Tag: Industry

Richard Branson: ‘Fight to Legalize It’

Billionaire and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson told attendees at a San Francisco cannabis conference this weekend that he was in the mood to “take a spliff or two”—and that most of the world is ready for legal consumption, too.

“It has enormous potential with the ability to do a lot of good.”

Richard Branson, entrepreneur

Referencing the work he’s done over the past five years on the Global Commission on Drug Policy, serving alongside former U.N. General Secretary Kofi Annan and other world leaders, Branson called for the decriminalization of drugs and for cannabis to be legalized worldwide.

“That’s the only way of sorting out the problems that come with drugs, [from] not regulating and leaving it up to the underworld to supply drugs,” he said. “Our commission has worked really quite hard on that. We’ve had some successes and some massive failures, we’re going to keep going until we get governments to see otherwise.”

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Branson, who has stakes in about 20 different technology companies across the globe, said he would invest in legalized cannabis if he wasn’t serving on the U.N. commission.

“I certainly would be out there in this industry,” he said. “It has enormous potential with the ability to do a lot of good.”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Personalization Marketing for Cannabusinesses

Welcome to Part Two of the main marketing lessons for dispensaries and cannabis businesses that I learned from MozCon 2016. In Part One of my three-part recap, I covered how cannabusinesses can use reputation marketing to their advantage. Today, I’ll go over some personalization marketing tips that can help improve people’s perception of companies operating within the adult use and medical marijuana industry.

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Make Connections with Personalized Marketing

A common theme of the session recommendations was improving the user’s experience on websites and other channels. Search engines like Google pay attention to how a brand’s reputation and digital experience is perceived when deciding if the brand should be included in their search results. Why is this important? On Google alone, there are over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year. And it’s probably the most common way new and existing customers will find and engage with you.

A good way to start finding user experience improvements is to think about what you like and don’t like when you’re interacting with a business. You may dislike or disengage with a company that treats you as nothing more than anonymous traffic and data. Conversely, brands that seem to speak, connect, and relate to us are always more intriguing and generally resonate better. Personalized marketing for customers is an old school customer service fundamental that applies to online success just as much as offline.

Here are some of the main personalized marketing tips I took away from the sessions. Many of the examples are related to dispensaries, but really any business could benefit from the overarching advice if they’re trying to better connect with their audience.

Make Email Newsletters Communications, Not Blasts

Do you know the names of your subscribers? Do you track what strains and content they tend to look at the most on your site? Do you actually ask them what they’re interested in seeing? If the answer is no to any of these, you’re potentially missing out on ways to personalize emails and make them feel less like a blast into the abyss.

If you know your subscriber’s name, newsletters can contain more personalized copy that appeals to the reader. If you’re tracking what subscribers look at most frequently when browsing online menus and content, you highlight new strains in stock or content on your site that matches. And if you don’t have a newsletter, maybe you should start considering one.

There are many ways to personalize and improve an email, and Justine Jordan’s session did a great job outlining a lot of tips to do so. You can find all of the recommendations from her presentation as well as links to resources about each topic on her company website.

Improve Personalization Using Cognitive Psychology

In the session by Sarah Weise, she explains how you can apply lessons from cognitive psychology to improve your customers’ experiences. According to the presentation, 95% of decisions are unconscious, and it’s important to understand this concept.

Try and appease one or more of the three unconscious decision-making parts of the brain: survival, emotional, and rational. Between all of these parts of the brain, you’ll find the lessons that can be used in your strategy:

Offer Social Proof

We all see the “friends who like this” feature on Facebook, and it’s natural for us to trust a brand that we see more of our friends liking. Likes, star ratings, reviews, and other similar metrics push people to engage by appeasing the emotional part of the brain. Dispensaries can adopt this by calling out “best seller” next to popular strains, highlighting which strains have the best reviews online on the homepage, prominently displaying reviews in general, and by even taking that “friends who like this” callout from Facebook and embedding it on a prominent part of the site.

Bonus Tip: You can add code to your website that will optimize your appearance in Google search results to people searching for your brand. It pulls in your reviews on all sites you’re listed on directly into the search results page, giving you more visibility on the page.

