420MEDIA Trailblazers In Cannabis: Sharon Letts Founder Of Secret Garden Productions

Trailblazers In Cannabis

Digital marketing agency 420MEDIA and the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) have joined forces to create a series highlighting entrepreneurs trailblazing the cannabis scene. Each week, we’ll profile a noteworthy business pioneer, and ask each 5 questions.  This week’s featured trailblazer is Sharon Letts, Founder of Secret Garden Productions

Tell us about your company?

My company and brand have evolved in the last 25 years, as I began my working life as a flower gardener in Southern California, where I grew up. At 24 I bought a truck and designed, planted and maintained perennial borders – this put me in front of the camera, as I produced, hosted and self-distributed my visiting gardens show, In and Out of the Garden, for Local Access programming.

My experience in Local Access lasted three years, and then hosted and produced another series for PBS, Off the Beaten Path. I then became a Field and Segment Producer for national television in Los Angeles.


shot by Jeannie Herer

Why did you choose the cannabis/hemp business?

I didn’t choose the cannabis industry, it chose me, as I was brought up to the cannabis capitol of the world, Humboldt County in Northern California, to produce a news show in 2007, then ended up writing for newspapers, including an in-house position as lead features writer for The Times-Standard in Eureka.

While working in Humboldt, I presented with Lobular Carcinoma, a breast cancer mass. Because I was known in the county, Southern Humboldt remedy maker, Pearl Moon of The Bud Sisters, brought me a jar of strong cannabis oil, telling me it would put the cancer into remission. I didn’t believe it – after all, I’d been in media for more than ten years at that point – why didn’t I know about it?

That first night I no longer needed the sleeping pill I’d taken for years, the next day I didn’t need a pain-killer for a bum knee that I was told would need to be replaced. In two and a half weeks, all my prescription meds and supplements needed for myriad symptoms from Thyroid Disease and menopause were no longer needed. In two and a half months, the cancerous mass was gone.

As you can imagine, my life and work changed forever, and in the more than six years since, I’ve written of nothing else. Unfortunately, until the U.S. Government admits cannabis is remedy, I’m preaching to the choir writing for cannabis magazines. Thankfully, the weed magazines are publishing more intelligent work on cannabis, and my focus is on patient profiles, remedy makers, and caregivers.

What change will your firm address in the industry? Does it address an unmet need?

As far as I know, I’m the only features writer to cross over from mainstream media into the cannabis space, writing solely on cannabis as remedy. Up until my own experience, very little was written in AP Style on the anecdotal stories. So, I believe I’ve been a catalyst for change via making those stories known in an intelligent way.

My celebrity patient profiles all transitioned from interviews to interventions, as I help to further educate them during my visits. They have a loud voice, and this part of our exchange is sorely needed.

Sharon Letts (42)

What has been the reaction to your product/service/technology?

The reaction to my relating the anecdotal stories has been a mixed bag. For the most part, people are eager to hear the truth and learn, but I’ve been ridiculed, hated on, and yelled at in public by those that remain ignorant. And I use the word ignorant in the true sense of the word, as the information is out there – you just won’t see it on mainstream media yet – until the Government fesses up, there won’t be many stories of healing on the nightly news.

That said, to everyone I help and inform, it makes it worth it.

Are there any upcoming milestones for your company?

As a features writer, I’ve been published in many publications around the world, and continue to write the anecdotal stories of healing. As a producer in television, I have many balls up in the air – actively developing intelligent shows for television; and completing a screenplay with my writing partner, Renee Carly – who has been in the industry in Los Angeles for many years. We turned my eBooks, Humboldt Stories and Cannaopolis into a series for television and are shopping the pilot now. Due to my ten years in Humboldt County, the fictional stories I’ve written are all based on fact. My goal has always been to put a human face on the small cannabis farmer to the north, and share stories that have more to do with that life and healing – rather than the news we hear of crime surrounding the plant.

Where can readers learn more?

lettsgarden@yahoo.com

www.sharonletts.com

www.instagram.com/sharoneletts

www.facebook.com/sharonletts

420MEDIA Trailblazers In Cannabis: Home Grown ORegonicX Founders Angela & Jared Panks

Trailblazers In Cannabis

Digital marketing agency 420MEDIA and the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) have joined forces to create a series highlighting entrepreneurs trailblazing the cannabis scene. Each week, we profile a noteworthy business pioneer and ask each 5 questions. This week’s featured trailblazers are Angela and Jared Panks, founders of Home Grown ORegonicX.

