Articles by Leafwire

  • Unlocking Savings: FOHSE Introduces Energy Rebate Program Offering Up to 70% Rebate on LED Lighting for Cannabis GrowersPress ReleaseUnlocking Savings: FOHSE Introduces Energy Rebate Program Offering Up to 70% Rebate on LED Lighting for Cannabis Growers – FOHSE, a pioneering force in horticulture science and engineering for the cannabis market, announces an innovative State-to-State Energy Rebate Program aimed at revolutionizing the way cultivators approach lighting solutions. This initiative is set to transform the landscape of cannabis cultivation by offering unprecedented savings of up to 70% on retrofits from traditional HPS to cutting-edge LED lighting applications for your grow facility. With the cannabis industry experiencing exponential growth, cultivators face substantial initial startup costs. FOHSE recognizes this challenge and has partnered with states across the nation to introduce and assist with game-changing rebate programs designed to alleviate financial burdens and accelerate the transition to energy-efficient LED lighting solutions. CEO and Co-Founder of FOHSE, Brett Stevens, expresses profound enthusiasm for the program, stating, “We are thrilled to introduce these rebate programs to our valued clients. At FOHSE, we are committed to driving innovation and sustainability within the cannabis cultivation industry. By leveraging state-of-the-art LED lighting technology and collaborating with forward-thinking states, we are empowering cultivators to optimize their operations while significantly reducing their environmental footprint.” The State-to-State Energy Rebate Program not only benefits cultivators but also delivers substantial advantages to participating states. By incentivizing the adoption of energy-efficient LED lighting, states can achieve significant reductions in energy consumption, enhance HVAC efficiencies, and promote sustainable practices within the cannabis industry. FOHSE constantly stands tall with some of the highest efficiency ratings in the industry, for their entire line of products.  Stevens emphasizes, “This initiative underscores our dedication to sustainability and environmental stewardship. By embracing LED lighting solutions, cultivators can achieve remarkable energy savings, enhance crop quality, and contribute to a greener future for all.” FOHSE clients are poised to reap substantial rewards through the rebate program, with some eligible for even greater incentives. The program’s implementation marks a significant milestone in FOHSE’s ongoing mission to drive innovation and foster sustainability within the cannabis cultivation sector.  For more information and qualification details about FOHSE and its State-to-State Energy Rebate Program, please visit or contact 888-364-7377 to connect with an LED lighting expert. About FOHSE: FOHSE, the Future of Horticultural Science & Engineering, a leading manufacturer of high-performance LED grow lights, creates lighting fixtures that enable previously unobtainable and unthinkable results. FOHSE’s sustainable and innovative first-of-their-kind products create a loyal customer base around the world. FOHSE was founded in 2015 and has sold multiple tens of thousands of lights to growers and cannabis brands around the world—without a single customer taking the company up on its promise of refund if their yields did not increase. For media inquiries, please [...]
    June 16, 2024
  • CanaQuest Announces Key Appointments to Team to Drive CQ-001 through Clinical TrialsPress ReleaseCanaQuest Announces Key Appointments to Team to Drive CQ-001 through Clinical TrialsTORONTO, ON, June 11, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CanaQuest Medical Corp (“CanaQuest” or the “Company”) (OTC: CANQF), is pleased to announce strategic additions to its executive team with expertise in conducting clinical trials and US FDA drug approval success. The team plans to effectively navigate the regulatory approval process for Drug Candidate, CQ-001 (cannabidiol + proprietary API composition), to treat rare neurological conditions with a primary focus on epilepsy. Furthermore, a nutraceutical version of the formulation, Mentanine™, is scheduled for clinical studies to investigate its potential applications across various indications, paving the way for future clinical trials. [...]
    June 13, 2024
  • When to Automate Your Pre-Roll Production ProcessBlog PostWhen to Automate Your Pre-Roll Production ProcessIf you’re a producer in the cannabis industry looking to scale up your pre-roll production, automation might be on your radar. But upgrading to automation is a major decision and expense, so how do you know when to take the leap?  Here’s a streamlined guide to help you decide if it’s time to automate and what to consider based on insights from the Pre-Roll Experts.  Assessing Production Needs   The decision to automate often starts with a simple calculation: comparing the monthly volume of pre-rolls you produce versus the labor costs involved in manual production.   Automated pre-roll machines, capable of producing thousands of pre-rolls per hour, become cost-effective when production reaches a significant volume. We don’t recommend upgrading to automation until your demand exceeds 50,000 pre-rolls monthly—a volume achieved by fewer than 10% of producers.    Choosing the Right Time and Type of Automation   Automation isn’t just about meeting production volumes; it also involves considering the types of products you’re creating.   If your product line includes multiple strains or varying pre-roll products, such as different sizes or types (like cones versus tubes), you might face challenges. Automated systems excel with consistent inputs and might struggle with variation, potentially increasing turnover time between batches.  If your products require frequent adjustments for making different SKUs within a single day, maintaining several tabletop cone filling machines might be more effective – and cheaper – than fully automating the process.  Pros and Cons of Pre-Roll Automation  Processed with VSCO with s3 preset On the upside, automation can drastically reduce labor costs and improve consistency in product quality. Automated machines can handle tasks like filling, packing, and weighing with precision, potentially operating for hours with minimal human intervention. This efficiency can free up your workforce to focus on other aspects of production and packaging.  However, the transition to automation isn’t without its drawbacks. High initial costs can be prohibitive for smaller operations. Moreover, pre-roll machines require continuous monitoring and adjustments, debunking the myth of a “set it and forget it” solution.   Plus, the inherent variability in the stickiness and density of cannabis flower – not just strain to strain, but harvest to harvest – can make automated processing challenging, as machines prefer uniform inputs.  Automated pre-roll filling machines often also require additional training, so having a dedicated employee, potentially with an engineering background is helpful, so if your team has significant turnover, you may need to take the cost of re-training into consideration.  Other Considerations  There are a handful of other things to consider if you plan to automate your pre-roll production.  As mentioned, automated machines require a consistent particle size to work effectively, so if you do plan to upgrade to an automated pre-roll filling machine, it would behoove you to also have an industrial grinder and a sifter to ensure uniformity.  Manufacturers should also consider adding a humidor to their facility. Humidors provide a constant moisture level and storing ground flower helps maintain consistency of inputs before packing. Additionally, a humidor can be used to keep completed pre-rolls fresh prior to delivery at a dispensary, which is particularly helpful if you are producing large quantities.  Finally, make sure your pre-rolled cones are also consistent in their quality so they work in the automation process. The machine won’t realize if there are slight issues in the opening diameter or size of the cone and cannot adjust to make it work. Inconsistent, flimsy and other low-quality cones just aren’t going to be good enough to work with automated machinery.  Industry Trends and Growth  Understanding market trends can also help guide your decision. The pre-roll segment has seen substantial growth, driven by the lowering cost of cannabis and technological advancements in pre-roll manufacturing.   This growth indicates a robust market potential for pre-rolled products, suggesting that investing in automation could be a forward-thinking move if aligned with industry dynamics and consumer demand.  When to Automate Your Production  Deciding to automate your pre-roll production involves analyzing your current production capacity, market trends and the specific needs of your product line. While automation offers significant advantages in terms of efficiency and cost reduction, it requires careful consideration of the types and variations of pre-rolls you produce.   But with the right approach, automation can be a pivotal step in scaling your cannabis business to meet increasing market demands efficiently. [...]
