Lucid Green CEO, Larry Levy, Signs NCR’s Social Responsibility Pledge

National Cannabis Roundtable

December 10, 2019

Launch Plan to Promote Social Justice, Equity and Diversity in the Cannabis Industry

WASHINGTON – The National Cannabis Roundtable (NCR) today pledged its commitment to fostering social justice, equity, and diversity in the cannabis industry.  With the launch of NCR’s Corporate Social Responsibility program, member companies will lead the cannabis industry in addressing injustices caused by the federal prohibition of cannabis. Looking to do their part to reduce the negative impact of the War on Drugs, specifically in those communities disproportionately affected by it, NCR members will commit time, talent and financial resources to pursue social justice measures, equity in business and diversity and inclusion within member companies.

Lucid Green CEO, Larry Levy, takes a public stand for social responsibility.

“We are not just having a conversation about how the cannabis industry can benefit those most impacted by decades of discriminatory drug policy, we are taking action,” said Dr. Chanda Macias, MBA, Ph.D., Owner of NHHC, and First Vice Chair of NCR.  “It is critically important to the future success of cannabis in America that we build justice and equity into the very fabric of this burgeoning industry.”

Some states with legal cannabis, including Massachusetts, California, and most recently Illinois, have developed social equity programs through their license structure, but no state has pushed businesses to take a reflective look at their own operations. NCR’s Corporate Social Responsibility program is our members’ effort to address that void and to ensure real outcomes with regard to justice, equity and diversity and inclusion.

NCR Executive Director Saphira Galoob said that members will begin 2020 assessing their internal practices – providing a baseline look at where they are today through the goals and activities outlined in the social responsibility pledge while developing targets for greater impact within their own operations.

“Our members are passionate about promoting social responsibility in this fast-growing industry,” said Saphira Galoob, NCR Executive Director.  “NCR is proud to bring cannabis into the mainstream and harness its potential to benefit our communities.”

NCR will engage subject matter experts from minority, adversely impacted, and designated beneficiary communities to advise the organization on the effectiveness and impact of CSR. These subject matter experts will work with NCR members and staff to ensure the integrity of the program and to measure performance and accountability.

“Social equity is intrinsic to where the cannabis industry is going and responsible companies have an obligation to build critical social equity programs into their business models as we have done with our SEED program at Cresco Labs,” said Charlie Bachtell, Founder and CEO of Cresco Labs. “Companies should not wait for it to be mandated; they should help develop the regulatory frameworks that support communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.”

The National Cannabis Roundtable promotes common sense federal regulation, tax equality and financial services reform and supports changing federal law to acknowledge states’ rights to regulate and manage cannabis policy.  The membership of NCR represents every aspect of the cannabis supply chain. Our members operate in 26 states with legal cannabis programs, including the District of Columbia. We are growers, processors, retailers, wellness centers, investors, entrepreneurs, and publicly traded companies.  Learn more at www.nationalcannabisroundtable.org.


Lucid Green Co-Founder & President, Paul Botto, Featured in Green Entrepreneur

Green Entrepreneur

How To Build Trust And Transparency In The Cannabis Industry Right Now.

”In an industry like cannabis, it’s all about adapting and continuing to learn to establish trust.”

Cannabis is a complex and multidimensional product with a variety of chemical components, which offers a diverse range of products that can produce varied effects. The amount of choice can be overwhelming — and not just for novices, but even advanced consumers — which leaves brands to look for best practices to provide transparency to consumers.

Dispensaries strive to be as knowledgeable about their inventory as possibe, but it’s difficult for every budtender to know every new product hitting the store shelves. At the same time, customers come to stores with completely different knowledge levels — from the new user who needs a “ground-up” education, to experienced consumers who want information about a new product in a familiar category. Then, there are the more specific consumers seeking information that skews towards medical.

Brands try to do their part by staying compliant, and even go as far as to post lab results for each product batch on their website. But that information isn’t always easily accessible for consumers at the point of purchase.

