Jonathan Andry, Co-Founder, Dr. John’s Remedies
Jonathan Andry has represented accident victims his entire career, which began in 1991 after he received his master’s degree from Tulane Law School. His son’s epilepsy led to his discovery of hemp oil and its amazing health benefits. In 2016 he formed a partnership with a physician and began marketing and selling Dr. John’s Pure Organic Hemp Oil. In 2017 their Hemp Oil was exclusively featured in the ESPY gift bag suite. Since then, Jonathan has developed and formulated several proprietary CBD based supplements, like CBDTOX which is the first, patent pending, CBD infused hangover remedy that addresses both the psychological and physical effects of a hangover. They have also developed other CBD based products to help with pervasive health issues. For example, they are currently testing a CBD based product which is designed to help individuals withdraw from opioid addiction. Jonathan’s mission is to develop and provide CBD products that make a positive difference in the lives of individuals who suffer from what can be and very often are debilitating conditions.
[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.
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[00:01:06] Welcome, everyone. This is Thinking Outside the Bud. I'm Bruce,I'm your host. And our guest today is Jonathan Andry and he is co-founder of Dr. John's Remedies. We're going to talk about the business. We're going to talk a little bit about some of his products, including CBD detox and his kind of take on where the industry is going, where cannabis is going, where CBD is going with that.
[00:01:24] Jonathan, welcome to the program. Well, hello and thank you for having me. So why don't we talk a little bit about background?
[00:01:30] So what is your background and how did you get into the cannabis CBD space?
[00:01:35] My background is I was the son of a general practitioner. His lawyer went to law school and then became an attorney. I went back and got my master's degree in environmental law and dealt with a lot of risk assessments and chemicals and applications. And then from there, I kind of got into complex litigation, more so because of the amount of people the actual dispute on. It was the advent of MDL and class actions. And I was one of the Louisiana tobacco lawyers and did really major litigation like that. Now my doctor, Dr. Bond, who's my partner now in May or in 2016, he asked me about the medical marijuana space and I never really even thought about it until then. And he said, you know, why don't we explore that? Because you get a bunch of stuff with people with concussions. You treated a bunch of. And so I went to a marijuana business convention in May of 2016, literally the first time I ever heard about CBD. And I was staying with an interventional cardiologist and his wife. I went home to dinner that evening and explained to them about CBD. And his wife said, well, I don't want to smoke, but they make that capsule and you get the benefit to catch. And then we began trying to put it capsules and sell it online. And we've been selling it online since then.
[00:02:55] And so. So your first product was a capsule formulation of a CBD product? Correct.
[00:03:01] And what were you deriving from this was from it was our lives eating and come it came out of Colorado. And it's basically we were just selling hemp oil or CBD enriched in oil. Was a full spectrum oil.
[00:03:16] Then how did that kind of business grow from there? What were the next stages for the business for you?
[00:03:19] Well, it was interesting because it's kind of morphed into applications for specific products or products that fit universal applications. CBD talks, for example, was the product of my older daughters who would get hung over and they'd take the CBD 10 mg because it would help them with their knowledge. And I began trying to design and create a hangover remedy that was CBD based. I had a bunch of other substances in it that addressed detox and a variety of other hangover shit.
[00:03:54] Yeah. Now I'm curious how you're tested and how you developed and how you brought it to market.
[00:03:58] Well, we developed it. I generally don't sleep very much so at night when I do anything else to do. I began researching the symptoms of a hangover and then found organic or natural substances that would treat those particular symptoms. And I put it all together and got together with a formula later in Utah and we formulated the hangover. And I got it in a couple of different versions. There were three iterations of it, and I had my daughters go out with their friends and get really drunk with things by beer.
[00:04:31] I think they got excited about, you know, really parents are trying to like prevent their kids day a lot. This case, it was product product research.
