Jordan Wellington, Esq., Chief Compliance Officer at Simplifya
Jordan Wellington, Esq., Chief Compliance Officer at Simplifya, served as the sole legislative staffer assigned to shepherd the legislation implementing Amendment 64 and the legalization of cannabis through the Colorado General Assembly. He then was hired by Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division to organize the Division’s stakeholder engagement process and draft many of the regulations governing retail and medical marijuana in Colorado. Jordan then joined the Vicente Sederberg law firm, where he has advised hundreds of cannabis businesses on compliance matters across the country.
Building upon his work with the firm, Jordan created the vision and co-founded Simplifya, a software company that provides compliance solution to cannabis businesses and consultants. As Simplifya's Cheif Compliance Officer, Jordan continues to help develop new features and improve its unique systems to continually make life easier for cannabis businesses.
Jordan has helped to author the white papers “Cannabis Packaging and Labeling Regulatory Recommendations for States and Nations” and “Cannabis Testing Policy: Recommendations for more Thoughtful and Consistent Regulations.
[00:00:01] You're listening to Thinking Outside the Bud where we speak with entrepreneurs investors thought leaders researchers advocates and policymakers who are finding new and exciting ways for cannabis to positively impact business society and culture. And now here is your host Business Coach Bruce Eckfeldt.
[00:00:30] Welcome everyone this is Thinking Outside the Bud. I'm Bruce Eckfeldt. I'm your host and today our guest is Jordan Wellington. And Jordan is Chief Compliance officer at Simplifya. Jordan welcome to the program.
[00:00:41] Thank you so much it's great to be here and I appreciate the garbling of my title The more people garbling my title the fancier it is so does every type of fancy title. Very true.
[00:00:52] And we've been chatting a little bit already and had a little bit of fun kind of talking about our conversation today but actually what do we start with.
[00:00:58] Just kind of learning a little bit more about you learning a little bit more about Simplifya like tell us a little bit of background of how you got involved and what you're doing right now.
[00:01:06] Yeah happy to.
[00:01:07] So I'm a Jersey boy grew up back east and moved to Colorado in 2012 after a stint at Brooklyn Law School and as a bill drafter in the New Jersey state legislature I was trying to find basically any job I could at that point so that I didn't have to move back to New Jersey from Denver. That was like a family goes make it through and in Colorado and I have a very good buddy also a part of the New Jersey team that turned out to be legislative director during the 2013 legislative session. So my background is mostly in public policy as either a bill drafter or research for white papers kind of things like that. And he hired me as a legislative aide for four hundred dollars a week. I already had my law degree and several years of experience so I think they got a good deal. I got I had a job and wasn't wasn't working and applying for jobs all day long. Yeah so showed up to work one day and I had been working on everything from civil unions to gun control that legislative session. And my boss calls me into his office had a whiteboard in the back where he like had everybody's projects listed that they were working on erased everything under my name and drew a pot leaf and said you know that you know you know the governor's task force finished their report on marijuana legalization and I'm like Yeah I read the newspaper and he's like cool. He's like you're in charge of stache staffing the Joint Select Committee. And I said to him you know can I please go do something else I need to like a job
[00:02:32] After after the legislative session. And I don't know I got like eight dollars to pay and I'm like you know major in debt and like it's a thing. And he's like he said to me I'll never forget it he said fuck no. This isn't a democracy. Go do what I told you. And you know we're both from Jersey so yeah most of our communication was four letter words. So wasn't like odd it was just kind of funny because he's like the legislative director and the House majority office in the state capitol in Denver telling me that this wasn't a democracy. And I think his point was the office wasn't a democracy even though we are engaged in participatory democracy. And so it wasn't up for a vote. What was it up for a vote.
[00:03:09] You know thank God that he insisted because he has really been the greatest opportunity and pleasure of my life to be able to do what I've done over the last half decade.
[00:03:18] Yeah so when was it this happened.
[00:03:20] What year? In 2013. So Colorado passed Amendment 64 legalizing adult use cannabis in November at that election and shortly after that our former governor or almost soon to be former Governor John Hickenlooper convened a task force to create a big report on how the state was going to implement legalization. And once that report was finished it came to the legislature to pass bills and statutes that would effectuate the constitutional amendment which was really very bare bones and so the first thing that they did was create what was called the Joint Select Committee joint between the House and the Senate.
