Sean Hocking, Author at Green Market Report

Sean HockingSean HockingMarch 21, 2019

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AUTHOR: Craig Small Hoban Law Group

Authored By:  Craig Small, Hoban Law Group


With thirty-three states and the District of Columbia legalizing marijuana in some form or another in the United States it is safe to say marijuana use is gaining social and cultural acceptance. But as public acceptance of marijuana use continues its mainstream march forward there are still bastions of resistance that maintain a dissimilar approach to marijuana and see it as a detrimental element to their organizations. These holdouts prohibit marijuana use and take punitive measures against members of their organization that engage in marijuana use. One such stronghold is professional sports.


The top four sports in the United States are American football, basketball, baseball and ice hockey. Each sport approaches marijuana policy through their respective collective bargaining agreements as negotiated between the team owners (usually the league or association) and the players (as represented by a player’s association.) These various collective bargaining agreements create contractual obligations between the league and the players regarding controlled substance abuse policies and expiration dates whereby the contract expires. As the expiration dates approach, the league and players engage in negotiations to form the next collective bargaining agreement and it is during these negotiation periods that present opportunities for the various leagues to modify their controlled substance abuse policies; specifically, marijuana use amongst the players.


To date, each major sport (with the exception of ice hockey) has taken a punitive approach towards marijuana use by players and has structured the collective bargaining agreement to impose severe sanctions, suspensions and possibly expulsion should players use marijuana. But we are now in an era where these restrictive marijuana policies in sports need to be reviewed and revised in light of the legality of the substance in a growing number of states and countries and the negative effects a ban on marijuana is having on the players themselves. By banning marijuana use, players are forced to forego marijuana as a viable and effective source of pain relief, anti-inflammatory treatments and anti-anxiety measure merely because its use will subject the player to fines, game suspensions and possibly expulsion from the league should the player test positive for marijuana. The players only options are medical treatments that don’t violate the league substance abuse provisions despite the possible harmful side effects of these treatments; thus, removing the player’s choice of medical treatment over an antiquated view of what marijuana is and what it does to the human body.


The governing organization in North American that organizes professional hockey is the National Hockey League and they have taken a very progressive approach towards marijuana policy. The NHL’s substance abuse policy, as it is applied to marijuana, has a focus on confidentiality and treatment; not punishment. Players are confidentially tested for performance enhancing drugs and the name of the player is kept confidential from the NHL, Players Association and the player’s team should that player test positive for marijuana as a byproduct of drug testing. Upon testing positive for marijuana, the anonymity of the player is only revealed to the doctors that administer the NHL drug testing program and those doctors only contact the player directly. These medical professionals take this opportunity to determine what role marijuana plays in the players career and, as a team, work with the player on any alternative treatments should the player desire alternative treatment. If the player declines to enter the treatment program there are no negative repercussions to the player’s decision and the player’s name, test results and treatment decision are kept confidential from the NHL, the Players Association and the player’s team.


The only negative repercussions to a player’s positive test result are if the medical professionals determine the levels of THC in the player’s system are “dangerously high level…such that is causes concern for the health or safety of the Player or others…”   Even under these circumstances the players name is kept confidential from the NHL, Players Association and the player’s team and the player is referred to mandatory evaluation and treatment as directed by the medical professionals. At that point, the player’s penalties are only administered to the player should the player enter into terms and conditions for treatment and then violate those terms and conditions.


The National Football League, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball (with particular focus on Minor League Baseball) should all look to the National Hockey League when restructuring their archaic policies regarding players marijuana use. As science advances our knowledge of marijuana’s effect on the human body and cultural stigmas against marijuana users become less and less prevalent, professional sports associations continually have opportunities to conform their marijuana policies to better reflect the medical benefits of marijuana and stop punishing players for engaging in behavior that society has deemed acceptable and legal.


The NFL is first of these professional sports to have their collective bargaining agreement expire after their 2020 season. Marijuana policy reform has momentum in many areas of society and culture, but we can look toward the next NFL collective bargaining negotiations as a litmus test to see how far we have come and how far we have left to go.



Craig Small is a Senior Attorney at Hoban Law Group. Mr. Small is a Past President of The Boulder County Bar Association and is an active member of the Colorado Bar Association and the National Organization of the Reform of Marijuana Laws.


This article has been prepared for informational and general guidance purposes only; it does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained herein without obtaining specific professional advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is made to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication. Hoban Law Group, its members, employees, and agents accept no liability, and disclaim all responsibility, for the consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based thereupon.



Sean HockingSean HockingMarch 21, 2019


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AUTHOR: “Jordan Zoot.  “aBIZinaBOX Inc., CPA’s”


Long Ago – Far Away……..

Thirty-eight years be exact. I joined Arthur Andersen LLP’s Tax Dept. in New York, specifically the Real Estate Group[1] in October 1983.

I was promoted to Tax Senior six months later, and Tax Manager two years after that. I was admitted as an SC Tax Partner, five years later, five months after my thirtieth birthday. I had exceptional technical tax and IT skills and in retrospect I realise I had none of the “soft skills” or people management skills that came much later in life and , I should add, with a significant degree of pain.

Perhaps the greatest gift I received was becoming an AA Tax Partner. If I was struggling with anything, technical tax issue, difficult client or staffing issue, there were twenty-two other Tax Partners in the New York office and hundreds in the firm phone book all over the world.

The ability to reach out and instantly grab the answers from a mentor and Partner were invaluable. There are many in the CPA profession that talk about what they “got” from a Big 4 firm, but never scratched the surface of what those of us who were admitted to the partnerships got.


I left Arthur Andersen almost quarter of a century ago, and it would be an understatement to say that the emergence of the hedge fund as a vehicle for raising capital and the invention of broadband[2] changed everything.

I remember the first week after I left Andersen I had 386-25 computer that cost a mind boggling $15K delivered with a  64KB ISDN connection [which was blazingly fast compared to the usual pedestrian dial up with accompanying blips and beeps] installed. The added  pain of “up-down” replication to get Tax Notes delivered over Lotus Notes could test the patience of a saint…it would be considered maddening  or even madness in 2019, but, at the time, it was magic for start-up firm. The improvements in technology over the past twenty years have been staggering.


However, there are two very significant items that have barely changed at all.

