Connecting Cannabis: Aaron Riley (Cannasafe Testing Lab) (Full Interview)

Aaron Riley, Founder of Cannasafe, joins Hilart “Art” Abrahamian (COO, WebJoint) for a conversation on testing products in California. Cannasafe is one of the largest labs in the state have established themselves as one of the most trusted testing facilities carrying an ISO certification. Aaron answers questions regarding failed products that reach the market (and who’s liable), how your neighbors can be responsible for failed testing, and of course, compliance. You can view the entire interview here!

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Connecting Cannabis: Jeff Welsh (Cannabis Lawyer) (Full Interview)

Cannabis Lawyer, founder of Frontera Law Group, and partner at Vicente Sedersberg, Jeff Welsh, joins WebJoint COO, Hilart “Art” Abrahamian, for an in-depth conversation on cannabis law.  The show’s topics include social equity, phase 3 applications, compliance violations, and even starting a cannabis brand without a license. There’s a lot of useful information in this one and Jeff even answers questions sent over Instagram. View the full episode here:

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Building the Team that Builds Cannabis Brands with ForceBrands’ Founder Josh Wand

WebJoint had the privilege of interviewing Josh Wand, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ForceBrands. ForceBrands is a New York-based recruiting firm for cannabis brands of all sizes. HerbForce, the cannabis division of ForceBrands, connects cannabis companies with talented job-seekers who specialize in sales, marketing, finance, operations, and HR roles. HerbForce’s goal: to supply fast-growing cannabis companies with the talent they need to building meaningful brands and drive scalable operations.

ForceBrands CEO, Josh Wand

What inspired the idea of creating ForceBrands and more specifically, HerbForce, to address recruitment needs within the cannabis industry?

Josh: ForceBrands was born out of my natural passion for the beverage industry and my interest in connecting people. In the early 2000s, I ran a rum company, an experience that helped me develop deep industry relationships and taught me how to hire a team, manage business development, and run a national sales and distribution network. The idea for ForceBrands came about in 2006 when I was promoting our rum brand at the South Beach Food and Wine Festival in Miami. Someone from a champagne company approached me and asked if I knew of any Regional Sales Managers. A few minutes later, someone from a different champagne company expressed his interest in changing jobs. And suddenly my professional matchmaking career was born. At the time, high-quality recruiting for the beverage industry didn’t exist. In 2007, we launched BevForce. Following its success, other forces emerged. We expanded into packaged food with FoodForce and then into beauty and personal care with BeautyForce. Most recently, we’ve formalized several years of work in cannabis with the official launch of HerbForce, which was a natural evolution of our service offerings.

How would you say HerbForce differentiates itself from other recruitment firms addressing staffing needs in the cannabis industry? Essentially, what does your company do differently to ensure high quality talent for cannabis brands?

Josh: At ForceBrands, we’re in the people business. We see recruiting through a human lens and engage with job seekers and employers in a real way — we get to know them personally, understanding that each individual is as unique as the needs of an organization. All of ForceBrands’ industry-specific divisions collaborate with clients as friends and trusted colleagues in the pursuit of transformational goals. HerbForce is unique in that cannabis is a whole new industry where hiring playbooks do not yet exist. We’ve found that there are countless natural synergies between cannabis and other CPG sectors. It’s an exciting opportunity for us to leverage more than a decade of experience and our incredibly powerful community to build the cannabis teams of tomorrow.

What are some lessons you’ve learned while building your own brand/staffing your own company that you’ve shared with your clients?

Josh: Culture is key. Building great teams goes beyond matching skill sets with job descriptions and responsibilities. I’m proud of the culture we’ve built at ForceBrands — one that is centered around our core values: people first, integrity, collaborative culture, progressive, purposeful. I always recommend to the teams that we’ve helped build to go beyond filling a role — hire candidates who fit the role not just professionally, but personally and culturally as well. 

Considering ForceBrands has staffed businesses in multiple industries, what industry would you say cannabis brands can learn from the most? (Food, Bev, Beauty, overall CPG businesses?)

Josh: There are a lot of natural synergies between cannabis and the beverage alcohol world as they’re both highly regulated industries. Even though alcohol is federally legal in the U.S., the laws are complex as they vary at the state and local levels. Cannabis brands should look to the bev alc industry and to those with experience cooperating with legal restrictions as determined by federal, state, and local laws.