Lack Of Trusted Educational Resources

To fully distance and distinguish themselves from the illicit market, brands and retailers must make accessible and comprehensive educational resources about the safety and safe use of the products. In the legal market, when cannabis brands merely assure their customers that products are safe and tested for consumption, they are only doing the bare minimum. That’s not good enough, so there needs to be a way for customers to obtain accurate information and navigate the often convoluted cannabis marketplace.

But how?

Due to legal restrictions, potential cannabis customers can’t simply go on Amazon or Yelp to search for product reviews. Since there isn’t a centralized database of specific cannabis information, the majority of dispensary budtenders are relying on personal or anecdotal experience that pull from a narrow range of experiences to inform crucial purchasing decisions. This points to an unmet demand for pro-consumer educational resources that gives buyers the information needed to purchase the products that specifically meet their needs.

Providing User-Friendly, Intuitive Resources

According to a report from the International Council of Shopping Centers, about 86 percent of Millennials use their mobile phone while shopping in-store. And while Millennials are the most likely to rely on their smartphone, one-third of all shoppers use their mobile devices to look up product information in stores.

Smartphones provide brands and dispensaries an easy and viable way to educate consumers — and the key lies in QR codes. QR codes have gained popularity, especially in Asia, in recent years because the technology is tangible and simple to use. Apple and Android device users can automatically scan QR codes with their camera, eliminating the need to download a separate app. With one swipe, a consumer can get specialized content, rewards or product information.

Currently, QR codes are used for virtually everything. Paypal uses QR codes as an efficient cashless payment system. Restaurant chains have included QR codes on menus to provide additional nutrition facts. Starbucks has used QR codes to unlock coupons and promotional deals during new coffee roast launches.

So, how can QR codes be utilized in the cannabis industry?

Incorporating QR codes as the vehicle for consumer education is one of the most intuitive, efficient and streamlined solutions to get product information to a consumer. In return, cannabis brands and businesses capture data on customers.

For example, a big question customers should ask is, ‘How is this cannabis product different from similar varieties?’ With a QR code on every cannabis package, customers can compare dosages, product effects, lab test results and consumer reviews with one quick scan from their smartphone. The code provides education, data transparency and a rating in seconds.

QR codes also give consumers a self-service solution. The canna-curious may feel intimidated or uncomfortable asking a budtender for help. Consumers with questions about a health or medical issue may not feel comfortable discussing personal details with a virtual stranger. At the same time, a more experienced consumer may have a quick question that they don’t want to stand in line to ask. QR codes provide a discreet and fast way for customers to find the product information they need.

No one likes to feel uninformed, and, in an intimidating retail environment like a dispensary, the more information readily available to consumers, the better. Taking concrete steps to boost trust and transparency in the cannabis industry by offering consumers educational resources will make them feel smarter and more empowered about purchases.

This article was originally featured in Green Entrepreneur on December 18, 2019


POLITICO: Lucid Green’s Marco Rullo on Building Consumer Confidence

We want to provide consumers with the knowledge that they need at the moment of truth.
– Lucid Green’s Marco Rullo

LOS ANGELES — Scroll through Yelp or Weedmaps in the Los Angeles area and you will find dozens of dispensaries with names like Cookies Melrose, HP Pharmacy, Firehouse 365 and the national, West Hollywood-based chain MedMen.

Ensuring that a dispensary is licensed, however, can be a confusing process few consumers are likely to undertake before buying.

HP Pharmacy,a dispensary in Huntington Park, Calif., for example, lists a state-issued license number on Weedmaps, a cannabis consumer website. Search that number in the Bureau of Cannabis Control’s online database and you’ll find the license belongs to PureLife Alternative Wellness Center an hour away in Chatsworth, Calif.

The inconsistencies are a concern in a region where most dispensaries are estimated to be unlicensed. The problem has been amplified in recent months by the vaping health crisis, with cases of lung disease tied largely to illicit THC vape products. A store employee who answered the number listed for HP Pharmacy declined to explain the license discrepancy, and an inquiry to management was not returned.

With a spate of vaping-related illnesses and deaths and a persistent illicit market, California is changing its outreach to urge consumers to protect themselves. Until now, state-funded consumer cannabis education in legal recreational marijuana states has been broad and focused on defining lawful consumption and keeping others safe while consuming. Colorado’s folksy campaign, for example, warns against smoking marijuana in national parks — it’s still against federal law — and advises “locking up your stash.”