    May 21, 2024
  • Unlocking the Secret to Superior Pre-Rolls: The Essential Step of SiftingBlog PostUnlocking the Secret to Superior Pre-Rolls: The Essential Step of SiftingIn the intricate art of crafting perfect pre-rolls, every stage in the production process plays a pivotal role. From grinding the cannabis to packing the final product, it’s crucial to put exceptional care into each step to ensure the quality and overall satisfaction with your product.  Still, there’s one critical stage of pre-roll production that is often overlooked: sifting. Despite its pivotal role in enhancing both the quality and efficiency of pre-rolled cones and pre-roll tubes, sifting is a step that is skipped by most pre-roll producers.   One recent study by Custom Cones USA revealed that only about 40% of cannabis companies use sifters in their pre-roll production. Whether or not you fall into that category, knowing more about sifting can help you craft superior pre-rolls and give yourself an edge over your competitors. Let’s explore why this step is indispensable in crafting quality pre-rolls.  Why Consistent Particle Size Matters  Sifting is not just a supplementary step; it’s a fundamental process that filters out unwanted stems and large particles which could compromise the structural integrity of your pre-rolls.   More than just cleaning the cannabis, sifting ensures that each particle is uniformly sized, leading to a smoother smoking experience and preventing issues such as uneven burning and airflow blockages. Inconsistencies in particle size can also lead to air pockets, which cause pre-rolls to burn unevenly, a common complaint among consumers.   Many automated pre-roll machines, such as the AuraX and AuraOne, require precise particle sizes to function efficiently, making sifting essential for maintaining a swift production line.  Scientific Backing of Sifting  Research supports the notion that a narrow particle size distribution enhances the flowability of materials. Sifting also plays a key role in maintaining the uniformity of pre-rolls. To underscore the importance of sifting, Custom Cones USA conducted an experiment comparing sifted versus sifted cannabis using an automatic sifter.   The results were revealing to say the least. Cannabis that was sifted before being added to rolling papers had a 65% lower weight variance and a dramatic reduction in defects caused by stems. The number of unsifted pre-rolls that had a hole due to stems was 488% higher than in sifted pre-rolls.   As markets mature and competition increases, sifting can help you maintain an edge by promising quality experience for consumers.   Sifting for Metering and Kief Collection  Sifting also plays a vital role in metering and kief collection. For operations that use metering trays in their filling machines, consistent particle size is essential for accurate volumetric filling, ensuring pre-rolled cones are packed with a consistent amount of cannabis.  Sifters can also be employed to collect kief, a potent byproduct composed of cannabis trichomes that have been knocked off the flower that is used as a concentrate or to make hash. By using mesh screens designed for kief extraction, you can collect kief to later mix back in to enhance the potency and flavor of your pre-rolls.   The Transformative Power of Sifting  Incorporating a meticulous sifting process in your pre-roll production is not just about refining what you remove from the cannabis; it’s about enhancing the overall quality and efficiency of the final product.   The impact of sifting extends through every aspect of production, from operational efficiency to consumer satisfaction. For those looking to elevate their pre-roll game, overlooking this crucial step could mean missing out on a significant improvement in product quality.  [...]
    May 13, 2024
  • DaySavers Elevates the Pre-Roll Experience with Carefully Crafted Pre Rolled ConesBlog PostDaySavers Elevates the Pre-Roll Experience with Carefully Crafted Pre Rolled ConesIn the realm of cannabis consumption, the quality of the smoking experience hinges on the products used. For consumers, that typically means carefully parsing through the various strains and flower types that will elevate their smoke session. But when it comes to pre-rolls, consumers are often at the mercy of the products available at their dispensary – which leaves much to be desired when it comes to quality and range of choices. DaySavers is aiming to change that. DaySavers, the new direct to consumer brand founded by pre-roll manufacturer Custom Cones USA, offers a wide selection of pre-roll products and smoking accessories. Their goal? To save the day for cannabis consumers by providing pre rolled cones and products that are not only superior but also rigorously tested and approved. Let’s delve into what separates DaySavers pre-roll products from the rest. Pre Rolled Cones and Smoking Accessories When Custom Cones USA launched their direct-to-consumer brand DaySavers in 2023, they aimed to use their expertise and industry knowledge to raise the standard of pre-roll products. The result is a wide product range that includes pre rolled cones and tubes that are designed to enhance the user experience. From the pristine clarity of ultra-refined white pre rolled cones to the earthy appeal of natural brown rolling papers, DaySavers delivers an extensive range of pre-roll options for consumers of every preference. DaySavers also has a wide selection of smoking accessories to help consumers personalize their smoking experience. They offer innovative products that cater to the diverse tastes of cannabis users, including spiral, wood, and premium filter tips and the pre-rolled hemp wrap blunts at Fill-a Blunts. DaySavers represents more than just a brand—it embodies a collective effort fueled by industry experts, growers, budtenders, creators, and passionate consumers. Each pre-rolled cone undergoes meticulous review and approval by the DaySavers Panel, ensuring stringent criteria for quality and performance are met. This commitment to transparency and excellence underscores DaySavers’ mission to be the most honest, transparent, and compliant rolling paper company in the world. Compliance and Safety Standards DaySavers places paramount importance on consumer safety by subjecting their pre rolled cones and tubes to rigorous testing for heavy metals, pesticides, and microbials. This ensures that every product meets the highest industry standards, providing peace of mind to consumers who prioritize transparency and quality. Their adherence to strict testing standards is a welcome change in the pre-roll industry, which has been plagued by contaminants like pesticides and heavy metals. A recent study conducted by SC Labs revealed that 90% of 118 rolling paper products contained at least one heavy metal. The same study also revealed that 8% of those products exceed California’s limit for cannabis products, which are among the strictest in the U.S. California officials also recently issued a mandatory recall on pre-rolls due to the presence of mold, pulling products from nearly 100 dispensaries. Unlike some alternatives that may pose health risks due to contaminants, DaySavers products are backed by documented testing. All of the pre rolled cones and tubes are FSC certified, reaffirming their dedication to safety and excellence. To ensure only the highest quality products reach their customers, DaySavers also created an expert panel to review and test each item. The DaySavers Expert Panel is a group of cannabis aficionados who review and approve every product sold on their website, giving consumers an added layer of confidence in all their items. Experience the DaySavers Difference Beyond their dedication to quality products, DaySavers is committed to fostering a vibrant community of like-minded individuals who share a passion for cannabis and creativity. By prioritizing consumer safety and community engagement, DaySavers has solidified its position as a trusted brand that cannabis enthusiasts can rely on and celebrate.Ready to explore premium pre rolled cones that elevate your smoking experience to new heights? Check out the DaySavers website to explore their full range of pre roll products and smoking accessories [...]
    May 6, 2024
  • VPR Brands LP Reports Record Annual Financial Performance for Fiscal Year 2023Press ReleaseVPR Brands LP Reports Record Annual Financial Performance for Fiscal Year 2023The Company Concluded the Year With Revenue Doubling, Alongside Substantial Improvements in Gross Profit Margins and Net Income FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, April 19, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — via NewMediaWire – VPR Brands LP (OTCQB: VPRB), a leader in the innovation and monetization of intellectual properties within the electronic cigarette and vaporizer sector, today announced its financial results for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023. Demonstrating significant growth and enhanced operational efficiency, the company concluded the year with revenue doubling, alongside substantial improvements in gross profit margins and net income. Annual Financial Highlights: ● Revenues: Increased significantly to $9,853,825, up from $4,927,616 in 2022. The growth is attributed to increased customer sales and the introduction of new royalty revenue streams. ● Net Income: Reported a net income of $3,812,605, reversing a net loss of $203,697 in 2022, showcasing the company’s effective strategies and operational execution. ● Cost of Sales: Rose to $4,972,497, reflecting the increased sales volume, with gross margins impressively expanding to 50.3% in 2023 from 33% in 2022, driven by higher-margin direct-to-consumer online sales and higher wholesale margins. ● Operating Expenses: Increased to $2,210,072 as compared to $1,828,195 in 2022 due to enhanced advertising activities and additional advertising to support the expanded sales and revenue base. ● Cash Flow from Operations: Improved to a positive $3,481,356 in 2023 from a negative $312,423 in 2022, indicating robust operational health and enhanced cash management. Liquidity and Capital Resources: ● Total Assets: Grew to $3,191,246 from $1,632,528 in 2022, bolstered by increased Cash, Inventory, and Accounts Receivable from the growth in sales. ● Total Liabilities: Decreased to $2,576,936 from $3,951,020 in 2022, significantly reducing the company’s debt profile and enhancing financial stability. Other Financial Updates: ● Other Income: Other income netted $1,141,350 in 2023, mainly from a litigation settlement which contributed $2,400,172. ● Financing Activities: Net cash used in financing activities was $1,706,517 in 2023, a pivot from net cash provided of $332,254 in 2022, reflecting a strategic reduction in debt levels. Executive Comments: Kevin Frija, CEO of VPR Brands LP, stated, “2023 was a pivotal year for VPR Brands. We’ve successfully optimized our patent and trademark portfolio and expanded our market presence, resulting in historic revenue levels and profitability. Our strategic focus on Intellectual Property Monetization, including licensing has positioned us strongly within the competitive landscape.” Dan Hoff, COO, added, “Our operational achievements this year reflect our commitment to excellence and innovation. With new products in the pipeline and an expanding rapidly into new segments through licensing, we are poised for continued growth, diversification and are focused on delivering sustainable value to our shareholders.” About VPR Brands LP: VPR Brands is a technology company and an IP holding company engaged in various monetization strategies of its U.S. patents covering electronic cigarette, vaporizer technologies, and related accessories. The company designs, develops, markets, and distributes products oriented towards the cannabis markets, including the ELF and HONEYSTICK brand of vaporizers and DISSIM Lighters. VPR Brands is actively enforcing its patents and exploring and monetizing licensing opportunities. For more information about VPR Brands, please visit Forward-Looking Statements: This news release contains statements that involve expectations, plans, or intentions, and other factors discussed from time to time in the company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings. These statements are forward-looking and are subject to risks and uncertainties, so actual results may vary materially. The company cautions readers not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. The company disclaims any obligation subsequently to revise any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements or to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events. Products from VPR Brands, a publicly traded company (VPRB) ● 888.420.8858 Investor Information [...]
