Articles by Leafwire

  • 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
  • Q&A: Jessica Cranney, GRN Mile High – Attract, Develop & Retain High-Performing LeadersQ&A InterviewQ&A: Jessica Cranney, GRN Mile High – Attract, Develop & Retain High-Performing LeadersThe cannabis industry expands every year, and with that comes the creation of thousands of jobs and accompanying opportunities for employment. And as more states roll out legislation, more cannabis brands and organizations are slated to open for business, which means they’ll be looking for quick and reliable ways to review candidates. Recruiting agency GRN Mile High is the ultimate middleman, using their resources to connect capable sales, marketing, finance, and operations professionals to the cannabis community. With over 194 global offices, GRN Mile High excels at attracting and identifying qualified candidates – largely thanks to their dedicated people-first approach.  We paired up with GRN Mile High’s President and Chief Connection Officer Jessica Cranney to discuss the company’s inception, what makes them unique in cannabis, and what’s on the horizon for their weed worker recruitment strategy. Leafwire: How was GRN Mile High first founded? JC: I used to work for AT&T; I spent 17 years in Fortune 500 telecom, leading large retail organizations. My last role with the company – as the VP of 250 retail stores – landed me in Denver. But as time went on, I found myself not totally enamored with the job anymore. I ultimately decided to leave AT&T, planning for a six-month “funemployment.” That lasted about three weeks, before I was recruited by LivWell to become their Head of Retail. At the time, cannabis was nowhere on my professional resume, but it was all over my personal resume, so I decided to go for it. That job was my entry into cannabis. I got to scale the retail operations from 15 locations to 21, and the experience I gained was tremendous. I also realized I added value because I had this traditional background in enterprise America, and I was able to take from those playbooks and apply them to cannabis.  After being there for around one and a half years, I was recruited by four or five other companies to do the same sort of organizational development. I came onboard with all of them, handling hierarchy structure, headcount analytics, compensation modeling, new hire onboarding training, leadership coaching, and whatever else it took to establish customer retention and brand loyalty. Eventually I realized that through all of these engagements, I was organically recruiting. And that inspired me to start my own business. Leafwire: What sort of assistance does GRN Mile High provide to cannabis operators? JC: We consult for cannabis and cann-adjacent operators, leading with three critical people-first initiatives: attracting and recruiting, training and developing, and retaining.  When it comes to the first initiative, we’re dedicated to winning with people first, and we lead with the end in mind. We help teams commit to cultural cadence, which will ultimately help them set themselves apart when hiring.  Culture is so critical to successful organizations, but when I ask people what it means to them, I’m often met with snooze-worthy answers – like, “We do pizza on Fridays and work from home one day a week.” Those things are great, but they won’t get people out of bed and inspire them. I ask organizations, “How are you differentiating yourself? Do you have defined interview processes that are comprehensive? Are you transparent? Once you bring a person onboard, how do you set them up for success with new hire training? How do you leverage referral programs to inspire your team to have their friends and family join your team?” Ultimately, people will bring their own lunch and work wherever you want them to, as long as they feel like you’re invested in them first. As for training and development, we focus on identifying what employees are looking for in their careers. Not everyone wants to be promoted or has major leadership aspirations. Some people just want to be the best budtender they can be. So how can you grow in place? And if you do want to be promoted, how can we offer you career advancement opportunities that help shape that? Leafwire: How does the retention initiative work? JC: Every good business owner knows the cost of backfilling an employee is one and a half times their salary. So when we talk about cultural cadence earlier in the framework, this is where signature moves come into play. When you create one non-negotiable initiative as a company when it comes to attracting and retaining, your employees will respond well to that structure. And then think about, at a high level, who owns that pillar of retention within the company? How does that owner (or owners) keep that alive with regularity? LW: What is on the near horizon for GRN Mile High? JC: This year, we launched a new initiative called Connect & Contribute. So many of our clients have a passion or interest in giving back to the community, and we’ve decided to share that commitment. Every time we engage in any service, we give $420 to a 501c3 charity of our clients’ choosing.  If they’ve got a cause that’s really important to them, we will make that donation on their behalf. And if for some reason they don’t have one, we’ve partnered with four (the Last Prisoner Project, the Wounded Warrior Project, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and a service animal facility) that people can choose from.  We also offer a referral bonus to our partners. For any clients you refer us to, we give you a kick-back off those invoiced services as a Thank You for the kind referral. [...]
