Greetings From New Jersey, Now The 15th State To Go Green

By Stu Zakim

After a long rollercoaster rider, which saw the Cannabis legislation in New Jersey go through many iterations, this past Monday, it finally became legal.  The Garden State now stands in a unique position of being the epicenter of legal Adult Use and medical Cannabis on the East Coast.  The bigger question is can the current infrastructure manage what will surely be a significant increase in consumers purchasing legal Cannabis without minimizing the importance of keeping the state’s over 100 thousand medical patients fully supplied with the medicine they need to manage their lives in a healthier way than opiates.

Stu Zakim and NORML:’s Keith Stroup

In most of the states where the voters or legislators have approved laws that make Cannabis use legal, there has been a major hit on the medical patients.  New Jersey, in learning from the other states, have addressed a number of issues to avoid making the same mistakes.  They need to be applauded for their focus on the patients rather than the Adult use consumer as it’s all about how the plant makes life better for all.

Besides the celebration of the approval of the bill and Governor Murphy’s signing of it, the new bill will finally deal with the long term impacts of social injustice and equity that have affected communities of brown, black and Latino’s.  No longer can the police arrest someone if they smell of Cannabis or alcohol based on that fact; there are other long needed corrections to how the police deal with underage and Adult use Cannabis in place thanks to the concerted efforts of industry leaders like Leo Bridgewater, Ed Devereux, Scott Rudder, William Caruso, Susanna Short, Happy Munkey and others.

Curved Papers founder Michael O’Malley and Stu Zakim at the 2018 NYC Cannabis Parade

From a financial perspective, New Jersey is situated between two of the most populous areas in the I-95 corridor on Amtrak – NYC and Philadelphia – and should reap those rewards as it expands its medical program and moves towards awarding more licenses before moving on the Adult Use dispensaries.

As a communications strategist who has spent 8 years preparing for this moment on the East Coast, validates all the principals my friend David Rheins created with his forward thinking Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) and their many media properties (including MJNews Network and Marijuana Channel One used to help influence public opinion through educational programs long before others joined that space.

As the legalization process moves forward in NJ and hopefully NYC, please check MJNews for regular updates.  It’s going to be an exciting time and thanks for reading.

Kerri Accardi Is On A Mission To Educate The World About Cannabis

NEW YORK: Kerri Accardi wants to educate the world about cannabis. She’s been on a personal and professional mission since 2014, when a close relative passed away after an agonizing battle with cancer, suffering the brutal effects associated with chemotherapy and radiation — a battle Accardi believes might have been won had legal cannabis been available.

Her mission to the Staten Island, NY native to the canna-friendly West Coast right at the time when legalization movement was gaining momentum, where she connected with the advocates, growers, caregivers and community leaders who were at the center of California, Oregon and Washington’s quasi-legal medical marijuana movement.

With an activist’s eye and a passion for the plant, Accardi and her team at 420MEDIA have now created A New Cannabis Channel (ANewCannabisChannel.com), an omni-channel media play debuting April 20, 2021 (4/20).  Initial programming will include three original series: “5th Quarter” hosted by NFL Super Bowl Champion and cannabis activist Marvin Washington; “Nurse Talk” hosted by Nurse Heather Manus Sobel, founder of the Cannabis Nurses Network; and “Faces of Cannabis” intimate conversations with cannabis industry thought leaders, and will be available on ROKU, Amazon Fire Stick, Android, and iOS.

 

An ad-supported platform, A New Cannabis Channel is offering permanent commercial placement with integrated marketing, in-video shopping, social media and PR packages for the three inaugural series.

 

Listen in as MJNews founder David Rheins and Kerri Accardi catch up in this MJChannelOne Exclusive Interview:

Emmy Award-Winning Executive Elizabeth Browde Joins A New Cannabis Channel As COO

NEW JERSEY: Emmy award-winning media executive Elizabeth Browde is taking her talents to cannabis media, joining as COO of A New Cannabis Channel, a mainstream omni-channel scheduled to debut on 4/20/2021.

Ms. Browde, whose vast experience includes significant roles in platform start ups, television programming, celebrity global brands, brand building, TV commerce, will join CEO Kerri Accardi in the venture, designed to bring a variety of cannabis-infused edutainment programming to the canna-curious.

“Our focus is on educating the mainstream through compelling content, high-quality production, innovative advertising, and easy accessibility,” Accardi told MJNews. “We are on a mission to educate the world about cannabis.”

