John Shute  0:00
It is frustrating for sure. Because you do have to position yourself properly. Because Yeah, it’s moving so fast. There’s so much money. I miss classify is like two different groups. You know, you have your group who are passionate, and her mom and pop shops who, you know, been around the block, you know, since the beginning. And the reason that we’re in the situations that we’re in now is the legal industry because of these people. And sadly, one by one, they’re slowly being forgotten, or pushed out because of money, or whatever it may be. So I would say it’s another like huge part of like, what we’re trying to do here and why podcasts like this are so great, like this type education is great, because I don’t want those people to be forgotten because a lot of those folks are, you know, they’re creating products that are revolutionary, that can really change people’s lives.

Announcer  1:00
You’re listening to To Be Blunt, the podcast for cannabis marketers. Where your host Shayda Torabi and her guests are trailblazing the path to marketing, educating and professionalizing cannabis light one up and listen up. Here’s your host Shayda Torabi.

Shayda Torabi  1:19
Hello, everybody. And welcome back to a new episode of To be blunt, you are listening to what I hope is going to be if it isn’t already, your favorite podcast, we are almost wrapping the year up. And I can’t believe we’re almost at 30 episodes, it’s crazy to think that I launched this little podcast in the middle of a pandemic and holy shit. Look at all the great guests that we’ve been able to bring onto the show already. I hope if it is your first time that this episode that you are choosing to listen to inspires you. And if you are a repeat listener, thank you so much for keeping up. I hope these conversations have been impactful for you and your cannabis brand and business. So kicking things off today is a conversation with a new friend of mine. His name is john shoots. He and I were connected which we’ll get into in the podcast through another speaking opportunity that we were both invited to participate in. And I just really loved his energy. And I really loved his passion for giving back to cannabis. So, to start, john is the founder of a very well recognized and awarded cannabis digital marketing agency where he helps brands from Digital to packaging and labeling to just creating content, as well as he more recently co founded cannabis doing good, which is a nonprofit created to help Stoke cannabis doing good and specifically giving back to the community. I don’t want to spoil anything. I think that the social giveback aspect is so important, especially in a plant that is so polarizing stigmatize it’s obviously got a lot to do when it comes to social justice and reformation. And, obviously, there’s so much more work to be done. But I just want to take a moment to highlight the great work that is currently being done. And I think john is a great candidate to have that conversation. And so again, I hope these episodes can help inspire you to think of ways that you can be giving back to this plant that is giving you so much. So without further ado, let’s welcome john to the show.

John Shute  3:47
My name is John Schute, I am CEO of puff creative. We are a full service cannabis digital marketing agency. We’ve been around for four years, I’ve been in the cannabis space for about six, six and a half years now. And we have been working on so many amazing projects really since day one, which I’m not sure if many other agencies have the opportunity to say especially in this space, especially right now. We do everything from consulting, to branding to brand books, identity packaging, web design, web development, leading all the way into, you know, social media, SEO, advertising solutions, all that fun stuff blogging, emailing. And it’s really interesting because you know, the cannabis space is so new and we there’s so many similar brands who offer maybe the same products and the same thing with CBD. But it’s so unique seeing the difference between all these projects, especially how they evolve, you know, every year and the standards that are being set by other brands in the industry every year. So it’s been a really cool experience. We recently just got nominated For agency of the Year by cannabis, and I was personally nominated for markers of the year, and that cannabis and prior to share the pressing record, I, you know, I was telling her, you know, I typically am not one to be like, you know, I really want to win something, personally, and it’s really not a personal thing. But I really want to win this year, because my team has done such a great job. You know, we’ve done so much community work and so many I just read a blog recently about everything we’ve done and why you should vote for us. But you know, a few things just off the top we, the past few years, were able to raise $200,000 for nonprofits and different organizations all over the country. Through our candidates doing good program that we set up a few years back during COVID. In particular, we were able to raise $10,000, just for Denver, homeless, hungry and frontline workers here. And during that time, we also launched our own nonprofit called the canvass impact fund, that specifically as opposed to focusing on racial justice, the next 12 months, but also touching on you know, environment, local community issues in local cannabis communities all over the country. You know, we’re building all these programs are working with, you know, folks like last prison, their project, they’re a client of ours right now, I just consulted our client National Association of cannabis businesses through their social equity guidelines, marketing and advertising. And they just did a virtual conference, which is a really interesting experience. So we’re working on those things, I, we have so many other great projects in the works. And that’s why I think that we, you know, really deserve, you know, some type of credibility. Again, I hate to even say that, because it’s kind of weird to like, the house yourself like that. But I just again, I’m so proud of what we’ve been working on in our future plans are, we’re really trying to shift towards educational content and design that’s going to make a difference in communities throughout the country. For example, like right now, we’re working on a mental health guide for folks that we’re going to make available on our website for people to print out and you know, share with their employees, family, friends, really, obviously, like everyone. So you’re gonna see a lot of different like educational material coming out from us over the next like few years, and bigger campaigns, especially when we can get back into events and stuff like that. Perfect. I think it definitely gives a breadth of what you’re working on. But I think what it left me with I’m sure the listeners want to learn to specially kind of like, obviously, you’re a marketing agency, this is a marketing podcast you care so much about, obviously, your team, you want to highlight the great work that they’re doing for your clients, you are now at a position at sounds to be the recipient of awards and this recognition that is obviously earned through the work that you’re doing for your clients and doing in this industry. I think something that is very apparent also is just being able to, which I talk a lot about on this podcast, it’s like when you have a platform, like you should do something good with it, you know, like, yeah, figure out how to get involved and give back to the community in some way. Honestly, I had like a huge anxiety attack after watching that Netflix series. Is it social dilemma? Yeah. Oh my god, I was like, I couldn’t sleep for like two days, because I’m like, Oh, I do feel like I have to figure out how to make it better. I relate to that so hard. Yeah. And I, you know, I then I kind of calmed myself down. I’m like, wait, like, you know, we, you I position myself to work with people who are on the same page as us in regards to incorporating some type of good deed into their identity into what they’re doing. And that’s what we do and you know, try to Yeah, like you’re saying, like, utilize these platforms are good. It’s like, why not, you know, and especially cannabis and hemp, they’re only going to become more and more competitive. And you’re gonna need to distinguish yourself more and more, what better way to do that then do get, you know, in any shape or form and the other you know, circling back to my original banter, whatever, you’re gonna cut, whatever you call it, it’s really good for brands to think about this like super early on, like in their in their lifecycle, too. Because it just gives them like such an angle. And it’s really not only are different brands and projects unique, each one even though they offer similar things. What’s so intriguing to me is actually when you break down, like what they’re passionate about and find like an organization that’s like a right fit for them based off their history. The reason they got involved with this, why they actually like started the company for connecting a client right now with like different autism, nonprofits and programs because that really impacts him and you know, and that’s like, you know, those are the