    May 1, 2024
  • Star Micronics Brings Mainstream POS Best Practices to the Niche Cannabis IndustryQ&A InterviewStar Micronics Brings Mainstream POS Best Practices to the Niche Cannabis IndustryIf you’ve worked with POS systems before, you’ve likely heard of Star Micronics, the world’s leader in innovative POS solutions that empower global businesses to properly manage their revenue and streamline operations to provide stellar customer service every time. The company moved into cannabis early in the game—one of the first mainstream POS providers to do so, despite the stigma that still surrounded the plant at the time. They were determined to enter the space and add value based on their decades of expert experience with a wide variety of global retailers. And from streamlined printer solutions that boost dispensaries’ customer service skills to inventory tracking data and analytics that speed up the selling and ordering process, they’ve done just that.  We sat down with Star’s Product Integration Manager, Mark Rasho, to learn more about the company’s secrets to success, the unique innovations they’ve introduced to the cannabis industry, and how they plan to keep pioneering how POS is approached by retail operators nationwide.  Leafwire: How did Star Micronics first begin supporting the cannabis industry? Mark Rasho: We got into cannabis pretty early on; we were probably one of the first hardware providers to get into the field. We started by developing integrated POS scales for cannabis operators—inventory-focused scales that are being used from seed to sale across the vertical.  Today, our POS tools are found in about 90 percent of the nation’s legal dispensaries. Operators can use them to measure and weigh products, put them into the system, and move them to the next stage of the supply chain.  LW: What informed your initial decision to move into cannabis? MR: It was a new industry popping up that needed our products. It was very logical and straightforward for us to get into. Some of our competitors were hesitant about getting into the field, but we weren’t. We saw an industry in need of things like scales, scanners, cash drawers, printers, label printers, tablet stands, and kiosk stands. We had all of that available, so it was a natural next step for us.  LW: What is unique about your dispensary support compared to the rest of your mainstream clients? MR: It’s funny; we actually began developing a lot of our newest products with the cannabis industry in mind. For example, our new mC-Label3 printer, which prints linerless labels, features a motor and blade designed to cut labels quickly for easy labeling and sticking on products, and that need came from our cannabis clients. LW: How so? MR: It was the influx of online orders that first brought this to our attention, which really kicked in during the pandemic. At the time, you’d see a lot of receipts stapled to order bags, which someone had to do manually.  With linerless labels, you can just take the sticker from the printer and slap it on. It has all of the necessary information printed for seamless delivery and pickup, and helps operators and consumers alike be much more efficient with their sales and purchases.  LW: How else do you make operators’ lives easier? MR: Our scales. They’re NTEP-certified for U.S. operators and Measurement Canada-certified for operators up north, and they’re great at helping operators stay compliant while also working efficiently and boosting revenue. We’ve also developed a number of portable printer solutions you can easily strap onto your body or belt buckle, which helps sellers complete their tasks quicker and easier.  We don’t want to make products to sell—we want to create solutions that will inspire the industry to work more efficiently.  LW: What advice would you give an operator on the hunt for a new POS system? MR: You’re going to want to look for a POS system that is able to accept online orders and also integrates with other online ordering apps like Weedmaps or Leafly. You also want something with receipts, scanners, and a label machine integrated: a full POS solution so you don’t have to work with a bunch of different vendors or dedicate one POS for sales and another for online orders. It’s best to stick with one solution if you can.  I’d also recommend looking into a standalone printer in the back for receiving online orders. Star offers CloudPRNT technology; if you opt for a CloudPRNT-compatible printer, it will pull from the server automatically instead of waiting to start printing. So, your printer will see the job in the queue, automatically pull it in, and print.  This will streamline the process for you and your staff–you don’t have to accept an order before it prints. It just does so automatically, so whoever is in the back filling orders can see it going, grab that receipt, and start putting the products together for the customer. This process has helped restaurants and other retailers streamline their online ordering, so it would similarly make sense for cannabis operators. LW: What’s on the horizon for Star Micronics? MR: We’ll be coming out with a new version of our CloudPRNT printers. The machines will be faster, with the ability to print labels and receipts. They’ll also feature new hardware, including USB-C for iOS, Android, and Windows. USB-C is better at transferring information data, printing quickly, and charging all connected devices while it works.  This update will be particularly beneficial for kiosks at dispensaries. Customers will be able to check out the menu, order what they want, and have the printer print out their receipt while they wait for the order. It does away with the need for Bluetooth, which is less reliable than direct connections. [...]
    January 25, 2024
  • Azuca Brings Fast-Acting Formulations That Will Reinvent How Cannabis Edibles are ConsumedQ&A InterviewAzuca Brings Fast-Acting Formulations That Will Reinvent How Cannabis Edibles are ConsumedCannabis edibles are an increasingly popular category among consumers, but one major drawback to this form of consumption is its onset time. Effects can vary so widely from person to person, and that unpredictability has kept a lot of people away from the edible sector entirely.   Azuca serves edibles and beverage manufacturers with fast-acting delivery systems and advanced formulations that directly combat this stigma, allowing consumers to have a stronger grasp on how much they’re consuming and when it will take effect. With chef-created, science-forward products powered by its patent-pending TiME INFUSION® process, Azuca’s products encapsulate individual cannabinoid molecules, making them “water-friendly,” for a predictable and controllable experience every time.  We sat down with Azuca CEO and co-founder Kim Sanchez Rael to discuss the details of the company and the unique innovation they bring to cannabis edibles throughout the nation.  Leafwire: How was Azuca first formed? Kim Sanchez Rael: NYC-based Bubby’s Chef and Owner Ron Silver and I started working together in 2017 and launched Azuca in 2018. Prior to the opening, Ron realized the industry’s biggest issue was the lack of controllable, fast-acting and reliable edibles. As a chef and culinary innovator, Ron leveraged his love of both food and cannabis to solve the challenges of cannabis edibles, and he spent several years developing what is now our TiME INFUSION® process. Our solution has been revolutionary, filling a void in the industry, and we continue to transform the category with our groundbreaking delivery systems. LW: What is TiME INFUSION®? KSR: TiME is a science-forward, chef-created encapsulation process that enables cannabinoids to be absorbed in the soft tissues of the digestive tract. This process preempts the first-pass liver metabolism and delivers Delta-9 THC directly to the body. This is very different, both in terms of onset time and in effect from the 11-Hydroxy-THC experience of traditional edibles that are metabolized by the liver.  LW: What sector of the industry does the company service? KSR: We help edibles brands and manufacturers make their products the very best in the industry. We do this by licensing our cutting-edge advanced formulations for beverages, edibles, and topical cannabis products, setting new standards for excellence in quality and efficacy. Our formulations transform high-maintenance cannabinoids into chef-ready ingredients for edible and beverage manufacturers and brands, creating products that are both fast-acting and delicious. Our partnership model is completely scalable and empowers our brand partners to control their production process.   LW: What are the main benefits of your infusions for edible consumers? KSR: For consumers, Azuca’s TiME INFUSION® delivers great-tasting edibles that act fast. There is no guessing game as first effects are felt in 5-15 minutes. Our process encapsulates cannabis oil molecules, transforming them into hydrophilic (water-friendly) cannabinoids that can be absorbed in the soft tissues of the mouth, esophagus and digestive system. By preempting the first pass metabolism, TiME INFUSION® allows for greater Delta-9 THC absorption – providing a more euphoric high – typically associated with inhalation, instead of the heavy, couch-lock high from traditional edibles. (Read more on the difference between Delta-9 THC and 11-Hydroxy-THC here.) There is also no bitter, medicinal, grassy/hemp after-taste. These effects are attractive to both existing cannabis consumers looking for an alternative to smoking, as well as new cannabis consumers who may have heard stories about unpleasant or unpredictable edibles experiences LW: What about for edible manufacturers? KSR: For manufacturers, our process is simple, stable and completely scalable for companies of any size. The solution helps companies save money—it is easy to use, easy to store, and easy to implement, so our partners can quickly bring best-in-class solutions to their customers. Azuca can be incorporated into existing manufacturing processes, doesn’t require moving product or equipment across state lines and helps reduce active ingredient waste up to 65 percent (more here). Also, of note for cultivators and manufacturers is our newest innovation: Whole-Plant ACTiVATOR®, which allows for edibles without extracts. This entirely new category of edibles and beverages uses whole cannabis flower as infusion material and delivers the true inflorescence of unique strains including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. A first in the industry, Azuca’s process doesn’t require traditional extraction and the only solvent used is water, offering a significant reduction in processing costs and a natural approach to ingestible infusions. In addition to fast-onset, products can be made without any additional flavoring, highlighting each strain’s unique sensory effects and flavor.  LW: Any upcoming news for Azuca? KSR: We’re launching our “pay-it-forward” social equity initiative. We recently named Azuca’s first Social Equity Fellow—rising star Matha Figaro, CEO of ButACake. We’ve already worked with ButACake to bring their Hibiscus Elixir to Delaware’s medical market, utilizing Azuca’s new RTD ACTiVATOR® (“Ready to Drink”.)  They’ve since launched a Peach Elixir, and fast-acting baked goods. We’ll be formally announcing our partnership and plans for 2024 with CannPowerment so even more licensed minority and women-owned businesses can benefit from TiME INFUSION®, giving them a competitive edge in the market and the opportunity to scale sustainability. We will continue to innovate in the ingestibles category and expand globally.  We’re already in over 100 SKUs, including whole-plant edibles and ready-to-drink beverages, in over 20 states plus Puerto Rico, across the US, Canada, and soon Australia. [...]