Scheduled for a soft launch on the stoner holiday 4/20, A New Cannabis Channel, will feature original programming with the leading voices in cannabis business, science, sports, medical, growing, and consumer culture.  Super Bowl Champion Marvin Washington will host “5th Quarter: What Happens After the Game.”; Nurse Heather Manus will host “Nurse Talk: Nurses Take on Medical Cannabis”; while “Faces of Cannabis” will feature thought-leaders in legal cannabis and hemp.

“This isn’t your stoner channel.” Browde tells David Rheins, “It is really about showing people the many uses of cannabis, and providing them with the information and tools they need to make decisions about how and when to use cannabis.

Listen in on this Marijuana Channel One exclusive, as MJNews Network’s David Rheins talks to Elizabeth about the role of media in the cannabis cultural revolution; women-run enterprises and how they are changing the canna-business; and the programming that will soon be coming to a screen near you.

Churved Chanukah Chontest Chickoff!

Buy a Double Four Pack for the Festival of Lighting Up!

By Michael O’Malley

While you’re buying your gifts online this holiday season, please stop by curvedpapers.com and try a festive double four pack with our three new styles, RICE, RICE KING and HEMP KING paired with Curved® Papers and our 100% organic hemp NORML® Curved Papers for less than $10.

Curved® Papers make great stocking stuffers, and favorites in holiday gift guides every year. Each purchase with coupon code Churved Chanukah makes you eligible to win one of the new Curved Papers t-shirts and a whole box of Curved Papers, like they have in the store.

I always got a kick out of Chanukah. Though I am of Irish decent, I grew up in New York, and knew a lot of ethnic kids from immigrant families like myself in my neighborhood in Brooklyn. My first encounter with Jewish people came in the form of my family’s piano teacher, Mrs. Levy. She was so beautiful and played the piano beautifully, and was a great teacher.

It was the Sixties and all kinds of radical change was going on. The Pope came to New York on Yom Kippur. My sister as born that day. My father gave her a Jewish name, Miriam. It was part of what they called the Ecumenical Movement, and Vatican II. In the Catholic Church, they had the Priest facing the congregation, and said The Mass in English and sang folk songs. It only got weirder in the Seventies.

When we moved out of Brooklyn, my best friend was a guy named Ward. Turns out he’s half Jewish. Long story.

When I went to MIT, I started school on my 18th birthday, and in the first week, I was given the assignment to make up and solve what’s called a Fermi problem, in essence, figuring something out precisely using reason rather than measuring or counting. I thought of this problem, how many of the student at MIT are Jewish? There were not that many Irish kids. I was living with a lot of Jewish kids, and I became close to them, the Italian kids, the few Black kids and the other Irish kids. The Protestant kids, I had not been around as much, and they were different. There is such a tight relationship between Boston and New York. I could think of a million reasons why there would be this number of Jewish students or that number. My answer to the problem was very accurate in the end and I got my first good mark at ‘The Tute.’

I started smoking weed with a Jewish friend in the dorm during the holidays freshman year.

I lived up there a long time and during that time my sisters married guys from Jewish families. Someone asked my nephew what religion he was, and he said, “regular.”

When I moved home to New York again, I had a company called Kinetic Designs in Manhattan that did animations from CAD data, mainly for architects. We did jobs for all these great architects in the city, and then wound up doing it for all kinds of clients, including The Rolling Stones and other amazing people. I had a Guy named Guy working for me. He was from Israel. He was the same age as my brother James. They both had two sons during that time, and named them Aidan and Liam. Along with Michael, those are some old names that have appeared in both cultures for a long time. It was funny. Israel is still a leading marijuana country.

Running Curved Papers and sponsoring MJBA nationally with David Rheins, I have always enjoyed tagging along on his voyage year after year with the Jewish faith. He’s almost a New Yorker himself, after all. I guess 25 years at Rolling Stone and Spin should count for something. He’s up there on my lifelong list of favorite Jews, along with fellow left-handed, basketball-playing white guy and fellow Brooklynite, Bernie Sanders.

Michael O’Malley and Stu Zakim 2018 NYC Cannabis Parade

Let’s not forget real New Yorkers like Stu Zakim and Steve Bloom. Stu Zakim, New Jersey? Are you kidding me?

I digress, but I hope you’ll dash over to CurvedPapers.com/ChurvedChanukah and pick up a double four pack. All double four pack purchases through Christmas are qualified for the Grand Prize Drawing on Boxing Day, December 26th, also known as St. Stephens’s Day. Prizes will be awarded live on Zoom, and Curved Papers FB page, on Wednesday, December 28th, 2020 at 4:20pm EST, the third day of Kwanzaa. Be there or be square.

