Cannabis Educational And Awareness Campaign Makes Red-Carpet Debut During 91st Academy Awards Oscar Telecast

30-Second Commercial Spots expected to air during Red carpet arrivals, Oscar show and post Oscar programming

NEW YORK: Cannabis Education takes centerstage during this Sunday’s 91st Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science Oscar telecast, as a groundbreaking media campaign for the online cannabis TV network Hmm Did You Know (HDYK) airs in both the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico media markets.

The spot — the first in a series showcasing prominent voices in the cannabis industry and community — features former seven-term US Virgin islands Senator Positive T.A. Nelson, now the appointed Agriculture Commissioner of St. Croix, discussing the science and economic power of medical cannabis. The HDYK media campaign suggests that standards are shifting for cannabis marketing in legal states.

Medical cannabis companies in the USVI and Puerto Rico suffered millions of dollars in damage – including leveled greenhouses, lost business and rebuilding. One year after a hurricane devastated the island, medical cannabis businesses are reporting a remarkable turnaround: with more than 90 cannabis businesses currently in operation, including 54 dispensaries. About 34,000 patients have signed up for the program, up from about 12,000 last year, according to industry experts

Medical cannabis companies in the Caribbean suffered millions of dollars in damage – including leveled greenhouses, lost business and rebuilding. One year after a hurricane devastated the island, medical cannabis businesses are reporting a remarkable turnaround: with more than 90 cannabis businesses currently in operation, including 54 dispensaries. About 34,000 patients have signed up for the program, up from about 12,000 last year, according to industry experts

“The rationale behind medicinal cannabis is real, the science is real, the economics behind it is real, the health behind it is real,  and the opportunities behind are very real,” former Senator Positive Nelson says in the spot promoting Hmm Did You Know Online Cannabis Network, a collaborative effort with 420MEDIA to launch an internet based digital video service that provides insight, education, and entertainment in the world of cannabis.

“We are excited to work with Senator Positive Nelson and other renowned cannabis experts in the sports, medical and entertainment field to bring much needed cannabis education to Spanish speaking communities,” said Kerri Accardi, CEO of 420MEDIA.  “Being visible in Puerto Rico during this premier television broadcast is a great first step,” she adds.

The public service announcement was co-sponsored by 420MEDIA along with several cannabis-based organizations and businesses including:

Humboldt Grace, a woman-owned cannabis strategic consulting company. Founder Lelehnia Du Bois offers her 45 years of experience to educate on the cannabis culture, work with individual, businesses, and organizations to develop successful strategies, and advocate for a healthy and sustainable industry.

The Marijuana Business Association (MJBA), a leading national b2b organizations in legal cannabis.  Established in 2013 to provide business intelligence, professional networking and new business opportunity, MJBA hosts regular industry networking meetups, boot camps and seminars publishes the MJNews Network and Marijuana Channel One.

Nature Nurse Products utilize the power of nature and knowledge of medicine to create products that support the biological Endocannabinoid system. Nature Nurse is a beautifully blended and synergistic combination of ancient plant wisdom which has been expanded upon through science to create high-quality, easy to use products to incorporate into everyday life supporting health and well-being.

Curved Papers, a new twist on Rolling Papers, was founded by Michael O’Malleyan MIT-educated entrepreneur whose innovative patented curved design makes joints Easy To Roll.

Vital CBD:  Age Vital pharmacy, research and wellness is your local community and compounding family pharmacy Sarasota. By working in the medical field closely with physicians and patients for several years, their primary commitment is to serve people who suffer from chronic conditions such as pain, inflammatory conditions, and stress.

Tikun Olam Teams With iaso To Serve Puerto Rico

PUERTO RICO: Tikun Olam will soon have a presence in Puerto Rico, according to a company press release. Through an exclusive licensing agreement with iaso Corporation,  a leading San Juan-based science and technology company, Tikun products and strains, including the widely researched high-CBD Avidekel, will be distributed s throughout the Commonwealth in 2019.  The arrangement with iaso is the tenth struck in the United States by Tikun Olam’s US joint venture, TO Global.
iaso is Puerto Rico’s only all-indoor cultivation facility, employing soil-less, aeroponic technology.

Tikun products to be distributed throughout PR in 2019.

Tikun products to be distributed throughout PR in 2019.

“iaso is an ideal partner for Tikun’s values and mission,” says Tikun USA CEO Bernard Sucher. “César Cordero-Krüger has accomplished so much for his community, in business and philanthropy.  We are privileged to work with his team of professionals dedicated to advancing the science of cannabis.”

“Tikun’s proprietary cultivars are shown to treat patients in a safe, effective, and consistent manner,” says iaso founder and CEO César Cordero-Krüger. “This partnership advances iaso’s mission to become a trusted provider of cannabis products to Puerto Rican patients.”

