Sean Hocking, Author at Green Market Report - Page 2 of 2

Sean HockingSean HockingMay 10, 2019


The states,  Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, the Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.


The letter, scroll down to see each signatory…


Sean HockingSean HockingMay 7, 2019


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

AUTHOR: Glenn Johnson


I’d like to take the opportunity to continue with the Marketing/Branding points brought up in my previous column in the Brand Identity Infographic and focus on a few points related to the look/feel and mission/vision of building your brand for scale.


Defining your brand is paramount. Define who you are, what you stand for and who you are not. Provide a relevant point of view to the market you serve and develop your brand message & voice to match it. This can begin simply by either looking at the work you’ve done to date in developing your brand to ensure it all aligns with a relevant point of view, or, from the nascent stages of developing your brand by defining a mission statement. This can be done in your own vernacular, from be a kickass cannabis brand that provides unique strains” to “providing quality craft cannabis to a connoisseur seeking an experience.”


Communicate the values and mission of your company. Be clear on what sets you apart, and define the audiences with whom you want to do business. Simply placing product on shelves isn’t enough if you want to play the long game here. Building a brand is important now more than ever as larger investments are infusing money into the market that is quickly eclipsing some of the smaller players.


We as an industry can learn a lot from the work alcohol of brands who’ve faced regulations and constrictions on doing business over the years post-prohibition and which continue to struggle for awareness and consumption in a crowded market. There are innumerable similarities to what makes these brands different, unique or special, taste, of course is paramount, as well as consistency, quality of ingredients and origin story are all important across every vertical.


The larger portfolio companies that control the most ubiquitous brands in alcohol have spent millions to garner their share of the market. These behemoth producers have also adapted to the younger consumers who are seeking “experiences.” Pernod Ricard CEO Alexandre Ricard has made a shift away from category-to-category competition (our vodka vs. their vodka) to what he likes to call the “five key moments of conviviality” it’s portfolio of brands are targeting, including “Let Loose, High-End Drinks, Hanging Out, Out to Impress, and Sharing a Drink.”


Consumers of alcohol have also adapted for years as brands identify themselves as an experience, as part of the consumers life, that unlocks something special for them. It’s been said that in the last 25 years we’ve gone from a label culture (which Absolut did an amazing job in the 80’s/90’s of establishing) to a craft culture of terroir and small batch distillations.


Listen to your customer wants, needs and requests and deliver upon them. What experience are you providing your customers? Vendor days are an important opportunity to engage with consumers and LISTEN to what they’re saying to you about how, when and why the purchase product. Empower your sales team to listen, and capture insights so that you can learn more about the markets in which you’re doing business, and build marketing and messaging to adapt and adopt these as appropriate for your brand.

Create experiences for your customers that are memorable and positive, and shareable.

More and more, alcoholic beverage brands, as well as many/any CPG product brands are turning the spotlight on their customers themselves, mining content and insights from social platforms in order to uncover trends, preferences, and lifestyles.


Content can be used to create loyalty and drive better customer relationships.


Create a content strategy. Apply your Mission Statement, who you are, to what you say and what you show on your social media, you can’t be everything to everyone so it’s important to maintain your integrity and post meaningful content, don’t oversell your brand, be real, be informative, optimistic and friendly. Listen to which posts resonate most with your audiences and track this to emulate in future postings.


For example from a recent Greenentrepreneur post: We can teach the importance of knowing your farmer, your source and the process by which your chosen product was made. We in the cannabis business can help consumers understand their power to support the artisans and stories that resonate with their heart — not just their pocket book. Educate your consumers on the power of their voice.


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.

CONTACT ME via email at:

Connect with me on  LINKEDIN:

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.

Sean HockingSean HockingMay 7, 2019

If you wish to re-publish this story please do so with following accreditation
AUTHOR:  “Jordan Zoot.  “aBIZinaBOX Inc., CPA’s


We were prompted to write this article by Joe Kukura’s article “Pot Growers Nipped in the Bud by Bureaucratic Bungle.” We agree with the article. CalCannabis created a gigantic debacle with its licensing of cultivators. However, a more accurate statement is, “CalCannabis is a gigantic blunder.”