But the difference is, is that, you know, you do apply these foundational principles, like, you know, you should have great branding. Yep, you should have great packaging, you should have a great website, all your content campaign should be amazing. Yes. But have they made all the mistakes yet, you know, and that’s why this is such an important thing to me, because I believe in all those principles, because that is the future of cannabis, and rather how you feel about that, whether you’re a corporate company, your mom and pop shop, but there is so many mistakes that, you know, a lot of these other agencies and people who are getting into the industry haven’t made, you know, or aren’t even aware of that there’s even a mistake to be made in this, you know, if you’re, you know, starting a soap company, or something like that, you know, you’re not thinking about, okay, you don’t have to worry about like posting a picture of someone like rubbing the soap on their skin or something like that, where it’s like with a consumption shot in a cannabis or, you know, even headspace in some cases, you know, it’s not allowed, you know, it’s on social media. So that’s kind of led me to Yeah, this whole give back. And we’ve really it filtered out. I wouldn’t say all of our clients right now are, have some type of either give back environmental or community aspect, or else we really kind of won’t work with them. We will work with people who don’t, but I really, if I always bring that up, and like the first conversation, like, Are you willing to do this? And can I help you because I am willing to help you get there because it makes our lives easier from a marketing perspective. And if we loop in partners for, you know, PR, or, you know, we’re doing campaigns with like, relics magazine right now, like, I’d rather send them a client who there’s a story and there’s a reason why they’re in that magazine, rather than just like, ask them for a favor for someone who, you know, maybe you can live on their lab test, or some messed up stuff like that. Well, I think that’s part of what the industry is kind of plagued with, facing both from a branding perspective and just an industry perspective. I you know, because, especially running a retail store myself, just the other day, I had a gentleman walk in. And he instantly, you know, you can tell he’s looking around, he doesn’t know, I’m the owner, I’m just there, you know, working at the store, and he’s kind of like, Hey, what’s it what what this looks like a good business? What’s it costs, like, how do I get into this industry? And you’re kind of like, that’s not why we’re in this industry. Yeah, that’s what a lot of people see obviously, the monetary opportunity, you hit the nail on the head, though not really seeing the full picture of all the the hurdles that you have to face. And so that’s where I think the other twist of what we were kind of teasing when you and I were talking before we were recording of just the the privacy and the secrecy and the you know, guardedness and garden nature of our industry of just not wanting to really one, I think, all admit, how do you share information that you’re not totally sure is the truth? Yeah, you know, you hear speculation you hear that a particular platform or social media site or something isn’t, you know, going to play well with you because you’re cannabis. But then obviously, people are on some of these platforms, it’s just a matter of time before their content gets kicked off or something. So it’s like, who do you who in what do you trust, but then maybe you’re successfully using one of those platforms or one of those tools that somebody else is having a hard time with, and you don’t want to talk about it? And so I just find that the industry has this very murky nature around it.

Shayda Torabi  14:44
It does, whether it’s, you know, you trying to navigate it as a business owner or just well really, as a business owner, because I find when I’m trying to talk to vendors, different agencies, I’m trying to see who knows their shit. What do they know how involved Are they? how knowledgeable? Are they? Kind of to your point? Like, yeah, there’s a bunch of agencies who are really good at doing all the things. We just talked about social media, branding, whatever. But do you actually know cannabis, because that’s a whole other layer of complexity. Yeah. And on top of that, is, you know, now that it’s, you know, it’s taking this shift, you know, like, when I first got in the industry, you know, you could get by with a shitty Wix website and Instagram account. And it’s not like that anymore. And although that’s the case, is that the marketing and the business side of things are taking that shift, you have to remember that we’re, it’s, it’s a sacred thing, you know, Cannabis, and people really do forget that. And that’s the most important thing. Like, again, you know, everything that I do, doesn’t actually matter to me, unless the product actually is if it works like and, you know, like, and that’s another thing, it’s like, you don’t have a good product that is grown properly is properly lab tested, you know, all the above, like, I don’t necessarily really want to work with you, because I want to market products that are going to be helping people. And that’s the whole point of the plant. So when you can tie together that with all the other things that we’re talking about, that is actually truly going to make the difference. And there is like you said, there is this weird vibe or murkiness around sharing information, you know, all of that. And I try not to do that. I always like, that’s why I write a blog consistently, I do the podcasts like same with you, like, I want to build on these conversations and have these people in my network who are the best at these certain particular areas. So we can all get these conclusions and keep building together, rather than create these pockets of like, oh, like, I know, the secret, I’m not gonna share it with Shayda. Because, you know, I don’t want to see her succeed. That’s the opposite of like, what I think the industry should be about. And that’s why I have like, so many cities, like you look at my partners page, I have so many partners, I have more than I probably 50 that aren’t even on there. Because you never just know like when you’re going to need information from someone or you know, you someone. And that being said, I would say that the cannabis industry, you probably fall victim to this too, all the time. There are a lot of people searching for a lot of valuable information that they want to get it for free as well as well.

