Making Sense of the COVID Cannabis Surge 

How can we make sense of the COVID Cannabis surge? As reported previously, a pandemic-induced cannabis bubble has now burst. Total market cannabis sales are now in decline but what’s happened is a return to pre-pandemic market conditions. We can answer some pressing questions using real-time sales reporting from Headset Insight. Namely, did we see a more significant decline in transaction volume or transaction size? Which products fared best and worst during the last couple of years? And which customers […]

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Headset Report Analyzes Turnover Rates for Budtenders in the U.S. and Canada

The cannabis data collection company Headset released its latest report on July 13, which covers budtender/employee turnover rates in cannabis dispensaries.

Headset calls cannabis budtenders the “heart and soul of the industry,” because they are essentially ambassadors for the plant and the industry. “Because of their extreme importance, budtender hiring, onboarding, and management is one of the most crucial tasks in any cannabis retail operation,” Headset writes in its introduction. “One of the great challenges of managing budtenders, or staff in any business, is employee turnover. Turnover is often unavoidable and always costly, so it’s essential to optimize the employee hiring and managing process wherever possible. In this report, we explore budtender turnover in the US and Canada to get an understanding of what is and isn’t normal when it comes to budtender turnover.”

The report analyzes information collected between June 2021 through May 2022, with a search in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state, as well as the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan.

For both the U.S. and Canada, the split between senior employees and new employees is nearly the same. In the U.S., 40.6% are employees that were hired more than 12 months ago, with 59.4% being considered as new hires. In Canada, the split between 12 month employees and new hires is 40.1% and 59.9% respectively.

The percentages begin to differ when reviewing the percentages of employees who stay at cannabis dispensaries versus those who leave before the 12-month mark. In the U.S., 45.4% continued working after one year, but 54.6% left, and in Canada, 43.6% stay on while 56.4% quit.

Further data shows that ~16% of employees in both the U.S. and Canada continued to work at their job, but only ~24% chose to leave. The percentage in relation to new hires choosing to stay or leave is much higher—29.3% and 30.1% in the U.S. 27.3% and 32.5% in Canada.

There are many reasons that could influence budtenders to leave their jobs, and in most cases the data is similar in the markets used for analysis. “Retailers in Illinois, for example, seem to be better than average at retaining more experienced staff members for more than one year with 55% of employees hired more than one year ago,” the report states. “Conversely, retailers in Colorado and Oregon tend to have far lower retention, both with more than a third of budtenders starting and ending their employment in the past 12 months. In Canada, Alberta is a bit of an enigma with retailers tending to have slightly better retention among new employees but having lost a larger amount of more tenured employees than in other Canadian provinces.”

The report also shares that 23% of new hires in the U.S. and 24% in Canada leave before the first 30 days of their employment, which is likely attributed to an “efficient and effect new hire onboarding process.”

However, those who perform well in sales are more likely to continue working. “The better performing the budtender is, the more likely they are to continue working,” Headset concludes. “This could be simply because it feels good to do well at a job and so it’s natural to want to continue. However, budtending is still a tip-driven position in many markets and being a top performer could also mean an employee might be bringing home more total income than his or her coworkers.”

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Employee Turnover in Cannabis Retail

High employee turnover is always a problem for retail managers, but what about employee turnover in cannabis retail? Also known as “budtenders,” cannabis retail employees are the frontline of the cannabis industry. They are the people customers most interact with. A good budtender can tell you what strains are suitable for what, which are the […]

The post Employee Turnover in Cannabis Retail appeared first on Cannabis News, Lifestyle – Headlines, Videos & Cooking.

Green Street Festival, A Cannabis-Infused SXSW, Kicks off in L.A. May 13-14

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, scrap your plans for next weekend. That is, unless you’re already planning on hitting up the Green Street Festival.

The inaugural event is going down on May 13 and 14 in iconic downtown L.A., with organizers aiming to make it “the largest gathering of the cannabis community on the planet, with a vision of eventually hosting hundreds of thousands of guests directly in the heart of the city.”

Think: a cannabis-infused South by Southwest.

Green Street Festival was announced in January, and is being put on by the entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk and Green Street, the cannabis business he acquired in 2017. It will “feature the city’s top restaurants, the state’s leading Cannabis brands, and the world’s top entertainers all brought together to celebrate the Cannabis community,” the announcement said.

“People want to either be educated or entertained. We are going to do both,” Vaynerchuk said in the announcement at the time.

Organizers said that the festival “will be anchored by the 8 story, 70,000 sqft, cannabis event and business epicenter located at 718 S. Hill Street featuring vendors, educational speakers, games, hotels & food activations from our awesome neighbors.”

The artist Cody Hudson was tasked with creating “the visual identity of Green Street Festival.”

“It’s been a wonderful project! Being able to have my vision for the festival’s graphics and aesthetics help to transform the space and everything inside of it, I’m just really looking forward to the ways we’ll be bringing cannabis, food and music together in one space and tying them all together visually,” Hudson said in January.

Courtesy of Green Street Festival

The event is only available to individuals 21 and older. And while cannabis will not be sold on site, the organizers said that they “have partnered with some of California’s best Dispensaries and Delivery providers in order to accommodate compliant consumption including: MMD, Buddha Co., HYPERWOLF, People’s, Alpaca Club, Originals Los Angeles, Compassionate Caregivers, Downtown Patient Group, Haven, Jungle Boys.”

“We have worked with our friends and neighbors to create multiple consumption areas around the festival,” the organizers said in the announcement. “There is a large smoking area right next to the registration area for the event, another on the 2nd floor balcony, and another area outside the Majestic Downtown Theater during the concert.”

In addition, there will be more than 50 of some of the best known cannabis brands showcased at the festival: Asterisk, BLOOM, Boveda, Brothers Broadleaf, Canna+Rise, Cannabistry, Absolute Xtracts, Farmer and the Felon, Hi-Fi Sessions, Loud + Clear, Claybourne Co., Clone Goddess, Country Crypto Cannabis Club, Dabwoods, Dispense App, Dutchie, Emerald Road, Fable, Headset, Hemper, Hempire, High Rise, Highsman, Ispire, Jungle Boys, Just Chocolate, Kalya Extracts, Kan+Ade, KYLE, Leaflink, Legal Pothead, Lithouse, Mills Nutrients, MJ Arsenal, Mohave Cannabis Co., Originals, Puffco, Raw Garden, Rove, Select, Sessions Goods, SHO, Source Cannabis, Sputnik Cannabis, STIIIZY, SUBSTANCE, SUPHERB, Surfside, The Cure Company, The Kind Pen, Vacation Cannabis Co., Waxnax, and Zanna.

“Weed is the headliner of this festival. We’ve been to countless Cannabis events across the country and we as attendees want to smoke weed with our friends and check in with the community, eat delicious food, and then be entertained… in that order” Rama Mayo, Green Street President, said in the event’s announcement back in January.

Here’s a rundown of the festival itinerary, per the event’s website: the first night, May 14, “is a private, VIP event that includes Dinner from 6pm to 10pm and is hosted by Gary Vee & Harry Mack,” while the second night, May 15, “is the main day and features our full lineup of brands, food, and more awesome stuff to do at Green Street plus the full concert lineup at The Majestic Downtown Theater located at 650 S. Springs Street LA CA 90014.”

Educators and entertainers who will be appearing at the festival include: Gary Vaynerchuk, Juicy J, Harry Mack, DāM-Funk, DJ Nu-Mark, Full Crate, Monalisa, Thinkspace Projects, and Mike Glazer.

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The High Times 100 of 2021

Welcoming back the High Times 100—our celebration of the top market movers and culture creators in the cannabis space. Although we took a brief hiatus while the world shut down amid COVID-19, we’re back this year with a vastly different landscape. Enter 2022, and there are more public companies than ever. It was difficult to narrow the list down to just 100 entries, as there are many more fighters who are not included. Browse through the list of honorees that were selected this year.

Courtesy of 4Front Ventures Corp.

Leo Gontmakher
CEO, 4Front Ventures
Leo Gontmakher is CEO of 4Front Ventures—a vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operator that manages over 25 different cannabis brands and strives for high quality as well as efficiency. His leadership has kept 4Front Ventures on the path to success—so much that the company was recognized as one of Inc.’s “Best-Led Companies of 2021” at the end of last year. Gontmakher co-founded Northwest Cannabis Solutions, and he previously served as the COO at Cannex until it merged with 4Front Ventures in 2019.

Courtesy of 710 Labs

Brad Melshenker
Co-CEO, 710 Labs
Brad Melshenker is a successful entrepreneur, having founded The Greenest Green in 2009 and 710 Labs in 2012, as well as creating ancillary businesses The Faulty Pelican and Green Life Consulting. Aside from these efforts, he also put his best foot forward to help the Colorado Department of Revenue create draft rules for extract regulations. Melshenker embraces a great commitment for his companies to produce excellent product that he himself would buy, and is devoted to embracing social equity involvement and other community services whenever possible.

