MaxQ Cannabis Management Automation Works Wonders for Curio Wellness

In the complex world of cannabis manufacturing, the ability to manage operations efficiently and minimize costs can mean the difference between success and failure.

Brad Friedlander, Curio Wellness CIO, described how his company has gained a major competitive advantage by employing MaxQ Cannabis to manage its cannabis operations.

Growing high-grade cannabis and producing premium products requires careful management in all stages of the operation—including planning, cultivating, harvesting, testing, curing, extraction, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, inventory management, and sales.

The MaxQ Cannabis management system has yielded benefits across all these areas by enabling Curio to operate with greater efficiency while minimizing costs, Friedlander said.

Automated Product Data Management

Automated product data management has yielded significant time and cost savings, said Friedlander. “We’ve created some standardization that enables us to create new parts and strains with ease from other data we have in the system,” he explained.

When a new strain is entered into the system, all the associated parts are created automatically, including SKUs (stock keeping units), bills of materials, kits, and bundles for each of the products.

Automated product data management creates all product data in a consistent, standard, and correct manner, greatly reducing errors caused by manual entry.

“Just click a button and it creates the inventory items, kits, BOMs, and bundles automatically,” Friedlander explained. “The setup that would take hours manually, we do in 30 seconds.”

Integrated Accounting

Most competitors are running their business on QuickBooks and jumping between different accounting systems, said Friedlander.

His observation agrees with that of cannabis accounting expert Andrew Hunzicker, who relates that many cannabis companies operating in this manner find themselves plagued with financial struggles stemming from the complexity of cannabis accounting, including cost controls within the growth, manufacturing, and retail phases, as well as compliance and tax issues.

Best practices for controlling costs in the manufacturing and distribution of cannabis, Hunzicker explains, are stringent and integrated accounting, coupled with the use of advanced analytics to track costs, perform forecasts, and maximize efficiency.

The integrated accounting of MaxQ Cannabis, coupled with Power BI analytics, provides all these advantages, including easy data entry and data handling, with changes that ripple through the system automatically, said Friedlander. This saves time and labor and eliminates error, he explained.

“The integrated accounting, data handling, cost tracking, and auditing are huge advantages,” Friedlander said.

Cost Tracking

The ability to produce cannabis products at the lowest possible cost is critical. Automated cost tracking within MaxQ Cannabis enables Curio Wellness to track its costs across all phases of its operation.

“The ability to track costs is a huge one,” said Friedlander.

The system enables the company to track the cost of inventory by automating the process of accumulating cost into inventory, he explained.

“We can see historical data that we can’t see in the regular tracking system,” said Friedlander. “It helps us to understand costs and control them.”

Product Traceability

Automated product tracking is another key feature that helps Curio Wellness increase efficiency while reducing costs. The MaxQ Cannabis management system enables Curio Wellness to trace any product back to its origin with ease, said Friedlander.

“It gives us full traceability,” he explained. “If there is an issue with a product, we can trace it back to the batch in which it was created and who we sold it to with ease.”

Comprehensive product tracking and traceability enable Curio Wellness to stay fully compliant and auditable for any government agency that requires compliance information, Friedlander said.

Quality Control

The MaxQ Cannabis system automation also streamlines the lab testing process, including automated uploading of lab results and printing of labels for each of Curio Wellness’s products.

The system will store the Certificate of Analysis (COA) and automatically generate labels from lab results. When products are shipped to customers, the lab results certificate will be mailed automatically with the invoice.

“The system automates the processing of the lab reports for each product for each customer for every order,” said Friedlander. “The handling of lab results and label printing is completely automated, a process that was very time consuming in the past.”

Analytics Advance Business

Curio Wellness acquired Power BI analytics as a standard component of the MaxQ Cannabis system. Friedlander said Power BI is used to monitor and manage the entire business, including operations, sales, and marketing.

“Our whole executive team uses it for sales and key metrics, sales by customer, what products are trending, how things are selling within categories, in both quantity and dollars,” he explained. “We can view data in real time, daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly.”

Using Power BI in conjunction with MaxQ Cannabis has resulted in better planning, decision making, performance, and customer satisfaction, he said.

The executive team uses Power BI to monitor key metrics, including sales by customer, which products are trending, how things are selling within categories, in both quantity and dollars, Friedlander explained.

The ability to monitor and analyze key metrics in real time have enabled the operations and sales teams to make better decisions and change business outcomes, Friedlander said. “It’s allowed us to quickly see problem areas and address them immediately rather than at month’s end,” he explained.

“Most of our competitors are on QuickBooks,” Friedlander explained, “so they don’t have the ability to do what we do with Power BI. It’s a big competitive advantage.”

Ongoing Improvement

Curio Wellness works with MaxQ to extend the system’s capabilities and refine processes in ways that will yield even greater efficiency, Friedlander said. Plans include automating the harvesting of crops with integrated RFID readers, as well as adding a host of new Power BI features.

Has MaxQ Cannabis delivered the efficiency and cost control benefits he had hoped it would? “Absolutely,” said Friedlander. “The system not only enables us to operate more efficiently, it gives us a huge advantage over our competitors.”