[00:03:53] There was no fun not marijuana joint No. God I wish I would've made it more interesting but unfortunately no. And so I was the staffer.
[00:04:02] And you know my background was in the New Jersey state legislature where majority office has 30 full time people everyone's got law degrees in suits they're very very fans. Yeah I'm not so fancy but I was literally the only one. So I assumed I was walking into this like sea of people and professionals and I was just going to help them and they were like No no no. It's literally you and you're the only one and you're gonna go figure this out. And so I worked with Representative Dan backbone and representative Jonathan Singer and Senator Sherry Jon and a bunch of the other representatives and senators as well as all the different stakeholders. And my job first at the Joint Select Committee and then as they went through the House and Senate was basically to be the go between which the fancy way of saying gopher and what I would do is show up to work every day and scurry around the Capitol and go find all the cannabis stakeholders figure out what they wanted or complaints they had or what they wanted to change and then go find the legislators that were in charge and be like OK you know Steve wants this and Bill wants this and Susie wants that. And Shannon wants this. And you know they'd be like OK well what do you think. I was like well we you know this is who we can give what to and the reasons why we can't do what the other ones are asking. And then we talk it out and then I go run down to the bill drafters office because I was actually a bill drafter and could be like OK we want you to write all these amendments that I'd run back up and basically complete that process over and over and over again until 10 11 12 o'clock at night until the bills got through and so I managed to shepherd the bills out of the Joint Select Committee through the House of Representatives and through the Senate.
[00:05:29] And then what I will say is and this will mean absolutely nothing to anybody other than the nerdy ist of policy wonks. But it is like one of the greatest achievements of my career that makes me super super happy in the darkest way. I got the bills through the House and Senate in 13 working days without going to conference committee. And that means nothing to anybody who doesn't live this day and night. But if you live it day and night you know that these kinds of bills always go to conference committee there's always differences between the House and the Senate that need to be hashed out.
[00:05:58] And I managed to get the house to concur with Senate amendments. Needless to say was not expected when I told Representative Pavone that he could concur. He was like There's no way we can convert Jordan what are the problems. I was like I'm like I got this thing done right. We totally concur. And he's like fine. He's like I'm gonna go ask all the stakeholders and he came back to me. He was like I can't believe you're right. He's like We can't go home. That's great because that was actually the last day of the legislative session which meant as soon as they bang the gavel in Colorado it's signed he died left a legislative session close everything up and everybody goes to the bar. If we had to go to conference committee we could've been at the Capitol until ten eleven twelve o'clock at night holding literally the entire lobby core all the elected officials Governor Governor State. I mean literally everybody in Colorado goes to the bar this night and everybody would've been waiting on us but instead we got to leave with everybody we were the heroes of the night got legalization passed and flooded stonings on a wink and I think or Broadway or whatever street it's on and everybody celebrated.
[00:06:54] So. So you were you were there at ground zero of the stuff all all actually happening from a process point of view and a legalization point of view.
[00:07:02] Then literally at the bar that night the executive director of the Department of Revenue came up to me while I was getting a beer and was like I want to hire you to come work at the Marijuana Enforcement Division to run the implementation at the administrative level because I had already done the statutes and knew what they all meant and all the work that they had to do. And so I talked to a bunch of my new friends that were cannabis stakeholders that I had met and had a lot of job opportunities and everyone just agreed that like literally the nerdy as possible thing I could've done was to go work for the weed police and write Annabeth you know technical cannabis operational compliance regulations. So I went and did that and it was an absolutely tremendous amount of fun and where I learned another really important lesson which is when you're at the legislature and you're not sure what to do about something everybody's like we'll just kick the can down the road and administrators will figure it out you know. Well if the regulators figure that one out well since I then work for the regulators I ended up kicking the cans myself.
[00:07:54] Yeah on a lot of policy issues which I that got to my new job and was like being like shit I really I really created a mess here for myself.