Joe Kukura

“Biggest” depends on your perspective and audience. For those growers who are facing a loss of livelihood for trying to be good citizens of California and comply with the law, the errors made by CalCannabis in its regulation of cannabis cultivation have created a life-changing disaster. For some such growers, CalCannabis’ blundering regulation of cannabis cultivation will produce the most significant crisis of a lifetime, but “biggest” is not the right adjective. Historically, putting small growers out of business for no good reason has started revolutions. However, in the instance of California cannabis growers, the actions of CalCannabis will likely to only further sour contempt for government regulation.


The screw-up of the roll-out of the regulation of cannabis cultivation by CalCannabis was inexcusable. However, we must be realistic. CalCannabis does not appear to have made the worst blunders of cannabis regulation. What about the hundreds of millions of dollars of missing cannabis tax revenue? What about the thriving underground cannabis market? What about the booming “semi-underground” market? What about the cities and counties that sold licenses for the fees the sales would generate while imposing taxes that render the operation of cannabis businesses in the same cities and counties not competitive? What about the counties that sold cultivation licenses and then decided to prohibit cannabis cultivation?


The present state of the regulation of cannabis cultivation by CalCannabis is no more than a pronounced symptom of the debacle of California’s roll-out of cannabis regulation. Do not misapprehend our comments.

The disaster of that expiring temporary cultivation licenses reflect is gigantic! Heads should roll!

However, this particular screw-up by CalCannabis is just a symptom of a much more severe problem. Those who are interested in California’s cannabis industry for any reason – whether to tax it, or to earn a living in it, or to build a successful business in it, or to secure medicine from it – need to focus on determining why California’s roll-out of regulation is a debacle.


To determine what can be done to right the ship, one must first determine why the ship went belly-up.


There are a myriad of reasons the roll-out of cannabis regulation in California has proved a debacle. We have addressed some of the reasons in other articles. See [[. We have primarily focused on issues relating to financial record-keeping and tax reporting for the business entities involved in moving cannabis from a cultivator to a consumer. Financial record-keeping and tax reporting are our areas of expertise. We stick to our area of expertise.


It is unlikely we could successfully grow cannabis even though it is a weed. We fully understand we have limited knowledge of cultivation, processing, extraction, and testing. Thousands know more about these aspects of the cannabis industry than we do. We can, however, make any cannabis business more profitable for its owners through more effective business practices and financial record-keeping. Our ability to make cannabis businesses more profitable is, of course, to one major exception. We cannot make more profitable those cannabis businesses that, in whole or in part, succeed through unreported transactions.


We need to return to the reason we decided to write this article. The regulation of cannabis presents several difficult and complex problems. If these problems are going to be successfully addressed, the causes of the problems must be understood. If one is going to determine the cause of a problem, one has to understand the problem entirely.


Let’s look a little more carefully at the numbers in Joe Kukara’s article.


If Joe Kukura’s article is read carefully, the article minimizes the travesty of the licensing of growers by CalCannabis. If 1,000 growers have 235 acres of canopy, the average licensed grower has 10,000 square feet of canopy. If California needs four times the canopy it has at present through licensed growers to satisfy market demands, California does not need half of the growers with expiring temporary licenses. Why should anyone care that CalCannabis is not issuing licenses to growers that the market does not need?


Let’s look at the numbers from a different perspective. At the end of 2017, Humboldt County estimated it had 10,000 cannabis growers. Many have now left for better climates, but a substantial number remain. Only a few Humboldt County farmed 10,000 square feet of canopy. If Humboldt County still has 6,000 growers, and each has 5,000 square feet of canopy, an Executive Order granting cultivation licenses to all Humboldt County cultivators would solve California’s retail market shortage with a single signature.


