Lack of workforce knowledge could stall the growth of the industry As cannabis moves from the underground to the mainstream, there is a shortage of well-trained people who have the knowledge, skills, and credibility required to operate in such a highly regulated, deeply complex industry. Max Simon the Founder and CEO of Green Flower joins Dan Humiston to explain how they power the training programs of companies, higher education institutions, government agencies, and passionate individuals who want to succeed in the modern cannabis industry. Produced by PodConx MJBulls - https://podconx.com/podcasts/raising-cannabis-capital Dan Humiston - https://podconx.com/guests/dan-humiston Green Flower - https://www.green-flower.com/ Max Simon - https://podconx.com/guests/max-simon
Lack of workforce knowledge could stall the growth of the industry
As cannabis moves from the underground to the mainstream, there is a shortage of well-trained people who have the knowledge, skills, and credibility required to operate in such a highly regulated, deeply complex industry. Max Simon the Founder and CEO of Green Flower joins Dan Humiston to explain how they power the training programs of companies, higher education institutions, government agencies, and passionate individuals who want to succeed in the modern cannabis industry.
Produced by PodConx
MJBulls - https://podconx.com/podcasts/raising-cannabis-capital
Dan Humiston - https://podconx.com/guests/dan-humiston
Green Flower - https://www.green-flower.com/
Max Simon - https://podconx.com/guests/max-simon
Dan Humiston: Today and MJ bulls. We are joined by max. Simon is CEO and co-founder of green flower. Max, welcome to the show.
Max Simon: Really.
Dan Humiston: Well, I appreciate you. Dropping in today. Legalization is creating millions of jobs and unfortunately there aren't enough qualified applicants to fill all these jobs in green flower. An industry leading cannabis education and training company with the largest library of online courses, power and curriculum for universities across the U S max, I thought to get things started.
Maybe you could explain why future workforce is lack of cannabis. Knowledge could stall the growth of the India.
Max Simon: As I always like to say the cannabis industry is remarkably complex and difficult to navigate and different in every state and oftentimes different in every city. And, and because of that, It's a real need for people that are specialists that are [00:01:00] experts that understand all the nuances and you either become a specialist by getting your hands dirty, which is a great thing.
And I'm, a full proponent of people just going out and having an indirect experiences or you shortcut the process by taking education and by learning from people who have done it. And it can really guide you to understand the nuances of how to succeed in this space. And so that's what green flower does.
The partner with experts to produce curriculums. And those curriculums now show up in 25 different universities and college campuses across the country. And those curriculums are used to train businesses and, and become kind of the onboarding and training platform for employers. And also all the way up through this kind of mastery level certification, which has gone through.
Dan Humiston: , yeah. We're going to talk a little bit more about that in a minute you talked about complexity for people that are outside of the industry. I just don't know that anyone could comprehend how complex. This industry is it's, like you said earlier, it's a magnitude of 50 [00:02:00] greater than anything you've ever seen before.
Just give us a brief overview of maybe the different type of training that a dispensary person would need versus a cultivation versus a manufacturing. Just give us a, kind of, just a taste of how complex that.
Max Simon: Well, I'm glad you broke it down that way, because we have a lot of people that come to us kind of interested in the cannabis industry, but not necessarily understanding where they should go or what that kind of specialty should look like. And we break it down by sector. So first you have to grow the plants.
And while cannabis is an unbelievably magical plant, it's actually pretty difficult to grow. It's difficult to grow. Of a commercialization scale. It's difficult to process. It's difficult to make sure you ensure quality. So there's a whole sector of our training around. And really understanding how to grow compliantly in the legal space.
Then you have the plant, the plant then has to get broken down into products. And so that's a manufacturing and product development and packaging and advertising sector. [00:03:00] And of course, anybody that works in the space knows there's not only tremendous restrictions, but there's a lot to learn about the nuances of making these cannabis products.
So we have courses on manufacturing, on product creation. All the way through, onto the limitations on packaging and branding and marketing and that kind of thing. And then once you have a product, then it has to go into distribution and logistics, which is a whole nother sector. Right. And that's the sailing side, that's the compliance side, that's the delivery and logistics side.
That's the safety and security side. So there's everything to learn in that side. And that just gets you in the door. And then there's the retail side, which of course is broken down into brick and mortar as well as the delivery side. And you have to not only learn all of the compliance. Operating in that.
space, but all the skills of customer service and responsible vendor training and being a good steward of the plant to provide proper service to people.
And then, it goes all the way through and to all the people that are servicing this industry from the banking to the legal, to the [00:04:00] marketing and sales side. And so you look at the whole spectrum of the industry and there's just a lot to learn.
Dan Humiston: Oh, my gosh. I, I mean, just thinking about what you're just talking to, and you mentioned earlier, you're in 25 universities across the country, I'm even getting an, a communication major, an advertising major, or a business management major or some, if it would be helpful to have a minor in cannabis, depending on what the major is, because I could see where , you're outside your expertise.
