How Noah Cook Is Working to Solve Cannabis’ Quality at Scale Problem

Posted Posted in Blog

The world at large sees two primary images of cannabis. The grow – rows of cannabis plants growing under the sun or lights – and the final product. But just like any industry, there’s a small army of people between those two points without whom the entire system would collapse. We don’t often realize how complex the machine is, and how many cogs are involved, until we open it up.

Noah Cook is one of those crucial cogs. As one of the foremost experts on extraction, it’s Cook’s job to help make sure that farmers can produce high-quality product at scale while meeting the requirements of one of the most complex and quickly shifting regulatory environments in business.

Of course, Cook didn’t always know that he’d end up helping to build some of largest cannabis extraction facilities on the planet, but he did know his mother, and his mother was an inspiration. A recovered alcoholic who raised three kids by herself while getting her master’s degree, Cook’s mother went on to become a substance abuse counselor dedicated to helping people along their journey of healing.

Cook felt driven to follow in his mother’s footsteps and dedicate his life to helping others, but the road forward wasn’t immediately clear. The cost and amount of schooling involved in becoming a doctor seemed overwhelming, and not the best fit for his more engineering-leaning mind. And then in 2008 his home state of Michigan legalized cannabis, he became a licensed caregiver and discovered his passion.

“I started with small scale extractions for other small caregivers in Michigan, but there weren't enough caregivers and there wasn't enough material to really sustain any type of income. So I decided to move to California and put all my energy into large scale, cannabis concentrates that have the potential to provide medical benefits to the most people possible.”

Through a mix of dedication, constant learning and experimenting and outright hard work, Cook has been enormously successful in his mission, but knows better than almost anyone that the current challenges are still enormous.

From Cook’s perspective, the biggest problem facing the medical cannabis industry ties together both patients and cultivators: failed tests. Testing is necessary to protect patients, but cannabis processors are often drawing from five to ten farms to produce products and are simply unable to handle the complexity of subsequent of meeting very strict regulations, resulting in shortages that can endanger both patients, farms, and processors.

The best way for Cook to help patients then is to help these farms scale while meeting regulations, and despite the enormity of the task, he remains optimistic about a future where anyone who would benefit from cannabis has complete access to their medicine.

“Five years ago I would've said that not realistic with all the pushback. But I really see that now there's a lot of engaged players in this industry and people are really turning to science a lot more instead of conjecture.”

To hear more about how Cook and others in his field are working to make the machines that power natural medicines,  join us in Los Angeles on July 27 for a day devoted to exploring the intersection of cannahemp medical research and manufacturing technology.

Inside Sheila Gibson’s IP Fight at the Crossroads of Cannabis

Posted Posted in Blog

An industry exists outside regulation. The people in that industry are fueled by beliefs that inspire them to carry on despite facing enormous risk, but then the law changes. Regulations arrive, and so do newly-emboldened corporations. What first felt like a victory soon turns to worry as those pioneers realize they’ll now have to fight off those corporations to remain in an industry they sustained all those years.

 

That’s the story of many industries before, and that’s the current story for cannabis.

 

A talented and smart young professional spends years, decades even, building a career in an established industry. But despite the achievements, they find themselves seeking more: more meaning, more impact, more opportunities to truly help others. They discover cannabis and in turn discover their purpose, bringing all those years of experience to a constantly shifting, newly regulated industry.

That’s the story of many, and that’s Sheila Gibson’s story.

 

For 14 years Gibson helped build a massive, global IP portfolio for a cancer immunotherapy company and was passionate about the role she played in helping patients. But when financial realities forced the company to abandon some of its cancer immunotherapy IP, Gibson felt “horribly discouraged.”


Enter Sophie Ryan. Sophie’s parents were treating their daughter’s brain tumor with cannabis and documenting their story via @prayersforsophie and savingsophie.org, providing for Gibson what felt like an undeniable truth about cannabis as medicine. And with that, she had found her next purpose.

“As my curiosity led to a search for answers, I felt increasingly compelled to do more to help bring this plant back to life. Turning to what I knew best, I decided to focus my legal skills on protecting and fostering cannabis innovation and protecting the brands that will make cannabis available to everyone.”

After founding her own firm, Aura IP Law, Gibson has been focused on educating the cannabis industry about intellectual property, and how it can be used properly to ensure survival post-legalization. In short, many legacy cannabis operators find themselves in a bind.

In order to establish a trademark, Federal registration requires that the trademark be “in commerce,” or operating in a market regulated by Congress. But since cannabis is still federally illegal, the result is a Catch-22 that’s resulted in a chaotic IP environment that’s simultaneously created enormous opportunity and risk for cannabis operators.  

“There is a sweet spot right now where those in the industry have an opportunity to establish themselves with intellectual property positions while the large, established corporations and pharma are held at bay by the current federal position. I am working to empower those who have worked so hard to give this industry life before the industry is overrun with large corporations.”

Like John Poss, Gibson is devoted to democratizing medicine by seizing on the unique opportunity that cannabis provides. To hear her speak more about her work, join us in Los Angeles on July 27 for a day devoted to exploring the intersection of cannahemp medical research and manufacturing technology.