As the maker of the most modern, integrated, and scalable cannabis manufacturing solution, MaxQ has deep cannabis industry expertise. Contact us to learn more about the latest trends and management solutions in the cannabis manufacturing industry. 

 


Finally, a Cannabis Management System That Fits the Bill

After working with 10-15 different cannabis management systems, cannabis accounting specialist Andrew Hunzicker found the solutions were “filled with bugs, have had significant downtime, and have many features that simply don’t work.”

He found further that among the existing cannabis management solutions there was not one that was “reliable, effective, or efficient.”

Unfortunately, he concluded, “a reliable Cannabis ERP does not exist in 2018.”

At some point, Hunzicker said, he hoped a vendor would overcome these issues and provide an “all-in-one solution.” Until then, he said, “cannabis companies are forced to piecemeal together several systems.”

MaxQ to the Rescue

That was the case until MaxQ Cannabis entered the picture, providing an all-in-one ERP cannabis management solution with all the functionality Hunzicker hoped would someday become available. Although too new to be included in Hunzicker’s report, MaxQ Cannabis is now available to provide streamlined management to cannabis companies of all sizes.

Built on the Acumatica ERP platform, MaxQ Cannabis is a tightly integrated and highly automated cannabis management suite tailored to the needs of cannabis cultivation and manufacturing companies. With MaxQ Cannabis, all the problems with accounting, compliance, tracking, and reliability cited in the report are eliminated.

Goodbye QuickBooks

As Hunzicker notes, with no integrated accounting and tracking solution available, cannabis companies have had to rely on a patchwork of QuickBooks, Xero, Excel, and other apps to manage their operations.

MaxQ Cannabis solves this problem by providing integrated accounting functionality that encompasses the entire management suite, eliminating the need to employ two or more systems.

Rather than separate accounting, CRM, ERP, inventory, and e-commerce systems, MaxQ Cannabis provides an integrated suite of ERP, CRM, supply chain, and e-commerce functions.  All functionality—including accounting, cost tracking, product tracking, compliance, quality control, and business intelligence—are fully integrated across all phases of cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and sales.

Automation Advantages

MaxQ Cannabis enables cannabis businesses to be more efficient through automation that saves time and labor, streamlines operations, and minimizes costs. For example, the process of entering a new cannabis strain into the system automatically creates all the associated parts—inventory IDs, bills of materials, kits, and bundles—at the press of a button. The automated process takes less than a minute, whereas it would take hours to input the data manually.

The same type of time and labor savings are gained through the automation of the lab testing process. MaxQ Cannabis automates the lab testing process by uploading the lab results and printing the labels for each cannabis product, a process that is time consuming when performed manually.

The system will store the Certificate of Acceptance (COA) and automatically generate labels from lab results. When products are shipped to customers, the lab results certificate will be mailed automatically with the invoice.

Compliance is ensured by automatically creating and transmitting regulatory reports to the appropriate government authorities, such as the Metrc reporting system.

Full-Spectrum Functionality

As Hunzicker points out, cannabis is a complex world involving several sub-industries (farming, chemical manufacturing, food production, and retail), and mistakes can be costly. Cannabis companies, he notes, are faced with a plethora issues such as multi-entity structures, consolidated accounting, cannabis and non-cannabis divisions, and complex customer resource management.

Providing a full spectrum of accounting and management capabilities—including multi-currency and multi-company—is how MaxQ Cannabis stands out from the pack.

No longer do cannabis companies have to settle for less-than-optimal management solutions. Now they can turn to MaxQ Cannabis, a next-generation cannabis management system with the unity of accounting, product tracking, cost tracking, compliance, quality control, and business intelligence that was missing in first-generation systems.

As the maker of the most modern, integrated, and scalable cannabis manufacturing solution, MaxQ has deep cannabis industry expertise. Contact us to learn more about the latest trends and management solutions in the cannabis manufacturing industry. 


Using Acumatica Import with an Alternate Key

When importing data into Acumatica using the Integration tools, I was under the impression you needed to have the key to a record in your data to update the existing record. Thankfully, I was wrong and Acumatica provides an easy way to do this, when you know the secret…

A good example of how to resolve this issue is the way the MaxQ Cannabis solution reconciles lab testing records. In MaxQ Cannabis, there is a form that allows a user to track the testing of different products by their lot number. As required by law, these lots need to be tested by a certified independent lab. The lab technician will go onsite and take a small sample of the lot to be tested, and in doing so creates a new lot number for the sample. The lab will test the sample and report the results by using its lot number, hence the issue. We need to use the lab’s lot number to find the correct lab results record to update the test results (see image below).

As you can see, we have the Lab Package Tag (Acumatica Lot Number) as a field on the lab report and need to update the Lab Result ID for record id 00000012.

The Lab Package Tag is part of the Lab Results Selector. We need to add some special lines to the import scenario to accomplish this. Notice the first three lines of the image below. We are telling the import scenario to use the Lab Package Tag to look up the Lab Results ID and update the data.

More information on this importing technique can be found in the Acumatica I100 Integration Training Guide section “Updating Auto-Numbered Records by a Selector Column (Customers).”

