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- Aaron Justis
vegan-organic cannabis policy reform advocate cannabis cup cannabis cups high quality Activist boutique Los Angeles medical cannabis california business
Aaron Justis is president of Buds & Roses Collective, Inc., a "licensed" dispensary in the City of Los Angeles, open since 2006. Aaron is a board member of the National Cannabis Industry Association, the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) & the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance (GLACA). He sits on the AHPA (American Herbal Products Association) working committee and has been a long-time advisor to UF4A (The Unconventional Foundation for Autism). Aaron and his cultivation team have pioneered the use of plant based fertilizers to grow cannabis with a reputation for being of the highest quality.
Aaron became a cannabis activist in 1997, and has worked at the local, state, and federal level to bring about cannabis policy reform. He's worked with and spoken alongside leaders including Jack Herer, Steve Deangelo, former Mexican President Vicente Fox and Harvard Dean of Public Health Dr. Julio Frenk and more. Aaron has traveled across the U.S. and overseas to speak at drug policy conferences, universities and other forums. He also has extensive experience speaking about cannabis issues with mainstream print and broadcast media, from GQ to NBC Nightly News. Aaron was featured on the cover of MG Magazine and has been continuously successful bringing cannabis to mainstream media.
Aaron is an entrepreneur at heart and has owned multiple successful businesses. In 1998, Aaron and his J-Wear Clothing Company won the High Times Cannabis Cup (HTCC) award for Best New Hemp Product. He and his team have gone on to win 26 HTCC awards since. In 2010, Aaron took a $50,000-a-year dispensary and built it into a multi-million dollar company with one of the strongest brands in the cannabis space.
Aaron Justis replied:
That is a great question! Unfortunately I cannot be of much help here. California has never mandated seed to sale software so we have always used Quickbooks, a customized version that works well for cannabis retail. We are currently following the state guidelines and will adjust accordingly when these are finalized. We are currently looking at both MJ Freeway and Treez. There are others in the works we are also considering.
Sorry I could not be of more help. I wish you the best!
Aaron Justis replied:
THC “staying in one’s system” is a complex issue. Cannabinoids (THC and other molecules) are found both in the body (endocannabinoids) and in the cannabis plant (phytocannabinoids). Endocannabinoids are always in your system, and phytocannabinoids can remain in the blood stream for months! However, their presence does not necessarily mean they are actively bound to their receptors, and it is this binding that creates the medicinal and psychoactive effects of cannabis. To answer your question, yes, the binding of receptors is influenced by diet and inhalation amongst other things- however, weight isn’t really a factor.
The most important thing to understand is that everyone’s endocannabinoid system is unique and always changing. There is no “one size fits all” answer in holistic medicine, and that is particularly true of cannabis. You can’t look at someone and know how sensitive they will be to THC. In fact, on average, women tend to have higher tolerances yet lower body weight.
Absorption of cannabis will determine how long THC will stay “active” in the system:
-When cannabis is inhaled it immediately binds to receptors in the brain and should be active in 0-15 minutes and last about 2 hours. Interestingly, everyone’s inhale is different, so “one puff” can be a drastically different dose between two relatively similar people!
-When cannabis is eaten it passes through the stomach and liver before being distributed to receptors throughout the body. In this case, cannabinoids become active 60-90 minutes after ingestion and stay bound longer, usually 4-6 hours.
-In the middle, sublingual absorption (dissolving in the mouth) with edibles or tinctures will become active in about 30 minutes, and last 2-4 hours.
Diet only really comes into play with the ingestion of edibles. An edible on an empty stomach will absorb and wear off more quickly because of the body’s digestive response. A person’s everyday diet will also effect the efficiency of their metabolism, and therefore their response to ingested cannabinoids. Another factor to consider with edibles is time of day. An edible absorbed in the evening will metabolize more slowly than one eaten during the day.
THC and other cannabinoids can also bind without a “psychoactive effect”. For example, applied topically, cannabis activates receptors in the skin in 0-15 minutes. There is no “high” associated with this binding, but medically it will still be “active”.
Hope this answers your question!
What general advice would you give to new dispensary operator just starting up?
You built a small dispensary into a multi-million dollar company with a strong brand. What general advice would you give to new dispensary operator just starting up?
Aaron Justis replied:
I would advise you find a balance between business and politics. I believe it is crucial to be involved with policy that effects your business. This is a great way to stay ahead of the curve. You also must focus on your business like any small business operator. You actually have to focus more than most because of the hefty regulatory and compliance cost. The lack of banking and unfair tax laws don't help either!
A great way to stay on top of policy for a small business owner is to join one or more cannabis trade associations. I suggest doing this at multipe levels. For example I am on the board of GLACA (LA trade association), CCIA (California trade association) & NCIA (National trade association). Through these organizations, even as a regular member, you will have access to all the latest policies that directly effect your business. Beyond that you can always looby with these groups, independently or through a hired lobbyist.
As far as staying on top of your business I would suggest two things that work for me.
1. Listen to business audiobooks while working out, getting ready, gardening or whatever.
2. Join a business CEO advisory group like www.vistage.com (I believe I am their first cannabis member, you could be their second!)
I hope this helped and congratulations on being a dispensary operator!!
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