The Dime Episode 53 Transcript: The Leader of Cannabis Intelligence ft. ArcView Consulting

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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!

In this episode, Bryan Fields @bryanfields24 and Kellan Finney @Kellan_Finney sit down with Jake Kuczeruk, Vice President Of Business Development of ArcView Group, to discuss:

  • ArcView’s role in the cannabis space
  • Why ArcView’s research has been so crucial to the industry
  • The timeline for the next wave of large scale mergers and acquisitions
  • Which space is Jake most bullish on
  • What kind of financial investment it takes to start a cannabis company
  • How Cookies built a prominent lifestyle brand
  • Which A-list influencer will release the next cannabinoid brand

arcviewgroup.com

The Arcview Group is a vertically integrated company servicing the cannabis and hemp industry, built with social justice and responsibility at its core. Arcview has been a trusted global leader for over ten years, providing a broad spectrum of programs and services for:

IG: arcviewgroup


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

[00:00:10] What’s up guys. Welcome back to another episode of the dime as always like on my right-hand man, Kellen Cindy here with me. And this week we’ve got a very special guest Jake cruiser at Arcview ventures.

[00:00:20] Jake. Thanks for taking the time. How you doing together?

[00:00:22] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:00:22] Doing great. Brian Kaelin, always a pleasure catching up with you guys. I’m actually, I’m not on the ventures team. I’m on the kind of main Arcview group and the consulting side.

[00:00:32] Bryan Fields: [00:00:32] I apologize for that confusion. And that’s on me and I kind of want to dive into those topics today and kind of learn about that.

[00:00:37] So take us through that. Take us through how you got into cannabis and then we’ll kind of go into the RQ side. For sure. And,

[00:00:43] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:00:43] and trust me no fault, because it is extremely complicated to navigate the web of art fuse, different sub entities. And we’re launching new things all the time. So I got into cannabis you know, actually, you know, a couple of years ago, about two and a half, three years ago.

[00:00:56]And you know, but honestly it was really a reaction to me following [00:01:00] what I’m most passionate about. You know, looking at most of my professional and my personal life, you know, going back to college, I mean, you know, cannabis is something that I realized it very quickly is something that really helped with my depression and anxiety XYZ.

[00:01:13]And then over the years, working at different companies and everything from, you know, my own startups and music and men’s wear. To Devin design agencies to try and citing robot companies. And some of the other stuff I’ve done over the years, I realized, you know, I’m, I’m the kind of guy who is, you know, it’s fun to be at the bar and buying people drinks and connecting that way.

[00:01:32]But I was always a little bit more comfortable out on the smoking patio in front you know, with a joint or a vape and, and you know, using that to kind of build connections. So to me, you know, I think I had a kind of a big moment, you know, I think this wasn’t a 2018, 2018 when. A lot of the blockchain stuff was falling apart that I was doing.

[00:01:50] I had some, some crazy experiences with smaller startups and I had been left in the cold twice when a two companies I was at that I thought were, were chugging along nicely and [00:02:00] raised millions of dollars. Both of them called us into the office and said, look, we’re out of money. Good luck. Find a new job.

[00:02:05]So I figured look, the next thing I’m going to do, I want to make sure it’s the end all be all the industry I want to be in forever, did a lot of soul searching and naturally. The time was right for me to jump into cannabis. I started building a kind of an accelerator and an investor network in conjunction with friends of mine.

[00:02:23] I was going to do like a 40 mile $49 million SPV and a million dollar demo of funds in a run. The whole thing out of my buddies warehouse. It’s San Francisco and have kind of this kind of coworking accelerator component as has I was doing that. Certainly the surprisingly, the investor who has given me a space goes, look, he tells me, I’ll have on six months into this thing saying, look, I just had a great weekend with these guys from RQ kind of doing what you’re doing, but they’ve been doing it for a full decade.

[00:02:50] And I think they’re hiring. So ultimately, you know, he put me in touch and the rest is history. You know, I ended up flying down John Downs, you know, of course I’ve kinda ended up replacing on the BD [00:03:00] side. As he moved on to to Asia horizons, doing crazy stuff with CBD and hemp in China. And then, yeah.

[00:03:06] You know, honestly, I was thrown right into the lion’s den. Once I joined my second week, I was I was actually, my first day I was told, Hey, do you like new Orleans? Because there are going to be in there next week for MJ MGBs. And fortunately for them, it’s my favorite place in the world. So it started off really nicely.

[00:03:21] And I came at the pivotal moment in which, you know, we had a little bit of a change in leadership. You know, we raised our series. A’s lash were acquired by entourage effect capital. And with that, Troy, obviously it was taking a little bit more of a backseat role as Troy date and one of the original founders Mark.

[00:03:37] So as it happened, you know, there was a transition team kind of in place before Kim Kovacs our fearless leader as the CEO ended up joining and you know, the rest is history. I mean, really, since I’ve joined, we’ve gone from this investor network with, you know, a couple events, you know, kind of the antithesis of antithesis of an MJ is, you know, not a 35,000 person mega conference, but you know, 500 people in a [00:04:00] room, 60, 70% of that room are investors.

[00:04:02] I mean the four events we threw really was. What our view was, you know, everything else was, you know, of course our research which was the industry leading most cited, but we’re realized we don’t need they as an events company. We’ve been around for 10 years. We know everybody we’re a first or second degree connection away from really everyone, you know, and how much money did we leave on the table by not getting a piece of ease meadow, Tokyo, smoke packs, mad men, all of these are Greystar stages when they were still in their very early.

[00:04:31] It’s phases. So for us, we got the broker dealer stuff spawn up, we got the fond spot up. We got the consultancy spot up. And these days, of course, due to COVID, you know, we’ve put physical ads back. Yeah. I’ve been doing digital content every week. Oh, that’s a long-winded

[00:04:46] Bryan Fields: [00:04:46] answer. Yeah. And I’m looking to kind of unpack some of those.

