Entrepreneur of the Week: Marvina Thomas of 420 Skincare - Micha

Entrepreneur of the Week: Marvina Thomas of 420 Skincare

Article Published by: directcannabisnetwork.com

Each week we highlight entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry for our viewers to learn more about the leading cannabis executives of our time.

This week, we highlight Marvina Thomas of 420 Skincare. Marvina is a compassionate caregiver, mother of two and an expert in her healthcare field. She moved to Arizona over 25 years ago from southern California, where she devoted herself to the nursing field.

She’s founder and CEO of Start Living Recovery Home, where they assist individuals to recover from Opioids and Alcohol addiction and she’s spent the past several years self-educating herself on the many health benefits of Cannabis. At Start Living Recovery Home, they assist with job placement which will lead to clients getting back into society, while also educating clients on the benefits of medical Cannabis which leads to them transitioning from opioids to Cannabis has been her successful mission. Marvina is also a strong voice in the AZ cannabis community as Market Leader for Women Grow Phoenix.

In our interview with Marvina, we asked a variety of questions to learn more about 420 Skincare, what it takes to build a business in the cannabis industry and much more!

First off Marvina, congratulations on being featured as this week’s entrepreneur of the week and for all that you do! Can you please share with our readers about 420 Skincare?

Marvina Thomas: Of course! In addition to my nonprofit work, I founded Vina’s Soap. I have been making soap products for the past 7 years to raise money in order to financially support the group homes, this soon led to the launch of 420 Skincare. 420 Skincare is a product line which included CBD & THC soap and skin care products for all skin types. Over the past two years of market research, we have been able to see a significant increase in health improvements in those who use these products exclusively.

What ignited the spark for you to start to launch your business?

Marvina Thomas: My mission is the ministry of health. I’ve been helping the homeless via my start living recovery home LLC and started a Skincare (vina soaps) line to help cover the costs of the soaps I was making for our clients. To this day 50% of the proceeds go directly back into our group homes, that help men and women get off the streets and off deadly alcohol and opioids.

How are you helping the cannabis industry in a positive way?

Marvina Thomas: By providing healthy natural topicals that are safe for everyone to use. And proving monthly education via Women Grow Signature Networking Events.

Who is someone you consider your role model?

Marvina Thomas: Susan Hwang – CEO of Nirvana Center

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Marvina Thomas: The three top skills would be: 1) Open Mind, willingness to learn new things 2) Compassionate 2) Be real and true to your mission

Where did your organization’s funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it?

Marvina Thomas: My savings, from working hard for the past 25 years.

If you could talk to one person from history who would it be and why?

Marvina Thomas: Bob Marley because he was all about peace and love

With Start Living Recovery Home, Vina’s Soup, 420 Skincare and hosting Women Grow events, how do you stay balanced?

Marvina Thomas: My husband is my rock and keeps me grounded.

What is the best piece of advice you can give to others looking to launch a company in the cannabis industry?

Marvina Thomas: Have realistic goals. You have to give to receive. Be prepared to put a lot of time & energy & financial investment into your startup.

What’s the hardest part of founding and running a startup?

Marvina Thomas: The hardest part is there is not enough time in the day.

Is there anything that surprised you about being an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry?

Marvina Thomas: At the end of the day this started as a black market industry, so be prepared to run into a few questionable characters. Do your due diligence, and research potential colleges before investing time or money.

Being a founder, we are bound to make a mistake or two, what is one mistake you made that turned up being one of your biggest learning lessons?

Marvina Thomas: Learning who to trust has been one of the hardest lessons I’ve learned so far. I proceed with caution now.

What book has inspired you the most?

Marvina Thomas: Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

Marvina Thomas: Nirvana Dispensary, Green Pharms, Nirvana & the Good Dispensary in Az.

How can we as an industry continue to make a positive difference in society?

Marvina Thomas: The power is in education

Thank you, Marvina, for sharing your story and offering such real and insightful advice! It was so great being able to feature you as this week’s entrepreneur of the week!


About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Los Angeles paves way for regulated marijuana market - Michael K

Los Angeles paves way for regulated marijuana market on ‘historic day’

Article Published by mjbizdaily.com

Los Angeles could be among a handful of California cities to begin recreational marijuana sales on New Year’s Day after the City Council’s unanimous approval of cannabis industry regulations Wednesday.

“Let’s don’t be a part of history. Let’s make history,” Council President Herb Wesson said moments before 12 council members voted to pass three ordinances to fully regulate both the adult-use and medical cannabis sectors in the nation’s second-largest city.

Among other things, the regulations include:

A social equity program that will require the city to license likely hundreds of applicants that were adversely affected by the war on drugs.

License caps that will limit exactly how many MJ business permits are ultimately issued.

Specific guidelines for businesses looking to obtain both L.A. and state licenses, including retailers, growers, edibles makers, MJ delivery operations and testing labs.

Provisional licensing for nonretail marijuana businesses.

Priority licensing for longstanding medical marijuana retailers that were already compliant with city law.