[00:08:05] So you know lesson learned you know not always good to kick the can down the road because you might be the one getting it by the time you're done but yeah I had a tremendous it was about a year of my life where I first did all of implementation supporting all the work there with the you know I was like the policy nerd that was running around figuring it out with all these other people. And then at the Marijuana Enforcement Division where I was again like really the only policy guy we had some people from the AG's office that were part of our team that really helped in certain areas it was their expertise and then we had Ron cameras Ellen Lewis Koski some of the Department of Revenue Marijuana Enforcement Division guys that were really helping put all of this together and I was the one with the policy background and the bill drafting background which is why you know I think still today Colorado's regulations you know aren't perfect and there's lots of stuff I would change even when I wrote them there's stuff that I wrote and didn't agree with. But I really feel like in a very technical dorky way ours are structured really well and easy to read. So that guy has a rebuild drafter made me really happy.
[00:09:03] So that's the sort of the governments I should talk to us about Shopify. Like how did that that transition or how to how did that come about. And what is the focus of the business side of that.
[00:09:14] Yeah. So simplify it is a regulatory compliance software for cannabis businesses.
[00:09:19] And so the first thing that I need to say really important we are not a seed to sale company we're not flow of green bits. MJ freeway we do not do inventory tracking. We do a little bit of analytics and data support around that that we're working on building a feature around what we do is self auditing Standard Operating Procedures document management and licensing. And that's our main core competency. So like the nuts and bolts operationally of running a cannabis business in compliance with the law. And so I left public service in February of 2014 and joined the present day Soderbergh law firm as the director of compliance. And then shortly thereafter as vice president of government affairs at V.S. Strategies the lobbying and strategic communications firm that the seat cedar guys had founded with Steve Fox and so I spent several years at the law firm both advising clients on compliance issues as well as continuing my work in public policy meeting with really policymakers from all over the world on cannabis regulation authoring white papers doing all the fun stuff that I now have the privilege to get to spend my time doing.
[00:10:24] But it just all of the compliance work didn't quite make sense. You were a golfer competing with non attorneys so normally if you want to get a contract or a will or something like that done you need to go to a law firm to get that done. And there's this unauthorized practice of law which is that creates a barrier to entry into the legal market which requires you to have a law degree and all these other things that basically make it so it protects law firms from market competition from non lawyers and law firms have very expensive labor costs because all the people that work there have very expensive degrees which means lots and lots and lots of student loan debt.
[00:11:00] And so but in compliance there were lots and lots of non law firms that provide client services. And so I'm sitting here with legal rates being like Well we're lawyers so were you know better. They're like Yeah but this guy can charge a third of what you can because they don't need to have a lawyer bless and touch everything at the same time. We saw tremendous inefficiency in the compliance market audits being a great example where literally every compliance company that I'm aware of that provides an audit service and what we mean by that is the marijuana enforcement division or regulator in any particular state is going to come out and check your business for compliance.
[00:11:37] So you want to kind of conduct a self test before the real test. Yeah. So we essentially provide practice tests everybody that runs a compliance company was writing their own practice tests. We had ours and every one of my competitors had their own. And so we kind of said to each other. Oh and on top of that our clients were like You know it's really great to like pay you to come out here and conduct an audit at our facility but I'd rather just buy your checklist from you. Yeah well you have to buy that then I'm out of a job. Yeah. So we don't know. But OK this is all fascinating information and for us that fascinating information boiled up to a market opportunity.
[00:12:14] Yeah. You know the folks at the center a Soderbergh you know and the team that I used to work on down there are kind of renowned around the country as the policy experts the regulatory experts.
[00:12:23] And I was fortunate to be part of that team and helped build that reputation and be part of all of that. And what we realized was we needed to leverage our expertise and our reputation in a way to address this inefficiency. We shouldn't be a law firm competing with non attorneys. We shouldn't have everybody in the entire industry whether you're a large scale business like native roots that's writing their own checklist or a compliance company like I comply or seven or Rocky Mountain cannabis consulting. They're all writing their own checklists. Well what if we made a software where we the regulatory experts wrote a checklist and then through a monthly subscription could have people have access to that checklist and then pay us a monthly fee and we could update it when the rules changed and things like that. And then what else could we do. Well there's standard operating procedures. There's document management there is training that we're gonna be working on later into 2019. There's license tracking and building applications and something that we're going to be launching at the beginning of 2019. And so all of a sudden it was like OK we don't necessarily need to compete with all these folks what we should really be doing is building a tool that leverages our expertise in a way that is revenue positive and doesn't undercut ourselves and build a business around that because there was clearly a need right there's clearly a need for cannabis businesses to comply with the law. There's clearly a need for all of these consultants and businesses to create their own content. And there's a lot of inefficiency in one business and another business and another business doing the same thing over and over again when in exchange for I mean literally our software is one hundred and eighty nine dollars a month per facility.