Highlight Scarcity

People are generally more motivated to want something if there is a limited amount left because of the survival brain. Dispensaries can satisfy this by calling out strains that are almost out of supply or post a timer on the site if there’s a sale that’s about to end.

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Call Out Loss Aversion

The survival part of the brain also tends to strongly prefer avoiding losses over acquiring gains. Try calling out what people might lose by not doing something. If you have an email newsletter, your marketing copy asking them to sign up could say something along the lines of “Don’t miss out on the latest weekly deal” (if you have a weekly deal) to help convince more people to opt-in.

Make Comparisons

Another old school marketing tactic is showing a price before and after a discount. Even if a product is still expensive, seeing the before and after can make the actual number look much better. If you’re ever having a sale, consider this tactic to speak to the rational part of the brain and convince more people to purchase.

Create Associations with Your Brand

Connecting with your audience is key to gaining loyal customers and improving your authority. Try adding visual components to the right messaging so people can better connect. When you start listing out those philanthropic efforts I mentioned in Part 1, show pictures of the people you helped – it helps create a stronger association with the emotional part of the brain. Another way to achieve this is adding staff photos and profiles to the forces at work in your store on the website; it also helps strengthen the emotional connection one might feel towards your business before or after they visit.

Be an Authority

The survival part of the brain will trust a brand more if it deems them as more authoritative, and the rational part of the brain decides it’s safe after collecting more information. Clearly call out notable news mentions, awards, and anything else that will instill more trust in people when they look at your dispensary website.

Provide Reasons

After appeasing the other decision-making parts of the brain, you need to be direct and specific in any messaging on your website or social channels and connect the dots; this way, the rational brain doesn’t have to do as much work. Give reasons for choosing your store, clearly call out what a person is gaining, and make the reasons as personal as possible.

Bonus Tip: In the session by Joanna Wiebe, a conversion copywriter at Copyhackers, she gives many examples that help show how you can write copy that gives reasons to readers. You can download her presentation here.

Hopefully you can apply some of these tactics to better connect with your audience and improve their interactions with you. In the third and final part of this series, I’ll provide some tips on how cannabis businesses can better utilize mobile marketing to connect with their customers.

If you’d like to dive deeper into any of the 2016 MozCon presentations, you can also request detailed notes from Unbounce for free.

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Lead Image: Rob Bertholf/Flickr Creative Commons


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Investors Anxious as Oregonians Reconsider Local Cannabis Bans

Last year, Golden Leaf Holdings, a leading cannabis company, paid $3.3 million for almost 100 acres of land in Oregon to build a marijuana growing, processing and research site.

The future looked bright: Oregon voters had legalized recreational marijuana in 2014. But Measure 91 gave counties and towns the opportunity to opt out and ban cannabis businesses.

Days after Golden Leaf signed the papers on the property in Marion County near the town of Aurora, the county banned marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas. So did about 100 other towns and counties.

“That shut us out completely out of the recreational market, which was our original strategy,” said Beau Whitney, a Golden Leaf vice president.

Now, Golden Leaf has another chance. Marion County is one of about 50 Oregon towns and counties that will decide in the Nov. 8 election whether to opt back into the marijuana business, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which regulates and licenses the industry.

Other states across America are also grappling with the issue of how to deal with the emerging marijuana business. Recreational or medical marijuana measures are on ballots in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada and North Dakota.

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Legalization 2016: America Votes

At Golden Leaf’s property, in the Willamette Valley between Portland and Salem, valuable machines to process marijuana into potent oils are mostly idle, used only for medical marijuana. One greenhouse was filled with rows of robust plants, but about 20 other greenhouses stood empty under rainy skies on a recent afternoon.

Whitney said Marion County will lose $7.5 million in employees’ wages per year and in company spending for infrastructure development if voters say no to marijuana, forcing Golden Leaf to move elsewhere.

“We just want a level playing field,” Whitney said. “We’re just looking for reasonable regulation.”