    November 15, 2023
  • Melody Kramer’s Green Leaves and Brownies Teaches Cannabis Law à la Dr. SeussQ&A InterviewMelody Kramer’s Green Leaves and Brownies Teaches Cannabis Law à la Dr. SeussThe cannabis industry has been notoriously confusing when it comes to rules and regulations, largely due to the fact that it remains federally illegal. This continued status means cannabis law varies widely from region to region, and operators are required to jump through countless, ever-changing hoops just to remain compliant. Trial lawyer and writer Melody A. Kramer has familiarized herself with cannabis law enough to know how complicated it can get, and that realization has fueled her latest effort and passion: writing Green Leaves and Brownies: A Paradoxical Explanation of Cannabis Laws, a lighthearted, Dr. Seuss-style book that educates people on the ins and outs of the plant from a court perspective.  Leafwire: How did you first found your law practice? Melody Kramer: I loved the intellectual exercise of sorting out legal problems. One of my middle school history teachers used to read the class case facts and have us guess the legal outcome. I tended to guess an outcome entirely different than everyone else in the class—however, it was always the right one.  I was also inspired by my uncle, Wilfried Kramer. He wasn’t a lawyer and didn’t even have a college degree, but he worked his way up to be the Clerk for the Third District Court of Appeals in Sacramento. I loved hearing about his cases; it helped me realize I needed to get immersed in the legal world too. I founded my law firm just a couple years out of law school and have been a trial and business lawyer ever since. Some of the work I love, but I also became disillusioned with the profession in many ways. I decided my quest needed to be making lawyers actually useful to real people—or at least humorous. LW: What did that realization lead to? MK: I founded Legal Greenhouse, which is a think tank and experimental playground for various projects to make legal information more accessible to everyone.   Legal Greenhouse Publishing has published two books so far: Why Lawyers Suck: Hacking the Legal System, Part 1, and Green Leaves and Brownies: A Paradoxical Explanation of Cannabis Laws. LW: What was your intention with publishing these books? MK: I thought there were other ways I could share my legal expertise beyond one-on-one client work. I wanted to do things that would help educate and change the legal profession. Publishing books that talk about the legal system in a humorous, engaging way is one of those things.   Why Lawyers Suck has some great stories that explain the lawyer mindset to the general public—essentially breaking down why we’re nuts, and how to deal with it as a client. Green Leaves and Brownies was born from a simple writing prompt I received in a writing group. I sat down with a few people in my group, fleshed the topic out a little more, and realized it would be neat to have as a book. Later that week, I was at Toastmasters. Their speaker had to cancel at the last minute, and they asked if I could give a speech in their place. I decided to present what I’d been writing, and ended up receiving an award for Best Speech of the Night. I thought I was really onto something. From there, I connected with a childhood friend who is also an artist, and she helped pull together the illustrations that really bring the story to life.  LW: How have you serviced the cannabis industry throughout your career? MK: For about a year, I worked with California Cannabis Lawyers dealing with the business side of the industry. But, I’ll be honest, I got a bit spooked when a local attorney who had a similar practice got slapped with felony charges relating to that representation. I was a single mom, and that kind of risk wasn’t something I was willing to take on at the time. But although I don’t service the industry directly, I still get clients coming to me for peripheral cannabis issues relating to their day-to-day business practices. “Can my company’s health plan pay for medicinal cannabis for employees? Can a trust pay for a beneficiary’s recreational cannabis? How do I handle employees that I suspect are coming to work high? Can my employer make me take a drug test and then fire me for off-the-clock cannabis use?” These are very real issues that require thoughtful review and legal research. LW: What about cannabis law interests you? MK: I love the intellectual challenge. As far as I’m concerned, cannabis law is one of the most complicated areas of the law. For example, in California, there are over 200 different “jurisdictions” governing cannabis growing, processing, sales, and use. From town to town, county to county, there are all different regulations and permissions. There is also the overlap between federal and state laws, and not just what is on the books, but also how various laws are enforced or not enforced. It’s totally fascinating. LW: What do you find unique about cannabis laws?  MK: Cannabis laws are significantly tethered to politics and social mores—and precious-little reliance on science. The substance we are talking about is a natural product derived from a common plant that grows wild in many places in the US, and it’s not nearly as well understood as it should be. Knee-jerk political reactions ended up with a Class I designation, even though that defies science relating to this substance. LW: What are some of the challenges of cannabis law? MK: The overlapping jurisdictions, and just trying to nail down what you can and cannot do with respect to growing, processing, selling, buying, and using. I’ve recently been doing some field research, visiting dispensaries in different states and talking to the proprietors. It has been so fascinating to understand what is working for their businesses and what challenges they have.  Just a few months ago, I was on vacation and visited a local dispensary, looking to share my Green Leaves and Brownies book with them. Within 60 seconds of walking in the door and identifying myself as a lawyer, the owner handed me a letter he’d received from the state department that regulated dispensaries listing some new regulations. He pointed to one sentence in a five-page letter and said “Do you know what this means?”  I took a look at the sentence and realized that, if you interpreted this vague language in one way, his business was toast, but if you interpreted it another way, he was totally in the clear. How do you run a business that way, not knowing from day to day whether your business is legally compliant or not? This is what people in the cannabis business space are dealing with every day, and I cannot imagine how hard that would be having to constantly worry whether your hard work is going to be taken away by the government without notice. LW: What’s your favorite thing about cannabis law? MK: I love that it was fodder for my Green Leaves and Brownie Dr. Seuss parody book. As a trial lawyer, I spend a lot of time giving people bad news, or trying to dig them out of a bad situation. With my book, I’m hoping people can have a good laugh and learn a little about cannabis laws at the same time. And considering how rapid cannabis laws are changing, I’m sure I’ll need to do a follow-up book at some point. LW: What does the future of cannabis law look like? MK: Change, change and more change. Lawyers know that the law is an ever-changing landscape in most areas, but that’s so much more the case for cannabis law. LW: What is some expert advice every cannabis operator should keep in mind when it comes to laws and regulations? MK: Find a good, experienced cannabis lawyer—or two. Start meeting and collecting contact information for lawyers who handle various aspects of cannabis law, because you may need them at some point. Getting to know lawyers long before you need them is the best way to build trust when you aren’t in some legal distress.  You should also be proactive when it comes to keeping up with impending legal changes that may affect your business. That way, it’s less of a surprise for you later on. Be very deliberate, and do your due diligence with everyone you do business with. If something goes wrong, your legal remedies aren’t as straightforward as other industries’. Don’t get sucked into business with sketchy people or those with criminal connections either, because that can put an extra target on your back and nobody needs that. LW: What’s on the horizon for you and Legal Greenhouse? Any upcoming announcements or news? MK: I am exploring some additional ways to meet the legal and business needs of cannabis businesses, both through BuddingLegal—a curated directory of expert cannabis lawyers—and “Can I Cannabis?” an app for users that allows them instant access to what they can and cannot do in terms of possession, purchase, and use of cannabis where they are, and to connect them with local cannabis businesses.  While I work through the logistics and legal parameters for those projects, I will be continuing in my quest to make lawyers useful—or at least entertaining. In the coming year I expect to publish my second book in my “Hacking the Legal System” series. It will be titled How to Train Your Lawyer, which is somewhat of an operational manual for dealing with lawyers and how to make them a useful part of your business team.  For now, you can purchase your copy of Green Leaves and Brownies at (including discounts on bulk orders) as well as Amazon and other online booksellers.  [...]
