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John Bailey Won’t Let COVID-19 End Marijuana Diversity Conversations

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This year may be viewed as one of racial and social reckoning, but Colorado’s cannabis industry was going through growing pains well before protests erupted in Denver. After more than six years of retail weed, minority communities are still working toward more seats at the table, with surveys showing that about three out of four cannabis businesses in Denver are white-owned.

With no formal past around the plant, John Bailey seemed like a newcomer to the cannabis social equity conversation last year after founding the Black Cannabis Equity Initiative, but the longtime political consultant has experience with public policy and social change, working for former Mayor Wellington Webb, Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign and the University of Colorado Boulder student government before moving to the East Coast and back again. Bailey, who has continued bringing together state lawmakers, businesses owners and other cannabis stakeholders with his BCEI Zoom chats during the COVID-19 pandemic, joined us for a conversation about where Colorado’s cannabis space goes next in its path toward more diversity,

Westword: You’ve worked in politics for a long time now. What led you to take on social equity in cannabis?

John Bailey: After almost seven years and $8 billion in sales and seeing there was no social equity legislation, my premise was: Why wasn’t there more black representation in such a lucrative cannabis industry? When I did the research, it became obvious that although the folks [who wrote Amendment 64] were initially well intentioned, it didn’t deal with social equity — but it did deal with social exclusion, or those who couldn’t be involved because they were felons.

As a consultant and black community advocate, it was important to step forward to fill that gap. After talking to a number of folks in the legislature and city government, I entered this space — not necessarily with big-league boots, but a background and expertise that was well-suited to raise questions, be the reasonable adult in the room, and engage these young white kids dominating the industry with the conversation that they’re drinking from a well they didn’t dig, and there are certain social equity things they don’t know about. Part of my entree is being an educator and being an advocate for black participation in the industry at the same time.

What’s the response you typically get from white industry members about social equity?

I have to be authentic, because I want them to recognize this isn’t about being the smartest. Sometimes, that’s how they approach this, but I want them to see who’s the most knowledgable about the current circumstances, and how to move this situation forward. I don’t think they’re privileged to the fact that there are two Americas here: I come from a time…

Source: https://mmpconnect.com/john-bailey-wont-let-covid-19-end-marijuana-diversity-conversations/

Cannabis

Everything you need to know about the Exxus Snap VV

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As the wild world of vaporizers continues to evolve, high tech gadgets like complicated vape pens, e rigs, and even laser-powered e-nails have taken center stage. However fun these future forward products can be, sometimes you just need a simple, reliable oil vape where you can pop in a cartridge (or fill your own) and hit the road..

Enter the Exxus Snap VV oil vaporizer. This sleek device is the new and improved version of the Snap, a popular model Exxus released prior. Both easy to use and highly functional, fill the oil cartridge or use the magnetic extender to pop in, and toggle between voltages with the press of a button. Within moments you have a custom vape at a price point most can afford. 

Whether you’re in the market for a new vape or just curious as to what the buzz is about, here’s our guide to the Snap VV vaporizer by Exxus. 

What is the Snap VV? 

The Snap VV is an oil cartridge vaporizer by Exxus Vape, a California brand known for creating high-quality vaporizers since 2014. This device shines in its attention to customizable details, like 8 color finishes, 4 voltage settings, cartridge adapters and even an empty cartridge for your own oil. 

Whether you choose a discrete black unit or its flashy rainbow counterpart, the Snap VV is simple and compact. Standing at a mere 3” tall by 1” wide, it maintains discretion in any color with magnetic thread adapters that accommodate cartridges up to 11mm. 

At $39.99, who could resist?

What comes with the Snap VV?

The Snap VV comes equipped with everything you need to enjoy the pinnacle of an oil cartridge vaporizing experience. 

The Exxus Snap VV includes: 

  • Exxus Snap VV Cartridge Vaporizer
  • Atomizer 
  • Long Magnetic Connector
  • Short Magnetic Connector
  • Micro USB Charging Cable

What can you vape with the Snap VV?

Thanks to two magnetic connectors, one long and one short, the Snap VV is compatible with oil cartridges up to 11mm. The empty Snap VV cartridge included can be filled with the oil of your choice.  

How do you use the Snap VV?

Now that you know what the Snap VV brings to the table, how exactly do you use this new device?

Charging the Snap VV

First charge: Upon opening, charge the device for 2 full hours before your first hit using the micro USB charging port on the battery.

The indicator light will turn from red to white when the device is fully charged. 

WARNING: After the initial charge, never let the Snap VV charge for more than one hour. Leaving the Snap VV charging for long periods of time can damage the battery or ruin it completely. 

