ONE CODE, ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES FOR CANNABIS BRANDS AND RETAILERS

It’s not often that you get the opportunity to have your cake and eat it too…. and it gets better. For very little upfront effort, Cannabis Brands can unlock a host of operational, sales and marketing opportunities.  All from this tiny pattern of dots on a regulatory label!

 

ENTER THE FUNGIBLE CODE

The “fungible” on-pack code, meaning a single code can be used for many different functions and by many different users, allows for incredible flexibility and efficiency for Brands.

A unique code, automatically included on every item, allows brands to unlock a wish list of capabilities: from inventory check-in optimization for their retailers, real-time sell-through data for brands, to product authentication, product safety, recalls, usage guidance, budtender training and incentives, and even fully featured consumer loyalty.  Consumers and retailers alike don’t even need to download an app to access this rich set of functionality. 

 

SO HOW DO YOU DO IT?

A simple modification to the regulatory label that takes only an hour or so to implement, puts the code on each and every package without any further effort required. Set it and forget it. Once implemented, most brands see efficiency improvements over their standard label printing process, eliminating the need to hand-transfer information from the COA or reformat the label every time a batch changes.

The key to a fungible code’s flexibility is it’s fidelity.  By using serialized, unique codes at the unit-level, Brands are able to deliver and gather data on every interaction with that individual package. 

 

DO IT RIGHT….. DO IT RIGHT AWAY!

These item level codes called Lucid ID’s,  giving cannabis Brands control of their message, opening up a direct to consumer and budtender channel, deliver visibility on inventory, and allow Brands to be dynamic, supportive partners to their retailers, budtenders, and consumers alike.  Operationally, Lucid ID’s costs mere pennies and are 280E friendly, making them one of the most cost-effective, impactful improvements to ops, sales, and marketing available to Brands today. If building a direct to consumer (DTC) channel for a fraction of what it would ordinarily cost OR deriving significant ROI from operational efficiencies into your supply chain is important to you, then get them integrated right away, there is no better time than now.


2020: The Year of the Virtual Budtender

THE WORLD HAS CHANGED

As the cannabis industry rolled into 2020, markets were already seeing a steady increase in online ordering and digital engagement, even as many brands still had nascent digital strategies in place to address this growing channel. BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In-Store) purchasing was saving consumers and retailers major queue time and markets like CO finally passed laws to allow the slow rollout of home delivery in the state.  But the global Covid-19 pandemic threw gasoline on that fire, and overnight, twenty-four states including Florida, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Mexico, permitted curbside pickup outside of dispensaries.  Nevada made drastic moves to enforce cannabis by home delivery-only, statewide. 

This presented unique challenges for brands who were accustomed to in-store activity and budtender relationships delivering the bulk of their consumer messaging.  But it also gave brands a huge opportunity to connect directly with consumers.

 

ENTER: THE VIRTUAL BUDTENDER

If a budtender recommendation figures into 80% of all purchases (Brown, ElevatedInsights 2018), delivering the knowledge a budtender or in-store experience might deliver, and much more, presents unique challenges in this new digital cannabis economy.  Enter the virtual budtender, who can deliver product authentication, full product descriptions, dosage guidance, processing standards, and actual COAs for the product the consumer is holding in their hand.  As importantly, it paves the way for a true digital connection with consumers, providing information for brands to understand how consumers are using the brand’s products, channel-building tools to activate the digital direct to consumer (DTC) channel, and other features to allow brands to cultivate true brand affinity and loyalty.  Better yet, the seamless integration of this capability on-pack has made ROI nearly automatic –  just pennies per package and virtually no additional operational overhead.

 

HOW TECHNOLOGY ENABLED THIS TRANSFORMATION 

The first tech challenge was operational:  How can we get the codes on every package at scale, without disrupting production?  Innovations in digital print management and identity management allow brands to integrate serialized QR codes into the regulatory labels they already place on products.

The second tech challenge, and probably most importantly, was the poor user experience of forcing a consumer to download an app in order to engage with digital packaging.  But by 2019, all iOS and Android phones had native QR code reading built into the camera itself which is 99.6% of smartphones.  Anyone that knows how to pull up their camera and click a link can now engage directly with the brand and product in their hand.  

It no longer matters if the consumer had a brief encounter in-store, home delivery, picked up curbside, or simply forgot everything their budtender told them. The guidance is always easy to access, accurate, and consistent because it is coming straight from the brand for an exceptional product experience – every time.  Brands are taking this digital shift as an opportunity to connect directly with the consumer, joining the leaders of other industries in taking control of their brand and product communication.  

 


IS COVID-19 DRIVING DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IN CANNABIS? HOW DO BRANDS GET ON-TRACK?