Note: To use fields that are not part of the id’s selector, you can use the special @@ method (shown below). This is documented in the Acumatica I100 Integration Training Guide section called “Updating Auto-Numbered Records by Custom Key (Customers).”

MaxQ is a provider of advanced Acumatica business solutions across a wide range of applications and industriesContact us to learn more about how MaxQ for Acumatica solutions can help your business.


A Heady but Wobbly Takeoff for Canadian Cannabis

After a big media buildup and much anticipation, recreational cannabis finally became legal in Canada.

The results out of the gate were mixed, with sales surging in some places, lagging in others, and supply shortages making it difficult for many Canadians to purchase legal cannabis.

One thing became clear: Canadians love cannabis.

Big Bang

The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), which sells online, reported making 100,000 sales within the first 24 hours, with sales rising to 150,000 orders within the first week. Shopify, whose e-commerce software powers a number of Canadian government cannabis retail sites, said the sites collectively were receiving more than 100 orders per minute.

The Canadian economy was the happy beneficiary of this frenzied activity. As Vice.com reported, “Canada made some serious cash on day one of legalization.”

The problem was that the outlets could not keep up with the demand.  As 420Intel reported, “many stores and provinces are completely out of product” and “some experts think it might take a year or longer before the country can supply enough weed to meet demand.”

Blame Game

With so many of the major cannabis growers being Canadian companies, people are finding it difficult to understand why there are shortages, and fingers are pointing in many directions to assign blame.

Provinces are the sole wholesalers of cannabis and cannabis products in Canada. According to reports, provinces say they cannot supply retailers because they are not receiving the supply they were promised from the licensed growers.

While some observers believe the cannabis growers are to blame for not producing enough cannabis, others believe it is the slow pace of Canadian government agencies to grant the licenses that permit growers to sell cannabis.

Carousel of Excuses

The government-run Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) is the largest retailer in Canada and the only sales channel for legal marijuana sales in Ontario. The OCS initially blamed the delays in fulfilling orders on demand “beyond what we anticipated” and a postal labor dispute that disrupted its exclusive shipper, Canada Post.

However, OCS president Patrick Ford later sent customers a note saying that some of the items from licensed cannabis producers were “mislabeled” and “this delayed our ability to ship your order to you.”

Amateur Growers

In a report on Vice.com, Dan Sutton, founder of Tantalus Labs, said the production capability of many Canadian cannabis companies was overblown because the managers were business people who lacked the agricultural experience needed to grow cannabis on a large scale.

The institutional knowledge needed to reliably grow massive amounts of cannabis simply doesn’t exist, he said, and the industry won’t figure it out for a while.

Sutton said he did not believe there would be enough supply to meet demand for 18 months, which would “result in the collapse of some of these big companies on the stock market.”

Harvest Coming Soon

Jordan Sinclair, vice-president of communications for Canopy Growth Corp., disagreed with Sutton’s assessment.

Sinclair said the shortages were the result of larger than anticipated demand, logistical issues in getting product onto store shelves, and yields that are still a few months away from being harvested.

Canopy has been expanding its production capability over the past year, but it will be a few more months before the facilities are in full production mode, he said.

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

Rosalie Wyonch, an analyst with C.D. Howe Institute, said she believed there was plenty of blame to go around and that “no one is completely guilty, and no one is completely innocent.” Licensed producers failed to deliver enough cannabis, provinces failed to procure enough cannabis, and the Canadian government via Health Canada may not have approved enough LP licenses in time for legalization.

Wyoch also said legal producers were short on medical cannabis because they were routing deliveries to meet their obligation for recreational cannabis.

“The truth is, there’s a huge incentive for licensed providers to supply distributors before they supply medical patients, and as a result these medical patients are getting the short end of the stick,” she said.

A Little Perspective

Taking a step back, we can see that even with the shortages, Canada is doing a lot better than other places in which recreational cannabis became legal. In California, for example, there was no cannabis available for an entire year after legalization became official, and cannabis dispensaries are still spotty throughout the state.

In Massachusetts, recreational marijuana was legalized in November 2016, but sales are not expected to begin until this month, a full two years after legalization and four months after the July 1 target date this past summer.

Future Looks Bright

Despite the shortages, the strong demand for cannabis signals a bright future for the cannabis market in Canada. With so many major Canadian cannabis companies focused on producing large quantities of premium cannabis, consumers will be well served in the near future.

Cam Battley, Chief Corporate Officer at Aurora Cannabis, is among the bullish believers, noting that even though some cannabis companies might have stumbled getting their products to the provinces, the fact that there was such high demand was a good thing. Customers will be pleased with the high-quality cannabis that will be available to them, he said.

As we noted in a previous post, major Canadian cannabis companies like Aurora, Canopy Growth Corp., The Green Organic Dutchman, and Tilray are looking beyond Canada and making moves to become leading providers worldwide.

As the Financial Post reports, a new report from the Bank of Montreal projects a worldwide cannabis market of $194 billion in 2025. The report pegs the total Canadian cannabis market at $5.9 billion. Based on these projections, says the Financial Post, “the potential of the global cannabis industry is so vast that it could eventually make the sky-high valuations of some Canadian licensed producers look like bargains.”

