Fresh Perspective: An interview with Millay Kogan

What’s your role at Grupo Flor?

It’s changing all the time, but technically it’s HR and Legal Operations. Right now I’m working under Gavin mostly, who is Grupo Flor’s General Counsel (and also my brother!), to set up a lot of the legal and HR procedures, and to make sure processes are in place. I’m also doing a lot of compliance work to ensure permits are in order.

What is a typical day like?

A typical day is putting out fires and getting everything set up, as we’ve started from scratch. Right now my work involves a lot of meetings and a lot of organization. We’re also spending time focusing on our company culture and defining what type of company we want to be. For example, we just formalized policies to hire locally from Salinas whenever possible, to promote diversity, and to promote and hire from within whenever possible, which is really exciting and important.

Are there any challenges that come with working at a start-up?

I mean, everything. It’s just that nothing is in place when you are in a start-up. Other times that I’ve gone into jobs it’s sort of like, “oh, use this template” or “oh, call this person.”  None of those systems are in place at the moment, however, so we have to make up a lot of it ourselves.

When you were finishing law school did you ever imagine you’d be working in the cannabis industry?

No, no way. My brother Gavin has been working in cannabis for years, so I always considered it “his thing.” I’m also sort of a city rat – I’m from LA and lived in New York and San Francisco for a long time – so I never expected to be living in Monterey County. That being said, it’s really a fascinating industry in which to work. Similarly to how this company is being started, the whole cannabis industry is also getting started, which is cool in my opinion because there’s a lot of creativity involved.

How does your generation view the cannabis industry?

I’ve found that all generations like cannabis!  I’ve noticed, for example, that a lot of Baby Boomers are pretty hip to cannabis, which is great. I was recently at an event where there were a lot of Baby Boomers around, and when they asked me what I did for a living and I replied, “I work in cannabis, in marijuana”, these seventy-year-old women were so excited! They talked to me about how in the Sixties they used to sit in their  “vans” or in “drum circles” and “smoke grass.” With Millennials, I think cannabis is a little more commonplace–it seems to be a lot more ubiquitous, a given in social situations.

What excites you about being in the industry?

I would say the creativity that is required to succeed in cannabis is exciting right now. Like I mentioned, the industry is so new that there are fewer rules, so people have to kind of start from the ground up with things. In cannabis product development, for example, we look at the product and the packaging (which is common in most retail), but we also look at the smell, taste and the psychoactive effects of the product. There are all of these different components to our products, and how we think about, produce and communicate these components to our consumers is really important.

Is there anything that surprises you about being in this industry?

It’s been really interesting to work in an industry that is required to operate solely within the state of California, especially in the realm of banking and distribution. It’s also been interesting to see the cannabis regulatory framework unfold, both locally and nationally. To be perfectly honest, I’m faced with something new everyday.

 

Millay Kogan is a Los Angeles native. She is a graduate of Cornell University (B.S.), Columbia University (M.S.) and Golden Gate University School of Law (J.D.). Millay has worked in a number of sectors and industries, including tourism development and operations in Latin America, affordable housing development in California, tenants rights and more. This is Millay’s first experience working in the cannabis industry.  In her spare time, she enjoys hiking in Carmel Valley, visiting art museums and galleries, and consuming new cannabis products.

 

4 Common Questions About Investing In Cannabis

It’s been 168 years since the gold rush and with legalization of cannabis California, Grupo Flor is smack dab in the middle of a well publicised “green rush.” This is energizing a whole new crop of investment and participation interest in cannabis. It seems whether we’re at a local basketball game or dinner party, whenever someone hears that we’re in the cannabis industry, the first questions is, How do I get involved? This is usually followed by a litany of questions about investing in cannabis and Grupo Flor’s activities. Here’s the top 4 most common questions we get asked together with our answers, about investing in cannabis, including Grupo Flor’s current investment round.

1. What’s all this talk about a “Touch” and “No-touch” Cannabis Company?

“Non-Plant Touching” or “Ancillary” companies are generally involved in providing a product or service to the cannabis industry, but are not directly involved with monetizing the cannabis plant itself. In contrast, “Plant-Touching” companies on the other hand, are cultivators, distributors, producers of concentrates or any company that “touches” the plant in some way, and earn funds directly from monetizing the cannabis plant.

The distinction is valuable to investors because there is a higher degree of risk perceived with “plant touching” investments. Most of the investments discussed in major news outlets concerns investments in cannabis that are actually investments in non-plant touching, or ancillary, cannabis businesses. Examples would be greenhouse manufacturers, commercial real estate, law, cultivation nutrients, compliance software systems, etc.

Grupo Flor is unique in that its bedrock endeavor, commercial real estate, is Ancillary, or Non-Plant Touching while it also holds future interests in Plant Touching endeavors that it may access when the federal cannabis enforcement position softens. Unlike competitors in the cannabis space, Grupo Flor’s advantage is economic and operational diversity, allowing a great amount of flexibility as we learn the nature and nuances of California’s newly regulated cannabis environment.

2. Is your company currently producing revenue?

Yes. Unlike most cannabis companies, Grupo Flor is currently producing a monthly profit. The Grupo Flor ecosystem was founded at the end of 2015 and is today generating monthly revenue from our commercial lease portfolio of two million square feet of commercial space throughout Monterey County, CA.

3. What are the opportunities to get involved as an investor?

In January, 2018, Grupo Flor launched its first round of funding to expedite the build out and expansion of our ecosystem to take full advantage of the recent regulatory “reset” in the California cannabis industry. The funds are being used to more quickly develop cultivation activity, build out manufacturing and distribution facilities and support roll out of retail establishments through 2019. The financing round seeks to raise $5,000,000 and the investment opportunity is the purchase of preferred shares of equity.

Finally, investment is but one form of participation. At Grupo Flor, we maintain a culture of remaining open to expanding our ecosystem of relationships, from landowners and equipment financiers to cultivators and all type of entrepreneurs looking to add value.

4) How do I get involved?

If you want to learn more please send an email to Joe@grupoflor.com and we will contact you to set up a meeting to discuss further details.