Bob Brilon on Expansion in the US via Cannabis Company Partnerships

Bob Brilon, President and CFO of Vapen MJ Ventures (CSE:VAPN), joins Barrington Miller to discuss ringing the bell at their Market Open (0:50), the company’s recent, record-breaking month (2:44), and their plans to use a different approach for expansion outside of Arizona (6:52). Listen until the end to learn more about Vapen’s diverse product line, how Bob feels the political climate will affect US cannabis in 2020, and for his advice to entrepreneurs.

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Peter Miller on how Cannabis Companies Will Continue to Evolve in 2020

Peter Miller, CEO of SLANG Worldwide Inc. (CSE:SLNG), joins Barrington Miller in the podcast studio after the company’s Market Open to discuss what differentiates SLANG as a “house of brands” in the cannabis space (3:09), the inaugural outdoor harvest of cannabis from their Canadian operation, one of the first in Canadian legal cannabis history (6:22), and his thoughts on the vaporizer ban in the US, including how regulation and legalization can help alleviate issues that have played a role in the ban (12:30). Listen until the end to learn about SLANG’s association with Bruce Linton, their program dedicated to assisting nonviolent cannabis offenders who are currently in prison, and to hear where in the world SLANG Worldwide is heading next.

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TruTrace Technologies protects intellectual property to send counterfeiters packing

Product validation is more important to the cannabis industry than you might think 

Instagram is a hotbed for selling knockoff fashion and cannabis, from fake Chanel bags to phony Gucci slides to counterfeit vapes, cannabis oils and edibles.

Loudpack Farms spent US$2.5 million on new packaging and hardware just to distinguish its award-winning Kingpen cannabis vapes from fakes. After Kingpen won 13 prizes, the company said knockoffs began proliferating at unlicensed dispensaries across California.

In a particularly brazen move, a counterfeiter went to cannabis cultivator THC Designs’ website, downloaded data that showed how its marijuana had fared on state certification tests, then stuck the lab results on the side of fake products to assert authenticity.

Fortunately for the legitimate cannabis industry, help is finally at hand. TruTrace Technologies (CSE:TTT) has developed the first blockchain-secured platform to track intellectual property for cannabis. The company provides DNA-based cannabis product validation and helps with intellectual property protection and product guarantees for patients and customers.

“It’s a combination of science, enterprise software, and blockchain technology,” says TruTrace Chief Executive Officer Robert Galarza. “By focusing on granular genetic, chemical and contaminant data, as well as motion and movement information and then merging that into a blockchain we are able to provide real-time data on each product being purchased.”

Galarza comes across as a veritable Renaissance man compared to most pinstriped CEOs. His background spans roles as a corporate attorney, movie producer, advertising executive, and entertainment lawyer. He’s even managed professional fighters and co-founded the enterprise technology company Spark Digital Technologies.

Channeling the power of blockchain
With TruTrace, Galarza now channels the power of blockchain to enhance trust and fix the grim realities of corrupted supply chains in the medical cannabis industry.

In a nutshell, TruTrace combines the power of big data with the security of blockchain to provide strain identification, registration and verification for cannabis at scale.

The firm’s immutable, cryptographically secure technology is the brainchild of Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Tommy Stephenson, who developed enterprise software platforms over two decades for companies such as Microsoft and Mercedes Benz.

Galarza says his favourite part of the job is traveling to Seattle to visit the development centre, which has “a Disney feel” to it. The engineers exude an “if we can dream it, we can build it” philosophy, he says.

The dream team in Seattle
“Tommy’s passion and genius percolates into the team. At our core, we are data nerds who love cannabis and understand the issues around moving this product around the world. When blockchain came on our radar, we knew it could be a powerful tool in data management,” says Galarza.

“Combining this with the immutable recording nature of blockchain also made it attractive as a protection method for intellectual property and creating a permanent lineage for cannabis strains.”

The Seattle team’s goal has been to build a framework to help licensed cannabis producers and micro-cultivators easily and inexpensively move their products through the mandatory testing process. TruTrace places that test data on the blockchain for its own protection and that of the company’s intellectual property.

In this way, TruTrace’s StrainSecure cannabis tracking platform establishes an accurate, single-source, validated, and permanent account for cannabis strains from seed source to market. A cannabis strain’s genetics are stored into an immutable ledger and information is added during each processing stage.

TruTrace’s seed-to-sale tracking technology
In short, TruTrace’s seed-to-sale tracking tackles two pain points in the cannabis industry: it modernizes the inventory tracking system and provides customers with details about a product’s lab test results and cultivar.

It’s been a busy year for TruTrace, which listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange in June. The company expects momentum to continue into the second half of 2019 driven by its medical cannabis pilot program with national Canadian pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart.

“Our biggest inflection point has been the relationship with Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws. I’m not sure everyone fully grasps how much it means to have a company of their size, history, and reputation in the medical cannabis industry,” says Galarza.