The most the federal government has done is urge consumers not to use marijuana e-cigs, especially those from the black market. California has reported at least four deaths and 166 cases of vaping-related illnesses, but only in one case did one of those who became ill say they bought THC products from a licensed dispensary.

“We’re really pinpointing consumer education and consumer awareness,” said Alex Traverso of the California Bureau of Cannabis Control. “There is that consumer out there that is walking down the street in SoCal somewhere; and you may see [a] retail location with the green cross. You walk in and buy your stuff and don’t think twice about [if it’s licensed].”

Consumer education is tough in a state where many have been smoking marijuana for decades, but where the legal industry — with its licensing, testing and new products like vapes and edibles — provides an entirely new set of issues to navigate.

“I wouldn’t sit here and pull a piece of gum from beneath here and eat this,” said Cat Packer, who oversees cannabis regulation for LA, pointing to the underside of a metal railing beside the outdoor cafe in Long Beach where she was sitting. “And that … could be similar to the health risk that you choose when you’re buying an unlicensed vape cartridge.”

The vaping crisis hit just as California, Los Angeles County and the city of Los Angeles were preparing to launch public awareness campaigns targeting the illicit market. California’s underground market is expected to reach $9 billion in sales this year, according to BDS Analytics, dwarfing the legal industry’s estimated $3 billion value.

Business owners say high taxes and licensing fees allow the illicit market to undercut the legal market, reducing revenues. Unlicensed dispensaries don’t pay California taxes and fees and therefore can charge less.

Businesses and California officials including state Treasurer Fiona Ma propose reducing taxes, though tax revenue has fallen short of expectation. But the state — which said it will raise taxes next year as planned — is instead dedicating more than$20 million for educating consumers about illicit dispensaries and both THC and nicotine vape products. Amajor goal is to steer consumers to licensed shops selling regulated products.

One of the major problems in California — and new recreational markets nationwide — is that while most children are told not to eat the gum stuck on the railing, cannabis consumers aren’t being educated onhow to interact with the legal cannabis market.

“Sadly, there needs to be a campaign that’s called, ‘That’s gross, don’t do that,’” Packer said.

Education now is largelyup to “budtenders” in dispensaries around the country, who explain to consumers everything from the impact of edibles on liver health to how to store a cannabis muscle balm.

“We needed to have a public information campaign before Jan. 1, 2018,” Packer said. “You need to have a campaign that is being implemented as the first set of consumers are going into facilities.”

Now, nearly two years after legalization, the LA city and county governments are working together on consumer awareness efforts, which include a public awareness campaign andinstituting an emblem that dispensaries can display — much like a liquor license or health code letter — to ensure consumers they are licensed.

The emblem is critical because it’s difficult to tell which dispensaries are legally licensed. Culver City Associates , for example, was listed on Weedmaps and, when asked in person, claimed to be licensed. The peppy, knowledgeable budtender at the counter had recommendations about which edibles lasted longest, assured a POLITICO reporter who visited the shop that the vape products didn’t include any additives that may cause lung disease, and even offered unsubstantiated advice on marijuana use for autism.

There were gallon-sized zip-top bags of flower stored at one end of the glass counter, and the dispensary’s Weedmaps profile did not even list a license number, butthe man checking IDs at the door insisted the dispensary was licensed. A search through the BCC’s database does not turn up any record of Culver City Associates or a license issued for that address. One clue that might raise a concern for the observant: its operating hours. California requires dispensaries to close by 10 p.m, and Culver City Associates advertises that it is open until midnight.

Many unlicensed dispensaries listed online appear legitimate from the outside. Some list a license ID that does not match the state’s online system if checked. In a city with a limited supply of licenses — 800 applications were submitted for only 100 licenses in the last round — Packer said this is one of her biggest problems.

“That’s what amazes me,” said Packer. “[Is] you took the time to invest in an architect and like, an interior designer, but you’re like, ‘F— that license’?”

The concerns are opening up a new line of cannabis business.