Tell us about your Company

Our farm, Home Grown ORegonicX is a medical garden in Southern Oregon. We provide our deaf community and patients with a place to grow organic medical cannabis and teach conscious cultivation practices. We use nature and biodiversity to provide the cleanest herbs possible and employee our deaf community to the best of our ability. A hands on learning approach is the best way to teach our deaf community.

We have been growing cannabis since 2007 for our family and patients. We recently started doing tutorial videos on cannabis cultivation and the medical benefits of cannabis for the deaf and hearing impaired community. We want our community to understand the medical benefits of cannabis and about the Endocannabinoid System, Organic cultivation and how it can benefit us all. It’s a challenge for us because the ASL Language is still being created on cannabis and science in general. A lot of words or concepts need to be finger spelled for people to understand what we are taking about which can be a challenge in itself. For many years the science behind cannabis and cannabinoids has been hidden to our community and we are trying to change that.
homegrown ORegonicX logoWe began terpene mapping the various strains we would grow so that we could get a better idea of how our herbs would interact on a patient and try to make specialized medicine to help with people’s various issues. Our goal is to work with nature and your Endocannabinoid System to allow people to live a quality of life. Knowing which strains produce specific terpenes and how it will affect someone is important. Not everyone wants to get high. Most people want to lead a productive, healthy life style and we are here to support that.

We also want to open up the cannabis industry to the deaf global community. We need to dispel the negative stigmas associated with cannabis and promote knowledge and a deeper understanding of nature and its importance. Breaking down these communication and information barriers for our deaf community is our mission; giving our community a better opportunity is our goal.

Why did you choose the cannabis/hemp business?
We are passionate about medical cannabis, we know that it has healed so many people and has had a positive impact, giving people a better quality of life. The majority of our deaf community is missing out on the benefits that cannabis could bring to their life and surroundings. Some people are still stuck on the stigma behind it. We travel to lots of cannabis events during the past 5 years to bring deaf/cannabis awareness to our industry and community. We still haven’t met another deaf grower aside from our little tribe. We must change that by providing an education and opportunities. Without education, there is no opportunity for this forgotten community.
Angelapicture4flower
What change will your firm address in the industry? Does it address an unmet need?

The change we will address is raising deaf awareness in cannabis industry by inspiring cannabis entrepreneurs to be more involved in the deaf community. We want the deaf and hard of hearing community to be part of this industry. Going to cannabis related events has brought awareness and people want to be a part of opening this world up to our community. Providing education content to the deaf demographic in the cannabis community and getting sign language interpreters for future events.
We are working with ECS Therapy in CO to develop sign language for cannabis world, making it easier for the deaf to be part of this fast growing industry and creating language to represent the science behind cannabis.

We want to raise awareness on Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) which is a rare condition where a heavy cannabis user can become violently ill over a period of time. The symptoms mimic those of someone going through a detox. CHS expresses itself with a fever, cold sweats cyclic vomiting, extreme dehydration and the relief of extremely hot baths or showers.

Usher Syndrome is where deaf and hearing impaired individuals slowly go blind. It is a genetic trait that only effect the hearing impaired. Angela was diagnosed with Ushers Syndrome as a kid and has experienced persistent vision loss. She believes that her cannabis use has slowed the diseases progress and it’s a topic that hasn’t been researched.

Organic practice. Making more videos in sign language demonstrating organic cultivation practices. Demonstrating how you can build an ecosystem, worm farming, Integrated Pest Management, Fermentation, compost teas, companion cropping and so much more. Without education there is no opportunity.

 

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What has been the reaction to your product/service/technology?  
The responses we’ve received have been amazing; people have told us so many times how we open their eyes to the deaf world, and that they want to do whatever possible to help. We met a man at a conference he was speaking at 3 years prior. Jared was interpreting for our group at the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference when we first met. We ran into him again at The Emerald Cup and he was anxious to tell us how after that experience he went on to take sign language. He also as 2 employees that speak sign language.

For being a small group, we have made a lasting impact on this industry and we hope to leave a mark on the world. Jared was a Paramedic/Hotshot/Fire fighter in his former life. Angela owned her own painting business and worked for Legal Shield providing the deaf community with legal representation before getting into the cannabis industry. Our mission has always been to change the world and to leave a positive impact on anything that we put our minds towards. Our lives are a testament of that.

Many people ask how they can help and urged us to form a nonprofit organization which is a difficult thing to do in the cannabis industry. Luckily enough we have partnered with ECS Therapy and we now have a way for people to help us in our mission. We want to be able to change the world for the better and now we have another way for people can participate.

In general, the cannabis community is a kind group of individuals who are genuine and sincere. There have been many life changing experience for both the people we meet and for us as well. We look forward to seeing what God bring into our paths.

