Media Archives - Green Market Report

Video StaffVideo StaffMay 20, 2020
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AxisWire, the first newswire distribution service and digital PR tech-suite dedicated solely to the cannabis industry, and Green Market Report (GMR), the cannabis industry’s source for credible in-depth financial reporting, have announced The State of Cannabis Media 2020 virtual conference.

The following people participated:

Jeremy Berke (Business Insider) Will discuss how brands can pitch directly to media if they can’t afford PR on a temporary basis
Terry Stanley (AdWeek) Will discuss the state of advertising and how ad budgets have been cut
Heather Cabot (Forbes & author of The New Chardonnay) Story focus and what readers are looking for during the pandemic
Warren Bobrow (Forbes) Story focus during the pandemic
Javier Hasse (Benzinga & El Planteo) Story focus during the pandemic and pitching writers directly
John Schroyer (MJ Biz Daily) Talking about pitching cannabis media
Rosie Mattio (Mattio Communications) Crisis communications and staying active in the media as other companies go quiet
Gia Moron (GVM Communications) Retaining clients in a challenging atmosphere
Lewis Goldberg (KCSA) The state of public relations among cannabis companies

“Events were the main source of exposure for cannabis brands as advertising remains largely off-limits to our industry,” explained AxisWire & Green Market Report co-founder Cynthia Salarizadeh. “When this pandemic took over, it left our industry and most cannabis brands who do not have the support of a public relations firm without many options. We felt the best way for us to provide some guidance was to create a free virtual event where brands can hear directly from journalists and PR professionals about how to navigate during these times.”

“Online screen time has increased as many of us are in various states of lockdown, which has increased the demand for content. Unfortunately, media companies have been forced to scale back as a result of the pandemic creating huge disruption in the supply and demand for news,” said Green Market Report CEO and Co-founder Debra Borchardt. “We believed that an event like this was needed as we all pivot and adapt to a new normal in the cannabis industry. We are stronger together.”


Cynthia SalarizadehCynthia SalarizadehJanuary 29, 2020
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As journalists, brand owners and industry professionals, daily we must interact and engage with communication specialists to accomplish a myriad of goals. Like anything, some individuals tend to be more efficient, trustworthy, effective and more of a pleasure to work with overall.

There is nothing more upsetting than wasting time and money on services that do not meet your company’s needs, especially if it can be avoided. So understanding who these people are can help us in our collective decision making when it comes time to scout talent or in hiring firms and consultants.

Over the last year and a half, our team at the Green Market Report has created a running list of the top communication professionals that we feel warrant recognition. After careful consideration among the GMR team, we have selected the top ten that we feel you and your company can engage with effectively.

We feel comfortable recommending each person in this group for their work and accomplishments within their special areas of the industry for communications.

Each one of these individuals rank among the most knowledgeable, influential, helpful and professional to work with.

 

Daniel Yi, Chief Communications Officer at Shryne Group Inc.

Daniel is a seasoned communications executive with more than two decades of experience crafting narratives that connect with audiences.

In 2016, he joined a little known cannabis management firm called MedMen and helped the brand become one of the most recognized names in the industry, earning the company more than six billion earned media impressions in 2018.

As a former journalist, Daniel understands and believes in the power of narrative to change minds and hearts. In the span of a 10-year career at the Los Angeles Times, he covered several beats and later transitioned to marketing communications and public relations, helping organizations like the Port of Long Beach, the County of Los Angeles and Edison International connect with diverse audiences.

Today, Daniel is the chief communications officer of Shryne Group, a vertically integrated cannabis enterprise focused on California, the largest, most mature legal cannabis market in the world.

 

 

Rosie Mattio Founder & CEO of Mattio Communications

Rosie is the founder and CEO of MATTIO Communications, the preeminent cannabis marketing agency in the U. S. She helped usher in the New Cannabis Age, garnering global media coverage in mainstream publications for clients, including the first cannabis article ever published in Oprah Magazine.

Over the past year, her New York firm has grown alongside the industry, adding marketing and communications services for clients, including content, SEO, investor relations, event planning, and influencer marketing.