The ordinances and related documents can be viewed here, here and here.

The Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force celebrated the vote, calling the development a “watershed moment.”

“A regulated commercial cannabis market in Los Angeles is an accomplishment over a decade in the making,” the Task Force declared in a news release. “Now, for the first time, there exists a legal, sanctioned pathway for cannabis business licenses in the second-largest city in the United States.”

‘Work to do’

However, a myriad of questions must still be answered and further changes to the law are in store, said Adam Spiker, the executive director of the Southern California Coalition.

“The takeaway is, historic day, but lots of work still to do,” he said.

First and foremost, Spiker said, it’s incumbent upon city officials to now fast-track priority licensing for the few medical marijuana dispensaries in the city that could be eligible to begin rec sales Jan. 1.

But, he emphasized, it’s unclear whether the city will be able to move fast enough to meet that deadline.

Among his other concerns: As written, the regulations make it a near-certainty there won’t be room for hundreds of existing marijuana businesses that currently operate in the quasi-legal medical cannabis trade.

Specifically, he pointed to thousands of growers in the city that are still unlicensed.

“I’m not sure what to tell the supply-chain operators that have been in this industry forever,” Spiker said.

“There’s still a lot of angst and uncertainty for those folks that not only supply the (retailers that qualify for priority licensing) but also licensed operators up and down the state.”

Social equity provision limiting?

According to Spiker, it’s highly unlikely that all existing businesses in L.A. will be able to get licenses, especially given the constraints of the social equity provision.

The city originally had proposed a mandatory one-for-one license guarantee for those who qualify for the social equity program but now has moved to a two-to-one provision, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Spiker said there will be license caps under the regulations, but he’s not clear exactly how L.A. will determine the precise number of permits.

One city council document, for instance, appears to suggest only 390 retail licenses will be issued for the entire city.

If those limits stand, Spiker worries that the licensed market won’t be able to match market demand and that the city’s regulations will inadvertently give further life to the black market – especially since many suburbs in the metro area are choosing to ban MJ businesses outright.

That means there will be a constant influx of customers to L.A. from surrounding municipalities, he suggested. Not to mention tourists.

“If the city does not meet demand – both medical and recreational – it is just giving fuel to the illicit market,” Spiker said.

Alterations expected

Significant changes likely will be made to the regulations in coming months, particularly the social equity program.


About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Israel leads the world in medical marijuana research - Michael K

How this tiny Middle Eastern nation came to lead the world in medical marijuana research

Article Published by: thecannabist.co

With its government’s approval, Israel has been a pioneer in medical cannabis research and development for more than 50 years

By Bruce Kennedy, The Cannabist Staff

Few people outside of the legal cannabis industry would associate Israel with marijuana. But the tiny nation, slightly larger in square miles than New Jersey, is a surprising world leader when it comes to pioneering medical cannabis research and development.

In the 1960s Israeli scientist Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, using confiscated Lebanese hashish he obtained from the police, was one of the first researchers to identify cannabidiol (CBD), one of the plant’s key compounds. And soon after he determined the structure of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical compound that gives cannabis its intoxicating high.

Using his research as a springboard, Mechoulam convinced the country’s Ministry of Health to establish a medical cannabis program. In 1992, the ministry approved medical marijuana and eventually established a formal medical marijuana program that is currently being used by around 25,000 Israeli patients.

“Working in a small country certainly has its positive aspects,” Mechoulam, now an elder statesman in cannabis research, said in a 2012 interview with Israel21c. “It couldn’t have happened in the United States, because the laws were too strict. In Israel there’s a lot of shouting, but in the end you can make it.”

And while cannabis for non-medicinal use remains illegal in Israel, the nation’s liberal approach to cannabis studies has given it a substantial headstart over most countries when it comes to government approval for agricultural and clinical research.

Late last month Dr. Adi Eran, head of the pediatric neurology department at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, obtained government permits for the first-ever formal clinical trial of medicinal cannabis with autistic children and adults.

Another example: Tikun Olam is one of the largest medical cannabis companies in Israel and has been operating under a license from the Israeli government for nearly a decade. The private company claims to have one of the most extensive medical cannabis patient databases in the world. It has also initiated several research programs, including an ongoing survey on how cannabis affects children with cancer — and what it describes as “the world’s first randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded study” of the effect of cannabis on patients with Crohn’s disease.

In comparison, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration recently refused to change marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I controlled substance, its most restrictive category. The DEA’s anticipated decision reiterated its position that cannabis has no currently accepted medical use and that the plant has a “high potential for abuse.”

There was one sign of change, however. In that same announcement, the DEA said it was reversing a decades-old policy and would make it easier for private companies and researchers to access new sources of marijuana — a move that some academics say could eventually lead to for-profit U.S. companies researching and producing their own cannabis and cannabinoid products.

According to the National Institutes of Health, there are currently around 350 clinical trials underway in the U.S. regarding cannabis. However, many of those trials are focused on cannabis withdrawal or treatment of cannabis dependency, rather than looking at the plant’s medicinal qualities and potential as a medical treatment.

