In this episode of Higher Enlightenment, our host Adam Kolbach interviews two of our in-house industry experts Marissa Cortes, Director of Compliance, and Anthony Adkins. The episode covers reparative services in the cannabis industry and what they look like. Reparative services refers to the services rendered to operators who were possibly not as proactive as necessary with maintaining state compliance. They discuss the areas in which cannabusinesses typically struggle the most, the different types of reparative services, as well as how and why operators and producers should use cannabis consultants. They also touch on how Higher Yield’s years of experience with reparative services can offer a helping hand with a wide scope of compliance issues.
Anthony Adkins, Marissa Cortes, Adam Kulbach
Adam Kulbach 00:00
Okay Hello and welcome to the higher enlightenment podcast brought to you by higher yields Canada’s consulting your seed to sale cannabis business solutions. My name is Adam. I’m your host today and part of the creative design team here at higher ed. today’s podcast is about reparative services with Marisa Cortez and Anthony Adkins. So let’s get on with the show. Let’s get started by having you guys introduce yourselves. Let’s start with you, Anthony.
Anthony Adkins 01:04
Sure, absolutely. I am the Director of Business Development at higher yields consulting and also responsible for oversight for marketing, partnership development and strategic direction. From that standpoint, business development, as you know, is is very key into development not only in the market, but also the business relationships that higher yields is interested in in the marketplace.
Adam Kulbach 01:29
Thank you. And Marissa, can you introduce yourself?
Marissa Cortes 01:32
Absolutely. My name is Marissa Cortez, and I’m the director of compliance in general manager here at higher yields consulting. I’ve been in the cannabis industry for almost a decade at this point and have really fallen into compliance as my niche. And that covers everything from reparative services to proactive services in really the startup and all operations of the cannabis industry. And with that being said, I do have experience in operations as well as being the director of compliance and facility types such as cultivation, manufacturing, and the retail side of things.
Adam Kulbach 02:09
Thank you, Marissa. So what do reparative services in the cannabis industry look like?
Marissa Cortes 02:17
So generally speaking, reparative services in the cannabis industry really look like services for operators and establishments that maybe didn’t take those necessary proactive measures to ensure that they were in compliance with all state and local regulations and guidelines that were set forth.
Adam Kulbach 02:36
Have you seen an uptick in people seeking reparative services?
Marissa Cortes 02:42
You know, we have and I’m sure Anthony can speak a bit more to this with the business development and sales side of things, but specifically speaking for incoming projects that we’ve seen with H yc. Absolutely. And I really think that this is because as these markets are coming online and maturing, people are realizing that they didn’t necessarily put the proper measures in place, and they didn’t do certain things to mitigate a lot of these big risks that come with the cannabis industry.
Anthony Adkins 03:11
Yeah, one of the Adam, and one of the things that I’m seeing as well, on the business development side is that, yes, there’s a lot of startups that are coming and talking with higher yields. However, it’s okay for established organizations and established cultivators or operators, or what have you to seek a higher yield of what it is that they’re looking for. And no, no pun intended, of course, with higher yields consulting, but that’s exactly what we’re here for, is to be that trusted adviser via third party to look and provide oversight insight into, you know, repairing, taking a look at training, taking a look at compliance, taking a look at doing proper audits and, you know, gaining, you know, a more secure environment for, you know, for their operation. And so with that trusted advisor label, I mean, we’re are, we are all about a compliant culture, if you will, and exciting to be able to engage with not only startups to help them avoid some of the pitfalls that Marissa had mentioned, but also to, you know, repair and make better and make whole and take their business and organizations to the next level.
Adam Kulbach 04:29
Okay, so what areas do you think cannabis businesses struggle with the most?
Marissa Cortes 04:36
So that’s, that’s definitely a loaded question. But for relevancy sake, right now, in particular, what we’re seeing with established cannabis businesses and their struggles is really going to be mainly lying in inventory tracking. So whether it’s on site inventory, or their digital inventory, or both of those not matching up with each other. That seems to be a really big one that had been Very, very prevalent lately in the industry.
Adam Kulbach 05:03
So how many clients come to H yc? Seeking reparative? Services?