[00:04:49] So before we kind of dive into the hard hitting questions, let’s start with the hardest, one of all. Your go-to meal after consuming cannabinoids. That’s

[00:04:56] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:04:56] a tough one and it all depends on time of day. But I am as [00:05:00] a, a proud native Detroiter. My mind immediately goes to Detroit style pizza. I am so pleased that over the last year or two, this has started to take off at the national level.

[00:05:10] Everybody from pizza hut to little Caesars now has their own Detroit and surprisingly the bar right near my house. I moved down to LA over the holidays. Silver Lake lounge. Has Detroit style pizza and it’s phenomenal. So to me there, there’s nothing that puts a bigger smile on my face and I’ll take crappy Detroit pizza too.

[00:05:26] I’ll take hungry highways. I’ll take little Caesars, but that’s probably my go-to you

[00:05:32] Bryan Fields: [00:05:32] like what you like? And it got to respect that from a new Yorker and we might challenge you for best pizza, but at the end of the day, you know, it’s important that you get what makes you happy. So let’s go back to your day to day with our few.

[00:05:41] So take us through, you know, what a normal day in a day looks like for you and type of responsibilities and types of projects that cross your desk. Yeah,

[00:05:47] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:05:47] I’d say that, that the answer to that has changed dramatically since, you know, my first day here. I mean, early on it was, Hey, I’m selling sponsorships and demo booths and pitches that are our live events that really ended up getting [00:06:00] replaced by our strategic Alliance program in which we’re working with best in class service providers to just, you know, give them a dedicated rep, be able to work with them and kind of modify.

[00:06:08]What we’re doing based on their own shifting needs. So definitely working with a lot of service providers, you know, when it comes to earlier startups I’m either kicking them over to ventures or consulting or capital, but really, you know, my day to day is largely at that consulting side. So for me we started getting a lot of inbound, right?

[00:06:26] When the pandemic hit for people, who’ve been buying our research research reports for years, and I’m talking large European ag techs top five companies, large North American CPG companies. I mean, Everybody was reaching or not everybody, but a lot of people were reaching out and, you know, getting that caliber of cold inbound saying, look.

[00:06:45] We’ve been buying your research. Now we’re thinking about moving into this space, exploring this acquisition, you know, we’re looking for it and do some due diligence. And we realized, okay, we need to get this thing formalized. So David Abernathy and I did a bunch of work in 2020, everything from [00:07:00] large enterprises down to early stage startups.

[00:07:02] And really kicked off at 2021 with getting this thing independently funded and starting to scale the team. And we’ve been on a real tear since then working with a wide array of of different clients. Definitely some, some very well-known

[00:07:15] Bryan Fields: [00:07:15] names. I’m not asking you to share any of the names, but if there is there like a group of type of services that come, let’s say more often than not where you’re like, wow, this is definitely the majority of ask.

[00:07:24] Is there one you can share there? Yeah,

[00:07:26] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:07:26] of course. So I’d say, ah, well, we get a lot of is, you know, Hey, I’ve got a bunch of money I’m coming from real estate. I’ve got the side, I’ve got my license, but I don’t know a damn thing about cannabis. How do I build compelling pitch materials? How do I figure out my product mix?

[00:07:40] How do I even learn things like, you know, how to work with this grows? So for us, it’s, there is a lot of the education side and building out, go to market strategies and, and, you know, helping these, these companies really get off the ground. And in some cases attract further investment. You know, we do a lot of work with dispensary’s round SOP.

[00:07:56] We do a lot of, yeah, a lot of, a lot of founders are slammed. They want to [00:08:00] open a new location, but they’re tied down to their existing and they want to be able to pass the keys to someone else to keep things moving forward. We do a lot of work, you know, any industrial and smokable, hemp space, you know, both in the U S and abroad actually.

[00:08:13] So that’s been really interesting is really helping different firms figure out their state by state expansion strategy and in general, you know, get

[00:08:20] ready for federal legalization.

[00:08:22] Bryan Fields: [00:08:22] Yeah. And I think that’s the fun part of the industry, right? Is that with all the state-by-state challenges and all these other obstacles and people are like, I’ve got this money, where do I start?

[00:08:29] So chilling. When we have conversations with operators and all the time they come to us and say, I got this boatload of money I’m interested in being in this market or this market, which one do you think, where do we usually start with them and kind of take us through

[00:08:39] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:08:39] that. I was going to say it all. It all really depends on on who the, you know, and, and what they’re really looking for here.

[00:08:45] And, you know, as you can imagine, there’s, there’s often a lot of early-stage operators that are trying to figure out what the best ROI is going to be for them. There’s a lot of investors, you know, that asked us the same questions around which forces to back, you know? So I, I think it always, it’s always kind of a mix.

[00:08:59] It does [00:09:00] come down to personal passions as well. You know, especially if they have experience in something like CPG, we’re gonna tell them, Hey, you’ve already got these relationships. You know how this stuff works. You know, that’s probably going to be your best bet. Others who are looking for something like, you know, a high cash business, you know, decent margins.

[00:09:17] You know, opening a retail location and doing, you know, obviously delivery special needs there. We’re launching that right when COVID starting. And I think that there’s a, there’s a lot of directions we can take them in. I’m personally very bullish on the beverage space. We have some great connections here in California, you know, up and down the supply chain, you know, definitely get started.

[00:09:35] Bryan Fields: [00:09:35] Awesome. And Kellen, where do, where do we take them from the conversations? I know Jake kind of shared light on, on the suggested seats as well. What do you think, you know, what’s your go-to approach when having conversations with operators?

[00:09:45] Kellan Finney: [00:09:45] I would say it mainly depends on the location. They’re looking to kind of set up shop, right?