People are often bewildered by what we are trying to do. When they see the cannabis we can produce with minimal cost. We can grow organic sun grown cannabis and compete with indoor cultivators in quality. To be able to do this with a small group of deaf patients and create opportunities for them is surreal. Showing our deaf community how to work with nature and building something that will provide food, health and benefit the world. When people actually see the garden they always comment on the attention to detail that we have put into this project. We have had a chance to We had Tommy Chongs family to our home and the first thing they said was, “they had never seen a garden like this before.”  What we do has been around for a long time, how we do it is original and progressive.

AngelaandJared2

Are there any upcoming milestones for your company? 

Just being a part of this industry is a milestone. With how Oregon’s legalization process has gone, it has been very difficult. Medical Cultivators have been locked out of a legal market since recreational use was passed. Medical growers fought for legalization and created a great medical system. We were in 70 different stores in Oregon before the OLCC pushed us out of the legal cannabis business market. Continuing to fight for fair access to a legal market is important and we can’t stop until all medical cannabis is no longer the face of the black market.

Creating Sign Language for the cannabis industry is a pretty big milestone too. Working with ECS Therapy to create these opportunities for our deaf community is such an honor. Getting a Non-Profit organization to sponsor us was a pretty tall task considering the Federal Laws and this newly emerging industry. It’s a step in the right direction and one of many obstacles we have been able to overcome. 

We would also like to build a garden where we can bring deaf people from all over the world to teach them hand on cultivation practices and to have a home for those in our community who want to participate in the cannabis industry. We can’t wait to represent the deaf in this industry and get our products out there so people experience it for themselves. 

We have just started going around and making videos of cannabis cups and different events surrounding this industry. We have had the chance to conduct a few interviews and we look forward to getting this stuff put up on our website. Doing things like this will only debunk the stigma around cannabis culture and help people make better life choices. 

We would like to work with a lot of different people on different platforms to create educational content and bring the cannabis message to the globe in Sign Language. We want to share their testimonies and hopefully change people’s lives for the better. Maybe a movie in the future…. Lots of people have bounced ideas off of us. It’s just about finding the right people to do the right things with for the right reason. We want to change the worlds perspective and we can’t do it alone. 

Where can readers learn more?

We are working on website at the moment.
For now, you can check our Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/homegrownoregonicx/ and our Instagram: Home_grown_oregonicx

420MEDIA Trailblazers In Cannabis: Author Javier Hasse

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Digital marketing agency 420MEDIA and the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) have joined forces to create a series highlighting entrepreneurs trailblazing the cannabis scene. Each week, we’ll profile a noteworthy business pioneer, and ask each 5 questions.

This week’s featured trailblazer is Javier Hasse, a young, Latin writer, author of the book, “Start Your Own Cannabis Business” (Entrepreneur Press 2018), which hit the “#1 Best Seller” spot for cannabis categories on Amazon during the week of its release.  Javier writes for a variety of mass media outlets, serves as the Director of Benzinga’s Cannabis News desk, hosts the show “Wonder Women of Weed,” sits on advisory boards for cannabis companies in emerging markets, and co-produces Debra Borchardt’s “Marijuana Money” weekly segment, which has been syndicated on Benzinga, High Times TV, MSN, Yahoo, etc.

Hassebookcover

1. Tell us about your book?

The story of how I got a book deal at age 27 is one I love, because it proves that karma (or however you want to call the world balancing itself) is a real thing.  It was mid-2017 and I had been writing about cannabis business and finance for a few years. One day, I got a call from Jenifer Dorsey, at Entrepreneur Media. She said she’d seen some of my stories on High Times, Benzinga, Leafly and Playboy, and thought I’d make a great fit to author a book on cannabis business they were looking to publish by 4/20/2018.

At first, I was a bit hesitant. I asked her: “Do you know I’m 27, I have never written a book, and don’t even speak English as a first language?”

She didn’t have an issue with that; she had seen my work across the media and was willing to take a chance. About this ordeal, I like to say: Jen Dorsey, she endorsed me. Entrepreneur Media supported me.

And so, we went for it.

Over the 60 days that followed, I interviewed more than 100 cannabis industry insiders and investors, and asked them for business advice.

I then compiled all of their tips and came up with this book, a step-by-step guide to the marijuana industry, as the title very clearly states – no euphemisms for this guy. My only condition was that this had to be a book for regular people, for those who had paid the price of marijuana’s illegality for so long. I wanted this to be a financial-inclusion-through-cannabis guide, instead of the usual advice for the Harvard MBA or Yale grad, the people who had been told they could start their own business from the day they learned how to speak.

