Media Archives - Green Market Report

Anne Marie Fischer MoodieAnne Marie Fischer MoodieSeptember 17, 2018
woman-3.jpg

4min590

Chris Russo is asking for the help of the cannabis community to finish Lady Buds, a documentary following California 6 women in the cannabis industry for over a year as they transition from the grey to legal markets.

Calling them “modern-day superheroes”, the film follows Karyn Wagner, who supports farmers in Humboldt County; Felicia Carbajal, a restorative justice advocate for minorities; Chiah Rodriques, a second-generation cannabis farmer; Sue Taylor, who is opening a dispensary for seniors; and long-time cannabis culture participants The Bud Sisters.

Each woman has unique struggles, from their social justice quest to hold industry officials accountable, to getting farmers’ products to the legal market, to facing licensing issues while opening a dispensary.

“I had a panic attack,” says Chiah Rodriques of the new regulations for legal cannabis in Calfornia. “To have the threat of the looming industry, the tsunami wave coming, we’re all feeling trepidatious and nervous about it,” she explains as she prepares to move into legal markets.  

The profiles of each woman offer a “personal portrait” into the struggles, and triumphs, of this new era of legalization in California.

Kickstarter Campaign

The Kickstarter campaign comes after recognizing that resources to finish production of Lady Buds have run dry, with Russo describing the project as “mostly self-funded on sweat and credit cards”.

“We can change hearts and minds around cannabis healing through the power of film,” says Russo in her Kickstarter campaign, “I have reached a point where I can’t bring this film to completion on my own, which is why I’m turning to you and the community at large for support on Kickstarter.”

“Lady Buds is not just my film — it’s OUR film,” says Russo.

The film promises to be filled with twists and turns when some truths about the legalization process come to the surface.

Why should the cannabis community rally around Lady Buds?

“Because you support women’s films, you care about social justice, and you care about cannabis as medicine,” says Russo, “You’re helping expose the truth about legalization.”

So far, the Kickstarter campaign has reached half of it’s $50,000 goal.

Donate to the campaign here, where you can get incentives for your donation from credit in the film, to a consultation with Russo, or be invited to the Lady Buds wrap party: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ladybuds/lady-buds-the-definitive-documentary-on-women-in-w/description


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtAugust 9, 2018
hightimes-1.jpg

5min81710

The longest-running marijuana media company High Times is launching an unfiltered “over-the-top” online streaming-video product called High Times TV. The channel is live now on tv.hightimes.com and available as an app for iOS, Apple TV, Android and Roku.

HTTV  was created in order to give a home to the best cannabis-related videos across the internet. In turn, creators and fans will get a much-needed resource to find entertainment and information that continues to come under fire from traditional outlets that have tried to restrict content featuring marijuana. You may recall that recently, YouTube began deleting Spanish language cannabis related channels. 

With a heavy focus on the end user, High Times partnered with Unreel to help develop HTTV apps. The platform has been integrated with Unreel’s digital ad networks – including Roku and Google Ad Manager – in an effort to create new monetization opportunities for creators in the space. Notable talent already using the platform include CustomGrow420, StrainCentral, Ruffhouse Studios, High Rise TV, Stoner Mom, The Green Market Report and That High Couple with new content from Now This Weed, Doug Benson’s ‘Getting Doug with High’ and more coming soon.

“While High Times has built a powerful subscriber base across print, digital and social media, it’s not enough to just produce content for those platforms,” said High Times CEO Adam Levin. “The huge demand for mobile-friendly premium video includes a real hunger for the cannabis-related content that social-media sites are all too often blocking. High Times’ new channel intends to satisfy that hunger, ensuring that we can reach our loyal audience wherever they may be, on whatever platform they use. It’s another way to serve our fans.”

Through a standalone, ad-supported web channel, High Times will aggregate and curate the best of that content in one place, providing a one-stop shop for fans and brands alike to connect with the best of Cannabis creative content. High Times TV will feature such content as cultivation and extraction lessons, comedy shorts, behind-the-scenes exclusives from High Times’ Cannabis Cup events, and vlogs from some of the industry’s most notable influencers

“Even in 2018, the truth about cannabis use is being silenced by major platforms,” said Joshua Young, founder of StrainCentral. “Social Media doesn’t want us to exist and propaganda is ruining society’s views on a harmless plant. Just as High Times has done since the 70’s, we’re here to provide a voice for the unspoken, and to champion this gift of the earth.”

“HTTV allows society to see actual insight into cannabis use and its users, and provides us creators with the means to keep up the fight,” said Young. “In a time where YouTube is demonetizing, and Instagram is purging our pages, High Times is a safe space.”

High Times recently launched a crowd funding campaign as it continues its plans to become a publicly traded company. Initial indications were that the company was met with a positive response from retail investors eager to get in early on a cannabis IPO.

 


shutterstock_546593740-1280x805.jpg

7min1800

Part 4 of 8 of the 2018 Cannabis Trends: Welcome to Hollyweed

Another emerging trend in the cannabis industry is the growing level of comfort between Hollywood and cannabis. Although it’s no secret that many Hollywood stars have been known to indulge in cannabis use from time to time, most have been reluctant to publicly open up about their affinity for cannabis. But now that recreational cannabis is legal in California, it seems like every celebrity with even a modicum of fame is rushing to cash in on the legal cannabis industry.

Before recreational cannabis became legal in California, there were already a handful of daring celebrities that launched their own cannabis brands.

As an ardent medical cannabis advocate, Montel Williams was one of the first celebrities to dive feet first into the cannabis industry. In 2016, Williams launched the medical cannabis lifestyle brand Lentiv; which sells hemp-based CBD supplements and cannabis oils.