Marion County Commissioner Sam Brentano said he doesn’t want the county overrun by cannabis businesses attracted by its rich soil and highway access, and that he has received complaints about odor, noise and lights.

One recent evening, 16 backers of pro-cannabis ballot measures gathered in an anteroom of a medical marijuana store. Some volunteered to staff a phone bank. Others said they would hand out flyers to boost voter awareness of the ballot measures.

“This is really the Wild West now,” Genevieve Sheridan, an insurance agent representing cannabis businesses, told those gathered at West Salem Cannabis.

A color-coded map published by the Association of Oregon Counties shows how the differing policies have created a patchwork. Oregon’s more conservative eastern counties are red, meaning they banned recreational marijuana businesses; counties establishing regulations for licensed marijuana businesses are green; those that have a marijuana vote pending are orange or violet; and others that haven’t taken any action are blue. Across the state, people are allowed to grow up to four plants, possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana in their homes and carry up to 1 ounce.

The landscape is likely to change with this election.

Oregonians vote on marijuana.

Steven Marks, executive director of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, told The Associated Press that “we will have more licensing and a bubble of activity coming. … We’ll see how many pass.”

Some local governments, while perhaps opposed to the cannabis industry, want a greater share of the money if voters say yes to marijuana. Marion County is one of many jurisdictions that are asking voters to impose a 3 percent local sales tax on marijuana, on top of the 17 percent state tax.

One recent morning, James Knox, president of Savant Plant Technologies, helped a friend harvest marijuana in a greenhouse in rural Benton County.

Reggae music played as a half-dozen harvesters wearing surgical gloves pulled branches from the plants, stripped the leaves and tossed them into buckets, leaving behind sticky buds. The buds were dropped into another bucket and then taken outside and run through a trimming machine.

“It seems like the public has spoken, two years ago,” Knox said over the whir of cooling fans. “Now we’re voting about it again. I really think the counties, the cities, the municipalities need to respect the voters.”

Savant sells growing materials for cannabis producers. After Linn County, just a few miles from the greenhouse, imposed a moratorium on cannabis businesses, the six biggest customers of Knox’s flagship store moved away, costing him 40 percent of gross annual revenue. They didn’t stick around to see if county residents will vote to allow retail marijuana production and sales.

“They literally vanished within a three-month time period,” Knox said. “The commerce they created, the jobs, it’s all gone. They’re spending their money somewhere else.”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

PotCoin: Can the Cryptocurrency for Cannabis Live up to Its Hype?

In early 2014, around the time retail cannabis stores opened in Colorado, news reports heralded the arrival of a digital currency for the legal cannabis market. PotCoin was supposed to allow consumers to buy or sell marijuana anonymously without using cash. At least one dispensary installed an ATM linked to the cryptocurrency.

And then PotCoin fell into obscurity. Within months, the headlines and news stories dried up. PotCoin has been live since its 2014 launch, but it’s failed to drum up a serious following. The currency was eventually taken over by a new set of administrators, including the developer of PotWallet, a PayPal-esque service created to make using PotCoin more practical.

Hype springs eternal, and now, more than two years after the vaporware debut of PotCoin, there may be reason for it to flow anew. With what the company characterizes as “substantial” new investor funding, PotCoin’s administrators are overhauling the currency. “There was a lack of IT manpower,” said David Amitrano, a pseudonym for the chief technology officer of the mysterious Montreal company behind these ventures (PotCoin’s leaders, like many cryptocurrency creators, put a premium on privacy). As with Bitcoin, PotCoin is open-source, so improvements can come from the company’s administers or via public submissions.

The company has no mobile app at the moment, but Amitrano says one is in the works for Android, iPhone, and Windows. The company says it’s on the verge of making public announcements about improvements to its products, but it hasn’t yet set a date to do so. “Pretty soon,” is all Amitrano would say.

“There could be a social aspect to using it by people who want to support the industry.”

Shad Ewart, business professor

Among other internal changes, the company acquired its own data center in Montreal. “We’re going to own 100 percent of our hardware and our network,” Amitrano said. “Everything is being refactored. Our biggest concerns are reliability, scalability, and security.”