    June 21, 2023
  • Get Metrc Certified in 4 Simple StepsQ&A InterviewGet Metrc Certified in 4 Simple StepsYou may have heard of Metrc. You may have seen job opportunities calling for Metrc-certified candidates. And with the growing need for Metrc specialists, you may have wondered how you can open up job opportunities by gaining a Metrc certification. The process is straightforward. We’ll explain here how you can get Metrc certified in four simple steps. But First, Know Your Metrc Basics As cannabis becomes legal in more states, the government’s need to track and ensure the safety of the product grows as well. With that, the Metrc tracking system has quickly become one of the government’s most trusted tools and businesses’ most reliable systems for gathering data and remaining compliant. Metrc stands for Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting & Compliance and is a cloud-based, government-mandated track-and-trace software. The platform is designed to track cannabis from the beginning of the supply chain to the end, popularly coined “from seed-to-sale.” The majority of legalized states require all licensed cannabis industry businesses, both in the recreational and medical space, to submit data to the Metrc system to comply with tracking obligations. Each state has its own regulations, so be sure to check your state’s requirements. The Metrc website’s Partners Page conveniently provides detailed information for states currently using the Metrc system. How Metrc Works With the purpose of ensuring all cannabis growth and sales are legal, safe, and up to industry standards, Metrc’s main functions are to: Monitor, within a given state’s industry, where cannabis products and plants are located, transferred, and sold (or even destroyed) Track the weight and location of each plant and product Maintain record of each transfer of ownership Regardless of a company’s role in the supply chain—whether it’s farming, testing, distribution, or retail—every business involved in the cannabis lifecycle is required to obtain Metrc certification and track activity to remain legally compliant. How Can I Become Certified Most states that require the use of Metrc also require proof of completed Metrc training when an individual or business applies for a cannabis distribution license. If your state does not require the training upon license application, businesses still need to access the certification to remain compliant.   Which is where you come in. As a Metrc-certified employee, you can provide an employer with the critical certification that will keep the business compliant. Metrc Certification in 4 Simple Steps Contact the Metrc team via their website to receive information on attending the Metrc webinar. You’ll learn terminology, workflow, and gain an overall understanding of how the platform works. Additional tip: You can access Metrc’s YouTube channel for additional resources and guidance in the process. Take a multiple-choice test administered by Metrc, approximately 40 questions. Once your test results are processed (and you’ve earned a passing score), you’ll be certified to use the Metrc system at your job site. To “register” you as a Metrc-certified employee, your employer is required to enter your information into the Metrc system using your worker permit number, email, and occupational role as part of compliance guidelines. Most companies use integrated software to link the point of sale (POS) system to the Metrc database, which is where you’ll track all transactions occurring at your facility. Once you’re Metrc certified, and depending on your role, you’ll be responsible for tracking your transactions in the database to maintain legal compliance. And what’s a benefit of gaining this certification? It’s an industry credential that can give you an edge for gaining more job opportunities and growing your career. At Higher Growth Search we help cannabis employers find Metrc-certified applicants who will help bring their businesses into compliance. Get in touch with our team today to find out how we can help you find the right person for this critical role. [...]