[00:09:51] If they’re looking to go more like to California or established market, I think it’s a completely different conversation. I mean, like for instance, if we were just [00:10:00] talking with someone last, was it last week regarding trying to set something up on the East coast? We both were like, I think it’s a really smart play if you want to get into New York.

[00:10:09] And you’re not one of the big MSOE already, they’re probably the most intelligent play. Would they be build out a facility and try to sell it to them, the MSLs, you know what I mean? And I think that that location is absolutely critical in how you deploy that kind of capital. You know what I mean? What are your

[00:10:23] Bryan Fields: [00:10:23] thoughts on that, Brian?

[00:10:25] Yeah, I think strategically, you know, When we go back to the gold rush, not everyone was getting rich from the goal, right. There’s people selling the shovels. And I think that analogy isn’t heard enough because everyone kind of screens for cannabis and wants to be in cannabis, but you don’t have to have a license.

[00:10:39] Right. Because the game is incredibly expensive. And I think one of the misnomers that’s commonly. Shared round, is that like, Oh, I can just start a business. And I think you’re right. You can, but in the cannabis space, it’s different. It’s incredibly expensive. And there’s all these obstacles to kind of challenge that thought process.

[00:10:54] So Jake, when people kind of come to you and they say, Hey, I got this money. I’m ready to go. Are they [00:11:00] kind of surprised sometimes by the overall sheer financial, like investment that it takes, because I think at least my opinion, some of the conversations we had, people were blown away by some of the costs that are, they’re not services, their upfront costs.

[00:11:13] They have to invest in kind of getting absolutely

[00:11:16] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:11:16] I’d say that’s extremely common. And you know, there’s so many of these emerging markets where the system is far from perfect. You know, someone will get this fail to apply for our life since we’ll have to secure their space, but they haven’t really figured out how to dispersing license.

[00:11:31] So they just need to keep sitting on that space and paying rent and having it go into a black hole until they can get that license. I mean, these are situations that are plating founders all across the country, but once again, I think it’s, it’s hyper variable based on you know, their background. You know, I talked to old real estate guys in Florida that also have huge ag tech operations in the Midwest.

[00:11:50] They’re like, Oh yeah, you know, a hundred million dollars I can sell fund it. It’s no big deal. You know, but at the same time, you know, that’s, that’s an outlier. Most of the people I think do get a little bit of [00:12:00] sticker shock. You know, and, and in, in a lot of different areas you know, even the cost of things like, you know, insurance and legal, you know, can be a lot for many things and sorry for cutting you off town.

[00:12:09] I did not realize that wasn’t for me. Definitely. Great job. I’ll tell you. That’s a big decision. We keep getting hit with this. Do I launch in California, build a strong brand identity, get that flywheel started and then, you know, get requested by users on the East coast, you know, that want to see these products come here, you know, kind of have that scaling happen organically based on, you know, positive brand and then reception versus do I just launch directly in an emerging market?

[00:12:35] Do I spin up in a. New Jersey and try to get something off the ground, you know? So I think that’s, that’s what a lot of people are struggling with. Is, is it this kind of you know, do I launch directly into these markets and just be kind of one to many or do I establish the clout first and the biggest market?

[00:12:49] Yeah. And I think that

[00:12:50] Kellan Finney: [00:12:50] I want to make one point there. I think. Launching in California, you can approach it with a completely different business model. You can kind of treat it like a traditional industry where you’re trying [00:13:00] to launch a brand and you can go out and source your different products and kind of do your own QA QC and then kind of do kind of a drop ship model almost versus on the East coast where you’re going to call it.

[00:13:10] You have to instantly try to be vertically integrated. If you want to start a flower brand, for instance, you’re going to have to. Grow your own flour, or you’re going to your Rolodex in terms of different companies to source that flour from is going to be really, really limited. You know what I mean? And so I think that that is a, a huge misconception that a lot of people don’t really realize is that in these established markets, you are able to utilize a more traditional business model then kind of on the East coast.

[00:13:36] Bryan Fields: [00:13:36] I get asked that question always, right? My response is typically in a form of a question because I also don’t know because if you’re in California, sure. You have an established educational customer who knows exactly what he’s looking for it. But on the East coast, that brand identity doesn’t really transfer because how does it transfer?

[00:13:53] Right? Is it, is it the influencer? Who’s Froning the product? Is it curely visit truly and, or is it like cookie? So the [00:14:00] direction from branding I think is not determined yet because cookies to me is probably the most well-known. But I don’t know, at least in my opinion, I don’t know if that’s going to be acquired by a company down the road.

[00:14:12] I obviously they working really closely with gage and these other companies, but I don’t know how that becomes a common theme where I walk into a dispensary and I’m like, okay, I want this brand. So how Jake, how, how do you provide recommendations to these, to these customers who are like, Hey, do I go to Oklahoma and set up shop here?

[00:14:29] Or do I kind of double down in California? And I know. It’s an established market with a lot of competitors, you know, what’s your go-to response,

[00:14:35] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:14:35] go to responses. Where are your friends, what markets do you know, where are your contacts? The Awana fly out to the California and start everything from scratch and lean on me to make some good intros or, you know, do you want to, you know, especially if you’re coming from a traditional side, like, you know, finance or something, You know, do you have a pool of angel investors that can kickstart you?

[00:14:56]From there you have a good friends and family network, you know, you [00:15:00] generally there’s this strategic advantage of being in the same time zone, as you know, where your company is most active that’s, that’s always, you know, it’s an obvious thing, but it’s something that I think a lot of founders don’t think through, you know, they take the risk and move out West and hopes to work for us for the best.

[00:15:13] And, you know, especially under the pandemic, it’s not as easy to get out there and network. But I’ll tell you, I, when it comes to kind of, you know, a brand identity that carries out East, you know, we have seen that, you know, a lot of this is anecdotal, but you know, there are requests for products that they’ve tried while on trips.