They are…

  • Younger professionals develop critical judgement and client interaction skills one way, through observation and intensive mentoring by an experienced practitioner [when I say experienced, I mean Director level for new Analysts, and Partner level for Associates and above. Our firm refers to our process as “Special High-Intensity Training [“SHIT”].
  • The second critical interaction is that practice leaders from Director and up to Managing Director-CEO’s do best when they have partners and peers that they respect for both professional judgement and technical skills[3]

We continue searching of ways to create opportunities for those two item through social media, Slack channels and virtual “everything and anything”. We have had excellent results in our alternative asset hedge fund, professional services, real estate and tax controversy practices.

The issue, though,  has bedeviled us in our practice with the legal cannabis industry.


Our experience has been that the quality of attorneys, certified public accountants [“CPA’s], and enrolled agents [“EA’s], collectively “Circular 230 Tax Practitioners” has had substantial issues with consistently high-quality technical skills and experience, and an abhorrent level of self-aggrandizement.

Our view is that, perhaps, one out of a thousand Circular 230 Tax Practitioners can justify self-designation as an expert.

We have made a substantial effort to provide cannabis industry businesses with tools to address both issues.


Our article, also published in Greenmarket Report…..

It’s Tax Time: Choosing Cannabis Tax Advisors

Has been incredibly well received.


Also do read…..

“Cannabis CPA Becomes A Cannibal

Provides some important reminders to all of us that no matter how skilled and experienced we may be if we get sloppy or lazy, we destroy our hard-earned credibility.



“Self-Aggrandizement – Cannabis Industry Professionals, CPA Firms – Virtual versus Reality”


Addressing Professional Incompetence

Highlight the dangers and risks of self-aggrandizement.


We turn our attention to the selection of mentors and professionals who we can rely on to seek to replace the function of the partners in my Andersen office in New York.

We have chosen to approach the task by offering our view of representative examples of four group of Circular 230 Tax Practitioners whom we have observed either with clients, in webinars or on the web.

The selection of the following  individuals was based solely on the author’s judgement and does not represent the views of Cannabis Law Report.

We trust that our readers are both sophisticated and sufficiently experienced to draw their own inferences about the basis my judgment.I have removed myself from listing in an attempt to make this more objective.

We don’t expect it to be perfect, and the publisher has committed to offering any of the listed professionals the opportunity to agree with, disagree with, challenge or refute the author’s judgements

Contact Cannabis Law Report


Here goes…

And our special bean counter rating !


Exp. Senior Practitioners – > 4 years or Practice Leaders


Skilled Practitioners – < 4 years as a Partner

Practitioners with Skill, Experience or Judgment Deficiencies


Practitioners with Serious Deficiencies




We thought it would be useful to continue the discussion by beginning an effort to highlight the view and thoughts of some of the excellent up and coming CPA’s we have had the pleasure of meeting along the way


Perspective from Shane Eloe, CPA

Share is a CPA specializing in tax consulting, planning, and preparation. I have a focus on the agriculture industry and enjoy helping clients utilize technology to improve their processes. Specialties: farm / agricultural taxation tax consulting, agricultural financial reporting, tax planning, tax preparation


As one of 3 owners in my firm, I have significant influence and business agility to seize opportunities that will pass other firms by while they analyze the situation and look to others for best practices. However, sometimes I find myself lacking perspective and grasping at straws trying to find the right resource for additional perspective. I have had several mentors both inside and outside my firms as well as mentors outside of the profession. Some have inspired me, others opened doors for me, and some have shown me what not to do, allowing me to learn from their mistakes.

The opportunities and inspiration from the external part of this network have given me the ability to develop my career and my firm in a way that would be an insurmountable task otherwise. Jordan has become a prominent member of my external network as he has invested countless hours in sharing knowledge, inspiration, and friendship with me over the years we have known each other. I had no idea where our interactions would lead, but I had the distinct feeling that I would be in for an interesting ride that would take me down pathways I might not otherwise have considered.

This has shown me firsthand the ability to step up my game in a small practice environment if I open my career development to the influence of inspiring external mentors that are doing something unique in the profession. I would not have been interested in a significant level of interaction with a senior practitioner running an average firm that’s doing nothing interesting. I value the opportunity to indulge the influence of other practitioners who think outside the box.

This influence leads me to pursue something bigger than the normal business development and firm management goals that are standard for others in my position. While others look for community involvement and a strong local network, I look for a national platform and an industry that’s not already listed on most other CPA firm websites. I look for ways to be different in a way that sets me apart from other practitioners and gives my firm a point of valuable differentiation. I also look for ways to reconfigure my firm and my staff resources in ways that will allow us to scale quickly, maintain high customer service standards, and simultaneously tackle new challenges without breaks or bottlenecks in the system. I encourage my staff to think like entrepreneurs and bring me their “craziest” ideas to see if we can incubate them into something valuable. I don’t setup artificial boundaries that can’t be crossed and I’m perplexed when any of my staff seem to think they will rock the boat by bringing up an issue or idea that’s above their pay grade. I listen and tell them I’ll take all the help I can get.


[1] BS – Accountancy – Univ. of Illinois -Urbana, MS – Taxation, Univ. of Texas – Austin, Elijah Watt Sells National Silver Medal – May 1982 CPA Exam as my background is relevant to the discussion.


[2] The ability of “just about anyone to raise investment capital, and high-speed internet which “fuels” the virtual world and the ability to do anything, from anywhere, on any device cut the shackles that made my moving to physically be in New York in proximity to Wall St. and the investment banks to pursue my choice of career


[3] I have been fortunate to have had someone to fill that role for me even after thirty-eight years in professional practice.

Sean HockingSean HockingMarch 20, 2019


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AUTHOR: “Jordan Zoot.  “aBIZinaBOX Inc., CPA’s”

CCIA Policy Conference What’s Missing? – On Wednesday, March 20, 2019, the California Cannabis Industry Association (“CCIA”) will host its 4th Annual Policy Conference in Sacramento, California.