Stu Zakim Joins MJBA Publishing Advisory Board

Former Rolling Stone, Playboy and American Media Publicist providing his experience, network and support to the leading media company and cannabis industry association

NEVADA: MJBA Publishing, the parent company behind the influential Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) and the publishers of MJ News Network, Marijuana Channel One and MJ Headline News, has announced that Stu Zakim, legendary entertainment industry publicist and founding member of the New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts chapters of the MJBA, has joined MJBA as Chief Communications Officer and Member of its Board of Advisors.

MJBA Corporate Communications Chief Stu Zakim and NORML:'s Keith Stroup

MJBA Corporate Communications Chief Stu Zakim and NORML:’s Keith Stroup

Zakim has provided counsel to a variety of iconic media leaders including Jann Wenner, Bonnie Fuller, Christie Hefner, David Pecker  and their publications — Rolling Stone, Playboy, Us Weekly, Shape and Star magazine among others. A frequent guest on cable tv news programs, Zakim’s PR experience includes campaigns for some of the most popular and successful films and television shows in recent history as an executive at Columbia Pictures, Universal Pictures and Showtime Networks.

Stu and NFL Champion Marv Washington

Stu and NFL Champion Marv Washington

“We are thrilled to have Stu Zakim join officially as MJBA’s head of communications and a member of our Board of Advisors,” said David Rheins, MJBA founder and executive director.  “With more than 30 years of experience managing communications for the world’s leading media brands:  Rolling Stone, Playboy, Universal Pictures, American Media and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, his encyclopedic knowledge of communications and his deep professional network will be instrumental as MJBA forges strategic relationships with media and business partners.”

Curved Papers founder Michael O'Malley, MJBA's Stu Zakim and The Blinc Group's Sasha Aksenov

Curved Papers founder Michael O’Malley, MJBA’s Stu Zakim and The Blinc Group’s Sasha Aksenov

““I am thrilled to be expanding my role with the MJBA and its leader Dave Rheins,” Zakim told MJ News. “After a 40 year career of publicizing some of the best known brands, I can’t think of a better next chapter than using my skills to help change the image of and removing the stigma from this amazing plant.”

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

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

In its first five years, the Marijuana Business Association has quickly established itself as one of the leading national b2b organizations in legal cannabis. Established to provide business intelligence, professional networking and new business opportunity, MJBA hosts regular industry networking meetups, boot camps and seminars in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and New York and Ohio, with MJBA Massachusetts and MJBA Nevada communities scheduled to activate in Q2 2018.

MJBA Founder David Rheins, 420MEDIA CEO Kerri Accardi and Stu Zakim

MJBA Founder David Rheins, 420MEDIA CEO Kerri Accardi and Stu Zakim

 

Puerto Rican Alzheimer’s Patients To Be First In U.S. To Obtain Cannabis-Based Relief

MARYLAND: Alzheimer’s patients in Puerto Rico will be the first in the United States to obtain Hyalolex, IGC’s proprietary cannabinoid based formulation aimed at relieving many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, such as agitation, anxiety, sleep disorder, as well as caregiver distress, among others.

Pursuant to an agreement between IGC and DaMa Pharmaceutical and its affiliates, Hyalolex will be on the shelves in April, and available to patients in ten of Puerto Rico’s 30 dispensaries, including the two premier dispensaries in San Juan, the largest city in Puerto Rico. Under the licensing terms DaMa will help produce Hyalolex in Puerto Rico, and market Hyalolex to medical dispensaries and end users. Hyalolex will be prescribed as a liquid supplement in twice-daily doses for mild to moderate Alzheimer patients, and thrice-daily doses for moderate to advanced patients.

“We are very pleased to work with the DaMa Pharmaceutical team to bring Hyalolex to Puerto Rico, which has a long history of developing premier pharmaceutical products,” said Ram Mukunda CEO of IGC. He noted that the Puerto Rican government has been a supporter of a comprehensive medical cannabis program. “We are proud to be a contributor to Puerto Rico’s economic development and to the wellbeing of its Alzheimer’s patients”, he said. According to alz.org, Hispanics are approximately one and one-half times as likely to have Alzheimer’s as non-Hispanic whites.

“This is a decisive step in delivering our cannabis intellectual property to patients, after many years of development. It is particularly important as part of our effort to establish a distribution network to productize our IP,” Mukunda said.

This partnership represents a significant opportunity to provide those afflicted with Alzheimer’s with potential relief from a very difficult diagnosis and ease the burden of their caregivers who attend to them. It also represents a significant opportunity to collect data on Hyalolex’s performance within a diverse patient set”, said Mukunda. IGC will deploy a QR code-based product assurance, information dissemination, and data collection system as a step towards a more robust block chain-based product assurance system.