Once we had the entire book ready to go, we sent it to the amazing Jodie Emery, famed cannabis activist, current owner of Toronto’s own hemp-themed café, Jodie’s Joint, and an esteemed friend of mine by now.

So, this is what we came up with: “Start Your Own Cannabis Business: Your Step-By-Step Guide to The Marijuana Industry.” A book aimed at those who don’t have easy access to a million bucks of startup capital, to those who don’t hold a $300K graduate degree, to those who deserve a chance in this nascent industry, which likes to take pride in how inclusive it is, while often excluding those hit hardest by the infamous War on Drugs.

2. Why did you choose the cannabis/hemp business as your beat?

Honestly, cannabis and hemp kind of found me. I was writing about finance a few years ago, focusing on hedge funds and insider trading, when an editor asked me if I was willing to author a story on cannabis stocks and derivative plays. This might sound pretty standard nowadays, but signing a story about weed half a decade ago was something that most young journalists getting a chance to write for The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch were not willing to take.

The thing is, I had loved cannabis for a decade by that time… And so, I took it. Why not? – I thought. Someone was willing to pay me to write about weed… That was not an opportunity I was going to pass on, notwithstanding the reputational risk involved.

Since that moment, things sort of snowballed. I got assigned to more pot stories, that led me to exclusives, to meet more people in the industry, to specialize, to get published in more and more outlets, to teach other people about this amazing industry, to get them on board… This is my life now. And I wouldn’t change a freaking thing 🙂

3. What will the cannabis industry look in a few years? How will the legalization shape the industry?

We’re seeing the world, and not just the U.S., move in the right direction, I think. The future is already being molded, in my opinion. We’re seeing a lot of new cannabis businesses emerge, many of them succeeding, some failing…and a lot of them being acquired by larger players. This wave of consolidation will continue for the foreseeable future, I’d say.

I like an analogy that musician David Crosby used during a recent conversation we had: half a decade ago, there were dozens of American car makers; now, there are just a few big brands dominating the market. We should expect the same to happen with the cannabis industry on a global scale.

Another interesting trend is that of the increasing number of investments from big companies from other industries. As legalization and public acceptance of cannabis advances across the world, huge corporations like alcohol-maker Constellation Brands, will make larger and larger investments into cannabis companies, eventually taking control over some of them – as Altria, the maker of Marlboro, said recently.

It is our duty to make sure that, no matter where the industry goes, we keep in mind that patients’ wellbeing is the #1 priority, and that taking care of the world we live in is equally important. Thus, we need to ensure good practices, and an emphasis on the production of clean, accessible, affordable cannabis products.

4. What has been the reaction to your new book? Are we seeing a boom in new entrepreneurs?

I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to write this book, which I hope is the first of many. We’ve seen a boom in entrepreneurship in the cannabis industry, but I would never take credit for that… It’s only natural.

The response to the book, however, has been overwhelming. Tons of fan mail, messages, people thanking us for guiding them… It’s also opened a lot of doors for me personally, as it led to frequent invitations to keynote at cannabis and entrepreneurship events, TV and radio interviews, etc. But beware, the reason for which I enjoy this is not related to ego, or a need for attention. To me, what’s valuable is bringing knowledge about cannabis and its medical, economic, and social justice potential to the mainstream; to help the world understand that we need to overcome taboos and act in pragmatic, sensible, sensitive manner in all weed-related issues going forward.

Where can readers learn more about your writing?

I have had more than 4,500 articles published on PlayboyCNBCHigh TimesTheStreet.comEntrepreneur Mag, Leafly, Benzinga, CNN Money, CNN Business, Yahoo Finance, MarketWatch, MSN Money, Morningstar, Nasdaq, Dope Magazine, Merry Jane, The Fresh Toast, Apple News, and many others.

You can follow me on:

Or just Google me. You’ll find just one Javier Hasse. 

420MEDIA Trailblazers In Cannabis: Sproutly Canada CEO Keith Dolo

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Digital marketing agency 420MEDIA and the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) have joined forces to create a series highlighting entrepreneurs trailblazing the cannabis scene. Each week, we’ll profile a noteworthy business pioneer, and ask each 5 questions. This week’s featured trailblazer is Keith Dolo, President and CEO of Sproutly Canada.

