skeptical, but you know, one thing that I try to do is not just me, but even, you know, Ryan boundary at Hopkins. Cause we, we still collaborate with him. Is there any data, you know, like what does the data say?

[00:38:19] And it’s tough because there’s a wealth of data on, especially just now with CBG, but a lot of it’s almost exclusively limited to pre-clinical model. So how do you extrapolate those effects to human use? I don’t have an answer for you, but it’s just, I mean, it’s just, there’s so many out there and

[00:38:38] Bryan Fields: that you’re like a mother who loves all of her kids eat evenly because we all know that everyone has a favorite.

[00:38:45] Your favorite minor cannabinoid, even if it’s not, if it’s not that

[00:38:49] Niclas Schlienz: unpopular, I’m like, you know, I’m, I’m pretty boring in this, in this space with my, my duties at realm. And even at Hopkins, most of my time is with, is with CBD and trying to figure out [00:39:00] what’s going on with CBD. I think to, to kind of like slightly change your question in cheats.

[00:39:05] I think what really intrigues me are the terminal. As I was leaving Hopkins, that was a study that was starting up of looking at some of the more prevalent ones like Lyman, Nene, and pioneer. The things that use you smell and everyday fragrances, fragrances and products. But I quickly learned how to test those in humans, even though they’ve got this, like generally regarded as safe status with the FDA and it changed the, you know, from like just smelling to just ingestion, it’s a whole new ballgame, but I think, you know, they were doing things, but like

[00:39:41] And I think, I mean, again, this goes back to that the entourage effect are these effects independent or interactive or synergistic? I mean, I believe synergistic, but the data hasn’t been conclusive just yet. So I think, yeah, I don’t know. It’s a weird thing about it. I’m an entrepreneur intrepreneur man and not like a they’re

[00:39:58] Kellan Finney: all there altarpiece.

[00:39:59] [00:40:00] Right. And just assessed with terpene versus a monotherapy. And so it counts. Do you think that the entourage effect or minor cannabinoids have a larger purpose?

[00:40:09] Niclas Schlienz: I think there’s things that we already do that are already available to us that are kind of similar to like the therapeutic value of some of the terpenoids.

[00:40:15] I mean, I think I told, you know, someone pretty recently, like when you think of like a Roman therapy and, you know, aromatic oils, I mean, that’s really not that much different from like what a terpene would confer and it sounds. There’s again, great preclinical work with some of the the terpenoids and anxiety and mood, but I can’t wait to see, you know, you know, more like what’s out there because again, just thinking about the complexities of the plant you commonly hear among recreational users.

[00:40:44] Well, you have the CBD that just balances out kind of like. It has like a protective effect against the THC, but in terms of like the, the other terpenoids, I think what makes it complexity is like, how do you study this in like a controlled, rigorous setting [00:41:00] that can give you like confidence that you know, what your conclusion is?

[00:41:03] And I think that’s why all these studies that need to be done are very piecemeal. It’s like step by step, by step, by step, by step. And it goes slow because of just, you know, the current, you know schedule on the status. It makes it really difficult to pretty much do anything at a fast. So, yeah,

[00:41:18] Bryan Fields: since you’ve been in the cannabinoid industry, what has been the biggest misconception of,

[00:41:23] Niclas Schlienz: in terms of just

[00:41:25] Bryan Fields: what has surprised you the most?

[00:41:27] Or what did you come into the cannabis industry thinking one thing and then figure out really quickly that it was slightly or quickly the

[00:41:35] Niclas Schlienz: opposite. I think coming into it, going back to my original experience with nicotine tobacco, I mean, we’re all. Big tobacco and just there’s really no, there’s no good intent behind them.

[00:41:48] I wondered what it was going to be like with some of these different companies that I was working with. Was it going to be bottom line? I mean, if you think about it, you know, bottom line for any, any company, regardless of what [00:42:00] product they’re selling, you need people to keep coming back. And in terms of like cannabis, you know, it could be the symptoms that, you know, are retractable that keep people coming in.

[00:42:11] Or, you know, I’m just speculating or saying a concrete statement, but you know, what if, what if there’s like psychological, psychological dependence on it, the comfort of it or physical? You wonder, but so far of, of my interactions with, you know, our sponsors, I I’ve been really, really impressed with really trying to meet, to do it right.

[00:42:33] There’s already enough stigma. And if we don’t do it right there, won’t be, you know, more progress in this field in the first place versus like fast and loose with what the research. So, you know, seeing that there’s a great push to reduce human suffering and to provide an alternative treatment that is viable and.

[00:42:54] Has a decent, a side effect profile that really doesn’t compare to compare it to more severe, you know, [00:43:00] drugs that are available for various conditions. So I’ve been impressed by that. Will it stay that way? I don’t know. I’d like to hope so, but we’ll see

[00:43:09] Bryan Fields: predictions. We ask all of our guests, if you could sum up your experience in a main takeaway or lesson learned to pass onto the next generation, what

[00:43:17] Niclas Schlienz: would it be?

[00:43:18] I think one thing that I still. Depending on who I’m with that gets me is, you know, asking why or asking a question. I think a lot of times we just accept things based on, you know, who’s talking, but I think being curious and asking, but, but why, why, why does this happen or know telling more about that? I think that’s important.

[00:43:38] I don’t do that enough because you know, I’m not going to stand up in a conference when some prominent speakers is telling the data, you know, presenting this data. I’m like, why should we care, bro? Like, I’m not going to do that, but you know, there’s more tactful ways to do that. But I think asking why, I mean, fosters that, you know, you know, analytical thought that, you know, you know, really [00:44:00] makes you a good consumer of, of knowledge, but also of products and just other, you know, religions, cultures, creeds, sexual orientations, you name it.

[00:44:08] So I think just being open and asking, learning, and it’s learning that.

[00:44:16] Bryan Fields: We’ve had a breakthrough in cannabinoid therapy sometime in the future. This is where we currently operating. Is it a single cannabinoid therapy or is it a entourage or sec with multiple cannabinoids? That is inducing the fact, which one are you most bullish on making the more impactful

[00:44:34] Niclas Schlienz: short-term? I’d say the ladder.

[00:44:35] Yeah. I mean, maybe, maybe there’s no data there right now, strong enough for the entourage, but I just, I mean, I don’t want to have to say, oh my God, but I just, yeah, I, I think it’s going to be some type of combination treatment where there’s like different, you know, different levels of us to the minor, Kevin Owens and, and major and other, I don’t know, like it just really like how would you describe it in terms of like, Because you had to compare it to a drug that’s currently available on the market.[00:45:00]

[00:45:00] I don’t even know what that would even be comparable to in terms of like calibrating the, you know, the candidates plan for therapeutic use. But yeah,

[00:45:12] Kellan Finney: I would say that it is going to be the entourage effect. I think that if I was a betting, man, I mean, I think that cannabis has the opportunity to pioneer the field of like Paul polypharmacy, right.

[00:45:24] Or multiple. Molecules come in to treat one illness and you see this and the antibiotics world right now, right. Instead of using one antibiotic to go kill, like kind of still on episode, right? One molecule to go in and kill all these microbes or bacteria, if you will now. And then of course some live and you have these superbugs, all these other things.

[00:45:46] What they’re doing now is they’re feeding them like multiple molecules. And so like one molecule may just in here. One specific pathway in the organism. Right. And so it doesn’t kill it, just that one molecule, but then with the other molecule as [00:46:00] well, present the like simultaneous inhibiting of two different things.

[00:46:05] Then causes the microbes to die, which then it’s harder for the microbes to like generate immunity to that. But I think that, like you’re seeing that push to utilize multiple molecules to treat one specific problem in other industries as well. So I think that, I mean, personally, I believe the entourage effect is a thing.