As the maker of the most modern, integrated, and scalable cannabis manufacturing solution, MaxQ has deep cannabis industry expertise. Contact us to learn more about the latest trends and management solutions in the cannabis manufacturing industry. 


How to Fix Incorrect Purchase Receipt Accruals

                                    In this series, we answer real-life questions from Acumatica users

QUESTION:  I have a variance in my PO accrual report. How do I correct it?

ANSWER:  If you have a report in which there is an accrual account difference, the cause may be multiple Reversals of AP Bills. If this is the case, here is how to resolve it:

First, if you perform a Reverse Action in an AP Bill created from a PO Receipt, as shown below:

Please note that the system provides a warning:

If you continue, all links to the PO Receipt are carried over to the Debit Adjustment (highlighted below):

Unfortunately, there is no restriction to the number of times the AP Bill Reversal Action can be performed, allowing, in this example, creation of a second Debit Adjustment tied to the same PO Receipt:

When the Debit Adjustments are released, the result is double Unbilled Quantities and Unbilled Amounts in the Purchase Receipt Accrual Details report:

RESOLUTION

It is not apparent how to correct this error. You can do so by creating a new AP Bill against the PO Receipt:

The system will take all documents associated with the Receipt into account and create a net Bill, i.e., double the Quantities and Amounts, as shown in this example:

Once the Bill has been released, the PO Receipt has been cleared from the report:

MaxQ is a provider of advanced Acumatica business solutions across a wide range of applications and industriesContact us to learn more about how MaxQ for Acumatica solutions can help your business.


Kudos for Acumatica: Champion ERP and MaxQ’s Solution Platform of Choice

MaxQ chose Acumatica ERP as the platform on which to build advanced business solutions because of its modern cloud-based design, integrated architecture, comprehensive feature set, user-friendly interface, advanced automation capabilities, and more.

It is therefore satisfying to see these same qualities recognized and validated by analysts and product reviewers in their evaluations of Acumatica.

Among the sterling reviews Acumatica received this year, PC Magazine UK  found Acumatica to be best in class, with the reviewer giving Acumatica a rating of “Excellent” as well as the Editors’ Choice Award.

The PC Magazine review found that “Acumatica’s intuitive design, enterprise scalability, and flexible pricing model help make Acumatica an excellent choice for enterprise resource planning, general ledger accounting, and inventory management.” 

Acumatica’s browser-based user experience (UX), said the review, “is excellent, with a feature-rich environment accessible via an intuitive user interface (UI).”

Top of the Leaderboard

Nucleus Research also found Acumatica to be a top-tier ERP leader in its recently released “ERP Technology Value Matrix” report. The report placed Acumatica atop the Leaders quadrant and praised Acumatica’s continuing refinement of its platform, finding that “high usability and flexibility are at the center of Acumatica’s development philosophy” as it continues to add features and automate processes.

Acumatica, said the report, “continues to lead the way in usability, serving several industry verticals, including commerce, manufacturing, and field service.” Nucleus also gave Acumatica accolades for its responsiveness to customers and focus on providing rich mobile capabilities.

Nucleus found that Acumatica’s latest version, released in September, “is bringing a host of incremental improvements to each of its vertical solutions focused on increasing customer satisfaction.”

Acumatica Shines at Summit 2018

IDC attended Acumatica’s Summit 2018 and spoke with company executives and customers. In its report on the Summit, IDC gave Acumatica high marks for its technology and customer satisfaction, finding that Acumatica has added “a significant number of new features and functionality with the release of Acumatica 2018 R1.” Based on interviews with Acumatica customers, IDC said it believed “Acumatica is well aligned with the market in terms of added features, channel momentum, and strategic road map updates.”

Like PC Magazine and Nucleus Research, IDC praised Acumatica for listening to its customers and making improvements to the Acumatica ERP platform based on customer feedback. Acumatica, said IDC, “took great effort to incorporate customer feedback into 2018 R1 even down to relatively small details like reducing the number of clicks while building a report in the financial suite.” This, said IDC, represents a granular level of focus on both customers and technology that will continue to help advance growth quickly.

IDC found that the value Acumatica was providing to its customers was reflected in its excellent revenue and growth numbers, including 144% net-new revenue growth while reaching the 4,000-customer mark in 2017. In addition, said IDC, Acumatica saw 90% year-over-year growth from its parent channel, indicating “building momentum and energy related to its solution.”

Exclusive Club

A report by Mint Jutras, a research and advisory firm that specializes in evaluating ERP solutions, found Acumatica to be an outstanding solution, citing four key elements that significantly differentiate Acumatica from its competitors:

  • The ability to access the solution from anywhere, on any device.
  • A flexible deployment model, allowing the customer to choose public cloud, private cloud or licensed on premise.
  • Modern consumption-based licensing meant to be affordable and inclusive of all designated employees as well as key customers and partners.
  • A connected cloud platform that aids in extending the solution without creating islands of automation.

As Mint Jutras noted, while there are vendors that can make a similar claim for one of these differentiators, “if we combine all four, Acumatica is indeed in a class all by itself.”