1. Tell us about your Company

Sproutly is a licensed producer of Cannabis in Canada and is positioning itself to develop and bring to market unique consumer products with a focus initially on beverages. We have a purpose-built facility for the production of high grade cannabis based in Ontario as well as a ground-breaking technology that will revolutionize how cannabis is formulated into a wide range of products such as alcohol replacements, functional beverages, consumables, topicals and variety of other products. Sproutly recently acquired, in a transformation acquisition, Infusion Biosciences Canada, the first company to produce a truly water-soluble natural cannabis solution. It’s revolutionary to the entire cannabis industry so we are extremely excited to bring it to market.

 

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2.  Why did you choose the cannabis/hemp business?

For me personally, the development and growth expected within the cannabis industry represented an opportunity to be part of a growth initiative that is poised to have an incredibly drastic impact on the global market. It is a rare occasion when the legalization, decriminalization, or mainstream adoption of a product such as cannabis, can have such an impact on so many different facets of life around the world. Most people only consider cannabis as something you smoke and view this a short-term play to allow people the ability legally smoke or consume cannabis recreationally, this is so much greater than that. Cannabis will be broad reaching, have massive implications and impacts on the pharmaceutical industry, the beverage industry, the pet food industry, nutritional food product markets, and beauty products amongst many others. Being part of something this exciting, not only in Canada but globally was the key driver in getting me involved.

With all the large beverage companies looking at or investing into the sector, it provides validity to what we are working on here at Sproutly. The recent announcement of Molson entering the Canadian cannabis scene, or the rumors of Coca-Cola in discussions to enter the industry, allows investors and consumers to start recognizing that Cannabis will have a large impact on existing products from alcohol to tobacco companies. The majors are looking at how to position and hedge themselves moving forward, it’s exciting.

3. What change will your firm address in the industry? Does it address an unmet need?

For Sproutly, we have positioned ourselves to stand out and provide access to what some are calling Cannabis 2.0 the ability to be produce products that bring additional consumers into the cannabis industry that have previously sat on the sidelines. Our cannabis products will be seen in everything from edibles, to beverages, to topicals, to health and wellness products both recreationally and medically. We have the ability to produce two unique products that once launched in the market will stand apart from their competitors, our Bio-Natural Oils and our Infus2O product.

The INFUS2O product is the first truly water-soluble cannabis solution that does not need massive amounts of sugar or chemicals to mask the bad tasting flavor of a chemicals currently used in cannabis beverages and the solubility of INFUS2O has also solved the rapid onset and off-set problems that currently plague cannabis consumables. People will be able to consume our liquid cannabis in any drink, that’ the idea here.  Like alcohol that is processed by the body through the blood stream, the effects of our product will be felt in 5 minutes and will last as long as 45-90 minutes, like having an alcoholic beverage.  The big advantage over existing oil products in edibles and beverages will be the ability to know the timeframe of the effect, as opposed to eating a product, where the person does not know when they will feel the effect or when it will wear off, it’s the answer people are searching for.

4. What has been the reaction to your product/service/technology?

At this point, it’s been extremely positive. Obviously, with any new disruptive technology, there exists a necessity to prove it out from a scientific standpoint as well as consumer response perspective…we are working hard on both fronts. With now over 200+ consumer tests completed, the response has been consistent, and the feedback of the fast onset / fast offset has been verified. For validating the products within a lab testing environment, we are currently partnering with an analytics laboratory in Washington state and a soon to be announced Canadian partnership in order to finalize the analytical testing methods on our products as well as other cannabis oils that have been diluted into beverage products. More to come on that in the next few months…

5. Are there any upcoming milestones for your company?

We are working extremely hard on a number of projects and milestones that will move the company forward on many fronts. One vertical, in our strategy, is to solidify business joint ventures with existing CPG/beverage companies that have recognized brands. We are working on selecting the right partnerships with companies that are as forward thinking as we are and can move quickly and nimbly to complete formulations and have products ready for launch when the legalization of these products commences in 2019. We feel we will advance the Sproutly brand much quicker with multiple companies than finalizing a relationship with one company. We are also in the process of determining our international expansion plans, specially the European Union and the countries that support legal cannabis within their regulatory framework. The company is very new, receiving it’s licence to cultivate Cannabis from Health Canada in June, going public in July, closing the acquisition of Infusion BioSciences Canada in August, now executing on it’s business plan through the fall months leading up to legalization in Canada. We are excited for what is to come and what we can share with our shareholders and future users of the Sproutly products in development.

 Where can readers learn more?

We are working on our US OTCQB listing requirements currently which will drive more marketing activity and traction in the US over the coming months. Readers can always sign up on our website for up to date information at www.Sproutly.ca or simply stay tuned to the cannabis content platforms such as 420MEDIA for more to come.

Social media: https://twitter.com/SproutlyCanada