[00:46:26] I mean, I’ve consumed pure or like very, very pure. Cannabinoids a single layer, THC versus for

[00:46:33] Niclas Schlienz: science, for science, all for

[00:46:35] Kellan Finney: science, of course. Right. But versus assuming like a full spectrum oil and the experiences drastically. Right. So there’s something going on there from a, an interaction standpoint. So I, I do think the entourage effect is, is the right answer.

[00:46:50] What are you, what are your thoughts,

[00:46:51] Bryan Fields: Brian? I went into this, assuming the, both of you would take the single cannabinoid bear B, just because as we’ve talked about today, there’s so many [00:47:00] variables that are in place. So I’m a little surprised to be arguing. What I thought was a layup on that direction, but that’s kind of a, a thought for another time.

[00:47:08] We’ve talked today about all the complexities and all the challenges with all the variables. And now we’re adding more variables into the small, the small therapy. So I think a single cannabinoid therapy has less variability between all these other predictability measurements that we talked about and think it’s more likely that the pharmaceutical companies can come in.

[00:47:27] I think Kellen you’ve preached those pretty aggressively that they don’t like variability in their effects because there’s lawsuits. So my thought would be single cannabinoid.

[00:47:37] Niclas Schlienz: It makes a lot of sense, because I think starting out to, you know, to isolate, to like, just for, you know, the standpoint of internal validity and being able to be confident that this is, you know, I’m measuring what I think I’m measuring, right.

[00:47:48] One compound that’s, that’s really important. And I think the one thing that I talk about the people with in terms of. You know, with, with CBD and the regulation of it is just, you know, when you [00:48:00] go to your pharmacy, you don’t have to really worry about like prescription medications by enlarge from one month to the next month, like fluctuations in the active ingredient in your medication.

[00:48:09] Whereas if you have like a mom and pop, you know, curated CBD product, you know, from week to week, if you have a condition that’s severe like epilepsy that needs a stable product, you might not actually have. But you know, that’s a different topic from like single versus, you know, entourage, but I think, I don’t know.

[00:48:26] I could go either way with it. I mean, there’s pragmatic to go with like the single sure. Could you imagine like

[00:48:33] Bryan Fields: someone walking in and be like, I know this is 90% CBD, but like last time it was 3% CBC and now it’s six and a half percent. Am I going to feel a different effect? Like those are the types of conversations that most people don’t walk in when they buy a product, they don’t start asking about some of those lower percentages on the back of the label.

[00:48:47] They’re just kind of assuming that everything is within what they expect it to be.

[00:48:52] Niclas Schlienz: Even, you know, in terms of just personalized medicine, I’ve worked on a number of smoking cessation clinical trials that, you know, looked at [00:49:00] like bupropion, which is marketed as Zyban, but also Chantix. And there’s a lot of even just, you know, genetic factors that cause people to respond differently to different people.

[00:49:12] For example, there’s, there’s known differences between how people metabolize the nicotine patch versus Chantix to the point where it almost came down to you’d go into a CVS or Rite aid and you take out the litmus test to see like, which one should I take Chantix for? You know you know, the nicotine patch for, you know, quitting smoking.

[00:49:31] I could see something similar like that too. In terms of like trying to know estimate or kind of like predict, you know, or tremors. In terms of some just crazy cocktail of just varying levels of everything.

[00:49:46] Bryan Fields: So for Nick, for those who want to learn more about your research and they want to donate and get involved, where can they get in touch?

[00:49:53] Niclas Schlienz: Can, you know, go to www realm of caring.org. We’ve got plenty of great information there. Our blog, our folks, [00:50:00] you know, Sasha, she keeps it does a great job. And, you know, have the finger on the pulse of the industry and trends. So the blog is a great place to learn. What’s, you know, what’s new, what’s novel, but also for the, for the person that’s just like, oh, I’m kind of skeptical.

[00:50:14] You know, we have a huge research library and also a bunch of webinars, because another thing that we didn’t really get to talk about is healthcare practitioners also don’t know a lot about, we’re not taught in school.

[00:50:24] Kellan Finney: Yeah. Right. I mean, it’s the craziest thing. I can’t believe that it’s not taught

[00:50:29] Niclas Schlienz: in medical school.

[00:50:32] Our website on a great information there. And I want to say, like, this has been, I think what, you know, I, I don’t want to offend previous, you know, previous interviewers, but this has been like a really phenomenal conversation and just the way it started before we recorded and I’m like, man, like, I can’t wait to talk to these guys, you know, sending me, you know, Opportunity you know, to speak with you, Lindsey for, you know, going out to you guys cause grasslands.

[00:50:57] Awesome. Thanks for sponsoring the podcast. Lindsey.[00:51:00]

[00:51:04] Bryan Fields: We’ll link it all up in the show notes. Thanks so much, Nick.

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Editors’ Note: This is the transcript version of the podcast. Please note that due to time and audio constraints, transcription may not be perfect. We encourage you to listen to the podcast, embedded below if you need any clarification. We hope you enjoy!

Tech pioneer and industry veteran, Jeff Ragovin share his thoughts on Fyllo, cannabis software and cannabis use in professional sports. Jeff has a proven track record of leading and scaling technology platforms.

Listen to today’s episode to hear:

  • Growing cannabis companies faster with data
  • Providing regulatory changes easily
  • First SaaS solution for the cannabis industry

The Dime is a podcast with industry-leading guests hosted by the co-founders of 8th Revolution. This is the Dime, a dive into the cannabis and hemp industry.


[00:00:00] Bryan Fields: This is the dime, dive into the cannabis and hemp industry through trends, insights, predictions, and tangent.

[00:00:10] What’s up guys. Welcome back to the episode of the dime I’m Brian Fields. And with me as always is my right-hand man Kellen Finney. And this week we’ve got a very special guests. Jeff Ragovin, chief commercial officer Philo.

[00:00:22] Jeff, thanks for taking the time. How are you doing today?

[00:00:24] Jeff Ragovin: I’m doing great guys. Appreciate you having me on the show. Looking forward to a fun conversation. Yeah.

[00:00:30] Bryan Fields: And just for the record, another east coaster in the building, Kellen, how you doing?

[00:00:34] Kellan Finney: I was just going to comment on that. It’s been kind of a theme west coast or east coast, or at least west coast educating

[00:00:40] Bryan Fields: east coast.

[00:00:40] That’s why we do this, right. That part is actually getting edited out. But before we dive in, I think it’d be great for our listeners to learn a little bit about your background.

[00:00:50] Jeff Ragovin: Sure. So you know, I’m kind of a vet in the the ad tech space. So, you know, have been in the, in the tech world for the last 22 years, [00:01:00] kind of.

[00:01:00] You know, wrote all of the the waves. So email marketing then, you know, paid and social you know, co-founded a company called buddy media sold to Salesforce in 2012. Was that Salesforce for about three years, kind of after that, and then just started investing in a lot of very interesting companies, started another business in the content space and then,

[00:01:22] Found myself in the world of cannabis.

[00:01:24] And, you know, it’s been really fun, you know, I’ve a ton of. Extracurricular activities waste your farmer and your shaft. I love to fish. I grow a lot of stuff, including cannabis. So, you know, keep my life very busy lately. And so, yeah, I’ve been in the cannabis world now for the last few years and it’s been a pretty awesome and exciting.

[00:01:45] Bryan Fields: I’m glad you shared that because your successful track record speaks for itself. And I don’t want to understate what your accomplishments are. So I guess my first question to you is after your successful exit to Salesforce, why can’t.

[00:01:57] Jeff Ragovin: It’s a great question, but I kind of looked at cannabis as [00:02:00] this another way.

