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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 5/19/17

Canada's road to legalization
It looks like Canada is possibly on its way to legalizing recreational cannabis use - but the path to get there has been a bit rough.

And in Washington...
This week Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill that changes the cannabis laws in the state, including forward progress on legalizing growing pot at home and creating the country's first state-run organic certification program for weed. (Insert fist pump here.) 

Uptown
A look at what's up with High Times' former editor. You know you've made it when the New Yorker profiles you. 

Speaking of making it
If you would've told us five years ago that dispensaries would be featured in Architectural Digest...well, yeah. (PS: It's a great, visual piece.)

Come join us!
We're presenting at this month's Bay Area Cannabis Marketing Association (CMA) meeting on May 24th at 6:00pm in Santa Rosa. Panelists include Angie Monette Harrison, Principal, 421 Group; Zack Darling, CEO, The Hybrid Creative; Danny Zlatnik, Esq., Rogoway Law Group, and yours truly, Robert O'Shaughnessy, Co-Founder & Partner, Higher Ground Agency. Hope to see you there!

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 5/12/17

Vermont legalizes
Vermont's Legislature became the first in the nation to approve a recreational marijuana legalization bill. No state yet has legalized marijuana solely through the legislative process, says the article in USA Today. 

Queens of the Green Age
This piece looks at how women are shattering the grass ceiling (Get it? Grass ceiling?).

Tracked and rolled
Medical pot patients could see their marijuana become "cleaner and safer, with the cost jumping about 10 percent, under new draft regulations for California's multibillion-dollar medical cannabis industry." 

'Smart' vaping the next big thing?
The Breeze Smart Inhaler says it will connect patients, caregivers, doctors and dispensaries to "deliver highly customized, effective and reliable canna-based treatment plans for people in pain."

Headline of the week
Nation's First Cannabis Drive-Through Opens In Colorado as Cannabis Sales Boom. (Can we really add anything to this?)

Come join us!
We're presenting at this month's Bay Area Cannabis Marketing Association (CMA) meeting on May 24th at 6:00pm in Santa Rosa. Panelists include Angie Monette Harrison, Principal, 421 Group; Zack Darling, CEO, The Hybrid Creative; Danny Zlatnik, Esq., Rogoway Law Group, and yours truly, Robert O'Shaughnessy, Co-Founder & Partner, Higher Ground Agency. Hope to see you there!

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 4/28/17

Higher Ground - in action!
Miss us at last week's 2017 New England Cannabis Convention? You're in luck! Conference promoters captured our session with Roy Bingham, CEO of BDS Analytics and Parisa Mansouri-Rad of MaryJane Marketing for all the world to see. It was a blast and it was a pleasure to present with them. Check it out.

New kind of buzz
A Colorado coffee company is planning to introduce a line of cannabis-infused coffee. Jammin Java Corp., started by the son of Bob Marley, said it will introduce cannabis coffee for the Colorado market, including THC and CBD based coffees.

The 'Wonka' of weed
Do you know what happens when you Google "Is there a Willy Wonka for weed?" Well, we found out. We're furiously looking for our golden ticket. 

Weed CEOs: What's next?
Civilized (a beautifully designed website that's smartly written, we might add) asked five of the industry's biggest CEOs for their thoughts on what the future holds for cannabis. Here are their responses.

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 4/21/17

4/20 Day: A lesson
We hope you enjoyed 4/20. If you're wondering how it got its name, check this post out. 

File under, 'we're not surprised'
Edibles are transforming into drinkables as some weed-legal states begin "licensing the sale of non-alcoholic beverages that contain THC as DIY mixologists are putting out cannabis cocktail recipes as fast as their minds can fire them up." Drink up. 

What's up with Oregon cannabis? Plenty.
Like? Well, weed delivered by bike, biodynamic cannabis, and brewing beer with cannabis. You know, Oregon stuff. 

Alcohol more dangerous than cannabis?
Yep, according to a new poll from DIG Insights that claims only 16% of Americans view marijuana as "very harmful," compared to the 27% who believe that alcohol was harmful. 

Tech meets green
We love a good tech story and even more so when it comes to weed. Here's a look at a start-up that is making waves. 

Congrats to Marijuana Business Daily
The publication has announced it's become an associate member of The Associated Press, giving the cannabis-focused news publication access to MJ-related stories from around the world.

