Cannabis is an often misunderstood, wildly impactful plant that is finally making its way from dark alleys to Main Street USA. It’s a bumpy path, but the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight. Recreational legalization is seeing growing support, while medical studies continue to underscore the successful results of patients undergoing cannabis-involved care.
In two weeks, Cannabis on the Blockchain takes place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (part of #TechSuperShow) bringing together some of the industry’s leading minds to unpack the massive opportunity that lies in this burgeoning arena. This week, I had the chance to catch up with Cody Stiffler, Founder & CEO FloGrown Cannabis Consulting, LLC, a member of the speaking faculty at the upcoming inaugural event.
Maurice Nagle: Please tell us a bit about the latest news at your company.
Cody Stiffler: FloGrown Cannabis Consulting was founded in this January 2020. This was in response to my parting ways with BioTrackTHC one of the largest Seed-to-Sale and Government Traceability software providers in the Cannabis sector. During my tenure with BioTrack, I was responsible for educating policy makers and regulatory bodies on the importance of track and trace technology and its role throughout the Cannabis supply chain globally. I was also responsible for managing BioTrack’s government contract procurement team. I managed the projects of several of our winning government procurement proposals. Moreover, I was the company’s program manager for its contract with the State of Illinois and managed the inclusion of the Adult Use market into the existing system functionality. I currently have consulting contracts with several multi-state operators and have been working toward securing additional government contracts for policy and regulatory development work.
MN: Is Blockchain changing the way you and/or your customers operate? How?
CS: While Blockchain hasn’t drastically changed the way regulators are maintaining compliance within the Cannabis sector, the technology is quickly gaining the attention of policy makers and regulatory personnel as it relates to the Cannabis supply chain. There are various methods that Blockchain can prove useful, whether it be for brand authentication, tax collection or lab test validation. Throughout my endeavors as representative of the BioTrack brand, I witnessed the adoption of Blockchain enabled, seed-to-sale/track-and-trace software solutions by various government agencies and the list continues to grow. More and more of the larger multi-state operators that function throughout various regulatory regimes have also begun implementing these types of technologies. I foresee a growing need for Blockchain this year in various industries, but none more than Cannabis.
MN: What are the greatest opportunities for Cannabis vendors today?
CS: This is a new and exciting industry. While quickly evolving, new markets open up every month. Regulations consistently change, paving the way for new ideas and innovations. Technology is certainly the center of the industry on many levels. I’d have to assert that new markets and the youth of the industry are the greatest opportunities for Cannabis vendors today.
MN: What are the greatest challenges for Cannabis vendors today?
CS: Limited competition seems to be the greatest challenge in my opinion. Markets like Georgia, Florida, Iowa, and similar jurisdictions that have limited programs or a limited amount of industry participants, stymies the market and prevents enough business for smaller ancillary operators such as myself. For example, currently, there are twenty-two (22) licensed entities in the State of Florida, fourteen (14) of which are operational. Each licensed entity has the ability to cultivate, manufacture, and dispense, but they cannot exchange products amongst themselves, thereby creating an oligopoly. Ancillary business is almost non-existent as most of these licensed entities tend to stick with one company and there really isn’t a great deal of competition to be had. While Hemp has opened the door for more business, there is still a limited amount of opportunity for vendors.
MN: What’s your biggest Cannabis takeaway from 2019?
CS: While I knew we wouldn’t see legalization or even banking reform passed in 2019, I would have to say that my biggest takeaway from last year was actually watching the 116th Congress actually hold hearings on Cannabis legislation. It was a huge milestone for policy and regulatory SME’s such as myself because of the Cannabis reform work we’ve put in at the local and state levels.
MN: What’s your most off-the-wall tech prediction for 2020?
CS: I predict that Tesla will make a landmark achievement by sending us back to the moon. I believe that this is the dawn of a new era where we’ll see successful production of privatized space travel. It’s almost as if Sci-fi had it right all along.
MN: What do you hope to achieve at the event? Why should people come to Cannabis on the Blockchain and ITEXPO?
CS: I hope to network with like-minded Cannabis enthusiasts, advocates, vendors, and potential clients. I look forward to engaging with locals who are already operating in, or plan to enter Florida’s Cannabis and Hemp industries.
MN: Why should your session be on the list of must-attend sessions at this year’s conference?
CS: Simply put, Cannabis is the new alcohol or tobacco. There is going to be a huge market for those interested in operating within this industry. As I’ve said before, the industry is still very young and there will be the need for bright minds to enter this space regardless of the lack of Federal support. It is a great opportunity for someone who has limited experience in the space to enter the market.
The cannabis industry is still in its infancy here in the states. The event aims to educate, engage and entertain attendees with open and honest commentary to explore a space on the brink of some very, very big things.
Cody is participating in the panel “Addressing Financial and Banking Obstacles with Blockchain” where CEO Enigmatic Investments Sashien Godakandae, Founder Kirkland Law Eric Kirkland and Co-Founder & CEO FTZ Mike Kramer will take a deep dive into cannabis business strategy, investment, banking and legislation. We offer attendees solutions and insights.
Interested in attending, exhibiting or sponsoring Cannabis on the Blockchain? Curious about what lays ahead for this much maligned but undeniable opportunity? Email Moe Nagle for more information. Don’t forget to ask how you can save 50% on registration!
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