Amitrano said there is no way to know how many users own PotCoins, or how much money the currency adds up to in the real world. Chatter in online forums—like its own, and one on Reddit—is sedate, as is activity on Facebook and among its 437 Instagram followers. On its website, PotCoin lists just 12 businesses that accept the currency. PotWallet has been available since its debut about a year after PotCoin, and today has around 3,000 active users, Amitrano said.

Both PotCoin and PotWallet can be used without fees. Consumers pay zilch. PotCoin promises transactions within just 40 seconds, a speedy clip compared with BitCoin’s 10-minute slog. That’s one of the things that makes PotCoin most promising, said Shad Ewart, a community college professor in Maryland who teaches one of the country’s only cannabusiness courses. Fast transactions would be imperative for a customer-merchant payment service, he said.

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The industry-specific nature of PotCoin may be attractive to consumers who want to see their money bolster the sector, Ewart said. “There could be a social aspect to using it by people who want to support the industry.”

At the moment, $20 will net you 2,500 PotCoins, but the currency is volatile. That’s due at least in part to speculation, which Ewart believes helped drive down the price after the 2014 launch.

But with some form of cannabis legalization on the ballot in nine states this November, will anyone actually need a cryptocurrency for cannabis? Federal legalization of cannabis in the United States and Canada would erase the banking problems that make PotCoin seem appealing. But banks so far don’t appear willing to make that jump, as evidenced recently by two of Canada’s biggest lenders shunning all cannabis-related businesses. So there’s that.

“There’s all these advantages for the cannabis industry, because they get hit with a lot of fraud” and get stuck with chargeback, in which dispensaries owe credit card companies for fraudulent charges, Amitrano said. While most dispensaries still can’t accept major credit cards, apparently that’s a credit card company’s way of thanking dispensaries for their business. If dispensaries don’t like it, they can ditch the plastic—or the heaps of cash—for PotCoin, he said. “That’s the beauty of it.”

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Ewart cautions against getting too feverish, at least until PotCoin gains many, many more users—beginning with merchants. “I’m a little leery,” the business professor said. “They need to get more merchants on board. If they do that, the people will follow. Because why would I want PotCoins if I can’t use them?”

Cryptocurrency aficionados may take interest in another huge change made to PotCoin: It’s no longer minable. It now runs on a proof-of-stake system whereby users earn 5 percent to 7 percent interest on their currency. To cut out a lot of geek-speak, mining is the process that creates new units of some cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, but is frowned upon by many because it puts a strain on computer hardware.

PotCoin’s description on its Facebook page says it’s “aspiring to become the standard form of payment for the legalized cannabis industry.” For now, put the emphasis on “aspiring.”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

The Results Are In: Arizona Awards 31 Medical Marijuana Licenses

In a scene reminiscent of the NBA draft or a bingo hall, the Arizona Department of Health Services held a random selection on live webcast last week. The prize? One of the state’s few remaining nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary certificates.

The health department received an overwhelming 747 applications during the July 18-29 application period, but only 31 certificates were slated to be handed out last Thursday. Officials picked most of the recipients based on rules the department created five years ago, making most selections through a winnowing process designed to place new dispensaries near the greatest number of medical cannabis patients. Nine of the 31 available certificates were selected via a random drawing.

Each of the new dispensaries must be located within one of the state’s predetermined geographic areas for cannabis businesses. The random drawing was necessary because nine of the state’s so-called Community Health Analysis Areas, used to determine the distribution of dispensaries across the state, drew applicants that were so evenly matched that they were considered ties. To break the ties, a department official and two local accountants oversaw a lottery-style selection process.

Members of the Arizona Department of Health Sciences during the lottery selection of nice licenses. Photo from http://azdhs.gov/Members of the Arizona Department of Health Sciences during the lottery selection of nice licenses. Photo from the Arizona Department of Health Services

About 20 people showed up for the proceedings, held in a small auditorium at the DHS headquarters just south of Van Buren Street on 18th Avenue, in Phoenix. Most of the 747 applicants went home disappointed, not to mention a little lighter in the wallet. Of the certificate’s $5,000 application fee, $4,000 is nonrefundable.