Courtesy of Advanced Nutrients

BigMike Straumietis
CEO, Advanced Nutrients LTD.
A grower since 1983, BigMike is founder and CEO of Advanced Nutrients, creator of the ONLY complete cannabis growing system that Hits the Shift and optimizes all phases of the vegetative and bloom cycles to bring the plant to its true genetic potential. BigMike has dedicated his life to decoding the cannabis genome and making cannabis an acceptable and everyday part of healing humanity. For his work he’s been featured on HBO, Showtime, Yahoo Finance, Cheddar’s, CannaBiz, Kennedy on Fox; and in High Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Rolling Stone, and Playboy.

Courtesy of Ted Lidie, Facebook

Ted Lidie
Founder and CEO, Alien Labs
One of the world’s most recognized cannabis brands, Alien Labs has become a huge success since its inception in 2014, thanks to founder and CEO Ted Lidie. His vision and relentless passion for cultivating cannabis led him to create a premium-flower empire—strains like Melonade and Kryptonic might ring a bell as some of the winners at the High Times Cannabis Cup Arizona: People’s Choice Edition 2021 (not to mention many more products like pre-rolls and edibles, too).

Courtesy of Ardent Cannabis

Shanel Lindsay
CEO, Ardent Life, Inc.
The Boston-based biotechnology company known as Ardent Life, Inc. was founded by CEO Shanel Lindsay to bring about real change for medical cannabis patients. Lindsay spent over 15 years using cannabis to treat pain from ovarian cysts, and after witnessing the inconsistencies of decarboxylation methods, Lindsay invented the Nova Precision Decarboxylator. She’s also retained a strong presence in the cannabis community, having served two terms on the Massachusetts Cannabis Advisory Board and is the cofounder of the nonprofit Equal Opportunities Now and the Northeast Cannabis Coalition.

Courtesy of Abner Kurtin, Instagram

Abner Kurtin
Founder and CEO, Ascend Wellness Holdings
Abner Kurtin, Founder and CEO of Ascend Wellness Holdings, has been managing capital for two decades. The Harvard Business School graduate initially began his career at The Baupost Group, was a member of the Presidents Council of Massachusetts General Hospital and Chairman of the Hill House. He is also the founder of the K Capital Partners (a multibillion dollar hedge fund) and Ca2 Group (a Massachusetts-based real estate firm), before he founded Ascend Wellness Holdings in 2018.

Courtesy of Aurora Cannabis

Miguel Martin
CEO, Aurora Cannabis Inc.
Miguel Martin has been an integral part of Aurora Cannabis Inc. since September 2020 when he was appointed the role of CEO. With over 25 years of background in consumer-packaged goods paired with firsthand cannabis industry expertise, Martin is leading Aurora to succeed in the Canadian and European cannabis industries. His former roles include President and CEO of Reliva, CBD Wellness, and President of Logic Technology Development Inc, one of the largest e-cigarette manufacturers in the US.

Courtesy of Auxly Cannabis Group

Hugo Alves
Co-founder and CEO, Auxly Cannabis Group Inc.
Tasked with directing Auxly Cannabis Group Inc.’s strategic vision, co-founder and CEO Hugo Alves is a longtime cannabis industry pioneer who has had many interactions with various Canada-based companies, brands, patient access groups, and events and played an important part in Canada’s recreational cannabis industry. Alves also co-founded Hope for Health, a registered medical cannabis charity, which focuses on medical cannabis access and education, and is an adjunct professor who teaches Marijuana Law and Practice at the University of Western Ontario Law School—the first ever course of its kind offered at Canadian law schools.

Courtesy of Jonathan Sandelman, Twitter

Jonathan Sandelman
Chairman and CEO, Ayr Wellness
Jonathan Sandelman is a 30-year veteran of Wall Street and former President of Bank of America Securities, but his experience in the cannabis industry launched when he founded Ayr Wellness—a vertically integrated cannabis company operating in multiple states—with brands such as Kynd, Origyn, Stix Preroll Co. and Levia. Sandelman shares on his LinkedIn profile that he personally values investing in his “employees, customers and communities,” and strongly supports the company’s approach to capital and expansion.

Courtesy of Curaleaf

Bernard Noble
Co-founder, B Noble
Bernard Noble was sentenced to 13 years hard labor in 2010 for being in possession of two joints. After having served seven years of that sentence, he was released in 2018, and the experience inspired him to create his for-profit cannabis brand, B Noble, with Fab 5 Freddy. B Noble has become an important representative and advocate in ending the War on Drugs after personally being convicted for small amounts of cannabis. Most recently, the B Noble brand partnered with Curaleaf, where 10 percent of the proceeds from every two-joint pack go toward helping those who have suffered as a result of the War on Drugs.

Courtesy of CAN-DO Foundation website

Amy Ralston Povah
Founder, CAN-DO Foundation
Clemency advocate Amy Ralston Povah was imprisoned for nine years, out of a total of 24-year sentence, for “conspiracy” in a trafficking case related to MDMA. After being commuted by former President Bill Clinton in July 2000 (and a full pardon later by former President Donald Trump in January 2021), Povah founded the CAN-DO Foundation, which strives for clemency for anyone who is convicted of nonviolent drug offenses. A majority of her life has been dedicated to fighting for criminal justice reform and against the War on Drugs.

Courtesy of Canaccord Genuity Group Inc.

Dan Daviau
Canaccord
Dan Daviau is President and CEO. Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. Mr. Daviau served as President of Canaccord Genuity’s North American Capital Markets business from February 2015. From 2012 to 2015, he was President of the firm’s US Capital Markets business, where he helped to structure the firm’s investment banking, research, sales and trading operations in the region and improve cross-border capabilities. From 2010 to 2012, Mr. Daviau was Head of Investment Banking for Canaccord Genuity.

Courtesy of Cannabiotix

Neema Samari
Owner and Co-founder, Cannabiotix
Born and raised in Santa Monica, Neema Samari first got into the cannabis industry as a youngster over 22 years ago.  Samari co-founded Cannabiotix back in 2014, and quickly garnered the brand national attention as one of the elite connoisseur cannabis brands in the space, after building and running the brand’s first legal, vertically integrated facility in Las Vegas.  After Samari and his team grew CBX into the #1 brand in NV, he returned to CA to blueprint and build the company’s second vertically integrated headquarters.  Since re-launching into the CA market in 2020, Samari and his team have quickly grown Cannabiotix into the #1 selling premium flower brand in the state.  This year Samari decided to try his hand in a different sector of the space as he recently launched his new brand Highatus, an edibles company that produces some of the best tasting infused sour gummies on the planet.

Courtesy of CSE

Barrington Miller
Director, Canadian Securities Exchange
Director of Listed Company Services at the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) Barrington Miller works to help retain listed companies who work with the CSE through promotion and marketing. He also helps the company with business development, education and outreach regarding the programs. Before joining the CSE, he worked as a professional trader through Dundee Securities and Raymond James, as well as trade work with Weyerhauser and ED&F Man. He is a leader when it comes to cannabis trading and someone with a unique understanding of the industry.

Courtesy of Jon Lohne

Dennis Hunter
Co-founder, CannaCraft
CannaCraft Co-founder Dennis Hunter grew up in Mendocino County, California, and tuaght himself to cultivate cannabis from an early age. With his roots and experience stretched deep in the famed Emerald Triangle, he was destined for it to become a lifelong career. Early on he developed large-scale grow operations in California, which were raided in 1998 and forced Hunter to spend six-and-a-half years in prison. However, this event only fueled his passion for the industry, as he proceeded to found Left Coast Garden Wholesale, a company that specializes in cannabis-related equipment. This led Hunter to meet Ned Fussell, a one of Left Coast Garden Wholesale’s biggest customers, with whom he partnered with to found CannaCraft.

Courtesy of Canopy Growth

David Klein
CEO, Canopy Growth Corporation
As CEO of one of the world’s biggest cannabis companies, David Klein is one of the people behind Canopy Growth Corporation’s ongoing success as a leader in the cannabis industry. Klein formerly worked for Constellation Brands (known for managing a wide variety of beer, wine and spirits) for over 15 years where he held numerous roles, such as Executive Vice President and CFO. With his resume of experience, he transitioned to the cannabis industry as a member of the Board of Directors in 2018, followed by his current role as CEO in 2020.

Courtesy of Cansortium website

Robert Beasley
CEO, Cansortium
With over 10 years of experience in many facets of the cannabis industry, Robert Beasley is a dedicated leader who has been instrumental to the success of Cansortium. In the past, he co-founded a law firm, Litvak Beasley Wilson & Ball LLP, in 2001, which assisted cannabis businesses in obtaining licenses in California, Florida, Oregon and Washington D.C., followed by taking part in crafting the Florida Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act and Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative. Now he is not only CEO of Cansortium, as of 2020, but in early 2021 he was also appointed to the Board of Directors.

Courtesy of St. Thomas Aquinas College Press Release

Jacques Tortoroli
CEO, Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc.
Jacques Tortoroli assumed the role as CEO of Charlotte’s Web Holdings Inc. in December 2021. His 40-year career includes launching ecommerce platforms, global finance, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic partnerships through various senior executive roles at Bacardi, Viacom Inc. Young & Rubicam Inc., PepsiCo Inc., and KPMG. Charlotte’s Web of course was named after Charlotte Figi, a child with epilepsy who went on to inspire a CBD movement before passing away at age 13.