[00:13:59] So far less 200 bucks a month. You don't need to write your own checklists. We have all kinds of standardized template so PS for compliance related activities. We go through all the regs and find every single document the regulators say you better have on site when I ask for it and create this filing system for everything. And so we try to take all of this stuff and make it really really easy for businesses. And so instead of competing with all these compliance companies now we're the tool that the compliance companies use with a tool that the businesses use and hopefully in the near future even a tool that governments use and in turn have kind of solved at least to some extent this inefficiency that we saw in the market as well as hopefully increased compliance rates for cannabis businesses which we think as a company that that was born from the sun Soderbergh believes in cannabis reform fundamentally is as a right and as our mission is really to end prohibition. You know it simplifies an extension of that we believe that through compliance we can show the world that we are a responsible industry and that is pro cannabis reform will continue. And if world starts to think that the cannabis industry isn't responsible and will follow the rules then we could start to see the tide turn and so we're going to try to do everything we can at a very cost effective way so that mom and pops can afford us so that everybody has an opportunity to stay on the right side of the regulations stay in business and hopefully build an amazing business and employ a lot of great people.
[00:15:24] Yeah makes sense too. Let's talk a little bit about compliance and who actually falls under compliance in which ways I mean because it's you can get a little complicated. So what businesses or what aspects of what businesses fall under.
[00:15:38] Some aspects of compliance. And if we need to talk on a state by state level you know let's pick a generic. But what what businesses fall under this compliance requirement.
[00:15:47] So really all plant touching businesses. OK so we're not talking about ancillary service. Well I mean literally every business has compliance requirements in the sense that like the federal government has all kinds of regulations and states general business regulations that apply to everybody. But in cannabis in addition to all the stuff that the federal government state government the local government says you have to do on top of all of that that every other business has you have a special special set of regulations that you also have to follow and that's really where our expertise is.
[00:16:16] That's where we focus on is those special cannabis regulations.
[00:16:19] And so cultivators processors and retailers all have different special sets of regulations and these are things like how a cultivator is allowed to waste cannabis material. There's always special rules. You can't just throw it in the trash. You got to make it usually unusable and unrecognizable and mix it up with a bunch other garbage which is a stupid idea that they created in Colorado right around the country. But that's just one example of literally almost every aspect of the way you run your business your security system. When visitors come to your facility and want to like come inside. Occupational Licensing who you can hire and who you can't hire. Every aspect is touched by these regulations.
[00:16:59] And it's not just how you handle the plant how you process the plant. It's it's everything. It includes the security the H.R. the records all of that kind of stuff as well.
[00:17:09] Exactly. And there's been in Colorado Medical and retailer all you're about 160 to 200 pages each now so you're looking at let's say easy three to four hundred pages of regulations and they obviously overlap quite a bit but you know that you have to follow. And so we kind of try to make that that's what we focus on. We fixate on those regulations because in addition to special regulations you get special regulators right. That's that's the other side of the deal. When a normal business has let's say you know in a city like Denver if you want to open up a T-shirt shop you know there's the people who check you on signage and the building code and so there's there's there's a body of regulators that come out for every business and they oversee every single business in the whole city. And then there's the cannabis special guys and they focus on nothing other than the cannabis industry. So you not only have special rules you have to follow but then you have special people dedicated to make sure you're following those rules and that's a tremendous source of risk for businesses right now not just the risk of extra rules to follow but the enhanced risk of getting caught because there's more cops on the beat.
[00:18:10] So describe how does this actually play out. So I'm I'm a cultivator. Do I get a knock on the door at 3:00 a.m. and they come in and check everything is this. Do I get a letter in the mail. I mean how does how does the compliance actually get implemented on the ground.
[00:18:27] Well yeah. I think you're asking about enforcement and so that it's kind of good to come in the middle of what you were saying. So the regulators are not going to send you a letter and saying I'm coming on Tuesday morning because it's definitely a pop quiz. But a rule that seems to have taken hold that we that we wrote in Colorado that seems to have taken hold one way or another around the country is the regulators only come in when the business is operating.
