PRØHBTD Accelerates Growth With Two Office Openings In Canada

Cannabis Lifestyle Media and Brand Platform Expands Operations to Toronto and Vancouver

CANADA: PRØHBTD, a leading cannabis lifestyle media and brand platform, recently opened new offices in Toronto and Vancouver. The first international expansion beyond PRØHBTD’s primary Los Angeles headquarters, the two offices will lead the company’s growth strategy in Canada in advance of the country’s legalization of the recreational cannabis market on October 17.

The team of six staffers, situated in Toronto’s Liberty Village and downtown Vancouver, are led by Shelley Madison, Senior Producer; David Brott, Director of Brand Partnerships; and Joel Yatscoff, Senior Product Designer. Madison leads all creative content production while Brott leads the company brand partnership efforts, and Yatscoff is responsible for product design and packaging innovation.

“We already work with a number of brand partners across the border so it was a logical expansion to support those efforts,” said PRØHBTD CEO Drake Sutton-Shearer. “We have built our reputation on creating premium cannabis content and helping companies develop their brands, and to now expand these offerings directly in the Canadian market is an important next step in our journey to taking the company public.”

Shelley Madison has more than a decade of experience in the media industry with a focus on creative partnerships, storytelling and content production. Working as both an Executive Producer and Producer, Shelley has collaborated directly on films with Academy Award winning actors and directors including James Franco, Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, Robert Pattinson, Werner Herzog and more.

Before joining the PRØHBTD team, Joel Yatscoff founded Burning Tree, a consultancy that specialized in supporting cannabis companies with packaging and labeling. Additionally, he was Head of Product Development at HIKU Brands (recently acquired by Canopy) where he re-imagined products for the Tokyo Smoke and Van der Pop brands. His projects have been recognized internationally including for the prestigious XPRIZE and James Dyson Awards.

David Brott has successfully spearheaded marketing and sales departments within creative agencies, large tech corporations and startups in Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Taiwan, selling to decision makers in Fortune 1000 companies around the world.

The expansion follows PRØHBTD’s series A round of funding, which secured USD $8 million from investors that included Ontario’s Serruya Private Equity and The Delavaco Group. It represented the single largest round of funding for a media related company in the cannabis industry to date. In addition to the Canada office openings, the funding has accelerated the production and distribution of PRØHBTD’s slate of original content, and deepened the expertise and capabilities across the company through soon to be announced new executive hires.

What Licensed Cannabis Businesses Need to Know About Insurance

By Eric Weisbrot

The cannabis industry has been growing steadily for the last several years, with many states taking the initiative to legalize medical use, recreational use, or a combination of the two. Several legislative bodies are recognizing the potential of the industry, not only as a way to help individuals with chronic health conditions but also as a boost to tax revenues and economic growth. However, legal cannabis businesses have long faced one significant challenge above and beyond public and government perception – their ability to secure crucial insurance to protect themselves from financial loss.

Licensed cannabis businesses are predicted to grow annual sales to an impressive $57 billion throughout the world over the next ten years, with recreational use making up 67% of the market share. While these numbers are promising for business owners and industry experts, the lack of insurance coverage available in the industry puts it all at risk. Here are several points to know about the cannabis insurance market currently, and where it is headed in the years to come.

Available Coverage for Licensed Cannabis Businesses

Even though several states have moved forward in legitimizing cannabis and the companies behind its growth, distribution, and sales, the federal illegality of marijuana leaves many lines blurred. The ability to get affordable insurance is not simply a challenge for cannabis businesses; it is often not available at all. Insurance companies have previously viewed the risk in cannabis as far too high to provide even minimal coverage, but that negative perception is starting to shift.

In a notable decision in California, the state’s Insurance Commissioner worked diligently from 2017 to encourage a variety of insurance providers tooffer a range of policies to licensed cannabis businesses. After this more than year-long push, the state has approved the first business owner policy for cannabis companies, consisting of property and liability insurance for dispensaries, processors, manufacturers, distributors, storage facilities, and other related businesses in the state. The good news is that many other insurance companies are following suit, offering the following coverage based on the type of cannabis business applying for a new policy:

Dispensaries – the risk faced by dispensaries focuses mainly on the threat of theft in the business, but damage to the product or building, or injuries on the job may also take place. The few insurance companies offering coverage to dispensaries do so by way of general and product liability insurance, property and medicine insurance, or business income/overhead expenses insurance.