    November 14, 2023
  • PLS Provides POS and IT Support to Cannabis Operators: Q&A with Gerson CedillosQ&A InterviewPLS Provides POS and IT Support to Cannabis Operators: Q&A with Gerson CedillosTechnology that allows you to streamline operations is essential for any business, but for the Cannabis Industry, it hasn’t always been easy to access. With continued Federally-illegal status, operators struggle to find solutions and partners who are willing to work with a gray market; as a result, innovation tends to be slow-going and difficult to achieve. Although this perpetual struggle keeps many third-party vendors far away from the cannabis industry, others are intrigued by the unique challenge and eager to help cannabis operators who are struggling to stay afloat amidst constant federal scrutiny.  One such fearlessly curious partner is PLS: an IT vendor and managed service provider (MSP) dedicated to supporting the national industry with all of its POS/IT hardware needs. One such fearlessly curious partner is PLS: an IT vendor and managed service provider (MSP) dedicated to supporting the national industry with all of its POS/IT hardware needs. Leafwire sat down with PLS CEO Gerson Cedillos to discuss how and why the team decided to support the Cannabis Industry, and all of the ways they consistently innovate Cannabis IT. Leafwire: How did PLS get its start? Gerson Cedillos: We opened for business in 2015 in the metro Phoenix area in Arizona. Our organization started as a Zebra Technologies Channel Partner, exclusively selling Zebra products, but today, we sell a wide variety of other OEM products and solutions including ELO Touch, HP Retail, Star Micronics, and Epson.  LW: What sort of clients do you service? GC: We do a lot of business with the Cannabis Industry in the U.S.—basically any state where cannabis is legal, whether that be medical or adult-use. We also work with more traditional retail and IT-focused customers.  LW: Did you always know you wanted to work with cannabis operators, or did that decision come later? GC: That came along later. We started servicing Cannabis operators because we realized there was a shortage of partners willing to work with the industry, and that was for a variety of reasons. Essentially, it’s a really difficult market to learn: every state is different, and most of them have very different compliance regulations. It’s a great market to work in, but it’s not easy. Despite all of the risk and fear, we were up for the challenge. Once we saw the industry needed assistance and knew we could provide it, we started building our own book of business, calling around and seeing who needed hardware and support. Operators were in need of better-quality POS systems, and we knew we were equipped to bring that to the table. LW: What value does better-quality POS PCs and hardware bring to operators? GC: The return on investment (ROI) is much better when you use POS hardware that was designed specifically for high-volume use. Consumer PCs or Macs that are available from traditional retail stores (WalMart, Costco) are all meant for home-use and won’t be beneficial for you in a retail space. When you’re using a POS system in a dispensary, you and your team are touching and using it for seven, eight, or nine hours a day. And if you’re using those store-bought tools we mentioned, your machine will wear down very quickly. You’ll have to replace it often, and those PCs don’t come with commercial warranties. If you use an ELO or HP Retail POS PC then you’ll receive a free standard 3-year warranty, along with a more durable touchscreen surface. ELO and HP Retail manufacture their touchscreens using materials like Gorilla Glass, so you can really beat down on them and they won’t break. You might be spending more at the start, but your hardware will last a lot longer than something cheaper, which is more likely to break and force you to replace it multiple times.  LW: What services do you provide to the Cannabis Industry? GC: We approach cannabis uniquely because it’s not Federally legal, so the money that our customers have to spend looks different. A lot of our clients don’t even have a line of credit from a bank or investor to work with, let alone regular access to checks or cards. We often have to do cash payments and pickup, which can get complicated. However, we understand it and we’re willing to work with our customers and accept different forms of payment wherever needed.  LW: How has PLS helped innovate best practices in the Cannabis Industry? GC: We’ve exposed operators to different solutions from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) like Zebra Tech, ELO Touch, HP Retail, and Star Micronics, including features like self-checkout kiosks or different types of barcode scanners and label printers. All of this is now starting to be considered “best practice” among our customers, who are everything from MSOs and regional chains to independent dispensaries and mom-and-pops.   LW: How can other organizations in the Cannabis Industry be more efficient? GC: Consolidate label and receipt paper purchasing from a single vendor, like PLS. You can leverage your annual order volume to receive extremely competitive pricing, and it makes it easier for team leads and managers to order from one vendor instead of having to keep track of several. It also allows you to consolidate billing, and you can access unique benefits, like Zebra Technologies’ free print head replacement offer.  LW: What has been the biggest challenge of working in the Cannabis Industry? GC: The market in a lot of states is oversaturated, and issues tend to arise where people don’t have a business plan or operating capital to begin with. The biggest challenge for us is making sure the industry understands it’s business—not just pleasure. You need to make sure you have enough money to stay open and operating, and to help open with a stable business plan, your best bet is to partner with a company like PLS. We have support resources that help you understand your plan thoroughly—and that make sense for everyone’s budget. LW: What is the biggest pro?GC: A lot more OEMs are beginning to view cannabis as a “real” business, and the industry is being taken more seriously as a result. Ten years ago, the Cannabis market was like a joke to many OEMs. You’d talk to an OEM sales rep and they just wouldn’t understand—they’d think it was a fad. Today, we’re seeing it as a real industry and market, and we’re here to provide long-term support.  LW: What are Managed Services and why should Cannabis operators use them? GC: Managed Services is the practice of outsourcing the responsibility for maintaining a range of IT processes and functions. In other words, you can hire a third-party like PLS to manage your IT network and hardware verses paying an in-house IT team.  This will provide operators with improved operations and reduced budgetary spend through the reduction of labor.  We charge a monthly rate based on the size of your business/endpoints, and it’s a great way to help you manage your IT infrastructure while reducing operating expenses.  The alternative would be to hire your own IT lead and build your own team, but then you’re having to worry about labor and other expenses. Operators can also handle their own IT, however they will want to eventually delegate this task to an MSP to be more efficient.  Our plans are very affordable and we simplify the Managed Services process so we can help you grow and expand your business.  LW: What’s on the horizon for PLS now? GC: We’re always looking to partner with new Independent Software Vendors in the industry who might want to delegate hardware support and procurement. We’re also keeping an eye on different states as they approve Medical and Recreational Cannabis sales. New states often bring new opportunities, as well as new challenges for meeting specific compliance guidelines.  If you’re interested in connecting in person, we’ll be at MJBizCon in Vegas from November 8 – December 1. Come and see us in the IT Pavilion: Booth 7412.  [...]
    November 10, 2023
  • GRN Mile High: How To Craft Irresistible Job OffersFeatured ArticleGRN Mile High: How To Craft Irresistible Job OffersDeveloping employment offers is as much of an ‘art’ as it is a ‘science’ & can sometimes be very complex! Additionally, ensuring fair/equitable & achievable realistic pay across the enterprise is also critical (& sometimes this presents challenges (especially when unifying/integrating teams because of M&A activity).For more downloadable articles like this, please visit GRN Mile High’s Free Digital Library Craft-Irresistible-Job-OffersDownload [...]
    November 1, 2023
  • GRN Mile High: How To Develop High Performing Leaders & TeamsFeatured ArticleGRN Mile High: How To Develop High Performing Leaders & TeamsWhen team members are willing, able & ready to prepare for their next career step, sometimes, even the most talented professionals, need a little assistance to fine-tune their executive leadership skills.For more downloadable articles like this, please visit GRN Mile High’s Free Digital Library Develop-High-Performing-Teams-1Download [...]