Mark your calendars - Saturday!
Our own Robert O'Shaughnessy, co-founder of the agency, will be speaking at the New England Cannabis Convention on Saturday, April 22nd at 2:45. Joining him will be Roy Bingham, CEO of BDS Analytics and Parisa Mansouri-Rad of MaryJane Marketing. They will be talking about attention-getting strategies for cannabis start-ups including discussion about PR, brand building, data analysis, and social media. Tickets and info here. 

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 4/14/17

Canna-comedy is a real thing
Aboveboard Productions announced the 4/20 release of its weed-centric comedy "East Coast Grow." The DC-based canna-comedy will launch with a teaser on 4/20 and the first episode launches on April 22. The remaining web-based episodes will be released throughout the month of May on a weekly basis. "This is an incredible opportunity to show what happens when an underground industry suddenly becomes legitimized, and to explore the real-life challenges that go on behind the scenes in the cannabis industry," explains writer/director Amy Tasillo.

O.penVAPE rebrands
O.penVAPE will now be known as Organa Brands. After developing O.penVAPE, Bakked, and Organa Labs into world-class brands with nationwide distribution, the company acquired The Magic Buzz, and entered into a joint venture to form District Edibles. Organa Brands now offers the largest cannabis distribution network in North America, serving over 1,200 dispensaries in 10 states. The Denver-based company currently owns, operates or licenses its products in 10 states, producing a dizzying array of 63 THC-infused products. The house of brands features products in the highest performing verticals of the legal cannabis industry, including personal vaporizer pens, prefilled cannabis oil cartridges, distillate concentrates, drinks, and edibles.

Mark your calendars!
Our own Robert O'Shaughnessy, co-founder of the agency, will be speaking at the New England Cannabis Convention on Saturday, April 22nd at 2:45. Joining him will be Roy Bingham, CEO of BDS Analytics and Parisa Mansouri-Rad of MaryJane Marketing. They will be talking about attention-getting strategies for cannabis start-ups including discussion about PR, brand building, data analysis, and social media. Tickets and info here. 

Hit us up
4/20 is the perfect time to celebrate the industry but also increase your visibility, grow market share, and build passionate followers. If you missed the boat this year, there's always 2018 - and of course, the rest of 2017. We're a full-service PR & Marketing agency that will connect you to your customers, tell your story, or design a campaign - and have fun doing it. We're PR pros, social media wizards, digital experts, brand creators, video producers, website concoctors, and storytellers. We're ready to get to work for you. Get in touch and let's get rolling!

News of the weed
Here's a quick round-up of news we'd like to share: 

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 4/7/17

Cha-ching
LeafLink announced it has closed a $3 million seed round led by New York's Lerer Hippeau Ventures, a tech-focused venture fund with early investments in companies such as Oscar Health, Casper, Warby Parker, Venmo, and Buzzfeed. Additional participants include strategic investors from both inside and outside the cannabis space, including Casa Verde Capital, Phyto Partners, Wisdom VC, and Wan Li Zhu and Paul Ciriello of Fairhaven Capital. LeafLink, which is currently live in Colorado and Washington, will use the funds to expand its marketplace for cannabis brands and dispensaries into newly legal markets.

Throw out the Ambien
Cannabiz Consumer Group's CannaUse findings reveal that both internal analgesics (otc pain medications) and sleep aids are feeling the pain of substitution effect from legal cannabis more than other OTC categories, such as cold and flu medicines. Cannabiz Consumer Group (C2G) leveraged its highly successful CannaUse study to understand how legal cannabis impacts over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

The study found that:

  • Half of likely cannabis consumers plan to reduce their purchases of sleep aids in the future.
  • Eighty-six percent of those who have used cannabis as a sleep aid stated that it worked better than their traditional OTC medication.

    C2G estimates that 9.5% of OTC sleep aid sales will be cannibalized by legalized cannabis. In a national cannabis market, this would represent nearly $70MM dollars in lost sales.

Get the word out on 4/20 (It's not too late!)

Speaking of 4/20 - how are you promoting your company? Higher Ground can help! We're a full-service PR & Marketing agency that will connect you to your customers, tell your story, or design a campaign - and have fun doing it.