Today, Rosie is considered a market maker in the world of cannabis. She has been acknowledged in High Times Female 50, and Forbes Fifteen Powerful and Innovative Women In Cannabis. MATTIO Communications has been named in MG Magazines Top 50 Cannabis Employers and Green Entrepreneur’s Top 100 Cannabis Companies.  Ranked the #1 cannabis PR firm by Greenmarket Report, Rosie is a strategic powerhouse, industry connector and influencer. 

 

 

Jason Erkes, Chief Communications Officer at Cresco Labs 

Jason joined the leadership team of Cresco Labs as their Chief Communications Officer and Spokesperson in 2018 after working with the company as a consultant since its inception. Cresco Labs (CL:CSE), based in Chicago, is one of the largest vertically integrated multi-state operators in the United States. The company has a mission to normalize and professionalize the cannabis industry and bringing in subject matter experts like Erkes greatly helps Cresco move closer to that goal.

Erkes has been a journalist, political advisor, entrepreneur, Influencer, turnaround expert and philanthropist. He has been identified as a “rising star” as a Crain’s Chicago Business “40 under 40”, won Emmy Awards for excellence in journalism through his work at ABC and FOX News, and received national political recognition as a recipient of the prestigious Reed Award from Campaigns & Elections Magazine.

Erkes has been instrumental in helping craft and share Cresco’s narrative overseeing the company’s media relations, employee relations, investor communications as well as working cross-functionally with all departments on any external communications.  Most recently he facilitated the company’s launch for Illinois adult-use sales achieving a record one billion earned media impressions in the first week for their Sunnyside* Dispensaries.

 

Gia Moron, Founder and CEO of GVM Communications, Inc

Gia is the Founder and CEO of GVM Communications, Inc. a public relations, brand & business development consulting firm launched in 2012. She has a team of consultants & freelancers work with an array of clients in the Arts, Education, Financial Services, Diversity & Inclusion, Publishing, Sports & Entertainment, Technology, and Wellness.

In 2015, the firm expanded its services into the cannabis industry. Gia leverages her 25+ years of experience in corporate communications, and her firm remains equally vested in diverse markets of business ranging from: (Non-Profits, privately owned to Publicly traded Fortune 500 companies. The firm has a client base that ranges from small to mid-sized businesses, non-profit organizations, entrepreneurs, authors and celebrity clients).

Prior to launching her firm, Gia was a Media Relations Officer in the Corporate Communications department for fifteen years at Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. While at Goldman Sachs, Gia oversaw various business areas from Private Equity, Urban Investment, Investment Research and Technology to the firm’s organizational focus on Corporate Engagement, Diversity, Recruiting, Human Resources and Corporate Services. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Gia was Director of Promotions and Publicity for six years at The Fremantle Corporation, an international television distribution, and production company. 

 

Linda Marsicano, VP Corporate Communications at Green Thumb Industries

Linda Marsicano joined Green Thumb Industries in February 2018 as Vice President of Corporate Communications and manages all aspects of media and public relations. She has more than 20 years of experience in communications working for publicly traded companies, private entities and nonprofit organizations.

Her background includes leading external communications for Fortune 500 nuclear power company Exelon Corporation, serving as Vice President of Corporate Communications for Playboy Enterprises, and Vice President of Public Relations for mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate. She has also overseen public relations for medical societies and not-for-profit professional associations. Linda has a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Miami University in Ohio.

Marsicano serves on the advisory board of the Civic Leadership Foundation, an educational organization dedicated to preparing under-served young people for college, career and active citizenship. She lives in Chicago with her husband and 12-year-old twin daughters.

 

Alex Howe, Head Of Corporate Communications at Harvest Health & Recreation, Inc.

Howe has two decades of experience working in corporate strategy and communications for cannabis, consumer, technology, Fortune 50 and sports and entertainment companies and has helped launch dozens of companies and build brands across industries.

Howe is currently the Head of Corporate Communications for Harvest Health & Recreation Inc., a vertically-integrated cannabis company with one of the largest and deepest footprints in the U.S., where he leads communications and strategy focusing on patients, consumers, media, regulators, investors, local communities and partners.

Howe formerly served as president and co-founder of Powerplant Global Strategies, the first strategic partnerships, communications and investor relations firm exclusively focused on the legal cannabis industry. At Powerplant he worked closely with many of the best-known companies in the cannabis industry, including PAX, Arcview, Merida Capital Partners, I Heart Jane, THC Design and many others. In 2018, he was named one of Marijuana Venture magazine’s “40 Under 40.”