MaxQ + Acumatica = Unbeatable Value

Acumatica’s openness and flexibility have enabled MaxQ to create a framework on which we are able to extend the value of Acumatica and tailor solutions to specific industries and applications.

MaxQ solutions built on the Acumatica framework include Advanced Revenue Management, Advanced Billing, Inventory Management, and a Cannabis Management Solution that can handle the most demanding needs of large-scale cannabis manufacturers.

For all the reasons noted by the analysts and reviewers above, MaxQ’s many satisfied customers would agree that a MaxQ solution based on Acumatica offers outstanding value. To see what all the fuss is about, we invite you to see firsthand what a MaxQ Acumatica solution could do for your business.

MaxQ is a provider of advanced Acumatica business solutions across a wide range of applications and industriesContact us to learn more about how MaxQ for Acumatica solutions can help your business.

 


As Legalization Looms, Canadian Cannabis Players Make Moves

With recreational cannabis on the brink of becoming legal in Canada, major Canadian cannabis companies are making strategic moves to strengthen their positions.

While the Canadian market for recreational cannabis will be sizable, big Canadian cannabis producers like Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth Corp., Tilray, and Aphria are positioning to become leading suppliers of cannabis products worldwide.

Cannabis being illegal on the federal level has hampered the industry’s growth in the U.S., whereas Canadian cannabis ventures have benefited from the support of the Canadian government.

“Our government embraces us, and we are seeing a boom in entrepreneurism in this industry,” said Rob Anderson, the former CEO of The Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD).

The cannabis-friendly environment has led to Canada become an international cannabis hub and a hotbed of cannabis cultivation and investment. “Weed is to Canada what Silicon Valley is to the U.S. We will see a lot more money flowing in,” said Jason Spatafora, co-founder of Marijuanastocks.com.

The New York Times echoed this view, asserting that “a financial boom not seen since the dot-com mania of the late 1990s has overtaken Canada.”

TGOD Wheeling and Dealing

Among the Canadian cannabis ventures making waves, The Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD) has received kudos from analysts for “executing flawlessly.” An organic-only business strategy and series of shrewd deals has helped catapult TGOD to the top tier of cannabis ventures in a short span of time.

In June 2018, TGOD announced that it had created a new global division to focus on the beverage industry. To execute this plan, TGOD is building a 40,000-square-foot state-of-the-art research and development facility and a 287,245-square foot cultivation facility capable of producing 40,000 kilograms of premium organic cannabis for its beverages.

To create cannabis-infused beverages, TGOD entered into an exclusive agreement with Stillwater Brands to license its RIPPLE SC (Soluble Cannabinoids) and other food and beverage technologies. RIPPLE SC makes it easier to infuse CBD oils into beverages and edibles.

TGOD also acquired HemPoland, a leading European manufacturer and marketer of premium organic CBD oils. Technical 420 called this acquisition “a game changer,” noting that HemPoland provides TGOD with a European gateway with distribution channels to over 750 million people and sales in more than 700 locations across 13 countries.

Power Cost Gambit

In a previous post, we discussed the critical importance of minimizing cannabis production costs as cannabis prices continue to decline. TGOD has devised a clever strategy to minimize power costs, which is, as US News relates, a major cost factor in growing cannabis.

To reduce its power costs to a fraction of what its competitors pay, TGOD has entered into partnerships with provincial power suppliers. A partnership with Hamilton Utility Corp. has enabled TGOD to reduce its power cost from 13 cents per kilowatt hour to less than 5 cents at its Hamilton, Ontario, facility. A partnership with Eaton Corp. is enabling TGOD to obtain power at 75% less than its competitors. At its Quebec plant, TGOD is paying less than 4 cents per kilowatt hour.

All of these moves have enabled TGOD to position itself as a platform to launch cannabinoid-infused food and beverage products globally as new markets legalize. As equities.com notes, this puts TGOD in a prime spot as more large-scale beverage and alcohol companies enter the market.

Aurora Roars

Another Canadian player making big moves is Aurora Cannabis, which in January took a 17.6% stake in TGOD with an option to increase its share to 51%. Aurora made news earlier this year by acquiring MedRelief for $2.5 billion in what Reuters called “the biggest deal yet to unify major Canadian cannabis growers.” The MedRelief acquisition followed on the heels of Aurora’s acquisition of CanniMed for $890 million, which made Aurora “the biggest pot producer, by market value, in the world.”

Aurora also expanded its cannabis production capability with the opening of two new state-of-the-art cannabis production facilities–Aurora Sky, capable of producing 8,000 kilograms of cannabis per month, and Aurora Vie in Montreal, capable of producing 4,000 kilograms per year.

To optimize its customer experience, Aurora inked a deal with Shopify to revamp its e-commerce platform, a move that will help Aurora sell its cannabis wares globally as legalization continues to spread. Canopy Growth and Hydropothecary also have employed Shopify e-commerce platforms to sell to medical patients.

Acting Locally and Globally

As Technical 420 notes, while the Canadian recreational market is a big opportunity for the cannabis producers, the global market represents an even more significant opportunity. This is why the major Canadian cannabis producers are taking a two-pronged approach by establishing production plants and retail outlets within Canada while expanding their reach beyond Canada into worldwide markets.