The post on the left has been circulating on LinkedIn from a variety of sources and it got us thinking: Is Covid-19 to thank for the momentum in cannabis digitization? The silver lining here is these safety measures for online ordering, curbside, and BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup Instore) have forced cannabis retailers and brands to consider their digital presence now, solving the current pandemic dilemma and also finally setting themselves up to turn the typical cannabis branding challenges they’ve faced for years to their advantage.

Why is this such an important evolution for the cannabis industry?  In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Nike, the sportswear giant, was able to increase digital orders 36% to drive global sales up 5.1% to $10.10 billion because they doubled down on their digital practice, knew who their customers were, and how to reach them.  Read more at the WSJ (subscription required).  Is there a cannabis brand that is not jealous of that flexibility?   But for some, it is already an essential part of their cannabis branding and consumer experience.

HOW TO START DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION NOW: STEP 1: BRAND ASSET MANAGEMENT

This foundational step is often why brands can’t even get their digital practice off the ground. You cannot deliver a quality digital experience if the live menus, POS systems, and content providers have outdated brand and product images, made-up, incorrect, or incomplete product descriptions. Frankly, no one has the time to reach out to hundreds of content providers every time you make a change. The SOURCE powers the Lucid Green interactive packaging experience and brands also use it to distribute all their digital assets effortlessly to all digital content partners with the free SOURCE API – live menus, POS systems…you name it, instantly updated with the latest product shots, newly written descriptions, or newly launched SKU details the minute you enter them in.  Digital consistency and efficiency.

 

STEP 2: CREATING A BRAND “VIRTUAL BUDTENDER” AND NEW DTC CHANNEL

Trust and transparency have always been important, but now without the typical in-store experience and often buying from retailers online without any budtender/caregiver consultation, it has become an essential part of the brand and consumer relationship. Brands lay the railroad tracks for their digital practice by creating a brand-new DTC channel right off their own packaging using unique, unit-level LUCID IDs integrated elegantly into their regulatory labels with zero operational cost. The “virtual budtender” experience enabled by LUCID IDs allows consumers to simply point their cell phone camera at the package to instantly access all the knowledge they need to have the safest, most predictable, and most enjoyable experience with that product, even accessing batch-level COAs and specific product dosage guidance – all without needing to download an app or sign up for anything at all. Brands like Papa & Barkley, Green Revolution, Mary’s Medicinals and Foria are engaging directly with their consumers this way, creating a rich branding and product experience online or in-store.

STEP 3: CAPTURE USERS AND DRIVE ACTIVITY

How do the top brands build a true relationship with those consumers? The final component to get to know the consumers and build that relationship. Consumers are encouraged in Lucid Green to register upon scan to verify product authenticity, giving brands the most effective tool to fight against counterfeit and black-market operators who are taking advantage of the out-of-store trend, giving consumers peace-of-mind and helping pave the way to pulling those consumers into the brand's CRM. To sweeten the pull and gamify on-going interactions, brands light up Lucid Green’s built-in brand loyalty platform. Consumers earn “Bud tokens” (points) upon scan that can be redeemed later for branded swag or discounted products.  Users also track dosage, create favorites, share their favorites with friends and a host of other features - key data for a brand.  Bhang, Nuvata, Gold Flora, and Green Revolution have been using this gamified digital channel to remain top-of-mind campaigns, push new SKUs to an already receptive audience, drive online purchases, and supercharge in-store activity.

One brand that’s enjoyed a head-start on using this technology is ROVE Brand, based in CA. They have amassed 10s of thousands of registered users in less than a year, adding 100's more every day.  ROVE has activated this channel to dramatic results, running digital campaigns that can drive higher than 20% scan rates.  So while other brands suffered through the vape-scare or scramble amidst Covid-19 pressures, Rove routinely activates their DTC channel to gain market share and drive consumer engagement without the need to rely solely on unscalable in-store promotions, elusive cannabis retailer support, and the maddening tangle of cannabis advertising regulations.

Brands need to solve the Covid-19 challenges now and catch their digital practice up to match the new retail cannabis landscape. LUCID ID’s and THE SOURCE offers an incredibly deep and nearly instantaneous way to jumpstart a brand’s digital practice with minimal investment and upfront effort.

Contact Lucid Green at info@lucidgreen.io for more information and to get started today.

 


CEO Larry Levy on What Needs To Change For Cannabis To Be Accepted By Tech

Bezinga

Cannabis Tech Companies On Restrictions At CES: ‘Lots Of Room For Growth Ahead’

The tech industry and the cannabis industry are having a hard time getting along.

Apple Inc.’s recent ban on all vaping apps from the App Store is just another stone in the mountain of restrictions that tech giants are presenting to cannabis companies.

