42 | Adrienne Uthe, National Association of Cannabis Businesses
Hits Tom Welcome. Back to the can of worms podcast. Today we're speaking. With Adrian of the National Association of Canada's businesses they are aiming to become the good housekeeping seal of approval for cannabis products. That's a big job but it is necessary and like the plant itself it's essential really so there's lots to learn about that. I want to remind you to sign up for five boom Friday. If you haven't it's our weekly newsletter where we let you know about the latest episodes about discounts on CBD products and other things. That are happening. I also want to say thank you to Danny and Milwaukee who's handling production making a sound good like all sees under quarantine and looking for the end of this sometime soon. Enjoyed the episode. Thanks for listening this is. Let's talk about wheat. The caterpillars podcast. Cbd microdosing in all things related to medical cannabis for baby boomers from San Diego. Here's your host Thomas J. It's Tom we're back with candor boomers podcast. And today our guests Adrian. Youth the of the National Association of Cannabis businesses. How are You Adrienne? I'm doing great. How are you doing pretty good? You know we're still hunker down as we speak were I think in the early stages of the pandemic we're all looking forward to getting out again but It is what it is so I'm happy you could find time for us to get together and chat about what you guys do. Tell us about the a CBS. What you guys do absolutely so again stands for the National Association of Cannabis businesses but people often refer to us just as the NAACP and we are the only SRO Self regulating organization in cannabis today And we stand for shaping cannabis into a safe Responsible and ethical industry. We do that by partnering with experts in the field to create National Standards Industry Best Practices for businesses to follow To make sure that. They're sustainable for the future cannabis. Products are consumer products. So whether you're talking about. Cbd or or cannabis itself there certain things you want to look for when you're when you're shopping. Obviously Yep absolutely and and that's what we're shooting for so we've created US additional Some national standards in advertising packaging We did one on security. We just passed one on Hamp And then the next one that we're looking to shoot four is digital security as far as like banking online In the digital side of security. So we're trying to cover all of the basis that the industry is shooting for We try to keep a heavy pulse on the industry as a whole on just kind of understand what professionals are looking for. What businesses are looking for whether that's licensed cannabis. Businesses or ancillary businesses. Meaning folks that help of cannabis businesses themselves and just trying to understand you know where there are certain gaps and just try to get everyone together in one room to understand what everyone's facing and different challenges that they're having so we can address that and come up with these industry best practices. It sounds like a unique challenge. I mean has there ever in our lifetimes been a business that has gone from zero to eighty so fast? You know what I would. I would have to agree with you. And that's one thing that attracts a lot of people to the space which is a good thing and a bad thing. I think Because it's moving so quick I think a lot of people. WanNa try to be ahead of the curve. But sometimes that can be to their detriment. you know at at a lot of different events that I've been at different conversations that I've had both with legislators and state representatives as well as people you know on the ground in cannabis we look at states like California. That really tried to be ahead of the curve. But unfortunately I feel like you know. Some of the regulation is a little bit too loose. So it's up to us to pull back the reins a little bit Any any no you also have people coming in Because it is moving so quickly and they WANNA come in and make a splash and be as successful as soon as they can but again. We need to understand that you know. This is something that we need to continue to do. Research on We didn't make sure that we have all of our ducks in a row. And just kind of slow down a little bit or are you also sort of a lobbying arm for the industry. We weren't as of oriental up until late so we didn't start off doing that. But we kind of saw a gap that we wanted to fill. And that's why we brought on Mark Gorman Actually very recently a week or two ago. Officially the press release went out last week and he joins us from discus which is distilled spirits council In there also an SRO alcohol space and he spent twenty years on the hill Lobbying for different alcohol issues and things like that so We brought him on board because we wanted to kind of take advantage of the industry knowledge that he has Especially in the lab in the lobbying space and it's it's worked out quite well for us so far the elephant in the room the big dynamic right now is the pandemic and I guess you could look at this. From the perspective that about eighteen months cannabis went from vilified in in many quarters to recognize essential and yet With some of the aid packages from what I've been seeing. There's not much money going into the cannabis industry and you're right and you know. I did a podcast last week. And that was something that we discussed as well I think it is. It's awesome. That were were starting to deem as essential but you also have some states. That aren't deeming it essential. We actually sent a letter to the governor of Massachusetts just pleading with them to take a second. Look at this You know cannabis helps a lot of people in many different ways and the fact that there are liquor stores open and you're gonNA close down. Dispensaries is just kind of crazy to at least just not even take a second look at it so you know it's I think culturally it's a positive thing and it's it's a bold move but I'm happy that we're moving in that direction. I think it's helped a Lotta people through the pandemic People rely on for different reasons that it's important to understand that