Guest Feature: Mat Yourkee

Colombia Turns A New Leaf
Mat Yourkee, Guest Journalist
While CA continues to receive the most amount of attention in the developing cannabis economy, the recent $4B investment by Constellation in Canopy Growth was largely fueled by interests in the developing international markets. Not only is the U.S. behind in terms of national cannabis economic development, it is quickly falling behind other nations that are more progressive, like Portugal, Germany, Israel, Argentina, Colombia and of course, Canada.
Mat Youkee is a consultant and journalist covering Latin America from his base in Bogotá, Colombia. Since May 2018 he has published The Colombia Cannabis Investor , a free monthly business intelligence publication focused on the Colombian medical marijuana industry. He tweets at @matyouke.
Birds of Passage , Colombia’s nomination for this year’s Oscars, tells the story of tribal conflict for control of marijuana drug routes in the country’s northern regions in the 1970s. The story is a timely and tragic reminder that, before Colombia became synonymous with cocaine, it was a hub for high-quality grass for American counterculture.
Today Colombia is in a different place. Over a decade of strong economic growth was capped, in 2016, with a peace treaty with the FARC, the largest guerrilla army. But the fertile soils and ample sunlight still make a great place for growers. Today, a rapidly developing regulatory framework is allowing local and foreign firms to build a legal medical marijuana industry. Read More!

East of Eden Cannabis Co.
East of Eden’s first retail store will open its doors in October, a grand opening day will be announced soon. Unlike most cannabis retail competitors, East of Eden’s customers will be met with iPad-carrying sales associates, eager to educate while encouraging freedom of exploration.

New Faces Join the Grupo Team
Chief Operating Officer – Chuck Drake
Charles (Chuck) Drake joins Grupo Flor as its newest Chief Operating Officer. Chuck, who previously served as a consultant for Grupo Flor’s Harkins Indoor Grow Project, is a consultant, project manager, private equity investor, and founder of several services and support companies in the resource and industrial sectors.  Prior to taking on his current roles, Chuck led a team to develop a series of deep-water robotic drilling tools, founded an offshore mineral exploration company, was active in commercial real estate brokerage, and worked at Merrill Lynch Equity Capital Markets in London, UK. Previously, he served for 8 years as a U.S. Naval Aviator. Chuck received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1986, and an MBA in 1996 from London Business School.
Sales Development Representative – Anna Quinlan
Anna joins Grupo Flor as the newest sales development representative for the Northern California – East Bay region. Anna has over a decade of sales and marketing experience ranging from pharmaceuticals to advertising to the outdoor and fitness industries. She’s new to the cannabis industry and excited to be part of a growing field that’s poised to shape the economic, agriculture, and legal landscape of California. Anna received a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Westmont College.
Human Resources Generalist – Diana Biddle
With hopes of expanding recruiting and building a strong company culture, Diana Biddle joins Grupo Flor as its first Human Resources Associate. Diana has extensive experience in managing complex human resources and safety programs in the automobile and agriculture industries and hopes to bring her human resources knowledge and experience to Grupo Flor’s rapid growth and development.

Federal Legislative Look
The U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved legislation to force the Department of Justice to issue more licenses to grow marijuana to be used in research. The move comes despite opposition from some drug policy reform groups and Democrats who objected to provisions preventing people with certain criminal records from participating in cultivation operations. Republican leaders agreed to revisit the language as the bill moves to the floor.

State Legislative Look
On August 31, the Legislature adjourned for the 2017-18 legislative session. In addition to the hot end-of-session bills, like wildfire liability and net neutrality, some cannabis bills were still being debated on the Floor. Of the many cannabis-related bills, three have already been signed and one vetoed by the Governor. Twenty-three never made it fully through the legislative process, and these are the 13 bills pending Governor action before the September 30th deadline: Read More!

Local Look
The 2018 Monterey Cannabis Summit is the first conference of its kind on the Central Coast to bring together the knowledge and expertise of cannabis professionals and business and community partners in California’s fastest growing region in the cannabis industry – which blends old school growing and Big Ag .
On December 13 and 14 2018, the Monterey County Cannabis Industry Association (MCCIA) hosted Summit takes place in the heart of Monterey at the Portola Hotel and Spa. MCCIA’s dedicated Board and staff aim to attract leaders and stakeholders in all aspects of the industry – from cultivators, state and local regulators, manufacturers, suppliers, agriculture, organics, investors and so on.
The Summit is a two-day event featuring tours of facilities of some of our industry leaders for early registrants, a cocktail reception, a luncheon with a keynote speaker, breakfast and four workshops delving into the most pressing cannabis issues facing the state and the region. The intent of the summit is to foster collaboration and growth by bringing together a vast array of professionals and enthusiasts from all aspects of the cannabis community.
The 2018 Monterey Cannabis Summit will partner with, and directly follow, the Organic Grower Summit taking place in Monterey on December 12 and 13. Launched by the Organic Produce Network (OPN) and California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), the Organic Grower Summit will bring organic growers, producers, and processors to Monterey for two days of education, information and networking opportunities with their production supply chain and support service providers.