[00:15:29] I mean, Papa and Barkley is one that I get commonly asked to have friends on the East coast, you know, saying, Hey. You know, I was able to buy the pure CBD online and I was able to buy some of the three to one topical to help with my pain after golfing, you know, from the dispensary while I was out there outside of shipping it to me now, where can I find this?

[00:15:49] Yeah. So I’d say that’s a huge part of it, but you know, on the branding side, I’m happy you brought up cookies, you know, no one really can touch their level of, you know, building a proper lifestyle brand. [00:16:00] You know, you can’t walk down the street in downtown LA and not see some guy wearing a cookies hat or cookies shorts or cookie hoodie.

[00:16:06] And I’ll tell ya, you know, it helps by getting on impact son, you know, and, and, you know, it sounds crazy, but it news, you know, looking at who’s most active on social media, you know, the hype beast culture that is so prominent, who’s active in the comments. You know, who’s sharing this with friends, who’s using this as a cloud item versus, you know, something where it’s, it’s, you know, just a medicine and, and really you find that, you know, brands like cookies.

[00:16:31] And I think we’re seeing more and more similar competitors. I mean, even like carrots, for instance, they’re doing a cannabis thing now, but just similar, you know, we’re seeing similar stuff. I think even jungle boys is starting to kind of branded themselves in this direction, disease branding themselves to send the director.

[00:16:45] I mean, steezy as a whole. No, they’re downtown a downtown LA facility. I mean, they have a whole, like, e-commerce started our whole retail store. They got t-shirts, they got button downs, they got music. I mean, it’s like the Starbucks now where they’re going to give me a Nora Jones [00:17:00] CDs. So I think all of that kind of plays hand in hand and, you know, it’s, it becomes an interesting part of your, your retail strategy of, Hey, which of these retail locations wouldn’t have these potential partners.

[00:17:10] And do more than just get me sales, who can give me that shelf space, who can help me with my brand and who can put me on webinars, who can, you know, let me contribute to their blog. I mean, all of this goes towards building a brand. Yeah. I think

[00:17:22] Bryan Fields: [00:17:22] we’re still in such the early stages of that. Right. We saw Seth Rogan come out with house plan, which is really exciting because, I mean, naturally you saw the connection between the two of them.

[00:17:31] Have you see Jay Z super-involved with his company from more of like a leadership role. So. To push it back. Who’s next in the space who, if you had to guess what sort of big name influencer kind of pivots into this space? If you can share, if you don’t know, we can take a guess. How does that work? I’ll

[00:17:48] tell

[00:17:49] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:17:49] you.

[00:17:49] That’s a great question. I’ve never had that I’ve ever been asked that if he hasn’t already, I think Joe Rogan is going to end up doing his own. I think a lot of these podcasters are going to realize they have some [00:18:00] very loyal things that will eat up and buy and anything they’re putting out there. And, and, you know, honestly, it’s.

[00:18:06] It’s all, a lot of people that are on the air, I think are going to go this direction. You know, we’ve seen the athletes, we’ve seen the musicians infused dinner tonight that has a bunch of athletes and musicians involved. But you know, I think we’re going to see it coming from weirder and weirder places.

[00:18:21] I think we’re going to see Sean Hannity pushing his own CBD. He’s pushing, you know, other CBD brands now, but none really targeting conservative consumers. And this is a gradually growing market segment. I don’t agree with the politics. I’ll be very upfront about that. But there is a. Big untapped market opportunity as new demographics, start to get exposed to this.

[00:18:41] And you have to look at the thought leaders. These guys are listening to you. Yeah. I think it’s really well set. So

[00:18:46] Bryan Fields: [00:18:46] telling your guests, Joe, Rogan’s

[00:18:47] Kellan Finney: [00:18:47] really good gas. You know what I mean? Or not gas, I guess maybe an educated guess maybe. Right. Who would, I guess, I mean, athletes, I don’t know. I’ll tell him ahead.

[00:18:56] Who do you

[00:18:57] Bryan Fields: [00:18:57] think Brian? The rock. I think the [00:19:00] same style, right? I mean, I know it’s crazy thought, but if you think about it, right, the people who can generate buzz and then promoted in their natural lifestyle in social media, you can’t spend that type of money. Right. If you were going to, or the Kardashians, right.

[00:19:12] God, they could just absolutely explode if they cannot look like a teach C V style like vape Stover. Right. We might as well just shut the industry down. They’ve absolutely crushed it. So if they are listening, we’re going to have to take some sort of promotional rights for that. That’s who I would take.

[00:19:26] Telling me, you want to take a stab

[00:19:28] Kellan Finney: [00:19:28] Kardashians are good. And Joe Rogan, I’m not super into pop culture. So I’m terrible at these kinds of a situation. So I got to pick someone out of the blue, you know what I mean?

[00:19:38] Bryan Fields: [00:19:38] She’s a scientist. He was a scientist. I said, choose a scientist. The,

[00:19:48] it comes back, throw it up. I want to switch gears and kind of, yeah. I want to come back to Jake about kind of the day to day. Obviously we talked about the CPG and kind of the financial commitment in your opinion, what concept is not thought about [00:20:00] enough? Where the, the people come to you and they say, Hey, Jake, I want to get into this space.

[00:20:04] This is what I’m thinking. And they’re like, they’re leaning in, in this one direction to the last, but you’re like, Hey, everyone leads in this direction. They’re not thinking about this. You should be more six months in advance thinking about this direction. What would you would say? I wish more people came to me thinking about this concept.

[00:20:20] That

[00:20:20] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:20:20] is a really good question. Yeah. Let me think on it for a second. I I’d say. It’s rare that we get approached from a subscription boxes, but I’ll tell ya, my first second startup was a monthly men’s wear subscription box and the recurring revenue aspect there. I mean, yeah, it’s the multiplier that investors are looking for, but also, I mean, recurring revenue is a great thing to have, you know, any of those going to be unpredictable.