    June 8, 2023
  • Endexx Challenges the Nicotine Vape Market with Plant-Based, Non-Addictive Vape HylaQ&A InterviewEndexx Challenges the Nicotine Vape Market with Plant-Based, Non-Addictive Vape HylaThe vape industry is booming, but nicotine vapes face increasing regulation and scrutiny. Flavored nicotine products are being pulled from shelves and losing favor with consumers. Endexx Corporation, a rapidly growing company making strides in the nutraceutical technology industry, is working to fill that void with non-addictive, plant-based vapes through its recent acquisition of Hyla.  Hyla is a first-of-its-kind plant-based, non-addictive, and nicotine-free vaporizer using natural ingredients like guarana and L-Dopa. These revolutionary products are poised to offset nicotine-based products as more consumers search for alternatives.  Today, Todd Davis, Founder, CEO and Chairman at Endexx, talks with us about Hyla’s astronomical success, the challenges and opportunities of this industry, and the future for vape products as a whole.   What inspired Endexx to acquire Hyla, and how do you see this acquisition helping your company achieve its goals? The power of plants is built into all of Endexx’s consumer products. Hyla’s unique approach to the vape market harnesses that power, so it was a natural fit. What made Hyla a compelling investment opportunity, and how did you evaluate its potential in the market?  Mounting pressure on nicotine-based vape companies has created a void of products that fit consumer demand. Shelf space is at a premium in the market; we have the products to fill that space. What investment does Endexx plan to make in Hyla’s growth, and how will you measure success in this product line?  The primary target is introducing Hyla’s innovative products to international and domestic markets. Our overarching mission is to become the dominant player in plant-based vape products. What are the key challenges you anticipate in growing Hyla, and how do you plan to address them?  There is a stigma against “flavored vape products” in the market. Ingredients like nicotine should be the target, but the only way regulators can push back on nicotine products is to target flavors. Hyla offers the absolute best alternative in the market to nicotine-based products. How do you see Hyla contributing to Endexx’s overall growth strategy, and what impact do you anticipate it having on the company’s financials? The impact has been immediate. In the first two quarters since we acquired Hyla, Hyla’s international revenues have far surpassed any previous year in gross sales of Endexx. International opportunities are opening tremendous cross-market channels as well. What are Endexx’s plans for international expansion, and how does Hyla fit into this strategy?  Hyla has established distribution in 13 countries and counting. These markets add tremendous potential for expansion in all of our consumer products. What message do you want to communicate to investors and customers about Endexx and Hyla?  Consolidating revenues from Hyla into Endexx exponentially expands top-line revenues by several hundred percentage points. These extraordinary numbers have put Endexx on a three-year projection in excess of 50 million in annual revenues. How does Hyla differentiate itself from other nicotine-free disposable vape products? Our high-quality ingredients and unique formulations set Hyla apart from the competition and bring new benefits and experiences to the consumer. Plant-based vapes deliver our natural, non-addictive ingredients in an effective manner. What role do L-Dopa and Guarana play in Hyla’s formulation, and how do they contribute to the product’s effectiveness?  Guarana and L-Dopa have unique qualities that bring myriad benefits to the user without the addictive nature of nicotine. Both ingredients are commonly said to enhance focus, aid in relaxation, boost energy, and encourage calmness. What is your vision for the future of the vaping market, and how do you see Hyla contributing?  Clinical tests of plant-derived molecules in the clinical setting indicate that vaping is a superior delivery system for low-dose and micro-serving portions of these powerful plant derivatives. A little goes a long way with plant power. Who uses Hyla and who should use Hyla? What kinds of customers have you seen attracted to these products? Our early customers primarily enjoy vaping but seek a different experience than tobacco or nicotine-based products. Plant-based alternatives offer a potentially healthier option for people who enjoy vaping. What kind of feedback have you received from consumers and retailers about Hyla, and how have you used this feedback to improve the product? Quoting user feedback can be viewed as making claims, so we must be prudent in this case. Many consumers say they experience a sense of calm and a reduction in stress. Some have indicated that there is a significant reduction in the need for nicotine after using Hyla products. What has been the response to Hyla from retailers and distributors, and how do you plan to continue growing your distribution channels? Our retailers are reporting rapid sell-through as the customers feel they are getting extreme value with 4500 puffs per device. Customers also love the form factor, flavor profiles, and ease of use. How do you see the regulatory environment for CBD and nicotine-free vaping products evolving, and what impact will this have on Endexx’s business?  HYLA’s success is adding exponential growth and increasing revenue for Endexx. The regulatory environment will continue to be challenging as policymakers try to regulate flavor instead of addictive ingredients like nicotine. Our products are non-addictive, and the flavors are derived from plant-based natural sources, separating them from flavored nicotine vapes. What kind of consumer education efforts will you be undertaking to promote Hyla and its benefits to the market?  Endexx will separate education from sales to maintain compliance with current regulations. Educating consumers on the potential benefits of individual ingredients will provide a stronger basis for informed decision-making for customers. How does Endexx ensure the quality and safety of its products — including Hyla — regarding concerns about vape product safety?  