Episode 8

International Cannabis Happy Hour

International Cannabis Happy Hour

On this episode our CEO and founder, Cory Waggoner, speaks with some of our friends, partners, and clients across the globe.

Our guests include:

Rutger John Hayben (“RJ”) (Netherlands/European Union): RJ lives in the Netherlands and has been a leading member for the development of the “cannabis test program” that includes 10 LP licenses. He hopes that this program can create a scalable framework to be replicated across the European Union.

Hector Franco (Mexico): Hector has worked as a politician in Mexico and last year worked with the government to develop the regulations and standards for cannabis and hemp in Mexico. Hector has had a ton of success in Mexico and just last week opened his first store.

Carl Esprey (UK): CEO and Founder of Euro-Cann and Afri-Cann. Last year Carl began to develop a cannabis manufacturing operation spanning from Africa to Europe and is currently seeking other opportunities across the globe.

Randall Lee(Canada): Randall is located in Canada and has helped HYC with licensing applications.

Erik Range (USA – Florida): Erik is a board member and chapter leader of the Minorities for Medical Marijuana here in the USA and has been an advocate for social equity across the USA for the cannabis industry.


Carl Esprit, Cory Waggoner, Hector Franco, Eric Grange, Adam Kulbach, Randall, RJ


Adam Kulbach  00:13

Welcome to the higher enlightenment podcast brought to you by higher yields cannabis consulting Hello and welcome to the higher enlightenment podcast brought to you by higher yields cannabis consulting your seat to scale Cannabis Business Solutions team and the creators of the innovative cannabis consulting business solution system, hire enlightenment. My name is Adam and I am part of the creative design team here at higher yields. And I’m here to introduce and give a little background on the higher enlightenment podcast so what are these podcasts about? The higher enlightenment podcast was created to discuss everything cannabis. Whether it be cannabis, industry news, cannabis industry insider insights, advice and tips to establish your own successful cannabis business and cannabis pop culture in general. We’ll also be discussing Cannabis News from around the globe. Today’s episode features Corey Wagner, the CEO of higher yields Consulting and our friend from the Netherlands. RJ for 20 consultancy. We also have our good friend Carl of Euro can Hector Franco joining us from Mexico, Randall from Canada as well as Eric range of minorities for medical marijuana and higher yields consulting. We appreciate your choosing our theater, and to make this experience more enjoyable for everyone. We hope you’ll refrain from talking during the show. Thank you.


Cory Waggoner  02:36

Good morning. Good afternoon and good evening everyone and welcome. My name is Corey Wagner and I’ll be your host for this episode of the higher enlightenment podcast. Cannabis is booming not just here in the United States but worldwide today if so, my favorite clients and colleagues from around the world to discuss the global cannabis industry and to share virtual Happy Hour drink together. Joining us from the European Union today is my colleague Rucker, John Haven is better known RJ RJ lives in the Netherlands and has been a leading member for the development of the cannabis test program that includes 10 LP licenses. He hopes that this program can create a scalable framework to be replicated across the European Union. RJ Welcome to the show. What is your Friday drink of choice


RJ  03:19

at Sunrise Boulevard.


Cory Waggoner  03:22

All right great. And then coming in from Mexico is a good friend of mine Hector Franco. Hector’s worked as a politician in Mexico and last year worked with the government to develop the regulations and standards for both cannabis and hemp in Mexico. Hector’s had a ton of success and just last week opened his first CBD store. How are you doing today, Hector?


Hector Franco  03:41

I’m doing fine, buddy. Thank


Cory Waggoner  03:42

you. Fantastic. And then joining in from the UK is Carl esprit CEO and founder of European and African. Last year Carl began to develop a cannabis manufacturing operations spanning from Africa to Europe and is currently seeking other opportunities throughout the globe. Carl, what’s your drink of choice today?


Carl Esprit  04:02

That’s just someone Mike Korea. Hi, guys. Hello, Rob.


Cory Waggoner  04:07

Great. And then calling in from Canada’s Randall Randall sell tire yields on a few application projects both here in the US and internationally. He’s an expert in cannabis cultivation extraction and has an abundance of information on the regulatory status of Canada and how import export is currently operating. Randall how’re you doing today? 


Randall  04:27

Great, sir. How are you doing? 


Cory Waggoner  04:29

Doing? Doing good. And then joining in from Florida USA to discuss cannabis in the US is Eric Grange. Eric is a board member and chapter leader of the minorities for medical marijuana here in the US has been an advocate for social equity across the country and for the cannabis industry. What’s your drink of choice today Eric?


Eric Grange  04:49

I am drinking a Guinness stout. I’m a stout lover. And that’s my go to is the Guinness stout but I also have a couple other new styles that are picked up at the store that I’ll be trying a little bit later on today. But yeah, today I’m drinking Guinness.


Cory Waggoner  05:05

Awesome. Awesome. Well, welcome to the podcast and thanks for your time. Great. Well, thank you everybody for coming on today and being a part of the higher Lightman podcast. Let’s dig right in. So Hector, first question for you find the correct information of what’s going on in Mexico has been pretty difficult. And it seems that the only thing that’s been consistent is it’s taking a lot of time to get the industry moving down there. Can you kind of clear the air force and give us a little update on what’s going on with hemp and cannabis and Mexico and how your projects are going?