Prior to joining Powerplant, Howe was a director at fama, North America’s premier boutique PR firm for technology companies, where he launched startups and developed thought leadership campaigns for enterprise companies in the B2C and B2B spaces. Before fama, Alex was a vice president at Global Strategy Group in New York City, where he provided public affairs support, digital, traditional and crisis communications and produced award-winning campaigns for Google, Formula 1, UFC, Nestlé Waters, Time Warner, Inc. and the New York Road Runners.

 

Shawna Seldon Mcgregor, Founder & CEO of Maverick Public Relations 

Shawna Seldon McGregor is the founder of Maverick Public Relations, which was established in 2018 and quickly garnered recognition as one of the most effective cannabis PR agencies.

McGregor’s cannabis and hemp experience is unparalleled, working from the inception of adult-use in Colorado to bring brand messaging to the national stage and working closely with national and trade reporters, as well as infiltrating specific emerging markets. With two decades of experience in New York City and Denver, McGregor has deep experience representing a multitude of sectors including health & wellness, biotech, agribusiness, associations and media. Her mission is to provide big agency expertise with outstanding client service by seasoned and knowledgeable communications expert.

She’s passionate about good journalism and wants to see the Fourth Estate not just survive but thrive. She is hands-on, sincere, genuine and responsive, and oversees a diverse team based in metro Denver, California, Florida and Pennsylvania.

 

Lewis Goldberg, Managing Partner at KCSA Strategic Communications

Lewis is a Managing Partner at KCSA and oversees the firm’s public relations practice.For more than 20 years, Lewis has worked to implement eminence, thought leadership, and public affairs programs designed to build business and garner fairer valuations.

Lewis developed a campaign mentality working in national, state and local politics for U.S. President Bill Clinton, U.S. Senator Robert Torricelli and then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. He designs programs with a specific business objective in mind, a targeted timeframe, attention to maximizing limited resources and a measurable ROI.

In 2015 Lewis helped found KCSA’s cannabis practice and has become recognized as one of the most effective strategic thinkers in this growing field. He is the co-host of KCSA’s weekly podcast, The Green Rush, and speaks regularly at conferences on the use of strategic communications to achieve specific business objectives.

 

Evan Nison, Founder & CEO of Nison Co.

Evan Nison is the youngest member of the NORML Board of Directors and sits on the Board of Directors of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. He is the founder of the PR firm NisonCo, which connects leaders in the legal cannabis, medical marijuana, and hemp industries with influential journalists across the U.S. and world. As part of his mission to build socially driven businesses, he co-founded Whoopi & Maya, a women’s-focused cannabis brand with actress Whoopi Goldberg and fellow NORML board member Rick Cusick. He then went on to co-found Emerald Farm Tours, a Northern California-based cannabis tour company to give the public a transparent hands-on view of the cannabis industry from seed to sale, and Bloody Good Vape & Smoke, a smoke shop in New Jersey he founded with a victim of cannabis prohibition who was held in jail for a year awaiting trial.

Evan has been mentioned in news sources such as the NY Times, CNN, Politico, USA Today, NBC New York, Bloomberg TV, Forbes, and has been profiled in The Cannabist, Civilized, Ithaca Times, Home News Tribune, The Marijuana Times, and the Sun Times. He also received the 2011 NORML Student Activism Award and High Times Freedom Fighter Award for his advocacy. He also received one of the pens used to sign the New York 911 Good Samaritan Law and New York medical marijuana law for his involvement in the passage of both bills.

Heidi Haller Groshelle, Founder & CEO of Groshelle Communications

After four decades of technology public relations, which included launching consumer products like the first plasma TVs, the first mobile phone for kids, and the first flying car, Heidi tackled the cannabis industry in 2015. Heidi’s passion for the plant has allowed her business to thrive with a stellar client roster including PHILTER Labs, PLUS Products, PrestoDoctor, CannaBiz Connections, TraceTrust, and Solful Dispensary to name a few. 

In the past five years, Heidi has introduced the first cannabis-infused gum, rolled out the first line of doctor-designed and approved cannabis topicals, and launched dozens of cannabis brands onto the national stage. 

Heidi has earned numerous accolades for her work including the Hermes Award, Bulldog, and Communicator awards. Heidi’s unique approach to cannabis (and her stellar client roster) has given her a reputation as a leader in the cannabis market and more importantly as a champion of all women in the industry.