[00:04:40] Well, I was trying to help them with their revenue and I gave them a, B or C, and it was in kind of a plane bottle so they didn't know what they were taking. And then some of them I said, would you take C but take augment it with 10 milligrams and Dr. Johns. And then that way I could get an idea as to how CBD affected the actual performance. And I found out it needed a little bit more CBD. So we picked version C, added double the CBD, added some V12 and magnesium, and that's how it came about.
[00:05:15] Got it. And so you've not been marketing this product. How were you primary? Is this online sales? Are you putting this into stores?
[00:05:21] What's your general distribution has been online sales. What? We're starting to get picked up by distributors. And we'll probably move into the brick and mortar space. See stores and liquor stores, wine stores, etc., etc..
[00:05:38] Now and what have been the bigger challenges for the business at this point? So this was in 2016. You had your first exposure to a business conference where now three, three and a half years later, what's the what have been the bigger hurdles and how have you overcome them?
[00:05:52] Well, the bigger hurdles in primarily education just kind of caught up to us. But when we started, everybody said, you're selling marijuana and you're saying, no, we're not. No, we're not. No, we're not. And for example, when I spoke with Tommy about it originally, he said. Does it work? Because I don't want to sell anything that doesn't work. You know, I'm not into selling a snake oil elixir. You should know it works. So I decided being the lawyer that I am, that I would see how it worked. And I met Lewis Adams and her husband, Carole Loy. She had Lyme disease. She had really bad tremors and gave it to Coral. He gave it to voice. And she hasn't had a tremor since then. So. But at the time, Carl felt like I was giving him marijuana. She was all worried that he was going to be busted by the feds. And we've kind of seen the movement away from it being marijuana.
[00:06:50] And now it's kind of come into its own in the educational curb is caught up. We were telling people in kind of extolling the virtues of it and the benefits of it.
[00:07:00] And everybody kept saying was just marijuana and CBD I think was dwarfed by its cousin, THC. And, you know, everybody has that belief that marijuana equals getting stoned. Cannabis equals getting stoned. And we're starting to see that that's not really the case.
[00:07:17] And where do you see that industry going? I mean, do you think that CBD market is a vibrant, rich lots of potential with here?
[00:07:23] There's no doubt it's huge. And I think we're moving away. And with Tommy and I now with Dr. John's remedies, we're now looking at products that fit universal applications, whether it's PTSD or opioid addiction. And we're formulating different kind of solutions that are CBT based, but are products that fit that application in cannabis. I see where CBD mostly coming out of the closet now and kind of coming into its own as its own substance, but without the cannabis stigma, if you will. Yeah.
[00:07:57] Yeah. I mean, I guess in terms of legislation and stuff, I mean I know the farm bill passed in, I guess what else is kind of hindering the CBD, the growth of the CBD market. I know on the THC side, we've got to be selling all sorts of federal legality issues and state by state issues and all this kind of stuff. If you're dealing with more than point three percent THC on any product like you're going to run and all those issues on CBD side, though, theoretically it's now. I mean, is it. Are we talking no limitations, no federal restrictions, things like that.
[00:08:30] Where are we in terms of the CBD market?
[00:08:31] I think there's a federal level. We're way more open than we were before.
[00:08:36] However, the FDA is still kind of out there and it kind of should be. I mean, a lot of the times in the world we live in, in the United States, people buy products and they have kind of a reliance that it would be there, you know. But for the FDA and the FDA is kind of a police force. So I think some regulation will kind of come from this and probably necessary because people are just every time that can happen. When I was telling CBD and you really don't know what's in it or where they're getting their oil or there's no way to ensure potency or any of that because nobody really testing it. There's no real regulation. The problems everybody's is just you have a patchwork of different state laws in how they treat CBD across the nation. So I see it moving more towards a universal solution through the FDA and in probably the state counterparts, they kind of see it for what it is now and then. It's not marijuana, it's not cannabis, it is CBD. And you know, it does what it does now.