For its part, the Food and Drug Administration says it recognizes and shares an interest in developing therapies from marijuana.

“We continue to encourage work to assess whether there are appropriate and effective therapeutic uses of marijuana and its components,” FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum told The Cannabist via email, “and believe the drug approval process using scientifically valid and well-controlled clinical trials is the most appropriate way for this to occur.”

Cannabis advocates say Israel’s approach to funding cannabis research, and allowing that research to take place with the least possible political and legal fuss, should serve as an example to lawmakers in Washington and elsewhere.

“Unlike the U.S. government, the Israeli government has had few restrictions on doing research on cannabis, whether basic science or clinical studies,” said Dr. Alan Shackelford in a telephone interview with The Cannabist. He is a Harvard-trained physician and medical marijuana specialist based in Colorado.

Frustrated by federal restrictions on cannabis research in the United States, Shackelford relocated to Israel in 2014 to continue his studies there. However, he has since returned to the U.S. to seek funding for additional studies and to write protocols for them.

Nevertheless, he noted that Israel “is leading the world by instituting government policies that make it possible to conduct scientific investigations into the potential medical uses of cannabis with a minimum of restrictions and with sensible regulations, and by not putting roadblocks in the way of conducting legitimate research.”

In June the Israeli government announced it would establish guidelines for national regulations on using cannabis for medicine and research.

And in August the Health Ministry and Agriculture Ministry made a joint announcement — that current research efforts regarding cannabis will come under a new facility, the National Center for Research in Medical Cannabis, which is scheduled for completion in mid-2017.

The center will come under the operation of the Agriculture Ministry’s Volcani Center, which has a global reputation for its agriculture studies.

Nirit Bernstein is a senior research scientist at the Volcani Center, and her main area of research is environmental effects on plants. She has been studying cannabis for three years, especially how to optimize its cultivation practices, and said there is still “more unknown than known” about the plant’s biochemistry, physiology and medicinal impact.

“In addition to its much-talked-about main cannabinoids THC and CBD, it contains more than 100 other cannabinoids and over 300 additional secondary metabolites (i.e., components that appear in minute quantities),” she said in an e-mail interview with The Cannabist. “The magic in cannabis is in the profile (the content) of all these minuscule compounds.”

Funding for medical marijuana research is still scarce in both Israel and the United States. Israeli funding comes from the government as well as private and corporate sources, while U.S. funding is hard to find even in cannabis-friendly states. Colorado approved $9 million last year in medical marijuana research grants, while Washington state recently announced plans to sidestep federal regulations and create its own state marijuana research license.

One Colorado researcher even used crowdfunding earlier this year, to raise enough cash for his relatively low-budget study on how cannabis use influences motor function in multiple sclerosis patients.

These political and cultural obstacles have prompted some U.S. companies to use Israel as their R&D lab for cannabis products and technologies.

Reuters recently quoted iCan CEO Saul Kaye saying that U.S. firms have invested around $50 million over the past two years towards licensing Israeli medical marijuana patents, as well as agro-tech start-ups and cannabis delivery products such as inhalers. And that figure is expected to grow to $100 million in the coming year, according to Kaye, whose firm focuses on cannabis research efforts.

“The U.S. is currently the biggest market potential for our technology and, despite difficulties in regulation and in risk, the potential reward is huge,” said Eyal Barad, co-founder of Cannabics Pharmaceuticals, a Maryland-based company that conducts research on cannabis and cannabinoids at its Israeli subsidiary. This past March, Cannabics announced the start of clinical studies in Israel for cancer patients, using the company’s time-release capsules.

Speaking to The Cannabist by phone from Israel, Barad said legal cannabis companies in the U.S. should view their Israeli counterparts as potential partners, rather than business rivals.

“It’s a natural alliance, where a lot of the technologies are developed here (and) the market is in the U.S.,” he continued. “And it completely opens up to collaboration and cooperation; U.S. companies are backing up their products with clinical trials in Israel, which we can help facilitate.”

Israel’s government, meanwhile, has upped the ante on its commitment to cannabis. It recently announced plans to export Israeli-grown medical marijuana within the next several years. And while that decision is still tentative, Bernstein of the Volcani Center said there’s a lot of interest among Israeli farmers regarding the possibility of exporting a high-cash agricultural product like cannabis.

“Many excellent vegetable and flower growers would love to specialize in cultivating this unique crop,” she wrote. “These are … highly qualified, high-tech cultivation farmers (who) under combined efforts with the research sector in Israel can improve the product for the benefit and safety of the medical consumers.”


About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Cannabis Growers Look To Traditional Farmers - Michael King

Cannabis Growers Look To Traditional Farmers For Lessons

Article Published by: netnebraska.org

The Governor’s Forum on Agriculture in Denver is your typical farm conference. Every year, farmers in denim and bolo ties mingle with ag professionals. The governor himself swings by for a keynote speech. But this year, there was a new addition. There’s a panel called “Cannabis: An Emerging Crop of Colorado.”