Loading oils into the Snap VV Cartridge

  1. Remove the Snap VV mouthpiece from the cartridge.
  1. Load the desired amount of oil into the glass cartridge.
  1. Attach desired magnetic adapter to the glass cartridge.
  1. Twist on the mouthpiece.
  1. Put the cartridge back into the chamber.

Adding extenders to cartridges

Simply screw the metal extenders onto the bottom of the cartridge of your choice and slide into the chamber. The magnetic threading will lock the cartridge in, and you’re ready to roll. 

Changing the voltage

  • Turn on the device by pressing the power button 5x. 
  • To adjust the voltage, press power button 3x. Indicator light will change according to voltage: 
    • Red: 4.0V
    • Yellow: 3.8V
    • Green: 3.6V
    • Blue: 3.4V
  • To engage 15 second preheat cycle: press power button 2x. TheLED will stay the selected voltage color.
  • Press power button 1x to stop preheating.

How to clean the Snap VV

Clean the Snap VV like you would any other vaporizer or concentrate device, with cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol. All parts of the Snap VV are removable for separate cleaning. 

What’s the appeal?

When it comes to my judgement of a vaporizer, it comes down to the basic questions: is it a quality, reliable product, and is it cool? 

Since I’ve been using mine casually throughout the past week, I’ve only had to charge it once. It’s convenient and always delivers a solid hit — it’s also cute enough to be noticed by my friends. And it’s super inexpensive, which makes it even cooler. 

Merging simplicity and customization into an intuitive, it’s a well made vaporizer that can be easily modified to become whatever you want it to be. Whether you’re a discrete business person taking poofs between conference calls, or an iridescent party monster vaping into the wee hours of the morn, the Exxus Snap VV is designed to keep up with whatever your life entails. 

Source: https://weedmaps.com/news/2020/08/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-exxus-snap-vv/

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Aaron LoCascio: Living Life in the Greenlane

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Of all the cogs in the cannabis industry’s supply chain, distribution companies might be the most contentious and competitive, charging a toll to every producer that needs to move its product from point A to point B with much grumbling about the fees along the way. But there is another distribution channel that doesn’t touch the plant, and that’s where Aaron LoCascio and his Greenlane Holdings Inc. are winning the game.

When Greenlane went public on the Nasdaq in 2019 (GNLN), it was the first cannabis-related company to list on a United States exchange. Not bad for a first-time entrepreneur who founded the company at age 20 while working at a car wash in Florida. At the time, LoCascio only dreamed his fledgling business would become one of the largest distribution companies in the U.S. cannabis industry, with sales doubling year after year. Every time a cannabis consumer goes into a corner store, headshop, or dispensary looking for rolling papers or a vaping device, it’s a good bet Greenlane has a piece of the action.

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“I’ve seen everything and the challenges that people experience,” LoCascio said, laughing. “Being involved in the cannabis industry, there are challenges that you would never in a million years expect if you were a consummate professional with a long career in business with lots of big companies. If you come into the cannabis space, you have challenges that you couldn’t imagine in a million years.”

Arnold Palmer

It all started with Arnold Palmer. Not the golfer—the drink.

Although Greenlane was his first formal entrepreneurial endeavor, LoCascio began his business journey at an early age. As a child, he set up a lemonade stand in front of his parents’ house and tweaked the business model until he had thirsty Floridians right where he wanted them.

“I saw more opportunity and decided I needed to do more than just lemonade,” he said. “I was getting requests for iced tea, so then I realized I could up-charge by selling an Arnold Palmer.” (An Arnold Palmer combines lemonade and iced tea.)

When business wasn’t as brisk as expected, he realized he needed a better location. “I had to go to where all the traffic was, so I set everything up in a little wheelbarrow and I pulled it out to the front entrance of the neighborhoods nearby, and then sales started booming,” he said. “So, I kind of always had a knack for that entrepreneurial spirit, if you will.”

Flash forward a decade or so, and LoCascio was a student at the University of Central Florida. During a trip to California, he stumbled upon the Volcano, one of the first vaporization devices to make a splash. “I brought it back to Florida and got together with friends and tried vaporization for the first time, and it was incredible,” he recalled. “We couldn’t believe it. ‘Look, there’s no smoke!’ It was just a really remarkable technology in our eyes, and I was really enthralled by it.”

Maxing out his credit card to its $3,900 limit, LoCascio bought as many Volcanoes as he could get his hands on, then sold them at a profit of $100 each. Then he began looking around for other cannabis and smoke products to sell. He quickly homed in on the first generation of vaporization devices and set his sights on becoming a major online retailer.

“Keep in mind this was the early 2000s, when online shopping wasn’t really a big thing yet,” he said. “The internet back then was the bargain place to buy anything because people were still learning to trust the platform, so it was a very bizarre thing for me to see. A lightbulb went off in my head and the entrepreneur in me saw an opportunity, and my business thesis was to be the Walmart of the internet.”