Courtesy of Columbia Care

Nicholas Vita
CEO, Columbia Care LLC
One of the highest honors from the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp is the “Captain of Industry”—and Nicholas Vita received this award at the 2021 Marijuana Business Conference & Expo. Vita is CEO of Columbia Care LLC, one of the largest multi-state operators focused on medical cannabis in 18 jurisdictions, and his leadership has led Columbia to great heights in the industry, including leading corporate strategy and expansion into new markets among many other responsibilities.

Courtesy of Rachel Wolfson, Instagram

Rachel Wolfson
Comedienne
Rachel Wolfson, native of Las Vegas, Nevada, is a stand-up comedienne known for her intimate hyperfocus on cannabis, which typically is part of her highly-esteemed stand-up material.  Wolfson is the latest major cast member to be included in the fourth installment of the infamous Jackass franchise—Jackass Forever—which debuted in theaters in February 2022 and pushed her further into the public eye. She was the first Jewish person to score significant airtime on the show.  Wolfson resorted to weed for relief, which she says works wonders for ADHD. Wolfson has appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Dish Nation and Entertainment Tonight.

Courtesy of Felipe Recalde, LinkedIn
Courtesy of Christopher Lynch, LinkedIn

Felipe Recalde (CEO) and Christopher Lynch (Chief Executive Wizard)
Compound Genetics
Felipe Recalde is CEO of Compound Genetics, while Christopher Lynch serves as Chief Executive Wizard and Founder. Compound Genetics is a seed breeder. Through rigorous phenohunting, collecting and collaboration—Compound Genetics combines rare and sought-after flavors to create the best cannabis on the market.

Courtesy of Caleb Counts, LinkedIn

Caleb Counts
Founder, Connected Cannabis Co.
Caleb Counts, founder of Connected Cannabis Co., has spent over 10 years building the brand with his passion and dedication to creating the highest quality strains imaginable. The journey began in 2009 when the first Connected Cannabis Co. medical dispensary opened in Sacramento. Since then, the brand has been phenohunting and cultivating numerous highly sought after strains, which are available in many dispensaries across the country. Under Counts’ leadership, the brand has grown exponentially in Arizona and is continuing to build in California.

Courtesy of Farid, Cookies

Gilbert Milam Jr., aka Berner
CEO and Co-founder, Cookies
The word “cookies” is no longer just associated with a baked good, but represents the massively popular Cookies cannabis brand, founded and led by CEO and Co-founder Berner. With amazing positivity as he endures chemotherapy as a result of a recent cancer diagnosis, Berner’s Cookies empire continues to thrive and expand under his leadership, which now offers a wide variety of brands, products, unique strains, clothing and more. The Cookies brand is also well-known for its collaboration efforts, such as Cookies x Snoop Dogg, and its dedication to its Social Impact Program.

Courtesy of Cresco Labs website

Charles Bachtell
Founder and CEO, Cresco Labs
Founder and CEO of Cresco Labs Charles Bachtell has a myriad of unique corporate and legal compliance experience that has led to the company’s ongoing success, including eight years working at the nation’s seventh largest mortgage bank prior to his involvement in the cannabis industry. Aside from his role at Cresco Labs, Bachtell is also one of the founding members of the Illinois Cannabis Bar Association, as well as various cannabis-related trade associations in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio, and is an adjunct professor for the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.

Courtesy of Cronos Group

Kurt Schmidt
CEO, Cronos Group
Kurt Schmidt entered the cannabis industry as President and CEO of Cronos Group in 2020 and was chosen to usher in the “next phase of growth” for the company. Schmidt’s resume showcases an extensive background with consumer products, with leadership roles both in the US and internationally, including the Campbell Soup Company, The Blue Buffalo Company, Nestle and other roles in the food and beverage industry.

Courtesy of Joe Bayern, Twitter

Joe Bayern
CEO, Curaleaf Holdings
With over 20 years of experience in consumer goods, Joe Bayern has a successful track record of business transformation. He was appointed as Curaleaf Holdings’ CEO in November 2020, following previous roles as President of INDUS, a vertically integrated cannabis company, as well as CEO and COO of VOSS of Norway. Among his many accomplishments, he lists his role in the creation of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and the evolution of Cadbury as a leader in the confection industry.

Courtesy of The Cure Company

Patrick Stad
CEO, The Cure Company, The Originals, Jungle Boys
CEO Patrick Stad is behind some of the most legendary cannabis companies in Southern California, dating back to The Cure Company’s Proposition 215-era founding in 2006. Today The Cure Company is behind some of the most beloved strains in the region. Instead of wasting time on sleek packaging and branding alone, The Cure Company is instead focused on great top quality flower. The Originals family-run grow operation and Jungle Boys award-winning phenos are highly respected within the growing community and the cannabis sphere.

Courtesy of Decriminalize Nature

Julie Barron
Decriminalize Nature
As a psychedelic/cannabis therapist, Julie also now works outside of the therapy office to promote healing on a larger scale, healing in community and healing through our own personal relationship with nature. Barron is an activist and pioneer of the Michigan psychedelic community. Barron led Decriminalize Nature Ann Arbor’s win to successfully decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi in September 2020. Barron then helped to create Decriminalize Nature Michigan who is currently collecting signatures for a November 2022 statewide vote to decriminalize plants/fungi and reduce penalties for all drugs. She also sits on the national board of Decriminalize Nature.

Courtesy of Delic Corp

Matt Stang
Co-founder and CEO, Delic Corp
Matt Stang is Co-founder and CEO of Delic, which he founded with his wife, Jackee. Delic is a leader in new medicines and treatments for a modern world, improving access to health benefits across the country, and reframing the conversation on psychedelics. Stang arrives in his latest role after 17 years serving in the cannabis media industry before shifting gears, moving into private equity funds.

Courtesy of Morning Coffee Photography

Scheril Murray Powell
Attorney / Doumar, Allsworth, Laystrom, Voigt, Adair and Dishowitz LLP
Scheril Murray Powell, Esq. dedicates this award to the “BRAVE ONES”…The ones who risked it all to use cannabis because they did not like how narcotics made them feel…the ones who contributed to biodiversity by transporting genetics around the world…the ones who baked herb brownies for HIV/AIDS/Cancer patients…the ones who risked incarceration and personal freedoms to develop a market, law enforcement who turned a blind eye because they know what addiction really looks like, and the physicians that were the first to recommend cannabis for their patients. She is a Cannabis, Agricultural, Dietary Supplement and Trade Attorney and the Cannabis, Food/Beverage/Entertainment, Transportation and Healthcare Business Development Manager at Creative Services, Inc.

Courtesy of Hilary Swift NYT

Kassandra Frederique
Executive Director, Drug Policy Alliance
Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance Kassandra Frederique is always busy. Drug Policy Alliance is a national nonprofit that works to end the War on Drugs, which has disproportionately harmed Black, Latinx, Indigenous, immigrant and LGBTQ communities, and build alternative solutions instead grounded in science, compassion, health, and human rights. Frederique was the architect of the campaign that cut the number of New York City cannabis arrests by more than 99% since 2010—an astounding feat for the largest city in the US.

Courtesy of Dutchie

Ross Lipson
Co-Founder / CEO, Dutchie
With the help of the remote needs of the pandemic, the U.S. cannabis boom and need for accessible cannabis services, Ross Lipson, co-founder and CEO of Bend, Oregon cannabis delivery service Dutchie, is helping to usher in a new era for our favorite plant. He’s versed in the delivery biz, with 15 years of experience working within food ordering systems, eventually taking that expertise and applying it to the cannabis space. The Dutchie platform works with dispensaries to manage their ordering systems and will soon celebrate its fifth birthday.

Courtesy of Javier Hasse

Javier Hasse
Founder, El Planteo
We have to give a shout to our fellow cannabis journalists, especially one with a portfolio so massive. Along with his best-selling book, Start Your Own Cannabis Business, his managing director role at Benzinga Cannabis and more than 4,900 articles published on outlets including Forbes, CNN, CNBC, Entrepreneur Magazine, Leafly, Yahoo! News, Nasdaq and many more, this media hound founded El Planteo in 2020, a Spanish-language outlet focused on cannabis, hemp, psychedelics and other topics scarcely covered by local media.

Courtesy of John Fetterman Campaign

John Fetterman
Current Lt. Gov. Pennsylvania
Acting as Mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania between 2005-2019, and sworn in as Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania in January 2019, 2022 is going to be John Fetterman’s last year in office—but it’s certainly not the end of his extensive career. Fetterman shared in November 2021 that in his role as a chair of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, he wants to see as many people pardoned for cannabis convictions in 2022 before his run ends. Fetterman also announced his run for Senator of Pennsylvania, the primary of which is approaching on May 17, 2022.

Courtesy of Fire & Flower

Trevor Fencott
CEO, Fire & Flower
Trevor Fencott is President/CEO at Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. Mr. Fencott has been an executive in the cannabis industry since 2013 as a co-founder of Mettrum Health Corp. where he also served as its chief legal officer, corporate secretary and director through its go public transaction in September 2014 and its subsequent acquisition by Canopy Growth Corporation in January 2017. Additionally, he is a director of Push Capital Limited, an early-stage venture capital company focusing on the high-growth cannabis and digital technology industries.