[00:18:50] And so the language we use here in Colorado is at times of a parent operation. So you know it doesn't say we can only show up between nine and five. So do all your illegal activity at six thirty which is which is something we we figured out back in my fraternity house days in college that paternity council would stop policing at 2:00 in the morning so if your party started at 30 you would get away with anything you wanted. So you know if a 19 year old frat kid could figure it out then sure the business owners in the cannabis industry could figure out that type 2. But basically anytime you're running your business you can show up they can show up and they can show up and ask you for any kind of documents any set of questions you have to let them in.
[00:19:29] In fact if you don't let them in that is a rule violation in and of itself. So they don't need to come into your if they want to prosecute you for doing something wrong and you don't let them in and you're like ha ha see you can't catch me and it's like no literally not letting me in is a violation that I can find you can shut your business down so they come in a lot of times they troll businesses metric accounts so they're like watching everybody's metric for anomalies or weird as an indication of noncompliance or they'll send officers out proactively and go through you know not the full deep dive but you know a list of questions that are designed to figure out like OK is this is this business well run or not. Most regulatory agencies operate on what I call the iceberg theory of compliance like if everything on the surface is OK. Then everything underneath assume the the OK. But if they see a tip of an iceberg. If they see some compliance issues at a high level that probably means when they start digging under the surface they're going to find a lot more. And so you know you see a lot of you see that they'll come in in Alaska a handful of questions and. And if you get some of those wrong then they'll start asking a lot more if you kind of get the surface level stuff right. They might go away which is why we come in and why why we're so important because we can help you aced the test when the regulators show up.
[00:20:44] You know it's always a fun time around our office when a client calls and they're like the regulators showed up and I got everything right just because of you guys and we're like wow that's awesome. At least we're doing something right around here.
[00:20:55] And so how to actually people use the tool. So simplify it does what it provides the checklists and things. But how does a company actually start to use the data that you have and operationalize it in terms of what they do on a day to day basis.
[00:21:08] Yeah. So we have a lot of different features that help folks do that at a really really basic like super surface level. You can enter all of your licenses into our software and all of your occupational licenses like your employee work sign offs as well as little things like your fire extinguisher permits and things like that and track their expiration and renewal dates. So that's really important right. Operating with an expired license. Very bad. Yeah. So at a very very superficial level we're going to help you with that stuff. And we're going to feature to build out applications and really do a lot more there. But we also have some other proprietary features one is our audit software. So we take every single regulation that is we think auditable. So literally not every word but anything that you can check up on and turn them into simple yes or no questions. They're at a fifth grade reading level. And you walk around your facility and it's like you know does your security system have 40 days worth of backup. Does your battery have four hours for your alarm system in case of a power outage all the different rules that you have to follow.
[00:22:11] Yes or no questions walk around answer yes or no. We have a native iPhone and iPad app that you can use even if you're not connected to the internet so you know even the farms up in Humboldt can use us you know. And basically once you're done it spits out a report and says what you're doing right and what you're doing wrong and how you know how to fix it kind of a checklist of things to do. Yeah. And what's really nice is we actually go a step farther than that. Instead of just giving you a report that's static we have a digital report that's dynamic. You can print out a PDA. That's static but every single instance of noncompliance we call an action item that actually operates if you're familiar with Apple reminder is really similar to that where you can tag different people to it you can add notes and photos to it to show communication or resolution and then you can market off is resolved. So it's not just a static report that says OK this is 10 things you got to do. You can say hey I want you know I want Cindy to fix those five things that I want Chris to fix these six things.
[00:23:05] And Bruce you're going to fix this one thing over here and everyone's got their own accounts kind of like social media in that way. So you'll ding you know Bruce you've got a ding in your account that says hey you know the light wasn't hanging up on the wall at the entrance where it's supposed to be. Go find a copy of our license in the file make a copy of it hang it up on the wall and then you can walk over literally take a picture with your phone and upload it to show remediation. It's really important because we've at least when I was a sad day cedar Bergen in the four plus years I ran their compliance team I never audited a compliant business. I found something wrong in every single business I went into. And so I always told people like this isn't about being perfect it's not about 100 percent compliance. This is about fixing the problems that you find. And so we want to give you a tool that allows you to not only find your problems but track them through Resolution to eventually hopefully get that 100 percent score one day.