John Shute  17:22
That I find that happening more so than any other, you know, professional experience in my life. But the same time I almost set myself up for being the CEO of an agency and putting myself out there. So I mean, saying I get it. And I think that I almost award people it’s like I can’t even begin to stress how much I strain on this podcast. Like I’m a human being who Yes, I run a business in this space. I like to think that I’ve become quite knowledgeable about our industry, about the topics and intersection of cannabis and marketing. Like I’m available for people to pick my brain but most people don’t I guess I don’t know why maybe this is a challenge for people listening because I actually would love to see I mean, I share the same passion as you I want to share this information. I want us to be speaking the same language because I believe that the rising tide lifts all boats. And for me, like yes, I run a CBD brand. But for me as a native born and raised Texan, we’re cannabis. Some weird shit in Texas right now. I don’t really I mean, again, obviously, as a business owner, I want people to shop with me, but like, Yeah, I just want people to be educated. So I need all the shops in Austin, Texas who are selling CBD to be saying the same thing. And it was just so wild. We launched two and a half years ago, we were one of the first brands in Austin to operate. And, I mean, when I looked around, it’s like who do I who am I learning from? Nobody in my state’s been doing this. So my laws are definitely Yeah, man, you probably had to hop through some loopholes to get your license there, huh? I’m sure that was a crazy process. I wait for this. We didn’t even open licenses until I guess like two three months ago. They just awarded or opened up the license application. Well, we are in the queue but I haven’t been officially worded it so we you didn’t it was legal. And you didn’t even need a license to operate super Wild, Wild West stuff. I know.

Shayda Torabi  19:19
But when you have customers who are curious, that’s like standard though. I got it. That’s like this industry. I never am fazed by like the government the processes that the different governments take. And yeah, I was in the same boat or until you know, a few years back like I’m from New Jersey, so I totally get it. I think that’s why I am so like passionate about it. You almost you almost need to experience like there’s like it’s funny, like, I’m having a daughter in March like she’s not even going to experience like illegal cannabis. You know, like she’s gonna be born in Colorado and you know, just gonna be a normal thing. Where I was getting like my I think my mom cried when

John Shute  20:00
She found we might when I was like 12 or 13. And now she’s like smoking joints. You know, it’s super strange. So I totally get that. That’s and I totally respect you too, for taking initiative and prioritizing education in Texas and you know, even opening up your own shop, it’s super difficult. Well, it’s important to have people who are again, like you, I’ve been given this platform, and now I need to do something of importance with it. I might not be great at actually developing websites, you know, I might not be great at this is a bad example of public speaking. I love public speaking. But like, you know, we were again talking kind of before some people don’t like to network, some people are shy, some people are good at this, like, realizing where your skills are, what’s your strong suit, and then leaning into it? So for me, it’s like, yeah, I want to be somebody who is one absorbing like, I’m a sponge. I say, every episode, I selfishly have these conversations, because I want to be connected to superpower knowledge. And I know that I don’t contain all of it myself. And like you said, you start to build this network, which is, I think another thing that is like really relevant to highlight with listeners, you know, especially in 2020, in the age of COVID. I think for as bad as social media is and challenging as it is in our lives. It’s so powerful. I mean, the amount of people I’ve met on LinkedIn just today, I posted something, and one of the partners of kandeh essent somehow saw my post because you know how LinkedIn is it’s like, your friends friends, friends, see your stuff. I posted some patent trademark cannabis question. This guy sees it he literally DM me, he’s like, here’s three lawyers that you should talk to about this. And you’re just like, wow, what what uh, I don’t even I’m like I don’t even know this dude. You know, when he just he was connected through my network of people on LinkedIn. Dude, LinkedIn is my my jam. I love like, that’s one of my favorite platforms. Oh, man, I think I’m still getting notifications from like, a post I’m tagged in on your

types of things that I think really matter and we’re trying to do so against going off topic at all.

Shayda Torabi  10:06
No, I think that’s totally on topic because I think there’s just so many things from a marketing perspective to start to chip away at in and especially when you start talking to, you know, not to lump you, but like, there’s just like, there’s a lot of CBD and cannabis brands that there’s a lot of people doing, you know, Cannabis, cannabis marketing cannabis agencies. And so I think, as an agency owner, you’ve highlighted and identified an area that is maybe under represented, which is the giving back portion. And I think that that is what I observe also, is you influencing specifically with your clients? It’s part of that strategy, right? Like, yes, I can get you online, I can make your website I can drive traffic to your site, but what is the differentiator that people are going to want to stay your customer?