The Consumer Electronics Show conference held in Las Vegas from Jan. 7-10 is the latest example. The CES is one of the most important annual gatherings for consumer technology companies and is organized and produced by the Consumer Technology Association.

Keep Labs, a cannabis tech company, was banned by the CTA from using the word “cannabis” while showcasing their products at the conference.

Keep, the company’s flagship product, is a smart storage box designed to keep cannabis at home fresh, discreetly saved and away from the hands of children. While the company was allowed to show the product, the CTA asked the company not to refer to cannabis in any way and present it as a non-specific storing device.

On account of this request, Keep said it decided not to participate on from the CES floor.

Keep Labs co-founder Ben Gliksman told Benzinga that, while his company wasn’t attempting to bring actual marijuana or marijuana products to the show, they did rely on using the word “cannabis” for their presence.

Ironically enough, the CTA handed Keep an honoree mention at its 2020 CES innovation awards for home appliances.

PAX, a cannabis tech company that manufactures smart vaporizers, was not allowed to participate at CES.

“We were told by CES they don’t allow cannabis companies on the show floor,” a PAX spokesperson said.

Is Cannabis The Weed Of The Tech Industry?

Keep Labs’ Gliksman told Benzinga he hopes the incident will help to bring awareness to the challenges that the cannabis industry faces in the tech space, and enable a broader conversation, especially as the regulatory environment changes.

“This seems to be another example of the challenges every cannabis tech company faces. We got shut down on Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, Stripe. We haven’t been able to get a single ad approved from Facebook and our Twitter handle got blocked,” Gliksman said, in reference to the many restrictions that tech giants present to cannabis companies in terms of paid advertising and their overall online presence.

Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CTA, told the Associated Press that his organization gave this issue a lot of thought before acting.

“We draw lines, we have to. We don’t allow pornographic. We don’t allow content where children are killed. We don’t allow anything with vaping,” he said, adding that “marijuana has been a tougher one.”

“I think we’re waiting to see if it’s a little more legal, at least around the country,” he concluded.

What Needs To Change For Cannabis To Be Accepted By Tech?

Larry Levi, CEO and co-founder of Lucid Green, a tech company that brings smart digital solutions to the cannabis supply chain, told Benzinga he believes these issues will resolve themselves once the mainstream tech industry gets more involved in cannabis.

“It’s going to be really interesting to see what happens when these established players focus heavily on the cannabis industry, and attempt to displace the niche cannatech players that filled the gap, because these established players historically chose not to sell to cannabis businesses.”

For Tim Conder, COO of TILT Holdings federal legislative reform is the key.

“Along with these changes will come greater acceptance both in the mainstream news media and at events like these, not to mention broader business and research opportunities. We’re clearly still in the early days of this industry, and there is lots of room for growth ahead,” he said.

Keep Lab’s Gliksman remains positive about the future of his business relative to the tech sector.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to work with the CTA in 2021 to bring a cannabis track to the CES show,” he said.

This article was originally featured on Bezinga, 20 January 2020


Video: Lucid Green CEO, Larry Levy, talks with CFN in Las Vegas

Cannabis Financial Network

Lucid Green’s mission and product take the spotlight at MJBiz

CFN Media interviews Lucid Green CEO & Founder Larry Levy at MJBizCon 2019 in Las Vegas, NV.

View the entire interview on CFN


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.


Sensi Boston Launch

Last week I joined over 50 local businesses, artists, and service providers gathered at The Royale on Tremont Street in Boston to celebrate the release of the first Boston edition of Sensi BostonMagazine, a cannabis lifestyle publication with regionally-oriented editions for Las Vegas, Phoenix, Florida, Pennsylvania, Seattle, Northern California and now Boston.  I attended at the behest of Eric Rogers who’s company, TINC, is in the process of bringing innovative cannabis beverages to the MA market. Eric was right, this was a great event to attend.  I also think Eric is right about the cannabis beverage product category.  This should be a key growth area over the coming years and I could not be happier about that.  You can easily imagine that as adult-use (recreational as opposed to medicinal users) becomes more prevalent we could be seeing cannabis bars or cafes offering an entire menu of non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages emulating the social experience of alcohol we all know very well.  We will also likely see, regulations dependent of course, traditional bars start to offer healthier cannabis-infused options for consumers to party and socialize with friends in order to compete with these new establishments.  Imagine instead of giving yourself a headache from partying all night, you are treating your headache simultaneously with your beverage of choice!  Exciting stuff.