Melissa Etheridge was also one of the first celebrities out of the gate; in 2014 she released her own brand of cannabis wine called Know Label. Although marketed as a wine, Know Label is technically classified as a tincture as current California law forbids the selling of products that mix alcohol and cannabis.

To the surprise of no one, Snoop Dogg and Tommy Chong launched their own cannabis brands; Leafs by Snoop and Chong’s Choice.

As legalization spread throughout the country, becoming more of a question of when than if, more celebrities have come out of the woodwork. Willie Nelson has Willie’s Reserve, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop recently teamed up with the cannabis dispensary chain MedMen, and Whoopi Goldberg has Whoopi & Maya.

Not every cannabis loving celebrity wants to start their own brand, however, some just want to consume it. For those famous folk, a whole host of high-end luxury cannabis brands have started to take Hollywood by storm.

To start, the boutique hotel group Standard International has teamed up with the edibles maker Lord Jones to open a retail cannabis shop in the lobby of the Standard Hollywood, located on Sunset Boulevard. Once open, the shop will be stocked with high end cannabis products; both edible and smokeable.

During this year’s Academy Awards, the artisanal cannabis distributor Flow Kana became the first cannabis brand to hand out cannabis gift bags at the awards ceremony. Each bag contained several pre-rolled joints and jars of cannabis.

While stoner comedies have been a staple of Hollywood for decades, the same cannot be said of television; that is, until the last couple of years. The web series High Maintenance, which centers on a cannabis delivery man in New York, was picked up by HBO in 2016 and has been met with rave reviews.

Similarly, the streaming giant Netflix has already produced two cannabis-centered television shows, Disjointed and Cooking on High. Although neither show has been met with particularly favorable reviews, the fact that its subject matter is no longer controversial demonstrates the far reaching mainstream appeal of cannabis.

For all intents and purposes, cannabis has gone mainstream in Hollywood. In the short-term future, look for more celebrities entering into the cannabis industry, either with their own brand or as a partner with an existing company. Most of these brands will either fail commercially or simply fail to distinguish themselves; although the brands that lean into the luxury market will have a better chance of survival. Expect to see more awards shows and elite events embrace cannabis and don’t be surprised when joints become as common as a glass of champagne.

In the long-term, however, expect to see cannabis become boring. With more celebrities coming out about their cannabis use, more television shows about cannabis being produced, and more cultural institutions generally embracing cannabis; smoking a joint will no longer be seen as cool or edgy or anything other than normal.

You can download the 2018 Cannabis Trend Report for free by clicking here.


StaffStaffJuly 18, 2018
shutterstock_236010955-1-1280x853.jpg

16min12600

Part 1 of 8 2018 Cannabis Trends: Female leadership on the rise.

They say the future is female, and there are few places where that is more apparent than in the cannabis industry. Once thought of as a male-dominated industry, women have quickly claimed their place as leaders in this burgeoning industry.

According to Marijuana Business Daily, women make up approximately 27% of C-Suite level positions in the cannabis industry, which doesn’t sound like much until you realize that the national average is only 23%. What is unsettling, is that in 2015 women held 36% of executive control. That is almost a 10% loss of leadership positioning in less than 3 years.

As the market matures, and continues to begin attracting more institutional capital, female entrepreneurs will have to work at keeping the industry a level playing field. And collectively, that is what the trends reveal that they are doing.

For women in cannabis, it has become a badge of honor to know that within their new burgeoning industry ready to take the globe by storm, they hold the largest percentage of ownership, management and control of any industry in the world for their gender. Therefore upon recognition of the possibility of losing that title, the women have begun to band together and work toward the goal of making cannabis the first industry in the world to achieve 50% female control.

When you drill down into specific segments of the cannabis industry, you start to see even more women in leadership positions.

For example, among cannabis dispensaries, women make up approximately 35% C-Suite level positions. That number rises even higher for ancillary cannabis brands, of which women comprise approximately 42% of executive level positions. Canadian medical cannabis company Tilray has the first female majority board of directors in the industry.

But the board room is not the only place in the cannabis industry where women are shining. Over the last few years, there has been a groundswell in the number of cannabis industry organizations made for and by women.

Perhaps the most well-known industry group for women in the cannabis industry is Women Grow. Founded in 2014 by cannabis personality Jane West, the group’s original goal was to help make the cannabis industry the first women-led billion dollar industry.

When initially launched, Women Grow was massively successful and soon dozens of chapters began sprouting up all across the country. But in recent years the organization has run into trouble; chapters have been closing and key leaders have left. Women Grow is currently in a transitional period. Hopes for a healthy, strong future have become possible for the organization with a new leadership team in place. However, the obstacles that Women Grow have faced has not stopped others from stepping in and helping to fill the void.

There are credible organizations that were created to help women in the cannabis industry in a general capacity, such as Ellementa, and Industry Power Women (IPW), that specifically bridge the gap between female entrepreneurs and the resources they require to succeed in business. Other organizations have been created to specifically help women of color, like Supernova Women and Women Abuv Ground.

In addition, women have come together and organized their efforts, creating groups that promote support, collaboration and solidarity. These networks are being forged through platforms like Facebook. The most popular one, Women Entrepreneurs in Cannabis, spearheaded by Kadin Academy and the creator of Cannabiz Connection, provides an exclusive environment for industry-specific discussions. Members of the network are approved for inclusion based on a set of criteria intended to keep the group focused and beneficial to women in cannabis business.