Courtesy of Fyllo

Chad Bronstein
Founder and CEO, Fyllo
Founder and CEO of Fyllo, Chad Bronstein is passionate about leading by example in the world of business and focusing on the technological aspects behind cannabis. Fyllo is a technology company that deals with data, media and regulatory solutions for the cannabis industry. Bronstein has helped lead Fyllo to become an innovator and major player when it comes to compliance and regulation in the legal cannabis industry. He’s also considered a go-to source of social commentary on regulations in the industry.

Courtesy of Fabian Monaco, Twitter

Fabian Monaco
CEO, Gage Growth
While Fabian Monaco has a vast investment banking and legal background, he’s found his home in the cannabis space as CEO of Gage Growth, centering the mission of providing premium cannabis to market, positively shaping cannabis culture and nurturing the community. Currently, Gage is working to build itself as the most dominant brand in Michigan, though the goal is eventually to expand into other states. Along with prioritizing top-shelf retail and premium cannabis products, Gage also looks to give back through volunteer engagements and their social equity program.

Courtesy of Glass House Brands

Graham Farrar
CEO, Glass House Brands Inc.
Graham Farrar owns and operates Glass House Farms, located in the Santa Barbara County coastal city of Carpinteria, which comprises two greenhouse operation sites totaling 10 acres of cannabis. Farrar launched Glass House Farms in 2015 when Proposition 215 was still in effect. Farrar grew up in Santa Barbara County and studied molecular biology and biochemistry in college. After college, he got into the tech side of cannabis cultivation through marketing and selling a variety of products to support the industry, including fertilizers and growing systems.

Courtesy of Mike Robinson

Mike Robinson
Founder, Global Cannabinoid Research Center
As a multiple cancer survivor who has used cannabis oils and CBD extensively for those and other symptoms, Mike Robinson knows firsthand the healing benefits of cannabinoids. As the founder of the Global Cannabinoid Research Center in Santa Barbara, California, he’s shared his journey and analytics on cannabis medicine research globally, helping to assist patients and teach clinicians globally. Additionally, he’s founded multiple nonprofits for children with disabilities and boasts an extensive history of leading programs to provide disadvantaged cannabis patients with medicinal alternatives.

Adam Schoenfeld, Courtesy of InsiderTrades.com
Nick Kovacevich, Courtesy of InsiderTrades.com

Adam Schoenfeld and Nick Kovacevich
Co-Founders, Greenlane Holdings
Greenlane is a leading global platform for the development and distribution of premium cannabis accessories and lifestyle products, serving global markets and more than 11,000 retail locations—including dispensaries, smoke shops and specialty retailers. It’s led by Co-Founders Adam Schoenfeld and Nick Kovacevich. As CEO, Kovacevich ensures the company executes its mission and is integral to the company’s most crucial decision making. Chief Strategy Officer Schoenfeld was an early adopter and pioneer of vaporization, playing an integral role in the adoption and success of numerous successful brands in the vape space.

Courtesy of Green Thumb Industries

Ben Kovler
Founder, Green Thumb Industries
With extensive experience managing complex-operating companies and his deep commitment to philanthropy, Ben Kovler moved forward in 2014 as the founder, CEO and chairman of Green Thumb Industries, a national cannabis consumer packaged goods company and retailer manufacturing and distributing a wide portfolio of branded cannabis products. Kovler is also the co-found of Invest For Kids, an annual forum meant to share investment ideas to benefit children in Illinois.

Courtesy of mascience.com

Darren Lampert
CEO and Co-Founder, GrowGeneration
Darren Lampert has been CEO of GrowGeneration since 2014. Lampert began his career in 1986 as a founding member of Lampert and Lampert, where he concentrated on securities litigation, NASD (now FINRA) compliance and arbitration and corporate finance matters. GrowGeneration Corp., through its subsidiaries, owns and operates retail hydroponic and organic gardening stores. It engages in the marketing and distribution of horticultural, organics, and lighting and hydroponics products, including lighting fixtures, nutrients, seeds and growing media.

Courtesy of Hall of Flowers

Dani Diamond
Founder, Hall of Flowers
Dani Diamond is founder of Hall of Flowers—an industry-only, highly curated, B2B tradeshow, specifically inspired and designed to facilitate the trade of premium cannabis products. With over 30+ years experience producing the most influential fashion & music tradeshows, the founder of Hall of Flowers understand the importance of providing a professional platform for buyers & sellers to conduct business.

Courtesy of Headset

Cy Scott
CEO/Co-Founder, Headset
Cy Scott, a self-described “entrepreneur at heart,” traversed his career working in startups and large organizations, though he’s no stranger to the cannabis space. Prior to Headset, he helped accelerate the adoption of legal cannabis as the co-founder of Leafly, now serving six million monthly visits. His current venture, Headset, is an analytics company for the cannabis industry, made to help operators make informed business decisions based on data, helping their customers to navigate the rapidly changing and emerging industry.

Courtesy of Leo Bridgewater

Leo Bridgewater
National Director, Heart Community Capital/Minorities for Medical Marijuana
After enlisting in the United States Army following the events of September 11, 2001, Leo Bridgewater has been a longstanding cannabis advocate in his home state of New Jersey for many years. He was a co-founder of the NJ Cannabis Commission between 2016-2018, and proceeds to act as the National Director of Veterans Outreach for Minorities for Medical Marijuana and most recently became a partner at Heart Community Capital in March 2021 to collaborate with numerous “pro athletes, creatives and activists, and cannabis industry experts” and invest in minority owned-cannabis businesses.

Courtesy of HERBL

Michael Beaudry
Vice President of Business Development, HERBL Solutions
Michael “Mikey” Beaudry is the Vice President of Business Development at HERBL Solutions, California’s largest cannabis supply chain company. An integral part of the leadership and strategic team since the company got its start in 2018, he has had a key role in developing over 30 partnerships with many of the top brands across the California landscape. With both the assortment and infrastructure Beaudry has helped to build, HERBL has sold over a half-billion dollars of cannabis products in California, becoming one of the most robust and scaled distribution supply chains in the country. Passionate about building relationships and successfully helping businesses grow, Beaudry’s continued focus is to build on ensuring cost-effectiveness to meet beneficial long and short-term goals for both brands and HERBL. His extensive knowledge of the industry, the strategic partnerships he has built, and his ability to understand and adapt to the evolving landscape make Beaudry the strong leader he is in the industry.

Courtesy of HEXO press release

Adam Arviv
Investor, HEXO Corp
Adam Arviv invested in HEXO, through his fund KAOS Capital Ltd.. Adam Arviv is currently the Chief Executive Officer of KAOS Capital Ltd. and a Strategic Advisor for ORYX Gaming. Previously, Mr. Arviv served as the Founder, Chief Executive Officer and a director of Bragg Gaming Group Inc., a publicly-traded company on the TSX, and President of Will-Power Management Inc. He was also the co-founder of Gaming Nation Inc., Green Growth Brands and the BRN Group. Mr. Arviv also serves as a Chairman on a number of boards, including, GhostRetail, the BRN Group, and Legacy Eight Gaming.

Courtesy of High Tide

Raj Grover
CEO, High Tide Inc.
Establishing himself early in his career as one of Canada’s most prominent business strategists and deal makers, Raj Grover moved forward in 2009 to found High Tide, which has grown from a small shop of two employees into one of Canada’s largest cannabis retailers. He’s also founded High Tide’s subsidiary companies, Valiant Distribution and Canna Cabana, and co-founder of subsidiary Famous Brandz. Though he’s committed to his business, Grover believes that those who enjoy success should give back, spearheading High Tide’s support of World Vision, which sponsors children in under-developed countries.

Courtesy of Highsman

Ricky Williams
Founder, Highsman
Best known as a professional football player and running back for a number of teams, featured on the New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins, Toronto Argonauts and Baltimore Ravens, former player Ricky Williams has since shifted his focus to the cannabis space with the Highsman brand, which he defines as an “appreciate for greatness.”. He cites the scrutiny for using cannabis to “take care of his body,” hand-picking his favorite strains and breaking barriers in streetwear, sports and cannabis to further destigmatize cannabis in the sports space.

Courtesy of Hiller, PC

Jessica F. Gonzalez
Attorney, Hiller, PC
Jessica Gonzalez currently serves as a Cannabis attorney at Hiller, PC, as well as outside General Counsel for Minorities for Medical Marijuana, Inc. Gonzalez led the social impact committee for NJ CAN 2020, the coalition that ran one of the most successful cannabis legalization campaigns in the country and helped shape cannabis policy on the statutory, regulatory, and municipal levels in New Jersey. Gonzalez assists clients in navigating the legal cannabis industry in the areas of IP and state licensing applications. She has been designated as a Cannabis Law Trailblazer by the National Law Journal, named on NJBIZ’s 2021 Next Generation of Leaders list and recognized as one of the top 20 cannabis influencers in New Jersey three years in a row.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Seth Rogen
Founder, Houseplant
It’s no secret to most that funny guy and comedian Seth Rogen is a fan of weed, but the Pineapple Express star has since moved forward to embrace the plant in a larger capacity, co-founding cannabis brand Houseplant. The cannabis at Houseplant represents the strains that Seth and Co-Founder Evan Goldberg love, along with the “finest product that growers across the state of California have to offer.” The brand embraces THC-rich cannabis, prioritizing the top colas of the plant where the biggest buds are found, hand-picking, -trimming and -packaging each Houseplant offering.