Enjoy the coming joint rolling season: Happy Hanukkah. Happy Holidaze 2020 to one and all!

And a happy New Year! There. I said it. Not too early. 2021 is gonna be a good year. But let’s do enjoy Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwaanza and all the vital festive traditions left in our crazy 2020 in the meantime.

Ah Warner: 25 Years On The Forefront Of Hemp & Cannabis Culture And Commerce

By David Rheins

WASHINGTON:  “It’s been a crazy twenty-five years,” Cannabis Basics founder Ah Warner tells me via Zoom this Sunday afternoon.  “The word that I really relate to in this journey is tenacity. I am tenacious, and without that I would not be around.”

Tenacious is an understatement.  Since 1994, Ah has been a true pioneer on the forefront of hemp and cannabis culture and commerce.  Her Cannabis Creations, established in 1994, predates the legendary Dr. Bronner by 5 years, selling hemp products “back when people still thought hemp was marijuana – I guess some people still do,” she told me.

Inspired by Jack Herer’s seminal book “The Emperor Wears No Clothes: Hemp and the Marijuana Conspiracy”, which she calls the Bible of Hemp, Ah’s journey began with a love of all things hemp, migrated to a passion for medical marijuana, and then in 2012 when Washington State legalized adult-use, Ah felt the recreational market left inadequate place for her hemp-centric and low THC body products, so she went mainstream.  She now vends her Hemp Basics line all over the country; while her Cannabis Basics products, which contain small amounts of THC, are sold in grocery stores and specialty retail only in Washington State.

Cannabis Basics is allowed by law to sell on mainstream retail shelves due to the landmark CHABA (Cannabis Health and Beauty Aids) law that Ah Warner along with activist Keri Boiter and then State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles passed in Washington in 2015. When I asked her what had changed in the five years since that CHABA legislation was passed, Ah explained “The law that is five years old now still only exists here in Washington State. No other state has replicated this.  No other state has said ‘if you have a little bit of marijuana in your product, and it is non-intoxicating and a topical it can be sold in grocery stores.’   What that means for me is that I have two lines – one is hemp seed oil and CBD, called Hemp Basics that is sold all over the country. And then my CHABA line, Cannabis Basics, which has the marijuana in it, sold here in Washington State in grocery stores. Now people don’t have to go to pot shops to get full-spectrum topicals. And that has changed a lot for people, especially the older generation who don’t want to go into a pot shop for a topical.”

 

By taking her hemp and cannabis brands mainstream, Ah has unlocked a whole new marketplace.  It has been necessary to “pivot, pivot, pivot” Ah notes, as the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the shutdown of her core buyers — massage therapists, and boutique retailers, resulting in a 50% loss of business.

But, always the innovator, Ah discovered a need in the marketplace, and has created a new product line to address it.  She believing that in the age of COVID-19 everyone that wears a mask is a hero, but notes that wearing a mask poses it’s own challenges.  “Unfortunately, masks are uncomfortable and may cause irritation, redness, and inflammation around the nose and mouth,” she noted. “Many masks are made from synthetic materials and dyes, and when combined with sweat and hot breath, can clog pores and create havoc on our sensitive facial skin. This new phenomenon is called maskne.”

“I really wanted to create something that would be helpful and comforting to our frontline workers and dedicated mask wearers in these challenging and stressful times so I formulated the Masked Hero Face Rescue System, harnessing the best that cannabis has to offer. The product blends organic hempseed oil, hemp hydrosols and cannabis extractions and infusions, with many other powerful botanicals, like tea tree, neroli and witch hazel. This skin care system is a three-step process: a cleanser to bathe and detoxify, a toner to balance and tighten and lastly, a moisturizer to nourish, hydrate and protect your face.”

What’s next for the energetic entrepreneur?  Ah will be introducing a new online retail store (Ah’s Cannabis Couch) and a new YouTube channel.  To learn more, watch the entire video interview, presented exclusively on Marijuana Channel One, part of the MJNews Network.

‘I Can Still Do That Foundation’ & Tom Pacheco Premiere “Freida’s Secret Garden”

Shot in Humboldt County, the video uses local talent and filmmakers to promote cannabis legalization

NEW YORK: The I Can Still Do That Foundation, a New York City-based non-profit whose mission is to connect people so they can share information and empower each generation to teach the others, launched “Freida’s Secret Garden “  a pro-pot music video based on a song by legendary Woodstock singer-songwriter Tom Pacheco.