[00:20:43] So I’d love to see people getting, you know, as regulations start to permit people getting creative here. I think we’re going to see a heck of a lot more subscription boxes and in, in targeting a lot of different things and not just including cannabis, but also improving including lifestyle products as well.

[00:20:59] I think that’s [00:21:00] a real untapped market opportunity. I mean, our CEO cam was previously the founder of my Jane, you know, which was acquired. And that was very female focused. They’d send a rep to your house, to walk through the products with you, but I’m going to see more of these things come and do them.

[00:21:12] Now, once they figure that out, you know, how can we get, you know, five skews here to get, you know, with just within California or just within one of these markets? And more importantly, boxes that target heavy users and real enthusiasts, everything I’ve heard pitch to. So well, yeah. We’re trying to give a sampling of items that, you know, it’s a lot of people got to dial in what works for that.

[00:21:33] Well, you know what, who’s buying the most cannabis, who’s buying 200, $300. We’re the weak, the heavy users who care about premium quality, small batch stuff. You can’t get anywhere else. Those real grails, you know, land raise crazy genetics, you know, stuff that you’re not gonna find anywhere else. I think there’s a.

[00:21:50] Huge market opportunity. I mean, think about it like wine vintages. I love like, I mean, you see that with wine clubs where it’s Oh, we went into the sellers and we busted, we’re busting out a [00:22:00] 1993. You’re going to get this in your box. Oh my God. You know, I think we’re going to see that with cannabis where, Hey, these genetics were smuggled out of Amsterdam and you know, and then late 1980s, and they’ve been sitting in my basement.

[00:22:11] I, I grew up with some expert help. So you’re smoking stuff. It hasn’t been consumed in 20, 30 years. That I think is a, is a really interesting side. And if I leave RFQ, I’ll probably start to spin up something like that.

[00:22:22] Kellan Finney: [00:22:22] I think Appalachian is huge and I applaud California. And a lot of the steps that the growers did multiple years ago to kind of push the appellation through.

[00:22:31] I think it’s a great way to protect those genetics as

[00:22:33] Bryan Fields: [00:22:33] well. You know what I mean? I’m with you a hundred percent too on the SAS model, right? Put together a box, just absolutely multiply exactly what it costs and then just limit the exclusivity of it, right? Say. We only have a thousand boxes. We’ve got these genetics from humble that haven’t been seen since some outrageous date it’s exclusive offer now, but you have to commit like the 12 month and you’re a hundred percent.

[00:22:53] Right. And then, so they get even one step further. That brand or products you can outside [00:23:00] license that were like lists out to these other people. Because at the end of the day, cannabis acts like other industries and consumers still are consumers and they behave a certain way and they kind of go in that direction.

[00:23:10] So I’m a hundred percent with you on that space. I

[00:23:13] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:23:13] think we’re, we’re really agreed on the exclusivity side, you know, and, and how that’s so untapped. I mean, it’s everything from, I mean, look at how it’s plan, you know, when, when they rolled out, you know, there was a huge waitlist and people were posting all over social media.

[00:23:26] Oh, I’m on the wait list. Oh, did it get any, I mean, this is just. 28% THC, you know, got pretty good cannabis, but the exclusivity is what built the hype, you know, and, you know, I think we’re going to see the same thing when it comes to retail locations. I mean, certainly there’s, there’s some big ones you know, that are out there that do these kinds of speakeasies, you know, and, and I think we’re going to see more and more of these in, in cities, throughout the country, even some cities that aren’t fully online yet.

[00:23:52] And I think, you know, taking it a step further, I mean, think of things in like in San Francisco, like, you know, the battery or the Olympic club or these, these [00:24:00] institutions that also have, you know, everything from fitness centers to little hidden movie theaters to live music. I mean, blending all of these things together and making cannabis much more experiential.

[00:24:11] I mean, it has to be. Exclusive, you can’t make these things open to everybody or it’s going to be a mob scene. And, and it, you know, I think we’re starting to dial that in and, and obviously you can’t, don’t make it open to for everybody. I mean, the, the regulations just aren’t there to support, you know, except for going to a music festival, like outside of dance, where you can purchase, you can.

[00:24:31] I don’t think you can consume, but you can be around some bars, live music. I mean, the, the real intersection of these areas hasn’t been perfected yet. Yeah. We have the OG cannabis cafe in West Hollywood, you know, but they do live music, you know? Is there, is it like a members only type of thing? So much untapped territory Kill

[00:24:50] Bryan Fields: [00:24:50] it. And I hit a speakeasy in New York with the jam band when we walked in and had a dispensary, a jam band. And it was a, it was like a hidden, it was crazy when they told us about it. And they’re like, Hey, just [00:25:00] knock on the window. We were like, this is, this is super weird. And then they opened up the elevator and we’re like, this is out of control.

[00:25:06] Like, because it’s been here the entire time, how many days is here? How, how has this like, not shut down? But it was also, Manny was one of those where like, I wanted to tell every single person and they were like, where was it? And I was like, it was the corner of this street and this street. And they were like, I went there.

[00:25:18] I didn’t see anything. I was like, it’s probably one day only, but it was

[00:25:21] Kellan Finney: [00:25:21] my buddy who actually tried to go back to it and he said it wasn’t there anymore. So they like must move it. And it was pretty, pretty wild. You know what I mean?

[00:25:30] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:25:30] This New York, I think I know who it is. And they’re planning a relaunch in the legal markets.

[00:25:35]They were heavy on their lounge aspect. They always had a lot of celebrities and athletes, and there are a few love, love, love doing our little after parties when we did our New York events there. And just go in there with a bunch of investors and you know, other, other, other friends. So we’ll get back to those days now.