[00:02:00] Right. So, you know, social, when, you know, people started to flock to Facebook in 2007, it was like, There’s a new frontier here, you know, with cannabis. I kind of look at it, even though it’s a totally different vertical, it’s the same thing, right? I’d say relatively new to the world. Obviously a plant that’s been around for a long time, but I looked at it as kind of a, there’s obviously a big risk of getting involved in something that’s federally illegal.

[00:02:24] So I saw that as kind of an interesting challenge and an opportunity to really kind of go against the stream. So, you know, I would have never, in a million years, never thought that I would be in the cannabis. But here I am and it’s been it’s been pretty awesome every step of the way. So one I’ve kind of

[00:02:40] Bryan Fields: go back to when you first dove into cannabis, he goes into the conversation with Chad Bronstein, the founder, what was his pitch?

[00:02:47] And if it wasn’t Philo, would it be another company in cannabis that you would have.

[00:02:52] Jeff Ragovin: Probably not actually the love that question, you know, Chad and I met at a conference in Dallas and we were both on a founders panel together. [00:03:00] And the panel was really how to, you know, how do you build a company around people?

[00:03:03] How do you go and start it the right way? And it was myself and Chad and one other person. And we just instantly were like fast forward, like after the panel, we’re like, Hey, that was really cool. And I asked him, I was like, tell me what you’re doing cannabis. And he started talking about the business. And at that moment I was investing in a ton of different companies now.

[00:03:21] And so I had sent to them and said, well, you know, what’s the business model. It’s like, well, we’re just kind of getting started. We’re about to close, you know, $15 million seed round. And I’m like, okay, what’s the rapids. He was like, well, we don’t have any revenue. I’m like, okay, well what’s the problem because we don’t have any products in and I’m like, wait, so wait, you’re raising this money with no product and no revenue yet.

[00:03:40] How you know? And so he’s just like, dude, there’s such an amazing opportunity here for, from a technology perspective, to work with these companies, to help them with compliance, to help them with media, to help them. Loyalty and rewards and all those things where we’ve been doing this for years on the tech side.

[00:03:58] But obviously on the cannabis [00:04:00] side, because there’s so much compliance that you have to get through. A lot of people are just like, okay, I don’t, I don’t know what I’m doing here. And so to me that was like a golden ticket. I was like, okay, this is definitely a very interesting and emerging space. And, you know, we just became fast friends.

[00:04:16] Started talking and, you know, two months later I was on board and it’s been a crazy ride ever since we’ve we raised almost a hundred million dollars in the last few years and just close on our series C this week. So it’s been, it’s been quite a week for us. Yeah. It’s

[00:04:31] Bryan Fields: incredible. Over the accomplishment.

[00:04:32] So I want to kind of stay there for a second. Did you know, like in those moments, in those conversations, obviously he’s tantalizing you with some of the concepts. The ability to kind of like put your foot in the ground and then really accomplish another massive, massive growth opportunity. So was there hesitations from you to kind of dive into another

[00:04:49] Jeff Ragovin: startup like this?

[00:04:50] I mean, yeah, of course. You know, I, one, I was just like, do I have it in inmate to do another one? And I think the answer was yes, because I’m a builder. I really liked to be. And [00:05:00] everyone’s telling me, look, Jeff, what you just sold your place in New York and moved out to east Hampton, what are you doing? Why are you doing this to yourself?

[00:05:06] And I’m like, well, for a victory, another victory, right. And you know, kind of another very challenging vertical to conquer. You know, I think one of the biggest things that kind of crossed my mind was shit. This is federally illegal. Like, how am I going to move into a space? That is, I mean, this is a, this is a different territory, right?

[00:05:26] This is totally different than anything I’ve ever done in my career. But I saw that as a really unique challenge. Right. And I’m like at this stage of my life and the success that I’ve had, I’m like, I have nothing to fucking lose zero only to gain. So I’m like, you know what, this’ll be a fun task. And you know, I think coming on board, I was like, wow, there is a lot to learn.

[00:05:46] You know, just even something simple. Like what’s an MSO, what’s an SSL. Like these are things you don’t hear every day. Obviously we talk about it now every minute. But I think on the compliance side, I was literally like, whoa, you can’t do this in this jurisdiction. You [00:06:00] can’t do this. And this. And I saw that as a very interesting opportunity to really kind of thrive with technology, to make people’s lives easier.

[00:06:09] And of

[00:06:09] Bryan Fields: course, as you’ve found out, everything in cannabis is just harder. So let’s talk about the value that filo brings to the space. Can you kind of share, you know, what the role they play in the industry?

[00:06:19] Jeff Ragovin: Yeah. You know, what we’re doing right now is kind of interesting in the sense that we are. We look at ourselves as, you know, a compliance cloud stack, if you will.

[00:06:28] We essentially have four main foundations of our business, right? So we have kind of at the base of everything we do is our regulatory database. So we bought a company a couple years ago called Canada. We rebuilt it, we restructured it and it’s essentially every single statute ordinance tax map, text grid, you name it, anything you need.

[00:06:49] If you’re a plant touching company, you’re looking literally at a thousand sites to find the information, we bring it all in one place. Right? So our regulatory databases, you know, law firms use it. [00:07:00] MSOE is using SSOs, use it delivery like any operators. And it’s just a very easy task based product that kind of has tendrils into our other businesses too, you know, but we have a full-scale media activation business.

[00:07:14] It’s what many of us have done in our careers. And it was kind of a big gap in a lot of these cannabis companies. They were like, yeah, we’re just doing billable. Or we’re just doing, you know, a page in a magazine. It’s like, well, why aren’t you doing digital programmatic? Oh, well, it’s just too difficult because this creative can’t run here and this creative camera in there, and like, we’re going to help you.

[00:07:32] We’re going to utilize our regulatory database to understand what we can do with creative and how to deploy. And so now it’s super turn key. So we have immediate division that we really help people, you know, drive consumers into their stores and dispensary’s, we have a full-scale data business. So essentially we have millions and millions and millions of consumers and what they’ve transacted.

[00:07:53] And we model that data so that we could market to those people in a very effective way. So a multi-state operator might [00:08:00] say, Hey, I just have a store opening in Boston. And I want to drive people who have spent $150 or more on edibles and watch Netflix and shop at target. We can drive that very specific user into that store.

[00:08:16] And show the attribution if they convert. And that’s kind of groundbreaking in the sense that we can really drive through all the normal digital channels that you would do if you were a major brand like P and G, just because you’re a cannabis operator doesn’t mean you can’t do it. We acquired a company in February of this year called data owl and data owl is really it’s our promotions engine side of the business.

[00:08:38] So loyalty rewards, text messaging. Really, once we drive a consumer into the store, And then they start to convert and buy things. We could look them into the, you know, rewards program at that specific dispensary. We can literally target people based on their birthdays if they haven’t come to the store for 30 days.

[00:08:59] So it’s [00:09:00] kind of a closed loop, right? Here’s the media, we drive them in there. We get them to convert and now they’re on, on the technology side. And so it’s an interesting business in the sense that we have many clients that use us for the regulatory side that use us for the promotions. And they also use us for media.

[00:09:16] And as we kind of have just done our series C you know, we’re going to be looking into, you know, further expansion into, you know, buying other companies from an M and a perspective going into 20, 22. What else can we create in our stack, if you will? I think a lot of companies right now, they literally are using company a for this company B for that company C for that.

[00:09:36] And it’s like, why have three contracts with three different vendors when you could do it all in one place? I think that’s

[00:09:41] Bryan Fields: so important. And so understated just from the challenges that everyone faces. And I love the, the building of the ecosystem model, getting a, a partner in ones and then letting them use out the different deployments of the verticals in order to keep them kind of continuing on and success.

[00:09:55] And before we dive into the fun parts of the data for, from my perspective, I want to go to Kellen from a [00:10:00] regulation standpoint, because. We’ve had conversations with operators who are just blown away with the challenges, the licensing and the regulatory issues, because it’s not just a fundamental state difference.