The conference has a notable line-up of representatives from the legislative and administrative branches of California government, including Nicole Elliott, Senior Advisor on Cannabis, Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development; Hon. Wendy Carrillo, Assembly, District 51; Hon. Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Assembly, District 59; Hon. Scott Wiener, Senator, District 11; Hon. Scott Wilk, Senator, District 21; Hon. Ricardo Lara, Insurance Commissioner; Lori Ajax, Chief, Bureau of Cannabis Control; Christina Dempsey, Manager, California Department of Public Health; Nicolas Maduros, Director, California Department of Tax and Fee Administration; and Richard Parrott, Director,  California Department of Food and Agriculture.

The conference also has an impressive line-up of keynote Speeches, Presentations, and Sessions.  There are keynote speeches from government representatives as follows: Hon. Ricardo Lara, California Insurance Commissioner; and Nicole Elliott, Governor’s Office.  There is another keynote speech of particular interest to us for the reasons discussed below:

Importance of Associations: Taking a Closer Look, Saphira Galoob, The Liaison Group.

There are a couple of Panels that are certainly timely in view of the description of California’s regulation of its cannabis industry by those who claim to be most knowledgeable regarding the cannabis industry as maladroit:

State of Cannabis Regulations, moderated by Sean Luse, Berkeley Patients Group;


2019 Policy Development & Legislation, moderated by Amy Jenkins, CCIA.


There are also a couple of Sessions that should prove interesting: Challenges and Opportunities in Cannabis Testing, moderated by Emily Richardson, CW Analytical Labs; and Distribution: The Gateway or Cog to Stability, moderated by Elizabeth Conway, Surterra Wellness.

There are four Workshops that should prove helpful for some attendees: Ensuring the Cannabis Industry, moderated by Stacey Jackson, Golden Bear Insurance; Compliance: An In-Depth Look at What You Need to Know, moderated by Henry Wyckowski, Wykowski Law; Branding – The Experts Weigh in on What You Need to Know, moderated by Robert O’Shaughnessy, The Higher Ground Agency; and The President Signed the 2018 Farm Bill, Legalizing Hemp – What Next for Cannabis Businesses?, moderated by Kristin Nevedal, International Cannabis Farmers Association.

The preceding summarizes the apparent coverage of CCIA’s 4th Annual Policy Conference.  Most of our readers will have seen one or more advertisements for this conference so the preceding provides nothing new.  We have written this note, however, to question why it appears so many significant policy issues for California’s medical and adult-use cannabis industry are not being addressed at this conference.

Let us start with some broad policy questions that we believe should be asked.  Why has California’s roll-out of its regulatory structure been described as “maladroit” in s recent financial analysis of the cannabis industry?  Why have so few individuals who have involved California’s cannabis industry prior to the first steps toward regulation not been able to become incorporated into a regulated industry?  Why did California fail to collect millions of dollars in tax revenue that it projected it would collect?  Why do California’s cannabis regulatory agencies so frequently appear to be working at cross purposes to California’s cities and counties?  Why does it appear neither CCIA nor California’s cannabis regulatory agencies are interested in developing more effective coordination of the cannabis industry with California’s cities and counties?

There is a keynote speech – Importance of Associations: Taking a Closer Look – but both the interests of independent cannabis businesses and associations of California cannabis businesses appear to be unrepresented at the conference.  Where is the California Association of Independent Dispensaries?  Where is the Association of Los Angeles Dispensaries? Where is the Sierra Foothills Growers Association? Where is the California Growers Association?  Where is the Southern California Growers Association?  Where is the Association of Delivery-Only Dispensaries?

Let us return to the missing tax dollars.  The simplistic answer given by many is that cannabis taxes are too high and California’s cannabis regulations are too onerous.  The failure of the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (“CDTFA”) to require financial record-keeping and tax return reporting that ties into such financial record-keeping is a far more significant cause of the failure of CDTFA to collect the taxes it should have collected from licensed businesses.  California cannot reasonably expect to collect the taxes it should collect if it does not require California cannabis businesses to keep accurate and complete financial records.  California has also made it unnecessarily difficult to become a licensed and regulated cannabis business.  California cannot expect cannabis businesses to become taxpayers if it does not make it easy to become a regulated cannabis business.

Let us turn to another topic.  Have California’s legislative and administrative policymakers forgotten that Proposition 64 preserved all of the rights granted to Californians under Proposition 215? [See Keeping the Promise of Proposition 215] Most of the policymakers who are molding California cannabis industry at the present time have forgotten, or never knew, that former Governor Brown very likely did more to shape California’s cannabis industry with his 2008 memorandum when he was Attorney General than any single policymaker.  The principles expressed in that memorandum remain valid today.  The Proposition 215 rights granted Californians were preserved in Proposition 64.  Medical cannabis distribution will begin making a comeback in California as soon as the financial advantages of medical cannabis over adult-use cannabis again come to the forefront.

Let us close by positing a broad policy question that cuts across all of cannabis regulatory agencies and cannabis regulations that have created such confusion and turmoil throughout California’s cannabis industry.  Did California’s cannabis regulatory agencies err in failing to follow two underlying principles in their approach to regulation?  We believe California should have adopted the two principles that follow.  First, California’s cannabis regulatory agencies should have deferred all issues relating to land use and public health and safety to local jurisdictions to the maximum extent possible.  Second, to the maximum extent possible California’s cannabis regulatory agencies should have made it as easy as possible for California’s existing cannabis businesses that were locally acceptable to become California licensed cannabis businesses.

 Link to the conference here

Sean HockingSean HockingMarch 20, 2019

City Manager Scott Adams
City Attorney Bradford R. Jerbic
City Clerk LuAnn D. Holmes

Here’s the agenda of today’s meeting with the relevant cannabis item numbers and the bill to be discussed with regard to cannabis consumption.

It goes without saying that this is a big deal. Oregon and other states are still dilly dallying around the issue.

If the City of Law Vegas approves cannabis lounges the business it will generate, we’d suggest, will almost be undefinable within a 5 year period in terms of revenue.

City Council Agenda Council Chambers · 495 South Main Street · Phone 702-229-6011City of Las Vegas

Internet Address: www.lasvegasnevada.govFacilities are provided throughout City Hall for convenience of persons with disabilities.

For meetings held in the Council Chambers, sound equipment is available for persons with hearing impairments.

Reasonable efforts will be made to assist and accommodate persons with disabilities or impairments.  If you need an accommodation to attend and participate in this meeting, please call the City Clerk’s office at 702-229-6311 and advise of your need at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting.