HYLA manufactures its proprietary formulations in American laboratories. Each batch is tested for purity and safety in accordance with current regulatory and compliance standards in the USA. How do you manage risk and uncertainty in the highly regulated and constantly evolving CBD and vaping markets?  Compliance and engagement with regulators help keep us at the forefront of regulation. Preparing and ensuring continuing compliance are the investments we make in our evolving markets. How does Endexx ensure that its products, including Hyla, comply with applicable regulations and laws?  Endexx constantly monitors rules and regulations in the industry. We work with experienced legal and compliance partners before producing products for the consumer market. How do you balance the need for innovation and growth with maintaining quality and safety standards for your products?  Since we launched our consumer product lines, science and compliance have been the cornerstones of Endexx’s development and production. Innovation comes from science, and quality comes through compliance with industry standards across established industry protocols. What is your approach to product innovation, and how do you plan to continue improving Hyla?  The vaping device industry offerings have limited value propositions to the consumer. Hyla has designed high-output, long-lasting products that offer a price point and formulation that consumers can support and rebuy over time, creating strong brand loyalty for HYLA. What lessons have you learned from your experience in the CBD space, and how do you apply them to approaching Hyla?  Consumers are getting more educated and more interested in high-quality products. CBD Unlimited built and sold the highest quality products on the market. Hyla reflects that exact same model: producing the highest quality products at affordable prices to meet the needs of our consumers. How do you prioritize and balance the demands of your different product lines? Not all products can survive in the market. We focus on the products adopted quickly and generate high rebuy rates. In the first six to 12 months, the consumer clearly indicates to us which products they like the most. Once we have that information, business decisions are much easier to make for long-term success. What kind of partnerships or collaborations do you see as crucial for Endexx’s growth in the nicotine-free vaping and CBD spaces?  Hyla is targeting the largest and most efficient distributors in each country they pursue. There is a huge gap in the tobacco and vape industry now that nicotine products are being pulled from shelves. Endexx, through Hyla, is here to fill that void and provide an entirely new product that fills the needs of the current market and offers a “Better Product for a Better You.” [...]
    May 22, 2023
  • Q&A with Senior HighQ&A InterviewQ&A with Senior HighLeafwire We’re here with Karen Lustman, the founder and CEO of Senior-High. Karen is a passionate advocate, patient, researcher and speaker focusing on cannabis and its positive affect on active adults and seniors suffering from chronic pain and all other ailments concerning those of us of a certain age. Senior-High was created by Karen to gather factual information about cannabis products and how they can help active adults alleviate specific health issues using safe, effective medicinal alternatives to expensive and potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals. Armed with a laptop, an AARP membership, and a medical marijuana card, Karen and her team are determined to gather and share the latest developments and research from experts and Active Adults who have found relief by using cannabis. Karen, welcome. So Karen, why the cannabis industry? Karen Almost 10 years ago. I missed a single step leading to the pool at a hotel where my husband and I were staying. I fell hard and flat on my face, knees, elbows and feet. My knees were badly swollen and excruciating painful. I saw many doctors, each of them prescribing x-rays, pain pills, and therapy. It got to the point where I was taking 8 to 10 pills a day. My husband asked if the pills helped. My reply was “I don’t know, but I’m afraid to not take them.” I tried acupuncture, pain management, and even had a spinal cord stimulator implanted to try to mask the pain but nothing worked. I had to use a wheelchair and walker to get around. We went to visit my daughter. We were discussing my pain and my son-in-law said he had something in the garage that would help. He showed me how to use his bong. I was 60 years old and had never smoked pot! I inhaled way too much but it was the most life changing experience I had ever encountered. Within a minute my pain was gone. But I was completely stoned. Even in that state, all I could think about was how I could use cannabis to escape the horrible neurological pain I was feeling and function during my workday. I couldn’t live my life high! Was there a way to reduce or eliminate the pain without getting stoned? That set off my journey to wellness. Leafwire That’s exciting. It may have been a happy accident but this event led you to create a vision for Senior-High. Karen Actually “Senior-High” found me. I immediately started researching cannabis brands, clinicians, dispensaries, manufacturing companies and everyone else with practical knowledge of cannabis. I started following thought leaders regarding any research on medicinal cannabis. I took several certification programs just to educate myself. But still, the information I needed was not available. There was no protocol that would tell me what I needed. And I found a neurologist who diagnosed my condition, which is called an ataxia. It is not a condition that can be cured by traditional medical science. That was troubling but served to accelerate my research into the application of cannabis for its medicinal value. So I started learning about the brands, ratios, how to consume and I started sharing that information. I blogged and called my experiments “human trials,” me being the human. I purchased as much as much as I could afford from dispensaries and tried every product, still not understanding how to use THC to relive pain without the psychoactive effects. For the most part, I learned what NOT to do, and shared my mistakes