Anthony Adkins 05:10
That’s an interesting question. How many should versus how many actually do so. So the the interesting thing there is that organizations truly, I believe, have a heart of doing things, right. However, in seeking to understand the depth and the breadth, and the scope of this industry and the regulatory nature and the complexity of it, you know, they’re finding that this from the science to the organics to the regulations and controls to how many layers and state local municipality, you know, governments are, are watching our, you know, so from that standpoint, it’s probably we know, it should be more, but we do have a consistent flow of organizations that are seeking either a better grow, better tracking, better inventory, better employee training, better, you know, extraction methodologies, what have you, you know, because it, it spans the entire supply chain, when we look at Corrective Services, you know, it’s from seed all the way through the sale, whether it be transportation, whether it be manufacturing, product development, rebranding, everything is corrective, or everything is prepared, if there’s if they’re not achieving their anticipated results. And we dissect, we peel back that onion, and we understand what that may be. And then apply, of course, the expertise of, you know, our product project managers that, you know, Marissa, and, you know, the executive team are always looking to, you know, involved with,
Adam Kulbach 06:56
so the things that people need reparative services for are all over the map.
Anthony Adkins 07:02
Yeah, absolutely, from from that standpoint, we identify a lot of interesting things that could be corrected, you know, could be repaired, you know, whether it be what an audit reveals, you know, whether it be what training might reveal, whether, you know, it’s, it’s interesting from that standpoint of how many things when you do get in there, there is definitely corrective elements that, you know, if not taken care of, and not handled correctly, you know, in a timely manner could actually get worse. If it’s not corrected.
Marissa Cortes 07:38
Yet, I mean, it almost always will get worse. And just if it’s not corrected, or if there is not a proactive measure put in place or a corrective measure put in place. And just piggybacking off of what Anthony mentioned, you know, just promoting that compliant culture is key. Because while I did mention that inventory tracking is a big one, it’s what we’ve been seeing quite a bit lately as more states are coming online. And they’re also mandating specific inventory tracking systems and procedures be used in their state. I mean, it’s across the board, you see reparative services that are needed for the design build side of things, whether it’s at the permitting level, fixing zoning issues, all the way down to manifests, so transfer manifest, as most, if not all state markets right now. And operators are required to use a transfer manifest some capacity, whether it’s through an inventory tracking system, or they just created and it’s an internal process and procedure. They’re required to use these manifests in order to transport cannabis from A to B. I mean, even coming down to missing a signature on one of these manifests could be completely detrimental to your business. So promoting that compliant culture from the beginning, ensuring that all of your employees and staff are even higher ups are fully trained on how to be compliant in that specific state for that specific license type. It’s just absolutely key.
Adam Kulbach 09:01
Okay, thank you. So why should cannabis businesses invest in cannabis consultants for corrective help?
Anthony Adkins 09:11
You want to take that one first, Marissa? Yeah.
Marissa Cortes 09:13
Because gosh, I guess the better question is, and I know, this is a specific podcast, but it’s like cannabis businesses should invest before they’re needing corrective help. And actually, you know, being proactive, but I understand you know, it’s the nature of the beast, this industry is very fast paced. A lot of the time people don’t necessarily feel like they have the time to put the procedures in place. And, you know, risk mitigating procedures specifically to make sure they’re not coming to these issues. So cannabis businesses should absolutely invest in professional consulting services for corrective help, so that they’re not making the same mistake again, you know, that mistake, that error that issue, it arose because of, you know, lack of procedure, lack of training. So under You’d have to correct that. You got to have somebody that knows what they’re doing, to have a professional in there, that’s giving you custom training to your facility to state regulations that’s educated has been around the block has been around in the industry. It’s, it’s so important, because if not, you’re gonna end up making the same mistakes over again.
Anthony Adkins 10:20
Yeah, that’s very true. And I’ll add a little bit on to that as well. But on when you take a look at what are you investing into, right, I mean, we understand and know that a lot of the regulations and the laws and the finding element, the loss of product, if things aren’t tracked correctly, the loss of revenue, the loss of raw material, the loss of license, the loss of, you know, freedom, you know, in terms of, you know, is there a, you know, a detention element that, you know, the state or local government may may pursue if things aren’t corrected, or if they discover uncover, consistent, and, you know, a consistent problem, you know, within the organization and what have you. So, that proactive element, the oversight, you know, having a trusted adviser on their side, to keep them out of that, I mean, because the damage could be, could be serious, you know, so, you know, that’s not only do you know, we want to see our clients gain higher yield, in terms of their product development in terms of their product output. But also, you know, that there are no overarching issues, fines, jail time, etc. You know, based upon, you know, taking something either a too lightly letting it go too long, or not having someone come in and, you know, perform kind of an oversight, audit, if you will, on certain aspects of the business that could be at risk.