 


StaffStaffJune 19, 2019
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A veteran media and entertainment executive, Kraig Fox oversees High Time’s day-to-day operations, which now include Dope Magazine, Culture Magazine, Green Rush Daily, and a number of events, including the Cannabis Cup Festivals. Fox was once a Senior Managing Director of Guggenheim Partners where he focused on Guggenheim’s overall strategy in the media and entertainment spaces as well as the management of its media and entertainment investments. Prior to joining Guggenheim, Fox was a founder and Chief Operating Officer of Core Media (previously CKX, Inc.) where he oversaw all operations of this publicly traded company including Core’s interests in the estate of Elvis Presley and the intellectual property rights of Muhammad Ali as well oversight of its wholly owned subsidiary, 19 Entertainment, which included American Idol (including television, records, lives tours, artist management and sponsorships) and So You Think You Can Dance.

Prior to Core, Fox was a founder of SFX Entertainment (now Live Nation) where he was Chief Development Officer from 1995 until 2000 overseeing the global consolidation of the live entertainment industry into the world’s largest owner and operator of live entertainment promoters and producers.

GMR Executive Spotlight Q&A –

Full birth name: Kraig Fox

Title: President and CEO

Company: High Times Holdings

Years at current company: <1

Education profile: I received my bachelor’s from SI Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and my Juris Doctorate from Hofstra University School of Law

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis: Prior to my work in cannabis, I was a founder of what is now Live Nation and a Board Member of the Muhammad Ali Center

Company Mission: High Times’ mission is to connect cannabis consumers to endemic and non-endemic brands through our events, trade shows and digital assets.

Company’s most successful achievement: High Times is the only globally known brand in cannabis and has been connecting cannabis consumers with brands for nearly five decades. High Times has also been staging Cannabis Cup events for three decades and holds over a dozen live events a year spanning Europe, the United States and Canada, each of which draw tens of thousands of attendees who gather to celebrate the cannabis lifestyle, music and products. The Company recently expanded its international platform through its acquisition of Spannabis, one of the most prolific events in the cannabis ecosystem and one of the most well-known annual festivals within the EU.

 Has the company raised any capital (yes or no): Yes

if so, how much?: Above $25M. 

Any plans on raising capital in the future? Yes.  We are currently finishing our highly successful Reg A + public offering and plan to list on a stock market shortly. 

Most important 5 year company goal: Our focus will continue to remain on driving and growing our global brand presence.

 


William SumnerWilliam SumnerOctober 4, 2018
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With adult use cannabis sales set to become legal in Canada later this month, the world of cannabis media is starting to heat up. Most recently, High Times announced that it would acquire DOPE Media for $11.2 million and the cannabis lifestyle platform PRØHBTD announced that it secured roughly $12 million in investment. As entrepreneurs and investors alike are looking for ways to corner this emerging market, one cannabis publication hoping to get a piece of this investor action is The Fresh Toast.

Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, The Fresh Toast (TFT) was founded by JJ McKay, a lifelong entrepreneur, and publisher with a background in company building and consumer marketing. Supporting TFT is a team of experienced journalists and executives, including TFT President Eric Snow.

JJ McKay, Founder of Fresh Toast

Billed as a lifestyle website with a side of cannabis, TFT aims to become one of the most trusted voices in the cannabis by appealing to the majority of cannabis users who don’t fall into the stereotypical stoner/counter-culture mindset.

To that end, TFT produces content for the curious and casual cannabis user, with articles ranging from hard cannabis news to everyday pop culture. So far, the strategy seems to be working. The Fresh Toast has 3 identified streams of income with the directory being the primary followed by advertising and data.  Currently, it ranks as the number three trafficked directory site and has emerged as one of the top six digital cannabis websites.

Since launching in 2016, TFT has secured syndication partnerships with 1,800 daily newspapers and regional television stations, inked a syndication deal with Men’s Health Magazine, and became the first cannabis publication to run beer and wine advertisements.

Earlier this year, TFT formed an exclusive media partnership with Skipta, a social network of specialized online medical communities for verified healthcare professionals, to provide information on cannabinoid medicine to over 800,000 medical professionals throughout the United States.