[00:10:09] It’s down to the local jurisdiction and understanding which ones are opting out. So Kaelin this tool that they’re providing for and the value, like how, how much of it. Valuable to exist for some of the people in this space.

[00:10:21] Kellan Finney: I mean, I think it’s probably the most valuable tool for anyone looking to get in the space or anyone looking to expand as far as the compliance goes.

[00:10:27] I mean, we were talking with someone earlier today, actually who runs a vertically integrated operation in Florida. He, we were kind of chatting about the east and the west coast differences and they had some, a brand out from the west coast that was like, have you guys never heard of billboards? Like, why don’t you guys advertise on billboards?

[00:10:45] And he was like, well, in Florida, that’s illegal. And so like that right there, the fact that like that information isn’t even readily available. I mean, I can’t even imagine how valuable. That data set is to operators in the space that are looking to expand in a [00:11:00] new expand into new states. But when I heard about it, my thought was, how valuable has that been for you guys to kind of funnel everyone else into those other verticals that you mentioned?

[00:11:12] Jeff Ragovin: Yeah, I mean, it’s so critical. I mean, I think every day you have some clients, managers, lawyers, you know, they’re literally trying to keep up to date with things that are changing literally. And that means they need to understand, you know, everything from, you know, advertising and marketing rules and regs on a state level all the way doing jurisdictional level.

[00:11:31] Think about like the state, like Michigan, they have like 1300 jurisdictions, but all have different rules and regs. Like how do you operate in the state like that? You need literally access to all of those jurisdictions in one place, you know, applications, licensing, banking or emerging markets, you know, General regulatory issues, packaging and labeling you know, prohibitions production, social equity.

[00:11:57] I mean, there’s so many categories that you have to stay [00:12:00] abreast on and you know, most of the time we will actually surface this information in the platform before it’s even available. So people are like, how did you know about that? Well, we have built technology that finds. You know, pieces of information, indexes it.

[00:12:13] And sometimes we even have an analyst that has to pick up a phone and call, right? Because it’s not available for the public yet. We have so much data in the platform itself. Even my team is using it for commercials. You know, if somebody gets a license, our platform is picking it up. And so they’ll call and say, Hey, did you know that there’s two other licenses available, you know, in the town next door or three towns away.

[00:12:33] And they’re like, who are you? And how did you get my information? And we’re like, incredible. We used our platform too. And you too could be using it as well. So, I mean, I think. Just like a research perspective. Even if you have a competitor that’s kind of emerging in your market, you want to know what they’re doing.

[00:12:50] Did they get real estate in the same jurisdiction? Are they applying for a certain permit? That’s all in the platform. It’s really powerful. Is it global or is it just [00:13:00] focused on the us markets? So right now it’s only in the U S just because even the U S to cover all of the states is the plans to bring this to, you know, Canada in Europe, as this, as things are really starting to accelerate.

[00:13:14] But right now we’re really kind of Uber focused on the U S today virtually so competitive

[00:13:19] Bryan Fields: intelligence as well, though. Like from a comparative standpoint, obviously the MSO is, are all competing for massive growth and sometimes their strategic positioning themselves in different spots specifically here, maybe an east coast, because from a competitive intelligence standpoint, that’s gotta be so valuable for them to have actual

[00:13:34] Jeff Ragovin: infamous.

[00:13:35] Oh, it’s massive. I mean, the great thing about the platform is that it’s completely customizable. So no single person is using it the same way. We have all these really cool dashboards that you set up and you can create your own query. So I might say, Hey, you know, tell me one, tell me when MSO ax ever comes up in search.

[00:13:55] And that will ping me through email and saying, Hey, Jeff, so-and-so just applied for a license [00:14:00] or so-and-so is opening up a new store or so-and-so just filed for this permit. And so that gives me a very unfair bandage, you know, to really kind of act quickly before something that might impact my business does, I would say the bulk customization aspect of the platform is really powerful for a while.

[00:14:17] Do you guys

[00:14:17] Bryan Fields: have

[00:14:18] Kellan Finney: analysts that also kind of provide some reason to the rhyme as well. And if you’re just an operator, that’s just looking at all of this information. Can they pick up a phone and be like, Hey Jeff, why do you think that MSOX is now buying land in. Kansas.

[00:14:33] Bryan Fields: You know what I mean?

[00:14:34] Jeff Ragovin: We don’t offer that just because our farm would be ringing hospitals and we do, we should, we do wanna, you know, look at ourselves as a technology company that we have a very large team of analysts that is actually working in the platform where they’re actually creating briefs.

[00:14:49] So something comes in through the. It index, it kind of organizes it. And then the analyst is like, okay, I’m going to create a summary here. So lawyer acts at this company, doesn’t have to read [00:15:00] 500 pages. I’m going to give them a quick kind of excerpt that if they want to continue reading on. The analyst in there to make sure everything is sorted correctly and there’s no issues or, you know, the technology itself is really doing the legwork.

[00:15:13] And then the analysts are really making it just easier to read because some of these pages are like, you know, some permit processes are 150, 200 pages long who has the time to read through everything. So it’s kind of, you know, it’s interesting. I think for us, we’ve seen the cannabis world itself has really.

[00:15:31] You know, for this platform has been amazing. So we’re in the process right now, actually launching five new verticals going into 2022. So everything from short-term rentals to cryptocurrency, to micro mobility, we know that other highly regulated industries are also going to need something like this at their fingers.

[00:15:49] How

[00:15:50] Bryan Fields: in real time is the information updated, easy condom, almost up to the minute. Is there like a lag 15 minute period? Is there some sort of estimate that goes into that? Yeah, I mean,

[00:15:59] Jeff Ragovin: we [00:16:00] have basically the technology. And literally finds information on where everything is housed every single day. So, you know, it’s not pinging like every two seconds, it’s pinging multiple times a day and pulling that information in.

[00:16:13] So generally let’s say there was a meeting that just got set up for next Thursday and it literally just went live. We’ll bring that in. Somebody will get an alert right at that moment saying, Hey, there’s a new meeting for Riverhead on a possible. A use case for recreational consumption. Everything has alerts tied into it so that the user doesn’t have to constantly log into the platform and look sends them an email first.

[00:16:37] And then there’s a direct link that brings them into the platform for ease of use. Beautiful. This

[00:16:42] Bryan Fields: is something that’s really relevant for you. We’ve sent it to you. If you want to continue on the evaluation, come back to the platform. It’s a perfect way to continue the cycle of.

[00:16:51] Jeff Ragovin: Exactly. We’re really kind of, I’d say we’re saving people so much time.

[00:16:55] I think that like

[00:16:56] Bryan Fields: understated to tell him one time sent me a government [00:17:00] document and I asked him a question he’s like, it’s somewhere in here. And it was 212 pages. And I was like, this will take me forever to find maybe one sentence. So just understanding that concept would save me a forever amount of time.

[00:17:12] And I couldn’t like it. When you say saving time, it’s almost understating how much time it’s actually. Like I went to

[00:17:19] Kellan Finney: go do some like a preliminary background research for an individual who is interested in the Florida market. And I was just like, naively, like, oh, I’ll just go read the applications from all of these 13 companies.

[00:17:31] Right. And I started downloading some of them and they was like, the application was 800 pages and I was. I’m going to read the application and then I have to go read the regulations that

[00:17:40] Bryan Fields: they drafted this application to meet.

[00:17:43] Kellan Finney: I was like, whoa, I think this is a little more complicated than just one guy setting off on this.

[00:17:49] Jeff Ragovin: Yeah, I think too. I mean, one of the other things guys, that’s so kind of critical is that because this space is rapidly changing so much and you know, you have more states that are coming on board, more jurisdictions [00:18:00] that are taking part, like, I think in a single month alone. And we did some of these, this analysis.