Courtesy of Innovative Industrial Properties

Alan D. Gold
Executive Chairman, Innovative Industrial Properties
Since the formation of Innovative Industrial Properties, Alan D. Gold has served as a co-founder and as executive chairman of the company board, also serving as executive chairman of IQHQ Inc., a privately-held life science real estate company, with an impressive resume of leadership positions in the life science industry and beyond. Innovative Industrial is the pioneering real estate investment trust for the regulated cannabis industry, founded in December 2016 as the first publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange to provide real estate capital to the regulated cannabis industry.

Courtesy of Raquel Peyraube

Raquel Peyraube
Doctor, International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines
Specializing in the problematic use of drugs, with abundant training in psychiatry, toxicology and psychoanalytic psychotherapy, Raquel Peyraube has 28 years of experience in the field. Over the decades, Peyraube has made contributions in training, prevention, treatment and damage reduction, including innovation of theoretical and methodological developments with a focus on ethical issues. She’s currently working on the development of clinical trials, medical education of medicinal cannabis and dissemination of information and advice for reform of drugs policies in a number of countries.

Courtesy of Jazz Pharmaceuticals website

Bruce C. Cozadd
Chairman, CEO, Jazz Pharma
Helping to innovate and transform the lives of patients as the CEO and chairman of Jazz Pharmaceuticals, a global biopharmaceutical company, Bruce C. Cozadd is pushing the company forward to set a new standard of care to those living with complex conditions who deserve new and improved therapeutic opportunities.. He’s been with the company since 2003, moving into his current position back in 2009, which is developing a cannabinoid platform to help further navigate the healthcare space. Outside of Jazz Pharma, Cozadd is passionate about education and the arts, especially music.

Courtesy of Jushi Holdings

Jim Cacioppo
CEO/Chairman/Founder, Jushi Holdings
With a resume spanning more than two decades, managing the business and allocating capital in senior management positions at several large hedge funds, Jim Cacioppo brings his start-up, operating, financial and investment know-how to his role as the CEO, chairman and founder of Jushi Holdings. Jushi is a national, multi-state cannabis company focused on developing and operating high-end retail locations, premium brands and state-of-the-art cultivation, processing and manufacturing facilities. Under Cacioppo’s leadership, Jushi looks to set a new standard for a sophisticated and modern cannabis experience.

Michael King, Courtesy of Kings Garden
Charlie Kieley, Courtesy of Kings Garden

Michael King and Charlie Kieley
Co-Founders, Kings Garden Inc.
Kings Garden started in 2015 in the Coachella Valley region of California, since growing into a profitable cultivation company birthed through funding from friends and family. With Michael King’s financial savvy and background on Wall Street, along with Charlie Kieley’s experience working directly in the cannabis industry, opening and operating our retail and retail cultivation facilities, the two joined forces. Kings Garden is continuously building and prioritizing the production of high-quality, indoor flower; giving back to local communities and prioritizing the advancement of the cannabis space as a whole. Kings Garden is currently operating 3,400 indoor lights via 250,000 square feet and is in the process of building out an additional 8,500 lights via 415,000 square feet, thus bringing the total operational footprint to 12,000 lights via 665,000 square feet by 2024.

Courtesy of Last Prisoner Project

Mary Bailey
Managing Director, Last Prisoner Project
The Last Prisoner Project was founded in 2019, centering the belief that no one should remain incarcerated for cannabis offenses. Managing Director Mary Bailey similarly believes that everybody fortunate enough to benefit from cannabis legalization should feel a moral obligation to assist those still suffering due to prohibition, dedicated to helping right the wrongs of cannabis criminalization. Prior to launching Last Prisoner Project, she was the CEO and founder of a Maui, Hawaii-based production company that specialized in events that inspire positive social change.

Courtesy of LoadedCo. website

Daniel Chu
CEO, LoadedCo.
Founded in 2017, with quality craftsmanship in mind, LoadedCo. Takes pride in its reputation for collaborating with some of the best brands in the industry, and for creating unique high-end products. LoadedCo. Are the makers of handcrafted pre-rolls and a variety of collaborations frequently involving infused flower and other ingredients.

Courtesy of MAPS

Rick Doblin
Founder, MAPS
Richard Elliot Doblin is an American drug activist and executive who is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which he launched in 1986. MAPS is on the forefront of psychedelic research and development. Since 1986, MAPS has distributed over $20 million to fund psychedelics and medical cannabis research and education. Doblin received his masters and PhD in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His 2019 TED Talk explored the vast potential of psychedelic-assisted therapy.

Courtesy of JW Headshots

Rosie Mattio
Founder, Mattio Communications
Rosie Mattio is CEO and Founder of Mattio Communications, which was ranked as the number one cannabis PR firm by Green Market Report. The company can be found practically everywhere in the cannabis space. Mattio was able to land the first-ever cannabis article in Oprah magazine. Based in New York, Mattio Communications represents 50 marquee cannabis clients, including Headset, Green Thumb Industries, Papa & Barkley, LeafLink, Greenlane and Curaleaf. Long ago, Mattio learned to hustle, growing up in the Bronx, and it’s certainly evident in her firm’s success.

Courtesy of Metrc website

Lewis Koski
COO, Metrc
Lewis Koski is the Chief Operating Officer for Metrc. Before joining METRC in 2019, Lewis ran his own consulting firm, helping agencies develop smart cannabis regulatory policies. Prior to that, he served as the Deputy Senior Director of the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Enforcement Business Group, directing state policy surrounding regulated markets and its enforcement. Lewis also served as the Director of the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED). At MED, he helped build the first state agency in the US to develop and implement medical and adult-use cannabis policy.

Courtesy of Syracuse.com

Christopher Alexander
Executive Director, New York Department of Cannabis Management
Christopher Alexander works with the New York Department of Cannabis Management to help move policy forward. A New York resident from birth, his passion is for policy and politics, as well as enacting change through the democratic process. He formerly served as a legislative aide, advocate and attorney, and was appointed by Governor Kathy Hochul to lead New York’s Office of Cannabis Management. The agency oversees all things policy for the newly budding New York cannabis industry, as well as all procedural aspects of legal marijuana.

Courtesy of Old Pal

Rusty Wilenkin
CEO and Co-Founder, Old Pal
Can flower be both affordable and beautifully crafted? For Old Pal’s Co-Founder and CEO Rusty Wilenkin the answer was a resounding “yes.” After spending 4+ years in the cannabis space, Rusty started Old Pal in 2018, creating one of the industry’s most recognizable brands— and also one of the most successful. Currently a top California brand, Old Pal has expanded into seven additional states, and in 2021 they were the #3 brand based on units sold in their five active states (according to BDSA).

Courtesy of Pacific Stone

Skip Motsenbocker
CEO, Pacific Stone
As CEO of Pacific Stone, a state-licensed California-based cannabis brand, Skip Motsenbocker has more than 25 years of professional experience in asset management, private equity and corporate finance and management. Pacific Stone provides both large scale greenhouse cultivation facilities and over one million square feet of flower. Pacific Stone Brand is offered in over 600 stores and includes packaged flower, pre-rolls and cartridges. Motsenbocker oversees the brand’s product launches and expansion, among other strategic initiatives.

Courtesy of Troy Datcher, Facebook

Troy Datcher
CEO, The Parent Company
With a background in the consumer goods market and experience with consumer products, sales negotiation, strategic planning, and trade marketing, Troy Datcher brings myriad business skills to his role as CEO of The Parent Company. He has a background in Political Science thanks to a Bachelor’s degree from Gettysburg College, and Datcher actually worked with Clorox Co. before he joined forces with The Parent Company. Today, he is responsible for their worldwide success and leadership in the cannabis market. He is also the first Black CEO of a major, publicly traded marijuana company.

Courtesy of PRmediaNow

Robert Groesbeck
Co-CEO, Planet 13 Holdings
As Co-CEO of Planet 13 Holdings, Robert Groesbeck is a long-time entrepreneur, starting and assisting in the creation of a number of businesses, including work in the cannabis industry. Mr. Groesbeck was designated as one of the top 40 Southern Nevada Business Executives under the age of 40, on the basis of his professional achievement and community service by the Las Vegas Business Press. Planet 13 has opened some of the largest dispensaries in the world, with impressive locations in Las Vegas and in Orange County, California.

Courtesy of Puffco

Roger Volodarsky
CEO, Puffco
Roger Volodarsky is founder and CEO of Puffco, and has been working to perfect the company’s handheld vaporizer device over the course of the last decade. Volodarsky is described as a serial entrepreneur, a tech fan and cannabis connoisseur, who is highly successful at a relatively young age. Volodarsky helped introduce the Puffco Peak Pro—now a standard in vaping technology. Developing vaporizers for cannabis concentrates and “turning consumers into connoisseurs” is one of his long-term dreams. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and New Jersey.