Dial 7-1-1 for Relay Nevada.March 20, 20199:00 AMA lunch break may be taken at the discretion of the Mayor.
Items listed on the agenda may be taken out of the order presented; two or more agenda items for consideration may be combined; and any item on the agenda may be removed or related discussion may be delayed at any time.
Backup material for this agenda may be obtained from LuAnn D. Holmes, City Clerk, at the City Clerk’s Office at 495 South Main Street, 2nd Floor or on the City’s webpage at
The Mayor and City Council welcome your attendance, public comment related to the items on the agenda and citizen participation on items under the jurisdiction of the City Council at this meeting.  If you wish to speak, we respectfully ask you to complete and submit a speaker card to the City Clerk.  Cards are available online, in the Clerk’s Office or at the front of the Chambers as you enter.
These proceedings are being video recorded as well as presented live on KCLV, Cable Channel 2, and are Closed Captioned for our hearing impaired viewers.  Please note customers of Centurylink and Cox Communications can view this program in High Definition on Channel 1002.
You can also watch this meeting live on Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV on the Go-Vegas app.  The Council Meeting, as well as all other KCLV programming, can be viewed on the internet at
The proceedings will be rebroadcast on KCLV Channel 2 and the web the Wednesday of the meeting at 8:00 PM, and also on Friday at 4:00 AM, Saturday at 7:00 PM, Sunday at 7:00 AM and the following Monday at 5:00 PM.SOURCE PAGE – BUSINESS LICENSING – CONSENT23.
For possible action to approve a Marijuana Distributor License for CROOKED WINE COMPANY, LLC dba BLACKBIRD LOGISTICS at 6450 Cameron Street, Suite #110 [Devlon Moore, Managing Member] – Clark County24.
For possible action to approve a Marijuana Distributor License for GREENLEAF ENTERPRISES, INC. dba GREENLEAF ENTERPRISES, INC. at 1675 Crane Way – Sparks25.
For possible action to approve a Temporary Marijuana Distributor License for GPRP DISTRIBUTORS, LLC dba GPRP DISTRIBUTORS, LLC at 195 Willis Carrier Canyon, Suite #400 – Mesquite26.
For possible action to approve a Marijuana Distributor License for MBNV INVESTMENTS, LLC dba MBNV INVESTMENTS, LLC at 4222 Losee Road – North Las Vegas27.For possible action to approve a Marijuana Production Establishment License (Medical/Recreational) for a Change of Ownership
TO: NEVADA ORGANIC REMEDIES, LLC dba NEVADA ORGANIC REMEDIES, LLC at 3705 East Post Road – Clark County28.For possible action to approve a Marijuana Cultivation Establishment License (Medical/Recreational) for a Change of Ownership

BILLS ELIGIBLE FOR ADOPTION AT THIS MEETING56.Bill No. 2018-61 – For possible action – Amends LVMC Titles 6 and 19 to adopt provisions establishing a business license category and land use regulations for social use venues (marijuana), together with accompanying requirements and limitations. Sponsored by: Councilman Bob CoffinDOWNLOAD THE FULL BILL HERE

Sean HockingSean HockingMarch 19, 2019


Here’s the release in full

Charleston, SC (Law Firm Newswire) March 18, 2019 – Steinberg Law Firm is pleased to announce that attorneys Catie Meehan and David Pearlman recently settled a complicated workers’ compensation case for $3.85 million. The case involved a man who had allegedly used marijuana before an accident that left him severely injured.

Catherine Meehan

Lead attorney Meehan says that her client was operating a truck owned by his employer sometime in the early morning hours when he was involved in a single truck accident. Emergency services had difficulty extricating the man from his truck after the accident; it took nearly three hours to get him out of the wreckage.

The man’s injuries were grievous. He sustained a traumatic brain injury and critical injuries to his spinal cord, kidney, lung, leg, ankle, foot, arm, hand, neck, back, gastrointestinal system, bladder and circulatory system. He was in the hospital for two months, half of that time spent in the intensive care unit. He underwent multiple surgeries.

Toxicology test results revealed the man had marijuana in his system at the time of the accident, and the defense claimed that this caused him to lose control of the truck. His workers’ compensation claim was denied.

“The defense put up a very strong intoxication defense, but we were able to reach a resolution,” Meehan said. “Our argument was that even though marijuana was found in his blood, they did not have the evidence that marijuana was the proximate cause of the wreck. The state trooper didn’t find any evidence of marijuana or paraphernalia or anything of that nature.”

Further complicating the case was the extreme complexity of estimating the man’s future medical costs and negotiating them on his behalf. He now requires home care from a caretaker.

Attorneys Meehan and Pearlman got their client a $3.85 million settlement.

David Pearlman

“As a young attorney, I was very proud to reach this settlement for my client with the help of my partner,” said Meehan. “Our client will now have the potential to get the rehabilitative care he needs, and the best part for us is seeing the progress he has already made.”

Steinberg Law Firm

61 Broad St
Charleston, SC 29401
Phone: (843) 720-2800

Steinberg Law Firm Blog

Sean HockingSean HockingMarch 16, 2019


The Bureau of Cannabis Control (Bureau) recently published an updated fact sheet as a resource for those seeking general information regarding cannabis events. This document has been uploaded to the Bureau’s website on the “Cannabis Event Organizers” page under the “Licensees & Consumers” section. The fact sheet can also be accessed by clicking the links listed below.

(Updated) Cannabis Event Fact Sheet: Download here


Read Here


Sean HockingSean HockingMarch 15, 2019

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AUTHOR: Chris Nani


Sano Ti Amo is a topical product based company in Ohio. Their new signature cream is currently being manufactured in an FDA approved facility and is undergoing the final steps for FDA registration. The cream, R &R Pain Relief cream was created by Co-Owner Paul Amoroso, a licensed Massotherapist, who has treated patients for over twenty years. Paul met Co-Owner Karen DeLuca while he was refining the cream. Karen has over fifteen years of sales experience, helping start-up companies, and product development.


  1. What is Sano Ti Amo and how did you come up with the idea?

Paul: The name Sano Ti Amo means healing with love because everyone that tried our cream kept saying they loved it. I’ve been developing the cream for years and really wanted to make it perfect. Our goal was to help as many patients as possible. Sano means healing and Ti Amo means love or I love you.