Growers – cannabis growers are an essential part of the business landscape, but they often are exposed to a higher risk than other companies in the industry. The potential loss of inventory means a grower could be out of business in a hurry, so insurance companies provide coverage for living plant material, harvested plant material, and finished stock. Coverage typically protects against water and fire damage, theft, and explosions.

Hemp and CBD Production – the manufacturing of legal hemp and CBD products for sale to the consuming public also comes with high risks. Insurance companies offering coverage to these businesses do so through product liability policies, and in some cases, general liability.

Surety Bonds to Fill the Gap

Conventional insurance is often the route many small businesses take to cover their inventory, their overhead expenses, and their ability to generate revenue even when a disaster takes place. However, licensed cannabis businesses may not always have access to an affordable insurance policy to cover these significant needs.Surety bonds for licensed cannabis companies are one method to fill in this gap. A surety bond is not pure insurance, but instead, it provides some level of guarantee that the business will operate in-line with state laws and regulations. Securing a surety bond is not a requirement for all cannabis businesses, but it is becoming more common as states firm up legal necessities for licensed companies that grow, distribute, or sell cannabis products.

At the same time California announced its insurance company partnerships, the state also made it mandatory for licensed cannabis businesses to have a surety bond of at least $5,000 in order to keep their license valid. These bonds guarantee payments related to the financial loss of the destruction of goods and materials when a violation of state regulation takes place. Other states have followed this path and made surety bonds a requirement for receiving a cannabis business license, helping protect both consumers and the state from potential loss. Fortunately, when a surety bond is required, cannabis businesses are not on the hook for the entire bond amount but instead pay a small percentage of the total dollar amount of the bond.

The combination of business insurance coverage and surety bonds lays a strong foundation for cannabis-related businesses to thrive as the market continues to grow.


About the Author: Eric Weisbrot is the Chief Marketing Officer of JW Surety Bonds. With years of experience in the surety industry under several different roles within the company, he is also a contributing author to the surety bond blog.

Link to photo: https://www.jwsuretybonds.com/img/jwteam/Eric-Weisbrot—Marketing-Manager.jpg

Retail Is The Focus Of Marijuana Venture’s RAD Expo Jan 17-18 In Portland

WASHINGTON: The RAD Expo, a national b2b trade show exclusively focused on the marijuana retail and dispensary business, is coming to the Oregon Convention Center in Portland on Jan. 17-18.

Marijuana Venture, the national cannabis business publication producing the event, is offering free tickets to all current and future owners, buyers and employees of marijuana retail stores and dispensaries, if they register in advance. Admittance for qualified attendees is $25 on the day of the show. The general public will not be allowed admittance.

Exhibitors are expected to include companies and individuals who supply goods and services to existing and future retailers in the legal marijuana space.

“We looked around and saw that the retail side of the business was not being well addressed,” said Marijuana Venture Publisher Greg James. “There are dozens of trade shows that focus on growing and cultivation, but no national trade shows for the people who actually sell marijuana.  We anticipate that exhibitors will include retail design firms, fixture manufacturers, lighting experts, packaging companies, growers and snack food companies. The list of possible vendors is endless in retail. In addition, we plan on allowing qualified buyers and retail employees free admittance if they pre-register. We’re following the same model as major traditional shows like CES and BookExpo in which buyers are always allowed in free. This promotes a lot of foot traffic and qualified buyers.”

David Rheins Keynote Address At Indiana Cannabis Chat 1.0

The following is a transcript of MJBA Executive Director David Rheins’ keynote speech at Indiana Cannabis Chat 1.0, last week’s educational mixer held at the historic Antelope Club in downtown Indianapolis.  The event was produced put by the Indiana Libertarian Party of Marion County, and sponsored by Curved Papers.


Thank you, it is an honor to be able to address this historic first Indiana Cannabis Chat 1.0 event.