Hector Franco  05:36

Okay, let me tell you, we’re thinking Mexico is getting, it’s getting weird. Do you know Supreme Court from Mexico order to the legislative power to submit the laws about medicinal cannabis and also about recreational cannabis. But with COVID This thing has stopped. And it seems that there is no going to be the Congress is not going to be able to regulate this thing. Until next year. So we are we are in the middle of regulation changes that allow us to do some things but and other things are not allowed to do so. The business is not completed. You know, we don’t have the enough regulation right now. To have our business going well here in Mexico, let me tell you an example. We have we open a store. Our specialty is compounding medicine. We have a pharmacy, we call it here in Mexico. Well, I think in the United States, the name is compounding medicine. So you get a doctor’s note and you can make the CVD or they can add the CBD medicine in our lab in our shop. The thing is that we have some CBD that was imported here to Mexico, maybe one year and a half ago with the with the with another government and we are running running out of CBD. And this this thing that is not clear to allow here Mexico is not allowing us to import CBD right now. So we are in the middle of opening a shop and maybe having to close it soon. Because we are we are we are running off. We are running out CBD. This shows that the legs the Mexican laws are not complete. And there is no interest from this government to complete the loss. The loss in this year. Seems that the government was interested at the beginning in allowing people use recreational use of marijuana. He was the mayor here in Mexico. And it seemed that it was going to be well, it now is a bumpy road because it seems that several several advisors to the president are willing to make the legislation for Canalis here in Mexico but the President doesn’t want it is it’s very conservative. So it’s clear that we are having trouble here Mexico and he’s going he’s not going to be sold been in this year. So we have medicinal cannabis right now. We can sell CBD for medicine. We can make a compounding medicine in our shop but we are not allowed right now to import CBD and we are not allowed to roll a wrong way to to extract the CBD. So we opened we had very clear success with people from 50 years old. To older is that’s 95% of our clients are 45 or older. And they only want CBD for pain or for sleeping. And in this COVID pandemia everybody’s having trouble for sleeping. So it was a success. We sell a lot of products from CBD from our CBD that we have But now it is going to be very hard to get more CBD.


Cory Waggoner  10:09

Cool. What, uh what’s so you said the most people are 45 and older, what’s kind of the what’s the main product people are seeking down there?


Hector Franco  10:16

A just a oils just drops for sleeping and for pain, also creams for pain. That’s our main product that we had we made this in our lab, and they sold pretty fast. But that’s the only thing that people want right now.


Cory Waggoner  10:38

Random you had a question for Hector.


Hector Franco  10:41

So guys, it’s going to be very, very slow for Mexico. We wanted it to go faster. We were moving things in the Congress last year, maybe one year I have with, with chorus help, we were doing things where we are we were making some Well, we were having some time with Congressman there in Mexico City and, and it seems perfect, it seems perfect. But now we don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s going to be very slow here in Mexico. And even though that in our law, in our health law, you can you can have CBD medicine in it and you can have an medi pharmaceutical compounding, but now the government is blocking the importation the importing process process


Randall  11:47

random vector. So, just a quick thought. So, does it does it mean that for medication medical use, you can import CBD, but for recreational you cannot or you cannot even import for medicinal use or resale purposes CBD into Mexico, from other jurisdictions,


Hector Franco  12:07

there is no way to import a CBD right now. to Mexico any any use What do you want to give it? Do you cannot import right now. So right now we have it’s going to be another legal battle, because we have been all the time with legal battles, legal battles, but right now, the one is that they are there is a procedure that for importing goods that they are not even though that in our low end Mexico Jukun provide CBD for medicinal medicinal uses. When you try to import it, there they have is not a legal is arbiter. I don’t know how to say it, but it’s arbitrary and then you cannot do it. So we need to try to put some and to get a negative to import it to start a new legal process to board. So it’s it’s we are going to make it we are going to make it work but it’s going to take maybe another six months.


Randall  13:25

It is very interesting Hector when you say that because I believe there is pharmaceutical industry in Mexico which imports opium from India and other countries like I was reading. So if they can import opium and CBD is way less addictive. So this is kind of a bit absurd. On that side. There is so much pushback on that. Because I have in when I was in India, I have seen how Opium is exported and grown and all the countries buy from India, Tasmania are other places. There’s only five six countries which grow it actually legally as an industry and every country honestly have this framework of opium imports codeine or whatever for medication. All they have to do is pick up those regulations change them to some extent and start importing so I believe it is just a political will which is required by the politicians to make that move.


Hector Franco  14:18

Yeah, let me tell you something, something funny. In my shop


Adam Kulbach  14:23



Hector Franco  14:24

we make pharmaceutical compounding and if you need opium we can make the medicine for you. There is no problem but with CBD is just a political battle that we are having right now in Mexico. It’s it’s weird, really weird. And maybe it’s because the are past government. They gave a lot of permits that were cancelled with this new government because they They are from political bed they have very, very far away political views. So we think that is it can be solved but right now there is no a political you know, nobody in the head of a president there is no way right now to allow the CBD importation I don’t


Randall  15:23

know. And same as with the exports of cannabis plants, import of cannabis seeds and everything. So does it come under on one blanket?