Future Farm Signs Dispensary Lease for High Traffic Puerto Rico Location

CANADA: Future Farm Technologies Inc., which has built a portfolio of projects across the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, announced that its Puerto Rico subsidiary has signed the first of five planned leases for its Clinica Verde branded Puerto Ricodispensaries. The Company expects to sign two more leases in the next thirty days with the additional two leases to follow soon after.

The Future Farm Clinica Verde branded dispensary is located in the Condado neighborhood of San Juan, one of the island’s most highly trafficked areas.

“Now that we have identified a prime dispensary location and signed a lease we are excited to work on the build out,” comments William Gildea, Chairman and CEO of Future Farm. “We look forward to providing clean cannabis to the island’s patients and generating sales.”

Future Farm continues to execute on its strategy of building a portfolio of valuable, revenue-generating assets in the fastest growing cannabis and hemp markets in North America. Mr. Gildea continues, “I look forward to building out and adding to our existing portfolio, which has grown quickly over the past year with assets in Rhode IslandMaineCalifornia and Florida.”

Good Articles Aid Cannabis Startups

By Janet Vasquez

As more states legalize cannabis on some level, the number of new cannabis start-ups is growing.  So how does your start-up standout from the others? Investors looking for their next play or consumers searching for a cannabis product or service often can only differentiate one start-up from another by the articles it finds. Particularly in a new legal industry such as cannabis, an investor or consumer relies on the credibility of a media outlet as an endorsement of a source as serious and qualified

In the cannabis business, startups need to communicate they are reliable, dedicated to quality, and adhere to the other attributes of serious commerce. It’s even more important given the long history of the pot culture and the stigmas attached to it.

One of the most effective actions a cannabis company can take to prove itself to the market as a well-run business is through a thoughtful, well planned and executed public relations campaign. The power of the third-party endorsement that comes from being an expert source in media articles is a powerful tool.

An article in a local or national newspaper, or an interview on radio or TV drives investors and consumers to your product or company.  It begins the process of steering them your way by introducing you and having them want more information. You have the opportunity to tell your story, through a journalist.  It’s important to have your messages, talking points and quotes you’d like to see in a story ahead of time to get the best possible outcome.  Despite the constant political news climate, there is still real media traction covering the sector, including cannabis trades and mainstream consumer news media. Public relations coupled within a marketing/advertising program makes sense. A well-rounded media campaign should also news stories still capture the news and evolution of products and services in the cannabis industry.

Consider three different companies of similar size in the exact same market niche. One has no media exposure; the second has bought an ad in the town’s newspaper; the CEO of the third appears as the subject of a profile in the same paper. Who do you think is going to look best to a potential investor or customer?

Often a small, locally focused business, doesn’t need national exposure and a local news story does the trick.  With the Internet, even “local” stories have global significance in searches.  While an article in USA Today is great promotion and a boost to an ego, being profiled in a cannabis trade or recognized as a source in a local business journal also reaches your target audience.

So, the next time you’re wondering how you can reach new customers or gain more investors, remember where it is you go for information about options and reading through news articles when making decisions.  Those stories can include you next time with a quote, a picture or maybe even a profile.


 

Janet Vasquez is founder of JV Public Relations NY, a boutique healthcare PR firm working with medical cannabis companies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cannabis Financing Companies Need To Infuse Good PR

By Bill Bongiorno

With the passage on the ballots in nine states last Fall, cannabis is now legal in some form in 29 states.  Everyone wants to get into the game and the cannabis rush is on.  This includes more traditional bankers and Wall Street executives.  The trend is growing of more leaving the tired landscape of stocks and bonds for a different kind of green – financing cannabis companies in the U.S. that are in desperate need of capital.  Why?  Because cannabis is still federally illegal.  Typical bankers, investment firms, accountants, lawyers and the usual suspects of consultants are now entering the scene as well as financial advisors.

But how does a financial company, be it publicly traded in Canada or a private equity firm based in New York establish itself as credible, legitimate and viable in an industry that has a stigma of the stoner?

Enter public relations, which doesn’t have the barriers to entry or legal requirements of say an accounting or legal firm.   That is the beauty of it.  Traditional media have flocked to covering cannabis as the trend towards legalization is clear. The rise of cannabis journalism is also undeniable as Cannabis Now magazine recently wrote about it its latest issue.

Financial companies operating in the cannabis space are letting priceless marketing slip through their fingers as savvy companies such as iAnthus Capital Management swallows up the media attention, along with stock volume, investors, and deal flow.