“People will not stop vaping just because their elected officials told them so,” said Vered Elkouby Nisim, an executive board member at Global Green, which plans to offer third-party verification technology for vaping products. “So we really need to give them the tools and the access to product that’s regulated and product that’s not going to harm them.”

The technology is intended to help consumers ensure what they buy is tested and verified.

Global Green’s tech — a variation of the hologram sticker on the underside of an NFL or MLB baseball cap bill — is secured through blockchain technology and can be scanned by consumers with their smartphone. A scan provides tracking information for the product and verification that it was tested, Nisim said.

“Let’s say you bought a product and you’re in MedMen,” she said. “But it shows you that this product is sitting on the shelf at Aeon — at another store. You should now question it because something’s wrong.”

Global Green said it is working with West Hollywood to phase in its technology to all producers and dispensaries in the city, and it is discussing its system with Massachusetts as well.

Another company, Lucid Green, has partnered with companies including Papa & Barkley, Cresco Labs and Wana to provide third-party authentication. Lucid Green’s technology is similar to Global Green’s: It is scannable on a smartphone, protected through blockchain and provides consumers with information about the product.

“The public right now is being bombarded … by accounts of legitimate health concerns,” said Marco Rullo, chief marketing officer of Lucid Green. “We want to provide consumers with the knowledge that they need at the ‘moment of truth’ — which is either inside a dispensary or when they’re home consuming the product — so that they’re able to have confidence when purchasing, peace of mind when consuming, and have a safe, predictable and enjoyable experience.”

This article was originally featured on POLITICO Pro December 2, 2019


Collective Wisdom Podcast with Lucid Green CMO, Marco Rullo

Empowering the Consumer by Bridging the Education Gap

Listen to Lucid Green CMO, Marco Rullo, as he speaks with Lisa Tollner on the Collective Wisdom Podcast live from UCBA’s California Buyers Club in Downtown Los Angeles.

CLICK TO LISTEN NOW


Paul Botto Speaks on All Things Lucid Green in This Episode of Plant Prophets

The Importance of Cannabis Product Transparency

Cannabis product transparency with Paul Botto, Co-Founder, and President of Lucid Green. Lucid Green is driving cannabis product transparency for consumers and brands alike by providing access to a product’s complete supply chain information.

CLICK TO LISTEN NOW


Cheddar: Lucid Green’s Paul Botto Speaks on Vaping Crisis

CHEDDAR

The Cannabis Industry Sounds Off on Vaping Crisis

Lucid Green President & Co-Founder, Paul Botto

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention appear to have made a breakthrough in its investigation of the vaping illness that has sickened more than 2000 and killed almost 40. While the cannabis industry and worried consumers are likely breathing a bit easier, many in the industry recognize the problem is more complicated than it seems.

“The uncertainty is probably the most disconcerting thing for consumers and markets alike,” said Paul Botto, co-founder and president of Lucid Green. “So I think it’s absolutely huge to have at least zeroed in on something that is at least causing a large part of the issue.”

On Friday, the CDC announced it had found vitamin E acetate, a thickening agent used in (mostly illicit market) vape products, in lung fluid samples from 29 e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI) patients from all across the country. The CDC admitted the new research could be viewed as a breakthrough, but due to the small sample size, and concerns there may be other substances at play, the agency has maintained it needs more information to establish a causal link between EVALI and vitamin E acetate.

For those in the cannabis industry, however, this information comes as no surprise.

As far back as September, local health officials and testing companies had sounded the alarm on vitamin E acetate as a possible culprit in the vape crisis. Even then, federal officials cautioned against assuming vitamin E acetate was more than a marker for adulteration without additional evidence.

So for many in the cannabis industry, the latest CDC update served to further reinforce what they already suspected: vitamin E acetate played a major role in the illnesses. But there is much on the line for an industry that still operates outside of federal law.

Testing lab CannaSafe has been testing illicit vape products about every quarter for the last three years, and in late September published a damning report on illegal vapes, commissioned by NBC. President Aaron Riley said that whereas high levels of pesticides have always been par for the course for illicit vapes, vitamin E acetate is a relatively new additive. It’s taken the market by storm within the past year, and now about 80 percent of illegal vape products contain it at staggeringly high levels.