[00:18:05] You know, there’s like hundreds of guidance documents that come out. You know, 40 policy changes to executive orders, you know, three ballot measures, 17 enforcement actions. Like this happens every month, right. And then there’s like 300 legislative updates. Like in order for you to keep track of that, you really got to make sure that you have, you know, access and you have a pulse on where that information is.

[00:18:28] Otherwise. I mean, I can’t imagine having to do the research to find it just because there’s so many. You know, municipalities and there’s so many different, you know, government sites, you need to hire a full-time person. Yeah.

[00:18:41] Bryan Fields: Yeah. And I think it just expand on that. Cause we both been on that rabbit hole was that the client, sometimes expectations goes how hard could really be to find this information.

[00:18:49] And you’re like, well, it’s not hard to find the information. It’s hard to find the answers to the question in the,

[00:18:55] Jeff Ragovin: I mean, listen, it’s all out there. It’s like, Hey, we have like, you know, the secret [00:19:00] sauce, you know, wherever it’s all publicly available information, but you’re talking thousands of documents literally on thousands of different websites.

[00:19:10] Do you guys to, like, if

[00:19:11] Bryan Fields: you query

[00:19:11] Kellan Finney: that you guys then download that information and keep it

[00:19:14] Bryan Fields: in your own data powerhouse.

[00:19:16] Jeff Ragovin: So I was just going to tell you guys that too, sometimes things are removed once they’re in our platform, they’re there for him. Yeah. Oh, that’s

[00:19:22] Kellan Finney: smart because there’s so many governments

[00:19:23] Jeff Ragovin: can pull down and edit stuff, pull stuff down and they’re like, oh man, where is that?

[00:19:27] I don’t know where it is. They took it away. We have a record of everything. Yeah. Everything. And we go back years, years, and years and years. So you could go through the. You could see everything that’s going on. I mean, it’s really powerful stuff that is

[00:19:40] Kellan Finney: super powerful, just a small

[00:19:42] Bryan Fields: amount of data to slightly switch gears, mainstream brands that want to be in front of cannabis.

[00:19:47] Consumers. Can you share more about how Philo.

[00:19:50] Jeff Ragovin: Yeah. So basically what we’re doing on the data side is, you know, obviously through our acquisition of data owl and various partners, we have access [00:20:00] to a ton of data, all transaction data across different products, different states, different genders. So if you think about it, just from a segment perspective, let’s say someone’s like, Hey, we have a new CBD product that we’re looking to.

[00:20:15] We want consumers who have purchased CBD in the past because they’re educated. I’m sure you guys know this, but like CBD products or the farm bill being, you know, everywhere, you could buy it in the gas station, you could buy it, you know, your local convenience store. And some of those products are not very good.

[00:20:29] And somebody who has never actually purchased CBD is not educated. So they might’ve tried it. And they’re like, Hey, this stuff doesn’t work. Right. It doesn’t do anything for me, but it could be just a very bad product. We have the ability to really target consumers who have purchased a CBD in the past that are educated and that know, but we actually segment those, you know, profiles.

[00:20:49] You know, from a CBD perspective, we can get all the way down to beverages, edibles, extracts, concentrates, flower pills, pets, [00:21:00] topicals, vapes. I mean, there’s even just CBD there. It’s so wide. If we wanted to target consumers who have purchased edibles, we have data on, you know, candies choose chocolates, baked goods, mints snacks, you know, let’s goes on.

[00:21:12] And we actually have that by transaction type. We had it by, you know, city and state. And then we infuse it with, you know, all the normal psychographic and demographic data that you could target today through an Axiom or an experience or a Foursquare. Right? So, you know, people who go to McDonald’s people who are into, you know, diet health and weight loss, people who shop at target, people who watch squid games on Netflix.

[00:21:38] And we essentially infused them. With the cannabis state. So, you know, a traditional brand, let’s say like an Uber eats. Who’s one of our customers they’re buying our data in various markets. Cause they’re like, Hey, we want to actually target consumers for a transacting with any type of cannabis product, because one, we know that they’re spending.

[00:21:58] And not savers. Right. [00:22:00] And we know that they’re probably going to be hungry if they’re transacting with cannabis. So this could be a unique opportunity at that right moment to infiltrate them with a display ad or connected TV or out of home or whatever it might be. We work with a ton of companies in the, you know, alcohol and beverage, you know, beer space.

[00:22:17] And many of them were like, we know that, you know, more and more people are trying cannabis. We know more and more people who are curious are now avid users. So they’re playing defense, right. They might be launching a new product. They want to be able to get in front of a cannabis consumer one, because they’re probably more apt to try something new, but also they have to play defense because I know a lot of my friends were like, yeah, I don’t drink anymore.

[00:22:40] I just take it out. And don’t have a hangover, right? That’s a bit, there’s a big movement there that’s happening. But I think also on the flip side, you know, and I try to really get this across to a lot of these CMOs of, you know, pretty large brands out there where they might say, Hey, we don’t want, we don’t really want to do anything with cannabis because we’re [00:23:00] conservative.

[00:23:00] And I’m like, okay, but you’re not doing anything with cannabis. You’re just targeting a new consumer. It’s a new occasion to market someone that you haven’t thought about before, and by the way, they might be a new homeowner. Right? So if you’re a home goods store, like, or you’re a home Depot, why not be able to, you know, have an ad that you’re intersecting with a cannabis consumer again, because we know for a fact that they spend, they have a new house and it’s another segment that you never ever thought.

[00:23:29] No one’s ever thinking like, yes, let’s go. And, you know, try to you know, convert a cannabis consumer to our website. It’s just everyday people like you and me, right? Many of us are successful. We built companies, we sold companies. We happen to use cannabis for whatever it might be in our lifestyle. And we’re very good customers to target.

[00:23:47] So I feel like this year alone has been pretty amazing cause we have four and a half thousand advertisers, mainstream binders. That’s awesome brands that you would never even think about. Like even pharmaceutical companies are [00:24:00] now buying it. Cause they’re like, oh, we definitely want to be able to target people who have arthritis or elements or have chronic headaches and migraines.

[00:24:08] You know, try to get them to try our product, right. Because maybe they’re using cannabis to help offset their. Yeah, it’s an interesting time. All the QSRs they’re loving it, then they’re smart. Right. As they should. When you

[00:24:21] say

[00:24:21] Bryan Fields: QSRs, just explain for our listeners.

[00:24:23] Jeff Ragovin: Oh, so QSR is like quick serve restaurants.

[00:24:26] So just think about like all the fast food places they’re like, yep. That’s our consumer and we’re going to target them and it’s working really well. I

[00:24:35] Bryan Fields: don’t want it to go on to say that you use the word infused there. I thought it was perfectly implemented inside. So my question would be so just make sure I understand.

[00:24:43] If someone is searching for sleep products, right? Then they can be targeted with, let’s say an educational campaign based on CBN, and then correlate it back to let’s say more CBN based products to help with sleeping and then pharmaceutical based companies or Johnson and Johnson based companies can then use [00:25:00] programmatic advertising in order to be in front of them continually with competitive products.

[00:25:03] Is that how.

[00:25:05] Jeff Ragovin: Yeah. So I think CBN is a perfect one, right? Obviously, you know, I’m using a number of products right now with the half CBN because I can not sleep. Like, I mean, I never could sleep. I think it’s just, my brain is always going and, you know, we work 24 7. So I definitely, you know, I’m using those types of products, but, you know, based on that transaction data, like maybe Santa Fe wants to target me with an ad for MB right now, obviously from my own personal standpoint, I’m trying to not take any time for prescription medications at all.