Consider the political and regulatory benefits for California from the preceding. All California cannabis would come from Humboldt County except for those licenses already issued in other counties. Other counties would not face political battles over whether or not to allow cultivation. Humboldt County has a Track and Trace Program. All Californians would have access to Humboldt County cannabis. Humboldt County would be restored to its historical prominence as the source of the best.


The preceding, of course, is facetious. The preceding is also outrageous. There are substantial enclaves of small cannabis cultivators all over California. Small cannabis growers throughout California are entitled to slices of the cannabis pie. We decided to be outrageous to focus our readers on how California is destroying its cannabis industry under the guise of regulation.


We need to look at another aspect of the numbers in Joe Kukura’s article before we move on to solutions. The article does not go behind the gross amounts of canopy. All square feet of canopy are not equal. While traditional outdoor cultivation may yield only a single crop each year, light-deprivation greenhouse grows can yield multiple crops. Indoor grows can generate a new crop every six weeks. Two thousand square feet of the indoor canopy can produce as much cannabis as 20,000 square feet of outdoor canopy.


If the data that Joe Kukara used for his article is examined, it will be immediately apparent a very substantial portion of those who have already successfully navigated the CalCannabis licensing process are well-financed, well-advised growers, including many newcomers to the industry. The “green wave” has been replaced by a wave of corporate carpetbaggers. CalCannabis has thoughtlessly created a cannabis cultivation licensing system that caters to the corporate carpetbaggers who are taking over California’s cannabis industry. We are confident the 400 growers a day that Joe Kukura described as losing the right to participate in California’s commercial cannabis industry are primarily small growers.


The preceding describes symptoms. We are looking for the causes of the problem in order to find a cure, or at least some relief, from the pains of California’s cannabis regulation debacle. We believe there are four principal reasons the licensing of growers by CalCannabis is a debacle:

(1) The Legislature did not provide California’s regulatory agencies with an adequate mandate.

(2) The Bureau of Cannabis Control (“BCC”) failed to provide adequate guidance, coordination, and oversight.

(3) CalCannabis failed to secure a sufficient knowledge and understanding of the industry before it started making decisions regarding regulation.

(4) CalCannabis engaged in bureaucratic empire-building.


The last two items are summary statements of the principal reasons CalCannabis has turned cultivation licensing into a debacle. These reasons are solely on the doorstep of CalCannabis. CalCannabis is responsible for correcting its screw-up. The screw-ups of CalCannabis relating to the licensing of cultivators, however, were produced by the failure of the Legislature to provide California’s regulatory agencies with an adequate mandate as well as by the failure of BCC to provide adequate guidance, coordination and oversight to the various portions of the agencies that became involved in the regulation of cannabis in California.


CalCannabis can rectify its errors, although it is incredibly tricky for a bureaucratic agency to correct its mistakes. This flows from the very nature of a bureaucratic agency. Regulations and the related processes and procedures are extensively vetted even though the vetting process frequently consists of many individuals buying into the same error. As a consequence, bureaucratic momentum is challenging to alter let alone reverse. A change in the direction in which a bureaucracy is moving generally can be accomplished solely through direction from above.


We doubt CalCannabis can rectify its errors. BCC could have prevented these errors from occurring if it had provided adequate guidance, coordination, and oversight to CalCannabis, but it did not do so. BCC is handicapped at this point by the same bureaucratic momentum that handicaps CalCannabis. The Legislature, of course, only enacts the laws. On many occasions, the Legislature explains why it is enacting laws and what it wants to accomplish. The Legislature can undoubtedly explain how its mandate is not being carried out, or clarify and amplify its mandate, but administrative agencies generally heed a legislature only if funding is threatened.


The last and best hope for California’s cannabis industry may well be Governor Gavin Newsom. As we have pointed out on other occasions, many of the problems that have developed in California’s roll-out of cannabis regulation were foretold in the Report of the Blue Ribbon Commission. Governor Newsom was a leader of the Commission. Decisive action by the Office of the Governor could swiftly rectify several problems that have arisen in California’s roll-out of cannabis regulation.

About Us

The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


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