[00:09:37] What are some of the I if you run into state by state issues as you've been doing business well, in Louisiana, for example, our legislature now is undergoing or they're considering a CBD hemp bill that heretofore we never have. And so there, you know, potentially there was a problem in Louisiana, although I being a lawyer, I think it's a little bit more involved and just application in Louisiana controlled substance. But we're starting to kind of see more. Yes. I mean, there would be in a state by state application if we were just doing business in Louisiana or Alabama for Egypt.
[00:10:10] Yeah. I'm curious on your background as a lawyer, does that help you in these cases as it hurt you? How how much of you applying that?
[00:10:17] Well, it helped me just because my understanding of the way the regulatory systems work and how CVD fits into those given the current regulatory structure. For example, if the FDA has now and then when you have an agency interpretation, like, for example, the DEA interpretation think was in December of 16 where they tried to come out and say, you know, hemp based cannabidiol is a controlled substance and everybody kind of got upset about that. A lot of Internet providers, for example, we were dropped by the company that we had. They said it's a controlled substance, but I was comfortable in the fact that the DEA cannot name something is a controlled substance that only Congress can do that the agency's job is to interpret. So their interpretation, well, given some deference, you know, doesn't create a situation where it becomes a federally controlled substance, for example.
[00:11:09] Oh, interesting. So because you know how the agency works, how context works, how this process of naming particular things that you were not business, you were not worried directly with your business.
[00:11:19] But obviously it impacts the industry. Right. You lost you lost the ability to work with these distributors and stuff in, for example, like Google.
[00:11:26] Google won't allow you to talk to me alone to do an AdWords account for a site where there's shelling CVD. Notwithstanding the fact the Google user agreement says that all law applicable trade is the law is their home county. The California community is totally legal for everything. And so you have issues like similar that Facebook called the same thing.
[00:11:52] So right now on Google and Facebook, you cannot use paid advertising for anything that has CBD CBD related.
[00:11:58] Correct. But you can. You can have. I mean, you can have a web, you can have a listing and you can have a Facebook page and everything for the products. Right.
[00:12:05] Right. But you can't really advertise. You can't advertise. I mean, there are people getting around it indirectly. You know, for example, puts an informational piece and, you know, dropping their name and boosting that. If Facebook finds or discovers you, they shut you down immediately and they put you on a blacklist. So that's what it means to you. You know, your your ability to reach out, to get messages, for example, between a Google AdWords account, you get 5000 visitors a day to your site. Without the AdWords, you get 10. It's like a order of magnitude.
[00:12:37] And that's a huge problem that's still out there that hopefully will get corrected. The more the mainstream except CBD has itself, CBD comes out of the closet from the shadows here in the shadows.
[00:12:53] So what are your strategies, you know, as a as a company that it's essentially marketing a product, CBD based product. How do you how do you get new customers? What's your.
[00:13:01] Well, now we're doing it online. And for example, we're one of the products that are featured in the CBD issue of marijuana. Inch magazine this month and through press coverage and more traditional media in China. And, you know, Instagram is a big influence in today's day and age. From an advertising perspective, to the extent you can get influencers to show your product or post their product.
[00:13:28] If you pick an influencer that particularly targeted for whatever application your product has now and how that's been successful, you've been able to find influencers that are willing to do product placements, product mentions and drive traffic. Yes.
[00:13:42] The hardest part about that from a business perspective is determining an hour. Why? There's no real way to know how to go in. We're using codes for examples of that. If you went to a particular influencer and saw their post and you issued the code that she had as a post underneath picture, we're tracking it that way. But it's still very difficult to determine how much your investment returns or when they charge 15 and 20 thousand dollars posts now.
[00:14:14] So you're driving people to your e-commerce site and people are doing direct purchase records. You're running into issues with transactions and credit card processing and things like that. Have you navigated the banking?