As Chris mentioned, my name is Dave Rheins. I am the founder and executive director of the Marijuana Business Association, or MJBA.  MJBA is a national trade organization serving the legal cannabis industry.  We represent hundreds of licensed cannabis businesses and the many professional services companies upon whom they rely.  We support grassroots communities in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and New York/New Jersey with plans to add more as new legal states like California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine come online.

We host professional networking meetups, educational panels, seminars and workshops, host job fairs and vendor fairs, and run several cannabis-related media sites, including MJHeadlineNews, Marijuana Channel One and the MJNewsNetwork.

I am a Hoosier, born and raised in Indiana.  I grew up in Indianapolis, graduated North Central and Indiana University, where I studied Journalism and English.

I spent my professional career at the intersection of popular culture, technology and commerce at places like Rolling Stone, SPIN and AOL Time Warner.  My work with the MJBA is a natural part of that continuum.  Pot Culture is Pop Culture.

MJBA was founded in 2012, before Colorado or Washington passed their historic voter initiatives legalizing adult personal use of cannabis, creating the first regulated pot marketplaces.

After 80 years of prohibition, our challenge was to create, from the ground up, a system of producing, processing and retailing a heretofore illicit product. Not only did we need to put in place the mechanisms of a whole new marketplace, we needed to reintegrate the underground cannabis industry and lifestyle into the mainstream economy.  Normalization is our greatest challenge.

Legalization came by way of voter initiative, not legislation. Meaning that the people and not the political parties heralded in this enormous societal change. In fact, no major politician supported Washington’s I-502 or Colorado’s Proposition 64. And when both passed, the state was mandated to create a system for regulating, taxing and supervising this nascent industry.  Every new legal state has had to create a system of commerce – and a regulatory schema that worked.  Each of the 8 legal states has its own idiosyncratic set of rules and regs, and within each state, counties and municipalities add their own layer of rules and taxes, or in some case opt out of legal pot altogether.  Your participation in the education and advocacy in your community is crucial.

The challenge has been enormous, made only more difficult due to the complexities of federal prohibition – which restricts the growth of the industry by inhibiting its access to those things it needs to grow: everything from simple banking and commercial capital, to medical research.  Legal cannabis businesses operate at an extreme disadvantage when it comes to taxation.  IRS Code Section 280-E restricts these state-regulated and legal businesses from deducting anything beyond simple COGS (Cost of Goods Sold), and the resultant high tax level making profitability elusive indeed.

Federally, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act.  Federal prohibition has resulted in a crazy-quilted patchwork of state industries, no two alike, as every state government, and every community within these legal jurisdictions decide what legal cannabis will look like.  And it is here that there is the greatest opportunity for the entrepreneur and independent investor.

It is at the state and local level that decisions are being made as to what legal products will be available, how they are grown, tested for quality and safety, packaged, distributed, advertised, marketed, sold and taxed.  Decisions about potency, are being made by local participants in each community.  Early entrants are uniquely being given the opportunity to define the marketplace.  While our cannabis revolution is national, and indeed international in scope – the biggest opportunities are local.

 Indiana will have the opportunity to build the legal cannabis marketplace that works best for its citizenry.

Let’s level set the business opportunity.  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, A total of 29 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico now allow for comprehensive public medical marijuana and cannabis programs.  In addition, 17 states allow use of “low THC, high cannabidiol (CBD)” products for medical reasons in limited situations or as a legal defense. Those programs are not counted as comprehensive medical marijuana programs.

Indiana’s House Bill 1148 would legalize the use of cannabidiol for patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy. The oil is derived from the cannabis plant but would be allowed to contain only up to .3 percent THC.

Eight states and the District of Columbia now have legalized small amounts of marijuana for adult recreational use.

The legal cannabis industry is the fastest growing industry in our economy. Tens of thousands of new licensed cannabis companies have created hundreds of thousands of new jobs and generated hundreds of millions in new tax revenues.