[00:25:34] And that’s why I focus on plant-based medicine. But for a lot of other people, they might be like, Hey, that works. I’ll try it. So it’s, it’s a great category for so many different reasons. It’s not like, Hey, it only works for food. Or, Hey, it only works for a convenience stores or, Hey, it only works for alcoholic.

[00:25:52] It works really for every it’s fun

[00:25:55] Bryan Fields: trends in markets by location for let’s say search history [00:26:00] on certain cannabinoids that are rising and popular.

[00:26:03] Jeff Ragovin: We do have search data, for sure. I think where we’re really trying to focus our efforts is strictly on the transaction. Right? Cause we know that they’ve already converted.

[00:26:11] We know that they’ve already purchased so less about say intent and more about, we know this actually driving decision. Exactly. And action. Exactly. So, you know, I think also on the fitness side, that’s probably one of the biggest rising categories. We recently did a pretty large campaign with city row, super interesting company.

[00:26:31] They’re kind of, you know, pretty much like the next Peloton, but for indoor. So they have seen the I’ve seen that they have studios and then they have an at-home rower really beautiful screen. I’m also an investor in the company for years now with them. And I was just like, Hey, this is a really good opportunity for you guys to really target people who we know are converting on the CBD side, because they’re taking CBD for muscle recovery for holistic health healing.

[00:26:57] And so the goal of that is really to drive [00:27:00] conversions with at-home right. And we saw a huge lift there. And so there’s just so many other sports related companies. I mean, think about golf. Golf is a huge, huge category. Not just for people who might be smoking a Doobie on the course, but also people are taking it for arthritis, for muscle recovery.

[00:27:17] There’s so many golfers now who are behind a CBD brand. You know, they’re putting their name on it cause they’re like, yeah, this is really, this is good for you. And it’s good for your body. It’s good for your joints. It’s like cannabis is infused into everything we do now, which is just, I feel like the last year, we’ve just seen so much critical attention to it, which has been great for our business too second.

[00:27:37] I’m sure. And the more

[00:27:38] Bryan Fields: data you have, the way you can make better decisions. And I think the way you’ve kind of structured the core concepts allows for not only people inside the space to make valuable decisions, but also outside, which is only just helping individuals. I’ll move

[00:27:52] Jeff Ragovin: forward. Yeah. I think even by the way, we wouldn’t talk about it, but the entertainment category is huge.

[00:27:56] Right? So like people who are streaming, you know, they’re looking to like [00:28:00] watch movies you know, the weekends and hang out. And a lot of them also like happened to recreationally use cannabis because it enhances their experience or gamers even. Right. Huge, huge category. Right. And I think, you know, I was recently talking with Pepsi mountain.

[00:28:18] And they just launched a completely new product called it gets rise. I think that’s the name of it, but they’re focused all on gamers, right? A hundred percent. They happen to also smoke a lot of cannabis.

[00:28:29] Bryan Fields: They do. I might just dispel that myth. I don’t think cannabis helps your gaming. Maybe that’s just me personally, but I have not found that to be a performance enhancer.

[00:28:38] Jeff Ragovin: Yeah. I mean, listen, that all these studies are saying it is probably not for me. I’ve tried for years. Yeah. I don’t listen. Cannabis does not give me any performance enhancement whatsoever. Like say a lot of people are like, oh, it makes me more creative. And I could write not for me. I go to sleep. It doesn’t matter if it’s whatever the strain is.

[00:28:56] If it’s into TIVA, I go to sleep, period. [00:29:00] I think it’s the way my body is just the way that it metabolizes cannabis. Like I use it for sleep and that’s pretty.

[00:29:07] Bryan Fields: I was the same way. And then I found a certain product category to certain timing with like a certain kind of diets at Teri reason. And I would then get that uplifting feeling.

[00:29:16] So it was hard for me to find as well, but it’s definitely one of those where you got to kind of tweak the variables inside to try to find that that combination for you. It’s

[00:29:23] Jeff Ragovin: also like everyone’s different, right?

[00:29:25] Kellan Finney: Personalized medicine, all that stuff. So

[00:29:27] Bryan Fields: it’s going to

[00:29:27] Jeff Ragovin: act differently.

[00:29:28] Bryan Fields: So recently on a podcast, I heard you say creating content through people.

[00:29:33] How do you mean that can be beneficial for cannabis? I’m trying to think where I

[00:29:37] Jeff Ragovin: said

[00:29:37] Bryan Fields: that on a podcast that was a really bad set up. You were talking about the aspects of marketing for a cannabis company, and you were emphasizing the importance of creating content through, through individuals, with people in reference for podcasting and other content

[00:29:50] Jeff Ragovin: models.

[00:29:51] Yeah. Again, I’m trying to remember. I speak all day long. So I’m trying to remember what the context of it was. You know, creating content through people. It could have been my [00:30:00] last company to where we had a full-scale content platform that people would create content on behalf of the brands and the brands would then utilize that in their paid athletes.

[00:30:10] Right. So if I like a product and I’m creating content around it, right. You know, somewhat influential in the sense. Right. And not paid of course, like if I really like a product, I’m going to talk about it to my friends right now. We are all influencers in our own sense. Like we influence our friends and families and buy things based on, on extreme.

[00:30:29] So for me, if I happen to be taking a product with, let’s say CBN and I did recently have, it was a great product figures, CBD distillery. I bought it from there and like, I would totally post about it for friends who also can’t sleep and say, Hey, if anyone’s tried this or hasn’t tried it yet, this is a really good way to get a good night’s sleep.

[00:30:47] So I feel like influencing others through something that you might be putting out. Or a story or an update, obviously with a lot of the social platforms. There’s a lot you can’t do with marketing, right? So Facebook, [00:31:00] Instagram, Google, they don’t allow any cannabis operators to do any type of paid you know, ads.

[00:31:06] And so it’s almost important to rely on people until that opens up until it’s federally legal to have them actually talk about products that are good. And that’s why I wanted you to

[00:31:15] Bryan Fields: expand, because I think that’s so important because we’ve had contacts with operators in the space and they’re looking to kind of do raise brand awareness.

[00:31:21] And they’re wondering, do I do social media? And then, you know, you turn on the news and you see purely a Boston Instagram, because it gets down. And it’s just one of those we’re investing in that platform when there’s all these other challenges, creating content through individuals around, let’s say educational stuff or podcasting, or just reviews on products can be so beneficial for raising that brand.

[00:31:41] Jeff Ragovin: Yeah. Well, I think too, I mean, listen, I, so I have a show called alchemy, you know, I released an episode every week and it’s with so many different, you know, types of cannabis operators, like MSOE, SSOs, dispensary’s celebrities, like recently had Mike Tyson on, you know, he obviously just launched Hyson 2.0 Al Harrington, right.[00:32:00]

[00:32:00] He just sold his company, Daniel Cursillo, who started off really, you know, he was a two time Stanley cup champion. He started off in the CBD. You know, he’s the founder of we sauna, which is all around, you know, medicine around psychedelics and psilocybin that are helping, you know, treat traumatic brain injury.

[00:32:16] And so I feel like podcasting today is so critical because we are educating the world on all these amazing benefits of plant-based medicines in so many different businesses. Right. I think it’s, it’s a critical time for us, you know, you guys as well, obviously having your show, getting out there, talking to people, showing the value of what’s happening and that this is.

[00:32:37] I, this is a true, not just a business, but this is a true life changing opportunity for a lot of people. Let’s switch gears, Wilson. Yeah, really well. So we’re going to switch gears. We’re going to do a little rapid fire. Okay. I do that all the time with people. It’s funny to be on the other side. You’re going to be on the other side.

[00:32:52] I have one

[00:32:52] Bryan Fields: question I’m ready to send you, but the first one is second favorite sports activity.