Some of the newly licensed businesses could have their stores open within a few months, Ryan Hurly, a lawyer who represents dispensaries, told the Phoenix New Times.

Voters approved a medical marijuana measure in 2010, and today date Arizona is home to 99 dispensaries that legally sell cannabis products to the state’s 100,000 registered patients. The latest round of license applications brought in roughly $3 million. The money goes into the state’s medical marijuana fund.

Nearly all the new dispensaries will be in the Phoenix or Tucson metro areas, which could make them some of the busiest retail stores in the state if voters approve Prop. 205, which would legalize cannabis for all adults over 21. Here’s a complete list of the recently awarded licenses:

Rank CHAA Name CHAA ID Allocated Application ID
1 Paradise Valley Village 46 AZDS000001267
2 North Mountain 52 AZDS000001240
3 Deer Valley 44 AZDS000001272
4 Chandler SE 80 AZDS000001162
5 Scottsdale N 40 AZDS000001307
6 Camelback E 56 AZDS000001185
7 Peoria 41 AZDS000001276
8 Gilbert E 77 AZDS000001481
9 Mesa E 65 AZDS000001204
10 Scottsdale S 58 AZDS000001089
11 Surprise 47 AZDS000001497
12 Tanque Verde 106 AZDS000001289
13 Tucson NE 105 AZDS000001015
14 Tempe N 68 AZDS000001010
15 Mesa W 69 AZDS000001229
16 Tempe S 74 AZDS000001239
17 Maryvale 60 AZDS000001352
18 Alhambra 59 AZDS000001359
19 Yavapai Co. NE 26 AZDS000001514
20 Superior/Kearny 93 AZDS000001438
21 Chandler NW 79 AZDS000001051
22 Tucson E Central 109 AZDS000000986
23 South Mountain 71 AZDS000001360
24 Glendale N 45 AZDS000001034
25 Desert View/North Gateway 42 AZDS000000842
26 Mesa Central 70 AZDS000000948
27 Ahwatukee Foothills 78 AZDS000001271
28 Maricopa Co. W 51 AZDS000001233
29 Lake Havasu City 8 AZDS000001508
30 Mesa S 73 AZDS000001075
31 Apache Junction 92 AZDS000001248

Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

MozCon 2016 Cannabusiness Tips: Reputation Marketing

Earlier in September I attended MozCon, a B2B digital marketing conference that covered topics ranging from user experience (UX) to search engine optimization (SEO) to brand development and beyond. For the cannabis industry, there were three core takeaways from the event that dispensaries and other businesses can follow to improve their marketing efforts. Today I’ll go over the importance of marketing your business’s reputation in order to win customers, positive media coverage, and improve your digital performance.

Build Your Street Cred with Reputation Marketing

Cannabis companies can have a difficult time being perceived as reputable and upstanding businesses. It’s hard to shake the stigma after decades of prohibitionist propaganda, which is why it’s especially important for dispensaries to add reputation marketing to their strategy. Rhea Drysdale shared a few ways businesses can implement reputation marketing and measure the success of their efforts, highlighted below.

Emphasize Your Philanthropic Efforts

Dispensaries can lose the shady “drug dealer” reputation by telling people all of the ways they give back to the community. Don’t give back to your community? Maybe you should. A good example of this is can be found with Seattle’s own Dockside Cannabis. They have an ongoing “cats vs. dogs” competition that allows customers to donate tips either to a dog or cat no-kill shelter. Both organizations receive their share of the funds, and a “winner” is announced.

How can these types of efforts be better displayed to the public? Talk about all of your philanthropic efforts in a prominent, easy-to-find section of your website. A good place to do this is your business’s “about” page. Instead of a generic blurb or stale elevator-pitch copy, tell your story and emphasize the ways you’re a positive contributor to society.

List your company’s different charitable endeavors and link to any blog posts that offer more information about your business’s positive contributions to the surrounding community. Including pictures of employees doing good deeds can further deepen the emotional response in readers. The key here is visibility—remember, people’s views can’t be influenced by what they don’t know.