In terms of audience, approximately 1.8 million people visit TFT every month, with roughly a quarter of visitors going to the site daily. Demographically speaking, 45% of site visitors are women, and 75% of all traffic comes from those under the age of 50.

Hoping to build off of their success, TFT is seeking to raise $2.5 million in a Series A Seed Round and is offering 900,000 incentive compensation units, which will be converted into stock options upon the closing of Series A.

Already TFT has attracted several high-profile investors and supporters, including former Seattle Times President, Carolyn Kelly; Dan Nordstrom; former EVP/ President Alaska Air Group, Glenn Johnson; John Hudak, Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution; and even a former U.S. Surgeon General.

Once equity funding is secured, TFT expects to become profitable within a year. The end goal for TFT is a 2021 transition event just as the cannabis market in states like Florida and California start to mature. With fundraising still ongoing, interested investors may contact jj@thefreshtoast.com for more information.

Full Disclosure: Fresh Toast reprints the Marijuana Money weekly video from Green Market Report.


Curt DaltonCurt DaltonApril 25, 2018
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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.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtApril 18, 2018
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6min17322

Several cannabis media companies have completed deals with valuations rising in the category making the group a hot ticket.

Canopy Growth Invests In Civilized

Civilized Worldwide Inc. announced that it executed a strategic investment and collaboration agreement with Canopy Rivers Corporation which is an affiliated strategic investment partner of Canopy Growth Corporation (TWMJF). According to the statement, Canopy Rivers will invest C$5 million in Civilized via a convertible debenture and the companies will work together on various online, media and event mandates relating to the cannabis industry.

“Civilized lives at the intersection of modern media and cannabis,” said Mark Zekulin, President of Canopy Growth. “They have a premium digital audience throughout North America and have established an events platform where individuals and industry can communicate and work together as we continue to educate stakeholders and evolve the global perception of cannabis.”

Civilized is aggressively implementing its monetization strategy across its three platforms: Civilized.life: a sophisticated news and entertainment website that reaches 2 million unique visitors per month throughout North America. Civilized Studios: a multi-platform video content network curating, publishing and producing broadcast-quality video and original content pertaining to the all things cannabis. Civilized Events: a platform to provide exclusive branded experiences for both the cannabis industry and consumers – from intimate dinner parties with industry executives and opinion leaders, to large-scale events such as the first-ever World Cannabis Congress to take place in Saint John, New Brunswick June 10-12, 2018 (worldcannabiscongress.com).

High Times Acquires Green Rush Daily

Long-time cannabis lifestyle publisher High Times announced the acquisition of Green Rush Daily. Terms of the deal were not released, but it was previously noted that it was an all-stock transaction. High Times said that Green Rush Daily would continue to operate independently, but would be considered part of the High Times stable of brands like the Cannabis Cup.

According to the High Times Preliminary Prospectus, on August 31, 2017, THC entered into an online sales representative agreement with Green Rush Daily Inc. “Under the terms of the agreement Green Rush appointed Trans-High as Green Rush’s exclusive sales representative with respect to (a) all advertisements to be sold or otherwise offered to third-party advertisers on the Green Rush websites, and (b) all advertisements for display to retail and wholesale channels on the websites. All fees received from advertisers on the Green Rush website are to be split 70% to THC and 30% to Green Rush. In a related development, THC entered into a three-year employment agreement with Scott McGovern, the owner of Green Rush, under which Mr. McGovern became Senior Vice President of Publishing of the THC Group. In partial consideration for obtaining the online sales representative agreement, Hightimes Holding issued to Scott McGovern an aggregate of 577,651 shares of Class A Common Stock.”

Javier Hasse reported that the deal was valued at $7 million. Hasse said that McGovern received $500,000 in cash and suggested if the IPO goes through at $11 a share then his shares would be worth $6.4 million.

PROHBTD Values Itself At $25 Million

Video media company PROHBTD launched in 2015 and raised $2 million in 2017. The company announced it was raising $5 million in Series A equity round with a valuation in excess of $25m.

“We’ve raised $2 million in private, outside capital from a group of investors, including actor Donald Glover. We were able to connect with people who all believed in what we are doing and saw this as a valuable opportunity. We’re also working with Ackrell Capital out of San Francisco so right now is a great time in terms of creation and job opportunity. We have 30 full-time employees and numerous contractors.”