“The time to end irrational prohibition of cannabis is now,’  Dan Schneider, Executive Director of the Foundation, announced. “With 33 States now recognizing the benefits of medical cannabis and another 11 States legalizing recreational cannabis, a majority of Americans are in favor of legalization and the end of the irrational and Draconian laws which have stifled research on the potential benefits of cannabis. These laws have had a disparate impact on people of color and restoration of civil rights to those who have been adversely affected is also required to promote equity. The patchwork of irrational and inconsistent federal and state laws must end and the federal law must allow these now legal business to access the federal banking system to that black market producers of questionable products can be replaced by healthy and tested, legal cannabis and CBD products.”

“We want to thank advisor Lelehnia DuBois and her friends in the Humboldt County for helping us make the new music video,” Schneider said. “You can see the new video here in a sneak peek. Please share it with friends. We are trying to help Tom get the recognition he deserves as a legendary singer/songwriter who has written songs for Bob Dylan, The Band, Jefferson Starship, and others. He has a music publishing catalogue of more than 500 songs; “Freida’s” is just one of many great ones.

Still Do That advisor, Curved Papers Founder Michael O’Malley, said, “This song and video bring together the West Coast and East Coast hippie vibes – from Humboldt County to Woodstock – that have given rise to the contemporary cannabis legalization movement. Call it Cannafest Destiny. The fun, the healing compassion and sensible restoration of marijuana’s rightful place in society are all captured humorously in Tom’s lyric and rocking rhythm.

David Rheins, founder of the Marijuana Business Association and Still Do That Advisor agreed: “Marijuana has gone mainstream, and the mainstream media is now getting hip to the power of the plant and the amazing possibilities that legalization brings.  Through the work of artists and activists like  Tom Pacheco,  we are raising cannabis consciousness, and dispelling the dangerous myths and harmful policies of prohibition.”

Still Do That Advisor Melissa Gibson, founder of Hemp and Humanity said, “This folksy and campy musical send-up to the authentic cannabis lifestyle pays homage to the plant, place and people who have championed it for generations. As marijuana use reaches a tipping point in mainstream acceptance, and the cannabis industry has attracted big business, Tom Pacheco take us back to the root(s) of this plant and its essential spirit of connecting humans with one another. What Frieda and her happy, hippy grandson Paul know, is that cannabis has the power to heal, clothe, feed, house, fuel and sustain human’s ability to live on this earth. And that’s worth singing about.”

Still Do That Advisor Lelehnia DuBois, cannabis community advocate and Sensi Magazine publisher, who co-produced the video and played the title role of Freida added, “I come from a culture of Frieda’s. It felt like she was my own mother. It was an honor to play the role”

According to Schneider, an entertainment lawyer by trade, the Foundation plans to produce a weekly TV news series called, “High Hopes”,  to educate people on the history, legal issues, health issues, science and finance surrounding the booming legal cannabis industry.  “We may even use Tom Pacheco’s song as a theme song for our TV series,” Schneider said. “We are currently looking for partners and sponsors for the series and are particularly interested in pro-cannabis celebrities to help demystify the stigma surrounding cannabis.”

MJBA Founder David Rheins Picks The Hottest Hemp, CBD, Vape & Culture+ Products Of 2019 At ASD Market Week | Culture+

VIP Panel Will Include Founders of Elixinol, The Blinc Group, Curved Papers and Farmer Tom Hemp Co.

NEVADA: The Culture+ marketplace is exploding, with thousands of new legal hemp, CBD, vape and cannabis-culture products creating consumer excitement and marketplace disruption.

MJBA at ASD

MJBA’s founder and executive director David Rheins, a seasoned marketing executive who learned his chops playing senior roles for Rolling Stone, SPIN, Time Warner AOL, has scoured the country to find The Hottest Hemp, CBD & Culture+ Products of 2019, which he’ll present at the ASD Market Week | Culture+ convention in Las Vegas on Monday, March 18, 9:00 AM – 9:45 AM.

Screenshot 2018-12-10 16.46.33These are the products that every retailer must know about – from hemp-based fashions and CBD health and beauty aids, to the latest in vaporizer technology and glassware.

Screenshot 2018-12-10 14.26.21

Following the 45-minute presentation, moderator David Rheins will lead a VIP Panel Discussion with the brand marketers who are building the industries best and most innovative brands, including Elixinol co-founder David Newman, The Blinc Group CEO Sasha Aksenov, Farmer Tom Hemp Co. Founder Tom Lauerman, and Curved Papers Founder Michael O’Malley.