If you jump into the industry. And even if you have a degree in one of those subjects,
Max Simon: And that's why actually we found the best pathways to go through the continuing education departments of all these schools. And that's because they're considered to be what they call stackable degrees, where there are shorter programs, six month program. Where you can go through it and add them on top of what it is you're already studying.
But also interestingly enough to, so I can say what's been surprising to me is That [00:05:00] probably 80% of our students were over 30 years old. There are people that are coming back to the workforce or coming back into this new industry from another place. And they're just really using our education to kind of fine tune their skills and figure out where they should be.
Dan Humiston: That is really interesting that the old, I wouldn't call it old, but a definitely an older demographic than right out of college that's interesting. You mentioned earlier the ganja certification. Let's talk a little bit about that. What exactly is.
Max Simon: So, this was something that was kind of developed out of a personal passion of mine for wanting to make sure That consumers were being served properly and service properly. And today, most of those people are called bud tenders, but we really needed to establish a new form of credibility, a new form of respect and a new form of mastery of the cannabis products.
And so we looked at other sectors and really. Oh, that already exists. In other places, there are wine Somali A's there are cigar [00:06:00] aficionados, there are chocolate tiers. There are a class of professional that has achieved a level of certification that's rigorous and advanced and really respected. And so.
Started to build this in the beginning of 2018. And it took three years of time, 8,000 hours of contributions from this council of people that had 600 years of direct cannabis experience between the 18 of them. And we created gone GA this cannabis Smalley certification, which is a very rigorous and advanced level.
Product knowledge certification. You really understand every nuance of cannabis products. You understand how to assess cannabis products. We actually developed this systematic assessment protocol, which is this a hundred point scale for assessing cannabis products. And you're trained to develop your nose and your palate and your understanding.
And then it's a service-based training where you really understand the nuances of providing good service. And by going through these kind of three levels, product knowledge, assessment, knowledge, and services. You come [00:07:00] out the other end, I'm a master of cannabis service and somebody that can really play a high level of credibility and ensuring consumers get the highest level of service.
Dan Humiston: That is so cool. That is so cool because I mean, you think about it when you go into a nice restaurant and in. About the wine and they go, hang on, let me bring this person comes over and explains it to you. And , you feel this confidence that I think is lacking when you're in a dispensary and you're talking to a bud tender, it'd be nice if somebody was sort of in the back, even if it wasn't everybody, but if somebody was in the background that could take it to that next level, I think that'd be really helpful.
Max Simon: Well, it's been surprising again, we kind of designed the program to play that role, but what's been interesting is that the people who have actually been taking it have been the C-suite or the sales managers or the marketing managers or the training managers, the people that are overseeing all the staff.
And I think, again, it just speaks to the fact that this is such a new industry. You want the people that are training and overseeing the [00:08:00] operations and the team to be that level of expertise. And so despite it being designed for those people that are actually interfacing with consumers, the vast majority, 70% are actually playing in the upper echelon of the company level.
Dan Humiston: , that does make sense. It does make sense. Let's jump forward. , look ahead for the Navy the next 12 months. , what do you guys have , on your plate for the next 12 months? What do you hope to launch?
Max Simon: Well, we'll double the number of schools we're serving. So we're continuing to sign new partnerships with both universities and community colleges. Actually, I'm most excited about these community college relationships because they're at the very hyper-local level. So they're the ones interacting with the local businesses and the local talent and that whole thing.
So. We're continuing to just very ambitiously expand our partnerships in the higher ed space. We , just literally a few weeks ago closed on our ganja campus. And so now we've got our own place to bring people up into humble and have this very beautiful hands-on experience. I'm actually heading up there, here very shortly and.
[00:09:00] We'll just continue to bring more high level people into ganja at the end of the day. My, one of my kind of personal fan stories is that Ricky Williams, the former Miami dolphins, he just joined the program and is now being kind of very loud about his journey on being a gun GA. So I'm excited just to bring more great people into con GA.
And then lastly, the part of the business that's actually growing. One of the quickest is that we're now training. All these cannabis companies. And we have both the mandatory training requirements in every single state that are required for, for companies to get their people trained. But we're also building these, onboarding and learning and development programs for all these big cannabis companies right now.
So we have just a lot of room for growth ahead and lots of opportunity to continue to exit.
Dan Humiston: Hello, obviously the sky's the limit. Sky's the limit. Now, will you be raising any capital to assist in this?
Max Simon: It's funny that you say that because literally just a few weeks ago, we made a decision to do a small round of funding. So we're going to do a small round of funding here this year. And that's all we'll need. We're actually quite profitable as a [00:10:00] company and have so much growth ahead that we can fund the growth pretty easily.
But we're going to raise a little bit more just to have a little more kind of working capital as we go into this next.
Dan Humiston: Yeah, especially with the new campus, I'm sure that'll be helpful. Well, we'll have links to green flower in the show notes. So whether you're considering getting into the industry or you're an organization. Considering adding training , to your company, or you're an investor thinking about investing disagreed opportunity.
Just click the link in the show notes. Max. That was fun. It's nice to get to know you. Thanks for being on the show today.
Max Simon: Really great to be here. I hope come back again and see.