right. Those essential workers need protection just like grocery workers an in healthcare workers. So it's good that you have a voice. Yeah absolutely. But unfortunately we're seeing though that they're cannabis. Businesses aren't getting the relief that other businesses are. I mean I saw a report. This morning Basically saying that all of the money that was going to put towards small businesses as has essentially run out. So I'm not really sure you know what the climate is outside of canvas but I do know internally that you know we're certainly not getting the help that we need In ITS IN. Its going to drastically change. Both the dynamic and the cannabis landscape for this year and next year I would say it. Unfortunately I think that this pandemic has put a lot of folks up against a wall and unfortunately we're GONNA lose a lot of businesses because they just weren't prepared for it as a lot of other businesses aren't and weren't but you know they did get the help that they need so It's definitely going to change the dynamic in it from a cultural perspective and professional perspective. -Ture will one of the early reports I heard was that sales almost doubled cannabis. I don't know if that's validated. If that's really true in my experience it's absolutely true and it's cool because it's created this dynamic where we have to think outside the box and what we've learned is that people have curbside pickup. They're open to it. They love it and people are still wanting and needing their cannabis so as far as I'm concerned and and this is something that I have spoken a bit with others and other industries too when they say like you know. Work has dramatically changed. Sales are down businesses Businesses very different in our perspective beyond events being canceled. You know larger expos and things like that inside of cannabis. It's still very much booming. People are still you know taking meetings like they normally would we're just adapting having webinars and talking on the phone more than we normally would but as far as the structure of the industry were still were still rocking and rolling. Sure let's talk about what it looks like a business who wants to engage with you. What need are you fulfilling for them? And how do they go about becoming a member? I share so one thing that people always associate with us our medallion. It's the NAACP medallion it's similar to. Let's say you're going to a grocery store and you wanted to buy something that was organic and use and you see the organic see on the packaging. You buy it People that are members often put our medallions in the digital world whether that's on marketing assets or on their website but other people take stronger approach and actually put it on their packaging which is amazing That's what we like to see You know we want other businesses to recognize them as following ethical practices and that there are good player in the space and we also want consumers to see those brands and to know that they're dealing with a good brand and that they can trust it So that's really our goal there. We also kind of bridge the gap and beyond having this medallion. That is very symbolic of doing something positive. We also have other tangible tangible benefits that we offer our members to and that goes beyond Working with green flower and having certificates that different professionals can acquire. I mean you know. We're building the space from within. So you know when the space I started. There wasn't a lot of ways to credential professional in the space or someone wanting to come into the space and do well so we've created these different educational programs in platforms. People can take advantage of we also allow people to have a say in our national standards process. We talk with the experts. I in that we draft these and give it to the public and give it to our members in ask for feedback so we very much like to Hear voices from within the cannabis because inevitably you know. There's a lot of knowledge there and We'd like to preserve that and then we also have different. Naacp events that we have and we also offer program through BOTANICO which basically offered different operational discount. So it's a little bit easier to in off your opening opening a dispensary. And you need a bunch of monitors things like that we can give you discounts on that. So not only do we. Have you know the medallion for something symbolic that is B. Two B. N. B. TO C? But we have all of these other tangible benefits that definitely helped folks get off the ground And help them become successful quicker. Couple things you mentioned. There was national standards in a guest. That's kind of oxymoron. At this point where you have state by state you. The classic word is patch workers even within states. It's patchwork so the emergence of a national standard would be a really good thing. How do you develop a national standard when there's so many local standards and that's a good question so we really take because we have members from all all over the US right so we kind of learn from all of their different experiences and come up with something that that could be followed by people multiple states so but obviously if you're you know a member of ours and you have a state law you obviously have to follow that? I am but most of our standards are able to be followed by people in multiple states. Sometimes they're a little bit more strict and it really is following those at being a member. It's showing that you're dedicated to something. That's something that's you know higher than even what we are right. Now it's it's it's symbolic and it's showing that you're really dedicated to move in the industry forward in a more ethical way like for a dispensary. The standards would be different than for a grower a grower. You'd WANNA say okay. Is it organic? Do follow the seed to to the table. What's your supply chain? Look like is clearly process. All that stuff right. Yeah and like I said. We're we're hitting different parts of the industry to like we have packaging and labeling we have Lab testing standards. We have You know like I said security standards so we're trying to hit on all of the different points of the space one of