    October 30, 2023
  • Do You Have A Marketing Plan for 2024?Exclusive ContentDo You Have A Marketing Plan for 2024?Have you started thinking about your marketing plan for 2024? Did you have a plan for 2023? We’re still in the early stages yet, but as our industry matures more and more businesses are understanding the importance of planning – especially when it comes to marketing. That’s why we’re reminding our members about this important step, and why now is the right time to start developing a coherent and realistic plan for success in 2024. Have you started thinking about your marketing plan for 2024? Did you have a plan for 2023? What does a good marketing plan contain? Product and Service Overview – What does your company do, and what are the products and services you provide? Your Market Position – What is/are the specific market segments you serve? Who are your partners? Who are your competitors, what are they doing? Have you done a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)? This is key information to develop an effective plan. The Strategy – What is your value proposition? Why should a customer buy your product or service? How is your product or service sold? What are your key features and benefits? Who is your ideal customer? What is the pricing structure? How will that information be communicated to the market and what are your options? Who will sell it? Who will support it? The Budget – What are the financial considerations involved? What budget is needed to do everything you want to do? Are those funds available? Does it make sense to have different budget levels so that you can adjust your plan based on market conditions? What are your short and long-term goals? This is a basic structure, and these are just some of the factors to consider when formulating your marketing plan. As for Leafwire: we’re excited to be a part of your 2024 strategy. Let us know if you’d like to meet and discuss your strategy for 2024. If it involves digital marketing (and it should), Leafwire has a lot to offer to help make your 2024 a smashing success! Mike BallardLeafwire Image courtesy of: [...]
    October 26, 2023
  • GRN Mile High: How To Build Benefits For Today’s WorkforceFeatured ArticleGRN Mile High: How To Build Benefits For Today’s WorkforceIt’s no secret that compensation & benefits are one of the key elements of cultivating employee engagement & retention … & extend much further than traditional “health benefits & an occasional ‘work-from-home’ day.  Today, it is critical to engage your team in ways that speak to them!For more downloadable articles like this, please visit GRN Mile High’s Free Digital Library Build-BenefitsDownload [...]
    October 25, 2023
  • GRN Mile High: How To Draft & Extend An Attractive OfferFeatured ArticleGRN Mile High: How To Draft & Extend An Attractive OfferDeveloping employment offers is as much of an ‘art’ as it is a ‘science’ & can sometimes be very complex. We often find opportunities (& add value for our clients) when developing compensation models and employment offers that ensure the team is attracting the best leader for their open role!For more downloadable articles like this, please visit GRN Mile High’s Free Digital Library Draft-Extend-Attractive-Offer-1Download [...]
    October 24, 2023
  • NexTec Group’s CannaBusiness ERP Helps Cultivators Save Money: A Q&A with NexTec’s Dan WuQ&A InterviewNexTec Group’s CannaBusiness ERP Helps Cultivators Save Money: A Q&A with NexTec’s Dan WuNational consulting firm NexTec Group has over 25 years of experience offering tailored business management solutions to various industries, and one of their latest bespoke products was designed with the cannabis industry in mind. The CannaBusiness ERP brings expansive organizational software to cultivators throughout the market, supporting businesses in their pursuit of higher profit, lower overhead, and better products for retailers and consumers alike.  We sat down with NexTec’s Senior Marketing Manager Dan Wu to discuss the importance of cannabis enterprise resource planning (ERP), how NexTec first developed their winning product, and how focusing on finances is just the start when it comes to boosting business. Leafwire: How was CannaBusiness ERP first developed? Dan Wu: The CannaBusiness ERP product was developed as a way to consolidate our efforts in the cannabis industry, which we began to pay closer attention to in 2017. At the time, we were having a lot of success with modifying our ERP products to suit specific manufacturing processes, which we’d been developing with the food industry in mind.  Around the same time, cannabis legalization began to spread, and growers, distributors, and dispensaries were coming together to form conglomerates and MSOs. We realized the industry was lacking a specific solution for enterprise resourcing and planning, and we saw our product as a perfect fit. LW: Why is that? DW: Cannabis and food share similarities and challenges. Crops and livestock all undergo growth, harvest, packaging, and distribution, and the FDA regulations they’re required to follow are not unlike cannabis’s rigorous and ever-changing compliance requirements. It’s very similar to cannabis’s seed-to-sale journey.  Once we realized that our product fit well in the cannabis industry, we began to modify it even further to really suit the market. We included a lot of additional resources that customize the product to deal with those differences in regulations—any hurdles that are specific to cannabis MSOs.  LW: What benefits does the ERP bring to the industry? DW: A lot of cannabis companies we work with are still fairly young. The industry is still going through a growth phase, and a lot of companies have just recently been funded. When you’re a business owner in the process of being purchased by private equity—or you’re seeking investors—your finances and transactions need to be totally transparent to potential investors and stakeholders. Most of the time, if you don’t have some sort of financial tool similar to what we offer, you aren’t able to keep accurate track of every expenditure, every product that’s come in, the cost of your distribution, etc.—and that process alone can require a team of 10-15 people.  ERPs help you get a better hold of your financial future without having to spend a fortune on additional labor. The tool grants you financial visibility, which also helps you predict your income and forecast expenditures. MSOs have a lot of moving parts throughout the seed-to-sale journey; an ERP tool can automate much of that for a business, making everything more streamlined and transparent for everyone involved.  LW: So, do all of the ERP’s benefits revolve around financial planning? DW: No. That’s what the ERP is the backbone for, but there are a lot of different functionalities that can be plugged into the software. Its basis is financial solutions, but you can also include a warehouse management tool, a logistics tool, crop forecasting, etc. The more functionalities you add, the easier it will be for your business to work together and understand what’s going on throughout the supply chain.  LW: How has your software played a hand in innovating cannabis cultivation? DW: As a grower, you want your yield to be as efficient as possible. You don’t want a lot of crops to go to waste, and you definitely don’t want your product sitting on shelves for an extended period of time. Let’s put it this way: the word “planning” is in “ERP” for a reason. Our product allows your organization to be able to map out your yield according to your projected forecast for revenue and sales. We’re giving you a tool to see the future clearly—or, at least responsibly prepare for it.  LW: What should cultivators keep in mind when considering ERP software? DW: If you’re big enough to look for an ERP, you should already be looking forward to your future. There are multiple ERP solutions available to the market; when you’re making your decision, look at the longevity of the company and product. You don’t want to go with someone who cobbled together some poor code for a cheap solution.  You should also look for products that understand your company and aren’t afraid to work with the cannabis industry. Larger ERP solutions might look fantastic on the surface, but the bigger companies might shy away from cannabis. That’s something for MSOs to be cognizant of. Go with companies that have software that was designed for the industry—and to take it a step further, go with companies who are willing to stand behind the industry and update their software to evolve with regulation changes, which are always something to keep in mind.  LW: What’s on the horizon for CannaBusiness ERP and NexTec? DW: We typically do a quarterly release for our products, where changes are pushed out to everyone who is on license via cloud.  We recently added waste management and waste control to the ERP, and we’re looking to add features and functions designed to deal specifically with the packaging and distribution of products. [...]
    October 18, 2023
  • How Ceramic Vape Cartridge Innovations Address Vaporizer Health & Safety Concerns: A Q&A with TPK Ceramics Co-Founder Trey KavoorasQ&A InterviewHow Ceramic Vape Cartridge Innovations Address Vaporizer Health & Safety Concerns: A Q&A with TPK Ceramics Co-Founder Trey KavoorasIn the rapidly growing vaping industry, TPK Ceramics has emerged as a leader in innovation. The company was founded in 2019 by Trey Kavooras, who saw a need for safer, healthier vape cartridges. TPK Ceramics’ products are made with medical-grade ceramic, which is free of heavy metals and other harmful substances. The company also performs rigorous third-party testing to ensure the quality and safety of its products. In this Q&A, Kavooras discusses the benefits of ceramic vape cartridges, the importance of health and safety in the vaping industry, and his thoughts on the FDA’s recent introduction of the Disposable ENDS Enforcement Act. TPK has grown incredibly quickly and innovated the cannabis industry along the way — you invented ceramics in vapes. What was the motivation to incorporate ceramics into vaporizers?  Several factors went into ceramic incorporation. First, states were developing more stringent heavy metals testing, and there was a need to develop a cannabis cartridge that contained little to no metal at all in order for operators to pass third-party testing. Second, there was an open market space to create a cleaner, healthier alternative with elevated aesthetics for concentrate consumers. How can you maintain the pace of growth and innovation while producing some of the highest-quality products on the cannabis market? Do the two factors contribute to each other?  This is something we stay extremely cognizant of at TPK. We have had opportunities to increase sales at a more rapid rate but have chosen to make sure we grow slowly and methodically. Increasing production is not an issue, but doing it in a way where quality is not jeopardized most definitely is. We want to continue our pace of innovation while maintaining quality. With all new innovations, even extremely subtle changes, we go through rigorous third-party stability testing to ensure we meet the failure requirements that we hold ourselves accountable to. Do you work with other companies to refine your manufacturing, packaging or distribution processes, such as by using automation? What are your priorities there?  Absolutely. We firmly believe in having as many “friends” as possible in the space. We don’t know what we don’t know, and if we can gain knowledge by communicating with automated filling companies such as Thompson Duke Industrial or Xylem, other wholesale partners or even other hardware manufacturers, then we will most certainly learn from them as much as possible. What health and safety concerns do consumers need to know about the cannabis vape hardware they use? How does TPK Ceramics address these issues?  The bottom line is that nearly all vape hardware products come from the same part of the world. With this sector being such a fast-growing space, there are many people looking to capitalize quickly in any way possible, leading to a lack of integrity. Unfortunately, there are products being made with harmful materials, unclean work environments and many other issues. It’s extremely important to know who is manufacturing the products. We have taken that responsibility on by performing third-party audits, regularly visiting our international production centers and continuing to test our batches to ensure our stringent guidelines are met. What are your thoughts on the FDA’s recent introduction of the Disposable ENDS Enforcement Act?  I think the Disposable ENDS Enforcement Act is extremely vague. To classify any and all vape devices as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) is simply incorrect. There are thousands of Americans who rely on this form of consumption for their medical needs; This act is preventing access and making it more difficult and expensive to do so.At TPK Ceramics, stringent health and safety standards are central to the mission. To learn more about how TPK Ceramics is revolutionizing the cannabis concentrate space, click here. [...]
