Scott Dowty, CEO of Australis Capital, the United States spin off of the Canadian LP Aurora Cannabis, is this week’s guest on the Green Rush! Since launching as the U.S. investment arm of Aurora in 2017, Australis has operated independently and most recently went public in September 2018 on the OTC. As CEO, Scott is on the front lines for Australis, helping the company navigate the highly regulated U.S. market to identify exciting investment opportunities for the company.
In this week’s conversation, our Green Rush hosts chat with Scott about the mission of Australis, what he is observing from the marketplace so far in 2019, what he puts more value on – the management team or underlying business and provides some insight on what kind of deals he’s most focused on. The team also gets Scott’s perspective on the recent Canopy-Acreage deal and some of the concerns around well-funded Canadian LPs, like Canopy and Aurora, will swallow up U.S. companes.
If your a listener focused on investing in cannabis, this episode will touch on every aspect of that side of the business. So don’t sit back, lean forward and enjoy!
Scott Dowty – CEO of Australis Capital
Mr. Dowty has 25 years of experience evaluating companies and markets to identify key business drivers, spur rapid revenue and profit growth in competitive and highly regulated global markets. Mr. Dowty has held executive and corporate officer positions with several U.S. based NYSE and NASDAQ traded companies, and founded several successful start-up companies in North America and abroad. Mr. Dowty’s extensive operational capital markets experience in the International fintech and gambling sectors is closely aligned to the regulatory path of the U.S. cannabis industry. Scott resides in Las Vegas, NV.
Shea Alderete, the CEO and co-founder of Gen X Biosciences, a cannatech firm focused on using innovative technology and scalable extraction methodologies to deliver premium cannabis products is this week’s guest on the Green Rush. Shea is one of the true “OGs” of the cannabis industry and has worked with some of the well-known brands in the space like Moxie and HTH, where he set the innovative standard for cannabis extraction and paved the way for their success. Now at the head of his own company, Shea has focused on revolutionizing cannabis and the extraction process in order to provide clean medicine and high-quality extracts to cannabis users.
In this week’s conversation, Lewis is joined by producer Nick Opich as the two chat with Shea about his bonafides in the cannabis industry and what his experiences have been like building a small business into an extraction powerhouse. Shea also touches on the company’s ongoing RTO process, Gen X’s proprietary molecular perfection extraction process and how he was able to shake down his 98 year old grandfather for some early investment cash.
For listeners interested in the growth of the extraction and distillate space then you’ll love this interview. So don’t sit back, lean forward and enjoy!
Shea Alderete – CEO and Founder of Gen X Biosciences
Shea Alderete is a passionate and strategic entrepreneur with over 15 years’ experience in the cannabis industry. Previously, Shea had a professional career in baseball and recognized that there was a gap in the market for anti-inflammatory medicines for pain relief. Shea has a long term experience working with famous brands in the cannabis industry such as Moxie and HTH, where he set the innovative standard for cannabis extraction and paved the way for their success. He won numerous cannabis product awards with the Cloud Vapes brand, which today is a $70M USD-a-year profitable business. In addition to this Shea has won the Chalice Cup of California for the best CBD products as well as the Canada Karma Cup for the best vaporizer and terpenes in 2016.
Shea Alderete has focused on revolutionizing cannabis for the past decade to provide clean medicine from its extraction. He brings the technical background to produce high quality cannabis and the innovation of such cuttingedge technological processes to Gen X.
This week on the Green Rush, we wanted to take a step back in our look at the cannabis industry. For nearly 80 episodes, we’ve talked with some of the most influential leaders shaping the future of legal cannabis. But for this week, we decided to further explore what many in the industry refer to as the “grey market” – or the business of the industry that operates outside of the legal regulations within their country or state.
According to most projections, marijuana is almost a 100 billion dollar industry annually, both legal and illicit. Yet despite the emergence of a strong international legal medical market and an ever-expanding adult use market, only about 15 billion dollars of that 100 billion comes from legal sales.
To help explore this side of the industry, we were able to secure an interview this week with a guest who is regarded as one of the best artisanal small-batch marijuana edibles bakers in the country. Because he lives and works in a state where adult use marijuana isn’t quite yet legal, we’ve taken the steps today to filter and anonymize his voice.
What follows is a conversation that looks at the challenges a small business owner faces when trying to become a regulated company, the lucrativity of operating outside of the legal cannabis space, the growing popularity of infused meals and dinner parties and how underground edibles dealers market and build customer loyalty.
This is truly a must listen to episode, so don’t sit back, lean forward. Now onto the chat with the chocolatier who we affectionately call Willie Wonka.