Hemp is projected to be a $22 Billion market by 2012. Get an advanced look at all the hottest products, trends and technologies driving the red-hot Culture+ market.

Registration for the show is available online.

Marketing Thru Marijuana: Differentiate or Die

This is the year that hippie cannabis dies. Woodstock is 50, and has just licensed its name to mega-retailer MedMen.  Hemp is newly de-scheduled and igniting the imaginations of farmers and investors excited about the global opportunity.  Pot Culture has become Pop Culture as legalization has spread coast-to-coast and pushed marijuana into the mainstream.

For grassroots marketers who have been playing in our fragmented American marketplace — where no two states share identical regulations or standards — things have gotten tough in the last year as legal competition from Big Pharma, Big Alcohol, Big Tobacco, Big Consumer Package Goods and Big Agriculture have transformed the playing field.

“As our nascent industry rockets from grassroots to global, it’s Differentiate or Die time for independent companies hoping to stay relevant in an increasingly noisy landscape.” MJBA Founder and veteran marketer David Rheins told MJNews Network.

“You must be able to stand out from the cacophony.  My advice for the licensed cannabis business and ancillary provider alike, is to focus on defining your brand differentiation.  Find a niche, fill a niche.  Your competition moving forward is Big Industry, which has the money, the technology and the wherewithal to take a product from field or factory to shelf better than the little guy ever will.”

His advice: Build your brand authority.  “Big Industry doesn’t understand emerging markets — who the consumer are, their buying preferences and psychographics,” Rheins said.  “As a small business, you are part of the community. You are making a market — defining the industry and your space in it.  No one understands its needs and attitudes of the new market better than the grassroots marketer.  Build your brand around your values, and the values of your customers and your community.   Establish brand loyalty and authority — with your vendors, and your customers, wether you are b2b or b2c — by lending value.”

Differentiate Or Die

Rheins suggests that the New Year is a good time for all marketers to do a brand review.  As an exercise, he encourages his clients to ask their investors, employees, vendors and customers to answer a couple of questions:

1) Describe our brand value  — what do we stand for — in one sentence.

2) What products/services do we offer.

3) What is our unique selling proposition (USP) — what do we do better than other brands?

“You’d be surprised how much intelligence you’ll gain just by analyzing these questions,” Rheins said.  “It only goes to reinforce that today marketing is not simply an exercise of spending money on paid advertising.  Advertising — particularly targeted placements — can be effective, but savvy marketers today depend on an integrated strategy that includes owned media (your company websites and newsletters) and earned media — social media engagement on public platforms with business communities and groups on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit.

In this dynamic environment, Rheins advises businesses to stay engaged and stay fresh.

Take An Annual Brand Checkup

1) Do A Brand Review: How well do your customers understand your Brand Values and USP? How well do you understand your customer segments?

2) Website Audit: How fresh is your content? Are you SEO optimized? Are you using your website to gather customer feedback?

3) Social Media Audit: How visible is your brand on key social media platforms?  How often do you post content?  How quickly do you respond to queries or brand mentions? Who in your company is responsible for social media?

4) Community Check Up: How engaged is your brand in your community — not just your cannabis community but your local community?  Do you sponsor local events? Do you give to local charities? How well liked is your brand on Main Street?

 

 

MJNews Exclusive Interview With Saul Kaye, CEO/Founder iCAN: Israel Cannabis

Since the 1960s, Israel has led the world in medical cannabis research. Now, as international markets emerge for legal medical cannabis, the country is poised to become a major global player.  Recently, the Israeli Parliament caused a great deal of industry excitement when it passed a bill that would pave the way for Israel to become an exporter of both cannabis flower and, perhaps more significantly, the intellectual property and data from its seminal research and clinical trials.

For the past five years, iCAN: Israel Cannabis and its CannaTech conferences have been instrumental in shaping the Israel medical cannabis landscape.  In this exclusive interview held on New Year’s Eve, MJNews’ editor David Rheins talked to iCAN CEO and Founder Saul Kaye.  The interview is now live on MJChannelOne.

Saul Kaye:         My name is Saul Kaye. I’m the CEO and founder of iCAN: Israel Cannabis. We’re ecosystem builders. We started in the cannabis space in Israel about five years ago and help to build a new way of talking around cannabis and how to approach this both as a medicine and an industry and had some success around the world. And today we primarily go to governments, go to the industry and find synergies between various companies, incubate great ideas in the cannabis space and put on awesome events that educate people about cannabis and the wonders of cannabis medicine and how it’s going to change the world.