    September 22, 2023
  • Vape Cartridge Filling Automation and the Importance of Inline CappingFeatured ArticleVape Cartridge Filling Automation and the Importance of Inline CappingIn recent years the Cannabis industry has witnessed a remarkable shift towards automation, driven by the need for increased consistency and precision in production processes. One area that has significantly benefited from the technological advancement is filling and capping of cannabis vape cartridges. Traditionally these tasks were labor intensive and prone to human error, leading to product inconsistencies and waste. However, with the integration of automated systems, cannabis processors can now achieve higher production volumes while maintaining stringent quality control standards. Moreover, capping immediately after filling a cannabis vape cartridge is crucial to prevent oxidation and maintain the products quality and potency. The cap helps seal the cartridge, preventing air, air born contaminants and moisture from entering, which can degrade the cannabinoids and terpenes in the oil. This ensures a longer shelf life and a more consistent vaping experience for all users. An uncapped vape cartridge will likely leak if left open due to temperature and air pressure. When the cartridge is uncapped it exposes the oil to the surrounding air. This can cause the oil to expand and contract with temperature fluctuations, leading to pressure changes that force the oil out of the cartridge. To prevent leakers and deliver a clean sanitary product it is essential to cap as soon as possible after filling. [...]
    September 11, 2023
  • How The Right POS Software Can Make Or Break Profits For Cannabis Retailers: Q&A with John Yang, Co-Founder and CEO of TreezQ&A InterviewHow The Right POS Software Can Make Or Break Profits For Cannabis Retailers: Q&A with John Yang, Co-Founder and CEO of TreezSince the inception of the legal cannabis industry, navigating the financial aspect of business operations has been an intricate conundrum, exacerbated by the plant’s ongoing federally illegal status. As a result, cannabis operators have found themselves entangled in a web of complexities, compelled to overcome numerous obstacles in order to maintain profitability. The ever-present specter of theft and security threats looms over retailers, while the rigid restrictions imposed by financial institutions often shut them out from accessing crucial loans and other forms of financial aid. Amidst these challenges, forward-thinking technology innovators have recognized the industry’s needs and stepped up to create financial and technological solutions that embrace the ever-changing regulatory complexities of the cannabis industry. We sat down with Treez, a cannabis technology company focused on fueling industry growth through insights, analytics, and creative solutions to problems that have plagued the legal market for far too long. In an interview with CEO John Yang, we delved into the company’s origins, its diverse range of offerings, and the invaluable role its platform plays in empowering retailers to achieve sustained profitability and long-term success. Leafwire: How was Treez first founded and formed? John Yang: I co-founded Treez over six years ago, alongside Chief Strategy Officer Shareef El-Sissi. He is also the CEO of California-based vertically-integrated cannabis brand Eden Enterprises, so he came into Treez with a lot of on-the-ground experience as a cannabis multi-operator. His background helped me realize that all of that activity throughout the cannabis supply chain is hugely reliant on the sale, which is represented by retailers. We saw that section of the value chain as most important for ultimate industry success, so we decided to narrow in on a product that would best optimize that step. I come from an enterprise software background, so combining that experience with a grassroots cannabis operator in one of the largest cannabis markets in the world – Northern California – was a great way to kick off our beginnings as a company. LW: As the cannabis industry progresses, what are the prevailing challenges it still confronts concerning critical areas like payment processing, inventory management, and reporting? JY: Within the cannabis industry, retailers have been grappling with the lack of access to essential tools and financial resources that their traditional retail counterparts enjoy. In our six-year journey, we’ve come across a lot of deficiencies such as access to payment options, banking, sales software programs, inventory management, and efficient sales software programs that ultimately help businesses convert and complete a sale. Our entry into the industry was driven by the recognition of this need, leading us to establish ourselves as a dedicated POS software provider catering specifically to the unique needs of cannabis retailers. Through our comprehensive suite of solutions, we aim to empower cannabis businesses to unlock their full potential and navigate the challenges they face, paving the way for a more prosperous future in this ever-evolving landscape. LW: How exactly does Treez provide solutions to retailers? JY: We help retailers become and stay profitable by providing essential tools such as point-of-sale software, data and analytics, e-commerce, cashless payment options, and customer relationship management tools. A point-of-sale (POS) system is the backbone of a retail cannabis business. It is the central operating system that creates and adjusts product pricing, tracks products as they first enter the store, and traces the product as it is unloaded and processed by dispensary staff. A great POS system will do more than enable smooth transactions. It will have a larger focus on consistently keeping retailers 100% in compliance with their state traceability platform via automatic integration and data syncing. In addition to smoother transactions and lower waiting room times, you’ll see an increase in transactions and orders prepared while having a better insight into what inventory sells and what doesn’t. A strong POS system scales to a cannabis retailer’s needs and will allow you to reconfigure and adjust your business accordingly. Inside a robust POS system, there are a few vital characteristics you should find – inventory management, compliance, and multistore management. Vertical operators require a seamlessly integrated system that effectively communicates with the entire supply chain, ensuring data visibility and streamlined workflows to achieve resounding success. Our software serves as the missing link, encompassing all the necessary technological layers a retailer may require, thereby enabling them to reap optimal outcomes with unparalleled efficiency. LW: What sort of solutions do you provide when it comes to one of the biggest ongoing issues in the cannabis industry – cashless payments? JY: In the nascent stages of our journey, a staggering 90 percent of cannabis businesses were constrained to operating on a cash-only basis. Today, we have witnessed progress, and that number has decreased to approximately 65-70 percent. However, in comparison to other types of retailers, this percentage remains relatively high. In the broader consumer retail landscape, the prevailing trend leans towards cashless transactions, with many retailers not accepting cash at all. The three options you will traditionally see are PIN Debit, Automated Clearing House (ACH) and Cashless ATM. As the cannabis industry evolves, dispensary owners know that consumers expect cashless payment options. In fact, four in ten Americans say they make zero purchases in cash in a typical week. Offering a cashless payment option increases profitability, so much so that cashless payment adopters can see an increase in monthly revenue of up to 40%. The most successful dispensaries provide customers with secure, convenient, and integrated cashless payment solutions. LW: How does your platform help ensure that companies stay profitable? What specific aspect of your offerings addresses this? JY: When running a dispensary, a key indicator of success is profitability. Our POS system stands as the backbone of our enterprise, seamlessly optimizing workflows and facilitating high-volume transactions crucial for achieving profitability in the cannabis industry. But that’s not all; our software takes it a step further by efficiently reducing labor costs, providing long-term benefits for your business. By harnessing the power of our retail analytics, it helps dispensary owners make data-backed decisions. Retail Analytics is the tool that transforms complex data into easy-to-understand visualizations and helps dispensary owners with tasks like tracking product performance, assessing the success of promotions, and monitoring customer behavior. It is important to invest in quality data reporting metrics, like sellable velocity, a unique metric created by Treez to judge how quickly products move, but only when they are available to be sold. Treez data shows that a dispensary on average loses over fifty thousand dollars ($50k) a month in sales due to missing restock opportunities. By tracking sellable velocity, dispensaries can see how quickly a product sells out after a restock and shows you when somebody didn’t replenish the sales floor when they should have. Sellable velocity removes the gut instincts approach and replaces it with solidified data that is easy to understand as a business owner. LW: How can people stay up to date with your latest innovations and offerings? JY: Check our website! We are constantly improving our products to take advantage of the latest technology. [...]