According to New Frontier Data, legal consumer spending across North America grew 34 percent in 2016 to $6.7 billion and can be expected to grow at a 27 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years, to $22.6 billion in 2021

“While the uncertainty created by the mixed signals coming out of the Administration may cause a temporary dip in some valuations of cannabis companies and some more risk-averse institutional investors and multinational companies may continue to stay on the sidelines, it won’t impact the growth of the market much at all,” said Troy Dayton, CEO of ArcView Market Research. “No matter what the administration does, states will continue to issue cannabis licenses to a long line of applicants and licensed cannabis outlets will continue to have long lines of consumers ready to purchase this product from regulated establishments.”

More facts:

  • North Americans spent $56.1 billion on legal and illicit cannabis products in 2016, about half of the $105 billion they spent on beer. But only $6.7 billion of that was spent legally and 87 percent of that came from just five states and Canada;
  • Growth in legal cannabis sales has already eroded the illicit market. This erosion will greatly accelerate in 2018 with the arrival of legalized adult-use programs in North America’s two biggest markets, California and Canada. Meanwhile, the 20 states without legal cannabis programs contributed nothing to the accelerating erosion of the illicit market;
  • Voters in Florida, Arkansas, Montana, and North Dakota passed medical cannabis initiatives in 2016.  This means that 63 percent of Americans can legally obtain cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation;
  • Voters in California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Maine passed adult-use measures in 2016. This more than tripled the portion of Americans that will be able to purchase cannabis without a doctor’s recommendation in their home state to 21 percent; Compound annual growth rates above 50 percent since adult-use legalization in Colorado and Washington drew significant new segments of the investment community into the legal cannabis industry in 2016, driving triple-digit gains in public stocks and double-digit gains in capital raised by operating companies and a growing group of cannabis-focused investment funds;

For Hoosier investors who want to capture some of the industry’s rapid financial growth, but aren’t able or don’t want to get involved with plant-touching firms that grow or sell cannabis and products still prohibited under federal law, lots of opportunities exist.   Here are some of my favorites:

    • Real Estate
    • Logistics/Distribution
    • Software
    • Security
    • Lighting
    • Soil
    • Hardware: big ag tech for growers, extraction machines for processors, and point of sale for retail; consumer products (vapes and accessories)
    • Nutrients and hydroponics
    • Testing, Labs & Quality control
    • Genetics
    • Packaging
    • Branding, Marketing and promotion
    • Business Intelligence
    • Professional services – Legal, Accounting, Business planning
    • Investment – penny stocks, equity and debt investment

Hemp is the most immediate opportunity for Hoosiers.

According to Vote Hemp approximately 9,650 acres of hemp crops were planted in 15 states during 2016 in the U.S., 30 universities conducted research on hemp cultivation, and 817 State hemp licenses were issued across the country. This hemp cultivation is legal in 32 states, which have lifted restrictions on hemp farming and may license farmers to grow hemp in accordance with Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill, the Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research amendment.

Historically: Indiana has had a long and proud hemp history.  In 1930, it was the third largest crop grown in the state. And in 1940, there were six hemp processing plants in Indiana alone.

Hemp was grown widely until the 1970s Controlled Substances Act. 2 acres of hemp were cultivated in Indiana last year for research purposes.

Today:  Indiana Hemp Law   Year Passed: 2014 Summary: Senate Bill 357 authorizes state regulators to begin the process of licensing farmers to grow hemp commercially.The American Farm Bureau led by the Indiana Farm Bureau recently endorsed ending the federal prohibition on industrial hemp at its annual meeting in January.

Most recently, the US House of Representatives approved language in the federal Farm Bill to allow pilot studies specific to hemp cultivation to take place in states that have authorized them. Indiana’s farmers ought to be able to take advantage of this pending change in federal law.
Statute:
 Ind. Code § 15-15-13-7 (2014)

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed Indiana’s first medical cannabis legislation in April. It legalizes cannabidiol or CBD – for the treatment of epilepsy.

How will Growing & Processing of CBD be governed in Indiana?

Kentucky grew more than 2500 acres of hemp last year, making it the second largest producer behind Colorado. The Hemp CBD representing $130 million in sales in 2016 with growth at a 53% AGR (Adjusted Growth Revenue).

CannaFest Destiny:

A recent editorial in the Indy Star from Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, whom I understand will be in this same hall tomorrow, acknowledges that legalization is sweeping the country and the unstoppable trend is headed this way.  Legalization is coming to Indiana, sooner than you think.