[00:25:50] Bryan Fields: [00:25:50] So why not switch gears slightly? Recently harvest and truly have announced truly it was going to acquire harvest. I want to know in your perception, how long does something [00:26:00] like that take to come together? Here’s

[00:26:02] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:26:02] these relationships form years ago and you grow comfortable with, I mean, decision to merge, you know, is a big one.

[00:26:09] You want to make sure that it’s going to be a company and another team that you feel very aligned with both personally and professionally. You don’t want to be, if you’re tying in with somebody. It can’t be a group of drugs. So, you know, I think in general, a lot of these relationships, you know, they get catalyzed, you know, places like, you know, one art art view event or an mg biz event, or, you know, even just in a random chance encounter, you know?

[00:26:31] And I’ve met some great people at an airport, you know, before that were in cannabis that ended up becoming close connections. So I’d say, you know, it takes time to build that trust. And if you’re partnering, especially companies of that level, You know, chances are, you’ve known each other for quite some time.

[00:26:45] So I’d say at least a year or two, but you know, I’m have, you’re talking to MNA or squarely in the age of it right now. So smaller companies, you know, you can get acquired sometimes for a song and dance, you know, Hey, what are your numbers look like? Eight. Where are you based? [00:27:00] Okay, well, we’re dispensary.

[00:27:01] That’s trying to verdict vertically integrate as much as our shelf space as possible. Let’s let’s get your pre-rolls is our prequels now, or some of these big Canadian companies, you know, the big Canadian public’s, they’re coming down to the U S and they’re just doing roll-ups of a bunch of brands, brands that might even be doing, you know, sub 10 K a month in revenue.

[00:27:19] They just want to be able to snap up as many as possible if they in bigger. So, yeah, very weird time for MNA. I’d say the relationships that work out the best are the ones that have the most time care and face time put into them. Do you

[00:27:31] Bryan Fields: [00:27:31] think other companies like GTI or Cresto or curely accelerate their plan based on a step like that?

[00:27:39] I mean, that’s an aggressive move by truly have an, obviously it’s not a land grab. Like Kim said, she, she is teaching. We understood exactly what she wanted, but do, do you think other large operators feel the need to kind of respond.

[00:27:50] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:27:50] You know, grassroots cure. Shirley was probably the bigger, you know, come to Jesus moment for them where they’re like, okay, we really need to start thinking about, you know, if it makes sense to go it [00:28:00] alone, or if there’s a way we can, you know, dominate billable full country.

[00:28:04] I mean, all of these SSOs, you know, raised a bunch of money, their goal is to scale organically state by state. But as competition heats up, that timeline does get shorter and shorter as as these other big mergers that occur. The timeline gets shorter and shorter because they’re snap it up territory everywhere.

[00:28:19] So yeah, I would say it absolutely does, you know, get them accelerating their plans a little bit and getting a little bit more creative and, you know, even testing the waters. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the biggest firms send out more or less secret shoppers to interview for some of these companies and learn as much as they can about, you know, where they’re headed.

[00:28:36] Or you know, needless to say, people are getting poached, you know, you’re looking at people, you know, competitors, and you’re realizing, you know, let’s, let’s ball over on James and bring your talents to South beach and have you you know, have you start somewhere new. Yeah.

[00:28:49] Bryan Fields: [00:28:49] This industry sure has the cash to kind of acquire top talent.

[00:28:52] So want to kind of take it one step further and then we’re diving into the prediction. Biggest misconception since you started [00:29:00] in the cannabis space.

[00:29:01] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:29:01] I mean, it’s the classic answer here is that, you know, it all depends on who you’re talking to and, you know, it’s often a lot of. You know how people inexperienced with cannabis maybe had it during college who thinks it’s, you know, it’s, it’s Doobie using blunts and getting high.

[00:29:15] And that’s the only people who still consume the stuff by, you know, now you see, I, I old anecdote here, but you know, case in point, there’s what God’s greenery, you know, there’s somebody that showcased RQ before that. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s cannabis and CBD, but it’s really tying it into Bible verses and, and, and, you know, building this kind of religious connection to cannabis, you see the same thing in India with Vedic medicines and how that’s influencing the product mix for some people.

[00:29:38] So to me, the stigma is starting to disappear. Certainly, you know, retirement communities are doing cannabis parties now and, and exploring these products. So I’d say that that’s while that’s the kind of the default answer, you know, I would say. The better answer. And the most shocking misconception I get would probably be something around, [00:30:00] you know, teach higher THC products are the only thing you need to look for.

[00:30:03] They’re going to get you the most high. They’re the, they’re the best ones out there. I think the sentiment shift is happening. I think we’re seeing it. I’m seeing it on my own LinkedIn and Facebook and all that jazz, but you know, I think somebody put it this way that I really liked think it was Jessica Sharp actually.

[00:30:18] And she said, Well, you don’t walk into a liquor store and just get 1 51 every time, find something that fits your mood. And and in general, you know, getting something that’s, that’s very terpene, rich getting something that’s very fresh. You know, getting something that has a high, you know, minor cannabinoid ratio here, where you were dealing with you know, the CBN and CBG and everything in between, you know, that starting to be prioritized as.

[00:30:41] People start learning about these other cannabinoids and learning about terpenes and having the, you know, the Pepsi challenge of here of having something that might be super high. THC. That’s been sitting on the shelf for six months and is outdoor versus something that is, you know, this beautiful bounty harvested last week of some really exclusive genetics, [00:31:00] you know, even, you know, places.

[00:31:01] I like like, like flower cup where I get all my own cannabis. You go on there and they have a section for their freshest. Products, which I have not seen anyone else do. So I’m seeing that sentiment shift and, you know, I know that’s a little bit more on the consumer side, but it does bleed into the investor side where we have people reaching out, you know, or operators side saying, yeah.

