58 episodes


Seed to CEO: Stories from Cannabis Businesses MJBiz

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 16 Ratings


    Suits and Boots: PharmaCann Execs Get Dirty to Learn How to Grow

    Suits and Boots: PharmaCann Execs Get Dirty to Learn How to Grow

    Brett Novey was recruited in 2016 by two pals from his accounting days to join them at a small start-up called PharmaCann, which had just won medical marijuana business licenses in Illinois and New York.
    The company was comprised of accountants, financial specialists and lawyers who were trying to learn to grow cannabis at scale.
     “There was a big learning curve,” recalled Novey, who did everything from development and sales to cultivation and manufacturing before becoming CEO in 2019.
    Today, PharmaCann has more than 50 dispensaries and 10 cultivation and processing facilities in eight states, mainly in the Midwest and Northeast.
    In this episode, listen to the tactics Novey and his team used to create a canna-empire, including:  
    Focusing on limited license states with big populations. Participating in day-to-day operations to learn about the plant and building and running cannabis facilities. Finding the right acquisition to take your company to the next level. Building trust with patients and regulators. Understanding how to reduce production costs. Communicating with employees  
    Who is Brett Novey?
    Brett Novey is the CEO of Illinois-based PharmaCann, a multi-state operator currently present in eight states, primarily in the Midwest and North East. In early 2016, Novey started with PharmaCann  wearing two hats — chief financial officer and chief operating office — before becoming CEO in 2019. Novey joined PharmaCann from KCG Holdings (a NYSE-listed corporation), where he was the global head of financial planning and analysis, responsible for capital management, forecasting and budgeting, among other responsibilities. Before that, he worked in the restructuring practices of accounting firms KPMG and Arthur Andersen.

    • 41 min
    If I Can Make It Here: Etain's Women-led New York Success Story

    If I Can Make It Here: Etain's Women-led New York Success Story

    Hillary Peckham initially had zero interest when her mother called to see if she’d consider starting a medical marijuana company together. But the younger Peckham changed her mind after researching cannabis and learning the benefits it provides to people across the country.
    In 2015, Etain Health was born in New York state. As COO – a post she still holds today - Hillary helped steer Etain through the New York market’s lean early days when there was a dearth of patients.
    But the company survived and in March was acquired by RIV Capital for $250 million.
    In this episode, you’ll learn Etain’s keys to success including:
    Establishing a strong narrative and team.
    Partnering with area institutions and offering philanthropic giveback to garner respect and loyalty in local communities.
    Tips for financing and launching a vertical operation in a short period of time.
    How to get unique products to customers before your competitors.
    What a medical business should do to prepare for a recreational market.
    Navigating a successful exit.
    Who is Hillary Peckman?
    Hillary Peckham is the co-founder and chief operating officer of Etain Health, a vertically integrated cannabis company in New York state that was recently acquired for $250 million. Before getting into the cannabis industry eight years ago, Peckham worked at her family’s construction business, helping with marketing operations. She is also a piano teacher who still accompanies bands and Broadway vocal coaches.  

    • 41 min
    Legacy + Business Education = Success for The People's Ecosystem

    Legacy + Business Education = Success for The People's Ecosystem

    Christine De La Rosa, the co-founder and CEO of The People’s Ecosystem, a Bay Area cannabis company, started out in the legacy market where she built a community of cannabis customers and talent.
    De La Rosa also started and ran restaurants, galleries and other “mainstream businesses,” gathering executive experience. But that mainstream experience didn’t prepare De La Rosa for the unique challenges of being in cannabis, such as 280E and raising capital for a federally illegal venture.
    De La Rosa and The People’s Ecosystem overcame those challenges and now she’s gifting her insights to fellow cannabis entrepreneurs.
    In this episode of Seed to CEO, De La Rosa shares:
    How she leveraged her legacy experience – including building a team of legacy talent – in the licensed market.
    How small businesses can partner with each other to reduce costs.
    The importance of finding and learning from trusted mentors.
    Networking to score off-market real estate deals and other deals.
    Capital-raising strategies for small businesses.
    Who is Christine De La Rosa?
    Christina De La Rosa started The People's Ecosystem, a California-based cannabis company in 2016, but her cannabis business experience extends another 20 years before that in the legacy market. De La Rosa has also started a restaurant and a gallery and worked as a technology and database consultant both independently and for major corporations such as Verizon. De La Rosa is also a member of the National Cannabis Business Industry Association, where she chairs the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. She also graces the cover of MJBiz Magazine’s May-June 2022 issue.