Back to the Sensi event, this was my first organized cannabis conference and I have to say it further validated how quickly the industry is becoming mainstream.  Well-attended, well organized, and the excitement in the room and the rapid developments in the industry were palpable.  In some ways, I felt like I had been transported back to an early internet technology and advertising show. It would be nearly impossible to tell from afar if this was a Search Engine Strategies crowd circa 2001 or, in fact, a show dedicated to this once-taboo-turned-miracle plant.  There were investors walking around in suits, product experts touting their technologies and new products with the requisite supporting materials and tchotchkes, and marketers giving out schwag and working to build communities around their brands. It had a similar demographic, energy, and that buzz that felt like we are here experiencing something bursting into the mainstream right before our eyes.  And of course, DJ Lord from Public Enemy spinning records as the headliner gave it an exclusive, unique vibe in this very cool venue!

I’ll be attending quite a few more of these types of events in the coming months.  Reach out and let me know if there is something I can’t miss, let me know where you might be so we can connect, and stay tuned for more reports on cannabis shows from around the country.


Lucid Green at EY Canada Cannabis Forum

We are pleased to announce that Lucid Green has been invited to participate in an intimate EY Cannabis Forum on April 24th with some of North America’s largest cannabis brand CEOs and CFOs.

This prestigious group – four of the brands in attendance combine for a market cap of nearly $10B on the Toronto Stock Exchange – will help Lucid Green align its platform with the needs of consumers and brands alike. This invitation is clearly great validation for Lucid Green but more importantly, may be representative of the importance of consumer trust and transparency and building better communication channels for cannabis consumers and the professionals who serve them.

Our President and Co-Founder, Paul Botto, will discuss topics including partnerships, R&D, diversification, and innovation. See the link below for the attendees and agenda.

We are honored to be included and thankful that our mission is resonating with some of the most innovative leaders in the cannabis space.


Going Green

This week, an article was passed around news circles and social media regarding two new studies published in JAMA Internal Medicine.  The studies suggest medical marijuana laws have helped save and could continue to save thousands of lives and billions of dollars now being lost to opioid addiction.  I set out to simply share the article with my Facebook circle but as I began posting, I was compelled to share my own experience after suffering a catastrophic injury while skiing two years ago.  You can read the referenced article.  There are many others here as well.

Here is my original Facebook post:

“This is a huge step. I can tell you first-hand, as my friends and family will attest, medicinal cannabis changed my life and if you want a more cynical outlook, may have saved it.

My daily dose of 48mg Dilaudid was equivalent to more than 160mg of oxycodone and 240mg of Morphine per day. Yikes! That is 2.5x the clinically described “opioid dependent dose.”

“I am a cybernetic organism, living tissue over metal endoskeleton.”

A few days after coming home from the hospital, my friends came by to see me. I thought it was great, just like old times – they all left TERRIFIED at the state I was in. It seemed too steep a hill to climb. One friend said months later, he felt like he “saw me slipping away” that afternoon.

It has been 2yrs (almost to the day). I am closer than ever to my wife and kids, more focused on my health and fitness than ever, working harder than ever on several projects at the same time…instead of being addicted to opiates.

This is real.

When I started titrating down using cannabis, my whole demeanor changed immediately. I found myself, my family, my friends, my drive and was able to focus on recovery 100%. I started working. I crushed my recovery goals. I read about cannabis research obsessively to understand it. I did not want to get high, I wanted to get better. The whole point was to get off of my back and into the world again. It is time to leave the stoner image behind that does not fit at all with my experience or that of millions of other lucky people who found this option.

I am so passionate about it (perhaps annoyingly at times?!) I recently co-founded a company called Lucid Green. We aim to drive transparency and trust in cannabis supply chain so more people can have access, information, and proper guidance. Stay tuned, more to come on our FB page and other media. Website ~2nd week of April [obviously up now, you are here!].”

As evidenced by the response to my post and the subsequent linking of our brand new Lucid Green Facebook page, this hit close to home for many people.  In 8 hours I had over 150 likes and comments on my personal post and over 135 “follows” for Lucid Green – even while I was still uploading basic company information to it.  I was inundated with stories of people wishing they had known of this option during their own experiences with opiates.  I got over 30 instant message that afternoon asking for guidance on using cannabis as an alternative to anything from their grandma’s bad back, to their friends’ battling debilitating diseases, or their own upcoming surgeries.  The rampant confusion in those messages over the fundamental differences between CBD vs THC, how much to take, and how to even get started to try purchase a legal product for their expressed purpose spoke volumes.

The mission of Lucid Green, Enabling Trust and Transparency for Cannabis Through a Direct Connection, resonates because consumers are desperate for an easy way to get proper guidance on usage & potency, safety & testing, and sharing of experience for both medicinal and for recreational purposes.  I was lucky, I uncovered the path before opiates became a real problem.  But not everyone has 2 months of laying on their back with nothing better to do than research the heck out of all-things-cannabis.   That is where Lucid Green and our proud and trailblazing brand, dispensary, and data partners come in.  And nothing is more enjoyable than doing something with this kind of purpose and passion behind it.