MJBizMag August 2020 - 62

How to Compete With the Illicit Market
retail licenses and cross-reference them
against the BCC (Bureau of Cannabis
Control) website to make sure the
company name matched up with what is
licensed in the state, " Henderson said.
Outbound's beers would be
difficult to replicate because there
is a significant amount of chemistry
involved in extracting cannabis oil and
turning it into a water-soluble solution,
to say nothing of what it takes to brew
the beer.
" There is a considerable footprint
for a brewery required, " Henderson
said. " They would have to develop a
nonalcoholic recipe and get a brewer on
board, but no brewer would put their
license at risk to do " business with an
illicit operator.
UNTESTED AND TOUGH
TO PRODUCE
Aaron Riley, CEO of Los Angeles-based
testing lab CannaSafe, said the least likely
products to be found on the illicit market
are topicals, but all other cannabis goods
are available illegally.
" Almost every illicit product we have
tested contains pesticides, especially
anything concentrated, " Riley said.
Michael Mayes, CEO of Chicagobased
cannabis consulting firm
Quantum 9, said products that require
expensive equipment to manufacture
don't make it to the illicit market.
For example, transdermal patches
aren't commonly sold by illicit retailers
because it's difficult to manufacture an
adhesive formula that sticks to skin when
it's dosed with cannabinoids, said Nial
DeMena, co-founder and CEO of Manna
Molecular Science, a Massachusettsbased
manufacturer of transdermal
patches and infused products.
" We add this really oily, gooey
cannabis substance that causes it to
slide all over the place, " DeMena said.
" If you put it on a Band-Aid, it's not
going to stick. You can make fakes, but
there's a big difference between using
the real McCoy and using something
that's adhesive with a bunch of stuff
Transdermal patches are difficult for illicit operators to replicate because the adhesive has to remain
sticky while the interior is coated in cannabis oil. Photo Courtesy of Manna Molecular Science
on it. Good adhesive is really hard to
manufacture, and it's really hard to make
it look like a factory-made patch. "
Medicinal products and those
made to look like pharmaceuticals
also are difficult to reproduce, said
David Spreckman, director of retail for
Chicago-based vertically integrated
cannabis company Verano Holdings.
Verano's line of Avexia Medicinal
60 Marijuana Business Magazine | August 2020
Cannabis offers topicals, tinctures and
tablets in various ratios of CBD to THC.
" I think it's much easier for the
(illicit) market to reproduce flower
strains and even vape cartridges, "
Spreckman said. " The big issue is that
while a vape cart might look and smell
legitimate, if it hasn't been bought from
a licensed dispensary, it hasn't been
tested " for contaminants.

MJBizMag August 2020

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