too. But I did learn how to use cannabis to help relieve my pain safely and effectively without getting stoned. It was a revelation! And the more I learned, I found I was able to create a regimen of tinctures and other cannabis products that helped me cope with my ataxia. Soon I was able to get around much easier. I no longer needed a wheelchair or even a cane. I felt more capable. I felt younger. For the most part, I was able to live my life pain-free. And I still am. I lived in a senior community in southern California and slowly the word spread that I was using cannabis for my pain and was making some progress. My neighbors started knocking on my door asking me what they should use for arthritis or sleeplessness. I became known as the cannabis lady. They still knock on my door, and I’m still known as the cannabis lady! Leafwire Obviously with Senior-High, you’ve created a platform to educate people that’s recognized by the senior community. Karen My husband and I realized early on that the color of our hair and my wrinkles allowed seniors to feel safe when we shared our understanding of how this plant had helped me manage an “orphan” disease and my husband’s arthritis from playing guitar for years. We were asked to speak to groups of friends and neighbors. We began Senior-High to provide organization and a formal structure for our efforts. The numbers of seniors using cannabis has continued to grow at a phenomenal pace. And so has the number of seniors being admitted to ERs due to “greening out.” So we teach them about the importance of the ECS, about cannabinoids, onset times, delivery systems, and dosing. Too often our followers have ingested too much THC or have heard horror stories about their friends who have. Usually the culprit is gummies. They look so innocent, like their grandkid’s candy! But they can be chocked full of THC and can take up to two hours to have an effect. So, they take another one since they think the first one didn’t work. Then they’re off to the races! THC is really misunderstood. We break it down so that our audience can get the desired affect without getting too high. From my own experience, I need THC to stop the pain but balance it with CBD. I vape and I don’t need the high amounts of THC normally within the products sold in dispensaries. Most seniors don’t. We give them the education necessary to purchase and use what they need, not just what they are being told they should try. Leafwire You mentioned arthritis as one ailment seniors seek relief for. And that’s a good opportunity since topicals are easy to use, effective, and many products don’t even use THC. So there’s no reason to be concerned about getting high, if they’re concerned about that. Karen Right. My husband has arthritis in his shoulder and he’s our guinea pig for testing creams and balms that can help relieve the pain. He’s written a number of reviews that appear on our website. We also believe that a combination of the right tinctures combined with a good topical can help relieve the problem from inside and out. Pain can also be a component of sleeplessness, which is the number-one ailment we hear from our clients. Leafwire What type of events have you held, and what kind of events do you plan to host? Karen We’ve held scores of events during the past five years. When COVID reared its ugly head and our community’s meeting rooms were shut down, we held seminars in our living room, keeping the audiences small and practicing social distancing and masking. As word spread, the volume of people wanting to attend grew and we couldn’t fit them in our living room. That’s when we started getting invited to many community centers, HOA clubhouses and senior centers.   One of the most fun events we ever did was to take 30 seniors in limousines to a dispensary lounge so that they could experience the environment and perhaps enjoy products they’d heard about but never tried. We had a blast and spent quite a lot of time educating the gang on pre-rolls, gummies, vape pens, cannabis-infused drinks, and flower. We invited brand reps from a few manufacturers to conduct short presentations about their products. Our group started shopping and my husband said, “Look at them, Karen They’re like kids in a candy store.” And, you know, they were! It was an awakening! When the seniors left in the limousines, they all wanted to know what’s next with Senior-High! It has just been such a wonderful passion project for me. I feel that I’m giving back to the community. I am helping people of our age really enjoy their senior years and it has just been great. But as Leafwire members know, it’s a challenge infrastructure wise. We’re not even a grower or a dispensary, but we face the same obstacles as they do in terms of working with financial institutions, doing advertising, and getting affordable coverage from insurance companies.The plus side is that there is a need to talk to seniors about these products and that pushes us to continue doing what we’re doing. In addition to offering a select number of products on our website,, we provide tons of useful information for the 55+ crowd. We offer one-on-one consultations either in person, via Zoom meetings or on the phone so we can learn about an individual’s issues, what they have done for treatment, what their goals are, and hopefully set them up on a regimen that will improve their quality of life. And we’ve earned the trust of a local pain management clinic who refers patients to us that they believe can benefit from medical cannabis. Leafwire Do you collaborate with some of these brands too that maybe are focused around products that can cater to seniors?Karen The senior market is the fastest growing segment of the cannabis-buying market, so it only makes sense to reach out to them through Senior-High. We are funded by the sale of our products. The education is free. So we are consistently seeking partners interested in collaborating. The products we sell are all highly recommended. Our top-selling products are manufactured by a leading doctor, scientist and thought leader within the industry. I continue my own education through classwork that follows the science. LeafwireAccording to NORML, the percentage of all US adults ages 65 and older who report cannabis use in 2020 increased significantly in