In years past, marijuana growers haven’t been invited to the event. Now, Duane Sinning, the state regulator in charge of industrial hemp is introducing three cannabis company executives.

“There’s an opportunity where traditional agriculture can help an industry emerge in this state,” Sinning said.

Because cannabis is the state’s newest and flashiest cash crop, there’s a focus on finding the best, and most efficient ways to grow it. A focus to turn cannabis into a full blown commodity like wheat or corn. Brooke Gehring sat on the panel. She’s the CEO of a chain of cannabis shops in the Denver metro area called Live Green.

“Farmers understand scale. They understand hardship. They understand you’re only as good as your last crop,” Gehring said.

Stephen Lipton knows those lessons. He’s the cultivation manager at The Farm, a recreational and medical marijuana operation in Boulder, Colorado. Before growing commercial-scale cannabis, Lipton worked as an organic farmer. His research lab is filled with at least 150 different strains of marijuana, planted in small pots.

“Genetics is really the cornerstone of the whole thing,” Lipton said. “Without that you really have nothing.”

Just like a plant breeder attempting to make a sweeter apple or a hardier tomato, he crosses strains in search of the perfect variety.

“Plant vigor, smell, aroma, taste, anything that you can imagine really. Yield. Yield is a big one for sure,” Lipton said.

Most of modern agriculture relies heavily on inputs, like fertilizers and pesticides, to keep plants healthy and productive. But for obvious legal reasons, the Monsantos and John Deeres of the world aren’t catering to cannabis growers. That leaves room for start ups.

Colin Bell decided to use his knowledge of soil microbes to serve the marijuana sector. Bell originally developed a soil additive for vegetable crops at Colorado State University, but now sells beneficial bacteria by the gallon to marijuana growers under the brand name Mammoth.

“We hear bigger flowers, we hear denser flowers,” Bell said. “And in the end what it translates is to is more yield, right?”

And more yield translates to more money. In Colorado alone, marijuana sales were just shy of a billion dollars in 2015. And more markets are coming online. More than 20 states have laws allowing industrial hemp and medical marijuana, and four states plus Washington D.C. give permission for recreational use of the drug. With a handful of states expected to fully legalize this year, Bell says a lot of farmers want in on the ground floor.

“It’s a super exciting opportunity from a business perspective,” Bell said. “There hasn’t been a new market in many, many years. And there might not be one again in our lifetime.”

That same excitement is on display back at the Governor’s Forum on Agriculture in Denver. Grant Mattive farms potatoes and barley in the state’s parched San Luis Valley. Last season he gave hemp a try. In a region prone to drought, he likes the crop’s ability to withstand dry conditions.

“To be successful and to get this industry really going on its feet, we need to involve farmers a little bit more, rather than just the basement weed growers,” Mattive said.

At first, Mattive says he was skeptical about jumping onto the bandwagon, in the rush to grow cannabis. Now, he says he just needs to figure out how to run his combine over it.


About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Regenerative Organic Cannabis Farming - Michael King

Regenerative Organic Cannabis Farming

Article Published by: hightimes.com

With the great state of California poised to legalize adult use cannabis in January 2018, a big debate has formed around the potential environmental impact of all that cultivation. Currently, the regulations are being finalized and issues regarding everything from runoff to soil disposal have been discussed.

In this dialogue, sustainable farming techniques are being looked at as a potential solution to help mitigate this problem.

According to the Rodale Institute, “We have proven that organic agriculture and specifically, regenerative organic agriculture can sequester carbon from the atmosphere and even help to reverse climate change.”

These regenerative farming techniques can work in cannabis gardens as well.

This type of agriculture could help elevate the fears that people have concerning the potential damage cannabis agriculture can leave behind. A study published in the journal, Environmental Research Letters, looked at the impact of several grow sites in Northern California and found that the sites indeed caused various environmental damage. From potentially contaminating rivers due to chemical fertilizer runoff, to increased soil erosion.

Regenerative farming is a type of organic farming that heals the earth while making use of it to incubate your crops.

This type of farming is designed to build soil health and is comprised of practices that include cover crops, residue mulching, composting and crop rotation. These practices can also reduce climate change by restoring the biodiversity of the soil. This results in carbon drawdown and improvements in the water cycle—all of which would greatly benefit California.

More of these practices should be adopted when growing cannabis—as the plant heals us, so to should we attempt to “heal” the land with this plant.

With the great state of California poised to legalize adult use cannabis in January 2018, a big debate has formed around the potential environmental impact of all that cultivation. Currently, the regulations are being finalized and issues regarding everything from runoff to soil disposal have been discussed.

In this dialogue, sustainable farming techniques are being looked at as a potential solution to help mitigate this problem.

According to the Rodale Institute, “We have proven that organic agriculture and specifically, regenerative organic agriculture can sequester carbon from the atmosphere and even help to reverse climate change.”

These regenerative organic farming techniques can work in cannabis gardens as well.