IPW has developed a multi-media production series in partnership with Benzinga and DCN Media titled the “Wonder Women of Weed.” This series highlights the most accomplished and exceptional women in the cannabis industry, and has been featured on Yahoo Finance, Entrepreneur, CNN Money and other mass media outlets. Furthermore, Entrepreneur Magazine’s new cannabis focused publication, Green Entrepreneur, now has a regular column titled “Women In Green.”

Conferences and events geared specifically towards connecting and advancing a sense of camaraderie among women in the cannabis industry have increased significantly since the beginning of 2018. Workshops such as those conducted by the Cannabis Women’s Empowerment Society are frequently conducted to help women navigate operation of all aspects in running a cannabis business.

Newer groups such as High Times Women’s Council of High Times Magazine host their popular Women of Weed event series. MJ Lifestyle Magazine, IPW and even the investor network Arcview Group are now hosting regular brunches centered specifically around women.  

On the consumer side of the cannabis industry, women are also starting to take center stage. One survey by the Cannabis Consumers Coalition found that 53% of respondents were women, compared to 42% for men. Although the survey did not provide a complete snapshot of cannabis, it nonetheless underscores the growing importance of women as cannabis consumers.

This growing importance has also given rise to an explosion of women-centered cannabis brands. A great example is Garden Society, which offers low-dose, high-end edible cannabis products for women. There are also brands like Treat Yourself, Moxie Meds, Kikoko, Quim Rock, Mary Jane’s Medicinals, Strain Print, Baked at Home, and the list goes on. Perhaps the most famous cannabis brand for women is Whoopi Goldberg’s line of medical cannabis products designed to help provide relief from menstrual discomfort, Whoopi & Maya.

Not only are there a growing number of women-oriented cannabis brands, there’s also a huge uptick in the number of investment opportunities for women. Since its founding in 2011, Pipeline Angels has helped more than 50 female-owned companies raise more than $5 million. Other services, like Ellevest, help provide the tools and assistance for women to become the investors themselves.

Recognizing the increased power of women investors, some sites have even taken to aggregating women-centered investing resources; such as 37 Angels and Crunchbase.

According to Forbes, fewer than 6% of decision-makers at venture capital firms in the United States are women. In 2016, while male entrepreneurs received more than $58 billion in funding, female entrepreneurs received 1.46 billion, approximately 2.5% of what men received.

Within the cannabis industry, female investors such as Emily Paxhia, Tahira Rehmatullah and Vivien Azar lead the way in financing the best deals the space has to offer, while providing special attention to promising female entrepreneurs. Lori Ferrara, Gaynell Rogers and Lindy Snider have come together to form a fund specifically targeting women owned and operated cannabis businesses called Treehouse Global Ventures.

In the short-term, expect to see women take charge and become drivers in the cannabis industry. This is a trend that you can see in almost every aspect of the economy, but its presence is felt most in the cannabis space where there are fewer entrenched interests than in other industries. The long-term projection for women in the cannabis industry is more or less the same as the short term. Women will continue to grow their power and influence in the cannabis industry and will most likely achieve greater equality than in other sectors of the economy.  

You can download the 2018 Cannabis Trend Report for free by clicking here.


StaffStaffJuly 17, 2018
shutterstock_468875354-1280x806.jpg

6min6430

So far, 2018 has been a huge year for the cannabis industry; but where is it all heading? In AxisWire’s 2018 Cannabis Trend Report, we take a look at some of the biggest developments in the cannabis industry so far this year and provide insight as to where the market trends suggest they will be headed.

Here’s a sneak peak:

Women in Cannabis
Women are gaining greater ground in the cannabis industry. Women hold approximately 27% of C-Suite level positions in the cannabis industry. The last year has seen an explosion of industry organizations dedicated to advancing women in the industry, like IPW and Women Grow. There is also a growing number of women-owned cannabis brands, like Garden Society, as well as brands marketing specifically to women, such as Whoopi & Maya.

Cannabis Stocks
Bolstered by legal cannabis in Canada and by increasingly impotent federal enforcement in the United States, the number of cannabis companies going public is on the rise. Companies like Canopy Growth and Cronos Group have gone public on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, respectively. Additionally, several US companies are gearing up to go public in Canada; including Acreage Holdings, Dixie Brands Inc., and MJIC Inc.

AgTech
Agricultural technology in the cannabis industry is set to see some big changes. Cannabis giants like Aurora and Canopy are starting to build massive grow operations and as such as are looking for ways to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Cannabis growers are beginning to favor CMH lighting over LEDs and HPS lighting, primarily due to its low costs and high Color Rendering Index Score. Automation is also an avenue that cultivators are exploring to reduce costs, including cannabis trimming robots.

Welcome to Hollyweed
Hollywood is slowly becoming more comfortable with its relationship with cannabis. Encouraged by recreational cannabis becoming legal in California, there has been an upswell of celebrity cannabis brands; such as Montel Williams’ Lentiv. Likewise, there has been an increase in cannabis-related television shows, and award shows like the Academy Awards have started allowing cannabis gift bags.

Infused Cannabis Beverages
Beverages infused with cannabis stand to be the next big thing in the industry. Several large beer companies have already expressed interest in making craft cannabis beverages; including the brewing company Lagunitas. Independent cannabis companies have also begun to branch out into the world of cannabis beverages; including a number of cannabis-based wines, such as the new luxury brand coming to market SAKA.

Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
Like other industries, cannabis has fallen head over heels for cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Due to the disconnect between state and federal cannabis laws, some companies have resorted to launching Initial Coin Offerings as a way to raise money. Additionally, larger cannabis companies have begun to develop blockchain-based software systems to help manage seed-to-sale tracking as well as point-of-sale technology.

