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.

Canadian Provincial Government Taps Spire Secure Logistics

CANADA: Vancouver-based Friday Night Inc. announced today that its subsidiary, Spire Secure Logistics, is providing strategic advice and expertise to a Canadian provincial government for the design and implementation of security programs and infrastructure for the legal distribution and sale of cannabis.

Spire is a leading provider of security consultation for the legal cannabis industry and has worked closely with both government and licensed producers to design and build security programs and solutions for the sector.  The Company will be working with the provincial government to implement program system protocols for both retail and online sales of cannabis, focusing on the prevention of organized crime infiltration and black market diversion.

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Spire’s team of industry experts have amassed more than 50 years’ combined experience in regional, national and international policing and security consultation in a variety of fields.  Most recently, Kevin Mead has been appointed Chief Administration Officer and Director International Programs at Spire. A 23-year career veteran of the Canadian Army, Mead served across the country and internationally in numerous command, training and senior staff positions at the tactical, operational and strategic levels. Mr. Mead transitioned as a Commanding Officer of a Canadian Forces Detachment to the BC Ministry of Labour, as an Industrial Relations Officer responsible for legislative compliance and enforcement. Most recently, Mr. Mead served as VP Operations in a private manufacturing firm in the security and defense industry.

Mr. Andrew Richards, CEO of Spire, commented, “We are pleased to be developing secure and compliant strategies and programs as Canadian provinces and cities begin to implement legal cannabis distribution and sales.” He added, “We welcome Kevin to Spire. His expertise in leading inter-agency and multi-disciplinary teams in complex high-risk operations and program delivery is an asset to the team.”

 

 

Washington Pot Sales Still On The Rise, Despite Oregon Recreational Launch

By Sue Vorenberg
Cannabis Daily Record

WASHINGTON: Marijuana sales in Washington continued to grow in October, despite fears that the launch of Oregon’s recreational market would end the trend.

Washington pot stores sold $61.3 million worth of product in October, a smaller than usual gain over September sales of $59.6 million, but a gain nonetheless.

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Southwest Washington stores have been heavily dependent on customers traveling North from Oregon, especially Portland, which until Oct. 1 had no legal way for recreational customers to buy cannabis. That allowed two of Washington’s largest three stores (Main Street Marijuana and New Vansterdam) to thrive across the border from Portland in Vancouver, Washington. (Washington’s third store that’s continually in the top three is Uncle Ike’s in Seattle).

Through Oregon’s Early Start program, which lets medical dispensaries sell marijuana flower, Oregon has seen robust sales – with several sources noting about $11 million worth of product sold in the first week.

In contrast, sales have dipped in Vancouver, but not enough to counter the month by month growth that has continued across the entire state of Washington since recreational cannabis was legalized in July, 2014.

Washington’s Upward Cannabis Sales Trend May End This Month

By Sue Vorenberg
Cannabis Daily Record

WASHINGTON:  The steady month by month growth of Washington state’s recreational cannabis sales may come to an end in October.

The state has seen a steady uptick each month since sales began in July, 2014. But with five days to go in October and lagging sales in Southwest Washington after the launch of early start recreational sales in neighboring Oregon – that trend seems unlikely to continue.

In fiscal 2015, monthly sales grew from $47.6 million in July to $53.5 million in August to $59.5 million in September. As of October 26, the state Liquor and Cannabis Board had reported $50.1 million in monthly sales.

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Oregon’s first week of recreational sales in October, through the state’s early start program at existing medical dispensaries, netted $11 million.

Dispensaries in Southwest Washington, across the border from Portland, Oregon, reported dips in foot traffic of 15 to 20 percent since the October launch.

Sales in Washington are directly affected by Oregon legalization as two of the three largest recreational pot shops in Washington are located in Vancouver (Main Street Marijuana and New Vansterdam), right across the Columbia River from Portland.

Stores in Southwest Washington have been heavily dependent on Portland customers, who have been opting to buy their cannabis in Oregon rather than crossing the border.

Almost 200 Applications Filed For Vancouver’s Pot Dispensary Licence

CANADA:  The city of Vancouver has received nearly 200 applications from illegal medical marijuana dispensaries seeking business licences, setting off a process that is expected to dramatically reduce the number of such operations while making Vancouver the first jurisdiction in Canada to regulate storefront pot sales.

