Monday, August 25, 2014

The next Generation of Retailers

Last Saturday, I got a golden ticket from Green Star Cannabis in Spokane. It allowed me to cut to the front of the line. I had to check it out. My wife and I jumped in our car and drove from Wenatchee to Spokane. What would make me drive 170 miles, when there is a retail shop across the river? This is what I found.
The owner is an active participant in building industry. He worked with the LCB throughout the entire process. He hand-picked his staff of bud tenders for their skills. He picked a clever location. He worked with insurers, producers, processer and the medical side. He designed the entire shopping experience for the customer.
Some of the examples:
1. The store is located at 1403 N Division Street. It is in a little mall setting with a Pizza Pipeline and a Krav Maga studio. Yes, it is with in hopping distance of munchies supplies.
2. The store has a very open floor structure with plenty of staff on the floor. We were able to get one on one service. All of the Cannabis supplies are kept behind a locked cage. This keeps his staff safe from any type of smash and grabs. As an insurance guy this makes me doubly happy.
3. While I was there the owner had a local producer stop by. The grower is months away from starting however they maintain a positive relationship. He is moving from cash only to business standards of invoices and purchase orders. The producer understood how to set price based on cost of goods instead of picking a random number.
4. Price is why he wins. He was the first one that I saw with $12 a gram. It was such a price that we went had lunch and came back. This was a mid range THC at about 1/2 the cost of other stores that I have seen. How was he able to do what everyone said was months away?

It is real simple. The owner is a professional that surrounds himself with other professionals and is growing the industry. He could be running a cheese store and his business principles would carry through and make him successful. If you want to see a successful shop up and running then Green Star in Spokane is where you want to be.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Producter/Processor Boost

I got a call from one of my I502 growers in Northern Washington State. He was wondering what I saw that impacted him from Cannacon: 1. It is time to stop running with Scissors guys. Check out this wand trimmer. It is like giving your flowers a buzz cut with all the trim going neatly into a vacuum. EZtrim is out of Colorado and makes quick work of your buds. I got to meet James who is the fabricator and he had to admitt that this was one of the coolest things he has ever built.
2. Have you seen the ziplock looking bags in some of the stores? Does your product deserve something better? I have used the presses at Emerald City over 15 years ago for Microsoft. Mike Norberg can be reached by cell at 206-898-4378 or email at Mike is fellow processor and has helped produce some quality packaging. He is also a member of CCSE so do not be affraid to ask. 3. works well for the Medical but it can also be applied on the recreational. (A dispensory that has frequent discounts, will want to use this). What happens when you develop the next Skywalker and want to share it to the world. These are the guys that you want to work with. 4. I want you to be thinking of fillers. We had a gentleman run through the CCSE booth on Thursday that talked about fillers that were accurate for 1 oz weight fills. They were getting up to 12 fills a minute so your slow point will be your sealer. This is the type of automation that you want to be looking at:
What you do, is split the line and have multiple sealers. There are many of us that understand automation in Eastern Washington. An Experenced mechanic that can help set up your line is worth their weight in gold, be sure to take into account cleaning equipment. I saw more than one piece of machinery that would have left things a mess for clean up. If you are doing a mono harvest tier 1 or any of the tier 2s and 3s then you need to automat quickly or else your operation will consume large ammounts of labor.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Spokane with Retail

This Saturday, August 23st starting at 9:00am to 9:00 pm Green Star Cannabis will be open!They are a state licensed Retail STore open to the public and can serve anyone 21 or older. The location is: 1403 North Division, Suite A; Spokane, WA The phone number is 509-919-3398 The Web is Sam is a great guy and I have been waiting patently for his launch for a few months now.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Medical Marijuana in Central Washington