Hector Franco  15:31

Everything is right now blocked. You know, I have well, the Supreme Court gave me allow me to have marijuana plants for recreational use. I had this legal battle. So I have my we call Umberto we have an I have my authorization, but I cannot import seeds. So the plants I cannot have plants because I cannot import seeds.


Randall  16:03

Well, I’m lucky I’m in Canada. It is more fun here. Yeah, yeah. Okay. Yeah, that was from my


Cory Waggoner  16:13

absolute X Factor. And congrats on getting your store opened last week.


Hector Franco  16:18

I hope it lasts a long time. We don’t have a lot of CBD right now. And we have a lot of people wanting it. So sorry, guys. I have to go for me. It’s if if I told Cory that I had to go with it’s very nice to see you next time. I I will be with you more time. Thank you. Great


Randall  16:39

sector for answering questions. Thank you.


Hector Franco  16:43

Thank you. Bye.


Cory Waggoner  16:45

All right. Cool. So obviously Europe such a beautiful places, so many places you go and I feel like what a lot of people talk about cannabis or say cannabis, one of the first things that comes to mind is Amsterdam, and the coffee shops that have been there for so long. And it’s one of the first places to openly or kind of seemingly openly have cannabis and where you can go and find cannabis. Since then No, what’s kind of changed in Europe and what’s going on there now? Well, I


RJ  17:15

have quite a lot I mean, Amsterdam, I can still go to the coffee shop. And they’re suffering at the moment that pretty much because the COVID all the tourists are staying at home. So it’s, it’s it’s pretty sad over there. But still, progress being made in Holland on regulatory issue. As you probably know, it is allowed in Holland to to sell cannabis in the coffee shops. But it’s in that has already allowed for more than 40 years. But it is still not allowed to grow cannabis and to transport cannabis, which is a bit of a schizophrenic situation, of course in which we’re already in more than 40 years. And in the past eight years, my colleagues and I have worked on the on the regulation of of the wealth of the production side, which we managed to frame into law. And that result is now that we are at the brink of starting an experiment. And we have 101 cities in Holland, where we have coffee shops, none of those will be participating in this experiment. And so that’s 79 out of 573 coffee shops, and in eastern cities, these coffee shops can buy their cannabis from licensed producers. And then the government now is going to issue a maximum of 10 Healthy licenses. And this way they can then grow for for all these if all these coffee shops were at the moment are very, very much involved in in filing all the license applications. They are due at the end of the end of July government gave us very short term because only published last week and then made the announcement of the deadline and today they published some some of the regulation, the final regulation and not a part is still still due to be published. So we need to work really hard to get the license done. But it’s nice to to be in a process where well you you fight and lobby for for regulation and then also now in the final stage of applying for a license and hopefully, hopefully obtaining one and then building and building a facility. So we we started from scratch there and then hopefully we have some two years or so. Flourishing production facility. That’s interesting times. Yeah, hopefully, this this office is in that sense the The first country to regulate the recreational markets and Luxembourg. At the moment, there’s also drafting legislation. That said that’s still still pending. And also, Switzerland announced that they also want to make steps to to regulate the recreational markets, as Switzerland already has regulated the CBD markets with with the highest percentage of THC allowed in the CBD products up to 2.1%. So yeah, hopefully these these developments will, will lead to further regulation of the recreational market in Europe. Enough to do a lot of countries have regulated the medical markets and then in the past years, Germany of course has still very slowly in those in the process, Francis making steps down hopefully that will lead them to do an ISO regulated also recreational markets in Europe, like in Canada or in parts of the US.


Randall  21:13

Here layer, so do you think that the Netherland government will go the like there is to route which I understand to making cannabis legal one is Canadian way. You keep it separate, don’t make it too much heavy on pharmaceutical GMP and stuff because cost of GMP adds up a lot. And specifically in Europe, where wages are really high, like compared to Canada or even us the minimum wage. Do you think that these facilities which are coming online, will they be able to beat the price point? Because for example, in Canada, the cost of production of a GMP cannabis, could be two euros or something? If you run the facility properly, it varies. But I still am giving like a mid level number on the production. But do you think that European companies will be able to compete to the price point one or second thing? Will the European governments might go the policy of protectionism where they don’t allow the imports of cannabis from other countries? Because I have been dealing with German. Like I had some contacts in Germany with whom I’m talking and the price point of production, which some people like did some research on that it is really high, it is up to four to five euros, a gram of production cost. Do you have any thoughts on that?


RJ  22:40

No, you’re talking medical market or recreational markets?


Randall  22:44

Either or, like, for example, I know imports. Right now we’re just for the medical market, which I understand if I change I’m in Germany, specifically I’m talking but even for the recreational market, do you think that governments will allow import of cannabis from other countries like Canada which is I think one of the very few countries who’s can legally export to Europe right now.