[00:23:57] I'm just kind of curious from a from an actual enforcement point of view if if someone comes in and looks and the signs are not hanging there and so they dangle in the sign and it becomes an issue. If you have a system that shows like well you know what we flagged that a while ago we actually hung it up it's been up there for six months or just for some reason between the day before the person got there and the day the day that they showed up it somehow disappeared.
[00:24:19] If you'd have a have a track record or if you've got documentation that says look we've ordered ourselves on a regular basis and it has been there and you know we've been noncompliant just for you know two days now does that actually help. I mean does the the records that you're keeping help in the in the enforcement process.
[00:24:34] Yeah. Oh absolutely I mean I think that's really what the game is all about right.
[00:24:38] You've got all of these different regulations. People makes mistakes all the time. You need to build a relationship with your regulators and build a reputation as a compliant operator. And so absolutely I mean we've seen it happen time and time again where two businesses do the same thing and the punishment is different. There's a reason for that. There's a history that goes into that. I mean take it out of cannabis take it out of highly regulated industries. You get pulled over for speeding. The cop knocks on your window and you know why you go in too fast. Well my wife's about to give birth and we're going to the hospital. Yeah well shit I'm going to like get in front of you and help you get there even faster. Right. Whereas the guy who's got like nine speeding tickets beforehand that flips the cop the bird like that dude's probably going to jail like right now. Right. So like it's the same idea. Recently the Oregon regulators revoked a couple of licenses.
[00:25:28] High level details of the story is they found that illegal grow and for God knows whatever reason the people at the illegal grow kept the plant tags from the legal where they got the plants from on the plants that were still with them the illegal grow. They're like All right well these tags are registered to a license facility we might as well go check those guys out. And when they went to the license facility let's just say there were a lot of problems that they had. And you know we have friends with good relationships and things like that and we've talked to the regulators and they're never going to come out and say you know this that or the other thing. But you know I think we have it on good authority that if they had walked into that licensed facility and that place was buttoned up tight and they were like Oh my God I can't believe it. You know that's Tim are junior cultivated his house. And you know we were a little worried about him. So we've had him on you know kind of supervision. But like every plant is tracked. Look at ourself audit reports look at all our documentation like that I's a rogue employee. We're not a bad business. They wouldn't have revoked that license. They would work with them to get it fixed. They would've gotten them into compliance and that business might have had a blemish on its record but it certainly would still exist today.
[00:26:36] Whereas they didn't have that they walked in and it was a shit show. And the regulators pulled their license. They their business is gone. And you know we're we're moving past the phase of mom and pops. Yeah in this industry and so the mom and pops need to be able to protect themselves and we help them work with a lot of small mom and pop shops. But at the same time the large companies that have investors need to protect themselves too. You know when people ask me about simplify I like how do you summarise simplify it as quickly as possible. I just say risk mitigation tool. That's all. Yea we like highly regulated industries have tremendous risk from regulatory enforcement. They can find your business. They can suspend your business make you close your doors which is really expensive. You know the business of selling weed and you're not allowed to sell weed for two weeks like that's a lot of money or they can literally revoke your license and so your entire investment can vanish. You know they can do a summary suspension. They could suspend your business at the drop of a hat or they could go through a full process and you know you have rights to appeal but that's expensive.
[00:27:35] Yeah you may not survive getting there.
[00:27:37] I've been on the legal service provision end of solving these things and they're not cheap. And time spent on compliance will save you money in the long run.
[00:27:46] Yeah I mean I I'm curious you get involved on the investor side. I mean do you find that the companies that you're servicing actually use this to help shore up or make an investment case.
[00:27:55] Yeah you know I think that we really help on that in two different ways. So we try to we try to write services to as many members of the industry as possible and not just plant touching businesses. So if you're a plant touching business you know we the way we explain it is we're your Carfax. If you decide you settle like you're going to get a lot more money for a business that you can show that has a track record of compliance at least in my opinion then that's not because if I'm choosing between buying two cannabis businesses I want to know what's under the hood. And that's really compliance like we've dealt with it before where someone buys a business and they're like Get in there and they're like Oh my God I've got one hundred thousand dollars worth of legal work to clean up my metric account and consultants out the wazoo versus one that's actually compliant. And then on the investor side we have a service that we call the oversight portal designed for banks landlords investors insurance companies really anybody that wants a window into the compliance status of a cannabis business. Yeah and so that works. We have a feature called the Smart cabinet. It's where you store all your documents to really really fancy Google Drive. Yeah. So our oversight portals are really really fancy Dropbox. That's all it is.