“There are pesticides that are parts per million. But we are seeing 40 percent — almost half vitamin E. So I think that is part of the contributing factor, too,” Riley said. “We’ve never seen 40 percent of a product be a contaminant.”

Riley said that CannaSafe hasn’t come across vitamin E acetate in the legal products it has tested, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t out there. In September, Medicine Man Technologies pulled some vape products from its shelves that it determined through internal testing to contain vitamin E acetate. And, anecdotally, CDC officials say that some cases of EVALI have been linked exclusively to legal products. Sales of vape products — among the most popular means of consuming cannabis — tumbled following reporting on deaths and illnesses, but rather than be discouraged, many in the industry are viewing the crisis as an opportunity to call out for much-needed regulation and for broader legitimization of state level cannabis industries.

“This is the illicit industry. It’s exactly what happens when the federal government doesn’t recognize as legitimate the legal cannabis industry,” said Kyle Sherman, CEO and founder of cannabis retail software startup Flowhub.

Sherman, who sits on the board of the Cannabis Trade Federation, said approaching issues from an educational standpoint is key when talking to lawmakers, especially where regulation is concerned.

In response to the rash of vaping illnesses, officials in various states, including Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and parts of California, have issued vaping bans of varying degrees of severity — and with varying degrees of success. In Massachusetts, for example, Gov. Charlie Baker issued a blanket ban on all types of vapes, even flower vapes. A judge ruled the emergency measures are invalid, at least for medical patients. Premature reactions like Baker’s could end up driving consumers back to the illicit market, according to Botto, whose company Lucid Green tracks cannabis products and provides information on cannabis potency, lab tests, and more through interactive QR codes.

“If it is in fact the black market that is the issue, and it appears that that’s the case, I do feel that these knee jerk reactions of outlawing regulated vape products drive more people to the black market, which is the opposite of what these regulators are trying to do, obviously. So it does put more people in harm’s way,” said Botto.

Despite the spate of illnesses, and tragic deaths, it’s not all dire for the future of the cannabis industry. Riley said the crisis has brought the cannabis industry together in the fight to self-regulate. He’s had producers approaching him to get their own products tested. Plus, an unexpected silver lining, Riley said, is that consumers will now likely be more conscientious about what’s in their products.

“Don’t buy illicit market products, know what you’re consuming ー whether it’s a vape, whether it’s an edible, whether it’s a joint ー you can spend five minutes and do some research on Google, you can ask for a testing certificate,” Riley said.

This article was originally featured on CHEDDAR on November 12, 2019


Paul Botto Speaks Candidly with Forbes’ Warren Bobrow

Forbes Magazine

President Of Lucid Green Digs Into Five Revealing Questions

Lucid Green President & Co-Founder, Paul Botto

Warren Bobrow=WB: Why cannabis? What brought you to this path?

Paul Botto=PB: I had a catastrophic leg injury where I nearly had my leg amputated and was in the hospital for over two weeks. When I came out of the hospital, I was immediately put on 48mg of Dilaudid, which is 2.5x the clinical definition of “opiate dependency.” I heard you could treat pain and wean yourself off of opiates much faster through cannabis. With five surgeries, 23 screws, and three plates stacked up against me, I set out to learn about its benefits and experiment on myself to get off that killer cocktail as soon as humanly possible. This happened nearly three years ago, when the market was even more nascent than it is now. I was so impressed with my own recovery experience with cannabis that I was determined to turn it into  my next business. While I was raising capital for the new venture and building out a retail team, my business partner Larry Levy, who I worked with at my last company in supply chain data technology, called me and excitedly pitched his idea for us to go into business together. Coincidentally, he had the same idea to make the leap into the cannabis industry. After I told him what happened since we had last spoken, he yelled, “Brilliant! I mean, sorry about your leg, but it is an even better fit than I had hoped!”

Larry’s vision was to make cannabis more transparent for consumers and give them the knowledge they needed at the moment of truth (purchase and consumption) to have a safe, predictable, and enjoyable experience. Three years ago, I had to go through a series of trial and error to figure out which products were the right fit for my recovery. I also had to filter through a mountain of information and often misleading marketing schemes before I could buy with confidence. Larry and I both saw a need for trustworthy educational resources that provided clarity regarding product testing, dosages, and effects. It was a perfect match and we started the company just a few weeks later.

