2018 was a momentous year and real turning point for cannabis. Canada became the first G20 country to legalize full adult-use of marijuana. The FDA approved the first cannabis-based drug, Epidiolex for certain rare forms of epilepsy. In a different vertical, Congress passed the Farm Bill, legalizing industrial hemp, a non-intoxicating cousin of marijuana that contains cannabidiol (CBD). More states jumped on the marijuana bandwagon, bringing the total to 33 that allow medical cannabis, including 10 that have legalized recreational use.
While those are the headlines that bring some commonality to the marijuana space, the minutia of the lifespan of a cannabis bud varies tremendously from state-to-state. It’s a dynamic animal that is ever-changing as the industry matures, leaving most small companies struggling to navigate regulations and grow their business.
That’s where companies like STWC Holdings Inc. (OTCQB:STWC), better known simply as Strainwise Consulting, come in.
Experts in Every Sense of the Word
To say that Strainwise leadership knows the business is a gross understatement. Co-founder and CEO Erin Phillips sits amongst an esteemed list of Who’s Who in cannabis pioneers. She holds claim to being the first person in the world to secure a recreational marijuana license, one for The Annie’s: a Strainwise-branded dispensary in Central City, Colorado.
She has since consulted on hundreds more cannabis licenses.
Before entering the cannabis space, Phillips was a small business owner in the mortgage industry. As it goes with most small companies, she wore many hats, including leading auditing and funding, mortgages, loan originations, title company closings and more.
While Erin handled the cannabis consulting business, her husband, Shawn, was building a dispensary and cultivation business, taking it from the one original shop in Central City to nine locations, backstopped by over 36 licenses and 90,000 square feet of grow operations.
Phillips has aggregated her hard-earned knowledge of finance, real estate, start-up business and cannabis and parlayed it into the diversified Strainwise Consulting that it is now. She takes a back seat to no one in her success and advocacy legitimizing the industry as a founding member of the National Cannabis Chamber of Commerce and roles on advisory boards for the Southern California Association of Cannabis Professionals, the National Cannabis Chamber of Commerce and eCannex, as well as sitting on the national Cannabis Industry Association’s Policy Council and testifying as an expert witness in cannabis-related cases.
By The Book
Phillips didn’t just read the book, she wrote it. Literally. Strainwise designed and trademarked a cannabis education program detailing responsible consumption of different types of cannabis that has been adopted by many marijuana businesses in Colorado. Phillips has also co-authored cannabis regulations for a Native American tribe and several local jurisdictions.
It is this knowledge of maneuvering the regulatory pathway, standard operating procedures and the more than 13 years living, eating and breathing cannabis operations that the Strainwise CEO brings to clients and partners. And it is fair to call some partners, as Strainwise is not opposed to making an investment if the deal is right.
SquareOne and Strainwise U
If you need assistance with cannabis operations or knowledge, Strainwise brings the goods. The three-phase SquareOne platform is the roadmap used by Strainwise to deliver consistent results to clients and partners. Phase 1 is focused on market entry services, including a forensic look into the business model to decide if it is feasible and devising a plan for raising capital and building the brand. It also includes licensing support customized for every state.
Phase 2 involves operational readiness and launch services. Inter alia, Strainwise walks the client through timelines and milestones from concept to advertising. Further to this process, Strainwise in April launched their own packaging division, which provides customizable cannabis product packaging for its own goods, as well as clients.
Phase 3 is essentially follow-on advisory services, where the company is there to provide continued advice on all aspects of the business. To that point, Strainwise partnered with Dana Ress of Denver’s RedPoint Solutions on a joint venture to develop a software solution, dubbed “Supergrower,” that addresses complexities in operating a cannabis business, albeit cultivation, manufacturing, distribution or retail. Expectations are for Supergrower to be unveiled next month.
In addition to its traditional consulting services, the company offers Strainwise University. Run in collaboration with the National Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, the comprehensive coursework includes classroom training, live webinars and recorded online sessions. The education covers the cannabis gamut from regulatory compliance to best practices and, of course, how to get a license.
The U.S. is moving ahead with marijuana legalization at a frantic pace, as a cascading effect is gaining steam, bolstered by the demands of the people and government visions of new revenue. Illinois is set to become the 11th state to allow recreational marijuana now that legislators overwhelmingly voted in favor of House Bill 1438. The marijuana community is now turning its sights to New York and New Jersey and a handful of other states (CT, FL, NM, MN, DE, NH, RI) to see who is going to be next. Whichever state it is, STWC Holdings Inc. (OTCQB:STWC) will likely be there to game plan and help companies keep checking boxes towards success while avoiding pitfalls due too inexperience.
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