In an August post, we described how Canadian cannabis producers and alcohol distributers were making deals to establish cannabis retail outlets for the recreational market. Cronos Group has taken a similar route by forging an agreement with MedMen to establish retail stores for the recreational market in Canada.

To beef up its retail presence, Canopy Growth Corp. acquired Hiku Brands, which sells a number of leading cannabis brands and operates retail outlets in provinces throughout Canada.  Canopy Growth also extended its footprint in South America beyond Brazil and Chile by forging a deal with Spectrum Cannabis Columbia.

Aphria also made a move to expand into Latin America and the Caribbean by acquiring Scythian Biosciences Corp.’s  Latin American and Caribbean assets. The deal gives Aphria exposure to more than 300 million people in Colombia, Argentina, and Jamaica.

Aurora Cannabis obtained a 51% stake in Aurora Nordic that will help extend its reach into Scandinavian and broader European markets. Aurora Nordic has a license to produce cannabis in Denmark, which Aurora said will give the company a major advantage as one of few companies with a license to cultivate in Europe. Aurora has forged a number of international deals, including agreements to supply medical cannabis to Germany, Italy, and Australia.

Getting Listed

This past February, Cronos Group became the first cannabis company to be listed on Nasdaq in the United States. In May, Canopy Growth became the first cannabis company to list on the New York Stock Exchange. At the same time, liquor giant Constellation Brands invested $4 billion in Canopy Growth.

Tilray became the third cannabis stock to be listed on a U.S. stock exchange when it joined Nasdaq in July. Tilray went even further by being the first pure-play marijuana company to go public on a major U.S. exchange. Tilray grows Cannabis in Canada and Portugal and distributes medical cannabis products in 10 countries, including Australia, Canada, and Germany.

If Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy is correct, the cannabis companies focusing on creating cannabis-infused beverages are on the right path. Kennedy said he sees a future in which only 10% of cannabis will be smoked, with the 90% lion’s share being consumed as cannabis beverages. “Instead of alcohol, they’ll have cannabis,” said Kennedy. “And they’ll have a low, or no-calorie product with no hangover.”

As the maker of the most modern, integrated, and scalable cannabis manufacturing solution, MaxQ has deep cannabis industry expertise. Contact us to learn more about the latest trends and management solutions in the cannabis manufacturing industry. 


Cannabis Price Crash Puts Manufacturers in Peril

The price of legal cannabis has been dropping at a steady rate, and the outlook is for a continuing decline before the market levels off. Small cannabis manufacturers and dispensaries are being driven out of business, and large manufacturers that fail to take measures to minimize production costs are at risk of meeting the same fate.

As marijuanaventure.com warns, “When the market shakes out in five years and people stop selling at a loss, companies capable of producing high-quality cannabis at an industrial scale and with low production costs will be the only players left in the game.”

Revenues Up, Prices Down

Although cannabis revenues have been rising rapidly in states in which cannabis is legal, cannabis prices have been declining because of overproduction. In Colorado, for example, the Department of Revenue reported cannabis sales of $1.49 billion in 2017, an increase of almost 15% from the previous year and more than double the revenues reported in 2014. Over the same time period, however, cannabis prices in Colorado declined from around $200 an ounce in 2014 to less than $100 (including tax) in 2018.

The average wholesale price of cannabis per pound has declined from $2,000 per pound in 2015 to about $1,000 in 2018, with producers in some states having to sell for less than $500 per pound. One grower in Oregon was forced to sell his excess cannabis at a mere $100 per pound at auction.

The Guardian describes a bleak scene in Oregon in which overproduction has pushed consumer prices down to $6 an ounce.  Unable to remain profitable, mom-and-pop farms are selling out to out-of-state investors as the market becomes increasingly owned by a few big players. Many non-growing dispensaries also are losing money and selling out to large cannabis chains.

It appears that the cannabis industry is following the same consolidation path as the grocery industry in which small grocery stores were put out of business by big grocery chains.

Control Production Costs or Perish

As more and more large cannabis ventures enter the market and expand their businesses, only manufacturers that can keep production costs low will be able to survive.

As marijuanaventure.com warns, “by 2025, or maybe even as soon as 2020, this industry will be based around per-pound production costs in the $100 range, or potentially lower, and companies that can’t compete at that level will be swiftly left in the dust.”

As cannabis management consultant Rich Cardinal points out, the only way to create facilities capable of producing low-cost, high-quality cannabis is through the implementation of efficient growing methods and investments in advanced production models that employ state-of-the-art automation.

Accounting Practices Are Key

Critical to controlling costs in the manufacturing and distribution of cannabis are stringent and integrated accounting practices, coupled with the use of advanced analytics to track costs, perform forecasts, and maximize efficiency.

As cannabis accounting specialist Andrew Hunzicker observes, many cannabis companies find themselves plagued with financial struggles stemming from the complexity of cannabis accounting, including cost controls within the growth, manufacturing, and retail phases, as well as compliance and tax issues.