[00:29:03] There is a parent and child company in that Dropbox and the oversight portal the parent company the bank the investor the landlord says I want to get all these different documents from you. I want a copy of your state cannabis license your local cannabis license. I want a quarterly audit report. I want a copy of your insurance. I want a copy of your lease. They schedule out all the due diligence requirements that they want from that that licensee that that child in that relationship and then the plan touching business actually uploads the documents to help meet those needs. Allows them to check the license status and whether it's expired or not. So it's a way for investors it's a way for banks it's a way for landlords really. All of these companies that also have risk associated with compliance right. The investors have risk because they don't want their investment to vanish. Yeah. But landlord has risk to write the landlord once his tenant to stay there and keep paying every month. He doesn't want to spend the time and money to find a new tenant that's lost revenue. So all of these people have compliance risk and what we can do is help give them a window into the compliance status of their business partners so that everybody can be comfortable and know that their investments are protected.
[00:30:08] Yeah. Yeah. Can you do custom compliant.
[00:30:11] Can you set up sort of custom compliance rules and stuff around things so if a bank says look I'm in addition to the cannabis law compliant stuff I want to put all their financial compliance stuff in place. Can you build that in on top of this or is that part of the.
[00:30:25] In certain ways yes and in other ways we're building. So I mean we're we're a startup where we're definitely first to admit we're still learning and growing. Don't have the idealized version of what we'd love to have someday but the oversight portal allows you to really request any document whatsoever. So any PDA or any word document you want a copy of articles of incorporation. It's not necessarily a compliance document but you can ask for it. Anything that you ask for so financial documents profits and losses. We found that different overseers different parents and that relationship look for different kinds of documents. Some people want profit and loss sheets. Other people want quarterly compliance audits. There's there's all different kinds of things that people are asking for. But the simplified audit those yes or no questions that we were talking about before today that's fully controlled by our team. We are working on a way to allow businesses to do customized audits but there is a lot of intricacies around comprehensiveness and accuracy of information that we need to work through to make sure that when someone's conducting a full simplify audit which has a meaning to it today right. It means that our regulatory analysts have gone through and found everything there versus a customized audit that someone's made. We want to make sure that that's clear in the reporting mechanism so we're building a component of our software that will allow people to do that.
[00:31:39] But it comes with a due diligence aspect on our end to make sure that if someone is uploading a simplify a compliance audit to an oversight portal we're being very clear about what was and wasn't audited so that we're not creating false expectation.
[00:31:52] Yes. Yes sort of defining the scope of that stuff makes sense. So if I'm a businessperson thinking about getting involved in a sort of cannabis phase like what what are the steps or what are the things that you would advise people to think about or to start working on before they actually get too far into it and went from just understanding what the compliance scope is and what the compliance kind of oversight process looks like and then how to actually educate themselves and get more familiar with it from a business point of view.
[00:32:22] Yeah I mean I think that there's a few different things.
[00:32:25] I mean I think I always start by telling people like there is not some magic pot of gold at the end of this rainbow no matter how many times you think that you're going to be printing money in two months like that ain't going gonna be the case. You know I think the cannabis industry may be the hardest working industry in the country these days. I don't know anybody that has it easy so you know you got to really want to roll your sleeves up and you almost have to want to.
[00:32:47] You have to want to do this. You have to want to up with the extra risk the the scrutiny all the compliance obligations because you know I think it's worth it. I love working in the cannabis industry but you have to want it. And I think that's really the predicate thing is getting past some of the misnomers associated with what we're doing in the cannabis industry is like you know and getting into the nuts and bolts of it. And then if you're willing to take that leap if you're willing to take the plunge I think you know the two things I would tell people is like you know cannabis is a market commodity behaves like other market commodities. So be thoughtful about where you want to spend your time and be thoughtful about your skill set.
[00:33:25] People are like well you know I want to turn the cannabis industry but I don't you know I'm an accountant what can I do. What will cannabis businesses need account. Yes.