Marissa Cortes 12:02
Just to take that one step further, depending on the severity of the issue, that’s going to require not reparative, or corrective service, certain states will actually require that you, or you, as in the operator, hire a professional consulting firm, to help you fix that and you have, you know, that consultant will actually have to work with the state on correcting whatever issue that was, for these people to even for these operators to even, you know, be able to move forward, whether you know, it’s without a fine or not getting a suspension, because you’re working with that. So knowing that a consultant can hold that weight, so much. So that particular states like Colorado who have are arguably the most established market in the country, just because we’ve been here for so long, knowing that the state is requiring operations, to hire consultants to help them fix things, specifically for reparative services, it holds, it holds weight. So I think it’s important to keep that in mind. In other states who might not require it, it’s still going to be beneficial, the state’s still gonna look at the fact that you went with somebody who’s credentialed who’s experienced in the industry and knows what they’re doing to fix whatever issue may have arisen or arose.
Adam Kulbach 13:19
Okay, thanks. So how do you approach a client that might be on their last leg coming to higher yields?
Marissa Cortes 13:28
with kindness? Yeah, I mean, to be completely honest, this is a cutthroat industry. And a lot of people put their all and their everything into starting an operation. So we approach them with kindness. And with full transparency, we want them to know that, hey, no, yes, you might be in a bad spot. But this is not the end all be all. And we really approach it strategically comprehensively, and make sure that the client fully understands exactly what needs to happen. Not even necessarily just from a higher yields or consulting standpoint, but really, from that regulatory standpoint. That’s first and foremost, where we’re going to come up this from, and again, we’re going to make sure that is communicated to this client, and that we’re keeping them competent and comfortable every step of the way, so that they can get through this with a clear head with us as their advisors by their side.
Adam Kulbach 14:30
So why is higher yields the best consultant option for reparative services?
Anthony Adkins 14:37
Why is higher yields the best we’re best for several reasons. It’s not because we’re similar or like others, it’s what really makes us different. And in our differentiation, there are three major things that that we that we see as value in the market. Number one is definitely the fact that we We customize our approach. I mean, we’re customized we pay attention we under we seek to understand our client or account or a customer’s endpoint and how they visualize it and what they want their anticipated results to become. And so by taking that seriously, we know that each individual or each organization’s journey is different. And that uniqueness, we’re going to apply our expertise, our industry experts, and, you know, Project teammates to resources to To that end, is really understanding that uniqueness and bringing what we can to the table and providing in reaching that anticipated end result. Second thing is the fact that we’ve been there done that, you know, in our collective experience, we’ve been the operators, we’ve been retail dispensary owners, we’ve trained employees, we’ve extracted we’ve manufactured we produced products, logos, brands, you know, through the entire supply chain. And with that collective experience, what we bring to the table as, as we understand the continuity, and efficiency element that is so necessary and required to understand and how to move and operate within the ecosystem. The third thing is the fact that we really operate in phased approaches. And what that means is a phased approach allows for variables to occur and for us to make adjustments, where we need to what our clients, and we know, understand and know that we hit roadblocks that we may not see you, there’s anticipated elements that that enter into an environment or a circumstance that we weren’t ready for the client or customer wasn’t ready for. So by operating in a phased approach, we can break down the engagement, we can break it down, we, you know, we we don’t allow the situation to divide and conquer, if you will, then that you know it, whether it be internally to the client externally to the market, we really allow that to you know, to happen. So the phased approach environment is very important, because we take things off and in sections, we dissect it, and then we repair it and move to the next element, you know, understanding and knowing that continuous, you know, process, if you will, in that reparative or corrective service, Marisa, anything you want to add to that.
Marissa Cortes 17:26
Really just onto the experience, speaking more to that higher yields his team. I mean, we have over 100 years of combined executive level experience, and many of us have been operators in this industry. And this is dating back to, you know, some of us, our CEO, for example, he’s been in the industry for almost 15 years, myself, I’ve been in the industry for almost 10. And that’s a trend within our company. So a lot of these mistakes that we’re seeing, we made them ourselves, we had to figure out how to fix them. And we’ve had all this time to really hone in on the best approach for fixing these things. And without even being said taking it a step further. We’ve been on the forefront of so many of these states in this country that are going online, and legalizing cannabis and really cultivating no pun intended their cannabis market. So we’ve gotten in in the beginning and been able to like see the end been able to help people from the jump.