[00:14:24] No, we've been fortunate. Knock on wood and credit cards being processed. And I think that people should be kind of leery when they're opening up their CBT business now, because I was confronted, for example, with a guy who wanted to do a couple months it six or eight months ago, a year ago, he wanted to do the payments through an offshore bank.
[00:14:46] Explain to him that that's really money laundering and it's a little bit against the law, says the lawyer.
[00:14:53] Well, after explaining it, Jamie kept saying, I don't see it as if you don't see it. That's great for you. But oh, by the way, I'm not going to do business with you. And one other thing that I would advise everybody to do, because each locality or jurisdiction is different, is that they do what we did. We hired a lawyer who was a former US attorney in Louisiana, and we got an opinion letter from him after discussing is that what we were doing was kosher, so to speak, in that way, if there was any question. We went to see him and got his advice for how we were. And I think it's very important that everybody have that. It's invaluable.
[00:15:34] And what does it allow you to do? So this is a letter from a former U.S. attorney. But you've hired privately to review your business. Correct.
[00:15:42] You work for a firm and now he's actually appointed to be the head of the United States Marshal Service. He's no longer our attorney. When he was he was with the firm. And we are the firm and he was the point lawyer on the firm. And we told him everything we were doing and we said, is that criminal that violated criminal laws?
[00:16:00] And if so, which laws are they? And is there any fix for it? And we came about, interestingly, different bill analysis based on the language of the old form bill and the one that just came out in 2018.
[00:16:14] So I guess navigating kind of legality is it's difficult.
[00:16:17] If so, even for you as a lawyer, it was hiring another lawyer to actually do this for you as was important.
[00:16:24] There is no doubt it's an integral piece of the equation. And it's very important just. Every place is different.
[00:16:31] Yeah, exactly. Now it's different.
[00:16:34] So the only way to figure that out is to get the advice of a competent professional and act accordingly. But I don't think now I think all of the criminal enforcement in one way or another, federally or any respected state, I think is pretty much out of the question. And you're not really going to see the US Marshals or DEA or somebody coming over and flashing their badges in. That's kind of going away. But nonetheless, you know, you still have sales tax paying all these other issues. But having a lawyer will help you through. You do them correctly.
[00:17:08] And let's talk about the kind of the product side. So you mentioned you found a formula later out of the metro as you talk. What how did you go about finding somebody? What was the process? Tell me about the relationship.
[00:17:20] That was very difficult at first. I did. And every person does nowadays.
[00:17:24] And I looked on Google and the majority of the people that I contacted were. This was probably about, I don't know, 20, 17 timeframe. And the majority of people that I talked to were against doing anything with CBT. And so it was very hard to find someone first that would actually formulate it for you. And the guy who worked it was my contact at the simulator. I kind of got together and discussed formula and how it would all go together. So he was very helpful in that regard. And then we kind of started formulating. Now you've got everybody kind of in the business in wanting to do it, but it's still not as easy as it sounds.
[00:18:03] Yeah. And how to do. I mean, I guess in terms of it, it sounds like you created kind of the base sort of concoction of the things that we're gonna go into it. How does working with a formulate are kind of take place in terms of you bring to them kind of an idea or the things you want to kind of have in the product and they help you figure out how to actually make that work from a chemical and a encapsulation process. I mean, what tell me about that.
[00:18:27] I went to them. I'd kind of put together the whole formula and then talked about it with Tommy, made sure that it was all that I wasn't in anything toxic or toxic potentially. Although I think you did eat our whole box and all of orange juice. It was designed that way. But in to the form we went to him with like 99 percent of here's what it is. But it's just simple thought that you wouldn't have to talk to a formulated or and that is what size capsule is, how much stuff you put in that box. And then given that value, how much of each of your ingredients do you put in to give you show maximum effect? And then is it something that you can put into a solution that you can make a water, you know, something that should be a powder in the formula to help with a lot of those decisions? Because, for example, we're now in capsules. We'll probably be moving towards liquid shot now that we're kind of getting there was an issue with keeping the CBD and other stuff in suspension. All it was out with the preservatives and stuff. And they've kind of figured out that now show that it's much easier and cheaper to do that now and then to talk to me about branding and package design and those things.