John Shute  10:51
That’s a really great way to put it, you definitely put in better words, and I could, well, I am imaginary good. Yeah, that’s a really good point, though. Because, you know, I think there are it is becoming really competitive, you know, for us, there are a lot of bigger agencies, who are, you know, diving into the space that have, you know, way more resources, way more money had been around, you know, 50 years or whatever.

you have a crazy like the following. I’m like, Yo, this girl kills it on here. Thank you, I

Shayda Torabi  22:17
COVID I’ve honestly just started investing time in LinkedIn, I think it’s the

John Shute  22:21
best. It’s

Shayda Torabi  22:23
like, well to like, again, highlight I love like bringing it back for like the relevance of the audience like you put the time in that you want to get out like you and I are not super humans. You know, again, we have skills that maybe are skewed more towards public speaking or networking or content creation, but somebody else might be really good at the technical stuff and understanding that it’s like there’s there’s no work for everything. And I just want people to realize that to be having this conversation is not some elite conversation. It’s literally like you and I got connected. I would love to tell the story actually of how we got

John Shute  23:00
Yeah, no, please do. Yeah, I have a bunch of stuff. I want to say off that as well. Because like there’s there’s a budget for these situations. I think we could relate on that. I’ll bring it up. But go ahead.

Shayda Torabi  23:11
Just quickly, like you and I met because like what so you’re in Denver, and it was General Assembly, Denver and General Assembly, Chicago, we’re doing a virtual event. And I’ve participated in general assembly Austin stuff on cannabis specifically. And so my Austin girl, I guess heard from the Denver team that they were looking for a cannabis person. And so they connected me and so it was a bunch of I mean, most of y’all were in Colorado and then I’m like, here I’m this weird Texas girl, but it’s just like I would have never been on that panel. Had I not done stuff with ga on my own and had even had my name come off her lips to suggest me for something to even connect me with you.

John Shute  23:58
Yeah, you have to stand out on those two for them to I think invite you back. Yeah, man, it was crazy. The first one I did with them is like everyone else is having like, like a few other of the individuals having it’s like login issues and like techniques. I just ended up as I probably have been doing these babbling on about just the endless cannabis marketing and advertising talk. And I think because it was just when COVID started there was like six 700 people on it was like my LinkedIn like it was great. Because I just couldn’t Yeah, it was awesome. And yeah, those those they’re great like GGA like what awesome. Like platform. Everyone’s such a sweetheart. They like works for them too. It’s nice,

Shayda Torabi  24:46
but sabihin ga for any other opportunity. It’s just like I’m such a proponent and believer of like, just show up, have business cards, like see and be seen is another thing I love to say and remind myself I just think as marketers, maybe you can and can agree or maybe you want to challenge this idea. But I think as marketers, we keep thinking, we have to create something new. I found, pick three to five things that you are passionate about whether they’re subject areas you want to talk about, or marketing initiatives or activities you want to do. And just focus on that. You don’t have to be everywhere, you don’t have to say everything. Because the reality is most people are not paying attention to the first six times you say something to them, whether it’s an email, social media, they see you at a show, they watch your panel, they drive by your retail shop. And then it’s combination of all of that, right. But most people, they’re, they’re immune to it until they need you. And then they think, Oh, it was this one thing that triggered it, but in reality, it’s they just weren’t paying attention. And so why would you even recreate content, if you can take that load off of you as a marketer, and just really be passionate and own, you know, what your wheelhouse is.

John Shute  26:05
And the reason I couldn’t agree more, I think that we have like, the narrowing that down like for like, personally is like our business, I can tell you based off a mistake that we’ve made. That was really super stressful, and like, I’ll never make it again. Yeah, we wrote a blog one time touching on there was like an article about like molding cannabis in Denver dispensaries or something. And instead of thinking it through, you know, this is not something that we specialize in. I’m not a scientist, I was thinking in terms of like, SEO, like, this would be a great local, you know, blog to put out in response to this article. And someone else in the industry here who were close with another agency, small agency, reached out and ended up, they ended up like, it’s funny, like, going back to, like, you know, saying that, like you’re hiding information ended up that they had this like vendetta against me and against our agency, which, you know, happens, you know, even though we have really good intentions, but whatever, you know, they were like this hurt that we put out this content that we didn’t specialize in, and they made a really big deal about it, and brought it up to a bunch of people. And it was really disheartening for me because I was just like, oh, like we could have, you could have just told me to take it down. And I was really stressed out about it. And then I, you know, took it down. And I, you know, I realized I was like, man, they may have handled this wrong, but they were 1,000% right. And I will never ever do something like that. Again, I would never ever, you know, have a client fall victim that either. I’m very careful about what we put out. So as you can see, like, you know, if you go our blog right now, like it’s, you know, I personally only write blogs about kind of just marketing, because that’s what I’m passionate about. And that’s how I personally make a difference. Other blogs will see our guest blogs, they’ll probably ask you to write a guest blog after we do like after you’re on my podcast. So I usually do that people want to do it. I’m a big back like nerd but uh, anyway, yeah. So I think that that’s like kind of going to your point like right now we just focus on you know, our education of cannabis marketing niche, and you know, cannabis advertising, whatever it may be consulting, the great, great deliverables that we sell ourselves, and then the community side of things. And those those are three things and that’s, that’s the three things that we’re most passionate about, and that we that we specialize in. That mistake will haunt me the rest of my life. You know, for me, this whole business that I’ve started like, we know we have no funding, this has been completely grassroots. We’re very scrappy. I could write a freakin book. The amount of experiences I’ve had business wise one

Shayda Torabi  29:02
quick break to say thank you to restart CBD for sponsoring this podcast. Restart CBD is a brand my sisters and I founded in our hometown in Austin, Texas. We operate a retail location as well as an e commerce store and you can browse our wide range of CBD products at restart CBD calm again, thank you to restart for allowing me the time and resources to put on to be blunt. I hope you’ll check them out for your CBD needs. Let’s go back to the episode.