    August 23, 2023
  • Q&A: Breakthrough Formula for Mental Health: An interview with Paul Ramsay, President, CanaQuest Medical Corp.Q&A InterviewQ&A: Breakthrough Formula for Mental Health: An interview with Paul Ramsay, President, CanaQuest Medical Corp.The cannabis industry was founded on the plant’s medical benefits: the first states to legalize did so for patients seeking relief from severe illnesses, and although adult-use has gained a lot of respect and understanding since the early days, cannabis’s medical efficacy continues to be studied throughout the globe. CanaQuest Medical Corp is a clinical-stage life sciences company that focuses on cannabinoids extracted from cannabis and hemp plants, advancing the industry through drug discovery and development of next-generation targeted therapeutics within the body’s endocannabinoid system and specific brain receptors. Leafwire sat down with CanaQuest Medical Corp’s President and co-founder Paul Ramsay to discuss the company’s foundation, how their research is innovating the medical cannabis industry, and what they’re currently working on to continue advancing the plant’s medicinal progress around the world. Leafwire: How was CanaQuest first formed? Paul Ramsay: Canaquest was originally established as an algae company. After working with a professor at the University of Waterloo, we built an algae bioreactor, and that allowed us to learn all about essential fatty acids (omega-3s), which our bodies don’t produce.  However, these compounds are still necessary for our health, so we typically have to consume essential fatty acids by consuming fish and/or supplements. Seven years ago, we were asked if we could extract oils from cannabis.  After digging into some research, we found that most of us have deficiencies in omega-s (DHA and EPA). Because of that, our receptors (omega-3 index) are not working effectively – or, at all.  So, if people are taking cannabis – or any medication for medicinal purposes – the benefits will either be nominal or there will be no indications at all.  We wanted to help innovate that space. LW: What exactly were you looking to contribute to medical cannabis and research? PR: We wanted to enter the cannabis space from a scientific perspective, and we wanted to help people.  When we first started building our team, Dr. Steven Laviolette was recommended as the number one neuroscientist in Canada. He had a team of 13 scientists and three decades of experience working on cannabinoids, with a focus on anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, PTSD, and addiction. We gave a presentation to Dr. Laviolette regarding the combination of DHA and EPA with cannabinoid molecules. He embraced our scientific approach, and we signed an agreement as an industry partner to explore the concepts further.  LW: How do your services innovate the industry? PR: After partnering with us, Dr. Laviolette and his team made a breakthrough discovery: a new pathway discovery into the brain to address mental health neurological conditions and mental ailments. In the study, CBD, DHA, and EPA molecules bonded, worked synergistically, and attached to the PPAR receptors, which facilitated a pathway to cross the BBB to the section of the brain that regulates emotions (like anxiety, depression, and PTSD) with amplified effects and efficacy.  The team also found a notable reduction in inflammation in the brain, which could be highly beneficial for other neurological conditions. So, not only did this help innovate the cannabis industry, but the findings can be useful for the universal world of science. LW: What sort of services do you provide to your consumers? PR: Our formulated product, branded as Mentanine, is available for sale via the CanaQuest store in the U.S.  We also offer an omega-3 product, branded as Omega-3 Index Booster with a high concentration of DHA and EPA, to help people build the effectiveness of their receptors to improve efficacy of their medications.   Our e-commerce site is also quite educational for anyone looking to learn more about medical cannabis’s effects. LW:  Who is your consumer? PR: Our customers are professionals in the mental health field, such as psychiatrists and healthcare practitioners, veterans, and people who have anxiety, depression, PTSD, and addiction.    LW: What is on the horizon for CanaQuest now? PR: We recently signed a Master Service Agreement with Neeka Health. The agreement will encompass multiple clinical studies to evaluate the efficacy of Mentanine® on targeted populations struggling with transitional issues. It’s important to point out that Neeka conducted extensive due diligence on 97 companies in our space, and CanaQuest was the only company chosen.  Dr. Hunter Land, CSO of Neeka, who co-led the clinical development of Epidiolex® (FDA approved prescription CBD) for GW Pharma will lead all studies for Neeka and CanaQuest.  We also plan to continue building our team to educate and help people in need, and ultimately improve their quality of life.  [...]
    August 11, 2023
  • Q&A: Technical Packaging Systems, Steve ScafariaQ&A InterviewQ&A: Technical Packaging Systems, Steve ScafariaThe cannabis industry’s legacy operators played a major role in the market’s transition from underground to legal, and they continue to influence how things are done as legal cannabis expands even further across the nation. However, those that entered the industry from adjacent professions have also contributed significantly to today’s legal market – especially in regards to innovation and expansion. Technical Packaging Systems has almost five decades of experience in the food and pharmaceutical realms, and they’ve brought that highly-regulated and safety-forward expertise to the cannabis industry in order to increase productivity, establish customer loyalty, and set impeccable standards for cannabis packaging.  We sat down with TPS’s president Steve Scafaria to discuss their entry into the cannabis market. Leafwire: How was TPS initially founded? Steve Scafaria: The company started back in the mid-to-late 1970s. It was originally a packaging supply equipment and distribution company, and it eventually morphed into more automation: specifically upstream and packaging.  We recognized a need to offer more to our customers in terms of turnkey solutions, like packaging equipment, product handling…a complete integrated solution for our partners. LW: So, why the decision to service the cannabis industry? SS: Let’s fast-forward to 2018, when Michigan’s adult-use cannabis market became legal. We picked up a couple of lines that would allow us to participate in the cannabis industry: a cone-filling line, and a cannabis grinder line. We had a couple of customers approach us with manual systems for other products that were very labor intensive and just didn’t work well. That began our initial development of our machine, Vape Filler Capper VFC100. It took around 2-3 years to develop. It was a difficult project because cannabis was a controlled substance, and we couldn’t have the oil in our facility.  LW: What sets you apart from competitors today? SS: Our customer base is still over 50 percent food processing and pharmaceutical. We work with food safety, and all of the equipment we sell has to be food safe and built with sanitary design in mind. Because of that, every machine we develop takes in all of those basic principles – and that’s very important for the cannabis industry, because it’s a human consumption product. We saw what was out there for operators, and it didn’t make sense to us from what we understood for automation – and for products that involve human consumption.  We started by building the VPC100 – a machine that fills and caps cartridges in one line, on the same platform. Most other technologies for operators involve secondary processes, like separate machines for filling and capping.  It made sense for us to have it all done in one process – especially for a product that needs to be closed or capped immediately. This eliminates leakage, and prevents a consumer from calling the cartridge faulty down the line. LW: What other innovations have you brought to the cannabis industry with your designs? SS: Our machine is all electric. Most other technologies require air compressor purchases, and that can cost anywhere from $15,000-$25,000. Our machine was built with the idea to keep developing, and as we learned more about the needs of our end user, we adjusted accordingly. For example: our operators have to have a low-temperature machine to move this often-viscous oil. If you overheat it, the product is ruined, or at the very least, terpenes are diminished. Our machine operates at a very low temperature to prevent that issue.  Also, from a capping standpoint, our system accommodates press-fit and screw-on caps. Rather than having to purchase yet another machine, ours will work with whatever type of cap you’ve got.  We also have a clean-in-place system. In between strains, it’s required that you clean your system out completely, because strains cannot be commingled in Michigan. Our system’s cleaning cycle is entirely self-contained, so within about 15 minutes or so, you’re good to start on your new strain. LW: What other innovations have you brought to the cannabis industry with your designs? SS: Our technology is so different that no one really knows who we are yet – especially MSOs who are just sticking with whoever they’ve purchased from in the past. We want to show more people our technology, and keep building that base. LW: What’s your favorite thing about working in cannabis? SS: I’ve found it very enjoyable. It’s a new vertical to participate in, and it’s changing all of the time.  LW: What’s on the near horizon for TPS? SS: Right now, we’re working on further automation. Our system currently requires an operator, but our next development will aim to essentially run without one. [...]
    June 27, 2023