the standards at a that has gotten a lot of attention as the infused standard. Because it's kind of A. It's kind of a new topic you know. People want to infuse alcohol these days. They wanted infused coffee. They want to infuse protein bars. So that one was pretty fun to put together But it's also good to as the industry moves forward to kind of look back on our old standards and revamped them and really see what the industry is wanting a needing adapts. And then from a consumer standpoint that medallion is kind of like the good housekeeping seal? Right you're trying to instill some confidence in the consumer. That this enterprise is doing things the right way absolutely. And why should the consumer be confident in that? Because they're trusting US and they know that that people that have the medallion on on their packaging represent. The medallion are trusted players in the industry. They've been vetted by our legal team on. They've been vetted for a multitude of different things and they're part of the self regulating organization. So it's as consumer you see the medallion and you have trust in that You know there are part of the NFC. They've been vetted in. You know that there are trustworthy brand to support as we've seen this industry kind of explode. I I'm thinking about the old school kind of underground ethos which was very different. It had to be different because everything was illegal. And now there is a a prophet illegitimate and out in the open profit motive. Do any tension between sort of the old school and the new vanguard of business people you know my first reaction to that is is yes in in. I've I've felt that I've experienced it myself But I think as time goes on and we kind of all mashed together a little bit more. I think that's going to alleviate but you know as you're asking the question my first gut is to say absolutely yes And it's it's something that me personally. My goal here is to bridge the gap because when I first came into the Industry. I didn't really align heavily with the old school folks but I wasn't someone that was just coming in that wanted to make a quick buck and an exit so it's really my goal To bridge the gap through speaking from an academic standpoint from a research standpoint I have a masters in health communications and I have a deep Motivation to speak to people from public health standpoint. So when I see states that are like California that are very open with the regulation and you know want it to be a little less regulated on Mike. Well okay I understand that but We also need to take our time a little bit and make sure that you know. We're putting the right laws in place to keep people safe first and foremost. I think that you know there's a lot of room to grow here in. Were just in the beginning stages of understanding fully. What this What cannabis can do for people but we also need to understand that people's health are at risk to and we just need to make sure that people are safe. I wrote. There's a lot of room to professionalize. This industry is what I hear you saying absolutely and you know it's funny you know just attending different expos and talking to different people in the industry you hear these horror stories that I just. I haven't experienced before like simple things of people not being paid. I mean you hear the Madman Case. OF THEM. They're one of the largest brands that people know about. I feel like even people. Outside of cannabis you generally know the madman name You know the look of their dispensaries. You know that men men read you know that they created this cool space where people felt comfortable going into dispensaries and they kind of created this. You Know Apple like dispenser and that's Great and I think they did a lot for culture but you hear though that you know. They're not paying bills and they aren't paying contractors and it's it's just crazy to hear but you hear that all the time when I got into this industry early there was a flaky nece. I'll just stay where people didn't always follow through and you know maybe that goes with the old stereotypes. But you have to show up and do what you're GonNa say you're GonNa do and and run like a business cracked and I'm not an. I'm just not sure where that comes from. But I definitely have. I said I I've experienced. I've experienced it myself but I think that you know it's an excellent area that we can grow upon in like I said I think that you know the the industry is extremely dynamic but there are things to learn from both sides there there are tons and tons of years of knowledge that we need to preserve in my opinion but there are a lot of basic business practices that are fundamentally being followed in and a problem so again. That's kind of where I try to fit in because I don't really fit in on either side and I'm just constantly trying to bridge that gap in And I think it's something that we're definitely going to get better on As the industry move forward where it's GONNA go from here not sure and obviously that could change depending on who you speak to and of course. The pandemic has put all the campaigning on hold. And I'm I'm very curious to see what the canvas platform looks like for the upcoming election. Because I don't think it's been in forefront that much understandably but it's certainly going to be interesting to see how that moves shakes the election pans out. That's a great point and I think we heard from some of the candidates early on who who took positions but again having it designated as essential and knowing that is helps relieve anxiety. This helps people sleep at a time when they need that. Are we going to treat this in again? Back to the the schedule. One designation. And what's going to happen nationally if we ever had a crystal got cloudier because of what's going on but do you have any feel for a national decriminalization we'll have scheduling. It is step one but I would assume that. That would be a part of the progression. Here with cannabis specifically social justice and social equity is is a huge topic too because You know cannabis and the law surrounding it has significantly impacted people and it's very interesting. The half folks in jail for something That is deemed