recent years to 4.2 percent. They’re already consuming. So why is a platform like Senior-High important? Karen Well, like I said, I think we’re offering information so they can determine the appropriate products for their individual conditions, from occasional sleeplessness to pain and inflammation, to mental worry and stress. We’re enabling this enormous market segment to understand retail labels, delivery systems, ratios, terpenes, the entourage effect, and other critical information seniors can’t find elsewhere. We took it upon ourselves to learn from the experts and pass along that knowledge to our audience. That is our mission – to keep seniors safe and help improve the quality of their lives. We don’t want them to buy products that may not be right for them. We counsel them how to talk to their doctors before they use cannabis, how to use tinctures, balms and capsules and then how to buy products at a dispensary that will work for them. Leafwire Any last words? Karen Well, first of all, thank you so much for Leafwire’s interest in Senior-High. As more Baby Boomers become seniors, our audience continues to build, both locally and in the growing number of states where medical cannabis has become legal. We hope your audience will come to and contact us to develop mutually beneficial relationships. We welcome suggestions to keep improving our brand and our means of helping educate seniors – and their families – to the wonderful medicinal and recreational benefits of cannabis. [...]
    May 8, 2023
  • Metrc for Business Owners: Everything You Need to KnowQ&A InterviewMetrc for Business Owners: Everything You Need to KnowIn 2019 public health officials began to warn the public of harmful vape-related respiratory illnesses, and in just a few months some states had declared a public health crisis. Thanks to Metrc track-and-trace software, government officials were able to identify where and in what quantity dangerous vaping products were being sold. Today, Metric has become the standard for helping cannabis suppliers identify potentially dangerous cannabis products and keep them off the market. What is Metrc Metrc stands for Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting & Compliance, a government-mandated software to facilitate track-and-trace efforts within the cannabis industry. The cloud-based platform’s key function is to track products within the industry, from “seed-to-sale.” Metrc was created in 2011 in Colorado when governments were challenged to implement comprehensive frameworks that effectively monitored and enforced cannabis regulations. Metrc is now the recognized way to ensure that consumers obtain regulated, certified marijuana products through legitimate enterprises. To operate within the legal framework of sales in the U.S., cannabis suppliers must now register with the government to track their compliance metrics. Cannabis companies in over 20 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Guam, use Metrc. Most legalized states mandate all licensed distributors to submit data to the Metrc system on a daily basis to meet their compliance obligations. Regulations vary from state to state, but the Metrc website makes it easy to stay informed with your state’s regulations through the “States” page, such as this example from Alaska. Through close monitoring, the Metrc database allows officials to keep cannabis products safe, legal, and regulated. Each supply chain function is required to log information into the software, which collects data such as: Inventory Tracking – monitored in real-time, and inventory status is reported from seed to sale. Tracing – should any concerns arise, such as health issues, tracing allows licensees to be notified. Data Trends – allow for analyses to determine noncompliant behavior and assess risk. Reports – provide data that can be used to share with the public, update stakeholders, or use in the event of a criminal case. How Can I get My Employees Certified Once you receive a permanent distribution license, you have five days to complete the Metrc training. With the vast landscape of Metrc software, five days is not much time to get the lay of the land. Fortunately, you can access information and study materials before receiving your license, and you can obtain certification with three simple steps: Contact Metrc to receive an invitation to an introductory webinar. You can also access the Metrc YouTube channel for additional training materials. Take a multiple-choice assessment, approximately 40 questions. Upon passing, you’ll be administered a unique vendor API (Application Programming Interface) key to access the Metrc system. Contact your point of sale (POS) software vendor and provide your license number and API key to register your operation with the Metrc database. From here, you’ll have access to track and manage your entire cannabis cultivation operation. The Benefits of Metrc for Business Owners Metrc was created with the consumer in mind to ensure that cannabis that is sold is safe and regulated. But the Metrc system also offers great benefit to business owners. For starters, government regulation is a great step toward destigmatizing cannabis use and promoting integrity within the industry. Additionally, Metrc software allows businesses to integrate with various POS systems. This integration facilitates organization, simplifies order processing, and allows companies to perform regular audits and avoid fines for oversights. Hire for Metrc Certification ​ While obtaining your certification requires a bit of preparation, the true work begins once you’re certified. Many cannabis suppliers are bringing in compliance officers to help their businesses adhere to Metrc requirements. Getting set up within Metrc requires a complete audit of inventory, and government regulations require 100% reporting accuracy. Therefore, hiring an employee who’s dedicated to Metrc reporting and integration is a great way for cannabis companies to confidently navigate this reporting system, remain compliant, and avoid missteps. At Higher Growth Search we help cannabis employers find Metrc-certified applicants who will help bring their businesses into compliance. Get in touch with our team today to find out how we can help you find the right person for this critical role. [...]