UPDATE: After sharing this article with Tracy Ryan, the mother of Sophie and the CEO of Cannakids, she felt inspired to share the following:

“Our journey with Sophie has been a long and challenging one. With 6 years of ups and downs, never-ending chemo and the side effects that follow, life has been exponentially more challenging than most can imagine. But to hear of stories like Sheila’s, and to get the phone calls from the patients and parents of kids we continue to help, it is that ever shining light that brings sunshine to our darkest of days. It’s these stories that will help us in our efforts to make the world a healthier place to live for all through the use of medical cannabis.”

Cannabis Chose Me

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Blog
John Poss’ Fight to Disrupt the Pharmaceutical Industry Through Cannabis

John Poss had spent 40 years working with troubled companies from every industry before becoming the CEO of GB Sciences Inc., a cutting edge cannabis cultivation and biopharmaceutical research company.

When Poss first began working with GB Sciences Inc, they were developing an agricultural Technology that, while spectacular in its conception, simply couldn’t scale enough to build a business around. However, Poss immediately recognized enormous value in the research that the company’s Chief Science Officer, Dr. Andrea Small Howard and her colleague at Chaminade University, Dr. Helen Turner were carrying out to scientifically demonstrate cannabis’ entourage effect.

“The research fascinated me. And I had survived cancer for seventeen years by getting into a clinical trial three weeks before I was supposed to be dead - it saved me. I said, ‘John, here's a way for you to payback for the good fortune you had. I saw the potential of cannabis as real evidence-based medicine, and the potential to help patients. That’s why I took the job.”

John Poss

Unfortunately, he quickly learned that there was a chasm between the desire to help and the reality of bringing new medicines to those patients.

According to Poss, cannabis-medicine faces enormous structural impediments. Beyond the innovation-stifling nature of the pharmaceutical industry itself, which routinely requires billions of dollars to bring a new medicine to market, cannabis’ designation as a Schedule 1 drug routinely sparks fear and seriously impedes new research. For example, a basic toxicity test for one of GB Science’s medicines took almost two years to complete because U.S. institutions refused to test any medicine even associated with cannabis.

While in theory those regulations are in place to protect, the reality is they can also hurt patients by denying them choice and access to medicine outside of what a small handful of pharmaceutical companies develop. That’s why Poss is so passionate about what he calls democratizing medicine.

“We should get a vote on our health treatment, but instead get put on the medical assembly line and before we know it, we're paying thousands of dollars a month. The sad thing is that individual caregivers, all care about the patients, but they are locked into a system that dictates their behavior.”

John Poss

In Poss’ view cannabis has the unique ability to disrupt and then help fix this broken system because, one, grown on a large scale cannabis has the potential to deliver a wide range of benefits at low cost. And two, while traditional pharmaceuticals are focused on isolating a single molecule, if Poss can help prove the entourage effect, he hopes companies will have to reconsider their approach to include the possibility of multiple parts of a plant working together as a medicine.

Poss is well aware he’s facing an uphill battle, but it’s one he’s completely committed to fighting.

“Our vision is a simple one,” he said. “Putting cannabis based medicine in the hands of patients.”

To hear John Poss speak more about his work on cannabis pharmaceuticals, his drive to democratize medicine, and much more, join us in Los Angeles on July 27 for a day devoted to exploring the intersection of cannahemp medical research and manufacturing technology.

The Giving Spirit

Posted Posted in Blog

The Giving Spirit Logo

Why Justice & Equity Are at the Core of Our Conference

“Billions of Dollars.”

“The Apple Store of Weed.”

These are the numbers and types of stories we constantly see associated with cannabis, and in large part it’s true. Cannabis and hemp both have the potential to be enormous economic drivers, creating jobs and revenue. But in this rush of opportunity, we can’t forget to confront the truth of who’s benefiting from this newly regulated industry, and who is being left out.

When we founded A Dope Conference Company and set out to develop Microscopes and Machines, it was imperative that we created an inclusive and forward-thinking conference that also brings attention to economic opportunity and community reinvestment. The values of social justice and social good are at the core of everything we do, and we’re dedicated to putting those values into direct action.

To this end, we’ll be donating 10% of all proceeds to The Giving Spirit, an organization that provides immediate aid and human connection with homeless men, women & children in that neighborhood and across Greater Los Angeles to bring attention to the ever-increasing economic disparities that exist locally and nationwide.

The Giving Spirit also educates about the human face of homelessness with the goal of recognizing that homelessness does not mean hopelessness and lives can be improved and housing challenges resolved through community awareness and action.

And as we create wealth and talk about social justice and social equity in cannabis, we didn’t want to be holed up in a fancy hotel in Beverly Hills. Other parts of Los Angeles (and all cities) need capital infusion and need people to visit those areas and invest in communities in need.

That is one of the many reasons we selected The Valentine and Grass Room to host our event. Not only is the space beautiful and interesting having served as a brothel, cannabis grow, ice-cream factory, and more over the years, it is also positioned between Skid Row and the newly-minted ivory towers of downtown Los Angeles. This juxtaposition of wealth and poverty was not taken lightly and we’re proud to give back with Microscopes & Machines, because giving back is dope.

We hope you’ll join us on July 27 – together we can create a cannabis industry that has a positive impact that reaches far beyond wealth and job creation by investing in our greater community.