We're PR pros, social media wizards, digital experts, brand creators, video producers, website concoctors, and storytellers. We're ready to get to work for you.

4/20 is the perfect time to celebrate the industry but also increase your visibility, grow market share, and build passionate followers.

Get in touch and let's get rolling!

Join us in LA next week
We'd like to invite you to the next Cannabis Marketing Association (CMA) meeting on April 11th in Santa Monica. Join us- and the CMA -  for a lively and informative discussion about social media in the world of cannabis (featuring our own VP of social media Jamie Latta!). The details and a link to sign up are here. 

News of the weed
Here's a quick round-up of news we'd like to share: 

  • Location, location, location! Oh, and weed. Real estate and cannabis are becoming fast friends
  • When Batman (or is that Budman?) isn't around to fight crime, who you gonna call? These guys. 

  • You are now free to move about the country with your medical marijuana. 

  • Actual headline of the week: Boomers knock-knock-knocking on cannabis' doors. (Wow.)

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 3/31/17

Sweeping reform measures introduced
On Thursday, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives introduced seven measures to advance more sensible cannabis policy at the federal level. The bills covered a broad range of issues related to resolving the tension between state and federal cannabis laws.

"The flurry of bills on the Hill today are a reflection of the growing support for cannabis policy reform nationally," said National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) executive director Aaron Smith. "State-legal cannabis businesses have added tens of thousands of jobs, supplanted criminal markets, and generated tens of millions in new tax revenue. States are clearly realizing the benefits of regulating marijuana and we are glad to see a growing number of federal policy makers are taking notice." 

Read more here!

Kush on the move
Kush Bottles, Inc., a provider of packaging, supplies, accessories and branding solutions for the regulated cannabis industry, announced that it will move its corporate headquarters and California fulfillment center to a larger, more centrally located facility in Garden Grove, CA. The new building features greater warehouse space to allow for increased inventory, as well as additional floor space to support new services for the company's growing customer base.

Cali and Colorado lead the way for tourism
According to New Frontier Data's 2017 Cannabis Attitudes Survey, approximately one-fifth of respondents, 22%, indicated that they would be more interested in visiting a state which has legalized cannabis. The majority of respondents, 66%, reported that legalization would not influence their travel interest.

Of the respondents who would be positively influenced by the availability of legal cannabis when selecting a destination, 84% said they were likely to purchase cannabis from a dispensary while there.

Those who indicated that legalization would positively influence their decision to visit a state were most interested in visiting Colorado (61%) and California (59%). Second tier canna-tourism markets included Washington (37%), Oregon (36%) and Nevada (36%).

Get the word out on 4/20
Speaking of 4/20 - how are you promoting your company? Higher Ground can help! We're a full-service PR & Marketing agency that will connect you to your customers, tell your story, or design a campaign - and have fun doing it.

We're PR pros, social media wizards, digital experts, brand creators, video producers, website concoctors, and storytellers. We're ready to get to work for you.

4/20 is the perfect time to celebrate the industry but also increase your visibility, grow market share, and build passionate followers.

Get in touch and let's get rolling!

Join us in LA
We'd like to invite you to the next Cannabis Marketing Association (CMA) meeting on April 11th in Santa Monica. Join us- and the CMA -  for a lively and informative discussion about social media in the world of cannabis (featuring our own VP of social media Jamie Latta!). The details and a link to sign up are here. 

News of the weed
Here's a quick round-up of news we'd like to share:

  • Attention Mommy Wine Brigade: Pot moms are sick of your complaining and judging. 
  • Guess who's killing it? Small, nimble start-ups. It's like Silicon Valley in the 90s. Almost. 
  • Do we really need another excuse to attend Coachella? Two words: Cannabis oasis. 
  • Actual headline of the week: You know the weed industry is mainstreaming when there's 'Salesforce of Cannabis' software. 

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 3/23/17

New concentrate-infused products
Advantis is introducing a new line of premium concentrate-infused products that it will make available through its existing business partners, before kicking off a new marketing campaign. "This is a luxury-inspired, premium quality, vacuum concentrate-infused cannabis amalgamation that is more powerful than anything we've seen in the marketplace," Advantis CEO, Christopher Swartz. "Several different exotic flavor profiles of some of the most potent medicine you may ever have, including strawberry, coconut and others." 