[00:32:57] Jeff Ragovin: After fishing, I was going to say fishing. Second [00:33:00] favorite, I’d say paddleboard. Cannabis product

[00:33:03] Bryan Fields: category. You’re most bullish on for growth over the next five years.

[00:33:07] Jeff Ragovin: So I’m just learning about this, but I’m completely fascinated.

[00:33:11] But what is a THC V? What I reading is that it’s like Adderall, but healthy, right? It does curb your appetite, but it’s really good for focus. And so I haven’t tried it yet, but neither, I feel like the last month everywhere I go from here. Everywhere. I go, I’m reading about it, but I’m definitely going to try it.

[00:33:29] And I definitely, I was on Adderall at one point in time, you know, years ago. And I hated it because it was, I didn’t like the way it made me feel, but it did make me focus. So I think this could be, I could be a breakthrough operative.

[00:33:42] Bryan Fields: And I think if you use the marketing slogan, Adderall, but healthy and then target, let’s say college campuses

[00:33:51] will crush

[00:33:52] Jeff Ragovin: it. Right. Exactly.

[00:33:54] Bryan Fields: As a home cook infused

[00:33:56] Jeff Ragovin: meals or no, you know, not infused. [00:34:00] I mean, like I’ve made some edibles before, but I just kind of feel like it’s just the amount of time that it takes for something infused to hit. It’s kind of like, well, don’t you want to enjoy it either when you’re already high or, you know, then you’re eating it and then you’re high later.

[00:34:17] I don’t know. It doesn’t, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. How useful would you

[00:34:21] Bryan Fields: be in a zombie

[00:34:22] Jeff Ragovin: apocalypse? Oh my God. I ask this question all the time. I want to know you, you never answered. This is my favorite question I ask all the time. I’ve asked it probably to four or five guests. So if there was a zombie apocalypse, would I be a good teammate?

[00:34:40] Is that what you’re saying? Yeah. I mean, you’ve asked, you’ve

[00:34:42] Bryan Fields: asked all of your guests and they’ve all responded. So I need to know

[00:34:46] Jeff Ragovin: I would be the number one, right? Because, well, I’m not that fast anymore, but I used to be fast, but listen, I could book for, I could cook for everyone so I could feed you. I am.

[00:34:56] I’m a gardener so I can grow. I’m a fisherman so I could hunt. [00:35:00] And I can kick the shit out of zombie. So I feel like I would definitely be a good teammate. And then, you know, if I was the last one standing and somebody else was there, I have really big cabs. So I could always give a calf to someone to eat.

[00:35:12] If there was. Well, I would re I would give a leg away very heroic. I didn’t expect that last part. Yeah. So, but yeah, that’s so funny. You know, I had a guest on the show two years ago, a week before COVID and I asked that question and I just had her back on two weeks ago. And I released the episode two weeks after COVID and it was kind of weird timing because we weren’t talking about COVID and it was kind of, we did have a zombie apocalypse, so to speak.

[00:35:40] Right. So, yeah. Good times. Good times. So one

[00:35:45] Bryan Fields: more question for you, and then we’ll dive into some of our predictions,

[00:35:49] Jeff Ragovin: future roadmap. Yeah. So I feel like, you know, I mean, we’re already moving into 20, 22, like in a month. So with our current, you know, series C, we just raised 40 [00:36:00] million on Tuesday. So we are definitely going to be out there looking at, you know, more M and a activity and expanding, you know, our compliance cloud offering.

[00:36:09] There will definitely be some activity coming down the line without a question. So

[00:36:13] Bryan Fields: since you’ve been in the cannabis industry, what has been the biggest misconstrue.

[00:36:17] Jeff Ragovin: I would say the biggest misconception, I think is just the general population thinking about, you know, cannabis and being stoned, like stoner mentality.

[00:36:26] And I find it’s completely opposite. Right? I think people are sophisticated, you know, business types that utilize it for so many different reasons. But I think that is definitely a misconception that it’s definitely starting to go away. It’s still there. Right? There’s still some people like, oh yeah.

[00:36:43] There’s stoner. No, I don’t think everyone who I work with in the industry. It’s like, even in all these events, like most people aren’t even smoking. Right. It’s kind of time and a place for everything. Yeah. I think

[00:36:54] Bryan Fields: that’s a real big east coast thing. We’re still, we’re still fighting and hopefully we’ll get our act together soon.

[00:36:59] So before [00:37:00] we do predictions, we ask all of our guests, if you could sum up your experience in a main takeaway or lesson, learn to pass on to the next generation, what

[00:37:07] Jeff Ragovin: would it. That’s a great question. I think my biggest focus here would be that you have to fail. You have to make mistakes. You have to fuck up because if you don’t, you don’t learn.

[00:37:19] Right. And so we all make so many mistakes every day. And we get better. Right? And that’s how, even if you think about it, just from a simple gaming methodology, right, you’re playing a video game and you keep dying, but eventually you get past that level cause you learn what to do and whatnot. So I feel like life has exactly the same way.

[00:37:36] We have to fail to get better and to grow and to learn and, you know, no, one’s perfect. And that’s okay. Beautiful. Said,

[00:37:43] Bryan Fields: all right. Prediction time marketing a brand in cannabis has its own set of unique challenges. Jeff, what is one platform or concept that you think is under utilized by cannabis companies today that, that they should start doing today to make

[00:37:58] Jeff Ragovin: a difference?

[00:37:59] [00:38:00] So I think, you know, I would say, and this is just because it’s my business, but you know, on the programmatic side, I think more cannabis companies need to take advantage of that. I think most of them are not because they don’t realize that you can run programmatic ads across mainstream real publisher sites like USA today.

[00:38:19] Conde Nast sports illustrate. I think that’s something that people really need to dig their heels into because you have the ability to target very specific consumers wherever they hang out, instead of wasting ad dollars on people that have never converted before. So I think more and more people need to start, you know, at least on the cannabis side saying, Hey, I could use all the tools that everyone else uses.

[00:38:40] I think it’s a, it’s the right time right now.

[00:38:44] Bryan Fields: I think it

[00:38:45] Kellan Finney: is from a, a data use case. I don’t think enough brands are making decisions on products to launch and areas to launch that product from a data perspective. I think of it it’s a lot squishy right now, at least from, [00:39:00] from conversations I’ve had with operators.

[00:39:02] It’s. A lot of shooting from the hip and not a lot of

[00:39:05] Bryan Fields: implementing these, these data

[00:39:07] Kellan Finney: companies that have, that are compiling all of the information. So I think moving forward for the really successful brands and say like five years are going to be very, very data

[00:39:16] Jeff Ragovin: centric. Totally.

[00:39:18] Bryan Fields: It turns out if you’ve got information that’s helpful in making decisions while making decisions.

[00:39:24] What a concept for me, I’m going to choose a social media platform that I think is underutilized still tic-tac. I think that cannabis brands and people can be utilizing that platform to. Ongoing content from an educational standpoint to just do total brand awareness. They’ve got this viral, viral reality factor.

[00:39:42] You definitely said that word wrong, where you can post something and kind of spread like wildfire. And I think it’s still under utilized with standpoint where cannabis companies need to be creative because they can’t use some of the techniques like you were saying. They struggle with Facebook and Google, so they need to come up with other ways to kind of generate that buzz.

[00:39:58] And I think Tik TOK is a good [00:40:00] way to.

[00:40:00] Jeff Ragovin: That’s a good point. Actually. I wonder what the rules are with tech talk. Like I was just thinking that, I don’t know, I haven’t heard anyone really talk about content or ads or anything on Tik TOK for cannabis at all.

[00:40:12] Bryan Fields: Have you seen any companies

[00:40:13] Kellan Finney: in general using Tech-Talk as like an ad platform?

