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Seed to CEO: Stories from Cannabis Businesses
42 minutes | Jun 24, 2021
From 1 to 100: How to Successfully Scale a Cannabis Operation
In this episode of Seed to CEO, Nicholas Vita, the CEO of Columbia Care, shares with MJBiz CEO Chris Walsh how he started in the cannabis industry with a mom-and-pop dispensary in Washington DC and now heads one of the biggest cannabis companies in the United States, present in 18 states and abroad. He’ll share: The importance of learning from the mistakes made along the way. How the company picked and won new markets. How he helped build a company that would attract investor capital to grow even further. Who is Nicholas Vita? Nick spent six years as vice president at Goldman Sachs and another 10 investing in the health care sector before even considering the cannabis industry. A friend mentioned the potential to him at a party, and his interest was piqued. He left finance and opened his first dispensary in Washington DC in 2013 and quickly expanded to Arizona, Massachusetts and other states.
41 minutes | Jun 17, 2021
Chasing Cannabis Magic with Jim Belushi
For many celebrities, being involved in cannabis means lending their names and personalities to another business for marketing purposes. Not so for Jim Belushi. Instead Jim purchased 93 acres of land in southern Oregon to start his own grow, where he’s involved at every step of the process. In this episode, Jim speaks with MJBiz CEO Chris Walsh about: Why his focus is on the “magic” of cannabis and not just the money (even though he does try to break even). His reasons for transitioning from an outdoor grow to greenhouses and how he’s going about that process. Some of the costliest mistakes he’s made since founding Belushi’s Farm – and how he plans to avoid similar problems moving forward. Who is Jim Belushi? Jim Belushi is best known as an actor and comedian, but nowadays he spends at least half his time at Belushi’s Farm, his cannabis cultivation site in southern Oregon. While he’s still involved in many entertainment ventures, from The Blues Brothers to a comedy troupe, attending to his “ladies” in Oregon is one of his primary focuses.
39 minutes | Jun 10, 2021
Clueless in Cannabis: An Oklahoma Dispensary Success Story
When Oklahoma flung open the doors to its medical cannabis industry, Denise Mink thought it would be a good opportunity to “semi-retire” by opening a dispensary with her husband. But things didn’t go quite as planned. In this episode, Denise reveals to MJBiz CEO Chris Walsh some of the lessons she learned while trying to get Med Pharm off the ground. Denise shares: How her lack of experience led to costly inventory mistakes. How she and her husband dealt with pushback from the community, including from the local police force. Which marketing vehicles have proven to be the best investment for Med Pharm. Who is Denise Mink? Denise Mink was the most successful agent at the real estate company where she was employed, but she was also super stressed and ready for a change. So when Oklahoma launched its MMJ market, she jumped - even though she had no experience in the industry other than visiting a few dispensaries in Colorado. But a willingness to surround oneself with cannabis veterans plus her persistence and business savvy helped make Med Pharm, located outside Tulsa, a success.
42 minutes | Jun 3, 2021
Is Less More? The Low-THC/High-CBD Cannabis Cultivation Strategy
At a time when much of the cannabis industry is focused on elevating THC levels to new heights, East Fork Cultivars has taken a different tack. In this episode of Seed to CEO, East Fork CEO Mason Walker talks with MJBiz CEO Chris Walsh about the mission behind the strategy and what he sees as the future of cannabis. Mason shares: Why he believes low-THC cannabis will be a big part of the industry’s future. Insights on the potential benefits of sun-grown cannabis at all levels of the industry. How to diversify meaningfully and mindfully. Who is Mason Walker? Mason spent a decade in the world of journalism, where he had a front-row seat to the birth and growth of Oregon’s legal cannabis industry. He made the leap into cultivation when two friends invited him to help grow the company from a cannabis garden to a full-scale production farm. Today, he’s taken it a step further, diversifying into consumer packaged goods and retail as well.