New app for 4/20
Metatron is releasing a new and revamped Canniboids app on 4/20. Cannaboids.com, an Organic Nutraceuticals Portal, was designed for medical marijuana patients to have the resources to find the latest CBD news and connect to legal dispensaries. History has shown the weeks leading up to April 20th, dispensaries around the country show a significant increase in traffic and cannabis sales.The Cannaboids app was created by Metatron's subsidiary, i-Mobilize app division and was the pioneer to put any Hemp related app on iTunes, and this was the first app to market CBD based products exclusively. The app is based on Metatron's CDB portal and brand, cannaboids.com.

Get the word out on 4/20
Speaking of 4/20 - how are you promoting your company? Higher Ground can help! We're a full-service PR & Marketing agency that will connect you to your customers, tell your story, or design a campaign - and have fun doing it.

We're PR pros, social media wizards, digital experts, brand creators, video producers, website concoctors, and storytellers. We're ready to get to work for you.

4/20 is the perfect time to celebrate the industry but also increase your visibility, grow market share, and build passionate followers.

News of the weed
Here's a quick round-up of news we'd like to share: 

  • It seems like every week there's a piece on celebrities endorsing weed. But now, some are stepping away. Like Woody from Cheers (he's always going to be Woody from Cheers to us). 
  • Actual headline alert: Is Cannabis the Next Kale? Is it? 

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 3/17/17

Meanwhile in PA: New Jobs
AGRiMED Industries is obtaining a license to grow and cultivate medical cannabis - and is expected to create at least 62 new jobs in Southwestern Pennsylvania, they say. AGRiMED is a highly specialized medical cannabis cultivation company and will grow its inaugural crop in a new state-of-the-art facility that will help serve patients with medicines derived from cannabinoid compounds. "We intend to leverage local sources of energy to create a healthier economic environment for Greene County and leave a smaller carbon footprint on our surrounding community," said Bruce Goldman, CEO of AGRiMED.

Technology for the win
Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (SSI) has released of its Cannabis Analyzer for Potency that enables operators to produce accurate results with ease, regardless of cannabis testing knowledge or chromatography experience. This high performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC) is the first-ever instrument designed specifically for quantitative determination of cannabinoid content. With the Cannabis Analyzer for Potency, operators are now able to produce accurate results with ease, regardless of cannabis testing knowledge or chromatography experience.

Same strains, different names
CANNDESCENT, a cultivator of ultra-premium cannabis, is abandoning the use of traditional strain names, and will adopt an effects-based classification system, grouping its flowers Calm, Cruise, Create, Connect and Charge. Its system, they say, simplifies cannabis for users by combining informative names, colors, numbers, and tasting notes to indicate how users may feel after consumption. As part of its effects-based system, CANNDESCENT pairs activities with each strain the way a sommelier might tailor a wine selection to a particular meal or course. 

"You shouldn't need to bio-hack your body through a periodic table of ominous strains like Durban Poison and Trainwreck just to buy some cannabis," said Adrian Sedlin, CEO. 

News of the weed
Here's a quick round-up of news we'd like to share: 

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 3/10/17

Is weed dipping into beer sales?Research from Cannabiz Consumer Group (C2G) shows that legalized recreational marijuana has "canna-balized" (their word, not ours) 7.1% of revenues from the existing retail beer industry in legal markets. If cannabis were legalized nationally, the beer industry they say would lose more than $2 billion in retail sales. Twenty-seven percent (27%) of beer drinkers state that they already have substituted cannabis for beer, or would substitute their retail beer purchases with cannabis in the future if legal. Other segments of the alcohol industry including wine, spirits and on-premise sales are also being impacted as are other CPG categories, brands, and retailers.

Take note(s)
Passpot Publishing has launched Passpot, a cannabis passport and travel journal. Currently available exclusively through the company's Kickstarter campaign, the first run of basic and custom books will ship in time for supporters to enjoy cannabis festivities occurring the week of April 20 with Passpot in hand. Passpot walks readers through the basics of cannabis laws, product options, and consumption methods as well as the more scientific aspects including cannabinoids and flavonoids. The smell, taste, and terpene charts assist readers with the complicated process of rating cannabis, and the journal provides ample space to record cannabis adventures. Readers collect stamps and stickers from dispensaries, tour companies, events, and other cannabis-related businesses to add to the blank stamp pages found inside. Passpot can also be customized with personal information and a picture.