now legal in California for instance. I know that's a really important topic there in there. A lot of people advocating for Releasing those people out of prison Where people stand on that again. I think it's very dynamic We've think back to alcohol. In the prohibition days people that were that were breaking the law then ended up serving their sentences so are we gonNA follow that Oregon and adapt as a society and kind of look at the bigger picture here. I'm not really sure a but I certainly know that. There are a lot of different social justice and Social Equity Programs that people are advocating foreign. It's and it's really nice. To See people advocating for those things and raising their voice and I think and I think they're being heard especially looking at the platform now deeming it. Essential in most states is a big deal. I think it's symbolic culture. It's symbolic for Capitalism it's symbolic for the entire industry. So when I when I saw that night saw their states kind of understanding the larger platform. Here it was. It was really nice to see when you say platform. Do you mean just sort of the overall stance of the industry or are you coming at it from the perspective? No I mean as an industry. It's because it's so young it's we're we're building it from within and I think it just symbolically for the industry for it to be deemed. Essential is a very bold and strong thing I think it not even for people with Indian in within the industry but for people outside of it to It's you know creating a trust. It's kind of getting rid of the stigma You know I was raised in northern Wisconsin. And it just wasn't something that we talked about. It wasn't even something that I came in contact with until I moved outside Milwaukee and Just knowing where people are coming from and in small rural areas but being able to have them see the news and see that people are deeming in essential and kind of having them just pause for a second. You know if they had a stigma that they had in their mind okay. I'm not demonizing them for that. I understand it completely but I think that just that move in itself is symbolic and it. Changes People's mindset in and causes them to just pause for a minute and be like. Okay what is my stance on this? Why do I think that? Can I change that Do I think canvas could help me? Do I trust it? It just causes people to ask questions but I think those questions are good. That's a good point. There's been a lot of social cultural change in a relatively short amount of time. I mean it wasn't that long ago that if you heard medicinal marijuana you thought it was just sort of an excuse for people to sit on the couch and get stoned. Not The case at all. It's legitimate medicine with a lot of different applications. I'm from northern Michigan so I know the whole Midwest. Skeptical attitude sometimes. It's a legitimate medicine. That's been proven in organizations like yours are are helping to professionalize it on many levels yet. Exactly and it's you know. Sometimes people look at the industry and when we think of legalization and decriminalization. I feel like people have this idea in their head and they often think of you know younger. People are millennials. Were the ones that are pushing forward. And but it really. It's it's the elderly. It's the effects that we can have on our veterans that are suffering from PTSD. It's the research that's being done behind the scenes but I just feel like when people think legalization they're just like all of those those millennials when in reality it's no it's definitely helped helping older people in very very meaningful ways and as more research comes out and as we continue to change the messaging. I think that's really a sticking in people's minds I know again for me personally. I'm here I'm here to help. Bridge that gap in. When I speak about cannabis I I try to speak to it. from a research standpoint and from a standpoint that helps shake the shape the cannabis consciousness in. Kinda CHAIN. What people have already in their minds? Because I think that some people do hold onto the stigma. But it's very important for us to change that through our messaging in our marketing and our advertising in the way that we shape cannabis in that regard when our listeners go into the dispensary should they expect or start looking to see the NAACP medallion on products. Absolutely and that's something that were were constantly looking to build that brand awareness Both amongst other businesses and consumer as. Well let me tell you. I just published a blog post about all the celebrities who are endorsing. Cbd and my take on it is. I don't know if you're qualified to say if this is good or not. Because you've achieved some notoriety in fielder another. You're not inorganic chemist or a scientist so I looked to the US hemp authority they have a the most stringent guidelines that I could find about the production of CBD. And I want people to that product. Will you be having that kind of certification for Cd in or cannabis products. You know. I think we're definitely open to that and we're also always open to working with other people that are kind of having this same idea of moving the industry forward. I think those conversations need to be had. I love hearing what you just said that you see that and you trusted any done your research. That's definitely the same vein that we're going okay. I guess we can all look forward to the day where we can look at these products and have some confidence. A few people have mentioned to me the blockchain in I don't have a high level knowledge on that but I understand the basic concept is. There's a ledger and you could track. Okay where the seed come from. Where was it grown? How was it processed in? Have A LEDGER. That tells you that. It was handled by trusted parties along the way. Is that something you guys are thinking about? I'm absolutely. It's not something that we've explored as far as a standard is concerned at this point but again as as the industry adapts and moves. It's our job to keep a pulse on that and to make sure that we adapt with the industry as it evolves itself And I agree with you on that that trust you know from from CD sale. I remember