[00:31:20] Cultivate and make sure everything is over 30% THC and that’s going to be our differentiator. It’s like, okay, not really a differentiator anymore. It also a very myopic view of, of what makes cannabis good. So, or beneficial to the

[00:31:32] Bryan Fields: [00:31:32] health, right. And that, and that kind of educational knowledge comes with experience and trial and error.

[00:31:37] So it takes kind of time. And as markets kind of develop and consumer becomes more educated on the various kind of characteristics of the cannabis plant. And I think those will continue to be really, really important. If you could sum up your experience into a lesson learned or main takeaway to pass on to the next generation.

[00:31:56] What would that

[00:31:57] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:31:57] be? Obvious one, your buy cannabis [00:32:00] industry is so intertwined with sustainability, with climate, with economic justice, with social justice, with racial justice. I mean, so many people still in prison for this it’s it’s it’s mind boggling and the great work of people like last prisoner project to help with that, you know, it gets highlighted, but not nearly enough.

[00:32:17] Not in the industry. You might not know any of these names. So, you know, I think for me, it’s, it’s, I hope the next generation really does take that to heart and, you know, make it part of their own identity as well. You know, we don’t want to see this thing become, you know, it’s going to be it’s inevitable, but where you don’t want to see this thing become.

[00:32:35] You know, craft beer where, you know, the first couple of years, 20, 2012, 2013, a lot of choices out there. A lot of people that are supporting each other, lifting each other up, sharing secrets, sharing recipes, doing collabs into this massive consolidation of, okay, your AB InBev. If you’re a bar and you want to have my products, you got to carry these hand you these tabs.

[00:32:55] And then we’ll give you this craft one that we’re pushing. Now, I’d say what I [00:33:00] love about this industry. The most. And one thing that makes it truly unique as somebody who’s worked across a million different random industries is this is the one where people that are competitive have no trouble supporting each other.

[00:33:12] A lot of the time, my favorite stories are, you know, I’ve had an issue where I came to him looking for gummies and I was like, Hey, I need somebody to manufacture these gummies. I kicked it to some guy I thought would be perfect. He goes, look, we’re good at hard candy. We’re good at tablet gummies. I’m not.

[00:33:27] The basket instead, let me cook you over to somebody. It’s a direct competitor, but I think they do great work. You do not see that elsewhere. I hope that carries

[00:33:35] Bryan Fields: [00:33:35] on. Yeah, last time you consumed any cannabinoids.

[00:33:40] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:33:40] Surprisingly, I didn’t have my morning CVD or a big fan of the Wolf sciences crappies team, who I know you featured before.

[00:33:49] Bryan Fields: [00:33:49] Thanks for sponsoring the podcast again. Ben

[00:33:50] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:33:50] Nicola. One of my favorite people in the industry, just a warm, warm dude who is. Super knowledgeable in this great work. I did pop one of his CVN [00:34:00] tablets. Last night, you know, before I went to bed, CBN in general has been really helping me not only sleep better, but have dreams again, which is something that as a frequent cannabis user, I’ve really missed partly and they’re CVN, honey, you know, it’s either a crappy CBD CBN.

[00:34:15] Or it’s partly CBN and melatonin that I take every evening, but I would say I run our accelerator program. The real answer here is I got done with last nights companies that were were showcasing and getting mentored feedback. It was a long night in the first thing I did was fire up the volcano from finest.

[00:34:35]That I wanted to try some fresh squeeze to OJ so packed a couple of volcanoes of that and enjoyed my nutmeg Netflix, and that’d

[00:34:42] Bryan Fields: [00:34:42] be reality TV. Perfect. All right. Prediction. I’m more of like a hot take but we can just call it in the prediction side. With Alabama sits and legalized medical marijuana and more and more States coming online with adult use is federal legalization even important anymore

[00:35:00] [00:35:00] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:35:00] because you know, the one thing that I think is going to happen here is they’re going to really leave it up to the States, even if they decriminalized or legalized at the national level.

[00:35:09] You know, to, to kind of make their own rules the way they have with, with booze, you know, having packaged stores in East coast versus, you know, grocery stores in 10 States can also serve liquor and all that jazz. And there’s whole foods down here with a craft beer bar and a wine bar and an Erawan has a natural wine store here.

[00:35:26] I mean, it’s, it’s crazy that the differences, you know, in these different areas, but I’ll tell ya, you know, what I really see happening here is because. They will do criminalized. Don’t buy your cannabis compliantly in Illinois as an Illinois citizen, and you’re on your way to visit friends in Indiana and you’ll get pulled over.

[00:35:43] And then, you know, unfortunately it’s, it’s Indiana that I think at the federal level, there has to be that guidance there. You know, which, which doesn’t lead to you getting a ticket. You know, cause if you bought a compliantly and you’re not driving under the influence Indiana, shouldn’t be allowed to say, no, you can’t have that anymore.

[00:35:59] So [00:36:00] that’s why I think is going to play out and why it is so important is because people do not stay in one state, look at the East coast, you have States the size of postage stamps. You know, you come on Delaware, Rhode Island, get it together, you know? You know, so I think it’s, it’s, it’s really interesting to.

[00:36:13] So to kind of think about cross border commerce in general, I don’t think it will just be a free for all. I think that will nuke a lot of markets if they do it, but they will leave it up to States to determine if they want to have cross border commerce and accept cannabis coming in from adjacent States in smaller States where they do not have the space to do cultivation and scale and refined products at scale, it’s going to make sense to import it from the guys next door who are doing.

[00:36:37] In other States, that’s going to completely new, competitive advantage and really destroy the existing market and operators there. So we’ll see how it plays out, but I’m excited. I’m grabbing the top point either way, Kelly,

[00:36:47] Kellan Finney: [00:36:47] two points. I think that federal legalization is important for tax purposes and banking and all of those monetary perspectives.