MJNews:          So, we’re at some auspicious news here at the end of 2018. The Israeli Parliament has just passed an export law — can you share with us what that means? What are the prospects for the prime minister signing that into law and what does that portend for us in the coming months?

Saul Kaye:         Sure. So it’s another step in a long process that’s been going on for a long time. It’s not the end of the process. It’s not that tomorrow we can export, but the Knesset, our ruling parliament at the time, before it was just the dissolved, said we unanimously want export to happen. Now it’s the policy’s job to go and make that happen. So, the last thing that has to happen is Bibi has to sign it into law. But now there is no, you know… the focus is maybe on getting reelected. I don’t know if that’s going to happen before the coming elections or whether we’re going to have to wait. I think cannabis is going to be a major issue in the upcoming election. So right now, what does it mean? It means there is a desire from our cabinet, from our legislature to make sure that export does happen.

iCAN | Israel Cannabis

Saul Kaye:         I don’t think we’re going to go backwards and have to revisit that. There’s a clear desire that Israel continue to be a leader in this industry. And I think that it’s now just a matter of playing out the end of the chess game: having everything signed and sealed, and then export will happen.  At the same time, you have to remember that the companies here in Israel and not scaled up yet for export.  You know, we’ve all been waiting to see how it’s going to play out. Lots of promises from the side of the government and it took her time, but I think that’s going to give these companies now an opportunity to begin scaling for the massive demand that exists overseas.

MJNews:          It’s fascinating. the Israeli approach to medical cannabis has been an almost 180 degree opposite approach to what we see here in the United States. Obviously, Israel was a pioneer back starting as early as the 1960s identifying THC and working to unlock the medical implications of cannabis, and you’ve approached it from a systemic point of view — meaning that we have Israeli hospitals and physicians and the medical establishment, if you will, working together on medical cannabis. Compare and contrast that with the US, which has had a patchwork of grassroots, assorted voter initiatives that have empowered cannabis entrepreneurs, but not really provided the infrastructure for medical research. How are those two systems coming together? And where does export fit in, and what exactly are we talking about in terms of export moving forward?

Saul Kaye:         So, you know, the first part to what’s unique and what’s worked about Israel is that we didn’t have the noise of the recreational market. We had a research focus to help the really sick, and it wasn’t easy to get. It’s really complicated, and you’ve got to be really ill to get it. So there are lots of holes we can poke in these Israeli system. It’s not perfect, but what it did do is say ‘Patient First,’ let’s give them some medicine and see what happens. And over time, helped to develop an infrastructure that allows for that and now it’s really moving into the new phase: what they promise of doctors being educated, pharmacists being educated, and it becoming just like another medication in the arsenal of the toolkit of doctors to use.  So that, you know, from a perspective of understanding both the regulator side, yes, it takes time to regulate this — to allow the stigma to dissolve.

Screenshot 2018-12-31 11.59.16

Saul Kaye:         Also, over time, we’ve seen more clinical trials that have proven that it works, and that it helps and that it is sometimes better than pharmaceuticals. And all of this has led to sort of a tipping point at this time where we can now all say… Well, you know, how come it didn’t happen 10 years ago?  Because we didn’t have the amount of information we have. So stigma was much stronger. So all of those things happened. And that’s what happened in Israel. And it’s one of the places where you’ve got two degrees of separation, sometimes even one degree of separation. So, if Professor Mechoulam, who is in Jerusalem, needs something that’s being done by Dr. Dedi Meir at the Technion — that’s a two-hour drive. Everyone knows everyone. We’re all family. Also, from a patient perspective, most people in Israel know a patient that has received medical cannabis for cancer.

It’s probably grandmother, or one of grandmother’s friends, and they’ve seen it helping and it’s been around a lot. So that singular focus of helping patients — even though there’s a bureaucratic nightmare in order to get it — has given Israel a leading edge. Now why do countries need Israeli cannabis? You know, from a US perspective, California doesn’t need Israeli cannabis. But as countries start to look at regulating cannabis, they are going to institute their own regulations. This will take six months to 12 months to write, then they are going put out a tender. Then everyone’s going to start. You’re talking two and a half years of no cannabis in the country as they begin to regulate. So what do you do with those patients that currently need cannabis  — that has been proven in Israel to work for epilepsy or for Crones, for Parkinson’s, you know, the things that we’re investigating here in Israel — and you get to a point where net exporters have a market for at least very short term, say one year to five years of entering new markets.