Karen: In addition, since the FDA won’t allow us to use the word ‘healing’ we decided to use our Italian roots instead. We’re both Italian and wanted to reflect that in our company name. Also, we picked the deaf sign of I love you as our logo to go along with our name.

  1. Can you give me a quick background on yourself?

Paul: Ever since I was young, I liked learning about alternative medicine including Eastern medicine, Native medicine, and Ayurvedic medicine. I became a Massotherapist in 1997 and now use seventeen different styles of therapy to help patients. I also learned Chinese herbal techniques and have focused on learning from as many cultures as possible. I own a 44-acre horse farm and part of my inspiration for developing our products has been from treating horses to help them recover faster. One of my goals is to help veterans with PTSD through therapy with horses. I use alternative healing methods as well as traditional therapy with licensed therapists to help veterans recover.

Karen: I started in sales and marketing with Fortune 500 companies like Kellogg’s, M&M Mars, and Pfizer. Eventually, I decided to use my business knowledge in a more direct way. I wanted to become an entrepreneur and have since helped start and run three companies. I’ve started a skincare company, a gluten-free bakery, and now my main focus is on Sano Ti Amo. I also am the author of “Living Your Life in Gratitude” but, aside from my professional life, I love baking. I wanted to make an appealing gluten-free food you wouldn’t find in a grocery store, so someone with a gluten-free or specialty diet still could have the opportunity to have great tasting food and that’s how I came up with Ovenly Delights.


  1. What are some of the products you sell?

Paul: Right now, we’re working on a gout and an arthritis cream, but our main product is our Relief & Repair cream. We use a full spectrum hemp oil that has all the cannabinoids in it. Now that federal legalization is occurring, we’re looking at ways to implement cannabinoids into our products. Plus, because our cream is a topical when it’s absorbed through your skin, you won’t feel any high. In other words, you’ll still have mental clarity along with all of the health benefits of the cream.


  1. What makes Sano Ti Amo unique? (talk about FDA cream product/what’s in it)

Karen: Our main product R&R cream has four special ingredients that have never been used before in a topical. What makes our product different is it flushes out the toxins in your body allowing for faster healing. Instead of numbing the skin like other creams, it helps repair the tissues at a deeper level.


  1. Why did you make the cream?

Paul: I wanted a cream for people that could penetrate the skin and go down into the muscle and nervous tissues with the intent of healing and repairing the tissues and not just masking the pain like most pharmacological ones. Pharmaceuticals are designed to mask pain signals temporarily so you end up in an endless cycle of constantly applying topicals and taking orals for the pain.


That’s why I worked with Dr. Ronald Anders, a veterinarian who is a triennially trained Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and he also studied Chinese herbals. Since many of the herbals we use are purified down to their essential oil or concentrated form, they provide our patients with the most potent form of the herbals. Dr. Anders’ style of veterinary medicine is to heal the patient as quickly as possible and not just mask the symptoms. He is world renowned with his practice and works on multi-million dollar breeding animals and show horses.


We worked together to combine our knowledge and expertise to create a cream that would not only calm and soothe the muscles and the nervous tissues that report the pain but find the right combination of ingredients that would speed the healing process by increasing the lymph flow first to remove the sludge in the tissues. The cream also increases blood flow so the damaged tissues can repair the micro tears letting the area heal from the inside out.

I also really like helping people. I have worked with over 4,000 fibromyalgia patients over the years and noticed their skin and muscle tissue was different when treating them. I was inspired to help patients with fibromyalgia and started to research the formula for our cream because massages can be expensive when they’re needed every other day. But, with the cream, it can be used as a long term solution for more people as a daily application or as needed. It only takes around fifteen minutes to start feeling the effects and there’s enough in each container for multiple applications.


  1. Are there any side effects from using the cream?

Paul: There have been no known side effects of the cream. However, the cream shouldn’t be used by women breastfeeding or pregnant. We have had our product triple checked by a medical doctor (MD) and medical assistant (MA) with a chemistry background who compared our ingredients against pharmaceutical drugs and interactions between ingredients to ensure our cream would be safe and the ingredients within wouldn’t cause any reactions with our patients. We also took our cream to an FDA registered facility in Streetsboro, Ohio and had their scientists test our product. We wanted to have as many eyes as possible review our product before publicly introducing it.


  1. What kind of feedback have you gotten from clients using the cream?

Paul: A lot of times what we hear is that our product is subtle. It has a delicate scent and it doesn’t have a freezing feel like Bio Freeze or Icy-Hot. Customers also can’t believe how fast acting our cream is for a multitude of things. People recovering from surgeries have said it helps with their pain management and recovery. We also get a lot of people with fibromyalgia who say they have more energy after using the cream. Normally, fibromyalgia requires patients to frequently rest and it causes chronic pain. The cream helps alleviate both and gives patients their lives back.

Karen: I have a friend with CMT (a foot deformity) and he has an extremely tough time walking. He needs braces to help walk and it’s extremely painful. I’ll never forget when he said “You gave me my life back”. The first time he used the cream, his entire team noticed he was walking normally and his pain was reduced. It was a very humbling experience I’ll never forget. Walking is something we take for granted, and, with the chronic pain from CMT, it was amazing to hear the results from him.


  1. The cream is being registered with the FDA now, what advantage does that give Sano Ti Amo?

Karen: It gives the cream credibility. The FDA has strict purity and quality requirements. The FDA registration also allows us to tell people what the cream does. Although we’re restricted with the amount of information we can share right now, having registration with the FDA means we can sell our hemp product virtually in all fifty states without any legal issues. Retailers also don’t have to worry about our product being seized because it is registered, every other product on the shelves could be recalled or seized if it isn’t FDA approved.

Getting FDA registration is definitely an arduous process but it is the only way for us to make medical claims. So far, our product has undergone stability testing to show it has a shelf life of two years but will likely have a four-year shelf life after testing is completed. The stability testing guarantees our product is safe.

Paul: Epidiolex is FDA approved as well and is in every state. What you’ll see moving forward is more and more products being FDA approved because of the credibility it gives their product. For example, labeling products with 100mgs of CBD when it isn’t true – mislabeling ­­– can cause your product to get pulled and fined and customers want consistency in their products. Also anyone with a medical license such as a doctor or nurse can legally use and recommend our product because it will be FDA approved and they won’t have to worry about losing their license.