[00:19:48] So how did what was that process like? So you come up with this formulation, but how did you go through the process of kind of naming and branding and deciding how you were going to actually present this product?
[00:19:58] Well, we did. I had a lady in Baltimore and she was very good at branding. And I hired her and had involvement with her and she helped us with the name. And she also did very well with the color scheme. And we had a guy, you know, a graphic artist. And it was a process by which we came up with the design, the colors. And it's really all scientifically based. We didn't just pick red or blue out of the sky. And all of this is the. Color we're gonna go through because our go with. Because it's comforting and, you know, it fits more. Both sexes and it fits all age groups. And that type of analysis was performed. We went through about four or five iterations of the label itself or the logo itself and then moved towards what language do we put on the box? And then how does all that look? So it took a while. I mean, you know, we were in almost intense development from probably September of 0, September of 18 through January of this year or more. And it was almost a day to day deal. Yeah.
[00:21:06] Any any learnings or advice that you have for other folks that are looking to create products and create packaging and things like that? Anything that would would help in terms of avoid pitfalls or accelerate the process?
[00:21:18] Well, again, if we had a branding individual or a highly ranked, I highly recommend her simply because when you're doing it, you can't just flat, you know, a picture of a Florida lead on the label, for example, or some other symbol, because you've got copyright issues, you've got potential trademark issues. All of that has to be researched and it's a much more involved process. Yeah, and it's important now, especially with the advent of Facebook and I think survey monkey and sites like that, you can basically test what colors you have and get an idea from essentially the Internet focus group to pick out the appropriate labeling and the appropriate color etc for your product.
[00:22:02] Now I make sense about your team. I like how we just organizationally.
[00:22:06] I mean, what's been the process in terms of building out the company or bringing people in relationships that you've had to develop? How does how does growing our CBD company in this day and age actually take place or how is it unfolded for you?
[00:22:19] Well, each place pretty much like most with the movement of CVD out of the closet into a Jones space. It takes pretty much the same that it takes somebody who would be doing a normal business that you have to hide. You know, we had to get a print or online. We had to figure out how we were going to make the products, where we were going to source the materials. And then once we were selling, we have to have, you know, somebody who is the distributor liaison. And so Tommy and I kind of functioned as CEO. He's kind of functioned as the chief medical guy, but more so than particular titles. We just kind of did everything in as positions evolve. For example, the distributor leans on, we're just filling in those positions. Ultimately, it should become and I think we'll become a very successful business that's fully staffed with know call centers and all of the other positions that would be associated with a normal business from a building the business and scaling back now and new products.
[00:23:19] Anything you have kind value that we're formulating.
[00:23:23] Yeah. It is. I still think there's a tremendous amount of application that's universal. For example, the NFL players and players who had repetitive head trauma. I think that they should be taking some sort of preventative or prophylactic. And so we're looking at developing a prophylactic that helps with traumatic brain injuries and health initiative issues, PTSD, for example, something that helps with depression. There's also a quasar I medical stuff. I mean, it doesn't. Anything we do naturally doesn't cure, treat or prevent injury. But as far as opioid addiction, withdrawal and those types of things, that's more of a pseudo medical application, if you know.
[00:24:12] And if I if I give you a magic wand and you could change any kind of law or regulation or anything regarding the whole kind of industry situation we're in, what what are the changes that you'd really want to focus on? Where do you think we need kind of reform or updating or restructuring of that side of this industry?
