It’s all about the green… At least according to my main man, AJ! He’s not alone. Between green money and green weed, most people are concerned with either one or both forms of green. In some states, having one form of green leads to the other. As such, the legalization of cannabis is on the tip of most people’s tongues (for better or for worse) nowadays. Turn on the TV, read a news article, or scope out a random blog post (clears throat) and you’ll eventually come across the debate on whether or not to legalize weed in the country, or at least in a particular state. Depending on which state you reside, you could see the legalization of weed on your ballot this fall (even though it’s still illegal at the federal level). The fact that state governments are even entertaining legalizing recreational (and of course medicinal) use of cannabis can be attributed to one state in particular, Colorado.
With the new legalization of cannabis in the Centennial State, companies are making massive profits off its decriminalization. Of course this isn’t going unnoticed by other entrepreneurs itching to get their hands on some greenbacks in this “new” market. One of those said individuals happens to be one of my besties, Davon. I’ve known Davon for almost 15 years now. (Wow!) He was my road dog back in high school before he up and moved back to his home state of New York (side eye!). Anyway, I knew he had a weed business, but I wasn’t sure what all it entailed. So, I sent him a text inquiring about it. Before I knew it, we had a full fledged conversation about what’s been happening on the ground in Colorado. Apparently, loads of people, particularly children, have been ingesting too much candy that contains cannabis resulting in overdoses (AKA hellish trips, been there, done that). Most of these accidents stem from lack of proper labeling on the product. This is a problem. But, when there’s a problem there’s a solution. In steps Davon’s business, CannaMark. Check out more about how his business is innovating the cannabis market:
Question 1. Tell me more about your company, CannaMark.
Answer 1. CannaMark is an FDA approved product that goes directly onto cannabis infused edibles. For example, once a Cannabis cookie or piece of candy is opened and left outside of the wrapper, there’s no way of telling it has Cannabis in it. Cannamark solves that problem because the CannaMark [logo] itself is edible; it is a tasteless and odorless application.
Q2. So you don’t actually make edibles, just the logo imprinted on them?
A2. Yes, like the Hershey’s logo on a candy bar.
Q3. How did you come up with the idea behind your company?
A3. Initially our company was compliance based. Once we knew that New York would be passing a stringent medicinal marijuana program and few licenses would be rewarded, we decided it would be best to focus on the market as a whole and find solutions to problems that were sure to arise. Fortunately for us, the west coast was already booming. With Colorado’s edibles market gaining traction, it wasn’t long before we noticed news reports of accidental ingestion and over-ingestion due to the labeling and potency of the products. It wasn’t long after that we realized we had a solution that worked: label chocolates. Even though we didn’t have a solution for non-chocolate edibles, chocolates made up enough of the market for us to begin patenting our product and reaching out to companies out west. Simultaneously, I began focusing on different applications to label popularized edibles so that we’d be able to better service clients and the industry as a whole.
Q4. You have political advisors on your team right?
Q5. How did they become involved with CannaMark?
A5. Multiple cannabis meetings and groups began to form when the bill passed in New York. [S.M. side note: Starting in January 2016, residents of NY will be able to consume cannabis, but they can’t smoke it. Interesting.] While I didn’t attend as many [meetings] as I should have, I was lucky enough to attend those that also drew the attention of political bodies. Grassroots efforts are always a great component to building a business, but in an industry that walks fine-lines, knowing the politics and laws associated within a given state helps tremendously.
We had also done business in the past with someone who would become a partner in our company. We had no idea how extensive his political contacts were because our business relationship with him had formerly been solely in the music industry. Everything seemed to gel together for us, especially given that our product didn’t contain cannabis.
Q6. What are your hopes for the future of the cannabis industry?
A6. While the cannabis industry continues to experience tremendous growth, scalability for companies is still constricted due to the inability to ship products containing THC across state lines. I’m looking forward to the day when that becomes legal. I also hope to see the cannabis industry become widely viewed as a respectable industry without the current stigma attached to it. Of course there’s an education process that comes with that, but over the coming years I believe we’ll see a shift in acceptance towards the “herb.” The public will have to rethink [what they know about] cannabis since we’ve been programmed over the past seventy years to view it as a dangerous and harmful drug.
Q7. Can you please elaborate on what you mean by scalability?
A7. Basically we’re a printing company, not a marijuana company. Lol! So, unlike marijuana companies, who can’t engage in interstate business transactions, we can.
Q8. What are your fears for the cannabis industry?
A8. My only fear for the cannabis industry, specifically at this juncture, is companies and consumers not working in unison with respects to public safety and health. It would be a shame to see such progress go to waste due to a few irresponsible parties. While it’s a fact that cannabis is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco, it’s still under close scrutiny. With that, everyone needs to do their part in self-compliance as best they can. It’s good to see states working closely with their local businesses to address problems that may arise.
Q9. What challenges are there for the legalization of cannabis nationwide?
A9. On a national scale, cannabis faces a few challenges. Two of the biggest, in my opinion, are dealing with imprisonments [due to possession] and the battle against “Big Pharma.”
On Prison Reform: Existing medicinal and recreational laws specify where people can consume [cannabis] and [the] amounts they can have on them. While those with extensive drug charges may not be considered, individuals who are currently imprisoned for minor drug charges will have to be released. Many records will have to be expunged. Without getting into the politics behind prisons and numbers, we all know what that will do for their business.
On Pharmaceutical companies: The story is not much different with regards to the pharmaceutical industry. We’re already experiencing doctors, along with parents of children with severe illnesses, and patients alike, expressing their preference to medicinal cannabis use as opposed to traditional medications. There are far fewer side effects, and as we dig deeper into the benefits of CBD’s [cannabinoids] its only a matter of time before the pharmaceutical industry is turned on it’s head. Either that or they become early adopters to developing cannabis medications of their own. Either way, we know pharmaceutical corporations have a hand (a very heavy hand) in politics. [S. M. side note: Thanks lobbyists!]
We live in a world of information today. You don’t have much digging to put it all together.
Q10. I believe you mentioned that licensing is tough. Could you expound on the issue/problem with licensing as it pertains to your business?
A10. Licensing isn’t tough in all states with marijuana programs. It may be an extensive and expensive process, but not all states are difficult. With regards to CannaMark, we do not sell or touch cannabis, at all. That eliminates the need for us to have a license. Since we’re providing labeling solutions that go directly onto edible products, we’ve luckily addressed scalability and the ability to do business nationally.
Q11. Finally, where do you see CannaMark in the future?
A11. We want to become the industry standard. We’re currently working for our stamp to become a mandate so that all edible snacks have to have CannaMark stamped on it. We’re also working closely with state laboratories in testing to ensure products have exactly what they say they have in them.
We’d like to become to BBB [Better Business Bureau] of the cannabis industry, or the official stamp [of edibles]. No mail can be mailed without a stamp, right? Then no cannabis product should be sold without an official seal. Essentially, that will also help crack down on government-approved products vs. black market products. People who like insanely potent products can deal with the black market at their own risk! Lol!
Thanks for taking the time to participate in my Q&A! 🙂
After speaking with Davon, I have a fresh perspective on the legalization of weed. I always thought it should be legal; hell, I’m not sure how it’s illegal and yet alcohol is legal. I’m sure that stems from the cultural demonization of it (thanks culture wars!). Once again, it all boils down to regulation. Much like alcohol was regulated after prohibition, so too does cannabis. I think it will ease parents’ concerns about their children and teens gaining easy access to it.
What do you guys think? Leave a comment below or find me on social media. If you’re interested in finding out more about Davon’s business, check out his website: www.cannamarkusa.com