This type of agriculture could help elevate the fears that people have concerning the potential damage cannabis agriculture can leave behind. A study published in the journal, Environmental Research Letters, looked at the impact of several grow sites in Northern California and found that the sites indeed caused various environmental damage. From potentially contaminating rivers due to chemical fertilizer runoff, to increased soil erosion.

Regenerative farming is a type of organic farming that heals the earth while making use of it to incubate your crops.

This type of farming is designed to build soil health and is comprised of practices that include cover crops, residue mulching, composting and crop rotation. These practices can also reduce climate change by restoring the biodiversity of the soil. This results in carbon drawdown and improvements in the water cycle—all of which would greatly benefit California.

More of these practices should be adopted when growing cannabis—as the plant heals us, so to should we attempt to “heal” the land with this plant.

Regenerative Organic Cannabis Farming

As more and more people cultivate the plant, the risks to the environment grow.

Not all of these new farmers will practice organic or sustainable agriculture. According to a study from the Center on Food Security and the Environment, over the last five years, there has been a 50 to 100 percent increase in land being used to cultivate cannabis. From water use to land erosion to chemical nutrients being used, the environmental impact is huge.

This is why practices like regenerative farming will be so important under the new regulatory landscape.

As the new regulations sweep into effect January 2018, a lot of California’s growers will have to make drastic changes to their cultivation techniques; hopefully, most will choose a path leading towards sustainability.

In an age of mainstream cannabis, it is crucial that we act as shining examples in all aspects of the industry, including the environmental impact we, as cannabis growers, leave behind.

Not only that but these techniques often also improve flavor and bud structure—returning densely packed nugs that have deep rich flavors as a result of the terroir. Much like grapes, the flavor of cannabis is also affected by the environment. This is why the same strain grown by different growers under different conditions will vary so much. Over time, we will come to see that where your cannabis is grown, as well as how it’s grown, will be a deciding factor for the discerning cannabis consumer.


About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Rules and Regulations for Legal Weed in Canada - Michael King

Canadian Provinces Creating Rules and Regulations for Legal Weed

Article Published by: merryjane.com

As Canada’s self-imposed deadline for legal recreational weed grows near, Canadian provinces are beginning to release regulations to govern how cannabis sales will be handled in their jurisdictions.

The country’s federal government will set some of the rules for cannabis sales that will apply throughout the country, but each individual province is left on its own to draft rules regarding the minimum age of users, the location and licensing of retail stores, whether or not home grows are allowed, and many other details.

In Manitoba, the Progressive Conservative government released their Safe and Responsible Retailing of Cannabis Act this week, which will allow anyone aged 19 or older to purchase weed at retail stores or online, CBC News reports. The new laws will allow cannabis to be sold at two different kinds of retail stores. One store would be strictly age-restricted, with those under 19 prohibited from entering the premises. The other kind of store would be open to all ages, but would not be allowed to openly display marijuana products for sale. Any of these licensed storefronts will also be allowed to sell weed online, but the recipient must sign for every delivered package.

Manitoba’s regulations also detail ways to encourage safe consumption. Every retail store must post information regarding possible side effects of marijuana use near their register. The regulations will also channel two percent of the province’s cannabis tax revenue to fund grants for companies to promote safe cannabis consumption. The rules also make it illegal for an individual to give, sell, or even pass a joint to an intoxicated person. Furthermore, any Manitoban will be prohibited from growing weed in their own home, unless they have a medical cannabis permit.

Meanwhile on the West Coast, British Columbia’s government has released a preliminary version of their own cannabis regulatory framework. These regulations will make the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch the sole distributor of recreational cannabis, which would then be sold in both public and private stores. The provincial government has not yet hashed out the details on these stores, but B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth told reporters that more information would become available by next February. The preliminary regulations do not reveal whether or not online sales would be handled by the government, private stores, or both, but do impose a minimum age limit of 19 for cannabis users.

The fate of numerous marijuana dispensaries that are currently operating in a legal grey area across B.C. is also left uncertain by these new regulations. Some local governments have already granted licenses to these existing dispensaries, but others wish to ban them. Cannabis attorney Kirk Tousaw recommends that the government transition these dispensaries to legal operations to make it easier for the province to meet the deadline for legal sales. “There’s not much in negatives being caused by these establishments,” he told the Vancouver Sun. “There’s a tremendous amount of talent in B.C. and we need to harness that and we need to acknowledge that they are pioneers, not criminals.”

During a conference call with reporters, Farnworth said that the province is not including revenue estimates from cannabis sales in next year’s budget, and does not expect an immediate financial windfall in pot revenue. “I have no doubt there will be revenue in the middle- to long-term, but initially our focus is going to be on education, enforcement, and on ensuring the necessary infrastructure for the legalization of cannabis to proceed smoothly in B.C. is the priority,” he said, according to the Vancouver Sun. Farnworth added that there’s still “a lot of work that needs to be done legislatively,” and that he expects “a great deal of the legislative calendar to be taken up by the legalization of cannabis in the spring.”