RJ  23:06

No, I’m on the recreational side, I don’t see that happening. Because if you look at the regulation now it’s a Dutch recreational market. And they really want to have this cannabis grown in the Netherlands, you need to have a company that is legally established in the Netherlands to to apply for for license. So they really wanted to have control they really want to have all the whole regulatory control here in the in the Netherlands. And price wise I think there can be companies can can produce a competing price sensitive products, why and that’s a really big big difference with between the Dutch situation and the Canadian situation. And we went over there and studied the whole thing and also discuss it with with with with the Dutch government in Canada basically everybody can that there is no limitation on the amount of licenses Exactly. Way too many licenses and way too many project production and not enough demand or that they for whatever stuff that they cannot sell can get rid of their cannabis. In the Netherlands, there are only 10 licenses and the coffee shops in the system need to to buy from these companies. So you can really we did the calculations as well and you can can you can make a very, very healthy, healthy living there and healthy profits on once you have the license and if you run a smooth operation. Now when it comes to medical as indeed there is already a lot of of course, import export going on, especially Metro comm and the Dutch medical producer. They’re exporting f2 to Germany, to France to Italy. And they’re down. I mean, I think they’re, they’re, I think two thirds or 75% of their of the kilos that they produce are being exported. That’s, that’s quite easy. But on the recreational side, my I didn’t know that there was always the, the, the thing that the Canadian investors, so the big, the big cannabis companies claim to their investors, well, we will be allowed to export to the rest of the world. And that’s, of course, still a difficult thing.


Cory Waggoner  25:51

Thanks. RJ. You got to come to mjbizcon last year in Las Vegas, how was it? Do you enjoy yourself?


RJ  25:58

Hi, yeah, join myself pretty good. Especially especially on the parties that you organized a Korean Air and it was very, very good. Well, it was was nice to to see the structure Show in, in the US. Because if you go to European show, it’s basically a lot of genetic companies and a lot of packaging and a lot of equipment for juicing Well, small scale at home. And if they got I mean, it literally was 10 times bigger than an average European show. And there you have the big horticulture Tech was there and they were very dominant. And all the seed companies and genetic companies and packaging, there was much more scaled down. And they were a bit more in the back of the room. So it was it was it was nice to to see that difference. But I learned an awful lot there. And it was it was good to see. Yeah.


Cory Waggoner  26:58

Awesome. Yeah. Yeah, it was good. It was good to go meet you face to face when you were in town. So Well, great. Yeah. Thanks. Thanks for that insight, Carl will pop over to you. At yc. We kind of know you as our International Man of Mystery. Every time I talk to you, you’re at a new country or on a different continent. But Africa has kind of been a main focus for you. And a lot of the bigger operators have been looking at Africa, mainly because there’s a lot of land cost of labor is pretty low. But there’s a lot of issues that also exist there political issues, importing, exporting into new territories. Can you tell us a little bit about Africa and some of the issues that you’ve had to overcome when you’ve been as you’ve set up your businesses?


Carl Esprit  27:40

Or yeah, thank you. Well, well, firstly, it was worth pointing out that Africa is not, I mean, people think of it as a big blob of countries. And it is it’s about 54 countries, I think. And there’s such such large differences from country to country, from region to region, in language, legal structure, history, and also history with cannabis. So there’s parts of Africa that have a long history of cannabis use. There’s parts of Africa that don’t. And certainly, both myself and my team have had experience across most of the continent from the west, east to South Africa across a range of different businesses. So we’ve seen, we’ve seen some of the difficulties logistically in Africa. But it’s worth remembering. It’s the youngest continents on average in the world. And with that youth comes a lot of energy, and a lot of willingness from local people in Africa to learn technologies from overseas learned ways of doing things from overseas and apply apply that into new industries. Specifically in cannabis, the first country to legalize was le su two and as you said, in the question, there was quite a rush of international people into the suits who had a suit has got a long history of growing cannabis, obviously, legally in the past, but now, we’ve seen a lot of medical producers move to the country as a verb were legalized soon after, and there’s a raft of countries across the continent that are now looking at medical medical legislation. This is South Africa recently legalized recreational use of cannabis. But other than that, it doesn’t look likely that anyone else in the continent will be legalizing recreational cannabis anytime soon. Then, just in terms of the issues, this is largely, you know, there are logistical issues depending where you are in Africa. But if we look really the two locations, where I spent a lot of time in the cannabis space and barbed wire, and lawsuits, who they are quite proximate to the big economic powerhouse, South Africa, so getting equipment is reasonably easy. Getting qualified people is reasonably easy. And, you know, although the bureaucracy the kind of the institutions that we’re used to in the West aren’t as developed in these countries. So to your point, exporting product is a bit more difficult because when you’re looking at country to country, you need these bureaucratic export license import license systems in place. And a lot of these countries, even the government labs, we have to spend a lot of time with the country to work on putting in place the measures and the protocols that are acceptable to the importing country, for example. But I think, you know, obviously, the it’s worth remembering the positives, as you said, land, availability of land hasn’t been an issue anywhere we’ve been willingness of the governments to welcome us in welcome investment. Welcome. The jobs that come with the industry has been very, very, we’ve been very happy to see. And, you know, of course, there’s lots of concerns in the about the industry around security around leakage of the product into the local population. So we spent a lot of a lot of time mitigating showing the mitigation steps for that. And, of course, you’re in, you’re in any country, you need to act respectfully, you need to act within the rules of law, that that countries and you need to be thinking about how what you’re doing brings benefit not just to the country and to the Ministry of Health, but to the local community, to the larger community in the country. Skills, transfer, all those all those good things that we put in place with our sites.