International Trade
Cannabis’ newfound legality in Canada has led several cannabis companies to seek out international markets. A lack of infrastructure in medical cannabis markets, such as Germany, have presented an opportunity for cannabis companies to gain some short-term profit and some long-term benefits. By setting up in developing markets, larger cannabis companies have the chance to establish a footprint before local businesses even get off the ground.

Music Industry & Cannabis
A growing number of famous musicians are starting to stake a claim in the cannabis industry. Legends like Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson have launched their own cannabis brands, and business savvy rock stars like Gene Simmons have started to make investments in this growing industry. Some aspiring musicians are also hoping to make a name for themselves by using cannabis itself to spread awareness of their music.

You can download the 2018 Cannabis Trend Report for free by clicking here.

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJune 19, 2018
hightimes-1.jpg

7min5160

Long-time cannabis media company High Times is launching an equity crowdfunding program under the SEC’s Reg. A+ process. The company had made plans in 2017 to go public following a merger with Origo Acquisition company, but so far the deal hasn’t closed.  With the crowdfunding campaign, High Times will offer investors a chance to buy shares before the delayed initial public offering.

The Reg. A+ stock is to be priced at $11 a share and the company is saying that this will be a 10% discount to its planned price on NASDAQ.  The shares are available for purchase at hightimes.com/invest. For some reason, the company statement says that “Investors can buy one of the first Cannabis-related stocks expected to go public.” Yet, there are already hundreds of cannabis-related stocks that are publicly traded.

“It was important to me that this offering be open to anyone who wants to join this historic moment, not just those with big brokerage accounts,” said CEO Adam Levin. “We’re becoming one of the first Cannabis-focused companies publicly traded on the Nasdaq. We got here in no small part because of our incredible audience, who have been supporting High Times for decades. As interest in cannabis grows and legalization spreads, so too will High Times.”

However, Cronos Group (CRON) recently listed on NASDAQ, plus there are several biotech companies listed on NASDAQ that use cannabis for their compounds like GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH), so this is a really odd comment to make. Plus, NASDAQ has made numerous attempts to delist Origo Acquisition, which is doing the deal with High Times, so it isn’t certain that the shares will ever truly list on the exchange. A company spokesman said that extensions have been made and preliminary approval from NASDAQ has been granted.

In addition to the crowdfunding program, High Times announced that it is adding the former President of Mexico Vicente Fox Quesada to its board of directors. Fox was once the President of Coca-Cola Latin America. He later served as governor of the Mexican state of
Guanajuato, before becoming President of Mexico from 2000 to 2006. Fox has been a prominent public speaker and writer and a popular social media presence, all while overseeing development of the Vicente Fox Center of Studies, Library, and Museum.

“Vicente Fox Quesada brings international relationships and decades of experience in business, politics, and policy,” said Levin. “He is a proven leader and global statesman whose unique experience, perspectives and connections will be invaluable for High Times as we expand overseas, online, and into so many new areas. We’re fortunate he has decided to join our leadership team.”

“At a time when nearly two-thirds of the United States have legalized some form of cannabis, and the U.S. Congress is considering giving all states control over legalization decisions, this is the right time to invest in the business of cannabis,” said Fox. “The ‘Green Rush,’ as it’s been called, will be one of the largest wealth creators of our generation. And as we move out of the shadows, real businesses in this sector will prosper in a way most industries only dream of.”

Debt Problems Remain

High Times said back in January that it was going to try to raise money. In order to meet the NASDAQ listing requirements,  High Times will need $14.7 million from this offering. The company has said that it has 400 new investors from the new Reg. A process. The company also said that the new ownership has expanded it online reach with digital impressions topping 275 million per month an increase of 425%.

In addition to raising money, High Times said it would also address its debt obligations. High Times had extended a loan payment that it owed to ExWorks from August 2017 to August 2018 for a principal amount of $11.5 million. This has been extended to August 2019 with the option to extend to 2020 or convert to stock. It made a down payment of $2.7 million but has been staring at this huge looming payment due in months. The merger with Origo Acquisition that was expected to be closed months ago would have solved many problems. Instead, the merger has dragged on for months and the clock has been ticking away.

It was rumored that a different party had offered to purchase the company’s debt, but this was never confirmed. A move of this sort would have saved the company by paying off the impending debt payment but then it would also have reduced the valuation of the company dramatically.

In addition to the financial struggles, the company was running an advertisement on Indeed for a new Chief Financial Officer. The company said it was only seeing what talent was available on the market. Green Market Report also learned that Levin has also approached other individuals to become the company’s Digital Editor-In-Chief and it was offered to Sean Cooley.

Editors Note: Green Market Report is a partner with High Times Television and is providing financial videos for the business channel. 

 


StaffStaffMay 22, 2018
shutterstock_307999805-1280x854.jpg

5min5171

The cannabis industry took a big leap towards the mainstream earlier this month with the official launch of the world’s first cannabis focused communications firm, AxisWire.

Founded by a seasoned team of cannabis professionals, AxisWire was created in response to the severe lack of access to basic business services that many entrepreneurs take for granted.

Although cannabis is legal in some shape or form in more than half of the United States, many newswire services and public relations firms have refused to do business with anyone associated with the cannabis industry; due primarily to the substance’s Schedule I status and fears of federal interference.

Despite the lack of access, the cannabis industry has flourished nonetheless. According to a report by ArcView Market Research and BDS Analytics, the economic impact of the cannabis industry is expected to grow to $40 billion by 2021, leaving plenty of room for savvy operators to fill the void left by traditional communications firms.