[00:33:34] So it's not it's not always like I'm going to start my whole life over again. It's a lot more like what do I bring to the table what are my skills like I'm a policy nerd that's that's my skill set I can invent software companies which is a skill I didn't know I had. But you know now that's I guess added to the roster of things that I do. But you can bring all of those skills to bear to the cannabis industry. It's really a question of do you want to jump through all the hoops that are associated with it then you know unfortunately depending on the state you're in every state has some version of criminal background checks.
[00:34:06] And so that's the thing that I would mention that you know we as advocates are constantly fighting and trying to create reform around the people that were convicted of cannabis crimes that are now barred from working in the cannabis industry. It's kind of like but we all agreed that should have been a crime under review. So there's some logic behind it. The idea is that people who have criminal records are more likely to have ties to organized crime and we don't want organized crime in the license cannabis industry. I think I would argue that it's a bad proxy because most people that have drug felonies actually aren't part of real organized crime in any way. And as my my good friend and policy wonk teammate for all things nastiness Andrew Livingston will always tell people the skill set associated with running an organized crime operation successfully is very dissimilar to running a licensed cannabis business. The greatest thing we have protecting cannabis the licensed cannabis industry from intrusion from organized crime is that the skill sets are different. Yeah right. Like in organized crime the skill sets are like operating a business without writing anything down. Yeah. Violence intimidation. You know underground networks lack of transparency. Hiding the ball smuggling things in the regulated cannabis industry. It's kind of the opposite. Like you need to be like a transparent rule follower who's who's able to document their inventory down to the thousandth of a gram. Like at the skill sets are entirely different. The word is not these ridiculous background checks and everything else like it's the idea that economically it literally doesn't make sense like organized crime that loses revenue from cannabis is not likely to get a cannabis license they're going to focus on some other than another legal industry.
[00:35:46] Yeah exactly. That's the big people for everybody's like No. No they're a business. Ed like what's one market dries up they're going to go find another market to ply their trade in services and so you know I.
[00:35:57] Unfortunately bringing us back there's a lot of people that that should be allowed to participate in the cannabis industry they can't. And so you know one of the sad realities as you probably need to figure out whether you you can actually work in the industry or not and if you're prohibited from working at a licensed business you know there are I guess in theory other segments of the industry that don't come with the same kind of background checks such as podcast host.
[00:36:22] I don't I'm assuming you'd have to go through a background check to start thinking outside the bud.
[00:36:27] So you know there's there are a lot of ways that people can get into the space.
[00:36:31] You know the question really I have for folks is like is your Hartnett. Yes it's gonna be a lot of work. It's gonna be a lot of long nights and it's not going to be as lucrative as you might think especially in the near term you know I don't don't know a lot of people that are just printing money left and right.
[00:36:45] Yeah no exactly i don't think it's a great message. I think the big ideas kind of figure out figure out what your passion is and then figure out how to apply it apply it to the cannabis space because the fact is it's it's such a fast growing industry that it needs everything it needs.
[00:36:59] You know people from all kind of skill sets to be able to come in and find solutions for the needs in the cannabis space during the just good this is great we're going to hit time here so and I'd I'm sure we could go on for another three hours and we can we can do it other episode at some point but if people want to find out more about you and about Simplifya out what's the best way to get more information.
[00:37:18] So Simplifya.com, S I M P L I F Y A or Simplify with an A at the end .com is our as our Web site. You get all kinds of information about our software on that Web site. You can also sign up for a free trial we give everybody a free two weeks to play with our software and make sure that it suits their needs so we can do all of that. I am Googleable when I found out recently that a lot there. But that's probably for the better given given my preference in life.
[00:37:50] So yeah you could probably google Simplifya or if you really wanted to read dorky things that I've written about policy you could probably google Jordan Wellington and find one or two things. But most importantly Simplifya Simplifya Simplifya.
[00:38:03] All right great. I'll put links to that in the show. No two people can go through. This was a pleasure. Thank you so much for taking the time Jordan. It was a great conversation. I learned a lot and I appreciate the time.
[00:38:12] It was awesome being here. I look forward to a follow up conversation one day.
[00:38:17] You've been listening to Thinking Outside the Bud with Business Coach Bruce Eckfeldt to find a full list of podcast episodes. Download the tools and worksheets and access other great content. Visit the Web site at thinkingoutsidethebud.com. And don't forget to sign up for the free newsletter at thinkingoutsidethebud.com/newsletter.