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