How important is the connection between your brand, your staff, and your company culture when building a team for your cannabis brand?

Josh: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to team building. Understanding that each organization is uniquely different helps us approach each brand differently. Cannabis is a new industry, and even though there is not yet a hiring playbook for this sector, we’re able to take what we’ve done building beverage, food, and beauty brands and apply that directly to cannabis companies.


Scenario: It’s 2019 in California and you’re building a cannabis brand currently with a team of one (you). What are the first 3 positions you would hire? Where would you start looking for these people (what industry)? How much would you expect to invest in the hiring process?

Josh: The first key hires I would make would be Head of Operations, Head of Finance, Head of Revenue, and Head of Field Marketing. I realize that’s four positions but they are all incredibly valuable for getting a cannabis brand off the ground. And when it comes to sourcing talent for these roles, I would look toward the CPG industry as cannabis essentially is a consumer good. I would invest a lot in taking the time to find the right people — not just the people who meet the desired skill sets necessary to succeed.  

What should cannabis brands look for in their applicants? What are a few common mistakes brands make when hiring?

Josh: Hiring is about looking at the whole picture. As mentioned above, brands should consider looking at their hiring strategy beyond just filling roles. It takes patience to find the right fit. It’s not an easy feat and there are no shortcuts when it comes to making great hires. Brands that take the time to hire right will be rewarded with long-term growth and success.

Where do you see the future of staffing in the cannabis industry going? What trends should brands pay attention to ensure they have a top tier team building their brand?

Josh: Cannabis is already an incredibly crowded and competitive space, and I don’t see its momentum slowing down anytime soon. When it comes to building top teams, employers should look to their benefits and compensation packages to attract and retain top talent. ForceBrands’ 2019 Talent Market Report, a comprehensive analysis of benefits and compensation packages across CPG, found that the cannabis sector was among the most competitive, with average annual raises the highest across CPG at 14 percent. When it comes to benefits, paid leave policies have gained in popularity in recent years and as a result, we’re seeing cannabis companies offer more extensive leave policies than established businesses across other industries. Cannabis brands should pay attention to their employee offerings to ensure that they’re building the best teams possible.

What are a few overlooked positions brands should consider implementing into their business to ensure the success of their business?

Josh: Some key overlooked positions are Head of Operations and Head of Finance. Both of these roles are critical to ensuring the business has what it needs to succeed.

What are some of your favorite resources (books, podcasts, software, etc.) that you can share with our audience that has benefited your personal and professional growth in this industry?

Josh: I’m all about additional resources that help personal and professional growth. I highly recommend reading “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose” by Tony Hsieh and “The Alchemist” by  Paulo Coelho. I also love the Peptalks app that offers daily motivation.

Connecting Cannabis: Sonia Luna (Cannabis CPA) (Full Interview)

Cannabis CPA and founder of Aviva Spectrum, Sonia Luna, joins Hilart “Art” Abrahamian (COO, WebJoint) for a deep dive discussion about the complex financing policies that both cannabis deliveries and brands face. Luna covers topics like compliance costs (BCC), structuring a proper loyalty system, and the ever-changing cannabis tax(es).  View the full episode here:

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As of June 30th, brands' cannabis products will most likely be non-compliant

Yes, you read that right. As of June 30, 2019 many brands’ products will be non-compliant due to the updated package regulations by California’s BCC. The California Department of Public Health has mandated that “any inhalable cannabis product” should be marked with the universal symbol. This means that hardware, like vapes and vape cartridges, will now need to be labeled with the universal symbol if they want to remain compliant and continue to be sold in retailers. Previously, only the packaging itself needed to be labeled.

This is the timeline of execution for the new product requirements:

  • •Cannabis and cannabis product packaging that was compliant under the emergency regulations but is no longer compliant under the permanent regulations can be transferred to a licensed distributor until June 30, 2019.
  • •Licensed retailers may sell these cannabis products through December 31, 2019.

If you’re a retailer, you still have a little more time to get rid of the products, but are expected to destroy the items after December 31, 2019.