John Shute  29:33
So yeah, that that mistake will haunt me and I’ll never make it again. You know, I think that I think people in cannabis should probably definitely consider that like mentality because it’s a very small community, even though it’s you know, the most rapid industry in the frickin world ever. And I you know, I’ve had other mistakes in the past and you come back and bite me or maybe I’ve gotten in a conversation. I may have should not go Conversation with. But luckily, as you are emotionally intelligent, I learned these lessons very quickly. And you know, learn how to like mitigate those those risks and mistakes like all the time. And as shitty as the situations are, sometimes they end up being the best thing that could happen.

Shayda Torabi  30:17
Absolutely. And I love highlighting the obviously negatives that we go through, because that’s the whole point of this. It’s not to say, oh, everything always works out, you know, I just done a straight and narrow path. It’s like, no, I took a detour and I got lit on fire here. And I lost a couple grand there and, and I think probably a takeaway too, for the audience’s realizing, you know, something that I observe, there’s so many people, whether it is social media platforms, or information sharing, probably more offensive on the information sharing side, I see so much misinformation being shared, because I think people want to wet they want to be the first to announce it, they want to be the first to report it, they want to exactly help educate their customers, but they haven’t done the work themselves to fully understand it. And it almost turns into just like a reshare without actual context or understanding. And so I never want people to walk away from this show thinking like, I’ll never be able to post because I’ll never know the truth. But I think there is a really fine line because I find myself in that situation where I look. To my left, I look to my right. And I say well, my peers aren’t talking about this subject, like using Texas as an example. We have so many weird, crazy laws. And when you look at the brands, like we’re the one of the leading brands, so people are looking to us to whether it’s a customer or another business in town, you know, what, how are they responding? How does restart, respond? And I’m like, Well, shit, I don’t know if what I say is even the truth. So because like I maybe it’s a new cannabinoid, like I’ve been talking a lot about delta A, we sell a lot of delta eight. But when you look at Delta eight in the landscape of things, there’s still a lot of nuances to it from a testing perspective, a consumption perspective, a legality perspective?

John Shute  32:12
Yeah. What’s your take on? Like, do you think that that’s, I, my friend is starting to doubt the company and I didn’t really know what to think. And I haven’t actually done that deep dive into it, you know, cuz I’m like, I don’t really know anything about it. I got it. Like, what’s your take on it, though?

Shayda Torabi  32:31
It’s an interesting one. So yeah,

Unknown Speaker  32:33
even though this is your POC,

Shayda Torabi  32:36
like, okay, turn the mic around. Yeah, I mean, the quick of it is, I will say, for everybody, I made like a six minute video on my delta eight understanding on our YouTube channel, restart CBA. But that’s it. It’s like we kind of had to accumulate a lot of information before I felt even comfortable to make that video, knowing that once I posted that video, it was going to be seen by our peers, our customers, you know, like you acknowledge I post things on LinkedIn, people know who I am, they start to see me as this face. And it’s like, well, I hope what I’m saying about this is true. But I will always also caveat, I’m a lifelong learner. So nothing I say is explicit. I always encourage everybody who listens to me. So everybody on this podcast tuning in, like take what john and i are saying and like be encouraged to be curious and like go do your own research. So with that said, I think Delta eight is really interesting because it’s not legal in every state, right? So I have a lot of friends in Denver operating, you know, cannabis stuff in Colorado. And to my knowledge, delta eight is not legal in Colorado. It’s actually illegal in Colorado.

John Shute  33:51
Interesting, because this is where my friend

Shayda Torabi  33:56
so I probably need to get that clarified because I was maybe like two months old information and I was trying to pick my friend’s brain the other day, I was like, do you have delta Aiden product? He works a dispensary medical dispensary like do Delta eight in products are people buying into people ask for it? And he was like, no and why are you asking me like what why are people buying Delta eight I’m like, in Texas. It’s quote unquote, you know, the legal THC. And I think we’re in an interesting position dealing with it two things. One, I don’t think it will be legal forever. In Texas, Texas is laws are currently the way it’s operating is Texas counts. Only Delta nine not total THC. So obviously if it counted total THC than point 3% you couldn’t have delta eight THC, it just wouldn’t be a part of it. The other thing Texas combats right now we’re in the middle of a potential smoking ban. So we will potentially as of February 1 2021 not be able to sell smokeable in retail and primary ways to consume Delta eight because it’s so sticky Delta eight is so sticky is In cartridge form, oh, us you want to be able to do vapes or anything anymore? No, I mean, no. So there’s workarounds, potentially, like loose bud would be, you know, for baking, not for smokeable. But anything that’s in a device that you would inhale it from is going to be considered smokeable. So whether it’s delta A or smokeable, so in general, that’s just another area that we’re navigating. So yeah, I think just to kind of like, bring it back around for the relevance of this conversation, you know, all that information I just shared is because I’m talking to my peers. I’m a part of local groups. I’m networking on social media. I’m in industry groups, I’m reading articles. I’m subscribed to newsletters, like anybody who wants to be in this industry and thinks like, maybe they come from another industry, and they want to just apply what they know here like you can like you can be the best, you know, edible maker. But if you don’t understand the laws of the state that you’re selling your edibles in or how to even get a license.

Unknown Speaker  35:58
Yeah. What do you even do it?

Shayda Torabi  36:00
Like, I think I brought this up in my last episode, like I had a friend, you know, Arizona just went recreation. And he texted me.