The need for a clear and concise message, along with astute company positioning and a winning traditional and social media strategy are imperative as the business landscape in cannabis becomes ever more competitive.  A recent Forbes column by a great cannabis journalist Julie Weed points to the need to use social to drive a business or product:

So how does one go about getting this media attention?  It always comes down to telling a great story.  This is how you win your share of “ink.”  Also going to the right cannabis reporter at the right time with that right story is key.

Playing off the constant stream of news in the cannabis space is also an imperative.  Having the talking points and quotable quotes set to go to the right journalists when news is imminent or breaking is how you get into mainstream media, such as Bloomberg, US News and others.

Friday Night, Inc. is the perfect example of how our firm seized the opportunity around the full legalization in Nevada and the cannabis shortage news after implementation by securing national top tier media coverage:

The coverage secured helped the tiny public company trade above 3 million shares.

It’s great to be in Cannabis Now and Cannabis Business Daily and talking to people with an interest in the space, but for high impact, having a name brand household name media outlet cover you is like gold.

The articles become marketing material to use in pitch decks, investor meetings, and other business worthy endeavors when proving your business model and value proposition is paramount.

So, when planning your cannabis business strategy, don’t forget to get some hits in the mainstream media and infuse your growth with some public relations grow.


 

Bill Bongiorno is President of Blue Chip Public Relations, Inc., a firm specializing in working with financial and alternative investment companies including the cannabis industry. 

 

Announcing MJ Business Network: A News Release Distribution System For The Cannabis Industry

WASHINGTON: Recognizing the communications and marketing needs of people involved or getting involved with the expanding cannabis business, the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) has launched a press release distribution system that targets the media, both mainstream and industry specific reporters, who cover the cannabis industry.

As one of the cannabis industry’s leaders in helping assist and educate businesses through our workshops and meet-ups, one of the issues MJBA leadership constantly hears from its members in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Alaska, Nevada, Oregon, New York and New Jersey are questions about Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing; how do we do it, how much should it cost, what should it look like and other related questions.

Introducing MJ Business NetworkMJBA is often sourced by media who are focused on this exciting business, which, through the years, has allowed us to cultivate the key reporters, both in mainstream media like the Seattle Times, NBC News and Variety, as well as industry outlets like DOPE, MG, Freedom Leaf, etc.

They’ve taken that expertise and extensive data base of media to build MJ Business Network as a solution and mechanism to help all kinds of businesses in the industry get their message in front of those who can help boost their brand.  Their media contacts include digital, print and broadcast newsrooms, individual reporters and editors, consumers, news portals, websites, news syndicators, bloggers, social media networks and more.

MJ Business Network provides the following services to its clients:

  • Distribution of  your news release via the cannabis industry’s largest proprietary content distribution network – MJ Headline News –http://www.mjheadlinenews.com– and its app for IOS and Android phones – as well as the video assets they have such as MJ Channel One, your video source for cannabis news.
  • Posting client’s news release through their highly trafficked Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms.
  • Delivering client’s message, whether a news release or a video feature, into the inbox of the journalists that cover cannabis for them to consume.
  •  Integrating photos, charts and video into their message that will help the message be read, seen and acted upon.  Multimedia is proven to drive engagement. Photos, videos, and infographics increase press release views significantly.

Pricing information is available upon request. For more information contact Stu Zakim at stu@mjba.net.

Momentum Builds In Puerto Rico For Major Marijuana Reforms

PUERTO RICO: Momentum is building in Puerto Rico to legalize medical marijuana, decriminalize marijuana possession and export industrial hemp.

If this happens, Puerto Rico will become the first American territory to legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize marijuana possession. Yes, you read that right. If House Bill 1362 and Senate Bill 517 are approved, as is widely expected to happen, Puerto Rico will become the first U.S. overseas territory to join the other 20 states, including Washington, D.C., that have reformed their marijuana laws.

Last year, Representative Carlos Vargas, introduced House Bill 1362 to legalize medical marijuana and regulate its sale, possession and consumption. During the public hearings on House Bill 1362, most groups testified in favor of medical marijuana and argued that major reform is needed to tackle drug addiction and high incarceration rates.

Lawmakers Take Pause In Pot Decriminalization Debate In Puerto Rico

PUERTO RICO: The decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana for personal use in Puerto Rico will have to wait after the island’s House of Representatives did not discuss a bill already passed by the Senate on its last working day for approving measures during the current legislative session.

The controversial measure, which is being sponsored by Sen. Miguel Pereira of the ruling Popular Democratic Party, or PPD, will not be approved until January in the lower house, after which it will go to Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla’s desk for his signature before becoming law. [Read more…]