WB: Please tell me about what you do? What is your corporate six month and twelve month goals?

PB: As the President of Lucid Green, I handle sales, retail onboarding, partnerships, marketing, product application, and analytics. Honestly, all the way down to sweeping the floors if that’s what needs to be done. In six months, we want Lucid Green on 25% of cannabis products sold in every market we operate in. In twelve months, 40%.

WB: What obstacles do you face right now? How do you foresee removing those obstacles?  What new market do you want to capture? 

PB: The biggest obstacle is the nature of the industry itself. It is young, and thanks to Uncle Sam, margins are far lower than most people would expect. Regulatory hurdles have also led to a fragmented landscape for operations systems, technology infrastructure, sales/marketing strategies and even basic branding. Many processes remain analog and are difficult if not impossible to measure and improve. So while the experienced executives in the industry love to see a service like Lucid Green plugging in those holes, many companies are not structured to just flip a switch and integrate us into their operations.

Lucid Green channels Papa & Barkley

The way we move through these obstacles is to have patience and methodically work with each brand’s distinct internal systems and corporate structure. Lucid Green is set on proving the value of trust and transparency in the marketplace and providing retailers with the tools to deliver those values to their customers in concrete ways. We ultimately provide solutions to quantifiable retail questions like how do I hit my launch numbers for a new product? How do I bring on 200 new retailers? How do I expand month-over-month sales at the top retailers? How do I connect directly to consumers to build my brand loyalty? How do I inject life into a lagging product line?

The state-by-state regulatory markets are the obvious ones and they are truly the usual suspects since our brand partners are often asking us to help them penetrate growing state markets. As a result of our current and new brand partners, we are expanding into CBD reporting in the coming months as well.

WB: What opportunities do you see opening up in the current market?

PB: The opportunity is really coming from the consumer wallet. After recent safety concerns, they are demanding products where they can easily verify testing results, ingredient quality, and manufacturing practices. Customers are also asking for clearer guidance on dosage and ways to track and identify what really works for them since results can be so personal.Brands that speak to them, appreciate them, and reward them for their loyalty; they want educated budtenders that can deliver value to newbies and cannabis experts alike. The market has finally realized that delivering all of this essential knowledge and functionality right off the package itself is the right way to do it. You have customers holding your very own packaging at the moment of purchase and consumption and if they armed with all of the above, why not let it sell that last mile for you?

WB: What is your take on the recent vape crisis? How can Lucid Green help educate consumers?

PB: The vape crisis has certainly raised awareness that something needs to be done to protect and guide consumers in a more proactive, convenient, and attainable way. Many brands have statements about their vape products not containing vitamin E acetate, myclobutanil, and other compounds connected to some of these terrible outcomes.  The problem with this method of communication is that consumers generally do not have the time to jump through hoops and chase scattered pieces of information required to make a responsible buying decision, they just won’t buy it.

Educating the budtender, who interfaces with consumers more than any other representative of the cannabis industry, is a start, but giving the budtender an easy and measurable way to pass on that critical information is an essential, and often missing, component of the retail experience.  Finally, and maybe most importantly, allowing consumers access to that information easily either while browsing independently or when they are back at home alone with no one to guide them.

This article was originally featured in Forbes on October 31, 2019


Ionic uses Lucid Green technology to give consumers full insight into the safety of the product they’re using.

Bezinga

Cannabis Execs On Vaping Illnesses: Black Market To Blame

As of Oct. 1, 1,080 cases of vaping-related illnesses have been reported in the U.S., according to the CDC.

Forty-eight states and one U.S. territory have announced cases of lung disease associated with vaping, and there have been 19 confirmed deaths, with the latest being a 17-year-old boy in the Bronx, New York City whose death was reported Tuesday.

Although research has not yet found a specific chemicals responsible for the outbreak, the CDC is recommending a halt on all vaping consumption while an investigation is ongoing.

Become a cannabis insider with data delivered to your inbox daily from New Frontier Data

While the Trump administration announced a plan to ban all flavored e-cigarettes from the market, some states like Massachusetts have banned vaping sales altogether in response to the public health concerns.