The question for you thought-leaders in the audience should be HOW to get in on the ground floor of this emerging market.  We suggest that you start by 1) Getting Informed 2) Getting Connected  3 )Activating attend conferences, organize more Cannabis Chats and join groups – political and business.


See related article: http://mjnewsnetwork.com/events/cannafest-destiny-tour-stops-at-first-church-of-cannabis-in-indy-on-june-13th-2018/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imperious Hosts Cannabis Business Expo At Tacoma Dome July 20-21

WASHINGTON: Imperious Expo + Directory will be hosting the Cannabis Business Expo at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall on July 20th and 21st, 2016. The show will spotlight the medical and industrial cannabis industry.

Targeting the business sector, with a primary goal of connecting business to business (B2B), not business to consumer (B2C), event organizers hope to leverage their knowledge and experience developed while organizing oil and gas trade shows in Texas to benefit this emerging business sector.

A speaker lineup of thirty speakers will highlight the following topics:

  • Cultivation
  • Growing Medium
  • Insurance
  • Legal
  • Licensing
  • Sustainability
  • Water
  • … and much more
  • tacomashowschedule

Pot Startup Rolls Out Accessories

CALIFORNIA: Time for the marijuana industry to get a makeover, says Josh Gordon, founder and CEO of e-commerce start-up The Bureau.

He’s weeding out tie-dye and leaf graphics for chic new designs. The 27-year-old said he has high hopes to “raise the standards for the [marijuana] industry,” and nix the black-market feel.

“Whether we’re talking about a grandmother dealing with [the] side effects of chemotherapy, or a modern professional that consumes recreationally, they deserve to be treated like the high-value consumer they are,” said Gordon.

Watch this entrepreneur pitch his pot packaging to a panel with Troy Dayton, CEO of ArcView Group, a firm that connects investors to pot start-ups, David Dinenberg, founder and CEO of KindBanking, and Wendy Robbins, producer and director of “The Marijuana Show.” Will the panel be in or nip his start-up in the bud?

Lighting up

Growing up, Gordon spent winters at his family home in Colorado, where the cannabis industry has gone more mainstream.

Seattle WA 11/6: MJBA Women’s Alliance Hosts Ladybud Publisher Diane Fornbacher

WASHINGTON:  MJBA Women’s Alliance and Eden Labs team up for an exclusive evening with Ladybud Magazine publisher Diane Fornbacher and dynamic personal and business finance expert Debbie Whitlock next month in Seattle for “The Power to Lead.”

Get inspired to lead the way with other major women leaders in the cannabis industry, including mistress of ceremonies Shawn DeNae Waggenseller of Washington Bud Company, legal pioneer, Anne Van Leynseele of NW MJ Law, and other fierce females to be announced soon.

The Power to Lead
Thursday, November 6th, 5:30pm-9pm
Bellevue Red Lion

Corporate Members and VIP ticket holders are invited to a special VIP Meet & Greet Reception preceding the main event in the Evergreen Room at 4:20pm.

* * *

MJBA Women’s Alliance works collaboratively to enhance the growth and strength of our individual businesses and the collective development of the cannabis industry.

Privateer Holdings Closes $7 Million Funding Round

WASHINGTON: Privateer Holdings Inc., the cannabis industry’s first private equity firm, today announced the completion of its Series A funding round. The company raised an initial $7 million from high net worth individual investors and family offices, with a strategic plan to invest in companies in the cannabis space and build mainstream brands. The completion of this initial round of funding positions Privateer Holdings as the leader in the nascent cannabis industry. Leafly.com is its flagship acquisition. [Read more…]

Privateer Holdings Closes $7 Million Funding Round

WASHINGTON: Privateer Holdings Inc., the cannabis industry’s first private equity firm, today announced the completion of its Series A funding round. The company raised an initial $7 million from high net worth individual investors and family offices, with a strategic plan to invest in companies in the cannabis space and build mainstream brands. The completion of this initial round of funding positions Privateer Holdings as the leader in the nascent cannabis industry. Leafly.com is its flagship acquisition. [Read more…]