Now the question is why? The BCC hasn’t justified this new regulation ultimately leaving brands in the air. The Bureau is now expecting brands and manufacturers  to re-invest significant amounts into re-labeling products that were compliant a few weeks ago. Ultimately, this hurts the players who are trying to operate correctly and props up those who don’t abide by (or have the resources to abide by) the constantly-evolving arbitrary regulations.

We at WebJoint feel your pain, this is reminiscent of last year’s switch from whole weight to pre-packaged items – it put brands and retailers in a difficult position, costing them time and money to stay compliant with regulations. So, we compiled all the assets from the BCC that outline the expectations for compliant product packaging and labeling. 

We also did some graphic design work for the universal symbol, as the BCC only provides a JPEG of the logo. *sigh*

Although, this guide is in respect to branding your cannabis delivery, we can still apply those concepts to the packaging.


The materials made available in this blog are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your cannabis attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

METRC & Your License: When should you be reporting?

When should you be reporting to METRC?

The licensing structure for the California cannabis industry is complex and confusing. If you’re a cannabis delivery service and have struggled with the ambiguity of the BCC, you’re not alone. Many cannabis deliveries are fighting to stay licensed—and operating in confusion is anything but helpful. There is a large grey area and due to a lack of information being available to non-applicants, we can only help with the resources made available to us.

NOTE: All credentialed CCTT–METRC system users have access to the “California Transition Period Guide,” which outlines how annual and provisional licensees will process and report transfers to and from temporary licensees. (CDFA x BCC FAQ)

However, we wanted to share what we do know in order to better service our delivery clients in this time of transition to compliance.

Temporary Licenses

Most cannabis deliveries are currently operating under this license type. The State stopped granting these licenses as of December 31, 2018. Many businesses are now in a state of limbo awaiting their annual license while unable to operate because the temporary license has expired.

Retailers operating under temporary licenses are not required to report data to METRC, but are expected to do so after transitioning to a provisional or annual license.

Provisional License

The provisional license was granted to those operators who had submitted annual applications to the BCC, but due to administrative delays on the State’s end, were not able to get processed before the expiration of the temporary license.

Under the provisional license, retailers are expected to report to the state’s track-and-trace system, METRC. If you have a provisional license, it also means you have applied for the annual license, hence you are eligible to receive training on METRC.

Annual Licenses

The cutoff to apply for temporary licenses was December 31, 2018 according to the BCC Order of Adoption. Any applicants post-date will have to apply directly for this type of license. The annual license is the ultimate goal for all cannabis deliveries. If you are a new applicant, meaning you have not received a temporary license, you are required to receive the “Account Manager System Training” program for METRC. This is mandatory. The training will allow for the individual to order tags, record inventory, and train other staff members on using the compliance system. Keep in mind you need an application number to register for this training.

You will have 30 days after receiving your annual license to complete the training and source a METRC-validated software (i.e. WebJoint) to run your business on. Because staying compliant is a crucial component of your delivery’s success, we recommend having a dedicated compliance officer or inventory manager who has extensive knowledge on compliance. The application process is expensive and tedious enough—risking your license due to an administrative hiccup is the last thing you need.

How WebJoint Helps

WebJoint is a METRC-validated softwareWe have made our software around all the compliance points METRC looks for. Data on driver location, inventory management, sales, etc. are relayed to METRC in real-time. Our software eliminates the need for cannabis deliveries to “double input” data into their management software and METRC. Operate your cannabis delivery efficiently and compliantly with WebJoint.

Author’s Note

Though cannabis retailers are expected to report to METRC during their provisional license period, there has been a grey are in terms of enforcement, hence the “30 day rule” mentioned above is put in place to make the annual license reception the hard cut-off point for not reporting to METRC. Please keep in mind that the BCC does have the power to audit any retailer at will. Seek legal counsel from an attorney for any further questions.


The materials made available in this blog are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your cannabis attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

The Lowdown on Low Dosing with Kristie Amobi

About the Author

Kristie Amobi, Author of The Lowdown on Low Dosing

Kristie Amobi is an executive consultant working in the medical industry. Prior to consulting, Kristie served as VP of Marketing at Elekta, Inc., the second largest cancer treatment equipment and software manufacturer in the world. Kristie’s interest in cannabis stems from a positive personal experience. She is passionate about making sure people have accurate information about cannabis and understand how microdosing cannabis can be an alternative to prescription medicine and a substitute for alcohol. Kristie holds a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University, an MBA from Azusa Pacific University, and a professional certificate in Cannabis Science and Medicine from the University of Vermont.