Courtesy of High Times

Josh Kesselman
Founder, RAW Papers
He’s quite the personality, which is great for marketing and branding in the world of cannabis-adjacent industries. RAW papers are a go-to standard for rolling paper needs, and they’ve been around forever. RAW Founder Josh Kesselman is on a mission, “Uplifting the world one beautiful natural sheet at a time.” Kesselman launched RAW clear back in 1995, and the company’s success has been linked to his continued presence in the public. Kesselman was arrested for selling a bong to a federal informant, and continues to fight for the right to sell cannabis accessories.

Courtesy of Realm of Caring

Heather Jackson
Co-founder, Realm of Caring
As co-founder of the Colorado Springs, Colorado-based Realm of Caring (RoC), Heather Jackson is also president of the board. RoC is an independent 501c3 non-profit organization who serves anyone in need of more information about cannabinoid therapies. Through revolutionary research, innovative education, and life-changing grants, RoC seeks to facilitate and encourage the mainstream acceptance of transformative, plant powered therapies to benefit individuals and families and serve healthcare providers as well as the hemp and cannabis industries.

Courtesy of RAMP website

Ann Lee
Co-founder, Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition
Ann Lee and her husband Bob founded Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP) based on the belief that the prohibition of marijuana is “diametrically opposed to the Republican principles of limited government,” and personal freedom. Lee has been a leader and activist in the Republican Party since 1970. That year, she became precinct chair in the Harris County Republican Party serving from 1970 to 1992. Her first campaign activity came in 1964 in support of Barry Goldwater. In 1983, Lee co-founded the group Women for Reagan.

Courtesy of Red White & Bloom

Brad Rogers
CEO, Red White & Bloom
Brad Rogers is CEO and Executive Chair of Red White & Bloom. He has an extensive track record of building tremendously successful and profitable businesses in the cannabis sector and beyond. He also grew two of Canada’s largest licensed cannabis producers to a combined market cap of $2 billion. Red White & Bloom’s growing portfolio boasts strong brands and proprietary product development capabilities—focusing on a “house of brands” strategy in both cannabis and hemp-derived product lines.

Courtesy of Ridgeline Farms

Jason Gellman
Owner, Ridgeline Farms
Growers up north all know the trusted name of Ridgeline Farms. Ridgeline Farms owner Jason Gellman was honored for the 2018 Business of The Year Award at the Southern Humboldt Chamber of Commerce—the first time for the Southern Humboldt Chamber of Commerce, and for Jason Gellman, to have the award go to a local craft cannabis farmer. Humboldt County-based Ridgeline Farms focuses on quality over quantity, family values and environmental stewardship in the company’s owner-operated cannabis farm. Gellman and Ridgeline Farms have won multiple awards including Emerald Cup wins.

Courtesy of Matthew Zingler, LinkedIn

Matt Zingler
Co-founder and Co-CEO, Rolling Loud
Some careers are more exciting and rewarding than others. Co-founder and Co-CEO of the Rolling Loud Festival Matt Zingler works with his business partner Tariq Cherif. The two of them also founded Dope Entertainment, Florida’s premier Hip-Hop touring company. The Miami-based festival Rolling Loud has turned into one the hottest lifestyle events. In past years, the company’s massive lineup has featured superstars such as Travis Scott, Post Malone and A$AP Rocky. Part of his resume includes adapting to the massive setbacks from COVID.

Courtesy of Sapphire Risk website

Tony Gallo
Managing Partner, Sapphire Risk Advisory Group
Considered in the industry as the “O.G. of Cannabis Security,” Gallo is the Managing Partner at Sapphire Risk Advisory Group, voted one of the Top Cannabis Ancillary Firms. Since 2013, Sapphire Risk has been focused on developing cannabis security strategies for businesses and has worked with over 500 clients in 35 States. Tony has spoken at over 100 conferences nationwide on cannabis security from application to operation. Tony received his degree in Criminal Justice from New Jersey City University in Jersey City, New Jersey, and is a published author.

Courtesy of theglobeandmail.com

Andy DeFrancesco
SOL Global
Andy DeFrancesco is well-known for being a dealmaker on wall street and in cannabis, not only as a co-founder of Aphria but through his investment company SOL Global Investments. DeFrancesco pulled off some of the biggest success stories in the cannabis industry. Deals include Liberty Health Sciences, which was sold to AYR for $290 million, and another Florida-based operator Bluma Wellness which was acquired by Cresco Labs for $230 million. He co-founded both of those companies. DeFrancesco plays a major role in Simply Better Brands, which owns PureKana.

Courtesy of Scotts Miracle-Gro

Jim Hagedorn
CEO, Scotts Miracle-Gro
Jim Hagedorn is Chairman/CEO at Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., a household name in nutrients. Hagedorn’s father Horace launched the original Miracle-Gro in 1951, and later, he grew up watching the Miracle-Gro brand earn the trust of gardeners all across America, and he’s committed to maintaining that legacy with gardeners today. A former fighter pilot known for “boldness and ingenuity,” Hagedorn helped orchestrate Miracle-Gro’s merger with Scotts in 1995, creating the leading consumer lawn and garden business in the world. He became CEO of the combined company in 2001.

Courtesy of Dr. Sue Sisley

Dr. Sue Sisley
Scottsdale Research Institute
Dr. Sue Sisley’s unparalleled research into medical cannabis broke through boundaries. As President of Scottsdale Research Institute and best known serving as Principal Investigator for the only FDA-approved randomized controlled trial in the world examining safety/efficacy of smoked marijuana flower in combat veterans with severe post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD. Her studies were approved by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and she runs a thriving private practice in Phoenix as well. Sisley’s research has been supported by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a California-based nonprofit psychedelic organization.

Courtesy of bizjournals.com

Michael Serruya
Serruya Brands
Michael Serruya began his fruitful career at age 20 as one of the co-founders of Yogen Früz®. Michael was also the CEO of Coolbrands®—then home to CPG brands including Weight Watchers®, Eskimo Pie®, Tropicana® and Godiva® Ice Cream. Serruya joined MedMen’s board in August 2021 as part of a $100 million investment in the Company by Serruya Private Equity to expand its operations in key markets and identify and accelerate further growth opportunities across the United States. Michael has also participated on the Boards of Directors of a number of both publicly and privately traded companies.

Courtesy of Sundial

Zachary George
CEO, Sundial
Zachary George is CEO at Sundial Growers Inc. He is an entrepreneurial and seasoned executive with over 20 years of experience in alternative investments and evaluating opportunities across the capital structure of North American companies with a focus on real assets. George previously worked in senior management and board capacities focused on large-scale restructurings and operational turnarounds, influencing corporate action and governance policies in order to maximize shareholder value. He also founded FrontFour Capital Group LLC and he has been the head of five different companies.

Courtesy of Jason Wild, Twitter

Jason Wild
Chairman, TerrAscend
Jason Wild is the President and Chief Investment Officer of JW Asset Management, LLC, and the advisor for five investment partnerships with over $2 billion in assets under management. Mr. Wild received his license as a pharmacist in 1997, and subsequently founded JW Asset Management, LLC in 1998. The firm has a strong history of finding opportunities within the healthcare sector. He is a graduate of the Arnold and Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy. Mr. Wild is the Chairman of the Board of TerrAscend Corp. and Arbor Pharmaceuticals. He is a board member of Vensun Pharmaceuticals and Vitruvias Therapeutics.

Courtesy of Tilray Brands

Irwin Simon
CEO, Tilray Brands
With more than 30 years of experience building industry-leading, consumer-packaged goods companies—ranging from foods, dietary supplements, personal care and cannabis—Irwin Simon now leads Tilray Brands, a global leader in cannabis research, cultivation, processing and distribution, as CEO. Tilray is the first GMP-certified medical cannabis producer to supply cannabis flower and extract products to patients, physicians, pharmacies, hospitals, governments and researchers on five continents. Irwin is also the executive chairman of Whole Earth Brands, Inc., a leading platform in packaged goods and ingredients, and lead director at Stagwell Inc., a digital-first global marketing network.

Courtesy of archive.kpcc.org

Chrystal Ortiz
Advocate, True Humboldt
Sharing the core community values surrounding sustainability, community service and mindful cultivation that her “Back to Lander” parents held close in the Emerald Triangle region, Chrystal Ortiz since returned to the hills of Humboldt County in the late ’90s, raised their two children off the grid and embraced her current role at True Humboldt. The group is composed of Humboldt cannabis farmers who have joined together to support one another through the ever-changing-and-evolving cannabis industry, with the aim of preserving the unique heritage of the area.

Courtesy of Trulieve website

Kim Rivers
CEO, Trulieve
Kim Rivers joined Trulieve, an industry-leading, vertically-integrated cannabis company and multistate operator in 11 states, at its inception and has been a key player in the company’s customer-centric vision, growth and expansion. Rivers oversees every part of the cannabis process, from the seed-to-sale. She previously worked in a private practice as a lawyer, specializing in mergers, acquisitions and securities for multi-million-dollar companies. When she’s not busy at Trulieve, Rivers also plays an active role in her community and serves on numerous charitable boards.

Courtesy of Delane Rouse/DC Corporate Headshots.

Brittani Cushman
Senior VP and General Counsel, Turning Point Brands
Brittani Cushman is Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary at Turning Point Brands, Inc. As a female leader in the industry, Cushman works on public policy, legal and governmental affairs in the heavily regulated tobacco products industry. She specializes in tackling complex policy matters and legislation in the areas of federal and state regulation, marketing and taxation. She also helps to execute strategies as part of the senior executive management team.

