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Budgeting for Technology and Change

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One consistent trend in the conversations I’ve had with business owners and operators from different backgrounds across the country is increasingly obvious: Companies need to budget for change and technology. The world in an apparent standstill amid the novel coronavirus outbreak is just one more sign businesses need to be agile across their sphere of operation.

Running a successful cannabis business is not easy regardless of position on the supply chain. Our industry faces a uniquely heightened regulatory burden of overseeing and monitoring the entire process from seed to sale while navigating an ever-changing patchwork of state and local regulatory requirements.

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One of the most common and unfortunate challenges is lack of preparedness for a change in management or new digital standards. Let’s dive into each of these areas and think about some best practices.

A common line of thinking among business owners I’ve spoken with is “I use Metrc, spreadsheets, and Quickbooks, so I think I’m good to go.” The notion is especially prevalent among operators in more mature markets like Colorado and Oregon. But consider this: Compliance programs like Metrc serve the state, not businesses; spreadsheets are not secure and scalable; and Quickbooks alone is not sufficient for managing inventory and operations.

In a panel discussion with technology leaders in the cannabis space at a recent conference, the chief executive officer for a digital menu board company revealed the company was preparing to implement an enterprise customer relationship management platform that would cost more than six figures. “We have to do it to report, analyze, scale, and grow more efficiently,” he said. “It’s the cost of doing smart business.”

But how do you determine what you can afford when improving your business’ technology stack? Cannabis operations should consider their goals, financial standing now and in the future, and what solutions are available. For example, if an operator hopes to expand revenues by 200 percent within one year, that growth likely would make spreadsheet inventory tracking remarkably unpragmatic (if not impossible). With projected growth of that scope, the cost of a tech tracking solution relative to the additional revenue gained certainly bears considering. Investing in tools to support growth, standardize processes, and streamline operational controls is critical to long-term success.

Running a successful cannabis business is not easy regardless of position on the supply chain.

A common rule of thumb in other industries is to budget between 1 percent and 3 percent of total gross revenue to implement a full enterprise resource planning or inventory management system. While the percentage may be debatable, it is unquestionable that businesses should seriously consider what cost is feasible to ensure the system installed is one that will support growth goals.

Many enterprise businesses employ professionals to deal specifically with change management. In the cannabis industry the duties sometimes fall on a compliance officer, but most companies treat the tasks as a one-off regulatory checkbox and not part of the staff’s regular duties.

As your business matures, inevitably you will make the decision to bring in software or technology. The reasons for those decisions might vary based on goals and needs like reducing duplicate data entry and creating more visibility and transparency. Change management duties of this type should be assigned to a designated person responsible for helping meet the business’s goals and ensuring smooth implementation when new tools and processes are adopted.

Implementing processes for clear communication and proper training are essential when new tools and best practices are integrated into any business. Breakdowns occur too often at cannabis operations, such as when the person signing a contract has not told the rest of the organization they’ve made a change and why they made that decision. Ideally, support teams at new vendors will be armed with communications to relay the key value-add to end users and employees and train them on integrating the new products and processes into their daily routines.

It’s important the change manager asks about the onboarding process when vetting technology updates and upgrades. Budgeting for change means budgeting for time, setting proper expectations from the start, and being willing to slow down for a short period and speed up after training is complete.

Our industry rapidly is expanding across the country. As we mature to capture the opportunities in front of us and grow our businesses, it’s crucial to budget for upgrades in order to avoid stagnation and falling behind competitors. To help with this, instilling a culture of constant improvement with a point person to oversee change will go a long way to ensuring long-term success.


Colton-Griffin-Flourish-Labs-contributor-mg-magazine-mgretailer

Colton Griffin is co-founder and chief executive officer at Flourish Software, a provider of enterprise supply chain and inventory management software built for cannabis, CBD, and hemp operations. Previously, he worked in business intelligence and system design for Genuine Parts Company, Manhattan Associates, and ABT Molecular Imaging. He holds an industrial engineering degree from University of Tennessee.