About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Cannabis Flower' Perfume, Dahling - Michael King

What’s That Smell? It’s ‘Cannabis Flower’ Perfume, Dahling

Article Published by: leafly.com

Years ago, when the cosmetics retailer Sephora asked perfumer Mark Crames to create a perfume based on the scent of cannabis, he knew he faced a formidable challenge.

He would have to capture the slightly animalistic, skunky cannabis vibe, but temper it to please the nose with notes of flowers and spice. Make it so beautiful people will spritz it on their neck and that soft spot on their wrists. Make it smell like fresh bud.

Crames went through several versions before developing a fragrance that wasn’t skunky or off-putting.

“I look at cannabis like liquor – it’s about capturing great, memorable tastes, smells and experiences,” he explained. “The first three versions we made were authentic, but you could not leave the house wearing it.”

That was 12 years ago. In the end, the perfume never made it to the shelf. Sephora said it wasn’t right for them, and later launched the Cannabis Santal line instead. Crames didn’t let the effort go to waste, though. In 2006 he released the perfume as “Cannabis Flower” under his own label, Demeter Fragrances. The fragrance has since become one of the most popular scents in the company’s product line.

Crames’ competitors have also noticed the interest in cannabis. In recent years, perfumers from chic London houses to indie L.A. experimenters have followed suit, introducing their own slant on cannabis across market segments. Their fragrances smell less like you’ve bathed in the stuff and more like there’s a small flowering cannabis plant in a room of other circling smells.

Here’s the rub with cannabis as a perfume note: you want to be able to smell it, but not too much. It has to smell distinctly cannabis – herby, fragrant and evocative – but it can never be that off-putting, rank burnt herb sometimes associated with the flower. And since perfumers in most states can’t sell commercial perfumes using actual cannabis oil – they rely on tricks of the trade to create accords mimicking the bud’s scent – creating a true cannabis perfume requires a truly complicated balancing act.

“Cannabis is the most underused aromatic essence in the natural fragrance game,” said Christi Meshell, owner and perfumer of Seattle-based House of Matriarch perfumes. Meshell’s company employs cannabis notes in its Sex Magic and Forbidden perfumes. She has a precise way of describing its effects: “It’s like drinking lemonade with your pet skunk in the middle of a pinyon pine forest as newly baled hay cures in a neighboring field.”

Demeter Fragrances owner Mark Crames is a lawyer by training and a perfumer by practice and passion. While he’s not a Master Perfumer – attaining that position requires years of training at a traditional perfume school in France – he trained his nose during his 15 years working as a fragrance distributor. Eventually his distribution business acquired a manufacturing license, and he began developing commercial fragrances of his own.

“I’m always approaching a target trying to capture what the majority of people would recognize as the thing itself, but in an idealized version,” Crames said.

In 2002 he bought Demeter, which renowned perfume artist Christopher Brosius had launched 10 years earlier. Brosius had created a catalogue of an astonishing range of scents. He exhibited his scents at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum’s Triennial exhibition in 2003 – the first time that the design elements of perfume construction were acknowledged in such a setting.

Crames possesses a photographic memory for the nose. He can recall scents years after he experiences them. For the past decade his nose has been the driving force behind Demeter’s fragrances, which continue to stretch the concept of what’s considered perfume.

Clean Skin, Paperback, New Baby, Laundromat, Snow, and, of course, Cannabis Flower. Reading the company’s list of perfumes is like sifting through a family album of olfaction.

Traditional perfumes are composed of top notes, middle notes, and base notes. The tops evaporate quickly, revealing the middle over time, and then the base several hours later. In that sense, cannabis can wear many hats in the perfuming world. Sometimes it acts like a sneaky top note; it can also move in and out like a middle note, or create a backdrop for other aromas like a base note.

“Any ‘big’ note presents challenges because it needs to be managed and tamed into wearability,” Crames said.

And so it is with Cannabis Flower. It’s like a haughty supporting actress – you need her to play along and do her thing, but there’s always the danger she might get too loud and steal the show.


About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Cannabidiol May Prevent Alcohol-Induced Liver Damage - Michael King

Study: Cannabidiol (CBD) May Help Prevent Alcohol-Induced Liver Damage

Article Published by: medicaljane.com

It is no secret that alcohol consumption can negatively affect one’s liver. This is because it can cause an excess of fats and lipids and additional oxidative stress (i.e. damage caused by free radicals).

With that said, a recent study published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine offers an interesting preventive measure. Funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) could help protect the liver from alcohol-induced damage.

Researchers Prevent Alcohol-Induced Liver Damage With Cannabidiol (CBD)

As we know, cannabidol (CBD) may have anti-oxidant effects. Couple that with the constituent’s lack of psychoactivity, and it makes sense why the team of researchers from China and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York chose to investigate its ability to counter alcohol-induced oxidative stress in the liver.

In doing so, they injected mice with ethanol twice a day for five days. This was intended to model the impact of binge drinking on one’s liver. Prior to this, a group of the mice were administered cannabidiol (CBD) as a preventive measure.

Sure enough, the study’s results showed that cannabidiol (CBD) may protect the liver from steatosis – the accumulation of fats and lipids. The researchers suggested that this was potentially the result of cannabidiol’s inhibition of oxidative stress and activation of pathways associated with fat accumulation.