I got grilled the other day on how to get medical marijuana. There are a ton of reasons. To give you an idea here is one such list that I found:
AIDS Related Illness,
Alcohol Abuse,
Alopecia Areata,
Amphetamine Dependency,
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS),
Angina Pectoris,
Anorexia Nervosa,
Anxiety Disorders,
Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease,
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD),
Autoimmune Disease,
Back Pain,
Back Sprain,
Bell's Palsy,
Bipolar Disorder,
Brain Tumor Malignant,
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome,
Cerebral Palsy,
Cervical Disk Disease,
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,
Chronic Pain,
Chronic renal failure,
Cocaine Dependence,
Crohn's Disease,
Cystic Fibrosis,
Damage to Spinal Cord Nervous Tissue,
Degenerative Arthritis,
Delirium Tremens,
Diabetic Peripheral Vascular Disease,
Dysthymic Disorder,
Genital Herpes,
Graves Disease,
Headaches, Cluster,
Headaches, Migraine,
Headaches, Tension,
Hemophilia A ,
Henoch-Schonlein Purpura,
Hepatitis C,
Hereditary Spinal Ataxia,
Hospice Patients,
Huntington's Disease,
Inflammatory autoimmune-mediated arthritis,
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD),
Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED),
Intractable Vomitting,
Lou Gehrig's Disease,
Lyme Disease,
Major Depression,
Malignant Melanoma,
Meniere's Disease,
Motion Sickness,
Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS),
Multiple Sclerosis (MS),
Muscle Spasms,
Muscular Dystrophy,
Myeloid Leukemia,
Nail-Patella Syndrome,
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,
Opiate Dependence,
Panic Disorder,
Parkinson's Disease,
Peripheral Neuropathy,
Peritoneal Pain,
Persistent Insomnia,
Post-traumatic arthritis,
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS),
Pulmonary Fibrosis,
Radiation Therapy,
Raynaud's Disease,
Reiter's Syndrome,
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS),
Rheumatoid Arthritis,
Schizoaffective Disorder,
Sedative Dependence,
Senile Dementia,
Severe Nausea,
Shingles (Herpes Zoster),
Skeletal Muscular Spasticity,
Sleep Apnea,
Spinal Stenosis,
Sturge-Weber Syndrome (SWS),
Tardive Dyskinesia (TD),
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ),
Tic Douloureux,
Tietze's Syndrome,
Tobacco Dependence,
Tourette's Syndrome,
Viral Hepatitis

I live in Central Washington and here is the quick for it.

1. Get a recomendation from a Doctor or pacticing physician. We have several groups in Central Washington to help out for a small fee. Patients for Patients Medical opertate in Wenatchee, Spokane, Kennewick and Yakima. Phone 888-204-1260 or email Their prices range from $75 renewals to $120 for New w/o records. The other group that I know about is North Cascades Healing for $100 call 509-393-8706. Tracy is good peoples and is up in Wenatchee at least once a month.

2. Once you have your script, then keep it with you. A good collective or dispensory will check regularly. Everyone is different in products that they offer. The price and experence is very different than retail. To give you an example, I paid $20 for a prerolled and would have paid less than half of that at a medical marijuana location.

When in Seattle, I would check out Martin Martinez. He has been running Lifevine since 1998. I have heard him talk about growing at the Washington Cannabis Institute, a coupld of times. He is amazing.

In Wenatchee, Wenatchee Valley Holistic Health. They are located at 1415 S Wenatchee Ave. They have a full service smoke shop with patient Rewards Card and Assessories. The phone number is (509) 888-4170. I first met Pam at a Wenatchee City Council meeting.

In East Wenatchee, it goes with out saying the Chronic Releaf Center. I have known Dan and Christine for a few years now. They have a great selection of medibles. Check their freezer for icecream! They are at the top of Grant Road. Call (509) 415-1357.
Talk with your budtender to see what they recomend for your treatment. I am not going to get into the Indica verse Stavia arguement because I geek out on the insurance and business so that they can geek out on the meds. A little bit of Cannabis Education can go a long way.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Recreational Guide for Local Governments in Washington State

Have you seen this map?