what I worked in packaging. Different clients were coming to us with different. Qr codes codes and wanting to be able to batch the products out and make sure that everyone is safe in that when the consumer gets it at the end they see their qr code They understand that it's been handled properly and really instill that trust so I think all of these different pieces that were putting together again is offer the consumer to make them feel safe in it. Make them you know. Trust the product that they're consuming if you to buy cough medicine you know. There's Robitussin in several other brands with an abyss. There's so is such a complex plant already. I mean you and I might have a different reaction to the same cultivar even this harvesting from the same plant you're gonNA have different levels of THC and so on so there's many layers of complexity to it so you guys have a big job here but we're we're constantly trying to build that gap right I. I can't wait until cannabis is consumed on the same level. That Tylenol Abi. It's very normal. It's like hey you have this. You can have a cannabis products for that but we have a long way to go until we get to that point as far as comfort ability standpoint as far as trustworthy standpoint And obviously regulatory standpoint. But you know I very much look forward to the day where it's just it's it's much more normalized than it already. Is Women as you. What excites you most about what you guys are doing. Well I I love coming into contact. With all of the different businesses that we work with For me extremely extroverted. I love speaking to people and I love hearing about their experiences Like I said I have a masters in health communications. So communications and messaging is something that motivates me as it stands But what excites me? Moses Just seeing the different research that is coming out and seeing how that affects the public and their cannabis consciousness as a whole. I like seeing Rodney Rod data and then I like seeing how it affects the public in the in their consumer buying choices and things like that so. I don't know if that's a really nerdy thing to say but that's something that it excites me the most when I see research coming out and then I see how it's going to be marketed and advertised that. That's what motivates me. Gets me really excited? That gets to what we talked about the the professionalization of this industry when someone like you as a Master's in in healthcare communications comes into this. That's what we need to help. Get this message out to everybody that this is a safe and effective medicine. But you do need to kind of look for things as you're getting ready to consume it absolutely and we're at the stage where it's just again. It's I hate saying that. It's so new. Because in reality cannabis has been around for so long. And you know people have been really hustling at this for years and years and now but to the general public I think is still so new. I mean I was even at a conference last year out in Los Angeles and it was a very holistic conference. You had economists and pharmacologists and public health professionals and canvas researchers and these are people from all over the world and we had so much dialogue. It's like how do you get that dialogue shape it into a narrative that's trustworthy and then have it be digestible to the public. There's still so much that needs to happen for us to get to a stage where people can speak about cannabis confidently and from an educated standpoint. you know and and potentially by the way that's meaningful to them well. What does that outreach look like when I was a kid there were commercials on TV? This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs and generations just soaked up that that messaging in and now we're trying to do at one eighty and say you know what this is. Good medicine us. I hear you. It's it's up to us to shape that and not just us an ACP but us as the industry. I mean you think back to the Reagan days and just say no to drugs in the now people are like. Oh wait so cannabis isn't a drug but seriously those are those are questions that are being asked every day now. It's like even when I I speak to people about what I do. You know I do get some negative feedback still to this day. Like oh so you working cannabis so you must smoke a lot. Hi I'm like Oh my gosh like. We're still there. But it's those those conversations though on you know on an intimate level but it creates it creates a mass impact But you know I think. Different businesses have different ways that they're doing outreach. You know whether that's through. A grassroots approach our legislative approach People are are are doing it in a different way that's meaningful to their business. But it's it's really those micro conversations that are you know changing into a mass impact but those conversations need to be had the ceiling way that we're going to change the narrative will there be commercials. Will though the you know. Where do we look for that message to pop up? You know. We're we're GONNA see it at this point. We can't do any of that yet. Until it's de scheduled in its potentially past medically. I'm not really sure and sometimes it. It varies by state. You know how you can advertise in how you can market and things like that but It's GonNa be an evolution will be very interesting Adrian. Is there anything we haven't covered that we should? I don't think so Like I said even through the pandemic and even through krona cannabis is still rocky enrolling. I'm excited to see that. People are stepping up to the plate in making sure. That consumers can still get cannabis when they need it and I love to see our just adapting to that in. It's an it's it's just awesome to see. Yeah well thanks for explaining the N. A. C. B. Mission in in your part in it. It's a huge job but it's necessary. I'm really glad you guys are doing it. I'll be rooting you on and Maybe we'll talk again in the future as is Make your footprint felt across this country. Thanks Adrian thank you so much. You've been listening to. Let's talk about the Canada homers. Podcast with Thomas J from Warren Medicinal Cannabis. Baby boomers visit us at Cana. Boomers DOT COM.