Of 578 patients with information on the substances they used, about 78% reported using THC-containing products, and 37% reported exclusive use of THC-containing products, the CDC said.

A recent NBC News investigation found toxic substances like hydrogen cyanide and vitamin E acetate in 13 out of 15 THC products purchased on the black market in California.

The same research found no toxic substances in three legal products that were also tested.

As the situation escalates and physicians remain in the dark as to the scientific reasons behind the epidemic, Benzinga reached out to two of the most prominent legal vaping brands for their take on the subject.

TILT Holdings COO: No Dramatic Effect On Sales

Tim Conder, COO of TILT Holdings (OTC: TLLTF) said his company has not seen a decrease in sales since the so-called “vaping crisis” became publicly known.

TILT owns and operates Jupiter Research, a brand that sells and develops vaping products, including THC-filled cartridges.

TILT generates over 70% of its revenue from vaping equipment and oils since the acquisition of Jupier in early 2019, according to a recent report by MJBizDaily.

This level of exposure to the vaping market puts it second only to Greenlane Holdings GNLN 2.48%, which reported $181 million in annual revenue, with 80% coming from the vaping industry, versus TILT’s $98 million.

“The most important thing is to continue to offer our highest standards from manufacturing on our end and then to provide transparency into that process for our customers,” Conder said.

Consumers should “demand transparency throughout the supply chain” and have an understanding of where the hardware is manufactured and under what guidelines the cannabis extracts have been produced, he said.

The company is not expecting these events to heavily affect the development of the cannabis vaping industry in the long term, the COO said.

“From our perspective, we foresee a very robust vaping industry from the cannabis end, and we look forward to the growth of that part of the market,” Conder said.

The biggest takeaway from the outbreak of lung illness will be the strengthening of brands and operators that have the tightest adherence to safe production practices, accompanied by an understanding of the importance of regulation to ensure consumer safety, he said.

Ionic Brands CEO: Pay Attention To Ingredients

The overall industry has seen a decrease of between 15% to 18% in sales of legal vaping products for recreational use since the outbreak of vaping related illnesses emerged in August, Ionic Brands Corp (OTC:IONKF) CEO and Chairman John Gorst told Benzinga.

The Headset platform is showing a decline of cannabis vape sales of 5.1% in California and 6.2% in Colorado.

Between 75% and 80% of the lost vape share is going to flower, which has seen sales increases of 3.8% and 5.1% in California and Colorado, respectively, according to MJBizDaily.

Ionic Brands has not yet seen these numbers reflected in its own sales in most of the states where it operates, Gorst said.

“The black market is probably going to be the one that’s impacted the most by this information,” he said, adding that an underregulated market is the main culprit of the lung disease outbreak.

“Anytime you have unregulated markets, you’re going to have a higher percentage of bad actors and people that are not following the rules.”

In order to ensure the safety of its products, Ionic has partnered with Lucid Green and other providers to supply customers with updated lab information on the chemical composition of each product, including ingredients, cannabinoids and possible toxicity. This gives consumers a full insight into the safety of the product they’re using, Gorst said.

“Inhaling any type of products in your lungs is not exactly healthy. But we believe that vaping with a reputable company is still safer than smoking flower,” the CEO said, adding that he is advising consumers to stay vigilant for black market products from unlicensed sellers.

Safeguarding In The Legal Industry

Both execs said they’re confident that buying legal products from reputable brands at licensed retailers should guarantee a safe vaping experience.

Cannalysis, a California testing lab, recently developed a new method for identifying vitamin E acetate, which is believed to be one of the main agents responsible for the vaping-related illnesses.

The response to the illnesses has been almost too reactionary and alarmist, said Swetha Kaul, Ph.D, Cannalysis’ chief scientific officer.

The California Department of Public Health recently issued a statement urging citizens to refrain from vaping altogether.

Legal brands are taking the right approach to the recent outbreak, Kaul said.

Many licensed operators showed immediate interest in testing for vitamin E acetate after the compound was identified in 55% of the initial cases, she said.