Adam Kulbach 18:27
Okay, if you had all the free time and money in the world, what issues would you like to help solve the most in the cannabis industry?
Anthony Adkins 18:37
Well, I mean, honestly, it’s, it’s, it’s a complex environment. And how could we simplify it in terms of a system or a process that can transcend states that can transcend country that can work in continuity and produce the best products the best grows the best and experience and to let people know allow people to understand and know that it’s an incredible industry to involve themselves in whether it be from passion, whether it be from a a testimonial, and how the you know, the plant has better and improve their lives in terms of medically or you know, mentally emotionally even from that standpoint. But really, that it’s it’s viable, that it is a viable industry, that it that we can make the complex, the complex, simple, and really provide a great experience for you know, for everyone in the industry.
Adam Kulbach 19:53
Okay, Marissa, same question for you. If you had all the free time and money in the world What issues would you like to help solve most in the cannabis industry?
Marissa Cortes 20:05
So that question could honestly be its own podcast episode. I will keep this as brief as possible. But overall, and I apologize if this doesn’t tie into the reparative services. But overall, it’s it’s really going to be social equity, fixing or attempting to fix the racial and just social injustice that has occurred over decades of time. Because of cannabis, because of the war on drugs, I should say that that’s the biggest one, you know, there are so many so many people that have been and are still disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. You know, we have, at this point 16 states and DC that are fully legal for cannabis, but the number of people that we still have incarcerated because of cannabis, and you know, nonviolent crimes, it’s obscene, you know, is absolutely obscene. And that would be first and foremost, what I would absolutely, you know, if I could wave my magic wand, I would, I would fix that in a heartbeat. And, you know, I know there are plenty of states that are really trying to be on the forefront here and fix this. And, and it’s not easy, you know, there’s so much politics involved with it, when it there honestly shouldn’t be it, this is pretty basic, we need to free these people that are sitting in prison for something that, you know, my husband does his job every single day. You know, it just it doesn’t make any sense. So that’s really my my, what would be my primary area of focus? And will be and will continue to be?
Adam Kulbach 21:47
Yeah, I agree. So what types of reparative services does HyC offer?
Marissa Cortes 21:54
So the biggest one, as I already mentioned previously, is going to be what we call a metric cleanup or an inventory cleanup. I say metrics specifically because it is the most widely mandated state track inventory tracking system utilized in the United States. But overall, it could be any sort of inventory tracking system cleanup. That’s definitely the biggest one we see that we perform for different operators. But there are other things as well, you know, back to design and build, we fix permits, zoning issues. And obviously, we can’t just wave a magic wand and do that we do have to work with the local governments and whatnot. But those are certain are specific Corrective Services that we do provide. Even Corrective Services for applications, that’s that’s been one that’s popped up quite frequently over the last couple of years, you know, whether the applicant initially went with someone who wasn’t necessarily experienced the way that they promised or the way that the applicant had thought they were. And they really steered them in the complete wrong direction for an application and ended up not getting the license because of that, or, you know, getting some sort of deficiency notice, because of that, we’ll come in, we’ll review the application more review deficiency notices, and we’ll help that applicant hopefully still stay in the runnings for that license. So that’s definitely been a popular one that we’ve seen. And really, you know, this isn’t corrective, but it is so important to Corrective Services is training, training, training training, we really try to push that with any sort of reparative or corrective service that we’re offering to the client. We’re going to try to, you know, push the training side of things, because there’s always that risk. If you don’t put any procedures or training in place following this repetitive service, that the same thing is just gonna happen.
Adam Kulbach 23:44
Okay, I think that’s about all the time we have for today. I’d like to thank you both Marissa and Anthony for being on the show today. NAV sync. We’d like to thank everybody for tuning in today and listening to our podcast. For information on how to follow the higher enlightened podcast. Please be sure to check out the description below. You’ll receive all the latest and greatest podcasts news and announcements. Also let you know when we release new episodes. If you’d like to be a guest on a 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 like them podcast, please call us at 844 High yield. That’s 8448 Chai why i e LD or visit our website at higher yields consulting.com.