Source: https://mgretailer.com/business/science-tech/budgeting-for-technology-and-change/

Cannabis

Report unveils largest donors to pro-legalization campaigns ahead of November 3 elections

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A new report from Leafly released this week revealed the largest contributors to cannabis legalization campaigns in the United States ahead of the November 3 elections. 

According to campaign finance records, initiatives fighting to bring legal weed to a number of states this year have seen a fair amount of funding, the bulk of which came from cannabis companies and entrepreneurs. Other donors include unions, reforms advocates, private individuals and dispensaries. 

On the other hand, those financing anti-legalization efforts appear to be cash-strapped in comparison to donors contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars to support legal weed in Arizona, Montana, Mississippi, South Dakota and New Jersey, with significant contributions to the pro-psilocybin mushroom campaigns in Oregon and Washington D.C. as well.

Arizona

Leafly reports the legalization campaign in Arizona has raised nearly $3.5 million so far. Two new polls revealed the state appears to be likely to legalize cannabis this November, which means Arizonans will be able to legally purchase up to an ounce of weed soon.  

Cannabis companies were identified as the largest donors to Smart & Safe Arizona, the activists behind the initiative for legal pot in Arizona. These include Harvest, an Arizona-based medical marijuana company that has donated almost $1.5 million. Curaleaf and Cresco Labs have also donated several hundred thousand dollars to the campaign.  

Montana

Out of all the states that will vote on cannabis measures next month, Montana has raised the largest sum so far at over $7 million. Again, polls indicate the state is likely to legalize weed on November 3, when Montana residents will vote on a pair of measures to allow sales of marijuana to adults aged 21 and over. 

A PAC nonprofit organization from Washington D.C. dubbed The North Fund has been funneling millions into Montana’s legalization campaign. The money didn’t go unnoticed as anti-marijuana activists in Montana filed a complaint against the group recently, asking for The North Fund to disclose its donors. The North Fund donated $4,800,000 to New Approach Montana so far. 

New Jersey 

Another state which looks set to legalize marijuana on November 3 is New Jersey, where the top donor to the pro-legalization campaign has been The Scotts Company, a gardening and pest control company. Weedmaps donated $91,000 to the pro-legalization campaign, which enjoys support from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. 

A legal weed market in New Jersey could shape up to be one of the most lucrative in the country as neighboring states with large populations such as New York and Pennsylvania haven’t legalized cannabis. 

South Dakota

South Dakota will be the first state to vote on legalizing both medical and recreational sales in the same election. The state’s November ballot will feature both initiatives, which seem to be popular in Montana. 

The campaigns have raised over $1 million in donations so far, with national legalization groups contributing the largest sums. A restaurant owner from Sioux Falls ranks third on the list of campaign contributions with a $25,000 donation to the efforts.

Mississippi

Voters in Mississippi are heading to the polls to weigh in on medical marijuana legalization this November as well. The group behind the campaign has amassed over $1 million in donations so far.

Joel Bomgar, who serves in the Mississippi House of Representatives, donated over half a million. The Republican politician and tech entrepreneur was a key sponsor of the effort to legalize cannabis for medicinal use in Mississippi. 

Oregon and Washington D.C. 

Along with voting in the presidential election, voters in Oregon could legalize the therapeutic use of psilocybin found in psychedelic mushrooms. If voters approve the measure, Oregon will become the first U.S. state to allow the legal use of psilocybin. 

The New Approach PAC donated over $2.5 million to the effort, while other donors include entrepreneurs and a psychedelic therapy company. 

In Washington D.C., where people will cast their ballots on decriminalizing so-called magic mushrooms, the New Approach PAC donated $585,500 to the Decriminalize Nature D.C. campaign. 

Source: https://greencamp.com/report-unveils-largest-donors-to-pro-legalization-campaigns-ahead-of-november-3-elections/

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Will Legal Synthetic Cannabinoids Take Over Cannabis Industry?

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We live in a world of synthetics. Most of our clothing is no longer cotton, but a mix of plastics. Much of our food is made of chemicals that can barely be pronounced. And now cannabis, our favorite smokable medicine and recreational pastime, might be replaced soon with legal synthetic cannabinoids.