    April 26, 2023
  • Cannabis Compliance from a CEO’s PerspectiveFeatured ArticleCannabis Compliance from a CEO’s PerspectiveJoe Madigan is CEO of Higher Growth Search, a cannabis recruiting and consulting firm working with companies at all stages of development. In addition to helping cannabis employers hire strong candidates for roles across the organization, Higher Growth Search is committed to providing guidance and support to help clients grow their businesses. In this article, Madigan answers a few questions about the complexities of running a cannabis operation in a highly regulated industry with evolving compliance and legal requirements. Has compliance always been an issue in cannabis? Early on, we saw organizations running out the gate getting business licenses, state licenses, local licenses – but then trying to figure out how they were going to pay people. All of a sudden, their businesses were growing and rapidly expanding, and they wanted to expand with the market, but their compliance programs were really falling behind, specifically in payroll, healthcare, workplace safety, and the finance and accounting function. Any missteps in those areas can come at an extremely high cost. How bad can fines and violations get? In any of those areas, you’re talking litigation, you’re talking lawsuits, you’re talking class-action lawsuits, which can spiral really quickly if the company’s not on top of it. Operators are usually worried about seed to sale. They’re worried about distribution. They’re not necessarily worried about tracking whether or not John took his 15-minute meal break. For example, if they have 50 Johns who didn’t take the 15-minute meal break (in California) and all of a sudden the 50 Johns get a good wage-and-hour attorney, well, that can very quickly turn into a good class-action lawsuit – which they can’t really afford. What are the three main issues regarding compliance, and what do companies need to be aware of? First is basic HR compliance. Does the company have an actual Human Resources Department? Are they compliant with employment laws? Are they following the standards of their license and the law as relates to the cannabis industry? Getting squared away with an HR expert who understands current local and federal requirements is critical for a growing company. From our experience, cannabis organizations need to really focus on OSHA compliance (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). They need to look at how their facilities are set up. If they’ve invested a lot of money in their facilities, do they have a safety and risk manager on site? Are they prepared to assess and maintain a safe and compliant workplace? Cannabis organizations operate under maximum scrutiny and can’t afford mishaps related to worker safety. It’s also critical for cannabis owners to build a strong finance and accounting team that comes with compliance expertise. Even if that team is one person, they should have demonstrated knowledge of the industry’s complex tax, reporting, and regulatory requirements. In cannabis, financial oversight is often an afterthought and the financial function is left to an inexperienced person. But those companies that invest in a highly qualified individual likely will be ahead in the end, as noncompliance, or even simple mistakes, can be extremely costly and legally risky. How does Higher Growth Search help companies be compliant? We not only help companies hire the right people, but we also guide them through various compliance processes so they understand what’s required. We help organizations with worksite risk and safety and with any of the compliance issues around filings and finance and accounting. We can do some of the more nuanced processes that are really going to keep clients safe, but that doesn’t guarantee the solutions are 100% risk free. Ultimately it’s up to each business to implement and stay on top of their programs. I think the most important piece is that we got into this business to help cannabis organizations mature and grow. We’re always here to pull our resources together and help emerging and more established companies – and the industry as a whole – really fully blossom. Need help tackling compliance or business growth issues at your organization? Contact the experts at Higher Growth Search today. We’re here to help. [...]
    April 13, 2023