[00:40:16] Does it have to be a human

[00:40:17] Bryan Fields: being or like, I think can be educational focus, right. I mean, there’s different ways to do it. I mean, I haven’t dabbled in promoting brands since obviously we don’t have that, but it’s always been a concept where I feel like it’s underused. And it’s one where it might be able to spread a little faster if people kind of utilize their algorithm and their platform, because they’ve got really, really strong reach and posting one video could generate thousands and thousands of views

[00:40:41] Jeff Ragovin: and things.

[00:40:42] I mean, Tik TOK, GS. That’s another one that’s just exploded. I mean, I, I was very much like, I am not going to be on tech talk and I’m not going to waste any time there. And now I find myself when I get up in the morning and it’s 5:00 AM and I’m still in bed. I’m scrolling. Like it is the most entertaining, [00:41:00] easy.

[00:41:02] Mindless experience. And it was great too, because those algorithms really know what you like. Right. And so then it really starts showing you stuff that it’s like, whoa, how did they know that? How did they know? I want to see dog content, right? It’s crazy. And they progress

[00:41:16] Bryan Fields: with you, right? As your interests change and your, your ideas change, they progress with you.

[00:41:20] And you’re like, this is really

[00:41:21] Jeff Ragovin: wild. They know everything about me. It shows me like Tik TOK shows me everything around food, cooking, dogs, fishing. I’m like, yeah, no, Yeah. They know too much about me. They’re like, Jeff,

[00:41:33] Bryan Fields: is this, you want this Jeff? And you’re like, ah, thank you so much. So Jeff, for those that want to get in touch, they want to learn more.

[00:41:39] Where can they, they

[00:41:41] Jeff Ragovin: find you I’m easily. Find-able everywhere, but I’d say email is probably the best route. It says Jeff at hello, Philo FYI llo.com and the podcast name podcast is called alchemy the alchemy podcast. Awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time, Jeff. Awesome guys. It was great to be on the show and [00:42:00] thanks for having me.

[00:42:01] Thank you.

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WHOLESALE HEMP GENETICS PRICING

The hemp genetics market is currently finishing up its offseason. Since most harvests have been wrapped up and biomass is dried and stored by this time the next item on the agenda is planning next year’s crop. Clones continue to be significantly more expensive than seeds which supports the nurseries needed to build strong genetics.

Assessed price for CBD clones currently at $2.50, representing a ~480% higher price than utilizing a seed which are currently priced at $0.43 each. Regardless, prices for each category have remained stable over the past few months.

The CBG biomass sector saw a slightly lower month over month price change. The current average price in the US for CBG biomass stands at $0.38 / % CBG / pound. Material testing at 10% would have a fair market value of $3.80 per pound. We are advising our clients to diversify the cannabinoids they currently handle. The extraction process for CBD and CBG biomass are scientifically similar. However with only a 11% increase in input cost, an extraction company could expect a 178% higher return on their investment based on current isolate prices for CBD and CBG.

WHOLESALE HEMP BIOMASS PRICING

The CBD biomass sector experienced a great month, with prices increasing across the board. The average price for CBD biomass still stands at $0.34 / % CBD / pound, so material testing at 10% then would have a fair market value of $3.40 per pound. The extraction portion of the industry continues to experience significant volatility on both ends of supply chain. Increased biomass prices result in increased operating expenses for extractors. Pair that with the recent decrease in derivative product pricing and the coming months could prove to be a long winter for some companies.

The CBG biomass sector saw a slightly lower month over month price change. The current average price in the US for CBG biomass stands at $0.38 / % CBG / pound. Material testing at 10% would have a fair market value of $3.80 per pound. The extraction process for CBD and CBG biomass are scientifically similar. However, with only an 11% increase in input cost a extraction company could expect a 178% higher return on their investment based on current isolate prices for CBD and CBG.

WHOLESALE DERIVATIVE PRICING

The wholesale cannabinoid derivative market continues to be the most volatile and fastest growing portion of the industry. This portion of the industry drives all CPG brands, and with the growth from the sector. The derivatives for cannabinoids looks promising. The current trend in the wholesale market is the move away from CBD derivative products, and interest in other cannabinoid derivative products. We believe this is why CBD isolate prices fell from $488 to $456 per kilogram last month. There will still be demand for CBD isolate as it proves to be the best starting ingredient for delta 8,10 and HHC.

The increase in consumer good products containing CBG in cannabis dispensaries is on the rise. This is clearly seen through Wyld’s national launch of their new gummy that contains CBG. These types of national brands moving into the CBG market will continue to provide stability to prices, the current price increase is a result of increased demand based on national plays.

The significant price difference currently in the market between CBG and CBD products could create a whiplash in the markets. If a significant portion of the farmers convert their crop over to CBG, only we could see a CBG glut.

Currently we believe this will not be the case.

WHOLESALE FLOWER PRICING

CBD VS THC FLOWER

As the world continues to adopt the
non-psychoactive products, CBD flower
continues to the be strongest category
for hemp-based CBD products.

This is the first month we will start providing THC flower pricing for the US market. Our intent is to compare the THC cannabis industry with the similar CBD cannabis/hemp industry from a crop perspective. The price per pound of THC cannabis flower nationwide is currently at $1,300, which is down from $1,400 in early October.

The Canadian market continues to mature at a federal level. With increase in stores coming online consumers will have more options for shopping, hopefully driving more sales into legal markets as opposed to illicit markets.

The exchange rate adjusted price for a pound of THC Cannabis flower in Canada currently stands at $1,780. Cannabis in Canada is current valued at ~38% higher than cannabis in the US.

SECTOR ANALYSIS*

Editors’ Note: This is an excerpt from our Monthly Playbook. If you would like to read the full monthly playbook and join the thousands of others you can sign up below.

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New Mexico now accepting applications for all cannabis business licenses

“the CCD is expanding its online platform to allow applicants to start the licensing process now for more business types so that they can be prepared as more rules are being quickly finalized.”

At the MACo 2021 Winter Conference, an expert panel discussed the challenges and opportunities related to marijuana

Panelists discussed potential avenues for legislative reform, what counties can expect, and how to best prepare for change.

New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission

“Recreational Cultivator, Manufacturer and Testing Laboratory applications open, December 15th at 9 a.m.”

Editors’ Note: This is an excerpt from our Monthly Playbook. If you would like to read the full monthly playbook and join the thousands of others you can sign up below.

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South Africa

“South Africa’s hemp and cannabis industries may have the potential to alleviate poverty and create over 25,000 jobs. Transparency and traceability remain the state’s key concerns, which has invariably led to a number of legislative limits as well as a degree of bureaucracy – a potential pitfall…”

Wine Country Inspired Gummies

“Garden Society Launches Wine Country- Inspired Gummies made with Proprietary, Full Spectrum Cannabis Extract to Enable a Rapid Effect”

San Francisco

“To help cannabis stores compete with the illicit cannabis market, officials want to put a hold on a new tax on licensed retailers…”

Cancer Patients

“First Cancer Patients Treated With Apollon Formularies Products At The International Cancer and Chronic Pain Institute”

Cannabis Edibles

Goodness Growth Holdings Launches New Line of Cannabis Edibles

“Incorporating a new, proprietary cannabis extract to enable its rapid effect, and infused with real wine concentrate, the edibles are available in three delicious flavors: Tart Cherry Pinot Noir, Peach Prosecco, and Sparkling Strawberry Rose…”

Non-Alcoholic Distilled Spirits

Tilray Strengthens Strategic Position in the U.S. with Acquisition of Breckenridge Distillery

“Tilray believes the acquisition will lead to the commercialization of “new and innovative products through the development of non-alcoholic distilled spirits, including bourbon whisky, that is infused with cannabis.”

Editors’ Note: This is an excerpt from our Monthly Playbook. If you would like to read the full monthly playbook and join the thousands of others you can sign up below.

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