The accumulation of fat in the liver can lead to much more serious problems like cirrhosis of the liver (i.e. scarring of the liver that may lead to liver failure) if it gets out of hand. With that said, there is no easy way to go about “curing” the disease once it occurs, so taking a preventive approach is best. Although increased research may strengthen the theory that cannabidiol (CBD) administration helps to prevent alcohol-induced liver damage, cannabidiol is not an approved or definitively effective preventive treatment at the present time. To reduce your risk of developing liver problems, the American Liver Foundation suggests that you eat a well-balanced diet, limit your alcohol intake, and practice safe sex.


About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Wholesale Marijuana Prices Continue to Drop - Michael King

Growing Pains: Wholesale Marijuana Prices Continue to Drop

Article Published by: hightimes.com

The genius of supply and demand as economic theory is its raw, basic simplicity. There are plenty of other determinants with hands in the market, but if demand stays constant and there is a new, unprecedented rush of supply, it’s pretty clear why prices will subsequently plummet. This is exactly what’s happening as wholesale marijuana prices continue to drop.

It’s Simple Economics

In many states where cannabis is legal, wholesale marijuana prices continue to drop, and there are simple economic explanations why. As more and more cannabis producers enter the market, with bigger and bigger cultivation facilities, this drop is entirely predictable.

As Marijuana Business Daily reported on Monday, the average asking price for a pound of cannabis on Colorado’s wholesale marijuana market is currently at an all-time low of $1,298, down from a three-year high of $2,007 in January 2015. And all the factors driving down the price—more competition, more efficient production and even more competition—are still at play, meaning prices should plummet even further.

When that happens, producers may be compelled to grow even more cannabis, flooding the market with even more supply, which will drive the price even lower. You get the idea.

While it’s true that newcomers are entering the commercial marijuana market all over the country—in no small part because they believe that black market-era profit margins are theirs for the taking, and are presenting such rosy revenue projections to their investors—in Colorado’s case, it’s a situation of existing producers ramping up their output.

According to Shon Williams, a consultant with Mjardin, a Denver-based group of cultivation advisers, big companies are able to add capacity without much in the way of increased cost. As a result, they can remain profitable even while accepting those lower prices.

In Colorado, what newcomers there are tend to produce cannabis using the sun, a relatively new allowance in the state. Outdoor producers may not be able to fetch nearly as much per pound, but they’re able to produce that pound much more cheaply. That translates into a slightly smaller hill to climb toward profitability, whether or not the final product stays as flower or (more likely than not) is extracted into oil for edibles, concentrates or vape cartridges.

This does make newcomers think twice before entering the industry—and it makes staying in business more difficult for smaller operations without the ability to scale. In other words, it’s hard out here for a small grower—which is what we’ve been hearing for years now in the marijuana world.

Even mainstream media has been hip to this trend. “From Washington to Colorado, wholesale marijuana prices have tumbled as dozens of states legalized the drug for recreational and medicinal uses, seeding a boom in marijuana production,” the Wall Street Journal reported in August.

Granted, these findings did rely on data from Washington, where an early market inefficiency—there just weren’t any growers—artificially spiked the price of a gram to $20-territory, but the general gist of the article is accurate.

How Long Will Wholesale Marijuana Prices Continue to Drop?

At some point, the production market will become saturated. Nobody will be able to increase their output, and it will be hostile to newcomers. That is, unless someone presents an innovation of some kind that gives them a clear market advantage.

What would that be? More efficient lights? Hard to get more efficient than LEDs or the sun. A better strain that breaks the market? Maybe. And when will that be? Similarly, when will prices settle into a predictable groove, in the way other agricultural consumer products have?

Williams, the Denver-based consultant, isn’t sure when all this could happen, only that it will happen. Then again, marijuana hasn’t yet had some kind of market-breaking crisis, something like a widespread outbreak of the fungus phylloxera, which decimated and nearly destroyed the wine industry.

The good news here is that the price drop has been passed onto consumers. According to BDS Analytics, a cannabis consumer data-crunching firm that has access to POS data from Colorado dispensaries, the average price of a gram is now hovering around $7 in Colorado—a far cry from the $40 to $50 bags from black market days.

The other outstanding question—for producers, sellers and consumers alike—is whether government regulation will create new demand for off-label, black market cannabis. That’s the concern in California, where a tiny minority of the growers currently in business have signed up for licenses and the required inspections.

As Tawnie Logan, the chairwoman of the California Growers Association, told the New York Times, dispensary pot in California is around $50 an eighth (for now), whereas black market weed fetches $20.

Will that change the way pot is grown and sold, and will it affect prices? So far in California, the tool used to stamp out off-label growers has been law enforcement, not the free market.

Because that worked so well in the past.


About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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California Report on Cannabis and Banking - Michael King

California State Treasurer Presents Report on Cannabis and Banking

Article Published by: directcannibisnetwork.com

As many of you know, cannabis businesses are faced with many roadblocks and hurdles, banking being one of them, but as California nears recreational cannabis in less than two months, it appears that we are a bit closer to potentially having a solution to our cash and banking crisis.