It’s a world of synthetics

My mother used to work with a guy that had a great hookup for getting Coach bags. For anyone unfamiliar with the brand, Coach produces high quality leather bags, that come with a nice high price tag. My mother was buying tons of them, passing them on as gifts, and using a different one herself every day. They weren’t real of course, although I don’t remember how she found this out. They were knock-offs. Products that looked almost exactly the same, that felt almost exactly the same, but were actually made of entirely different materials, and overall of lesser quality. My mother was very unhappy when she realized what was going on, and never spoke again to her workmate who had bamboozled her, but buying synthetic products is pretty standard, and a lot of the time, most people never know that what they have isn’t the real thing.

Aren’t synthetic cannabinoids already a big thing?

Yes! Massive! In fact, if you read around the internet, you might get a little confused. Every time you see words like ‘spice’ and ‘k2’ being spoken about in reference to cannabis, its referring to synthetic cannabinoids. So, what’s the difference between these synthetic cannabinoids, and the legal synthetic cannabinoids that biotech industries are rushing to create and put on the market? Good question. While large biotech firms have the money and ability to make different concoctions, they aren’t technically producing anything terribly far off from the illegal version that people are constantly being warned against with terror stories of a few people dead over years of time. In the article cited it should be noted that most of the deaths weren’t even attributed to the synthetic cannabis, but rather a rat poison contaminant. Of course, somehow, those stories are all forgotten, or pushed aside, when the synthetics being spoken about come from companies that can sell their products above board, and have them taxed by the government. Funny how that works, right? While I suppose one could make the argument that its regulated vs unregulated, and that one is more dangerous than the other, the lack of relevant deaths from the unregulated version (no matter how much the very few that occur are publicized, let’s remember what it really means to have an epidemic of overdoses), and the standard story of putting down the one that doesn’t make the government tax dollars, while promoting the one that does – and which brings billions to large biotech companies – isn’t an unfamiliar story at all. So no, synthetic cannabis is far from new. I was smoking Mr. Nice Guy in Tel Aviv 10 years ago, and word on the street back then is that it was all synthetics. Now, with a massive 180º, the very thing being warned against constantly, is now the new thing being pushed by large biotech corporations.

CBG, or cannabigerol, a cannabinoid that makes up only about 1% of a cannabis plant by the time of harvest, and which has been associated – much like CBD – with pain management, as an anti-inflammatory, with neurodegenerative diseases, and with glaucoma. In fact, Willow Biosciences, has partnered with manufacturer Albany Molecular Research to create a large scale production of the cannabinoid – which also like CBD, has not been associated with psychoactive effects, making it a good addition to the medical cannabis family.

Willow is a Canadian company out of Calgary, but it’s already got a lot of competition. US based Biomedican Inc., of Fremont, California, is giving Willow a run for its money, claiming to already have a CBG strain that’s ready for mass production. Two other companies,  Demetrix and Amyris, are also looking to get specifically into the CBG game. In what is to me an incredibly and profoundly misconstrued statement, Headset, which apparently tracks cannabis trends, made the statement that cannabinoids on the market today are currently plant-derived for the most part, particularly with products like vape pens, but that synthetic versions should be coming soon. Now, this thought would have a lot more meaning if we weren’t constantly being told to stay away from ‘spice’ and ‘k2’, which are black market synthetic cannabinoids. In fact, the majority of vape pens being sold in a place like California, which has the biggest legal cannabis market, are knock-offs, and that means synthetic cannabinoids!! Whoever made the statement at Headset, which was picked up by Inquirer, must have only been speaking of the legal market, and the thing about cannabis, is that if you’re only looking at the legal market, you’re missing so much of what goes on. So much so that we’re having a conversation about legal synthetic cannabinoids as if they just came out, when the majority of us vaping pens, or smoking ‘fake weed’, have been using them for years…and generally without incident.

What are they making synthetics of?