This episode was hosted by Anne Donohoe and Lewis Goldberg of KCSA Strategic Communications.
Special thanks to our Producer Nick Opich and Program Director Shea Gunther at Marijuana Today
You can learn more about how KCSA Cannabis can help your cannabiz by visiting www.kcsa-cannabis.com or emailing email@example.com. You can also connect with us via our social channels:
Keith Stephenson, CEO and founder of Purple Heart Patient Center in Oakland, is this week’s guest on The Green Rush. Keith was the first African American in the United States to run a medical cannabis dispensary. He’s the founder and CEO of Purple Heart Patient Center in Oakland, California. He started the dispensary 11 years ago and now he’s serving 10,000 patients a month. He implemented lab testing so rigorous that it exceeds the standards of Oregon and Washington. He was appointed to the California Cannabis Commission Advisory Panel, where he advises the state on regulations protecting consumer health and safety.
In this week’s conversation, Lewis and Anne chat with Keith about being a pioneering small business owner in the cannabis space for nearly three decades and how the industry has evolved around him during that time. They also touch on the issues of social justice and equity and the difficulties facing mom and pop shops in an industry that is increasingly being overrun by larger, corporate interests.
For listeners interested in the history of the California cannabis marketplace, the delivery lawsuit taking place in the state and the role of social justice and equity in shaping the industry than you’ll love this interview. So don’t sit back, lean forward and enjoy!
Keith Stephenson, CEO and founder of Purple Heart Patient Center
Keith Stephenson is a statewide resource on cannabis and has been recognized by the California State Legislature as a subject matter expert, and has been appointed to the State of California’s Cannabis Advisory Committee under the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC). This 22- person committee advises BCC and other licensing authorities on the development of regulations that help protect health and safety and reduce the illegal market for cannabis.
After experiencing the health benefits of using cannabis for work related injuries and complications from arthritis, Keith Stephenson launched Purple Heart in 2006. Using a combination of Mr. Stephenson’s operational expertise acquired from a 15-year stint at United Airlines, and more than 30 years of experience in the cannabis space, Purple Heart is now the longest operating cannabis retailer in Oakland. Mr. Stephenson is the first African American to operate a licensed cannabis business in America. Mr. Stephenson has served two terms on the City of Oakland’s Measure to Tax and Regulate Adult Cannabis, which was the precursor to California Prop 19.
Dr. Jonathan Rothbard, CEO, Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder of Katexco Pharmaceuticals, a medical cannabis biopharma company based in Palo Alto, California, is this week’s guest on The Green Rush. In addition to his work in the cannabis space, Dr. Rothbard works in the neurology department at Stanford University where he’s also worked in the departments of chemistry and rheumatology. Dr. Rothbard is also the founder of Amylin, which was eventually sold to Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Dr. Rothbard is spearheading the second generation of medical cannabis, where cannabinoids like CBD and THC will be synthesized in labs instead of extracted from plants grown on farms. His mission is to put CBD through clinical trials to prove scientifically that it can be an effective medical treatment in conjunction with other compounds and to patent those compounds and submit them to the FDA for approval as pharmaceuticals.
In addition to our regular hosts Lewis and Anne, we also has a special guest, KCSA colleague Caitlin Kasunich, join us for this week’s conversation.
For listeners interested in the growth of medicinal cannabis, science and the developing relationship between the traditional pharma space and cannabis, this interview is for you! So don’t sit back, lean forward and enjoy!
Dr. Jonathan Rothbard, CEO, Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder of Katexco Pharmaceuticals
Dr. Jonathan Rothbard, PhD received his BA from Hamilton College (1973) and his PhD from Columbia with Ronald Breslow (1977). His post-doctoral fellowship was with Gerald Edelman at The Rockefeller University after which he was with Gary Schoolnik at Stanford University Medical School where he published the first of 26 manuscripts with Lawrence Steinman in 1986. Subsequently, he was head of the Molecular Immunology Laboratory at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London where he first collaborated with Prof. Sir Marc Feldman (1990). He left academia to help establish ImmuLogic in Palo Alto, and founding Amylin in San Diego. Amylin, which he founded in 1987, was a pharmaceuticals company engaged in the discovery, development and commercialization of drugs relating to diseases including obesity and diabetes. The success of Amylin led to another appointment at Stanford for Dr. Rothbard, followed by the founding of CellGate. Leaving CellGate, he returned to an appointment at Stanford, first in the department of chemistry, then rheumatology, and currently in neurology. Amylin was sold to Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2012 for $5.4 Billion USD.