Today, John Chiang, the California State Treasurer and the Cannabis Banking Working Group held a press conference to announce the release of their report on “Banking Access Strategies For Cannabis-Related Business.” The past year John Chiang and 18 representatives from the Cannabis Banking Working Group have gone up and down California meeting with over 50 expert panelists to discuss the issues and reviewing possible solutions for the industries banking issue.

Before I go into the recommendations the Cannabis Banking Working Group presented, let’s review the past year.

Why is this an issue?

Although medical cannabis has been permitted in California for more than two decades, the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis still remains illegal under federal law and is listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

This impacts legal California cannabis businesses from opening a business account, writing checks, accepting credit cards, transferring money and forces these businesses to deal with large amounts of cash.

Outside of not having access to a bank account, this also has created a considerable safety concern against the safety of business owners and employees as they have to run there businesses strictly on a cash-based service and this matter doesn’t just affect cannabis businesses but state and local government agencies as well.

Did you know: A few years ago in Southern California, a dispensary owner was kidnapped, tortured and manned after being driven into the desert in search of non-existent money.

On top of safety, by not providing businesses with a banking solution many have stayed and will continue to stay underground, and it hinders them the opportunity to become a transparent, regulated, tax-paying business.

Cannabis Banking Working Group

John Chiang, as California’s State Treasurer saw these concerns and knew something had to be done, this is when the Cannabis Banking Working Group was created. These 18 representatives came from the cannabis industry, financial institutions, and government tax collection, law enforcement, and regulatory agencies came together and held over six public meetings around the state in the hopes that they would all be able to find a possible solution or recommendation to help deal with this cannabis banking problem.

On February 10th, 2017, the Cannabis Banking Working Group met in Los Angeles, California. Jerred Kiloh of the United Cannabis Business Alliance, expressed his frustration, “Security issues, keeping high amounts of cash on hand, access to capital to grow their business. Legal representatives and contractors are all losing their bank accounts for working with cannabis companies.” Mr. Kiloh stated, “I had to open a total of eight new bank accounts, and with these changes, my employees and staff lost healthcare.”

Kenneth Berke of Payqwick presented a possible solution at that meeting. Mr. Berke built out a sophisticated e-wallet that can go from processors to retailers and from consumers to retailers. They developed a fully compliant program and are working closely with Washington Liquor and Marijuana Board.

In July 2017, the Cannabis Banking Working had its fourth meeting in San Diego, where they heard John Hudak, Deputy Director of the Center for Effective Public Management, who made an important statement,” the banking solution should be achieved for the 40 million California’s who for them this is a public health and public safety issue.” Hudak reminded the room that this isn’t just about business. It is important to make sure this industry can be tracked, traced, kept honest and regulated efficiently so that the individual knows exactly what product they are getting, where it came from, and that the tax money ends up in the treasurer where it belongs.

Ali Fakhri of EventHi, an online event management platform specific to the cannabis industry, presented a possible solution at his panel. Mr. Fakhri and Sundie Seefried, CEO of Safe Harbor Private Bank publicly announced that EventHi and Safe Harbor Private Bank, a compliance-based cannabis banking program, which is a division of Partner Colorado Credit Union were officially working together, making EventHi one of the first California businesses to work with Safe Harbor.

California Nears Recreational Cannabis

So that leads us to today, John Chiang presented a series of steps that they believe could point us in the right direction. However, although these measures are recommended the reality is there is no definitive solution to this cannabis banking issue until the federal government reschedules cannabis or Congress approves safe harbor legislation protecting financial institutions that serve cannabis businesses from federal penalties.

The Four Recommendations

Cash handling the collection of taxes and fees
To have state and local agencies contract armored couriers to pick up tax and fee payments in cash and deliver the funds to financial institutions.

Expanding cannabis industry access to banking services under current law
To have the state and local agencies create an online portal that aggregates data on cannabis business. The portal should be designed with financial institution compliance needs in mind and provide material to help institutions fulfill their know-your-customer responsibilities.

A state-backed financial institution
This would entail California creating a state-backed financial institution in California that can serve cannabis businesses directly. A public institution that would either (1) finance public infrastructure and expand banking for underserved groups, including the cannabis industry; or (2) take deposits, make loans, and provide other services primarily to cannabis producers, distributors, retailers, and related businesses.

Full access to banking services: the federal solution
This proposal is where an association is developed for cannabis-legal states, local governments, cannabis and financial service industries and law enforcement to advocate for changing federal laws.

In Conclusion

As we get closer and closer to 2018, although we don’t have an exact solution, it appears we are closer now more than ever, but the work doesn’t stop here. We all have to continue our roles as not just cannabis entrepreneurs but as advocates for this plant and this industry.

And you can do so easily by joining a cannabis industry association, reaching out and speaking to government and city officials or by continuing to educate others on cannabis and the cannabis industry.


About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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