Randall  31:23

Carl can ask you question, one, you know about the situation in in in Zimbabwe is I heard that those that they also tried to regulate the medical markets. But somehow it didn’t. It didn’t. It was an announcement made last year or two years ago. And then it became a little bit Korea Do you know if licenses have been handed out or what licenses were


Carl Esprit  31:47

handed up almost a year ago, but the first, the first round, the first six licenses that were handed out, were all done, as per the legislation where the foreign owner could only own 60% of the license, the government had a free carrier 40%. And all cannabis had to be grown on a government farm. And so six licenses were handed out including to myself, and no one invested any money because I can we have a license as a suitor you can own 100% and you can own your own, but you can, you can grow on any farm that you choose. So there’s involved when licensing conditions was so restrictive that no one bothered to spend capital in the country on the industry. I guess what’s happened in the last maybe about six weeks ago, the government of Zimbabwe through lots of consultation with the letter, the license holders, has finally agreed to drop the 60 14% conditions. So now, all license holders had 100% or license given to them. And they’ve also removed the condition on stating which farm you grow your product on. So I suspect you’ll start to see people looking at Zimbabwe almost more favorably than a suitor at the moment. And the main reason for that is the suit to you know, although it’s a great climates to suit you has one one major logistical issue is that the only flights going from the suit to land in South Africa. So exporting from the tsutsu inevitably means that you have to land the plane in South Africa unless you charter whereas the Bible has its own roots. Look, you know DHL from Lufthansa fly directly KLM as you know, probably fly directly to Zimbabwe.


Randall  33:28

Okay, and what about security situation there? I mean, it’s safe to start your farm there, or should you fear that you’re being robbed? Or that the government is gonna go and go and kind of take your land?


Carl Esprit  33:41

No, the art. Obviously, there’s a lot of people flying in South Africa. And I’d much more fear about the security situation in South Africa. I have no fear about the script, the security situation. In Zimbabwe, the suit is a very peaceful country. Certainly the suit to title has never been taken away from anyone. In Zimbabwe, obviously, they’ve got a checkered history with the title of farm ownership. But that was a specific, there was a specific political problem. And you know, that there’s been a there’s a new regime, actually, some of that has been addressed. And I don’t you know, I haven’t done business there before. I don’t know anyone that’s had any title issues, barring that very specific political, you know, that political period when there was some large kind of large scale wind farms that were taken back, but you know, there’s really no, there’s no physical security or legal security issue that we have in Zimbabwe, or even that I envisage.


Randall  34:36

So there are six six is still six licenses.


Carl Esprit  34:40

There’s probably more but No, nothing’s really been about a year and a half of everyone holding licenses. No one did anything because it wasn’t even a 40% diluted interest, it was a free carrier 40% and you grow and you putting your 60% capital on someone else’s fun, that you don’t have time. Hello, sir. So all those permissions have been scrapped. And now, so again, I had a license and we were very reluctant to spend anything. And now that we’ve seen the condition script, we will start to see that we’ll invest in the country that when the space was good, good lawsuits and assume if we are then everyone else on the on the list will do. So. Yeah, yeah, for sure.


Randall  35:22

That’s interesting. So I was in Lesotho, last year. And one thing which I encountered was that the government a year or two ago, issued too many licenses. And then nobody has the money, investing money into Africa for the licenses, like, people are very hesitant to invest in Africa, because I pushed a lot of investors try to convince them to invest in LA. So to the projects was good, the land was good. Even the Ministry of Health was very supportive, for everything. But I still think that people are comfortable to some extent investing in South Africa. But the way government has changed, especially after the apartheid, I believe that because of the structure of the government, many, I would say western country, Western investors are a bit hesitant in investing in sorry, in South Africa, or in Africa, in general, what are your thoughts on the like, did you face the same difficulty? Like what I faced in North America or Europe is different?