Before long he was selling not only vaporizers, but also home audio equipment, small kitchen appliances, and anything else he could find where there was a sizable margin to be made. “It really continued to grow in popularity as the awareness of the products continued to grow, and I saw that as my calling,” he said. “By 2008, I dropped everything else and focused exclusively on the vaporization products.”

Aaron LoCascio, Greenlane founder and CEO, mg Magazine
Photo: Michael B. Lloyd (©2020 mg Magazine)

Managing growth

Until 2008 Greenlane was e-commerce only, but that year LoCascio realized he needed to expand the business into new product categories and focus on distribution to smoke shops in Florida and beyond. It wasn’t long before his distribution business went nationwide. Today, Greenlane serves more than 11,000 national retail partners in the U.S. The company also has exclusive deals with dozens of leading companies on the accessories side of the industry and carries a dizzying number and variety of devices, some of them created by in-house brands that supply the growing CBD and liquid nicotine markets.

“In the past five years, we’ve grown quite tremendously,” said LoCascio. “We’re now a public company, so that obviously brought a lot of change to our systems, processes, and people. We had to evaluate and upgrade everything. So, that puts a lot of pressure on us, and that’s where I would say Greenlane as an organization has had the most change taking place overall.”

As his company grew and expanded its footprint across the U.S. and beyond, LoCascio said the most significant jumps in business volume occurred after Nevada legalized and began selling cannabis to visiting tourists from around the world. And when Canada legalized, “that was phenomenal—huge, huge, huge,” he said. Now the company employs 250 people at headquarters and in offices in Hermosa Beach and Torrance, California; Amsterdam; Toronto; and France.

With its extensive inventory, Greenlane can tap into the consumer base of three different multibillion-dollar industries: the $150-billion cannabis industry, the $22-billion CBD industry, and the $7-billion U.S. nicotine industry.

Greenlane’s success was built primarily through online sales and distribution to smoke shops and corner stores, but recently the company has seen tremendous growth in distribution directly to dispensaries. With expansion of medical legalization into new states and recreational markets exploding, dispensaries are sprouting in small towns, big cities, and everywhere in between.

“We are generally seeing a lot of positive momentum across the board, and anytime a new state legalizes or passes new laws in a positive direction, it’s generally good overall for our business,” LoCascio said. “Our business continues to grow pretty evenly across individual state geographies, where we see some subtle differences at times, and anytime there’s negative regulations or taxation that occurs, that can have a negative downward effect.”

LoCascio sees room for growth in the growing supply and packaging channel, which serves licensed cultivators, processors, and extractors. In order to create a presence in this market, in 2019 Greenlane acquired Pollen Gear, one of the biggest child-resistant packaging companies in the U.S. Greenlane also sells clothing and supplies cultivators and extractors with empty vape cartridges so they can build products and sell to dispensaries directly. He sees an enormous opportunity for the company’s core consumer packaged goods (CPG) to be sold more widely in dispensaries, but challenges exist, too.

“It’s been a challenging exercise in getting the dispensaries to carry an assortment of CPG products, because they’re so dedicated and so focused on selling cannabis,” he said. “When we’re talking to dispensary owners, they’re really just so deep and in the weeds and focused on their cannabis business and cannabis sales, so they don’t have the time or attention span for us walking them through our catalog of products.”

To help dispensaries get more CPG into their stores, Greenlane offers a retail merchandising program under which the company installs product racks and shelves in a specified footprint. By using product sales data, Greenlane takes the guesswork out of stocking for store owners who are unsure what products to order. Early data suggests some stores can increase their revenues by as much as 25 percent, LoCascio said.

“It’s very early innings in that program, but we’ve had some great early success,” he said. “And while we do believe the traditional smoke shop is not likely to go anywhere, we also believe that over time more and more cannabis products will be sold in dispensaries because it’s just a logical place.”

Image: Angela Derasmo (copyright 2020 mg Magazine)

Branding opportunities

Working with numerous products and brands over the past fifteen years has put Greenlane in a unique position to offer feedback about new products and prototypes that could give companies a significant leg up on the competition. Likewise, Greenlane is able to analyze and capitalize on many years’ worth of consumer sales data to determine where gaps and opportunities in the marketplace may lie; in some cases, the company develops its own in-house brands to sell into those channels.

Greenlane also consults with brands to help fine-tune products for a fickle consumer demographic that is only beginning to form allegiances. Such was the case with the Marley Natural and KeithHaring accessory lines, Aerospaced and Groove grinders, and Higher Standards, an upscale product line with retail stores at New York City’s Chelsea Market and Atlanta’s Ponce City Market.