Saul Kaye:         And we also have knowledge both in growing cannabis, turning it into medicine, dosing and doing clinical trials.
That knowledge is something that we’re transferring overseas. So, we are both a net exporter of knowledge and a net exporter of cannabis product.

Screenshot 2018-12-31 11.58.28MJNews:          So, put some numbers to that. How big is the Israeli medical cannabis — physical cultivation, the physical production? How much cannabis is being produced in Israel?

Saul Kaye:         Uh, it’s a really good question. So, the, the old numbers before this whole new regulation came in, were eight [licensed] growers with a capacity to supply the market — at that stage, Israel had about 30,000 patients — around 10 to 12 tons. The new capacity of Israel is in the hundreds of thousands of tons. So that’s going somewhere. It’s not going to be diverted to the black market in Israel. It’s not going to be a play in Israel, it is all slated for Germany, the Czech Republic, Europe, Australia, et cetera. In in terms of money, what they’re saying that it’s $2Billion worth of industry in the next two years. In terms of numbers [moving forward], I’ve seen numbers up to $33Billion in the next five years. So, it’s a large thing.

MJNews:          The 33 Billion — that’s inclusive of intellectual property? Is IP really the big opportunity? I’ve been really excited about watching the progress in Israel of legitimate medical research. As you know, because of federal prohibition, while we have robust legal cannabis markets here in the States, and getting bigger and adding every day, that is changing, we really are behind the gun and so I’m looking at sort of the immediate opportunity, for the US? And quite honestly, our brothers to the north, the Canadians, are very aggressive as you know, because they have the public markets.  And they are investing in production, investing in IP. So, to what extent can the Israelis helped to jumpstart legitimate research here in North America? And then tell me why you’re looking at markets like Panama, for example, and, investing time and energy there.

Saul Kaye:         So, the first question, what does Israel offer to the big Canadian and US companies? Accelerated access to patients, to data. I can begin clinical trial very quickly in Israel. We very [closely monitor] our patients using cannabis, so we can see what that does for another condition. We’re an active, innovative startup nation. So, what we’re seeing in our startup world is quite differentiated for what I’m seeing at MJBizCon as an example. We’re really IP-driven tech companies — the same as we did in cyber security and the same as we did in the car automotive space. It needs so many other industries. We’re disrupting here as well. So, you know, my deal flow I think is better than what we’re seeing in the US. We’re not focusing here on ‘I’m a vertically integrated cannabis company and my specialty is I’m going to be a lifestyle brand.’  Well, that’s everyone. Oh, and ‘I’m going to be GMP.’ Can you imagine people going to a pharmaceutical conference, standing onstage and go, ‘I’m super proud. I’ve got GMP.’ We’re way beyond that conversation here in Israel. So yes, of course you need those standards, but yeah, we’re really going to disrupt this.

Screenshot 2018-12-31 11.58.13MJNews:          I want to thank you for all your time. I have a couple of last questions. Talk a little bit about standards, because it is something that plagues the industry. First of all, we’ve been spending most of our time this morning talking about medical cannabis, but, the implications for industrial hemp, for example, not to mention consumer package goods and all the implications of the recreational adult-use market — it’s a very wide horizontal opportunity with lots of segmentation in terms of the channels and the audiences. Tell me a little bit about those standards. You’re talking about GMP, which is something that has opened up international cannabis when it comes to medical, when it comes to defining those standards, how do activities and research in Israel sync up what’s going on, with folks at GW pharmaceuticals or what the FDA is looking at now with some relaxed and revised policies. Uh, how do we get agree upon common standards so we can all invest properly?

Saul Kaye:         So, you know, the government system here is what they call the five books — setting up nursery, cultivation, production, distribution and patient under separate licensing. Similar to vertical integration in Canada. Here in Israel, the focus has been that this is just like every other medicine. It is dispensed in pharmacies by a pharmacist. It is considered a narcotic. So we have no aspect of a recreational market. This is a serious medicine. You need to get serious doctors behind your treatment and your pharmacist to be involved in your treatment. So that’s how it’s playing out in Israel. So, it’s less of a recreational focus, but definitely more on the medical. So, the standards also, if you’ve got an immune compromised patient that’s taking an inhaled product of cannabis, we better be sure that it has no mold and pesticides.

