Hadley Ford shares his philosophy on business: "I just don't watch the stock. You just focus on delighting your customers, on creating great products, on optimizing your operations, paying attention, just running a business...if you do that, the stock will take care of itself." Ford discusses the volatility that drives the stock market, long-term versus short-term risks, and branding versus process/production/growing. He also takes a moment to touch on the main cannabis bills at play: the STATES Act, the SAFE Banking Act, and the MORE Act.
Mike Gorenstein returns to explain the importance of focusing as a business in the cannabis industry: "It's easy to say, 'Well, we think we're the best at all these,' but if you then take that energy and you refocus it in one area, you're likely to excel." Gorenstein believes that the best way to get rid of the illicit market is to bring it into the legal space and notes that, even though regulation is necessary for safety, strict standards must be required when mass production comes into play. Gorenstein also discusses the benefits of effective branding, the future of legalization and global standards, states rights, and more.
Chris Walsh dives into the industry's exponential growth over the past several years, the SAFE Banking Act, and the frustrating process of incremental legislative change: "When something substantial actually is enacted into law is when you're really going to see things open up." Walsh also discusses the difference between the cannabis industry and the hemp industry, the state of the CBD market in the U.S., retail investments, and more.
Tim Leslie of Leafly shares with us his thoughts about how to help consumers navigate the abundance of hemp-derived CBD products and figure out which products are right for them. Leslie also discusses the importance of taking more steps toward a regulated industry in order to provide people with safe, legal products: "If you view legalization as the first step, the next step is, how do we get the illicit market into the legal industry? How do we get more dispensaries, how do we educate people that more dispensaries is a good thing, that it will propagate a safe legal industry?" He believes that education and eradicating misinformation is an important step in avoiding nascent industry hiccups; in particular, unlearning negative stereotypes and reminding the public that cannabis is, above all, a wellness product.
Andy Williams returns to talk with us about the effects of House Bill 1090 in Colorado, which made it possible for public companies to own cannabis companies. He also discusses the vaping ban in Massachusetts, the STATES Act, the SAFE Banking Act, and the MORE Act: "Some of the senators that are feeling a lot of pressure for cannabis and hemp and that issue view this bill as something that they can palate that might be good even, and if they pass this, then I think they could punt other legislation saying, 'We already passed this.'" Williams also discusses the emphasis on branding for MSOs, the idea that retail will become mainstream, cannabis in Colombia, and more.
We are joined by two guests today: Philasande Mahlakatha, UFSN, and Baphele Mhlaba, Chief of Staff, Eastern Cape Office of the Premier. Mahlakatha begins by discussing the history of prohibition and the logistics of cannabis agriculture. She also wants to make sure that the community is involved with the process: "As the industry starts to boom, to flourish, if you want, in South Africa, we would like to make sure that the people are well represented." Baphele Mhlaba then joins the discussion and talks about home grow, regulating cannabis for medical use, and ethical agriculture: "Not only did [law enforcement] disregard this government, the ongoing health implications of spraying chemicals over foodstuffs, over water resources and all those other components that are related to the injustice method against our people in the name of making sure that we enforce the laws."
We have two guests today: Ras Garreth Prince and Clara Norell. We begin by speaking with Ras Garreth Prince about the history of cannabis in South Africa and the tough battle to get where they are today: "Don't treat me worse than a tobacco smoker, or an alcohol drinker. That's what I'm asking for. I'm not asking for any privileges, I'm not asking for special treatment, just give me a chance to compete fairly, that's all that I'm asking for." Clara Norell, co-founder and CEO of Nordiska Hampa Kompaniet, joins us for a discussion on hemp in Sweden: "We want to create a network of farmers in Sweden. Also, be a main supplier of a high quality, effective, for example, food production. Later on, in a long perspective, for fiber, for textiles, for building material, and for bio-plastics."
Lesotho has recently arrived on the international cannabis scene, and Tseli Khiba, Advocate, High Court of Lesotho joins us to discuss the details of that development. She explains that, originally, investors were interested in the market in Swaziland, but ended up encountering several roadblocks there. Investors then began looking more broadly for alternative options and noticed Lesotho. Because the laws and provisions were already in place, it seemed like a much easier place to get an industry started. Khiba describes the regulatory gray areas: "The government relied a lot on the best practices internationally and were consistent with those requirements. So, even though the regulations weren't formally in place in the country, the government approached the industry in a proactive manner and basically decided to figure the rest out as you went along." Khiba also discusses the illicit market, the benefits of the regulatory market, homegrow, and more.