Among the projects LoCascio found most fascinating was a partnership deal with Vibes, a premium rolling papers brand LoCascio created and launched with Cookies’ impresario Berner in 2019. “Berner is an incredible entrepreneur who is influential and has been quite successful, and his products are amazing,” LoCascio said. “There was a lot of know-how in terms of how to actually execute on building the supply chain and infrastructure around developing our own rolling paper. So, it was a natural partnership for us to want to be together and take the things we’re really great at and the things he’s done. Coupled with our execution abilities, it has been a great partnership thus far and I really look forward to continuing to build on other opportunities with Berner in the future.”

While rolling papers may appear to be a simple, straightforward product, quite the opposite is true, according to LoCascio. Only two factories in the world make the raw materials Vibes requires, and both have been in business for hundreds of years. To strike a deal with these companies is no easy matter because they have long-standing relationships with other popular brands and “they don’t like to shake things up too often,” he said.

As he looks ahead for new opportunities and product developments in the market, LoCascio has fifteen years of experience, data, and gut instincts working for him. “One of the things we’ve gotten incredibly good at is spotting trends in the marketplace and new opportunities, and I’ve seen some really positive and explosive trends,” he said. “It’s really what I would say is the big reason for how we’ve gotten to where we are today. We have global data to tell us trends everywhere, even in places where cannabis is not yet legalized. That’s a phenomenal tool to help us make strategic decisions and merchandising and just overall resource allocation.”

Over the next few years, he projects do-it-yourself culinary products like the MagicalButter Machine will become more popular, given consumers’ increasing interest in and infatuation with edibles. He also has noticed an uptick in cones for joint rollers who don’t like the rolling part.

Greenlane Holdings Inc. headquarters mg Magazine
Greenlane Holdings Inc. headquarters. (Photo: Greenlane)

Future plans

In addition to new market sectors, LoCascio has expanded his company through acquisitions and expansion to countries outside the U.S. In 2019, Greenlane acquired Conscious Wholesale, a leading European wholesaler and retailer of consumption accessories, vaporizers, and other products.

“That particular acquisition is very, very focused on not just the opportunity in North America, but on the opportunity globally and Europe as the next logical place for us to really make our mark,” he said. “It’s still very, very early over there, but a key driving focus going forward is building on our Greenlane house of brands and leveraging the data we have to find opportunities in the marketplace and fill those gaps with our brands on a global basis.”

LoCascio said he is keenly focused on technology and digital platforms moving forward and the pandemic has made that even more of a priority, for Greenlane and the entire cannabis industry. “I think COVID-19 has really driven a lot of people to rethink their business priorities and needs and makes us realize just how important digital is going forward,” he said. “For us those are key focuses, to continue to build on our digital footprint and leverage our existing footprint to launch house brands.”

Among his goals is for Greenlane to become a one-stop, soup-to-nuts distribution company that can handle everything a cannabis producer needs after growing or extracting raw products. “We really envision an environment where we’re not just involved with buying and then reselling cannabis in a pure distribution situation, but really being a full-scale solution for enterprise-level cannabis customers, where all they have to do is grow the cannabis and we will bottle it, package it, fill it, and then distribute it,” he said.

Another major factor in Greenlane’s success, of course, is the widespread acceptance of cannabis by more patients, doctors, and mainstream consumers who use it recreationally. As a byproduct, LoCascio said he is dealing with more sophisticated customers and more sophisticated vendors, “which is great to see and is a necessary step and just the evolutionary change that is this industry.

“There’s more social acceptance to what’s happening, and prohibition is coming to an end, and the process is going to take time,” he said. “When states really started legalizing, that was a big tipping point for this industry. In some of the most recent polls we see how the population of the United States really feels about legalizing cannabis. It’s quite remarkable how far we’ve come in just ten years.”

Source: https://mgretailer.com/business/retail-merchandise/aaron-locascio-living-life-in-the-greenlane/

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Green Thumb motion nixed as Arkansas cannabis licensing dispute continues

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Illinois-based Green Thumb Industries (GTI) suffered a temporary setback in its effort to win a medical marijuana license in Arkansas when a judge denied the multistate operator’s request for a preliminary injunction to stop the issuance of a permit to another business.



Pulaski County Circuit Judge Mary McGowan previously had issued a temporary restraining order against the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, which GTI claimed improperly awarded a second dispensary license to cannabis company Native Green.

While a temporary restraining order often is a good sign of decisions to come, McGowan changed course after a hearing on the matter.

Green Thumb’s suit remains in play, however.

McGowan said no evidence was presented at the hearing on a preliminary injunction to convince her GTI was going to be financially harmed if Native Green is allowed to have the license while the suit is pending, Law360.com reported.

In other words, the judge said, Green Thumb hadn’t paid rent for a property or spent money based on an expectation it would receive a license.

Source: https://mjbizdaily.com/green-thumb-industries-motion-nixed-as-arkansas-cannabis-licensing-dispute-continues/

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