John Shute  36:08

Shayda Torabi  36:09
can you help me open a dispensary in Arizona, I’m like, that’s not how this works. Like you. It doesn’t just become like legal. And you can just walk to you know, the Department of whoever and get a license like, yeah, it’s much more nuanced than that. And so, again, to kind of sum up, like, you and I are people who know that it is by blood, sweat and tears that you get here. And so it’s not by any specialty or married. It’s like, I just am really hungry for knowledge and to try to navigate the industry that I find myself in and totally fucking love. Like, would pick 100 hard days in cannabis over you know, million easy’s? I don’t know if that was the right. analogy. I know. I’m like, Where am I going with that? But you know what I mean? Like, it’s hard.

John Shute  36:59
I was wondering what you’re gonna say? Yeah, from New Jersey, like, yeah, they just went wreck recently. So I got a million messages. I want to open a dispensary. How can I I want to learn everything there is to know about the industry, I want to do everything. The one thing that we’ve done, which is cool is that I can offer people is that we partnered with legal consultants, and licensed consultants. So I can actually get people their license, or at least get them the right information. So they can start that process. Because I get asked so much. And like being agency, you know, it’s great for me, because I can get people license and then take over once they get the license. And then I have a partner for pretty much everything else that they need along that journey, I think. And I’m gonna guarantee that, but most most of the times I do. But that being said, And to your point, yes, so many people reach out to me, because they want to get involved and do all these things and learn it all. And there’s too much solar. And I don’t know if people realize that, and there is so much opportunity out there. But you do need to find your niche. And if you’re only getting involved in this industry, because you’re just trying to make a quick buck. It might work but it’s not going to work for you long term. It’s a lot of my time is like dealing with this now because it’s like everyone wants to get involved in cannabis. So like, how do I do like actually deal with this, I don’t drive myself crazy. First, I’m like, email me where your head’s at. A lot of people don’t even do that. Right away, I’m like, you’re not ready for this. Yeah, then you randomly get that 10 page email from someone who’s like really passionate, and then you know, then if I can break that down and see if there is an area they should specialize in, I will give them that advice and try to guide them. But that’s been like a huge part of like, my blog. And, you know, what I’m trying to turn my podcast into is just being able to send people these links, like, I’m gonna send people links to just our podcasts right now. Because there’s so much that we touched on that people just have no idea about really need to consider before they get, you know, get involved in this industry.

Shayda Torabi  39:06
I think that’s it, it’s like, you know, just having, again, marketer and me having blood conversations of Yeah, you know, helping peel back the curtain of an otherwise very private industry. And part of its privacy is because it’s a new industry, but like you acknowledged it’s moving at a rapid pace, which is why I think there’s so much tension for those of us who are wanting to get in are already in the industry because it’s just like, brands opportunities, but the space is varying in every state and

John Shute  39:46
it is frustrating for sure. Because you do have to position yourself properly because yeah, it’s moving so fast. There’s so much money. I miss classify is like two different groups. You know, you have your group who are passionate In her mom and pop shops to, you know, been around the block, you know, since the beginning. And the reason that we’re in the situations that we’re in now is illegal industry because of these people. And sadly, one by one, they’re slowly being forgotten, or pushed out because of money, or whatever it may be. So I would say it’s another like huge part of like, what we’re trying to do here and why podcasts like this are so great. And like this type education is great, because I don’t want those people to be forgotten, because a lot of those folks are, you know, they’re creating products that are revolutionary, that can really change people’s lives. I pretty much bring up this client, every single podcasts I do anything I do, we have this one client there in the back country of Vail, like 10,000 feet there, they get their water from the snow mountain from this pristine Lake above the grow, it’s 100%, sustainable, they’re at a negative 20 carbon footprint actually helping the environment around them, they test higher for rare cannabinoids and terpene levels higher than anyone in the world. It’s outdoor grown, which is very strange, to have that quality of cannabis. And the grower is like a he’s like 90% blind, I believe their flower, like, you know, the stories that we hear people have, you know, these crazy health issues or mental disorders or PTSD or pain is stories that they they’re telling them and we’re seeing with how the how this, you know, entourage effect of the flower is changing their wives, to me, like that guy. And that process should be the standard, you know, for everyone, or people should be at least working towards that. And, you know, like rules and regulations should be framed around those types of, you know, ethics and stuff because, I don’t know, it scares me. Sometimes I am frightful of federal legalization, like what does that look like? You know, what, like, the government for the past 2020 years has been testing cannabis dies, you know, as seeds and and is not even close to what we’re experiencing out here in Colorado, you know, especially. So, yeah, I am frightful of federal legalization and where the industry is headed and some days. Other days, that same perspective motivates me to do more of these good things that we’re doing and highlight these people who like truly deserve, who maybe don’t have, you know, the biggest budgets. But another hobby of mine, too, is taking those people who are in it for the wrong reasons, but we can see this glimpse of hope, and potential and then you know, being able to harness their power for the right reasons and teaching them what it’s all about introducing them to the right consultants. And those are the two situations that were like I’m personally most intrigued by and looking for. I love also marketing for like, fully integrated companies who have a mothership, you know, holdings company, and they have like, 10 brands under them. Cuz To me, that’s 10 more opportunities to make a difference and promote good products that people should be consuming. So yeah, really, my hope is that people really consider like, those type that type of information and you know, those types of facts and you know, stuff that’s going on there in the industry, because it’s not, on average, most people aren’t considering or thinking that deeply about how deep this actually goes, and how much time and blood sweat and tears that has been put into this industry, whether alone, you know, touching on the fact that this industry is founded on racist principles. And there’s people still incarcerated for a plant that I’m making money off of, and I’m consuming every day. So that being said, our client less prisoner project is doing a holiday. Whether it’s leather campaign, for prisoners, who are currently incarcerated for cannabis, it’s in all the puff creative social media links, you know, in my other bio, please check that out. Because I know you know, it’s, it is crazy to think to me that, you know, I’m going to be stuffing my face with food, probably highest shit. And someone who’s probably, you know, really good person isn’t chill. And it’s, you know, little pandemic COVID. Let’s add, you know, all the layers on top of that, too.