41 minutes | May 27, 2021
Distilling a Disrupter: The Highway Vodka Story
In this episode of Seed to CEO, MJBiz CEO Chris Walsh talks with Highway Vodka co-founder Ben Williams about his journey from a hobbyist distiller to an industry disrupter, thanks to his vodka made with hempseed. After years of experimentation – and a hint of laziness – Ben and his partner came up with the "perfect recipe" to make a splash in an established and crowded industry. His story also highlights a novel way to tap into the cannabis industry outside the obvious routes. Who is Ben Williams? Eight years ago, Ben Williams was a restauranteur with a passion for distilling. Now he’s the owner of the first black-owned distillery in Houston and the co-creator of a hemp-based vodka that’s disrupting an established industry. His journey provides a guide for other entrepreneurs looking to find their place in a crowded market.
42 minutes | May 20, 2021
How to Increase Your Market Presence
In this episode of Seed to CEO, MJBiz CEO Chris Walsh talks with Sozo Companies' Kristi Kelly about why community involvement is a key piece of her business' success strategy. Kristi shares tips on how marijuana executives can create and execute these strategies and how community involvement gains currency with customers and neighbors. Who is Kristi Kelly? Kristi Kelly is a cannabis industry pioneer currently blazing trails as the chief strategy and government affairs officer at Sozo Companies, a vertically integrated marijuana and hemp-derived CBD business in Michigan. Before Sozo, Kristi shaped Colorado’s cannabis landscape as the founder of a license holding company and later as the executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, which she turned into a national force advocating for cannabis businesses
44 minutes | May 13, 2021
Inside the Investing Mind
In this episode of Seed to CEO, MJBiz CEO Chris Walsh taps into the brain of Tuatara Capital's Al Foreman to gain insights on what cannabis investors are really looking for in investment targets. Al shares what he's learned about the cannabis industry over the last seven years and where he sees the best opportunities ahead. He also provides direction for cannabis entrepreneurs looking to get a piece of the investment pie. Who is Al Foreman? Al has more than 20 years of professional experience in private equity, corporate finance and financial technology, experience gained at mainstream Wall Street firms before setting his sights on the high-growth cannabis industry. Tuatara Capital now boasts nearly $400 million under management, making it one of the largest cannabis investment firms in the world.
46 minutes | May 6, 2021
Illicit Roots: How to Grow Into the Legal Market
In this episode of Seed to CEO, Chris Ball shares his experience with transitioning from a very lucrative illicit market operator to a very successful legal licensee. He talks about how he leveraged his legacy experience and network, what types of know-how he needed to hire to complement his legacy experience and how he brought his illegal operation up to legal norms and the challenges of financing the project. Now that Ball is thriving in Southern California, he’s looking to expand. Who is Chris Ball? Chris Ball made more money in the illicit market than he did as a professional football player, but when Los Angeles opened a social equity cannabis business licensing program for people with marijuana-related felonies like himself, he decided in to apply for and in 2018 won a social equity license for Ball Family Farms.
39 minutes | Apr 29, 2021
Small Biz Survivor
In this episode of Seed to CEO, James Lathrop talks about opening Cannabis City, Seattle’s first recreational marijuana retailer, in 2014. By winning Seattle’s first license, Lathrop enjoyed a major first-mover advantage, but a brutal location, inventory management troubles & soul-sapping regulations all bedeviled Cannabis City. But they couldn’t kill it - and now Lathrop has plans to expand. Who is James Lathrop? Lathrop is a U.S. Army veteran and a doctor of nursing practice who spent 20-plus years as a nurse practitioner before jumping into marijuana.
37 minutes | Apr 22, 2021
Retail Re-invigoration: Conquering California
In this episode of Seed to CEO, Margot Micallef shares how she launched Gaby as primarily a product company only to have a tough time getting those products onto dispensary shelves. Micallef’s solution was to pivot toward building the biggest retail store brand in California through acquisitions and openings. Her goal: to have 100 stores in the next three to five years, and Micallef explains how she plans to get there. Who is Margot Micallef? Margot Micallef is the CEO of Gaby, a multi-vertical, retail focused cannabis company based in California. She started Gaby in 2016 as a health food and distribution company but entered the cannabis industry in 2018 with the introduction of THC and CBD infused foods. The company successfully raised capital, expanded and, more recently, made dramatic pivots in response to dramatic times. Today Gaby is poised for success in the post-pandemic world.
0 minutes | Mar 29, 2021
Marijuana Business Daily Podcast
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