Carl Esprit  36:26

Well, I am asking me, yes, I’m asking you though. I mean, I agree with you people. If you have a license in Illinois, it’s a, it’s a big jump to go from Illinois, wherever you know, things are, it’s cheap to construct, logistics is cheap. In Africa, things are far away, it’s new legal systems that you have to deal with. So really, you have to weigh up the risk of getting used to something new with the fact that the cost the capital base, the capital cost base is, you know, a fraction of what it costs in the West. And the operating cost basis is a fraction of what it costs in the West. I cache with our CEO, I know you were jumping between Africa, South Africa and the co2 in the wind. But I think you were talking about the broader Africa, but certainly South Africa as a country, the country I’m from, I’d be very nervous to do large scale investment in at the moment, the Sushil listeners this never there has been no change in government, it’s always been a, it’s always been an independent country. And actually, there’s quite a lot of there’s quite a lot of investment in the city at the moment. So we probably will be when we complete into the construction in two months time, we’ll be the eighth facility built of different sizes. I mean, the biggest facility was the isn’t the supreme facility. And that’s a massive facility where lots of nice a lot of capital have been spent on it, there’s canopies built something we’ve got a large amount of private companies from South Africa have built facilities. And then there’s our facility, which is a reasonably large facility. But just to give you an example, to construct a facility in the SU two, and we’re looking at the exact same size facility in Portugal, and the cost will be 202 and a half times the cost to build that facility in Portugal, as it will be suited. So now, of course, there’s a there’s a, there’s a risk to referring there’s a risk that comes with that I can, you know, I’m very comfortable with at risk, because we’ve done I’ve done business all over Africa, but everyone has to have their own kind of risk assessment in terms of someone new I would be, I’ll be very uncomfortable going to Mexico, whereas I’m sure the previous guy on the call, you know, for him, Mexico is his backyard, he knows that I just don’t know, you know, the view is worse than for someone that’s never been there before.


Randall  38:41

Because when I was in South Africa Interesting fact was that somebody mentioned that how the currency have diminished since 1990s, or 1980s, the RAND compared to US dollar, and that was like I was never that educated on that. And then I was shocked like at one point of time South African currency and the economy was even by equal to US dollar


Carl Esprit  39:10

it was it used to be stronger than the US dollar one rent, you’d have to pay multiple dollars to buy around and now it’s 18 rent to get $1 but if you export it into dollars and you know to be clear the only market in the suitors and export market there’s a it’s a it’s a relatively poor country of a million people then you weak local currencies a margin positive for you. So


Randall  39:32

yeah, it is good for the business. But overall, I’m just saying that overall how the like even these all political structures, which are right now in place, they are also I believe, impacting to some extent in a negative way. The whole establishing of the cannabis industry, but that’s how, like when some people told me when I was there, like of course I’m not expert on African


Carl Esprit  39:55

of interest was this in South Africa was this in the suit?


Randall  39:58

I went to South Africa, people were telling me the same people, they were like back and forth from Lesotho. So I first went to South Africa the conference, then I went to the SOTU had a meeting with the some political figures over there. Because some of my guys were interested in going there and, you know, trying to establish something in Lesotho. But within three, four months, everybody backed out, said, No, we’re not doing anything here. And then the COVID hit and everything stopped.


Carl Esprit  40:25

Yeah, I am. I think the government in the studio is bent over backwards to invite new investors to come in. So the real question is, once you built it, can you export the product? And do you have the technical support? That’s, as I said earlier, that the depth of institutions in the country isn’t as deep as what you have in Europe. So government labs, getting things certified for export, these are all issues that are there in the suture that you might not have in Canada, because everything’s much more organized. But those are things you can work with the government to fix, there is no, I feel, you know, we feel very welcoming to sue. And I know there are lots of people building facilities in the suits of for that reason. And then I get your guy. And then we again, like I said, we weigh it up on a financial decision as the, for two reasons. One is the capital cost. And then eventually, as the world moves to growing outside, we want to Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere grow, we don’t want to only be stuck in one hemisphere. So you know, so I guess some people on that basis moved to Columbia, we’re much more comfortable in the studio near where I was born.


Cory Waggoner  41:33

So native of Africa, Carl, how has How’s COVID-19 kind of affected your your business model, if at all,


Carl Esprit  41:42

we shut down when when it hit the suits, it was very late to shut down. I mean, it shut down before that had even been a single case of COVID in the country. I think to date they might have had, it’s, it’s probably less than 10 cases confirmed in the whole country because they, you know, they’re not exactly the biggest international traveling hub in the world. So it’s been very well, it’s been very well controlled as being a single death. South Africa has had a very, very harsh shutdown on the on the streets, police really enforcing quite draconian lockdown measures. And again, South Africa has had, you know, a few 100 deaths rather than anything, like we’ve seen in Europe or North America. A few weeks ago, we were in the middle of our construction phase. So we had to stand down everyone, we had to transport people back to Zimbabwe and South Africa from where some of the construction stuff live. And, and then as things started opening up in the situ, so they opened up in the SUTI, before South Africa, we managed to get our stuff back into country and obviously, observing the social distancing, and mask wearing and hand cleaning protocols in place. And in the tsutsu. We’ve now we commenced it three weeks ago on construction. So we you know, we’re in the middle, of course, we got the full construction team back and working. And we’ll be finished in two months. As far as the rest, I suppose just to kind of be on Zimbabwe that hasn’t, that hasn’t come out of lockdown. There’s also been very little effective COVID in the country. But it is still it’s still in full lockdown with quarantine for international returning visitors. And so it makes it difficult otherwise, I’ll be in the suit to now if I could just hop on a plane. But if I go on a plane to South Africa, I mean a hotel in the airport for 14 days. So I’m gonna wait for that to wait for that for that to stop.