  1. What was the process like for registering your product with the FDA?

Paul: We first had to become familiar with the FDA registration process, so hiring consultants and experts who know the ins and outs of the process was very helpful. It’s a very complicated process that requires tremendous amounts of time and expertise. Because the FDA isn’t a legal entity, they can only make recommendations but it’s very important to follow their directions to gain approval. It’s very time consuming with tons of hurdles; however, we’re expecting to gain approval within the upcoming weeks.

Karen: We worked extensively with an FDA facility and originally we were told it would take over ten years and around ten million dollars. By working with the facility, we were able to cut the process down to three years and save millions of dollars through our partnership. We were able to convince the facility to work with us by letting their employees test our product and vouching that it was the best product they had ever seen. The chemist at the facility actually took some of our product home for his mother’s swollen foot and within a few hours she could walk again and was able to play with her grandchildren.


  1. Are there any ways to support Sano Ti Amo?

Paul: Absolutely through Indiegogo, we’re looking for funding to help a major production run and launch our product on a larger scale to help as many people as we can that are ready to feel better.

Karen: The Indiegogo campaign is meant to help raise money for our first major production run and it wouldn’t just help Sano Ti Amo but it would help millions of people who suffer from chronic pain. The funds would help us get off the ground and start helping others. Our product is a need based one for patients with conditions like fibromyalgia, shingles, neuropathy, neck & back pain, and even acute injuries to name a few.



Sean HockingSean HockingMarch 13, 2019


Here’s their press release in full…….DeJoy, Knauf & Blood LLP Launches Cannabis and Hemp Advisory Practice

DKB’s expertise and experience with other regulated industries, especially the alcoholic beverage market, can help make sure businesses get it right

ROCHESTER, N.Y., March 12, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — DeJoy, Knauf & Blood LLP (“DKB”), a leading Upstate New York-based business advisory and CPA firm, has announced the launch of its Cannabis and Hemp Advisory practice area. The new practice leverages the firm’s in-depth cannabis and hemp industry knowledge and expertise of the tax implications, regulatory environment, as well as critical operating and financial procedures. DKB is among the first firms in New York State, and one of only a handful across the country, to establish a practice area dedicated to serving this complicated yet growing market.  

The Cannabis and Hemp Advisory practice will provide counsel and support to existing businesses, start-ups, and ancillary service providers within the cannabis industry, especially in the areas of: tax planning; compliance with section 280E of the U.S. tax code; banking procedures; accounting policies and procedures; licensing; operating policies; outsourced accounting; referrals to ancillary service providers; and general business consulting.

Section 280E, is just one critical area that those operating in the cannabis industry must consider.  The Federal statute states that a business engaging in the trafficking of a Schedule I or II controlled substance (such as cannabis) is barred from taking tax deductions (other than cost of sales) or credits. In short, cannabis entrepreneurs must pay taxes on all of their gross margin without the benefit of being able to deduct other common business expenses such as payroll and rent to reduce their taxable income. Careful planning surrounding 280E is one of the many ways that DKB will help cannabis business owners maximize after tax cash.

Morgan Hopkins, CPA, senior manager, who will lead the new practice area with Amy Brisson, CPA and partner, commented, “From a mis-step in the licensing process, to incorrectly structuring a banking relationship, to improper reporting of taxable income, these traditionally simple processes could immediately put a cannabis entrepreneur out of business. DKB understands the challenges and can help clients navigate these unchartered waters. Bottom line, we’ll help clients get it right.”

The DKB announcement comes as hemp-based products continue to proliferate the market with more than 25,000 products across nine sub-markets, including food and beverage, paper, personal care, and more – with sales expected to hit $1 billion by 2020.  The sale of hemp-based products is currently legal federally. The legalization of the adult recreational use of cannabis is expected to become reality with the adoption of the 2019-2020 New York State budget. Similar decriminalization initiatives are being considered in states across the country and even at the Federal level – and is expected nationwide by 2025.

Mark Blood, co-founder and partner at DKB said, “As a firm we go well beyond providing CPA services to our clients. We’re recognized business consultants who dig into the categories in which our clients compete to advise and support them on critical business decisions. The development of an emerging industry like Hemp and Cannabis comes with a lot of confusion and blurred legality. Our research into the intricacies of the hemp and cannabis industry, and our ability to cut through the confusion, made this new practice area a logical extension of our business.”

It’s not enough that the business of Hemp and Cannabis is confusing, so is the difference between the two. Hemp typically contains a higher concentration of the cannabinoid CBD, and a very low concentration of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC. On the contrary, cannabis typically has higher concentrations of THC regardless of the CBD concentrations. Hemp is legal in all 50 states, while cannabis is currently illegal under Federal law.

DKB’s launch of this new cannabis and hemp practice area is not to endorse the use of cannabis, but rather to support a growing industry and make sure companies are conducting business properly. DKB currently has clients that operate in the Hemp industry ranging from growers to retail stores.  The firm also advises multiple cannabis entrepreneurs and start-up companies.  

DKB supports clients in other regulated industries – wineries, liquor stores, and breweries – so there is every expectation that using key learnings from these industries that they can help their cannabis and hemp clients get it right – especially in the area of compliance with State and Federal regulations.

Here’s a selection of articles they’ve written already

  1. DKB Launches Cannabis and Hemp Advisory Practice

    Home » News » DKB Launches Cannabis and Hemp Advisory Practice

    The new practice leverages the firm’s in-depth cannabis and hemp industry knowledge and expertise of the tax implications, regulatory environment, as well as critical operating and financial procedures. DKB is among the first firms in New York State, and one of only a handful across the country, to establish a practice area dedicated to serving this complicated yet growing market.


  2. Will Banks get a Hit of the Cannabis Industry?

    Home » Blogs » Will Banks get a Hit of the Cannabis Industry?

    A subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives recently took up a bill that would protect banks and their employees doing business with legal cannabis enterprises.  On February 13th members of the House Financial Services Subcommittee heard testimony from representatives in the financial sector, the cannabis industry, law enforcement, and the treasurer of California in support of legislation that would make it easier for banks to work with legal cannabis businesses without fear of federal prosecution.