[00:24:33] Well, a first have to have the appropriate regulatory scheme and figure out who exactly has oversight. Is it the DEA? Is it the FDA? Is it agriculture? And then once you figure out that that you get a scheme by which everybody understands and everybody can play on the same playing field and you're not even the small guy can still compete, for example, with the Google AdWords account or something akin to that or Facebook advertising, I would just speed up this process of acceptance of CBD in. And I mean, when I first heard CBD, I remember going home and talking with Tom and Karen Jenner and saying this will be bigger than marijuana, THC, everything, because it gets much more of a universal application. So I would just speed that up from a educational perspective, advertising perspective, legal perspective, regulatory perspective, etc..
[00:25:26] Now make sense. Any other. Thoughts or advice that you give to other CBT or cannabis entrepreneurs that are out there looking at new products, services. That thing is either about the industry, about starting a business, an industry, anything that you've learned that you think that would be helpful for them?
[00:25:41] Well, I've learned pretty much and it's the old adage of marijuana doesn't sell itself. No product, does it, business. They have to be prepared for failures, but it should be handled just like you would handle the product development of any I if you develop any of item and or supplement and or other product, just handle it accordingly. Because CBT really is kind of coming into its own. So it's a little bit easier, but it's still fraught with pitfalls. Should they? Generally, the advice of professionals early on is much better than trying to figure it out after Humpty has fallen off the wall. Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
[00:26:18] I think it's, you know, it's good business practices, you know, good business strategy, you know, really thinking through how you're gonna be successful. Yeah, it's interesting.
[00:26:25] I mean, I think, you know, the industry is so hyped and so kind of under so much kind of growth pressure that I think a lot of people kind of almost run too fast and they'll skip a lot of steps and it may get them ahead in the short term. But, you know, oftentimes it ends up taking them longer to grow and scale.
[00:26:39] You know, after the fact, because I have to kind of go back and rebuild a lot of things so that, you know, we're all governed as an industry and we're all looked at. Is it in the streets as you grow? I think you get products on the periphery that are just there to, you know, your bath bombs made in China that have no CBD or they've got some other. Everybody everybody becomes hill to that event. But he has a bad product and it hurts some body. Then easily all CBT gets included in that to get you to be mindful that you're part of a growing industry. You can't govern yourself accordingly. In high ethical standards that you get.
[00:27:22] That's great. Jonathan, thank you for taking the time.
[00:27:24] If people want to find out more information about you, about CBD talks, about some of the other products, where's the best place to get that information?
[00:27:31] The best place to get that information is either at Dr. John's remedies dot com or at get CBD talks, dot com get CBD talks. Is the website obviously for the hangover remedy, which works like a charm. I always say now you can play hard.
[00:27:47] You can work hard and work hard to make it work hard. The next day. I love it. Good.
[00:27:52] I will make sure that those links are in the show so people can click through and get those. Jonathan, thank you so much for taking the time today. I really appreciate it.
[00:27:59] Thank you for having me out. By provided some insight in to people who are now starting their businesses or have a business going on.
[00:28:06] Yes. Now, I'm sure about I think there's a lot of great takeaways. I think we've got some really good information and ideas for those folks that are in the cannabis space looking to get in the cannabis phase, CBD space and so looking for some guidance, some next step. So I was inevitable.
[00:28:20] We have websites, we have email addresses on the website. I mean, I'm always amenable. If somebody sent me an email and said I heard about you on the podcast, I'm doing such and such helping as many as I can through the process to avoid the mistakes that we made.
[00:28:35] Yeah, well, I appreciate that. I think I'll encourage our listeners to take advantage of that. And I will say I think that's one of the great things of this industry. I think I've been working lots of different industry is one of the fun things about the cannabis space is that people are, I think, genuinely helpful and looking to not only build successful businesses, but be good stewards of the industry and help other companies and making sure that we're growing up in a safe, respectable way in terms of making sure that we bring cannabis products to the broader world and a healthy, safe, friendly, positive way. So I think that's that's really great. I appreciate your willingness.
[00:29:05] Okay. Very good. I appreciate you having.
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