Cory Waggoner  43:29

Probably a good idea. Yeah. Cool. Well, yeah. Thanks for that insight, Carl. No problem. And then, Randall, you know, the Canadian market extremely well, what can you tell us about the role that Canada’s gonna play in the international trade of cannabis as far as regulatory framework and just import export?


Randall  43:51

Yeah, sure. So what I was saying was that Canadian governments have done an exemplary job in having all the framework required for the cannabis industry specifically to import exports. I think the only thing is that in Canada, you can import cannabis only for medical and recreational purposes, only medical purposes or research purposes. So as RJ was mentioning before, even here in Canada, you can’t import for rec market. So that is a kind of restriction government has, but I don’t see Canada importing that much cannabis or CBD isolate or anything. I see they will be more exporting because the population of Canada is less than California honestly. And then Kelly’s Canadian population is so low and we have over 200 licenses to produce and process cannabis. Like there will be too much influx of the product from these LPS into the open market. And that is where export strategy of the Canadian of the industry overall and how the Canadian government has smoothen it is really an excellent example. In my opinion, like I was seeing the regs of New Zealand and Australia as well. And specifically New Zealand, at many instances last year, they referred when they were asking the industry partners to like, Okay, what do you guys would like to have those question lines and everything, a lot of time they met, they give a reference of Canadian regulations. So it wouldn’t be a bad idea for any new government who’s trying to have a regulation in place, just go through the Canadian regulations. And if you already have the framework there, you can just modify it to fit in their own situations, for example, Mexico, what Hector was talking about, that how the Mexico regulations are not ready yet. And like, if there is enough political will, all they have to do is go and read this three 400 Pages document, and then they can, you know, use it as a reference point and modify their own regs on that. So framework is available, there is not that they have to do something new. Same as, as I mentioned before, the opium trade angle is also very important in this. And I see that Canada is I consider Canada is already a leader in smoothening, this process for the world, and anybody or any government who is looking to do business and cannabis and stuff, I think Canada is their first choice. However, the day us go, the most interesting thing for me personally would be to see the day United States go legal. Federally, I’m not sure if they ever will or it is the next elections are very important for that. As soon as they go legal, then it would be interesting that how the framework works, because I have read a few regulations where Illinois or Colorado, even Nevada, the regulations are very relaxed compared to Canada. So that would be an interesting play to see, once the US go legal, then how the Canadian industry will respond, how they will compete with the United States, specifically, because the United States has a lot of cheaper ways to produce the taxation is a bit different. So it’ll be really interesting to see how that plays out.


Cory Waggoner  47:21

We’ll learn something we haven’t really hit on. But you know, in all these countries, and here in the US and all states cannabis has been illegal, and we’re still dealing with the black market. Do you guys still have a black market there in Canada? And how, you know, is it thriving is a dying what’s what’s going on there? Do you know?


Randall  47:42

So black market hasn’t gone anywhere like actually sent to COVID hitted. What data I have seen from some people in the cannabis legal industry, they say that the prices of cannabis has skyrocketed in black market, because it is easily available. Like you the thing is that it depends who is your user, for example, the people who started smoking after the legalization of cannabis, they don’t go and buy it from the dealer or any illegal source because they don’t have faith in that they say you know what, this is a legal product government regulated, it is safe to consume blah, blah, blah. When it comes to the connoisseurs who have been smoking for 20 years, it is very hard for them to switch their dealer, whoever is selling them the cannabis. First thing is the quality quality of black market cannabis to some extent is better than the legal cannabis. So far like some new LPs are coming, which are very good quality. But the thing is that it is mainly the at the retail end, which is a which I believe is a bit of a which is which has to be worked out by the government because, for example, in some provinces, the government buys the product at a certain price for example, in Ontario or in British Columbia, and then the whole of the product for a few months. And by that time the quality of the flour and whatnot deteriorates significantly. And the smoke becomes harsh and people don’t like the quality and whatnot whereas in the black market case, the guy harvest it today and the key audit and whatever as once the product is ready it goes right to the end client and which quality is compared to better than the market that is where if the retail structure is tuned up a bit, then only I believe and also the pricing. The government also has to reduce the end retail pricing of the cannabis because right now, with all the overhead cost in the legal market of quality assurance, compliance, all that it adds a lot of overhead cost and the LPS want to make a lot of profit. So that is where or even the retail store. So the price of the legal cannabis, which is people think is not that good quality compared to the black market. That is where the people were Don’t buy a cheaper product, good quality product than going for the legal product. So especially with the COVID thing where people don’t have much to do, they are sitting in the home. So liquor sales, and the cannabis sales are skyrocketing in Canada. And the black market pricing has increased for $500 per pound, what it used to be before on top of that.