Justin Zaremba is the lead report for NJ Cannabis Insider from NJ Advance Media, a trade publication dedicated to covering the New Jersey cannabis industry, is this week’s guest on The Green Rush. As part of the NJ Advance Media family, Justin’s work has been published across a number of outlets including NJ.com and The Star-Ledger, New Jersey’s largest daily newspaper.
As the top cannabis reporter in the state, Justin has been closely following and chronicling the New Jersey legislature’s efforts to legalize adult-use cannabis in the state which, up until the beginning of April, seemed like an inevitability. Now that the vote on the referendum has been delayed, Justin gives our hosts Lewis and Anne the inside information on what led to the hold up around the vote, the current state of NJ’s medical cannabis program and how it’s woefully under-serving its patients and how NJ is looking at states like Nevada and California for guidance in graduating their medicinal program into a fully-operational recreational market.
For listeners keen on following the expansion of the cannabis market to the East Coast, this interview is filled with facts and information that shows just how differently states in the East operate compared to their counterparts in the West. So don’t sit back, lean forward and enjoy!
Justin Zaremba, Lead Reporter for NJ Cannabis Insider
Justin Zaremba is the lead reporter for NJ Cannabis Insider for NJ Advance Media.
Matt Hawkins, CEO of Cresco Capital Partners, a US based private equity investment firm dedicated to investing in the cannabis industry, is this week’s guest on The Green Rush. Since its inception in 2014, Matt and Cresco have invested over $50 million in the cannabis industry helping to give accredited investors access to a diversified range of investment opportunities in the space including cultivation, retail, and ancillary services. To date, the Cresco team has done well in recognizing cannabis ‘unicorns’ having been early investors in power players like Acreage Holdings and Green Thumb Industries.
For this episode, our hosts picked Matt’s brain to learn how he’s been so successful over his 20+ years in private equity and what it was like in the early days approaching high net worth individuals to peak their interest in the cannabis space. In addition, Matt expounds on how investing in cannabis has evolved over the last five years, why he’s skeptical of investing in a straight cultivation play or CBD and his advice and preach for patience for those looking to make a strong deal.
If you’re an investor, someone trying to make money in the cannabis industry, or just someone who closely follows marijuana market trends, then this is the episode for you! And after the interview, make sure to check out crescocapitalpartners.com to learn more and make sure to tell them The Green Rush sent you.
Matt Hawkins, CEO of Cresco Capital Partners
Matt Hawkins brings an extensive background in building large alternative investment firms and scaling the companies he invests in. In 2014, Matt had a vision to launch Cresco Capital Partners and create the leading private equity firm focused specifically on investing in the legalized cannabis industry. Prior to diving into the cannabis realm, Matt previously served as Partner and President of Tucson Capital Partners, a private equity firm focused on multifamily residential and self-storage assets. Between 2008 and 2013, the company completed more than 55 bank-direct acquisitions, deploying over $500MM of capital. He successfully exited in 2013. Matt also was Principal & Co-founder of Adjacent Capital, a private equity/specialty lending fund where he oversaw the sourcing, origination, structuring and closing of over 60 transactions in a 3 year period. He also became a turnaround specialist through his time at Treadstone Partners and San Jacinto Partners. He is known and respected in the cannabis industry as one of the successful early investors and serves on the board of numerous cannabis companies.
Jane West, Co-Founder and CEO of the cannabis lifestyle brand Jane West and one of the most influential women in the industry, is this week’s guest on The Green Rush. Following her entry into the space in 2014 following legalization in Colorado, Jane quickly went on to help found the cannabis networking organization Women Grow, and in 2016, Inc. magazine named her “the most widely recognized female personality in cannabis.” In an industry dominated by major players vying for space in an increasingly crowded marketplace, Jane is unique in that she’s built a well-recognized brand and social following around her name, likeness, and her style.
With Lewis and Anne together again back behind the microphone, they chat with Jane about her well-documented transition into the cannabis space, the challenges she faced as an entrepreneur, the time one of her events was raided by a SWAT team, how the US markets differ from the growing European markets and her disappointment in the lack of small business success in cannabis.