Bills on the Hill
It's true, there are numerous pieces of legislation pending in Congress that would provide protection for users and businesses in legal states. Here's a solid round-up of said bills. 

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 2/24/17

Get (really, really) secure
One California-based security company is taking armored vehicle security to the next level. Hard Car Security announced its plans to incorporate a built-in weapons detection system into the walls of client locations all over the U.S. The asset protection and armored transportation company services clients in California, Nevada, and Arizona, where they transport valuable assets and, most recently, marijuana. The veteran-owned company is comprised of professionally trained agents and drivers who are military veterans. The trained crew has the experience necessary to protect the most sensitive information and materials, and all employees are licensed and insured. In addition, each armored vehicle is equip with a camera system that records all aspects of each transaction, from pick-up to drop off.

Cannabis cohort drives new development
Canopy San Diego, Southern California's only seed-stage accelerator and investment program for technology and business infrastructure companies that support the legal cannabis industry, is pleased to announce the graduation of its inaugural accelerator program cohort. Each graduating company completed a 16-week cannabis-specific business accelerator program, designed to spur business development and prepare the companies to raise outside capital. Throughout the program, the participating companies were exposed to over 65 potential mentors, representatives from local venture firms, and key figures within the local entrepreneurial community. Additionally, Canopy San Diego hosted numerous public and private events to increase the participants' exposure to early adopters and potential customers within the local cannabis community, as well as local early stage technology investors.

U.S. Cannabis Market: 283,422 Jobs by 2020
New Frontier Data continues to find evidence demonstrating that legal cannabis is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S., and examines its growth in its upcoming annual report, The Cannabis Industry Annual Report: 2017 Legal Marijuana Outlook. New Frontier Data projects that by 2020 the legal cannabis market will create more than a quarter million jobs for American workers.

"These numbers confirm that cannabis is a major economic driver and job creation engine for the U.S. economy," said Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, Founder and CEO of New Frontier Data. "We expect the cannabis industry's growth to be slowed down to some degree in the next 3 to 5 years, however with a projected total market sales to exceed $24 billion by 2025, and the possibility of almost 300,000 jobs by 2020, it remains a positive economic force in the U.S."

Can we get a mic drop?

Spicer's comments on recreational usage
In case you missed it, Spicer hinted that "greater enforcement" may soon be coming down on recreational marijuana. We think the Marijuana Policy Project sums the situation up thoughtfully. Go here and read their statement.

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CANNABUSINESS CURATOR: 2/10/17

California dreaming
Cali-based Eaze, launched in 2014, allows patients to get medical marijuana delivered by friendly, background-checked drivers from local dispensaries in under 20 minutes. Using data from more than 250,000 California cannabis consumers on the Eaze platform, and over 5,000 survey respondents, the second annual Eaze Insights "State of Cannabis" data report is out. It's huge. It's packed with data. There's too much to cover in one blurb, so here's some super high-level data to give you an idea of the research: 

  • NorCal is growing faster than SoCal
  • Vaporizers are growing in popularity, flowers are shrinking
  • Baby Boomers are fastest growing segment, Millennials are shrinking
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) is on the rise

Read the whole thing here.

Medical MJ market exploding
The global medical marijuana market is expected to reach a value of $55.8 billion by 2025, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. In 2016, Washington D.C. along with 28 states legalized marijuana for medical uses. In 2016, states such as Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania were approved to use the drug in medical applications such as chemotherapies and pain management. The growing number of states and countries getting approval for using it in therapeutic applications will be crucial factors driving the demand over the coming few years.

Who's funding the cannabis industry?
Funding for the cannabis industry has skyrocketed over the past four years with 2015 hitting a high of over $220M in equity financing to private companies, says CB Insights. The uptick in funding corresponds to the loosening of marijuana restrictions. 

The number of verticals being funded within the cannabis sector, including e-commerce, healthcare, and information service solutions, has also grown as startups begin to fill pain points within the cannabis supply chain.

CB Insights data was used to examine the most active investors in the cannabis industry globally. Many of these are either accelerators or cannabis-focused funds, highlighting the difficulty of attracting institutional dollars and the relative nascency of the space.

Check out the infographic that lays it all out. 

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