“The cannabis industry is on the brink and ripe for a platform that will provide the infrastructure for all cannabis businesses, journalists and PR representatives to be able to access one another and exchange their news,” commented AxisWire founder and CEO, Cynthia Salarizadeh. “After two years of development, our team is confident that AxisWire will stand at the center of all things media for cannabis.”

Conceived of as a one-stop-shop for the cannabis businesses to grow their brand, AxisWire offers a variety PR and marketing tools, like its  STAR (Submit To A Reporter) source locator subscription service. With STAR, entrepreneurs hoping to grow their cannabis brand can get connected with journalists looking for expert sources for a small fee.   

One of the most powerful tools in AxisWire’s employ is its newswire service. Cannabis brands signed up with AxisWire can have their press releases distributed to over 1,700 targeted journalists and producers at industry specific publications as well as hundreds of publications like Forbes, The Washington Post, CNN, TIME, Business Insider, and VICE. In addition to distributing press releases, AxisWire also offers a service to write them as well.

But it’s not just as simple as sending out a press release and hoping for the best. In many states, like Washington, there is a myriad of confusing rules and regulations regarding cannabis advertising. To help assist their users stay compliant with state law, AxisWire has partnered with the cannabis compliance firm CannaRegs to offer discounted compliance consultations.

In addition to compliance, AxisWire also offers media consultancy services where businesses can learn how to maximize their marketing strategies and increase brand awareness. Led by Evan Nison, the company’s Chief Public Relations Officer and founder of the PR firm Nison Co., AxisWire’s media consultancy team is backed by some of the best PR and marketing minds in the business; with experience ranging from Fortune 500 Companies to small businesses.

In a statement, AxisWire Chief Marketing Officer of AxisWire and Founder of Wick & Mortar, Jared Mirsky, said that the creation of of AxisWire was a no-brainer and expressed excitement at bringing the new platform online.

“It only makes sense that something like this should exist, especially given the fact most traditional marketing methods aren’t so traditional for the cannabis industry,” explained Jared Mirsky Chief Marketing Officer of AxisWire and Founder & CEO of Wick & Mortar. “We are forced to be even more creative in our approach and often rely on so-called ‘cannabis marketers’ to help move our brands. I am extremely excited to bring this platform to the forefront for my clients and the industry, and proud to be part of this new venture with AxisWire and our team of cannabis industry leaders.”

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtApril 27, 2018
cannabist.jpg

9min3420

The Denver Post has been making its own headlines lately because of historic staff reductions and the resulting editorial-page public push back against the newspaper’s hedge-fund ownership. Now it turns out that The Denver Post is no longer staffing its marijuana news site The Cannabist.

“I am absolutely gutted today,” said veteran journalist Ricardo Baca, who founded Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency in early 2017 after resigning from The Post, where he worked as a reporter, critic, and editor for 15 years. “We were so lucky to know The Cannabist as we did, and The Denver Post was lucky that we caught this lightning in a bottle during those historic days. We avoided the blind, pro-legalization activism of publications like High Times, and we also were an objective news source to counter prohibitionist misinformation that had plagued so much of the mainstream media’s irresponsible coverage of cannabis throughout the last eight decades.”

The Cannabist was founded in 2013 by Baca as Colorado launched the country’s first adult-use cannabis market. As The Post’s first-ever Marijuana Editor, Mr. Baca and his team built the site from scratch and developed a robust national readership that appreciated the site’s journalism-first approach to covering the newly legal cannabis industry. It even spawned a feature-length documentary called Rolling Papers—a film “more about marijuana journalism than the big picture, and as such it’s a worthwhile endeavor,” wrote Chicago Sun-Times film critic Richard Roeper in his three-star reviewdocumented both The Cannabist’s debut and the 2014 world premiere of state-regulated legal marijuana sales.

“These layoffs are putting The Cannabist on life support and destroying The Post’s ability to comprehensively cover Colorado, and it is entirely to blame on Alden Global Capital, the black-hearted hedge fund that owns Digital First Media and 100 American newspapers, including The Post. These vulture capitalists are literally hated throughout Denver, and while everyone from Gov. John Hickenlooper and Mayor Michael Hancock stands in support of The Post, we need to continue to let Alden Global Capital know that they are not welcome in Colorado, and they need to sell The Denver Post to a more responsible owner who will finally curb this undemocratic bloodletting.”

Journalism Jobs In Decline Overall

Of course, this story is being played out across the country and isn’t unique to Denver. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts is projected to decline 9 percent from 2016 to 2026. Employment of reporters and correspondents is projected to decline 10 percent, while employment of broadcast news analysts is projected to show little or no change from 2016 to 2026.

The BLS wrote that declining advertising revenue in radio, newspapers, and television would negatively affect the employment growth for these occupations. Some organizations will likely continue to use new forms of advertising or offer paid subscriptions, but these innovations may not make up for lost print ad revenues.

The BLS also forecast that declining revenue would force news organizations to downsize and employ fewer journalists. It suggested that increasing demand for online news may offset some of that downsizing. However, because online and mobile ad revenue is typically less than print revenue, the growth in digital advertising may not offset the decline in print advertising, circulation, and readership.

The Beginning Of The End

According to Baca’s new company Grasslands, after Baca resigned from The Post in December 2016, the newspaper started making cuts to the vertical’s staff, cutting the General Manager advertising position and reassigning the remaining two Cannabist-focused sales staff in early 2017. This past December, The Cannabist’s editorial staff was cut from four to three during a separate newsroom-wide staff reduction.

Grasslands also stated that in April 2018, after the newspaper’s editor told newsroom staff that it would be laying off one-third of its editorial employees, two Cannabist staffers announced they were leaving for other opportunities; later that month, Cannabist editor-in-chief Alex Pasquariello was told the paper was cutting editorial staffing to the site and that his position no longer existed.