  3. NYS Budget and Cannabis Reform

    Home » Blogs » NYS Budget and Cannabis Reform

    On January 15, 2019, NYS released its budget for fiscal year 2020. This budget includes a provision which would legalize adult recreational use of cannabis in New York State. This change would provide myriad business opportunities both to entrepreneurs interested in starting a cannabis businesses, and to existing ancillary businesses which could serve the cannabis industry.


  4. The (proposed) STATES Act: Federal Cannabis Reform

    Home » Blogs » The (proposed) STATES Act: Federal Cannabis Reform

    Earlier today, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Garnder (R-CO) announced their bipartisan bill* titled Strengthening the Tenth Amendment by Entrusting States Act (STATES Act). The following is a preliminary summary of the abstract from the senators’ press release and our interpretations of what’s to come in the cannabis industry in response to this bill.


  5. Hemp Legalization

    Home » Blogs » Hemp Legalization

    With the passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, hemp is officially legal in the United States meaning that states may now apply to start producing hemp and hemp-derived products under the Department of Agriculture’s supervision. However, there are restrictions.


  6. Hemp is (almost) Legal

    Home » Blogs » Hemp is (almost) Legal

    It was announced on December 11, 2018 that the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (AIA) is through reconciliation between the House and the Senate. The bill removes “hemp” from the definition of “marihuana” under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). This effectively makes the cultivation, processing, extraction, manufacture, and retail of hemp legal under Federal law.


  7. Taxation of Illegal Businesses

    Home » Blogs » Taxation of Illegal Businesses

    All for-profit businesses are required to pay federal income taxes on their gross income. This is true even if a taxpayer is operating an illegal business. You might be asking yourself, “Why would an illegal business voluntarily pay taxes?” Well… what about the medical and adult recreational use marijuana businesses?


Sean HockingSean HockingMarch 12, 2019


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AUTHOR: “Jordan Zoot.  “aBIZinaBOX Inc., CPA’s”


Back to the BRC – while 2015 seems like ancient history, however, that was when then Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsome’s Blue Ribbon Commission published “Pathways Report – Policy Options For Regulating Marijuana in California” which contained a detailed analysis of the policy choices that were to be considered in what gave California Proposition 64 and subsequently SB 94 which led to the system of regulation for the legal cannabis industry that exists in California today.

While we could devote a book length article to a present day critique of that report we are going to limit our thoughts to a review of the Tax Policy component of the report which appears on pages 48 through 56. The section, “Taxing Marijuana” begins by noting


“The ability to tax cannabis is one of the main political reasons given to support recreational legalization. A successful tax system will need to raise money to pay for increased education, public health and enforcement costs associated with marijuana cultivation and use.”


California will have to wrestle with when and, how to tax marijuana. Each decision has trade-offs that must be considered by policymakers. Yet it still remains that a logical and effective taxation system can help establish effective broader public policy. Regulators and decision makers should consider how to set up a tax scheme that will help them achieve the core goals of legalization policy that have been stated earlier in this report.


In drafting any taxation scheme, it is important to devise a plan that can be administered and enforced effectively. Tax policy can be the driving force for public policy only if it is effectively enforced, and effective enforcement will result only from systems that can be properly administered. Tax and regulatory compliance should be simple to execute and formulated in a way that makes compliance desirable to market participants.”[1]


If we were to just STOP AND REFLECT after only having gone that far, the admonishment couldn’t have been more profound. The greatest challenges that highly regulated system which was initiated by the California Legislature and embellished by the regulatory and tax agencies they created are principally burdened by excessive complexity and difficult in both participant compliance and agency administration. We have commented at length in recent articles with our suggestions to correct both aspects.


The BRC considered the triumvirate of Price vs. Weight vs THC and ultimately adopted Price for the Cannabis Excise Tax [“CET”] and Weight for the Cannabis Cultivation Tax [“CCT”]. We are going to expressly reserve comment on the THC choice which is CLEARLY the appropriate choice for applying tax to the product of manufacturing [eg. extraction for the production of vaping cartridges and edibles].


Taxing by percentage of sale price seems easy and quick. But calculating marijuana taxes as a percentage of price creates the danger that taxes will be, at first, too high, and then later too low. Initial business start-up costs and possible shortages in supply can drive up the retail cannabis cost in the beginning, artificially creating more tax revenue. But then as businesses and the market mature and production costs go down, tax revenue will decrease.


Taxes that are too high make prices for the legal market unattractive to consumers relative to the prices for the untaxed illicit market. This results in two negative effects:


  • lower actual tax collections,
  • and a continued illicit market.


The BRC Report continues with a comment about initial experience in Colorado


“That’s why Colorado’s original 15% price-based producer tax was converted to a weight base—so the state has something it can measure.   In many cases, there is no actual producer price to tax. Colorado originally required producers to sell directly to consumers (forced vertical integration). When the producer is not a separate entity from the retailer, there is no “arm’s-length,” or actual, producer price.   The absence of an arm’s-length market price caused the state to estimate an “average market rate” which it uses to compute a weight-based tax. This average market rate, adjusted every six months, applies even to sales between unrelated parties.”[2]


We see the consequences of this approach, particularly the imputation of an arbitrary rate of mark-up in the CET. The alternative “weight-based” approach was utilized in the CCT.


The BRC notes

“A weight-based excise tax has the advantage of creating a kind of price floor under the market and guaranteeing at least some government revenue even in the event of a marijuana price collapse. Assessing tax on the basis of the weight sold raises potential arguments about when the weight should be assessed (e.g., at the farm gate, at the processor, at the retail outlet) and how to account for the fact that, as a harvested plant, marijuana will change in weight as it loses moisture.

A further challenge of a weight-based tax is that it could incentivize producers to make extremely high-potency products so as to reduce the amount of tax per unit of THC sold.”[3]


Targeting a tax directly at intoxication might seem a theoretical best practice. Some have suggested taxing THC, the primary intoxicant, directly—or adjusting the tax down for the presence of CBD, which may have a mitigating effect on THC. Indeed, measuring THC in homogeneous concentrates, before incorporation into edibles and other products, might yield reliable and replicable results. But measuring THC in raw plant material, like dried flower, is more problematic.


