420MEDIA Trailblazers In Cannabis: Curved Papers CEO Michael O’Malley

mjba Business

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 we talk to trailblazer Michael O’Malley, CEO of Curved Papers.

 1. Tell us about your company

Curved Papers is a rolling papers company founded on my invention, the ‘Easy To Roll’ Curved Edge. Curved Papers literally give you an edge.  We just got our first patent. Curved Papers are easy to roll. We have four types of paper at two sizes, and  we make 100% organic hemp Curved Papers under a licensing agreement with NORML.

curved-papers12. Why did you choose the cannabis/hemp business?

Though rolling papers have been traditionally a tobacco product for centuries, in North America they are largely used for cannabis. We are weed people, not cigarette people, so it was natural for us to focus on our native market. Because of the Tobacco Control Act (TCA) of 2007, we couldn’t make the papers here in the US, so we went to Canada. We made the first Curved Papers and great connections up there, and we are becoming a top brand in Canada as a result.

We will go to Europe and pick up the much larger (25x) tobacco market in 2019. European Cannabis is the next wave, so we’re already working on complementing our tobacco relationships with contacts in that market. We have done a bit of work on hemp plastics and other bioplastics for doob tubes and rolling trays. We are an innovation company. I’m an MIT graduate in architecture, but mostly worked as a digital media consultant and software engineer throughout my career.

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

Ease of use is always good to sell in any market. Of the many ways to consume marijuana, four of the top five are smoking or inhaling. Nobody gets cancer from smoking joints. Rolling joints is a natural tradition. Flower, paper and fire. E-Z Widers are not actually easy, they are just too much paper and the paper is too heavy. Cut corners are still around, and they are good. But the easy to roll curved edge is ten times better. So, not so much an unmet need, but progress in an area where many people will appreciate it, experts and novices alike. Curved Papers is like power steering for rolling a doobie. 

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

I can honestly say the people love Curved Papers. It has been quite gratifying. My kids are proud of me. I mean, I have people with carpal tunnel syndrome, Parkinson’s, and MS dropping their crutches and dancing a jig. Really. It’s dramatic. I have never heard the word brilliant so many times in my life. It’s a trip! Experts like them, too. They are just nice.

 5. Are there any upcoming milestones for your company?

We have established a major distribution relationship and gotten a patent recently. We hope to be in 10 cities by the end of the year. On the ‘Find Stores’ page of www.curvedpapers.com, you can see that we have started in Detroit and Toronto, but have a handful of stores around the country in other cities where we have focused for our initial rollout.

Where can readers learn more?

www.curvedpapers.com is our main website. You can e-mail info@curvedpapers.com any time. Also, our handle is @curvedpapers on many social media platforms. We also have a special website for retailers and their staffs, retailers.curvedpapers.com.

CannaKorp Launches Crowdfunding Campaign

MASSACHUSETTS: CannaKorp., the world’s first single-use, pod-based herbal vaporizer, announced today that it has opened its first crowdfunding campaign. This follows several successful fundraising rounds for the company, in which the company has raised over $7.5m.

Crowdfunding allows all of CannaKorp’s dedicated followers to participate in its funding and assist in its short-term launch goals.

The funds raised will be used for go-to-market activities including state-by-state rollout of the Wisp Herbal Vaporizing System, a home appliance that ensures the finest experience in converting natural botanical and beneficial herbal products into a vapor form, free of combustion, additives and without denaturing.

“We’re thrilled to open up our fundraising to the many interested investors that we’ve heard from,” said James Winokur, CannaKorp Co-Founder & CEO. “Our ‘Wellness Your Way’ platform, with the Wisp delivering a clean, convenient and consistent experience, has generated such tremendous feedback, we’re excited to offer an opportunity for the general public to join us on our journey.”

The first commercial launch of the Wisp system is expected to begin in April in Massachusetts and botanical herbal blend Wisp pods will be available nationally.

Growing Opportunities From Problems

Exclusive MJNN Report by Dr. Rick Freeman

The emerging marijuana industry is all about innovation  – just like its underground parent was.  The very idea of legal weed is innovative, not to speak of all the ingenious growing and processing techniques and accouterments.  Innovators are growing this industry into a whole new world, applying adaptive, creative thinking to problem-solving and far beyond.   When meeting a challenge, the innovator goes beyond fixing the immediate problem to address the dysfunction that generates the problem in the first place.  The innovator transforms problems into opportunities and creates value in the process.

In this sense, the marijuana industry faces a giant opportunity – an opportunity that might seem like a problem.  The “problem” side of the opportunity is our recent bad press for being caught – repeatedly – selling pesticide-tainted products.  Colorado growers have attracted the most attention, and the press isn’t just local.  Here’s a doozie from the Huffington Post:  “Dangerous Pesticides Are Being Found in Colorado’s Weed.”  Here’s a story (separate incident) from USA Today: “Denver Halts Some Pot Sales Over Bug Spray Worries.”  Ugly.

But, that’s only the “problem” side of the equation.  The opportunity side offers an encouraging vision.  Please let me tell.

First of all, bad press is press, and it is free press.  Free press means free publicity, and publicity is a marketing asset.  In the end, people are looking, and they’re looking at us.  Some are seeking information; some are merely curious.  Others are lapping up evidence to support their contempt for marijuana; others for their unflagging support.  But, all of them are wondering what comes next, and hence, my next point.

In our hands we hold a juicy, engaging and unfinished story that is ours to complete.  If we don’t write the rest of the story, someone else will.   Better it be us.  And, that story has to carry a load.  It has to regain the trust of a large group of consumers who believe that buying marijuana in retail stores is risky.  Plus, it has to make consumers feel good about the industry and the social and environmental good that it’s doing.  And, of course, the story has to be interesting.

Fortunately for us, we have that story.  Our story is teeming with life, complexity and potential.  It’s about pairing marijuana agriculture with ecological pathways to grow clean, high-quality pot at commercial scale – sustainably and profitably.   It features designed agro-systems that mimic and interact with natural ecologies – systems with numerous advantages.  These systems invite natural pest-enemies to thwart mites and other pests, and they grow super-productive soils that accumulate organic matter and disease-thwarting biodiversity.   Through time, productivity and resiliency increase, and the systems require less effort to maintain – the reverse of conventional agro-stories.  What’s more, as scale increases, natural resiliency and natural defense mechanisms become more robust.  On the operations side, well-designed systems optimize labor, equipment and material flows, trimming wasted labor hours and saving tremendous costs over the years.  In this story, the grower combines ecological function with operational function to sustain the agro-system over decades.

This story of clean, sustainably-grown commercial marijuana has yet to be told.  It’s yet a vision for the future that combines the best of what we know with a bold optimism, and it is only one of many possible story lines that are emerging in the industry.  It’s really up to us to determine which story line we want to read about when we sit down to read the news – and what kind of products we want to eat or smoke at 4:20.