Courtesy of Valens

Tyler Robson
CEO and Chair of the Board, The Valens Company
With over a decade of experience in cannabis science, research, and development, especially focusing on propriety extraction processing and medical application, Tyler Robinson came to his role as chief executive officer and chair of the board with The Valens Company with plenty of established science experience. He graduated from University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Arts & Sciences and a biology focus. He has been with The Valens Company since 2012, moving from COO to CEO and growing alongside the company.

Courtesy of Vangst

Karson Humiston
Founder and CEO, Vangst
Karson Humiston is the Founder & CEO of Vangst, the cannabis industry’s recruiting platform. Since launching in 2016, Vangst has connected thousands of people with jobs at leading cannabis businesses around the world. Karson was featured on the 2018 Forbes 30 under 30 list and Vangst was featured in Entrepreneur’s 100 Brilliant Companies of 2018. Prior to founding Vangst, Karson founded On Track Adventures, a student travel organization based out of St. Lawrence University.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Gary Vaynerchuk
CEO, VaynerMedia and Co-owner of Green Street
Gary Vaynerchuk, aka “Gary Vee” is the chairman of VaynerX, a modern-day media and communications holding company, and the active CEO of VaynerMedia. The Belarusian-American is a renowned entrepreneur, author and personality. He’s also the co-owner of Green Street, a full service creative agency that built a seven-story cannabis incubator in the heart of Los Angeles. Most people are drawn to Gary Vee’s no-nonsense attitude, as he effortlessly motivates his audiences.

George Archos, Courtesy of Verano
Sammy Dorf, Courtesy of Verano

George Archos (CEO) and Sam Dorf (Chief Growth Officer)
Verano Holdings
George Archos is CEO and founder of Verano Holdings. He has experience coordinating complex freight delivery and operating successful restaurants. He first joined the cannabis industry in 2014, and since then has risen in the ranks at various companies to take on a leadership role in this one. Sam Dorf, chief growth officer of Verano Holdings, has a background as a criminal defense attorney, and became a cannabis entrepreneur in 2013. He is known as a revered merit-based cannabis license application strategist and is responsible for supporting the growth of the team.

Courtesy of Anthony Camera Photography

Brian Vicente
Lawyer, Vicente Sederberg LLP, Lawyer
A passionate supporter of cannabis reform, Brian Vicente, lawyer, founding partner, and one of the major players behind Vicente Sederberg LLP, has over a decade of experience helping to shape cannabis law, the area he specializes in. One of his major claims to fame was helping to draft Colorado’s historic Amendment 64 and co-directing the campaign in support of it. Vicente has worked with cannabis entrepreneurs, investors and businesses all across the US. His focus is on helping folks start and grow compliant and profitable businesses in the cannabis sector.

Courtesy of Viola

Al Harrington
Founder, Viola
Most well-known for his storied career in basketball, Al Harrington was pro for 16 seasons, but that’s not where his legacy ends. He is also a major player in the world of cannabis now. He founded Viola Brands in 2011, a cannabis company that now spans multiple states, including California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Michigan, as well as a recent expansion to Oklahoma to work with their medical market. With the success of Viola, Harrington has shown that celebrity partnerships can be a lot more than lending a name and clout to a company.

Courtesy of Brian Malin

Brian Malin
Co-Founder, Vital Grown
Founder and CEO of Vital Garden Supply and co-founder of Vital Grown, Brian Malin strives to show the world the importance of organically grown cannabis for both growers and consumers. He has been learning about organic farming and soil biology for over 25 years, and his mission is to use his natural gardening experience to help cannabis teams grow, both literally and figuratively. Malin is well-known from appearances on the Hash Church podcast, judging cannabis competitions like the Emerald Cup and Ego Clash, and spreading the gospel of organic pot.

Courtesy of Wana Brands

Nancy Whiteman
Co-Founder and CEO, Wana Brands
Nancy Whiteman is co-founder and CEO of Wana Brands, an edibles company based in Colorado. One of the leading edibles brands in the mile high state, Wana Brands has grown-from a start-up to a successfully bought-out company, as Canadian-based cannabis giants Canopy Growth bought the business for $297.5 upfront. Whiteman is a legal in the pioneering industry of legal edibles, and her name is known throughout the industry. She’s known as both “the queen of legal weed” and “the Martha Stuart of edibles.”

Courtesy of Lauren Hurt

Mike Glazer
Comedian, Weed + Grub
Weed + Grub is exactly what it sounds like—a comedy routine about cooking culture, comedy and cannabis. According to Emmy-nominated comedian Mike Glazer and cannabis culture writer Mary Jane Gibson, it’s also about “calling shit out” as the two smoke, snack and interview celebs. Glazer is known for his work on Night of Too Many Stars, Worst Cooks in America and other media featuring comedy, food and cannabis. He has cooked with Gordon Ramsay and was named as a 40 Under 40 Rising Cannabis Star.

Courtesy of Weed for Warriors Project

Sean Kiernan
President, Weed for Warriors Project
Sean Kiernan is president of the Weed for Warriors Project, a well-respected veteran advocacy group that speaks out about the need for veteran cannabis access. He also served in the Army airborne infantry/pathfinder until receiving an honorable discharge and attended UC Berkeley. His background after college was in finance, working for companies like JP Morgan and Caxton Associates. He has contributed to MAPS research on cannabis and PTSD, and his goal in life is to help veterans access the medicine they need.

Courtesy of B. Fraser Photography

Dasheeda Dawson
Founder, The WeedHead™ & Company
Dasheeda Dawson is founder of The WeedHead™ & Company and author of the bestselling workbook, How to Succeed in the Cannabis Industry—now in its 3rd Edition. Dasheeda is a corporate-to-cannabis crossover pioneer and business strategist with experience as senior executive leader and strategy. More recently, she was selected as the Cannabis Program Supervisor, to oversee all regulatory, licensing, compliance and equity initiatives for the city of Portland, Oregon’s cannabis industry. She is a co-host on She Blaze, an award-winning weekly cannabis news and culture podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and iHeartRadio.

Courtesy of Weedmaps

Chris Beals
CEO, Weedmaps
Chris Beals is Chief Executive Officer at Weedmaps LLC. Weedmaps is a tech company serving the cannabis industry, founded in 2008. In March 2019, Beals was named CEO of Weedmaps. A few months later, in August 2019, Weedmaps launched a 30,000 square-foot Museum of Weed in West Hollywood, California. Weedmaps not only connects people to cannabis retailers, but the company recently explored a social media platform alternative to Instagram with Berner.

Courtesy of Weldon Angelos

Weldon Angelos
Founder, The Weldon Project
In 2003, a low-level cannabis case put a halt to Weldon Angelos’ budding career in the music industry, though it also helped to birth a national movement aimed to reform the U.S. criminal justice system. He became a bipartisan symbol for justice reform, and in 2016, he was finally released from prison after serving 13 years for a first-time, cannabis-related offense. Angelos moved forward to help others with similar experiences and founded the Weldon Project, dedicated to funding social change and financial aid to those serving prison time for cannabis-related offenses.

Courtesy of WeSana

Daniel Carcillo
Founder and CEO, WeSana
Prominent athlete-turned-cannabis-entrepreneur Daniel Carcillo is founder and CEO of WeSana, a Chicago-based ketamine clinic. During his hockey career, he won two Stanley Cup Championships. Because of what he noticed first-hand while playing hockey, he became an advocate for mental health, concussions and traumatic brain injuries. His interest in how those things can be treated with plant and psychedelic medicine triggered the opening of WeSana. The Chicago-based business is currently making a splash in the world of ketamine medicine.

Courtesy of Kevin Jodrey, LinkedIn

Kevin Jodrey
Owner, Wonderland Nursery
Kevin Jodrey is one of the most well-known growers in Humboldt County and is an internationally respected cannabis expert. As a world-renowned hunter of ganja genetics, Jodrey is fascinated by the search for rare, desirable, and marketable traits. Jodrey is the creator of Port Royal, owner of Wonderland Nursery, and co-founder of The Ganjier. He’s been cultivating for decades, running his own operations and offering consulting services. He’s spoken at universities, judged at the Emerald Cup, and consulted on cannabis related educational shows for National Geographic and A&E.

Courtesy of Zuber Law website

Tom Zuber
Managing Partner and Founder, Zuber Law
Tom Zuber is managing partner and founder of Zuber Law. Zuber is a litigator who specializes in intellectual property disputes and global intellectual property council for the cannabis industry on a worldwide scale. He manages Fortune-level clients through the firm and celebrates and advocates for his cannabis clients. He founded Zuber & Zuber, now known as Zuber Law, in 2003. When he started out, he had no clients and was a third-year associate. Now, Zuber Law is a world-known cannabis firm.

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Headset Projects 4/20 Cannabis Sales to Increase by 100% in 2022

Data and market intelligence company Headset released a report on March 15, entitled “Understanding 4/20 cannabis holiday & consumer purchasing trends,” which projects that 2022 will be one of the biggest holidays yet for cannabis sales. The data is collected by Headset’s own software, which examines real-time sales from participating retailers. “April 20 has been the largest single day of retail cannabis sales each year since legalization (with one notable exception), so we understand that it’s a pretty darn significant day,” the report states in its introduction. “We also know that there are some consistent patterns on 4/20 each year: sales surge, customers enjoy massive discounts, and certain categories are more popular than others.”