[00:36:56] I also think it’s really, really important for. The [00:37:00] psychological aspect of the American population, as well as the world population. Right. I think that having the federal government come in and say, okay, this is legal now, or at least decriminalized, I think at that does wonders for all of those. Really, really conservative individuals out there who still think that it’s the devil’s lettuce or, I mean, who was that?

[00:37:21] Oklahoma Senator, who said you consume it, it’ll kill your kids or whatever. Like, I mean, those kinds of things just need to completely stop. And with federal legalization, I think that that kind of draws a line in the sand from a psychological perspective. At

[00:37:36] Bryan Fields: [00:37:36] least I still think people like him will say crazy shit like that because.

[00:37:42] I don’t know what provoked him to say that obviously there was no information brought and he just kind of went for it and maybe it’s financially motivated. So I’m going to take a different approach. And I think it kind of blends both sides where it depends on who you’re talking about. Right. If an everyday user just wants to consume cannabis, doesn’t they don’t really care about it.

[00:37:57] If their state goes rack and they can get it, they don’t [00:38:00] really care. But for, I think for the industry to continue to grow and these kinds of handcuff restrictions to be removed, I think it’s incredibly important that. You know, the government kind of goes forward and takes that, obviously the interstate stuff’s going to be incredibly detailed and, and complex to kind of itemize out how those things work and, you know, thank God those guys get paid a ton of money in order to figure those things out because that’s going to be incredibly challenging.

[00:38:23] So. I guess we’re on agreement in some aspects of that.

[00:38:26] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:38:26] Oh yeah. Hello. I think those who are trying to figure it out, you know, candidly don’t have a strong knowledge of cannabis and, you know, we have some connections at the state department and, you know, catch up them at a time and they’re a sponge they’re eager to learn as much as they can.

[00:38:39] They want to make sure they don’t drop the ball and do things where regarding international cannabis important export that is going to kill our industry. So I, I have seen a real olive branch extended, even on both sides of the aisle. I mean, we had. Cory Gardner and Earl Blumenauer on the same webinar.

[00:38:54] You know, they’re a very opposed and everything but cannabis, you know, Barbara Lee, Earl, I mean, these, these are the people [00:39:00] who call David Abernathy from our consulting team and ask them, Hey, you know, the more acts coming out, here’s some of the new amendments, you know, can you review these, let us know your thoughts.

[00:39:08] You know, we want to make sure this has good policy. So there is a real. You know, I’d say a bipartisan effort for, for a lot of our elected officials to, to learn this inside and out. And we’re going to be headed to Shreveport, Shreveport, Louisiana, to do stuff involving some local, local government and local investors to educate them around this.

[00:39:27] And they’re transparent. We know, we think cannabis is blunts and all that jazz that we just don’t. I don’t agree with. So, you know, I see this as a great opportunity to blow some minds, change some misconceptions and thank God we have things like, you know, golf, which has embraced CBD in cannabis, you know, so heavily you can’t go to a pro shop now and not see, you know, topicals and, you know, it started to get you know, I I’d say kind of, you know, recreation and entertainment.

[00:39:53] I mean, it’s hitting both sides of the aisle and, and no matter who you are, there’s now a cannabis product for you. That’s, you know, [00:40:00] it’s going to cure whatever you’re struggling with because everybody’s struggling with something.

[00:40:03] Bryan Fields: [00:40:03] Absolutely. Especially after the pandemic. So Jake, before we wrap up, where can our listeners get in touch with you for operations space that are looking to kind of learn more, you know, where can they find you?

[00:40:12] Yes,

[00:40:13] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:40:13] the circle back to the beginning of the complex nexus part fuse and different sub entities. I’m really easy to get to. Because there’s legit four people in the country with my last name and they’re all my family. So K U C, Z E R UK. You can find me on every social media channel because I’m the guy who snaps up slash cruiser on everything.

[00:40:31] Sorry to everybody in Eastern Europe. I beat you to the punch on clubhouse.  Gmail cause rack on LinkedIn. Got it all covered. That’s the easiest way to reach me directly. It was anything I could personally help with. Do Arcview we have leave forms right now, the website. So I would say go to Arcview consulting.com arc V I E w consulting.

[00:40:51]And you can get directly over to me. My direct email is Jake who’s [email protected] I’m usually pretty responsive. Yeah, definitely [00:41:00] inbound. And I’ll tell ya, you know, in, in general, I would say for those that just want a little bit more go to RQ access.com, take a look at some of our webinars, the digital content that we’ve been pumping out the replays of some of the past ones and just get a sense of who we are and what we do.

[00:41:14] And I think from there, you know, regardless of what your objective is and connecting with our view, be it an investor operator. Price, whatever I am kind of the glue that can route you to the right department. RQ ventures has their own website. There’s even an intake form. If you’re trying to submit your startup to raise money, RQ capital got their own website.

[00:41:35] So RQ group.com. You can get routed to everything from there. Very long-winded. I know.

[00:41:40] Bryan Fields: [00:41:40] Yeah. I think the webinars were a great resource, especially during the pandemic. So I definitely encourage everyone. Who’s looking to learn more to kind of go through those replays because there’s a ton of really valuable tidbits in there that are still applicable to today.

[00:41:51] So appreciate your time, Jake. Thanks for your time,

[00:41:54] Jake Kuczeruk: [00:41:54] Helen and Brian, I can’t thank you enough for featuring me. I got a real kick out of this. The format caught me a little bit of [00:42:00] surprise at the beginning. Yeah. I didn’t realize it was a group combo, but I’ll tell ya. I really enjoy this. This was one of the, actually the favorite podcasts I’ve done because not strictly business questions, not strictly cannabis trends all over the map, which I think is what, you know, it’s the education that regardless of who you are, that’s what you need right

[00:42:16] Bryan Fields: [00:42:16] now.

[00:42:17] Appreciate that. Appreciate that. We’re going to clip that and put that as our intro. Thanks Jake.


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