Bonus tip: If you’re donating earned money or spending money to actively help a charitable cause, you can write it off in your taxes. Just make sure whatever organization you’re working with is approved by the IRS.

Join the Conversation

Businesses constantly hear how they should be on whatever the trending social network is, a clear depiction of the “shiny object” syndrome. However, simply having a profile or using it as a bullhorn won’t do any good. Instead, actively engage with your followers (and non-followers), and listen to what they’re saying.

Join in conversations on various channels by responding to comments when necessary, and track the average sentiment of people’s comments to gauge what kinds of content they’re reacting to. When you have an idea of what type of message resonates strongly with your audience, you can deliver better crafted content that they’ll enjoy. It’s also equally important to not spread yourself too thin across too many social media accounts such that you can’t update or engage with each a regular basis. Do your research and see where your target audiences are spending the most time, and focus first on those channels. And most importantly, make sure you’re connecting with people and providing value while evaluating which social networks make sense for you.

Bonus tip: Reserve your user name on all of the major social media networks, and focus on building/updating a couple at a time until you get the hang of each community. After you’ve figured out your publishing schedule, and if the channel makes sense for your business, you can experiment with another social network.

Create a Fun and Interesting Workplace

Not only should you be highlighting your philanthropic efforts, you should also show what makes your cannabis store or business so unique. If you don’t have a fun, happy workplace or qualities that make your store experience special, you should prioritize fixing that! Host events, hold fun contests in-store every week, or provide customers with some educational information to help them better understand what strains they want before talking to the budtender.

You should also incentivize employees who display the most exceptional customer service, seeing as they’re the person between your customers and the product. Make it a fun game by giving prizes or special accolades to staff who regularly go above and beyond. Your employees and customers can be your biggest advocates, and sometimes just fostering a positive environment causes the reputation marketing to happen naturally. Plus, happier employees = happier customers.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where I’ll outline how creating a personal connection to your user by customizing his or her digital experience can make a positive impact on your cannabis business.

If you’d like to dive deeper into any of the 2016 MozCon presentations, you can also request detailed notes from Unbounce for free.

Lead Image: Thos Ballantyne/Flickr Creative Commons


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Is Cannabis the World’s Next Disruptive Innovator?

With cannabis legalization on the rise, it’s no wonder the industry is growing at such an exponential rate. In fact, legal cannabis sales in the United States, despite only having a market for just over two years, jumped above $5 million in 2015 and are projected to grow well beyond that in 2016.

In this time, the cannabis industry has seen various new technologies and tools that cater to the specific needs of this growing space. However, the unique nature of the legal cannabis market has everyone wondering if traditional business models and theories will apply.

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What is the Disruptive Innovation Theory?

Disruptive innovation is the process of a new product or service entering an existing market and “disrupting” the established leaders, products, and partnerships. This usually starts as a “low-end disruption,” which means the product/service offers lower performance in comparison to the mainstream industry market, but it provides something new and eventually prospers. A true disruptive innovation essentially changes the way a market functions, creating a new product or new market altogether.

The concept of disruptive technologies was introduced in Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma, which is considered one of the most important business books to date. Later, in The Innovator’s Solution, Christensen changed the overarching term from disruptive technologies to disruptive innovation, as the latter is the process in which the technology is used to disrupt the market.

There’s plenty of examples of disruptive innovation and technologies throughout history:

  • Pocket calculators didn’t match the performance of traditional desktop calculators at first, but their portable nature was appealing to certain audiences. Improvements to the technology and more widespread availability eventually caused them to surpass traditional calculators all together.
  • Initially a disruptor, Netflix’s success put the original market leader Blockbuster out of business. The convenience of ordering rental videos from home and eventually just streaming without the delivery wait was just too much for brick and mortar Blockbuster to compete with. It’s a shame too, because Blockbuster passed on a chance to purchase Netflix for $50 million back when they were just a low-end disruption.
  • Smartphones disrupted the PC/laptop industry because they’re more portable than traditional devices, and their use/sales have long surpassed their predecessors. Mobile phones also disrupted landline phone technology.
  • Digital photography didn’t initially match the quality of traditional photography; however, vastly improved space for storing pictures and the time saved on developing photos made it more convenient. Improvements to digital camera technology have mostly solved the quality issues, eventually propelling it to becoming the market leader.
  • MP3s and other downloadable digital media disrupted the CD/DVD industry. It started with illegal file sharing networks, but slowly brands such as Apple and Amazon legitimized it, ultimately surpassing sales of physical records.