Relax in a Controlled Way


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I’m not entirely with the group who sings the praises of cannabis for everything, but I’m convinced it’s worth a second look in microdoses to help manage stress and insomnia with significantly fewer side effects in low doses.

Many people won’t take a serious look at cannabis because they only think it’s about smoking and getting high, or they’ve heard horror stories of an edible gone awry and don’t want to risk it. I’m here to change the narrative.

What is Microdosing?

So what exactly is microdosing cannabis?

Most dispensary operators will tell you that a low-dose product is around 10mg of THC per dose, but most new emerging cannabis consumers will experience quite a “high” with 10mg of THC per dose. This is important because you can easily be turned off from cannabis, or any supplement, if you have a negative experience.

I define a microdose product as one having 5mg of THC or less.

Start Low and Slow

That said, I always give the advice to start low and slow and by low and slow I mean LOW and SLOW! Start with a dose of no more than 2.5mg of THC. If taken after work via an oral consumption method (via tincture or edible, not smoking), the effects will definitely kick in slowly and over time and last several hours, producing a state of relaxation. Microdoses of cannabis can also be taken orally before bed and will produce more restful, longer lasting sleep.

The reason why this works is because of the way that your body process cannabis when it’s consumed orally. When you smoke cannabis, you get very sharp peaks and valleys. When you ingest (or eat) cannabis, it is processed by your liver in a much different way. The effects build gradually and last 6-8 hours.

As mentioned previously, low-dose options are also now available in more traditional methods of administration, such as liquid tinctures and capsules. These methods of administration make it incredibly easy to know exactly what you are getting and to precisely control the dose. Just like you know that the ibuprofen you are taking for that hangover is exactly 200mg. They also offer a lot of discretion! No smell! No smoking.

Try Microdosing as a Substitute for Alcohol – Just for a night!

Substituting alcohol for cannabis in small doses can have surprising effects!

I’m also convinced cannabis is a great substitute for alcohol. You don’t have to replace your alcohol consumption entirely to experience the benefits of cannabis. In low doses, people can reap many stress-reducing benefits of cannabis without experiencing any undesired side effects such as coordination issues, drowsiness, paranoia or appetite stimulation. And in low doses, there’s no “getting high.”

No Lethal Dose

Another important thing to note about cannabis, especially relative to alcohol and prescription medication for stress and sleep, is that there’s never been one lethal overdose of cannabis worldwide. Not one. 100,000 Americans die every year from adverse reactions to routine use of FDA-approved prescription drugs and more than 30,000 deaths from alcohol every year, not including alcohol-related accidents or homicides, which would increase that number to almost 90,000.

Product Recommendations

Petra Mints by Kiva

My favorite microdosing product in any category for price, quality, consistency and effect is Petra Mints by Kiva. Kiva designed Petra with low dosing and new cannabis consumers in mind. With 2.5mg of THC per mint, Petra offers a reliable way to get the relaxing benefits of THC without the disruptive psychoactive effects of THC in higher doses. I’m telling you… I have tried a lot of products. A lot, in six states, and these are by far my favorite. They are portable. Taste great. Discreet. Kiva offers two flavors: Moroccan Mint and Eucalyptus, and they are both great.


Peppermint Pastilles by Goodship

If you are living in the state of Washington and looking for *the best* low dosing product on the market, the Goodship Peppermint Pastilles are the ones for you! There is excellent value with 40 mints per box and only 2.5 mg of THC per mint so the dosing is perfect for new cannabis consumers looking for a replacement to their evening glass of wine, or just to take the edge off. Another thing I like about the Pastilles is the variety of flavors. My personal favorite is the peppermint but it also comes in tart cherry and lemon-lime. There are a few annoying packaging issues here but overall, I give these great accolades for flavor, consistency and effect.

Getting Started

After the initial success of the guide, I expanded our education materials to include videos, articles, and other resources, all gathered online at Rebalan.com.

I’m proud to be partnering with progressive companies like WebJoint to help spread the word.

If you would like to learn more, just visit our site. Enter your name and address so we can keep in touch with you in our newsletter (we won’t ever share your info) and you can easily download the guide now at: www.rebalan.com/guide.

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