Tabitha ClayTabitha ClayApril 27, 2018
billboard.jpg

7min7540

In an effort to stay ahead of regulators and encourage ethical advertising practices in the industry, the National Association of Cannabis Businesses (NACB), the only self-regulatory organization for the U.S. licensed cannabis businesses, published advertising guidelines for industry players. The NACB Advertising National Standard was published Wednesday, April 25, 2018; the organization is accepting comments from members and the public until May 25, 2018. Comments will be reviewed and considered, and it’s possible that the standard will change as a result of public comment.

“Advertising was among the first areas our members identified as critical to addressing for NACB National Standards because it’s through marketing that the industry presents itself to the world,” said Andrew Kline, President of the NACB and a former federal prosecutor. “We are extremely proud that our members took their responsibility to protect consumers so seriously, going even deeper in prohibiting certain content than regulators might expect them to.

According to NACB, the standard is “designed to help NACB members protect consumers and demonstrate to regulators, financial institutions, and the public that NACB members operate at the highest levels of ethics and responsibility.”

Taylor West, Senior Communications Director at Cohnnabis, a division of Cohn Marketing and former Deputy Director at the National Cannabis Industry Association applauded the efforts of NACB, but did express some concerns.

“Any time you’re trying to create standards for an industry it’s difficult,” said West. “I also think that it’s very smart as an industry to adopt some of these voluntary standards; recognizing that there’s going to be a time when governmental mandates are going to come in and if the industry has already agreed to responsible restrictions then they’re going to be in a better position. So I applaud them for that.”

The restrictions set forth in the standard are indeed stringent, with some key parts of the standard that restrict advertising audiences significantly more than the standards in the similar alcohol industry. Alcohol industry standards restrict advertising to mediums where at least 71.6 percent of the audience is reasonably expected to be of legal purchase age. Alternatively, the new standard from NACB limits cannabis advertisers to markets where at least 85 percent of the audience is reasonably expected to be at least age 21.

When asked about the audience limitations in the new standards, West expressed some surprise and concern as well. “These are definitely more limiting than I think some people would have expected,” said West. “Especially when you compare them, you know, like you said, to the alcohol industry, and also frankly to the restrictions that some local governments have already put in place.”

The standards also ban the consumption of cannabis from advertising, something that might place significant burdens on cannabis companies as they launch media campaigns. According to West, “The restriction on preventing advertisements from depicting the consumption of cannabis, seems a little extreme as well.”  

That’s not to say that West isn’t fully in support of the industry self-regulating to prevent advertising to children and teens, she just sees the complete ban on consumption in advertising as a solution to a problem that might not actually exist yet. “I think it’s important to adopt responsible practices,” explained West, “but I also think it’s important for the industry to be able to work in a way that doesn’t unreasonably restrict them when there’s not an indication that there’s a particular problem.”

NACB is clearly working very diligently to prevent underage cannabis use, and to ensure that marketing within the industry isn’t aimed at kids. Other key portions of the standards include eliminating any offers of gifts or prizes to incentivize purchase as well as restricting the use of toys, cartoon characters, animals or celebrity endorsements in advertising.

“The work we are doing as members of the NACB in creating sensible national standards for our industry will set the stage for the future of the legal cannabis industry in this country,” said CEO Patricia Noonan of NACB member and Colorado-based Wonderleaf. “The Advertising National Standard will one day serve as the definitive set of rules for the marketing of cannabis and  proud we took such care in making it comprehensive to best serve the public good.”

Whether or not the standards will remain as originally published or will be subject to change will depend in large part on industry feedback. According to NACB, after the feedback is considered, the standard may be revised after which time members will vote on the new standard.

 


Curt DaltonCurt DaltonApril 25, 2018
420mailbox.jpg

21min8752

Previously published on Cannabis.net.

The entire business model that the legal marijuana industry has been built on has been shaken with one quote, from one powerful politician.   If you have not followed the news, the Republicans and Democrats now seem to be racing toward legalization of cannabis, as both sides seem to want to get credit for “legalizing marijuana” before the other side can claim it.

First, Senator Majority leader Mitch McConnel from Kentucky introduced a bill that would legalize hemp at the Federal level.  Then, Senator Gardner from Colorado struck a deal with President Trump to protect states’ rights on legal marijuana and open the door to a federal plan for cannabis. (By the way, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has said there is a federal plan to allow marijuana businesses to use banking, it is just not been unveiled, or made legal yet.)

Follow that up and you have Senator Bernie Sanders signing onto the Sen. Corey Booker’s marijuana legalization bill.  Followed up by former Speaker of the House, Senator John Boehner, joining the board of a cannabis company after being “anti-pot” for years while he served in the government.  (He said his thinking on cannabis has “evolved” by the way).  Also joining the same cannabis company’s board was former Massachusetts governor William Weld.

We all see the writing on the wall, but then the absolute game changer showed up.

As Tom Angell reported, the top Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer, is going to introduce a bill to “remove marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act altogether so states can set their own policies.”

This one line should shake the cannabis investment industry to the core.

What does a total removal from the “Controlled Substance Act” mean?  It means no DEA jurisdiction or interference anymore.  No FDA interference anymore.  No Federal office interference anymore, including the Post Office.  Substances not on the Controlled Substance Act include peanut butter, tissues, cotton, chocolate, and about 25 million other things.

Why mention the Post Office?  Stay with me and see how this is an absolute game changer of historic proportions.