Besides establishing solid accounting practices and procedures, says Hunzicker, cannabis businesses must recognize the importance of deploying cannabis management software tailored to the needs of their industry.

The crucial need to control costs is why cannabis ventures like Liberty Health Sciences, Acreage Holdings, and Medmen are investing in facilities that incorporate the most modern, state-of-the-art growing and production methods, including manufacturing management software capable of streamlining and maximizing accounting operations.

As Hunzicker and other experts point out, these and other forward-looking operators are making the investments in systems that enable them to achieve the low production costs that will be required to survive into the future.

This is exactly what advanced management software like MaxQ Cannabis was designed to do—enable large-scale cannabis manufacturers to minimize production costs, streamline operations, and maximize profitability, including integrated and automated accounting with cost controls and compliance throughout all phases of cannabis growth, manufacturing, and distribution.

As the maker of the most modern, integrated, and scalable cannabis manufacturing solution, MaxQ has deep cannabis industry expertise. Contact us to learn more about the latest trends and management solutions in the cannabis manufacturing industry. 


Cannabis and Alcohol Industries Cozy Up Through Cash

As the saying goes, money talks—and the large amount of money being invested by alcohol and cannabis companies in joint ventures speaks volumes about the direction the cannabis industry is taking.

This trend was underscored by the recent announcement that liquor giant Constellation Brands was investing $4 billion in Canada’s Canopy Growth Corp. This massive cash infusion follows a $190 million investment by Constellation Brands in Canopy Growth Corp. in 2017.

Such a major investment by Constellation Brands is a solid vote of confidence in the cannabis industry, and no doubt is driven by the cannabis market’s expanding legalization and explosive growth worldwide.

We should expect to see the alcohol and cannabis industries become increasingly more integrated to create a large recreational cannabis and alcohol conglomerate.

Neutralizing the Cannabis Threat

As the legal cannabis market continues to expand, consumption of cannabis is taking a large bite out of alcoholic beverages sales. Studies show that alcohol consumption has declined by an average 15% in states in which cannabis has become legal.

As Money reported, recent studies show that U.S. consumers now spend as much on legal marijuana as they do on alcohol. In Aspen Colorado, cannabis sales surpassed those of alcohol in 2017, with licensed cannabis vendors taking in $11.3 million, topping the $10.5 million rung up by liquor sales.

To counter the threat to their revenues, major alcoholic beverage distributors like Constellation Brands are investing in cannabis ventures and developing cannabis beverages. At the same time, cannabis companies are investing in alcohol companies as a ready-made path to acquire retail outlets.

Beer Brands Field Cannabis Beverages

One way in which alcohol companies are combatting the cannabis threat, while at the same time capitalizing on the cannabis opportunity, is to produce non-alcoholic cannabis beverages. Beer maker Heineken introduced a non-alcoholic cannabis beverage called Hi-Fi Hops in California under its Lagunitas brand in July.

Molson Coors Canada, meanwhile, announced a joint venture with The Hydropothecary Corp., a leading Canadian producer of medical cannabis, to develop a line of non-alcoholic cannabis beverages.

Molson Coors is among the beer makers that have cited cannabis consumption as a risk factor to their business in 10-K filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Blue Moon Brewing founder Keith Villa also has formed a new company called Ceria to produce THC-infused non-alcoholic craft beers. Villa has been working with cannabinoid research firm Ebbu to develop cannabis-infused beverages.

Province Brands in Toronto claims to have developed the first cannabis beer made exclusively using the marijuana plant, a beverage brewed without barley and using the stalks, roots, and stems of marijuana plants. Province also announced it was developing a new beer brewed from barley and infused with premium cannabis oil.

Liquor Stores Become Cannabis Outlets

With recreational cannabis becoming legal in Canada beginning October 17, Canadian cannabis producers are forging deals with alcohol distributors to acquire retail outlets. Aurora Cannabis in Alberta recently increased its previous $103.5 million investment in Alcanna, Canada’s largest liquor retailer, by another $34.5 million, upping its share of Alcanna from 19.9% to 25%, with an option to go to 40%. The agreement calls for Alcanna to open retail cannabis stores under the Aurora brand in provinces in which private retail is permitted.

Alcanna will build, own, and operate the new cannabis stores, which will carry a suite of brands from Licensed Producers, including Aurora’s MedReleaf and CanniMed products. According to Alcanna CEO James Burns, Alcanna will convert a number of its existing 230 liquor stores into cannabis retail outlets, as well as build new outlets, as it gains permission to operate cannabis outlets within Canadian provinces.

In a similar deal, Canadian cannabis producer Aphria signed an agreement with Great North Distributors, a Canadian subsidiary of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, to serve as the exclusive distributor for Aphria’s adult-use cannabis products throughout Canada. Aphria says the deal will give it 100% coverage of the cannabis retail market across Canada from the first day of legal adult-use marijuana sales.

Big Finance Enters Cannabis Fray

While Constellation Brands’ $4 billion investment in Canopy Growth is a huge event, of equal significance is the involvement of Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch in the deal, Marijuana Business Daily reports.

As the report notes, the transaction appears to be the first mega cannabis investment to involve major U.S. financial institutions and is a move that represents a “transformational moment” for the cannabis industry.