The report analyzes data collected from various retailers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, as well as the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Data is reviewed by analyzing sales that occurred during the last four weeks prior to April 20, 2021 (reviewing March 23, March 30, April 6 and April 13 of that year).

In the US, from March 2021 to February 2022, flower market share dropped from 46% to 41%, but saw an increase in market share for pre-rolls (25%), vape pens (14%) and edibles (11.9%). “Pre-Roll market share has been slightly more volatile, rising quickly through most of 2021, only to decrease during the end of the year and then increase again in the opening months of 2022. This is a great example of how much can change during a year of cannabis sales!” Between 2020 and 2021, major product categories that rose in percentage included Concentrates, Flower, Edible, Pre-Roll, Vapor Pens and Capsules. This excludes “Tincture & Sublingual” and Topical, which decreased by 4% and 33%. Beverages remained nearly constant between the two years, showing a 4/20 sales increase in 2020 at 184%, and in 2021 at 183%.

Gender and age group consumption data also shifted in the past year. Sales by female customers increased by 140% four weeks prior to 4/20, whereas male customers “had a slightly lower response” at 107%. In regards to age, Headset shared that younger customers were more excited about 4/20 than older customers. “Sales to the Generation Z group came pretty close to tripling on 4/20 last year, while sales to the Gen X and Baby Boomer groups didn’t even double. It would make sense that the continued caution of COVID may have influenced this trend,” the report explained. “Younger customers may have been more willing than older customers to risk exposure to the virus in order to celebrate 4/20 at a dispensary. However in our sales data we see a similar trend in 2019, which is before any of us had heard the word ‘coronavirus.’”

Headset concludes its report by offering advice to cannabis business owners who seek to benefit from the holiday. “Make sure you understand what your customers want and keep your shelves stocked appropriately, or you could risk losing loyal customers to the competition,” the report recommended. “You also want to make sure your strategy considers the potential of turning new or infrequent shoppers into loyalists and more frequent customers since the day sees significant lift in transaction volume by various customer groups.”

Another data company that covers the various intricacies of the cannabis industry, New Frontier Data, recently projected that cannabis sales could hit $51 billion by 2025. New Frontier Data Founder, Publisher and Executive Chair Giadha A. DeCarcer, explained in the introduction of that report that the past two years have shown immense growth in the industry across the board. “In just two years’ time, the number of countries having legalized some form of cannabis has increased from 50 to 70, and there are now 10 countries legalizing adult use, almost a twofold increase from 2019. As legal markets across the globe continue to evolve, we have found that regulatory structures and societal norms vary greatly, and each country, region and market require a nuanced approach to quantifying, qualifying and understanding them.”

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If You Love Pre-rolls, Stock Up Ahead of the Shortage

Lovers of pre-rolls and stuff-your-own cones, beware: an international shortage of cones is imminent, according to several paper and cone manufacturers and supply chain managers.

According to Alen Nguyen, CEO of supply chain management platform MainStem, the majority of the world’s cones, regardless of what company ends up sticking their labels on them, are assembled by hand in “less than 10” factories in Indonesia. The rest are handmade in India, for the most part, with just a few exceptions. 

Rolling papers, in general, are mainly produced in factories in Europe, India and China, with the majority coming from European countries like Spain, France, Czech Republic and other continental nations. 

Regardless of where cones are produced, Nguyen explained that a crucial aspect of their manufacturing process—the actual construction—relies on human labor. The actual rolling paper production process is “pretty automated,” and there are currently no wrinkles in that corner of the supply chain. But cones require careful assembly to preserve shape and structure without wrinkles, tears or creases while the paper is rolled and glued. The process simply hasn’t been able to be automated yet.

Being the COVID era, this means that in Indonesia, specifically, there have been factory closures and work stoppages since the beginning of the pandemic. This has led to a backlog in production and order fulfillment at a time when demand for cones has rapidly increased. Add to that a global shipping slowdown, and cones intended for weed stuffing have become the latest casualty of the current supply chain meltdown.

“Cones were invented about 20 to 30 years ago by this Dutch guy who opened one of the first facilities in Indonesia,” said Bryan Gerber, co-founder and CEO of Hemper, which also owns Hara Supply. Gerber called Hara “the largest pre-rolled cone manufacturer in the world.” He explained that, over time, someone from the original factory split off and opened another, and so on and so forth, which has resulted in the large handful of factories making cones that now exist in Indonesia. 

Gerber, along with everyone else interviewed for this story, said that Indonesia remains one of the main hubs for cones because labor is cheaper there. But strict unionization laws and previous labor stoppages have inspired cone manufacturers to look elsewhere in recent years.

Labor is also inexpensive in India, where Hara constructs its cones—Gerber says that Hara’s output accounts for about 20 percent of the world’s cone supply. For manufacturers, India also has the benefit of “basically being open, COVID-wise,” Gerber said.

He added that pandemic-related shutdowns are no longer occurring, especially not in factories, so while his company is not experiencing a backlog in production like those that rely on Indonesian labor, they are weathering shipping delays, along with the rest of the world. Technically, Gerber said, they could handle overflow for cone suppliers interested in making the switch to Indian assembly, but they would all be hamstrung by the same shipping woes the rest of the world is facing.

Either way it’s sliced, this will result in a noticeable shortage of cones, which will see some brands temporarily removed from the market while things level out. There are also likely to be price increases for what does make it onto shelves, Nguyen said.

Demand for Cones is at its Highest

The shortage comes at a particularly crunched time for an already pressured market. “The demand for cones is infinite,” Gerber said. “Literally infinite.” Gerber says Hara is currently producing 16 million cones a month, which he hopes will increase to 100 million cones a month by January. He bases this on the demand he has seen from the marketplace, which both he and Nguyen commented are heavily multi-state operator-driven.

Concerning MainStem, Nguyen says that from 2019 to 2020, there was a 51 percent increase in average order size. From 2020 to 2021, so far, there was a 43 percent increase in average order size from the previous year. This means that, since the pandemic started, average customer order size is up 116 percent for MainStem’s wholesale shoppers, who are the companies that either stuff pre-rolls or sell cones under their own brands.

The size of the market bears this out. According to a study performed by Custom Cones USA and Headset, a cannabis industry data company, from 2019 to 2020, pre-roll sales grew 59 percent—from $704 million to $1.12 billion. In 2020, pre-rolls made up 10 percent of overall cannabis sales, up from 9.5 percent in 2019. Full 2021 data isn’t available yet, but it’s safe to say the market is steadily growing. Even if 2021 doesn’t see more growth, what already exists is big.

“Overall, we’re experiencing a two to three multiplier on manufacturing lead time in the last couple of months and at least three to five multiplier on shipping time by sea due to the back up at the ports,” Nguyen said. “This is from the manufacturer shipping to the distributors in the U.S., as well as larger clients with which we work directly with the manufacturers. This results in anywhere between 13-18 weeks for product delivery,” he predicted. He added that this is all subject to change, which means delivery times could also increase. 

Several retailers—all of whom sell either pre-rolled joints, cones or both—all confirmed they were battling delays and shortages of their own stock as a result of the problems with Indonesian cone production. 

“The paper and cone shortage has been a major factor in Blazy Susan’s growth over the last year. Many of the larger brands have had trouble keeping up with demand thanks to huge increases in port congestion and shipping rates,” said Colorado-based Blazy Susan CEO Will Breakell. 

Breakell also mentioned another factor, which was also echoed by Gerber: production hiccups for rolling papers in China, where some of paper production has shifted over the years. Breakell said “major” power shortages have been happening across the country, resulting in some regions only being able to produce two days a week or less. 

Gerber said that rising labor costs have caused rolling paper companies to look further afield. Some papers produced in China have also tested positive for heavy metals in several instances over the last decades, which has also scared off manufacturers.

The CEOs from Space Coyote, Fuzzies, Daily High Club Greenlane and Snail also confirmed they have seen disruptions in inventory due to the cone shortage. Nguyen, from MainStem, said that he has several multi-state operator clients who regularly place large orders, and that their supply will be affected. 

Not every brand will see a shortage, per se, but even individual brands with more solid supply chains won’t be able to make up the difference with their own inventory. Overall, there will be fewer cones for sale, period. 

“Our team has heard our competitors are having issues sourcing paper and assembling cones, thereby causing inventory shortages on their end,” Paul Marobella, president and chief marketing officer at Republic Brands, said. Republic owns OCB, E-Z Wider and Job. He explained that Republic owns its entire supply chain, including paper manufacturing and booklet assembly, and therefore will not see any shortages in its brands for either papers or cones.

Nick Kovacevich, CEO of Greenlane, which owns rolling paper brand Vibes, said that they are also seeing increased demand for paper products, including cones. Vibes’ papers are made in France, he said, and he offered consumers a reminder. “Keep in mind this will only affect pre-rolled cones and not flat paper which still allows consumers to roll their own joints,” he said. “We cannot get enough cones, but we are expanding production in two different regions to meet demand.”

Don’t know how to roll? It seems like there’s never been a better time to learn. 

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