Pilot program with Shoppers Drug Market
“Working alongside Shoppers changes the conversation about what our technology could mean for the industry because we are focusing on building a bridge between medical cannabis and the traditional medical industry – that’s a bigger divide than people like to admit. If we can help make cannabis a customary part of medical treatment, it could impact the trajectory of the industry in a positive way.”

In June, TruTrace announced a milestone deal with Shoppers Drug Mart for a pilot program to use its StrainSecure technology as a central hub for identity management, asset tracking, validation, and product authentication.

Licensed producers are also using TruTrace, in part to assure stakeholders that the medical cannabis industry is serious about offering a verified, standardized cannabis treatment option.

Harvest One Cannabis joined TruTrace’s master genome strain and clone registration program in February to verify its United Greeneries cannabis strains, becoming one of StrainSecure’s early adopters. The company said it turned to the platform so patients could enjoy an increased level of confidence in the consumption of its Satipharm branded cannabis sold through Shoppers.

Similarly, well-known medical cannabis producer WeedMD is a big believer. The Ontario-based company saw 40 of its cannabis strains undergo validation as part of the first phase of its pilot program with TruTrace.

Working with about 10 major producers
“We are working with about 10 major producers, with several others getting finalized at the moment. Although our focus has been in Canada throughout year one, we’re seeing some exciting momentum in South America and the US as well,” says Galarza.

In another recent move, TruTrace applied StrainSecure technology to cannabis water company NXT Water by fixing QR codes on its just-launched AKESO hemp-derived fitness water. A customer can now scan the QR code to learn instantly about the fitness water’s test results.

“This relationship was born out of a blind test they performed on several leading CBD water products in the US market. They found most of the products fell well below the advertised amount of CBD, with some having none at all,” says Galarza.

“Alternatively, the AKESO product was consistently testing out at around 12 milligrams of broad-spectrum CBD per bottle and NXT wanted to find a way to communicate this to their customers. They turned to TruTrace and started using the StrainSecure platform.”

Strong technology adoption
TruTrace has spent a lot of time, effort, and money perfecting its software. Now that the technology comprehensively solves a very real problem, long-time supporters are experiencing the moment they knew eventually had to come.

“The hallmark for an innovative technology company is adoption at various levels of industry. A great idea without customers unfortunately will remain nothing more than an idea that never panned out,” points out Galarza.

“We believe TruTrace has achieved this in its young history. From Shoppers Drug Mart and Deloitte, to WeedMD and NXT Water, we’ve found great adoption at many levels. We believe that sets us up for long-term success.”

As adoption grows with each new user, TruTrace further stakes its claim as a technology game-changer for the cannabis industry.

This story was originally published at on September 13, 2019 and featured in the Public Entrepreneur magazine.

Learn more about TruTrace Technologies at

Vapen MJ Ventures Opens the Market at the CSE Media Centre

The CSE was happy to welcome Vapen MJ Ventures (CSE:VAPN) to open the market on October 11th, 2019 at the CSE Media Centre.

Through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Vapen MJ Ventures operates in the US as an agricultural technology, services, and property management company. The company uses a full vertical integration business model to oversee and execute all aspects of cultivation, extraction, manufacturing, retail dispensary, and wholesale distribution of high margin cannabis THC and hemp CBD products under the Vapen brand.

“We’re honoured to be here at the Canadian Securities Exchange and do this bell ringing,” remarked President and CFO Bob Brilon.

“Milestones that we’re celebrating are, we just announced that we have several partnerships in THC and hemp extraction, and those are throughout the states. We have nine states now, and then one in Jamaica, so we’re excited about having those all up and running by the end of this year. That’ll make our 2020 look really phenomenal, so we’re excited about that.”

Several members of the Vapen team joined Brilon at the Market Open to ring the bell, including Director David Eaton.

View the podcast for this Market Open featuring Bob Brilon here.

For more details about the CSE Media Centre, including information on upcoming Market Opens, please visit the CSE website, or follow us on social media.

Ian Mclelland on the Shift from Traditional Media to Digital Content

Ian Mclelland, CEO and Founder of Proactive Investors, joins James Black to discuss how he turned his investing blog into a global financial news business (2:01), what Proactive offers that goes beyond the range of traditional news media and how they maintain their broadcast standards (8:24), why it’s important to have a global footprint in the industry (14:06), and how they create mutually beneficial relationships with third party syndication sites (20:22). Listen until the end to learn how investor interests and preferred media format vary by region, why Proactive created their app, and for Ian’s advice to publicly-listed companies on maintaining visibility and building trust with shareholders.

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SLANG Worldwide Opens the Market at the CSE Media Centre

The CSE proudly welcomed SLANG Worldwide Inc. (CSE:SLNG) to open the market at the CSE Media Centre on October 8th, 2019.

SLANG Worldwide is a global cannabis consumer packaged goods company with a robust portfolio of brands that are distributed at more than 2,600 stores in 12 US states. The company is focused on acquiring and developing market-proven regional brands, as well as creating new brands to meet the needs of cannabis consumers worldwide.