Not every area is friendly to Recreational Marijuana in Washington State. Yes, there are uptight people when it comes to promoting business and are fearful of change. If you are in a yellow or red spot then changing local government is a priority. Even if a law suit does it's job and opens the area up, you will have potental spoilers in positions of power.
This brings me to Prosser. They have a store by the name of Altitude. My mother was down in Prosser for a Wine Tour and stayed in a hotel across the street. She was more than a little fascinated by it because they had a pretty steady traffic going in and out but when ever a local talked to her, they mentioned that 'they didn't know what they were going to do?' One of their group went over to take a look and was taken back by all of the 'No' signs that made it feel unfriendly.
The locals have instituted a Moratorium for more Cannabis Businesses going in and it seems to be a bit of a stand off from all parties.
So how as business owners do we bridge gaps in the communty? How do we make our store tourist friendly? How does a tourist safely consume? (hint, hint hotel owners). Here is an excellent oppertunity to expand the food, wine and weed tours and make an amazing desitination in Eastern Washington.
Oh by the way, when I showed my mom an Extractor, she has used them for years to extract oils from other plants and was even thinking of starting a side business. So if she gets serious, I will be sure find someone that can use her 50+ years of experience creating food products.
Have fun and never be surprised by the direction of business.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Some Final thoughts and cool products from Cannacon.

Saturday in Tacoma, I wanted to walk through the event as customer. My money went to support Cannacon and I didn't want special treatment. I asked two questions to make it simple. What seperates you from everyone else? and Why are you in the Cannabis Industry? I waded through many different vendors, packagagers, merchandizers, Point of Banking systems, other Insurance guys (yes, it is fun to talk with other guys to remind myself why I Insure the Cannabis Industry!) and a ton more. There was a wide varity of answers from some that started with healing themselves or a loved one with Marijuana to others that were there for the money. This is some of the collection of cool people doing cool things and not just for the money: 1. Scott Zabrek he can be reached at Why I recomend talking to Scott is really simple, Branded Vape Pens for $15 minimum order of 500. It is an easy way for any retailer or dispensory to set themselves appart with a quality item. He is out of Florida and can drop ship anywhere in the US. This is what his Unbranded Pen looks like:
2. Want to do some Extraction? I got to talk with Alex Winchester of Terpp Extractors .They use Open Source Plans and had some real Inexpesive gear to get going. If you were looking at trying to do an extraction for a first time or small batches then call Alex. 3. Paul Mihara of 509-991-8180. Paul has 3 Indoor Growing Stores in Spokane. He has about 30 years under the lights and still had the smile on his face Saturday Night. Great person to know still has caluses on his hands. 4. Do you want an ATM in your Lobby? Do you want an ATM in your lobby that is serviced by professionals? Do you want one with a reasonable fee that you can collect a few quarters on each transaction? IAN Bolyard of NW ATM SERVICES LLC email at IAN@NWATMSERVICES.COM, phone 503-516-4320. Tell them that I sent you, he has some very sharp machines that can increase any businesses cash flow with out service problems. 5. Do you want a merchandzir to set up your glasswhere and products? You want to focus on your store and not inventory. Then Teri and Jonathan have a model that I call 'Instant Headshop'. For a fee they come in set up displays and then come in on a regular basis to restock and resupply and hand you an invoice for the goods that you sold. They order in bulk and pass the savings on to you. They run AlderEgo. 6. Check this out:
If you are not a 502 and want some really cool products then talk to Mark of Siddhi Bhang Infusions. He runs his shop out of White Salmon, WA and has product all up and down the I5 corridor. The takes methods that he learned in India and applies those traditions to everything he does. His product line can add some serious elligence to any storefront plus they make a great cup of coffee. 7. OK, Here is the last fun one for the day. Aquarius Cannabis I sat down with Jenna Schuck, the director of corporate communications for about 15 minutes. What if you love the industry and want to grow something recogized through out the West Coast? Using great processes to produce great products, they are going to move a ton of Cannabis. Some of it can be yours. They are looking for investors on both participation and financal side. If you want to be part of a Team in the Industry then here is your oppertunity. So that was some thoughts on the first Cannabis Trade show in Tacoma Washington. I have to thank the CCSE for letting help out at the booth. I recomend everyone checking them out and joining if you want to build the Cannabis Industry. It was great seeing the big daddy of Cannbis Insurance, Mike Aberle from MMD Insurance. Because of his compassion, I am able to do what I do and help out the Cannabis industry with Insurance.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Yesterday was another great day at Cannacon. I had a short shift but it was so valuable. I got to meet another of George's instructors! Jaitegh 'JT' Singh Esq was up from Florida! You never know on how big something is until you have a look from several different angles. I let him know that there was a Cannabis College Seminar going on right now in Portland. He was thinking of heading down to Pasadena to see a 420 College seminar on George's home turf because how awesome would it be to see where teaching about the cannabis industry began? The big questions that I was getting yesterday. 'How does Health Insurance fit with Medical Marijuana?' Since I am an expert in the state for both, I had to chime in a couple times about case law being set. (Yes you can talk with me about the Washington Health Exchange for those Insurance Questions as well.) Yes, that is correct there has been one where a judge ordered a health insurance company to pay for medical marijuana treatment. This is the breakdown: Back in May of 2014, Gregory Vialpando, was found by a doctor to suffer from "some of the most extremely high intensity, frequency, and duration of pain," out of thousands of patients he had seen, the ruling stated. The state's Court of Appeals voted unanimously on Monday to uphold a previous workers compensation court decision that also ruled in favor of the 55-year-old former mechanic, who suffered a lower back injury in 2000, according to court papers. The Santa Fe mechanic's former employer, Ben's Automotive Services, and its insurer, Redwood Fire & Casualty, had objected to reimbursing the man for using medical marijuana as treatment, citing the drug's illegality under federal law. Albuquerque attorney Peter White, who represents the mechanic, said he is not aware of any other state where a workers compensation board has approved a patient's reimbursement for medical marijuana. "It's an important decision for workers so seriously injured they would be bound to a lifetime of narcotic medications," White said. Tamar Todd, a staff attorney with the Drug Policy Alliance, said she had not heard of a similar ruling as this decision by the New Mexico Court of Appeals. "It might be fairly unique," she said. Medical pot is allowed in New Mexico and 20 other states as well as the District of Columbia, but it remains illegal under federal law. Voters in Washington state and Colorado in 2012 voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use. New Mexico Court of Appeals Judge James Wechsler's written opinion found the employer and its insurer failed to cite a specific federal law they would be forced to violate by reimbursing the man for his medical marijuana treatment. So yes in the insurance world, a few of us are looking at medical marijuana very seriously. It is one of the reasons that I do visit dispensaries and collective gardens, insure them and offer expert advice on how to protect and grow their business.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Doing the Right thing at Cannacon