“Wall Street can no longer ignore the pace, the amount of money being raised and the growth underway in this industry,” said Scott Greiper, vice president at Viridian Capital Advisors in New York.

A dark cloud hovering over the cannabis industry is the illegality of cannabis in the U.S. on the federal level, which is preventing financiers from investing in U.S. cannabis ventures. But there are signs of change, including bills introduced to legalize cannabis nationally.

Constellation Brands CEO Rob Sands told The Wall Street Journal that legalization of marijuana at a national level in the United States was “highly likely, given what’s happened at the state level.”

As the maker of the most modern, integrated, and scalable cannabis manufacturing solution, MaxQ has deep cannabis industry expertise. Contact us to learn more about the latest trends and management solutions in the cannabis manufacturing industry. 


Cannabis Miracle Drug Breaks Through Legal Barriers

In what is being hailed as a landmark decision and historic first, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first drug with an active ingredient derived naturally from the cannabis plant. The FDA approved the drug, called Epidiolex, because it was proven to be effective in treating patients aged two and older who suffer from some rare and severe forms of epilepsy.

Developed by GW Pharmaceuticals, Epidiolex is derived from cannabidiol (CBD), a component of marijuana that does not cause intoxication. The ruling is historic because it removes a longstanding stigma associated with marijuana and opens the door for other cannabis drugs to gain approval.

Cannabis Gaining Respect

Besides spurring further research, the approval of Epidiolex should engender a more relaxed and open-minded attitude towards cannabis drugs. We recently discussed the shifting attitudes towards cannabis by politicians and the general public as seen in the warm welcome being received by new cannabis manufacturing plants being built.

“This approval is historic in that it allows us, as a pharmaceutical company, to talk about this product in the way that pharmaceutical companies normally talk about their drugs,” said GW Pharma CEO Justin Gover.

Despite a wealth of evidence that cannabis has significant medical benefits, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug that has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Thus, Epidiolex must be approved not only by the FDA, but by the DEA as well before it can be legally dispensed.

GW Pharma CEO Justin Gover sees no problem in the DEA reclassifying cannabis, pointing out that because the FDA’s approval is a determination of an accepted medical use, the DEA must recognize this, and Epidiolex will not remain classified as a Schedule 1 drug.

Hurdles Remain

The recognition that untapped curative powers reside in the cannabis plant is a big step forward in the mainstreaming of cannabis. However, there are still a considerable number of legal hurdles and institutionalized anti-cannabis sentiment that cannabis researchers must deal with.

As researcher Jacci Bainbridge reveals, she and other cannabis researchers are frustrated by the requirements imposed on them, including extra paperwork, committees, planning, and inspections—hurdles, she says, that researchers studying heroin don’t even have to face.

Even as the pendulum swings towards the acceptance of cannabis, the debate about the risks and benefits of cannabis is still being waged. There also are politicians and pundits who continue to demonize cannabis. Although Canada’s Senate voted to legalize cannabis, the bill was passed “over the objections of Conservative senators who remained resolutely opposed,” the Montreal Gazette reported.

Opponents will have an increasingly uphill battle as the medical benefits of cannabis continue to mount. As The Week reported, “The evidence suggests cannabis is a relatively safe drug that provides a host of medical benefits.”

Drug Source Should Not Be an Impediment

As GW Pharma CEO Justin Gover observed, the focus should be on the effectiveness of a drug rather than its origins, pointing out that there are very few medicines prescribed because of their origin as opposed to what they can do for a patient.

Although the FDA’a approval of Epidiolex is a historic milestone, said Gover, when it comes to physicians prescribing the drug, it’s about the efficacy and safety profile. Besides the FDA’s approval of Epidiolex, physicians will recognize the importance of positive studies that were published in The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet, he noted.

What’s Next?

While cannabis has been found to provide relief for a good number of ailments, researchers have only scratched the surface in uncovering its potential uses. “It’s actually quite amazing how little we really know about something that has been used for thousands of years,” said Sachin Patel, a cannabis researcher at Vanderbilt University.

The FDA’s approval of Epidiolex has observers speculating as to what will be the next cannabis drug to win approval. GW Pharma says it is developing a number of potential new cannabis-derived drugs for epilepsy, glioblastoma, and schizophrenia.

Interestingly, Epidiolex is not the world’s first plant-derived cannabinoid prescription drug. That honor goes to another GW Pharma drug called Sativex, which has been approved for the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis in numerous countries outside the United States.

According to outsiderclub.com, a former GW Pharma medical director has left the company and is now chief medical officer at a new cannabis drug company that is developing a drug that kills cancer cells.

As the cannabis barriers continue to fall, it seems as if it will only be a matter of time the full spectrum of medical benefits are able to be discovered. As the Outsider Club reported:

“Marijuana is the real deal. It’s here to stay. Legalization timelines are being compressed and expedited. And it’s created hundreds of billions in new wealth.”

As the maker of the most modern, integrated, and scalable cannabis manufacturing solution, MaxQ has deep cannabis industry expertise. Contact us to learn more about the latest trends and management solutions in the cannabis manufacturing industry.