Cory Waggoner  50:23

So as most of you know, the US seems a little bit unstable right now more COVID cases than any other country in the world, protests all over the nation, some stretching across the globe to some of the places where you are all from. There’s a lot going on here right now. But cannabis has been deemed an essential business and most illegal states and we believe cannabis is going to be a major opportunity to help rebuild and create jobs and tax revenue as the United States tries to bounce back. Eric, you work closely with social equity opportunities, which we’re seeing more and more of a new emerging states. And with the movement going on right now, I would think we can expect to see more of these programs, and potentially better programs and opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. Can you give us an update on what is going on here in the US and how it relates to the cannabis industry?


Eric Grange  51:09

Yeah, absolutely. You know, we’ve seen states of course, during this COVID 19 crisis, de medical cannabis has essential businesses. And here in the state of Florida, where I am, even CBD dispensaries have been deemed essential because they fall under food establishment businesses. So we’re seeing a lot of that happened right now. But one of the things that I think we’ll see moving forward is a greater focus on, you know, minority owned cannabis businesses, being able to operate, you know, situations like in Massachusetts, right now, you have one of the first minority owned cannabis companies, which was unable to actually operate during this time, because they weren’t deemed a medical business. And so I think we may even see some of that begin to stretch to other rounds of the industry as well. But from a social equity standpoint, you know, we’ve tried different things, we still have a very hodgepodge system here in the state, in the States, where each state gets to kind of determine how they want to play the game with social equity. And so, you know, many of them have been, you know, somewhat successful, but not as successful as they would hope. And so, we as an organization, minorities, for medical marijuana, and many others, minority Cannabis Business Association, we are working with local and state officials to help them craft better social equity programs, help them to identify some of the weaknesses of the programs that have been established, and look at ways that we can create better programs. And I think one of those ways is to expand our understanding of social equity, to move beyond just licensing and looking at how do we also include ancillary businesses in that minority owned ancillary businesses? As well as how do we take some of the tax revenues that come from these programs to help, you know, rebuild failing infrastructure and communities that really bore the brunt of the war on drugs? So you know, here in the US, there’s a lot going on. And as you know, gonna continue to be a large scale development, or, you know, large scale effort from a grassroots standpoint, to make sure that we’re holding the legislators accountable, as well as the cannabis industry as well. And so I think moving forward, you also see more cannabis businesses, take on social equity initiatives, and look at how they, as a business can also help to advance this cause.


Cory Waggoner  53:48

So that being said, Do you Do you feel like with, with everything going on, and cannabis seems to be kind of at the middle of all of it, the COVID stuff, the protests, do you think these programs are actually going to get better?


Eric Grange  54:04

Absolutely, you know, I’m one of those people who believe that you learn from your failures and shortfalls, and I think we have tremendous amount of information that we are learning as different states attempt different types of programs and, you know, have varying degrees of success. So we can certainly learn from what we’re already seeing, and some of the things that have worked and, you know, finding ways to strengthen those, but then also recognizing what hasn’t worked, and how we can be better. So I absolutely believe that things will get better. Again, that’s why groups like minorities for medical marijuana, that’s why we exist, to help to continue to shape that and what it looks like. So I’m very optimistic about where we’re heading. We’re already seeing states like Illinois and Massachusetts who are being very progressive in their approach to social AG. We, again the jury’s still out on how effective they’ve been. But we’re seeing more and more aggressive programs come up and, you know, so we’re very, you know, optimistic about the future.


Cory Waggoner  55:13

Great. Well as always, man, thank you. Thanks for your insight and enjoy your Genis.


Eric Grange  55:19

Yes, thanks. Thanks for having me. Yep.


Cory Waggoner  55:23

All right, well, that’s gonna conclude the higher enlightenment international podcast for today. I appreciate everybody being a part of it and bringing really good insight and bringing it all together here. And wish everybody the best of luck in your projects moving forward. Thank you guys and have a great day. Thank you.


Adam Kulbach  55:46

We’ll return to the higher enlightening podcast in a moment. Do you need help in applying for a cannabis business license? Do you have questions about the process? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Good news. higher yields cannabis consulting can help. Our cannabis licensing experts offer industry leading support for all cannabis related businesses. Our team of experienced application writers has worked on over 100 cannabis license applications. higher yields has worked on regulations in cannabis licensing in over 25 states across the USA and internationally in more than 10 countries. We’ve also helped our clients be awarded licenses, chain plus married base states. If you need assistance with cannabis licensing process, don’t hesitate to call us. Our initial consultation is free, please call 844 high yield or visit our website at WWW dot higher yields consulting.com. We now return to the higher enlightenment podcast brought to you by higher yields cannabis consulting. That’s all the time we have for now. Thanks for listening. And please stay tuned for some parting announcements. For information on how to follow the higher enlightenment podcasts, please be sure to check out the description below. You’ll receive all the latest and greatest podcasts news and announcements. And we’ll also let you know when we release new episodes. If you’d like to be a guest on the higher enlightenment podcasts, or have ideas about upcoming episodes, please be sure to check out the description below. For information about sponsorship or advertising on the higher end LinkedIn podcast, please call us 844 high yield. That’s 844 H AI y i e LD or visit our website at WWW dot ATT higher yields consulting.com thanks have a great day and we’ll talk to you soon.