“Opening the market for SLANG is really exciting. Going public and having a partner with the CSE that provides this platform for entrepreneurs to have access to capital, expand their shareholder base, and grow their business has been a really fascinating experience and great partnership. Having gone public on the CSE was transformational for SLANG,” remarked President Billy Levy.

“We’re ringing the bell today, but this represents the collective efforts of over 150 people in the engine room, whose efforts really drive the performance of the stock, and create this opportunity for everybody,” added CEO Peter Miller.

Joining Levy and Miller at the Market Open were several members of the SLANG team, including Kelly Ehler, Ramon Gamble, Kristina McCahon, Mikel Rutherford, Rhianna Brancato, and Ruben Breteler.

View the podcast for this Market Open featuring Peter Miller here.

For more details about the CSE Media Centre, including information on upcoming Market Opens, please visit the CSE website, or follow us on social media.

Looking Back to the Extraordinary Future 2019 Conference

The CSE had an extraordinary time at the Extraordinary Future conference on September 22nd and 23rd in Vancouver. We are proud to have been a Gold sponsor of this Cambridge House International event, gaining insights into projects and ideas at the forefront of Canadian technological innovation.

The question at the heart of the Extraordinary Future Conference has always been “what’s next?” And with the third iteration of the conference now complete, it’s exciting to reflect upon what emerged from bringing together a community of innovators, investors, and intellects to spark conversations about the next big thing.

At the Exchange for Entrepreneurs, we’ve had the unique advantage of seeing how technology in the hands of capable, motivated, growth-seeking innovators can rapidly scale or disrupt existing industies, or create entirely new ones. This was evident at XFuture 2019, as individuals covered groundbreaking topics such as cannabis technology, eSports, biohacking, psilocybin, sustainability, augmented reality (AR), and much more. It was fantastic to learn more about how these future-focused entrepreneurs are harnessing the incredible, transformative power of technology to create extraordinary futures.

At the event, we also had the opportunity to sit down with many leaders at the helm of CSE-listed companies, and to find out what’s on the horizon for these entrepreneurs. To watch these exclusive interviews, visit the CSE TV channel on YouTube here.

For even more future-focused content, we encourage you to explore the recently-released Technology Issue of Public Entrepreneur Magazine. In the spirit of XFuture, this edition moves the magazine experience into a whole new digital medium by enabling readers to access dynamic featured content on their smartphones through the power of augmented reality (AR) technology. Read it here.

Thank you to everyone who joined us, and we can’t wait to see what’s next at Extraordinary Future 2020!

Hadley Ford on Achieving Firsts in the Cannabis Industry

Hadley Ford, CEO of iAnthus Capital Holdings, joined James Black after the iAnthus Market Open at the CSE Media Centre to discuss some of the firsts the company has achieved as an MSO in the cannabis space (4:11), how regulatory challenges in the US drive their strategy for branding and distribution (8:15), and his thoughts on the SAFE Banking Act, including how quickly he believes it will get through the Senate (14:37). Listen until the end to learn about the company’s mission to build a portfolio of iconic brands and delight their customers, for his opinion on the current vape ban in the US, and to hear why cannabis is a family business for him.

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iAnthus Capital Holdings Opens the Market at the CSE Media Centre

The CSE was happy to welcome the team from iAnthus Capital Holdings (CSE:IAN) to participate in a Market Open at the CSE Media Centre on October 4th, 2019.

iAnthus Capital Holdings is a multi-state cannabis operator that owns and operates licensed cannabis cultivation, processing, and dispensary facilities in the United States. Founded by entrepreneurs with decades of experience in operations, investment banking, corporate finance, law, and healthcare services, iAnthus provides a unique combination of capital and hands-on operating and management expertise, with the goal of delighting their customers.

“I think it’s a tremendous honour to be opening the market. We’ve worked with the CSE from day one, the exchange has been tremendously welcoming, and you do need good execution for your shareholder perspective. You also need good execution in the marketplace, even from an employee perspective, because they watch the stock every day, and their efforts and hard work in delighting our customers are reflected in that,” remarked CEO Hadley Ford.

“We delight our customers because that’s the essence of what a business should be. If you don’t have customers, you’re not in business. A customer comes in, they need to be delighted by that experience and they need to come back.”

In addition to CEO Hadley Ford, several members of the iAnthus team were present at the Market Open. Elizabeth Stavola, Chief Strategy Officer, had the honour of ringing the opening bell.

For more details about the CSE Media Centre, including information on upcoming Market Opens, please visit the CSE website, or follow us on social media.

Ross O’Brien on Bridging the Gap Between Cannabis Entrepreneurs and Investors

Ross O’Brien, Founder of Bonaventure Equity and Cannabis Dealmakers Summit, joins Grace Pedota via Skype to talk about what makes Cannabis Dealmakers Summit different from other conferences, and their goal to positively impact one billion lives (2:48), how maturation in the cannabis industry is helping bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and investors (5:07), and which sectors he believes have been (and will be) most impacted by cannabis (6:50). Listen until the end to learn more about his book, Cannabis Capital, for his thoughts on the development of customer affinity towards certain cannabis brands and products, and to hear about his upcoming appearance on the show Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch.

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