This is like a big time in cannabis. It’s only gonna keep getting bigger. But right now is I think the pivotal point in the life cycle or the history of the planet, being essential during a pandemic, you know, the mass spread of information, which is scary because so many people are doing research and like to your point, like, Who the hell is sharing the right info. Oh, that actually gets me to one thing I did want to say man some advice to other agencies and marketers out there. It really there are great associations out there in the cannabis space that are worth joining. And I think that’s a great place to have as your like foundational. You know, that’s you reach out to and you’re in a tight spot and don’t know what the, you know, but with the properly put out there, you know the cap, the cannabis Marketing Association Lisa Buffa a really good friend of mine, I highly recommend signing up for their program, talking to Lisa talking to their team getting advice from them. The National Association of cannabis businesses, you know, they do complete mess, either membership, newsletter drips, constantly updating people on new things going on in the industry, whether it be legislative, whether it be via just a small update to a packaging compliance, or, you know, whatever it may be, they’re also writing their own standards and packaging, cybersecurity environment, carbon emissions. I do have a war story and marketing if I could share to

Shayda Torabi  45:55
share it.

John Shute  45:56
I can’t we we’ve been on here for almost an hour. That’s crazy. I feel like it’d be like seven, we should do like a series or something

Shayda Torabi  46:03
fun a good conversation.

John Shute  46:06
So I think it was two years back, a family was visiting, or doing marketing for a dispensary. And thing I started out running their account. Because we were busy. I normally like do all the onboarding and like find the staff members are right fit. And I gave it to you know, one of my best employees, you know, he’s been around, he’s our first hire. He posted like an Instagram story that had something that it wasn’t pricing, but it looked like it like it almost, I forget what it was, it was like it was a quantity. Anyway, someone reported it, that Instagram account got shut down. But then that led to our Facebook account getting shut down. And for some reason, because I created those accounts. We had 10 clients profiles get shut down at the same time. And it was bad talking about like trying to navigate those types of conversations. Horrible, horrible. Luckily, no one freaked out. I think I stressed from everyone. Because I was like with my parents and like we’re you know, we just got over the love one pass, and they got this text. And then I got the 20 texts for my business partner saying they all the accounts, our staff logged into their like Dude, like how many. So then we realized that like my IP got flagged, and then that flagged every single thing my phone number was connected to and because I started the company and started all these accounts for the clients, because I do the onboarding. These used to be able to add the same phone number for everyone, like, two, three years ago or whatever. It’s same email. So I just use mine. And like, it’s, you know, I’ll be the headmaster of the security and that effect. So we ended up getting a lot of them back, which was it took me a few months, but I got like 80% of them back. And then we ended up starting, we started a few new ones for that dispensary and started a new one ended up not being our fault, because it was content that like they sent to us. And we’re like, you need to push this out. I think that we didn’t push back because there wasn’t pricing on it, you know, and like we never had like, just a number on the graphic be an issue. And that’s that’s just making an assumption that that’s what it was.

Shayda Torabi  48:31
We’re learning still to it’s like, I don’t think there was explicit ease on what you can camp post

John Shute  48:38
100%. And that’s only an assumption that we made was that was what what could have been anything like it could have been a post or like that they posted a year before that before we were involved. It got you know, right. So now, you know, I have all these crazy connections now. From the scramble of trying to figure out how to get these accounts back I met all these people going through the same thing. And I pieced together like five war stories and this crazy thing with this contact form Instagram. It was it was wild, and

Shayda Torabi  49:13
basically perform magic.

John Shute  49:15
Yeah, it really was magic. And we’ve get we can still get accounts back sometimes now. I can help people sometimes there is a process. So if you ever get shut down, let me know.

Shayda Torabi  49:26
So good to know. And Instagram actually flagged me today. Oddly enough. They flagged my hashtags, my photo doesn’t even anything. And then I was like but their hashtags and they weren’t like we they literally were like cannabis education CBD one on one. So I was like, Okay, I deleted it. And then I reposted the same hashtags, and it let it go. And I was like, oh, okay, what tripped you?

Unknown Speaker  49:51
I don’t know. Yeah, well, People Keep Talking about this and I can’t find any valid information on it. The

Shayda Torabi  49:59
whole separate public Cast we need to have on just like navigating Instagram because it really doesn’t. It’s always one of those things. Anytime somebody asked me like, Hey, I saw you post that thing and Instagram didn’t flag and I’m like do not do as I say every account is different, every accounts different and what you post and how often you post, it’s totally Instagrams, you know, parser algorithm parties, maybe someone is submitting it. So, yeah, it’s, um, again, I like to use these conversations as like, starting off points for people to maybe be more mindful, like, hey, maybe not people know, don’t put prices on things that could get it flagged. And I can attest to that. I have had stories be pulled down from Instagram, because I’m pricing on it. Not that I was writing it in the text, but it was on the image, you could tell it was like a, you know, a price tag. And so you just you learn lessons, but should that deter someone from creating content? Potentially? Depends how risky you are. In your scenario, as an agency owner responsible for clients, you probably didn’t want to be that risky. Yeah, you probably would have liked to catch that. Versus me as the brand. Yeah, I’ll throw you know, myself smoking out of a ball. Why? Because bongs are legal Yeah, exactly. I can smoke hemp flour.

John Shute  51:11
Totally. And that’s, and I would probably be like, we shouldn’t do that.