Jane West – Co-Founder and CEO of Cannabis Lifestyle Brand Jane West
Jane West is the CEO of the cannabis lifestyle brand Jane West. At Jane West, she develops cannabis accessories and home goods that invite women to experience the benefits of cannabis and take part in the legal lifestyle. West is also the founder of Women Grow, the cannabis industry’s largest professional networking organization. Since the launch of her consumption-friendly cannabis events company Edible Events in 2014, she has emerged as a prominent figure in mainstream cannabis culture. An experienced executive with a broad management background, West is committed to changing the face of women in cannabis, both as consumers and as leaders. West is a leading influencer in the cannabis industry, shifting mainstream perceptions by providing insider access to the modern legal lifestyle. She first became a marijuana media darling early in 2014 with her breakthrough “On a High Note” collaboration between the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and her other business, Edible Events Company, Colorado’s premiere cannabis event production company. Before joining the cannabis industry, West was a working mother rising through the management ranks as a corporate event planner. After her employer spotted her vaping on CNBC, she was quickly fired. Immediately, West embraced the opportunity to dive headfirst into the cannabis industry as an outspoken advocate for cannabis legalization. In the two years since Colorado legalized cannabis, West has become a fixture of mainstream cannabis coverage on CNBC, NBC Nightly News, and in the New York Times, Newsweek, Forbes, TIME, the Guardian, and many others
This week we experienced some technical issues so we are revisiting one of our more recent favorite episodes with Representative Earl Blumenauer, a House Democrat from Oregon. Congressman Blumenauer has represented Oregon as a Congressman for more than 20 years and has been a pivotal player in US legalization since the beginning. He also is one of the founders and co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, a bipartisan Caucus for members of the U.S. House of Representatives to discuss, learn, and work together to establish a better and more rational approach to federal cannabis policy.
With 18+ Democrats vying for the Democratic Presidential nomination this primary election cycle, we wanted to revisit this conversation to see how influential leaders like Congressman Blumenauer envision the federal government moving forward with cannabis legalization.
Policy wonks, you’re in for a treat – lean in and enjoy!
About Congressman Blumenauer
A lifelong resident of Portland, Oregon, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) has devoted his entire career to public service. While still a student at Lewis and Clark College, he spearheaded the effort to lower the voting age both in Oregon and at the national level. He was elected to the Oregon Legislature in 1972, where he served three terms and Chaired the House Education and Revenue Committee in 1977-78. In 1978, he was elected to the Multnomah County Commission, where he served for eight years before being elected to the Portland City Council in 1986. There, his 10-year tenure as the Commissioner of Public Works demonstrated his leadership on the innovative accomplishments in transportation, planning, environmental programs and public participation that have helped Portland earn an international reputation as one of America’s most livable cities.
Elected to the US House of Representatives in 1996, Mr. Blumenauer has created a unique role as Congress’ chief spokesperson for Livable Communities: places where people are safe, healthy and economically secure. From 1996 to 2007, he served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he was a strong advocate for federal policies that address transportation alternatives, provide housing choices, support sustainable economies and improve the environment. He was a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee from 2001 to 2007, and vice-chair of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming from 2007 to 2010. He is currently a member of the Ways and Means Committee and the subcommittees on Health, Oversight, and Tax Policy. Congressman Blumenauer’s academic training includes undergraduate and law degrees from Lewis and Clark College in Portland.
Evan Eneman, CEO of MGO-ELLO Alliance, is this week’s guest on The Green Rush. In case this is the first time you’ve heard of MGO-ELLO Alliance, the company can be considered the “Deloitte of Cannabis”, a leader in the cannabis financial, tax and advisory services space. ELLO has worked with hundreds of businesses to help them solve complex problems in regulatory compliance, capital markets advisory, tax services, operational improvements as well as staffing needs. Evan previously worked at Casa Verde Capital, a venture capital firm focused exclusively on the cannabis industry, which counts Snoop Dogg among its partners.
With both Anne and Nick away for this week’s conversation, Lewis solicited the help of Aaron Smith, former CNN cannabis reporter and now a member of the KCSA team, to join him for this interview. Because cannabis finance is extremely complicated and challenging, Lewis and Aaron enlist Evan to help them navigate the banking, security and regulatory issues cannabusinesses face including a deep dive on 280E. Additionally, Evan touches on the growth of the East Coast market and which state he thinks will transition to adult use first – New York or New Jersey?
Evan Eveman – Co-Founder and CEO of MGO-ELLO Alliance
Evan Eneman, a serial entrepreneur, advisor, and investor, is the founder of several leading ventures steering the cannabis industry today. He is the co-founder and CEO of ELLO and National Cannabis Practice leader for MGO/ELLO, an alliance of professional services firms providing capital markets and M&A advisory, tax, assurance, consulting, staffing and outsourcing services to a few hundred clients in the cannabis industry. He is also the founder and CEO of Fiorello, a cannabis branding and marketing agency. After co-founding and running Casa Verde Capital for several years, Eneman launched Sands Lane Capital, a purpose-driven venture capital firm focusing on opportunities in the cannabis and hemp industries.