Citing the proliferation of illegal pot shops, city council approved new rules earlier this year that will award business licences in exchange for hefty fees, as well as place restrictions on where dispensaries can be located and what they can sell. There are currently more than 100 shops openly selling the drug in all corners of the city, even as pot sales remain illegal outside of the licensed federal medical-marijuana regime.

By last Friday’s deadline, the city received 176 applications, though only a fraction of those are expected to actually survive the licensing process.

 

Smyth: VPD Left To Regulate Medical Marijuana Shops Amid Uncertain Haze Of Legality

CANADA:  It’s police versus pot shops in the escalating battle over “medical” marijuana in Vancouver — and the cops say it’s keeping them busier than a bud grower at harvest time.

Marijuana shops are sprouting like weeds all over the city.

And despite claims that the stores are helping sick people by providing them with medical marijuana grown by green-thumbed angels of mercy, overwhelmed police say that’s not always the case.

“We’ve seen an explosion in the number of stores — we’ve gone from 12 to over 100,” said Sgt. Randy Fincham, spokesman for the Vancouver Police Department.

Dispensaries – The Wild West Of Vancouver

CANADA:  Vancouver has entered unchartered territory as the first Canadian city to regulate marijuana dispensaries, with proponents arguing that regulation protects people’s health and restricts access.

The Chief Medical Health Officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, Dr. Patricia Daly, who helped inform the decision to regulate, says that “city council may be seen as the Wild West, but they’re stepping in to reduce potential harms associated with the complaints they had from the community.”

Over the past few years, 100 marijuana dispensaries have popped up around Vancouver. Only 25 licensed producers, which deliver their product by mail, have been approved by Health Canada to sell medicinal marijuana from federally sanctioned growers. The remainder presumably obtain their cannabis from black market sources. These businesses were run without any city bylaws restricting how the illegal drug was sold.

“By regulating this, people under 19 won’t be allowed in these places, they won’t be selling edible products, and it’s actually going to improve the situation from what it is currently,” Daly says.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Pilot Project Considered By White Rock City Council

CANADA:  The City of White Rock, B.C. is looking into launching a pilot medicinal marijuana dispensary project after the idea was proposed by a local business owner.

There are currently no medical pot dispensaries in White Rock, but Randy Caine, who owns the store Hempyz and is part of the local Releaf Compassion Center, believes they will inevitably come.

Caine recently presented a proposal to city council to develop a governance framework for dispensaries. This way, it can be prepared for any of the businesses possibly opening up in the city.

Vancouver, Caine points out, had to find a way to regulate dispensaries after they were already established.

 

Vancouver Marijuana Activists Defy City, Clash With Police At Annual Cannabis Day Rally

CANADA:  What a bong show.

Pot activists and Vancouver police clashed at a Canada Day demonstration on Wednesday at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

At least four people were arrested as the so-called protest stretched into a long, hot day full of pro-pot propaganda on the concrete steps of the art gallery.

In defiance of a City of Vancouver order not to hold the annual Canada Day marijuana protest on the gallery’s large north plaza, activists and vendors started setting up their booths early Wednesday at the south end of the public facility. They said a recent city council decision to crack down on medical marijuana businesses was on their minds.

Vancouver City Council Passes Controversial Medical Marijuana Dispensary Regulations

CANADA:  Vancouver City Councillors voted in favour of new rules to regulate the city’s medical marijuana dispensaries today, despite threats from the federal government and controversy about certain provisions in the regulations.

Councillors – who unanimously supported the concept of legal medical marijuana storefronts – voted 8 to 3 in support of the new rules that, if enforced, would mean the closure of many of Vancouver’s estimated 100 dispensaries.

Medical marijuana patients, caregivers and activists who spoke to City Council in public hearings over the last two weeks raised numerous concerns about the new regulations, which would also ban baked marijuana edibles and create a $30,000 licensing fee for stores that make a profit. An amendment to the rules means not-for-profit dispensaries will be charged only $1000.

Some councillors raised concerns about proximity rules that would see many of the current stores shut down and the rules against edibles, but none of them proposed any further amendments, instead voting for or against the rules the way they currently stand.