Pretty much anything that can be isolated from the cannabis plant and serves some understood value. CBN, CBG, THC-A, THC-V, Delta-8 THC… This is probably a good time to remind about Marinol. While this whole discussion goes on about synthetics, its easy to forget that along with all the black market synthetics that are warned against, there’s also Marinol. Marinol, also known as Dronabinol, is an entirely synthetic cannabis medication which has been around since 1986 and is produced by several pharmaceutical companies at this point. So, not even pharmaceutically a new idea, it is quite possible that pharmaceutical versions of cannabis may not have, as of yet, made the dent in the industry that they were intended to.

patented, at least not in their natural form. However, changed, or synthetic versions, can be. So, while the cannabis game has been hard for pharmaceutical companies to control – creating a non-plant version gives our biotech and pharmaceutical compatriots a way to create a substance that can be patented.

What to expect

The general expectation is that the biotech and pharmaceutical industries will do everything they can to co-op the medical marijuana and general legal cannabis industries. Whether it will work or not is a different story. Sometimes pharmaceutical companies don’t have the pull they wish. If they did, everyone would be using Marinol, and Sativex already, and that’s not the case. The problem with cannabis, when it comes to big pharma, is that cannabis isn’t a pharmaceutical drug unless its made to be one. If the people are never interested in these new medical advents, then the old rules remain, and people keep smoking the plant. If big pharma can produce a product at the right price point, that’s accessible enough, and gets the job done, it could be a very different story. In this particular instance it’s an interesting battle for the market, and its hard to say how it will go. In the case of cannabis, the thing to remember is that we don’t technically need all this, and the more production that goes into it, the higher the cost, and the more need to find synthetic answers.

The takeaway

It looks like the legal medicinal cannabis market, (and possibly recreational one), will soon be flooded with legal synthetic cannabinoids. What will this really mean? Well, that’s up to all of you. If you want your plant to be a plant, then smoke your plant and nature wins. If you’re cool with the synthetic version, that go out and use it. The ability of the synthetic market to do well has mainly to do with the ability of biotech companies and governments to convince their people that synthetics are a better answer.

Thanks for stopping by CBDtesters.co, your hub for all things legal cannabis related. Check out our newsletter to keep up to date on all the latest news and products.

Source: https://cbdtesters.co/2020/10/16/will-legal-synthetic-cannabinoids-take-over-cannabis-industry/

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Majority of Montana voters support weed legalization ahead of November 3 vote

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Voters in Montana appear to be set to legalize recreational cannabis in their state on November 3, the results of a new poll revealed this week. 

The state ballot will ask about legalizing recreational marijuana in Montana.

“Will you vote to support or oppose legalization?” the survey asked likely voters in Montana. Among them, 49% said they will vote to legalize marijuana, while 39% responded they would oppose the measure. Ten percent of voters said they are still undecided on the matter, but their votes could decide the fate of legal weed in Montana. 

Support for legal pot was higher among Democrats, as expected, with 70% of Democrat-voting respondents stating they would support legalization. On the other hand, only 27% of Montana Republicans said they are in favor of legal weed. Meanwhile, 59% of independent voters will vote to legalize marijuana. 

According to the poll, the initiative to legalize cannabis in the Treasure State is more popular among younger voters, with a majority of people between the ages of 18 and 59 stating they favor the measure. Most of the voters above the age of 60 said they intend to vote against legalization. 

The poll was conducted by Montana State University and gauged voter sentiment on a number of other elections that will take place on November 3, including the presidential race. As young voters interested in legalizing marijuana tend to vote for Democrats more often than for Republicans, having cannabis on the ballot could also affect the outcome of the Senate, House and presidential elections as well. 

Should Montana legalize pot, adults aged 21 and over will be able to legally purchase weed, while a 20% sales tax would be added to marijuana products. Furthermore, people with low-level marijuana sentences will be eligible for resentencing or the expungement of their records.

Earlier this week, a poll from New Jersey revealed the Garden State is also likely to legalize cannabis on November 3. Additionally, Arizona and South Dakota will vote on their respective legalization measures, while Mississippi voters will decide whether to allow medical marijuana in the state.

Meanwhile, Oregon will decide on a measure that would legalize psychedelic mushrooms for therapeutic use as voters in Washington D.C. weigh in on decriminalizing so-called magic mushrooms.  

Source: https://greencamp.com/majority-of-montana-voters-support-weed-legalization-ahead-of-november-3-vote/

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