If you are in the cannabis industry then you really should check it out. Today was day one of Cannacon in Tacoma, WA. A trade show for the Cannabis Industry a few years ago was unheard of. It is about 100 vendors offering different information about different aspects of the industry. There was staffing, banking services, security, production equipment, marketers. testing, etc. I saw a few old friends like Ed from Analytical360. He operates one of the Premier Labs for the Northwest. I first met Ed last year with George at Washington Cannabis Institute. With an industry so young and changing so quickly. It is important to keep abreast what is going on. The next seminar that George is running is in September in Seattle. The reason that I do these things for the community. I have volunteered about 12 hours this weekend to support the CCSE. They compliment my goals of moving the Cannabis Industry forward. Being a part of 200+ cannabis companies that are not only part of history but are creating history. It is awesome working with people instead of always being against competitors. There was also the announcement today by MMD Insurance that there is up to a 10% discount for members of the CCSE. I find it very cool getting that discount for people that are just starting out. I also told Lara that I would not be surprised to see 5 insurance guys sign up. We already had an agency ask. As you can see, I met a ton of people today. There was a few that I trying to meet for a while. Shout out to Blewett Group: I have been hearing good things all week from Jo and Tamara, it was good to put some faces to the stories. Culture Magazine. I have been promoting your stories for years and it was great finally meet some guys that have intereviewed two of our members. The most interesting was Russell McGregor from Olympia Hempfest. He had a great attitude in building community.I hope that I will be able to head down there this next year and show him some love. So the key thing is if you are not building and supporting community then what are you doing with your business? I would rather meet a ton of friends that I was able to help than to calculate everyone on a profit and loss statement.


Day one!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014