Dope Magazine

Dope Magazine based in Seattle has been rumored to have also raised additional money from investors but it hasn’t been announced yet as to the amount or who the investors are. Dope Media is a cultural cannabis magazine that was founded in 2011 by David Tran, Trek Hollnagel, Evan Carter, James Zachodni and Nathan Chrysler. The company is backed by Hypur Ventures and Poseidon Asset Management.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtNovember 15, 2017
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4min13330

Public relations company  KCSA Strategic Communications has taken the lead among New York media companies to get involved with cannabis industry companies. As a result of this commitment, KCSA has launched a new podcast called “The Green Rush.” The podcast has been launched in conjunction with a dedicated public relations branch with investor relations and a social media cannabis practice. The new website created for this new arm will serve the specific needs of leaders in the cannabis industry across the entire supply chain.

KCSA is using “The Green Rush,” hosted by Managing Partner Lewis Goldberg and Managing Director Anne Donohoe, as a platform for conversations with industry leaders, the media, cannapreneurs and public advocates about the big issues facing this dynamic industry. The company has been working with clients in the cannabis space for more than five years and has deep institutional knowledge as well as access to decision-makers, investors, entrepreneurs, and analysts who are writing the rules for this new marketplace.

 

“The Green Rush is real. With nearly 300 publicly listed cannabis companies, tens of thousands of retail investors, and a seemingly insatiable appetite in the mainstream and trade press for stories about cannabis companies, the opportunity to help shape this industry was too interesting to ignore,” said Mr. Goldberg. “While the cannabis industry is still very young, and sits in a regulatory gray area, we believe that we are only at the very beginning of defining this growing industry.”

KCSA has always been a forward-looking public and investor relations agency, and it is with that in mind that they decided to launch this practice, headed up by Mr. Goldberg on the public relations team and Managing Director Phil Carlson from the investor relations team.

“Companies need the ability to tell their stories effectively to investors, market participants, regulators, legislators and even consumers. KCSA has a proven track record of working with entrepreneurial companies, C-suite executives and boards to define and deliver a clear message, call to action and then measure the impact that we have on a company’s bottom line,” continued Mr. Goldberg.

Mr. Carlson added, “The appetite among institutions for information about publicly traded cannabis companies has never been greater. While there is a massive reticence to invest institutional dollars in this sector, the flow of capital from high-net-worth individuals, family offices and general partners at hedge funds and private equity firms into cannabis companies is accelerating. Facilitating access to these types of individuals and capital is the type of value that our cannabis practice brings to our clients every day.”

“The Green Rush” podcast is a weekly, 30-minute show and can be found on iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and other popular podcatchers. Mr. Goldberg and Ms. Donohoe will be speaking with lawmakers, investment bankers, CEOs, entrepreneurs and investors, among others who are transforming cannabis away from the shadows of the black market into a thriving, legitimate industry.

Initial guests on “The Green Rush” include Alan Lien, Founder and President of Solis-Tek, Alan Brochstein, founder/creator of 420 Investor and New Cannabis Ventures and Debra Borchardt, Co-Founder, CEO, and Editor-In-Chief of Green Market Report.


Cynthia SalarizadehCynthia SalarizadehOctober 2, 2017
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2min23550

Toronto-based cannabis media and tech company, Herb, lands $4.1 million funding with the help of Lerer Hippeau Ventures. Additional funding support was received by Slow Ventures, Liquid 2 Ventures, and Shopify’s CEO Tobi Lutke and COO Harley Finkelstein, to name a few.

Herb is one of the most popular online cannabis news providers with over 200 million video views, nine million Facebook likes and over four million unique website visitors a month. This funding will assist with the development of new digital platform and an app that will launch later this year..

“By 2020 cannabis will be worth $23.1 billion. When I looked at the data and looked at the trends, it seemed there was no better use of my time then to start an impactful business in the cannabis industry. This industry is blowing up,” said Matt Gray, founder and CEO of Herb.

“We have the largest focus group of cannabis consumers in the world,” explained Gray. “Millions use Herb every month, and all that data can be used to help people around the world make smarter decisions around cannabis.”

Herb joins a list of cannabis media platforms and news providers that are landing large sums of VC money to expand in their content and reach. High Times recently sold for $42 million, Civilized secured over a $1 million and Cheddar recently reported securing an additional $32 million.

Seems to be a good time to be in media.



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