    • 40 min
    How Ruben Lindo Launched a Growing Canna-Empire

    How Ruben Lindo Launched a Growing Canna-Empire

    Ruben Lindo spent more than 20 years in the legacy cannabis market before a bounced check landed him in federal prison for 14 months. After getting out, Lindo briefly worked at a small construction start-up in upstate New York but in 2015 entered the cannabis industry as an advisor to an aspiring cannabis investor. Together, they founded CBD-focused Phoenix Nutraceuticals in 2018, and Lindo founded his THC-focused cultivation company, Black Mar Farms in 2019.  
    To make his cannabis companies successful, Lindo mined his own diverse business experience that includes launching his own businesses, working in the technology sector, construction management, and M&A sectors, as well as 10 years playing professional football. Lindo shares his insights on this episode of Seed to CEO, including: 
    -New businesses that go for “low-hanging” fruit cost less to launch and have a better chance of succeeding. 
    -When your business faces price pressure, focus on your best products 
    -Customer service is what gains traction with customers. 
    -How to partner with a caregiver to create a successful recreational business. 
    -How to identify and target a consumer segment and create brands that resonate with those consumers.

    Who is Ruben Lindo?
    Ruben Lindo is a serial entrepreneur, financier, and former professional football player who broke into the cannabis industry in 2015 as a consultant and then launched a national CBD company, Phoenix Nutraceuticals, in 2018. The following year, Lindo launched Blak Mar Farms, which today is present in three states and going for more. Lindo spent 10 years playing professional football and is a member of Athletes for Care, a cannabis advocacy group. He has also launched coffee and cigar companies, restaurants, tech companies, worked in construction management, and at nonprofits.

    • 47 min
    How to speak at MJBizCon + Jim Belushi

    How to speak at MJBizCon + Jim Belushi

    MJBizCon conference organizer Stacy Putt gives the inside scoop on how to score a coveted speaking role at MJBizCon.

    Plus, a rebroadcast of our conversation with  actor-turned-cannabis business owner Jim Belushi. Belushi shares his story on how he pivoted from stage and screen to farm and field. He’ll share insights about launching a cannabis operation, converting an outdoor grow into a greenhouse grow, and switching from conventional lights to LED lights, as well as farming mistakes, firing growers, selecting strains and branding.  
    Who is Jim Belushi?
    Jim Belushi is best known as an actor and comedian but nowadays spends at least half his time at Belushi’s Farm, his cannabis cultivation site in southern Oregon. He bought 93 acres land because he thought the area was beautiful, and when Oregon legalized recreational cannabis, he jumped into it. Today, Belushi’s farm sells flower, pre-rolls, cartridges, and soon edibles, and has also expanded into or looking to expand into other states, including California, Massachusetts, and Maryland.   

    • 56 min
    Whole-Plant, Whole Business Papa and Barkley's Recipe for Cannabis Success

    Whole-Plant, Whole Business Papa and Barkley's Recipe for Cannabis Success

    Papa & Barkley CEO Guy Rocourt is out to right the “outright wrongs” in cannabis, he tells host Chris Walsh in this episode of Seed to CEO.   The legacy market grower and processor has leveraged this ethos to build one of the cannabis industry’s most respected and successful companies. But it also took acquiring and implementing new business skills, something that Rocourt learned the hard way.
    Rocourt, a U.S. Navy veteran who did submarine duty, takes listeners on a deep dive to explore: 
    How to leverage experimentation and observation for more effective cannabis therapy  Why whole-plant and solventless medicine are superior when it comes to cannabis formulations  Why you should be wary when investors throw money at you  Why great products need branding and marketing to reach the public  The importance of having first-mover advantage  Taking a long-term view to your company’s success in the cannabis industry  Who is Guy Rocourt?
    Guy Rocourt is the co-founder and CEO of Papa & Barkley, a Los Angeles-based cannabis company specializing in topicals, edibles, ingesitbles, and transdermal products. The seven-year-old company sells CBD products nationwide and THC products in California. A former legacy operator, Rocourt in 2009 started Black Diamond Vapes, a vape cartridge company he is still president of today, and in 2012 he co-founded and built NEOS, on of Denver’s first light hydrocarbon extraction facilities. The extraction pioneer is also a U.S. Navy veteran and erstwhile filmmaker whose passion and insight makes him one of the cannabis industry’s most sought-after speakers. 

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
16 Ratings

16 Ratings

megan@podcastingyou ,

Incredible Content!

Chris does such a good job covering a variety of topics. The guests offer valuable insight as well. I would recommend this podcast to anyone looking to be inspired and informed!

ErBG2 ,

Amazing podcast

Great interviews with the best and the brightest in the industry. Chris knows exactly what the listener wants to hear and asks the clarifying questions. The best!

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