The is a good chance the Democrats take the Senate and/or House this year, not even having to wait until 2020, but in 2018 midterm elections.  If that happens, Schumer’s bill will sail through both houses and be on the President’s desk quicker than some people think.

What if your whole business model is built on a substance being a restricted or schedule 1 drug, and then suddenly, it is not?  What if you invested millions and millions of dollars based on laws that were about to change?

In economics it is called a negative incentive, referring to the penalties if caught selling cannabis and shipping in through the mail and such.  You could get caught and go to Federal prison.  If cannabis is removed completely from the Controlled Substance list, that negative incentive is removed.  Even if states put penalties on such sales, it will be minor compared to the Federal government past statue.  What can a state do if they catch you selling a substance that is not on the controlled substance act?  What is the fine for sending two pounds of peanut butter to someone, or a pound of your homemade honey?

Will removing cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act make cannabis legal in 50 states?  No, it will remove all Federal jurisdiction over cannabis and associated penalties of growing and selling a schedule 1 drug.  This in effect, will cause cannabis legalization, even if it is not done on paper.

Wait, this is crazy, why isn’t everyone talking about this and doing something? 

The game just changed, and the people who sit on the demand side, like cannabis websites with traffic, are now the hottest investment in the entire world, literally.  The sites that have traffic and can create cannabis orders are now the golden goose of the cannabis industry, the unlimited power to create orders and sell products without having to advertise.

For full disclosure, Cannabis.net is currently talking to 3 groups about a funding round or an outright sale as I write this article.  The golden rule of the Internet, no matter what, is that the most valuable thing in the world is always traffic.  It always has been, and always will be.  Google wants more traffic each day, Facebook wants more traffic each day, Amazon wants more traffic each day.  Traffic is gold, no matter what niche or product you are in, whether selling shoes, pizza, adult content, software, you name it, traffic is king.   The cannabis niche is no different, and even heightened to an extent due to the fact cannabis businesses can’t buy advertising in almost all cases.  If you can’t buy it an ad, you sure better be able to rank well organically, or else you won’t be getting many visitors to your site.

Wait, aren’t you just pumping your own feathers, since you are a cannabis site in a funding round or selling?

Just like we have seen with “brick and mortar” verse Amazon in the past 10 years, cannabis ordering will all be done online within 36 months.  Two clicks, and either delivered to your door that day if you live in a major metropolitan area (think food delivery models now like GrubHub) or delivered the next day by Fed Ex or USPS. (FedEx already delivers cannabis legally in Canada to medical patients, logon, click, pay, select FedEx, done.)

Dispensaries in every legal state are already delivering, most dispensaries, even newer opens, have online order and delivery.  Some even have their own app, or work in conjunction with apps like EAZE and Weedmaps.  The dispensary, in general, is a legal anomaly, it will be something we look back on in 10 years and say, “Really, you use to have to go to a separate place to get it when it was a schedule 1 drug on the Controlled Substances Act?”.

Think that cannabis won’t be everywhere?  Remember when liquor was sold at just liquor stores with a state license?  Now, just about every grocery store and convenience store has, at a minimum, a beer and wine license today.  Ever order wine or beer online and have it sent through the mail or UPS to you?  Just saying, the past may not repeat exactly, but it sure does rhyme.

Online ordering and selling is the future, and he who controls the traffic online controls the order.  Let’s take a look at a few big players already moving toward this model.

Herb.co – The old Stoners Cookbook, one of the most trafficked cannabis sites in the world with about 4 million visitors a month and 10 million-page views a month.  They can create over 200 million video views a month if you count their Facebook page and Instagram.  Matt Grey, the CEO, is not stupid.  Go to their site, they don’t have any ads running.  Wait, what?  They have a program for native ads if people want to buy text stories as well as video packages, but no banner ads.  Why?  Because banners and such don’t make much money in this niche, at least not yet.  Matt got a funding round and guess what he did?  Opened up with a new content team and started selling ancillary items online, like bongs and vapes.   He then put up ads for hiring about 12 new people, a lot for a TECH startup, but not for coders or engineers, instead it was product designers and packaging experts.  He also posted these types of shot.

What is he doing?  He is going to convert traffic to buying customers and then put cannabis in his store, most likely starting Canada.  He can partner with an LP or try and get his own licenses. As they grow and make more partnerships and agreements he can start to sell cannabis online in the US, Australia, Europe, etc.  Do you know how much cannabis you can sell online with 10 million-page views a month and a Facebook fan page with 9,700,000 fans?  Get the store and funnels set up, sell them products, add cannabis into each store per geographic area you can as you get approval or a license, rinse and repeat.

Weedmaps (marijuana.com as well) – The $500 million-dollar company who is thumbing their nose up at the California Cannabis Commission right now is the gorilla in the online cannabis room.  They are already the main menu management website for the cannabis industry, as well as controlling the landscape for daily coupons and specials in the cannabis industry.  They are already taking orders and working with dispensaries and delivery services. Some dispensaries on their map may actually be owned by Weedmaps under shell companies as it is being rumored, hence this model I am talking about already in full effect.  Why on earth would they ever challenge the ruling from the California Cannabis Commission to only list licensed companies on their map, when we know in the long run that is that is what they will have to do?  At the same time, they are pissing off all the legal cannabis dispensaries that advertise with them by also promoting illegal and mobile dispensaries that aren’t paying for licensing and paying taxes?  It seems like an absolutely stupid move unless you are making so much money on the ordering and delivering side, you are thinking you can tie this up in court for 3 years and get all that revenue until you finally must comply.  The only risk that Weedmaps is taking here is California calls on the Feds and starts talking about the RICO Act and “aiding and abetting a class 1 drug”.  As we saw with Backpage getting shut down, the Feds can move in and close your site while you debate for years in court.  Weedmaps being open for 3 years while lawyers argue is a good move, the Fed’s seizing the site while you argue for a few years is bankruptcy.  I am guessing Weedmaps has some good lawyers and has thought this out very well.