Saul Kaye:         So, the standards for Pharma are just more rigid than the standards for cannabis as a food will have. It’s one standard: cannabis as a pharmaceutical. And that includes a standard of how you grow it, how you process it, how you clean it. And obviously packaging, distribution, security, all those things around cannabis. Those all need their regulations. What I can do as a company is to come in before government has regulated and help them get good regulation.  There’s a process that makes sense from an industry perspective and a security perspective. Remember the two most important things we want to do is make sure that there’s no diversion — there were not supporting the black market — and make sure that the quality is good. And if we do that, then the black market disappears and we get good cannabis regulations. And so we as a company come in to try and help governments do that.

saul kaye and david rheinsMJNews:          Fantastic. Here we are at New Year’s Eve. What are your predictions for 2019? What will medical cannabis in Israel look like 12 months from today?

Saul Kaye:         That’s a good question. I hope that we’ve doubled our patient numbers. That we have published all of the claims that have been made. because it’s very easy to say I’m doing a cannabis study. And there are two hundreds of those going on right now. I want to see that data published because that is what will push sort of ‘Cannabis 3.0’ in new countries. They can now say, ‘the data is there, the clinical trial has been done. And then we, Israel, will help to move cannabis forward everywhere.

MJNews:          And iCan, where will you be in 12 months from today? How many markets? You’ve got three aspects to your business. You’ve got the service aspect, the R & D; you’ve got the incubator; and you’ve got your CannaTech events. Where do you see the emphasis, for your company in the coming year?

Saul Kaye:         We, as a thesis, go after the emerging markets, so that’s why we’re going to [focus]. Panama, Latin America is forgotten with cannabis right now. There are 550 million people down there who will consume cannabis in the next year through legal channels. So Latin America is very important. Africa, CannaTech is going to go to Africa towards the end of 2019. Also, Africa is heating up and going to be a very interesting market. Both of those markets are driven by low-cost production of cannabis, which could decimate what’s going on around the world. That’s going to become very interesting to see how those new markets affect the more established markets. And we’ll be in Europe as well. So, you know, we’re staying out of the US right now — there’s a little too much noise in the conference space — and really focusing on the new emerging markets. So, we’ll be looking in Italy, in Europe, and somewhere in Africa and we’re about to be in Panama in February, which is going to be an awesome show. You should come down.

MJNews:          Fantastic. How do folks get ahold of you? And what are you looking for? You’re looking for investors. You’re looking for intellectual property. You’re looking for governments? Where’s your business development focus?

Saul Kaye:         Across all three. So, if you’d like to attend the CannaTech, or sponsor at CannaTech, let us know [website] that the, you know, usually goes through Joshua. If you have intellectual property or a company, or an idea that you’re looking to incubate in the cannabis space and it has an application for global effect — don’t come to me if you want to be a grower in Oregon, that’s not the type of deals we’re looking for — and obviously investors who want a pipeline of early stage companies that are going to disrupt this industry for the next very long time. Come to me. I’ve got an awesome portfolio of companies looking for support.

MJNews:          Fantastic. CEO/Founder Saul Kaye. thank you so much sir. I really appreciate your time.

Saul Kaye:         Thank you. Happy New Year.

 

New MJBA PSA Reminds Us: Everything Plastic Can Be Made From Hemp

NEVADA: The Marijuana Business Association (MJBA), a leading national cannabis business organization and publishers of this website, today launched a national PSA campaign to raise awareness among industry professionals of the many uses of hemp, particularly as an alternative to eco-unfriendly plastics.

Everything Plastic Grinder“Everything plastic can be made from hemp” reads the headline of the series — and images showcase some of the thousands of petrochemical-based products that can easily be made from hemp.  Striking photography features cannabis packaging items like the plastic doob tube and the mylar bag — ubiquitous scourges plaguing the newly-legal industry.

Everything Plastic Sunglasses

“Now that the Farm Bill has been signed, and hemp has been descheduled, it is time for the legal cannabis to take the lead in educating the public about the many benefits and innovations available with hemp,” said MJBA Founder/Executive director David Rheins. “As a first step, I’d like to see us reduce the use of mylar bags and plastic jars and doob tubes immediately — and begin incorporating hemp into our industry’s packaging.”

Everything Plastic 2

 

The PSA campaign, created in-house, will run on the MJNews Network and its vast social media network, as well as national distribution across Higher Ground, 420MEDIA and Marijuana Channel One.  Other networks are expected to pick up the campaign.

 

Everything Plastic jarNew creative iterations are expected to run throughout 2019, and plans call for television executions.  For more information about participating in MJBA’s PSA efforts, email us at: info@mjba.net