“The legal cannabis industry has extremely rigorous testing requirements. In California, we are required to test cannabis products for heavy metals, pesticides, residual solvents, microbial contamination, water activity, moisture content and foreign materials. These testing requirements mean that legal cannabis in California is safer to consume than some fruits and vegetables.”

This article was originally featured on Bezinga on October 8, 2019


IONIC Launches Lucid Green Revolutionary Technology Platform to Enhance Ionic Certified Clean Program

GlobeNewsWire

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 30, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — IONIC Brands Corp., formerly Zara Resources Inc. (CSE: IONC; FRA: IB3) (“IONIC BRANDS” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that IONIC BRANDS flagship brand Ionic is first to launch Lucid Green, Incorporated (“Lucid Green” or “LG”) revolutionary technology platform designed to enhance trust and transparency in the cannabis industry as an enrichment to the Ionic Certified Clean Program.

Lucid Green is a powerful platform designed to provide vital safety information about cannabis products. By simply scanning the package’s QR code with a smartphone camera, Lucid Green provides access to a library of product specific insights instantaneously – including test results, dosage guidance, effects and more, while also earning Ionic loyalty rewards. Lucid Green is a technology company that was the first in the cannabis industry to develop a direct-to-consumer data platform, that enables consumers to have a safe, consistent and enjoyable cannabis experience. Lucid Green will hit shelves on Ionic packaging in early May 2019. IONIC BRANDS is the first company to launch LG in California and will be expanding the LG platform to Washington, Oregon and Nevada.

IONIC BRANDS Chairman and CEO John Gorst states “In an effort to craft the finest quality products on the market and provide our customers with true and accurate information, we have paired our Ionic Certified Clean program with the trust and transparency Lucid Green platform . Certified Clean means that every product that leaves our facilities meets or exceeds State mandates on pesticide testing. This is conducted by individually testing every batch. Our pairing of Certified Clean with Lucid Green allows IONIC BRANDS to provide consumers with the highest quality products, with the best curated experiences. This testing ensures that we deliver to our customers the safest and cleanest products possible. IONIC Brands strategy strives to create unyielding brand loyalty through safe and effective products that results increase product demand.”

“Ionic sets the bar for trust and transparency in California by partnering with Lucid Green to ensure that consumers have all the information they need to have a safe, consistent and enjoyable experience. Everyone knows how to take a photo with their phone. It’s like getting personal guidance from the most knowledgeable budtender in the world – by just aiming your phone at the product in your hand and clicking on the link that pops up! We created Lucid Green to create a standard that drives trust, transparency and guidance in the cannabis retail environment,” says Larry Levy, Co-Founder and CEO, Lucid Green Inc.

The Company also announces the granting of 5,700,000 stock options to officers, directors, employees and consultants of the Company on April 11, 2019. Stock options have an exercise price of $0.65 per share, exercisable for over a five-year period and vests 50% immediately, 25% after three months and the balance after nine months from the date of grant.

 

About IONIC Brands Corp

IONIC BRANDS is a national cannabis holdings company based in Washington, led by a team of successful entrepreneurs. The company is focused on building a multi-state consumer-focused cannabis concentrate brand portfolio focusing on the premium and luxury segments. The cornerstone Brand of the portfolio, IONIC, is an accomplished #1 vaporizer brand in Washington State has aggressively expanded throughout the west coast of the United States and is currently operating in Washington, Oregon, Nevada and California. IONIC BRANDS’ strategy is to be the leader of the highest-value segments of the cannabis market and expand nationally.

 

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

“John Gorst”

John Gorst
Chairman and CEO

For further information, please contact:
John Gorst,
Chairman & CEO
Email: info@ionicbrands.com
Website: www.ionicbrands.com
Phone: 253-248-7927

The CSE does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein are forward-looking statements that involve various risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. The risks are without limitation: the price for cannabis and related products will remain consistent and the consumer demand remains strong; availability of financing to the Company to develop the retail locations; retention of key employees and management; changes in State and/or municipal regulations of retail operations and changes in government regulations generally. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company’s expectations are disclosed in the Company’s documents filed from time to time with the Canadian Securities Exchange, the British Columbia Securities Commission, the Ontario Securities Commission and the Alberta Securities Commission.