Leafly and Eaze – Both owned by Privateer Holdings and have raised over $55million dollars on these two sites alone. Why?  Leafly is the prominent strain guide in the industry and runs a strong 2nd place to Weedmaps in dispensary menu management and mapping.  EAZE is a fully compliant delivery service now serving multiple states through their app and website, with California being their largest base of over 350,000 registered users.  EAZE takes the funnel even deeper by also running EAZE MD, which allows a person to get a medical marijuana card through their online service.  You can literally get your medical marijuana card, place an order, and have it delivered within an hour to your house while never leaving your driveway.  How easy would it be for Leafly to put an “ORDER NOW” button next to every strain that is indexed, send that person to a menu, see if EAZE services that zip code, and the deliver an ounce of Blue Dream to someone?

High Times –  The gold standard of cannabis names, but admittedly got left behind in the digital revolution.  That could all change as they are attempting a reverse merger on the NASDAQ stock exchange that would give them a $250mil market cap. They just bought Green Rush media for $7mil as a pure traffic play.   Green Rush reported around 10 million-page views a month in the press release, but it is hard to find confirmation of that by looking at their Alexa or SEM Rush stats.  Issac Detrich of MassRoots is an investor in High Times now, MassRoots just happens to be working on new apps for mapping and menu management.  Follow the money and connect the dots.

CannaSOS– A cannabis site that just completed a successful ICO and is already selling cannabis products online in their store.  Based out of Canada and developed in Europe, they will have the capital to deploy in this same arena.

MarijuanaStocks.com – one of the most valuable domains for the future as people looking for cannabis stock information might surge in the next few years, ya think?  At around 300,000 visitors per month and already getting calls about funding and being bought out by major stock market players.

Wait, all the companies you mentioned are websites that are privately held, any “real” companies doing this??

Have you ever heard of Namaste Technologies out of Canada?  Publicly traded and very crafty in setting up this exact model, build out demand and then fill in supply, a “Lean Start-Up” diagram.  They currently have 30 websites in 30 countries (languages too) that sell ancillary products like bongs and vaporizers.  Coincidently, they just happen to buy Cannamart and they are very close to being able to sell cannabis online to all their Canadian traffic.  The retail license should get approval this month.  Build up millions of page views in your store and then add in your cannabis products where you can, and geo-target them.  Did you see they also announced a deal in Australia?  You can see where this is all going…(PS- full disclosure, I am long Namaste stock).

Cannabis websites with traffic are worth more than gold right now to growers, big sellers, and people like Namaste, Eaze, etc.  Since they are unable to take $10,000 a day and put it into ads on Facebook, Instagram, or Google, traffic is even more valuable.  Large players need to lock up sites that rank well and have traffic to ensure future profit margins.  Do you want to compete with Matt at Herb.co or Cannabis.net for an order or click when we pay $0.03 in content costs for that lead?  What is the cost of a new client for a dispensary right now?  Since they give so much away in coupons and credit on your first visit to a dispensary, I am guessing the ballpark of a new lead or a new client is north of $100 overall when you consider things like rent, employees, compliance, grow facilities and such.  I am guessing the lifetime value of a customer to a dispensary is in the thousands, hence, still a good return.

Do you want to have a contest on who wins if I can get a cannabis order for $0.03 online, give it to a provider or ship it myself, and create margins through the mail of over 100% per order?  As Jeff Bezos so eloquently said, “Your margins are my opportunity.”  The cannabis niche if removed from the Controlled Substance Act, will be no different, margin compression from the Internet will force some brick and mortars to close up shop.

It is just a numbers game, and the sites with traffic are beyond valuable.

Wait, if we remove cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act, won’t’ Facebook and Google allow ads and then we have a competitive marketplace?  Yes, and no. Google and Facebook could change their policies after a Federal change, but how quickly?  A year?  Two years?  If 8 Southern states keep cannabis illegal at the state level, will Google and Facebook allow ads and just block those states?

Either way, if they do allow ads, and we are all competing on the same landscape of $25.00 clicks for the keyword “Blue Dream” or “Kiva Chocolate Special”, online sites with traffic are still creating hundreds of “free orders” from organic traffic, hence keeping our cost per lead 75% below what a brick and mortar is going to have by just using AdWords.

What does it all mean?

Cannabis sites with traffic are sources of unlimited orders.  Create more and more good content, great a good opt-in or sales funnel, and you are off in the race to become the Amazon of Weed.  They can become the source of a lifetime of orders, traffic, and can be set up for all sorts of monetization.  How would Canopy or Namaste like 100 orders for cannabis a day to start online to start?  Aphria interested?  Big Pharma about to sell cannabis-based medicine might just be interested, no?

If cannabis is removed from the “Controlled Substance List” completely, you just removed all the disincentive for cannabis websites to get in the game and sell cannabis.

Investors, dispensaries, and large cannabis funds have a choice, invest and buy cannabis sites now, or they will turn into your competition within 24 months.



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


READ MORE



Recent Tweets

@GreenMarketRpt – 9 hours

$CGC ⁦@CanopyRiversInc⁩ great panel last week at the

@GreenMarketRpt – 9 hours

The good and bad on $TLRY this week.

@GreenMarketRpt – 1 day

Ready to talk $TLRY ⁦@WallandBroad⁩ on ⁦@cheddar⁩

Back to Top

You have Successfully Subscribed!