These products are not homogeneous. Broad-brush test results, accurate enough to warn or inform consumers, may not be accurate enough for taxation.


Our financial modelling of California’s cannabis taxes raises a couple of additional factors that have had a significant impact on behavior by participants in the cannabis supply chain. The levels of mark-up and profits sought by Cultivators vs. Distributors vs. Dispensaries have significant impact on the market. The instances of integration such as Cultivators owning distribution and manufacturing entities through Cannabis Cooperative Associations [“CCA’s] could become significant “disruptors” to the vertically integrated, larger players such as Flow Kana which have recently emerged.


There are several points in the supply chain where cannabis taxes can be assessed cultivation and at the retail level. The may be additional points for assessment of tax if manufacturing or distribution components are involved in the process. We have observed that each of the state with legal cannabis has adopted a combination of the methods in different configurations. Each of the methods has advantages and disadvantges that need to be evaluated in the context of both revenue and policy objectives. .


Also, because marijuana prices and marijuana consumption will change over time, certain types of taxes may offer more stable tax revenue and consistent after-tax prices than others.


Finally, the BRC notes


If we put aside the risks of leakage and tax evasion, late collection has certain apparent advantages – despite the “collect early” guideline. With any chosen ad valorem tax percentage on price, imposing it as late as possible gives the state more revenue, since the price of any product ordinarily rises as it passes through the supply chain. For instance, a 20% retail tax will collect more revenue than a 20% production tax, since the retail price is normally higher than the production prices. If, instead of a particular percentage, the state seeks a specific dollar amount of revenue, taxing later in the supply chain usually results in lower consumer prices, since retailers tend to add a percentage of profit margin based on their costs, including the cost of taxes.”[4]


We have no illusions [or delusions] that our thoughts will become the basis for the California regulatory and tax agencies to make change in tax rates or policy. However, what we do know is that unlike many that merely speculate about forces that impacted the highly regulated cannabis market, we have derived substantial insight by “pushing the numbers” and observing relationships between both the cost components, and the behavior of the market participants.


We hope our readers are developing a sense of those relationships as well.


[1]Pathways Report – Policy Options For Regulating Marijuana in California” at Page 48

[2] Page 49

[3] Page 50

[4] Page 53



Sean HockingSean HockingMarch 11, 2019



If you wish to re-publish this story please do so with following accreditation

AUTHOR: Glenn Johnson



The rise of social media has taught us that good storytelling and branding can go a long way to project success for any brand. They’re a gateway to customer conversations that when well done, can lead down a rabbit hole of discovery for any consumer to journey across your brand. Everyone loves an underdog, and in Cannabis more than any category represents an emerging class of new brands, new products and new experiences for consumers to listen, learn, sample and engage with.

The push-pull of the regulatory dance that’s occurring on a state by state basis in the US has unleashed a mashup of start-ups at every level of the industry’s verticals. Not everything is rainbows and sunshine however, and we’re all too familiar with seeing websites, social media, packaging and branding decisions that fall short in one way shape or form or another. It is quite honestly what drives me in my own work to address the needs of businesses as they’re getting started or pivoting into a larger scale.


From soil to oil, flowers and beyond, every brand has a unique challenge to overcome when it comes to your “branding” efforts. What people see, and what they remember may be two different things. For start-ups and entrepreneurs in the Cannabis space, there are some basic caveats that apply and should be used as a benchmark as you go about introducing yourself to the market in which you do business.


STEP ONE is to refine or define your Brand Identity. A company’s brand identity is what it says about who it is – the products or service it delivers, the quality it gives customers, its advantages over competing brands and what makes it unique. That’s a fancy way of being clear about who you are and what you sell. You will need to codify and agree upon a clarified brand meaning which aligns with your brand goals (setting these goals are manifold related to the market categories you serve, pricing and inventories, more on that later).


STEP TWO is your Brand Image, which is how a brand is perceived by the public, what they see, what they will remember–the overall Look & Feel of your brand. You want to work to ensure the brand assets align with your Brand Identity so that the end consumer, be it B2B wholesale or B2C Sales and social media makes sense and adds value to your business, whether its driven by price or perception.


STEP THREE is to align your “Branding” with the markets you serve and letting your brand live in the space in which you do business. Take the remarkable start-up NW Nectar, a Tier 3 Producer / Processor in Spokane, WA who, “works to provide great experiences to our retailers and customers.” Their collection of brands reflect a kickass appeal from the native northwest, from the Great PNW to their Lefty’s brand (which reckons back to the notorious “left hand cigarette,” which cannabis was once known as. Evolving beyond stigmas of yesterday to create something pleasantly nostalgic with an air of mystery and includes their portfolio is a bevy of wonders and includes Trips Kitchen, with its own unique iconography.



I bring you these thoughts, sparked by the remarkable infographic, The Art of Cannabis Culture, from the thoughtful folks at the They know a thing or two about the visualization of a brand from their extensive printing experience and have some terrific examples of winners in the category too, many you’ve heard of like Marley’s Natural and Kiva Confections to smaller brands from Cali like Lola Lola who’s colorful confections aim to: Enhance. Every. Experience.

There’s a lot to take in here, and it’s not laid out in any particular sequence, but the Optics takeaways are a great reference point for any brand. These tips dovetail well with the steps I’ve outlined above, which are in fact from the approach I’ve found successful working with brands of every size, from larger brands in Spirits like Maker’s Mark and Knob Creek’s small batch collection to smaller brands and start-ups in numerous verticals including Cannabis. It’s definitely worth saving and sharing with your teams as you go about building your business. I welcome your feedback in the comments, and any opportunity to ask me any specific questions via email if you’d like.


About Glenn Johnson

I am a Marketing, Branding and Communications Consultant w/ experience in high-touch luxury consumer marketing in the travel/hospitality, wine/spirits, fashion/beauty/grooming and Cannabis categories. My talents include Branding & Brand development, Business Building, Strategy and Brand Storytelling. I excel in working with Founders, funders, start-ups, and small brands.


Previously I was co-founder & moderator for the Creative Mind Salon series hosted at Soho House NY w/ industry innovators, creatives & decision makers from fashion, film, photography, music and digital industries which provided IRL intelligent discourse amongst highly-curated leading edge creatives. I can be contacted at Connect with me on LINKEDIN:


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