Shayda Torabi  51:16
But I want to I will take that challenge. I mean, please, Instagram, don’t listen. But like, you know, you have to gauge what your tolerance for risk is in this industry. And I think so many people are looking for like, Oh, just like, what did john do? What did Shayda do? Know, listen to what we’re going through, but also put it to your own brand. What are you selling? Like, I mean, this conversation bleeds into everything like payment merchants, hosting platforms, e commerce platforms, like, if you’re selling topicals, without THC, much different than if you’re selling pre roll joints. Those are different products, and who works with you. And what you put on Instagram is going to vary because one looks like an illegal substance and one is a topical. So you know,

John Shute  52:00
it’s so true. I think for like being mean, when we tell them to be careful. I’m just like, no, I really just had the best intentions in mind, because I’ve seen the bad side of what this could be like. And if people are down and we totally just do it, you know, I mean, like, we’re just like, cool like this, this is your brand. Like, this is what this is us providing, like, on average, you know, from our experience, this is what happens. But

Shayda Torabi  52:26
well, if you want to, but you need to know that there is there’s not a hard and fast rule. There’s nobody to be like, Oh, well, they got away with it. Like I can explain a lot of things that are happening. So people just need to be comfortable.

John Shute  52:42
Dude, save I mean, so she was like average, like Target like social media advertising. I am almost all the bigger companies were doing the landing page, like Charlotte’s Web, for example. They were doing like the I am Charlotte landing page. They use that for their PPC, social Google Store everything. And everyone was following that model. And it’s it works in certain cases. But there’s risks though. But now I’m seeing these bigger brands are actually using their main domains and may profiles, which in theory for me now just happy paying over 50 k a month. That’s my only theory,

Shayda Torabi  53:22
but that’s the other half. It’s the money. It’s like, do you want to spend that much money? or potentially you could lose that money and you have to be okay, losing that money, if you want to spend adds up in that capacity? It’s like it’s just not a guaranteed Yeah, exactly. So lots of lots of gems in this episode, though, for people. I feel like there’s a lot of No, no, this is the type of stuff I want to talk about. Because I sometimes feel like I’m shouting into a void of like, like, I like you people come to me, and they’re like, Shayda, how do I solve this? And I have to go through the, okay, you’re trying to solve what you think is an non complex problem with a non complex solution, but it’s actually a high complex problem. And it has a very high complex solution based on everything we just said, Oh,

John Shute  54:07
yeah, that one is really interesting. For sure.

Shayda Torabi  54:11
I need to just continuously get educated I literally today I read, like, for at least an hour on Delta aid. It still overwhelms me. And I’m like, what are what is this? What are we doing? And then I was watching this one video on it. And the guy said, yeah, if delta eight goes away, you know, there’s Delta seven and delta 10. And I’m like, what those even do and he’s like,

John Shute  54:31
well, what did Delta eight Do you know? Yeah, well, they’re they can use as high as the number goes down from nine.

Shayda Torabi  54:40
Theory they’re all you know, deviations of it. So yeah, it’s it’s a it’s just I think we’re just scratching the surface to you know, highlight for people to over 160 different cannabinoids, add on all the different terpenes a lot. That’s a lot of stuff that I just don’t even personally Know, to the extent that I should know. And I like to think that like, we’re pretty intelligent. I

John Shute  55:06
think I’m close. Yeah, I mean, and I’ve been doing I’ve been putting all my time into this for years. And you’re

Unknown Speaker  55:12
up for you knows agency cannabis agency of the Year

Unknown Speaker  55:16
awards. Yeah, I still am like, and,

Shayda Torabi  55:19
and people come to you to want to understand how to package it, what to put on their labels. And, and again, I just think it’s a very real contrast, I hope people grok This is it. And it’s a beautiful shit show all the time. And you just kind of have to get comfortable with it. But I’m kind of with that. I feel like we are almost at time. So I want to just like anything else you want to add, share tease out? No, I

John Shute  55:49
mean, I guess the last thing I would add is just if yet, if anyone has time, like check out our blog on the POF creative site. We are up for those awards, I would say maybe check out the 12 reasons why you should vote for us before you vote, just to see how we’re really differentiating ourselves and how we’re, you know, trying to almost like I want to say, you know, influence other marketers and other agencies to kind of create the standard for themselves and for their clients. Because that’s going to help create this brighter future of cannabis that we’re kind of talking about and keep circling back.

Shayda Torabi  56:23
No matter where you find yourself on your cannabis journey, we all have a unique opportunity to leverage our skill set, and our position in this industry to help make it better. And I think john and the work that he’s doing through POF creative and through cannabis doing good is just that. It’s acknowledging the history and the past that we do come from as an industry. But it also creates a beautiful conversation for how we can give back how we can make an impact for the better and ultimately, share our love of this plant with others and help that awareness and education continue to grow and flourish. So, as always, I hope these conversations are helpful for you, I hope they are creating inspirations that you can influence how you do business and how you market your brand and what you uniquely can bring to the table to help do good for this plant. So a friendly reminder, sharing is caring. If you enjoyed this episode, it would make me so happy if you shared it with just one person. Not just for sharing this podcast, but really for just sharing the awareness and education on this plant. The more open dialogues we can have the more consistency and communication we can share and operate out of together. So thank you for tuning in again. I will have another episode for you guys next Monday. And I hope you guys have a good one. Thanks y’all. Love

Announcer  58:22
this episode of To be blunt. Be sure to visit de Shayda Torabi comm slash to be blind for more ways to connect new episodes come out on Mondays. And for more behind the scenes follow along on Instagram at the Shayda Torabi

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