Cannabis: The Next Disruption?

Despite its infancy, the legal cannabis industry is already disrupting other industries. The pharmaceutical industry is actively trying to prevent legalization because emerging data shows that the plant can more effectively and safely treat various conditions than certain prescription drugs (such as cannabis instead of opioids for chronic pain). Legalization also poses a disruptive threat to the agriculture industry. This is because hemp is proven to be of higher quality than cotton and more sustainable to grow, but cannabis prohibition also makes industrial hemp illegal.

The cannabis industry is primed to be the next big disruptive innovation, creating an entirely new industry altogether that can have massive global impact. You can learn more about this topic from Leafly’s president, Paul Campbell, at the 2016 Seattle Interactive Conference. He’ll go more in-depth on some of the surprising industries being disrupted by the growing cannabis legalization movement.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Illinois Cannabis Sales Top $20M Since Program Began

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Medical marijuana sales reached more than $3.8 million last month at licensed dispensaries throughout Illinois.

The state released new monthly sales figures Wednesday. September’s sales figures bring the total retail sales in Illinois to $23.5 million since purchasing began in November last year, topping the $20 million mark for the first time.

The program now includes 11,100 patients with state approval to buy cannabis legally. Eighty-five of those patients are children and teenagers. The number of dispensaries continues to grow, too, with 44 now licensed to sell medical marijuana.

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Meanwhile, seven lawsuits have been filed by Illinois patients who want their medical conditions added to the list of qualifying conditions and are working their way through the courts. The cases could expand the number of patients eligible for the program.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Goodbye, Grape Ape: Oregon Bans Kid-Friendly Strain Names

Oregon strain aficionados may be saying goodbye to some of their favorite strain names, under new rules announced last week by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). The Commission passed a temporary rule that clarifies the restrictions on product wording associated with products marketed by or to children. Goodbye, Bruce Banner. So long, Girl Scout Cookies.

State law allows the Commission to regulate cannabis strain names that they deem attractive to minors. The new rule directs OLCC staff to restrict a narrow set of strains that refer to cartoon characters, or names associated with toys and or games marketed to or by children. Companies that have products with the names on it will not be subject to immediate enforcement, said OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks. He said the agency will help inform companies so they can screen out future packaging that contains the names.

After reviewing about 500 cannabis strain names, OLCC staff narrowed the cut list to fewer than 20 strains. The OLCC will work with the industry to correct both packaging and labeling compliance issues.

If you are in Oregon, look out for more guidance and lists of suspect names that will be regulated like the list below from the OLCC, as they will work on these issues as it finalizes its overall permanent rules later this year.

Licensees can also submit strain names to marijuana.packaging@oregon.com to seek guidance on this “attractiveness to children” standard. The full list of banned names, with explanations from the OLCC, can be found in the table below:

Example      
RATIONALE STRAIN/MARKETING PHRASE DERIVATIVE STRAINS NOTES
Marketed by & Marketed to Children Girl Scout Cookies Platinum Girl Scout Cookies, Thin Mint GSC Cookies sold primarily door to door by the youth organization the Girl Scouts of America
Marketed to Children Grape Ape Children’s cartoon character produced by Hanna Barbera
Marketed to Children Candyland Child’s board game by Hasbro
Marketed to Children Charlotte’s Web Children’s book by E.B. White
Marketed to Children Cinderella Cinderella 99 Children’s storybook character
Marketed to Children Dr. Who Fictional character currently marketed to children including cartoon show
Marketed to Children Bubblelicous Bubblegum specifically marketed directly to children
Marketed to Children Smurf Smurfette, Smurf Pussy Children’s cartoon characters and popular franchise
Marketed to Children Bruce Banner Bruce Banner #3, GG#4/Bruce Banner Alter ego of popular Marvel children’s cartoon character the Hulk
Marketed to Children Death Star Reference to the popular Star Wars franchise marketed to children
Marketed to Children Skywalker Skywalker OG Reference to the popular Star Wars franchise marketed to children
Marketed to Children Jedi Kush Reference to the popular Star Wars franchise marketed to children
Contains Untruthful or Misleading Content LSD Is the common street name for illegal drug if contained in the package would constitute adulterated content.
Contains Untruthful or Misleading Content Blow Is the common street name for illegal drug if contained in the package would constitute adulterated content.

Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Cannabis R&D in Italy Is Building Momentum

ROVIGO, Italy — For centuries Italy was one of Europe’s main hemp producers, but development stalled in the second half of the 20th century after cannabis was declared flora non grata in the country. Now, with the plant returning to the mainstream, Italians are stepping up research and development of new strains, in large part to serve the country’s fledgling medical cannabis program.

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Much of the research takes place at CREA Cin, the national center for research on agricultural innovation. With its headquarters in Bologna and local branches in the municipalities of Rovigo and Osimo, the center specializes in breeding and studying various types of plants, then releasing new varieties and breeding lines.

The branch in Rovigo focuses heavily on cannabis, cultivating plants to be grown both indoors and out. Its mission is to grow a wide variety of strains, develop rapid screening tests for cannabinoids, and breed specific cannabis phenotypes for medical use. The Rovigo branch is collaborating with the Pharmaceutical Military Institute of Florence, which has begun production of medical cannabis.

During a tour of the Rovigo research center, Dr. Gianpaolo Grassi explained the center’s history and mission.

“Since 1995 our center has been supported by the Ministry of Agriculture to renew the Italian varieties to follow the EU regulation that imposes the THC limit of 0.2 percent,” he told Leafly. The first cannabis plants were so-called dioecious varieties, used for fiber production. “In the following years we have bred the first Italian monoecious varieties, suitable to produce seed and fiber,” Grassi said. “The market needs hemp food more than hemp fiber.”

The aim is to expand the catalogue of seed varieties, he explained. “In the last 12 years, we have crossed cannabis varieties to obtain cannabis lines with single cannabinoids in its chemo-type. We have THC, CBD, CBG, CBDV, THCV varieties.” Some strains contain more than 20 percent THC, others exceed 15 percent CBD, and yet others have more than 5 percent of CBG, CBDV, and THCV.

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The Rovigo branch has already doubled the number of chromosomes in the plant, and they are looking to develop sterile triploid varieties, Grassi added.

On Oct. 29, Rovigo will host an upcoming conference on cannabis, dedicated to both medical and industrial applications of the plant. It will feature Italian and foreign experts such Stefan Meyer of Phytoplant Spain and Col. Antonio Medica of the Pharmaceutical Military Institute of Florence. Experts on phytochemistry and breeding, as well as use of cannabis in clinical trials, are slated to participate at the conference. The event will also host lectures on matters relating to industrial hemp, such as new machinery suitable to harvest the top of the plant and methods to extract cannabinoids on an industrial scale.

But the use of cannabis for medical purposes in Italy is the most pressing element of the conference. According to Grassic, participants at the conference, some of whom are closely involved with Italian research efforts, will discuss bills being considered by the country’s Parliament that would legalize cannabis and increase industrial hemp production at the national level.

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Legal issues had long stymied interest in hemp and deprived farmers of what initially were high EU subsidies on hemp and flax production—subsidies that have since been largely abolished. At the end of the 1990s, Italian authorities finally decided to change course, ushering in a wave of new research.

But progress has been sporadic, frustrated by heavy regulation. Even the planting of industrial hemp is regulated by individual decrees. And Italian lawmakers haven’t succeeded in integrating relevant EU rules into national legislation. Despite the slow start, however, projects like the one at CREA Cin in Rovigo demonstrate that Italy is becoming an increasingly important player in cannabis R&D—a growing area of interest globally as more countries eye legalization.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.