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Learning to Flourish While Staying Compliant

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Jessica:  What’s up, Cannabis Connoisseurs? Thank you so much for joining us! I’m your host, and this is “Backdoor Marketing With Jessica.” Today we are talking to Kyle Cemate from Flourish Software about compliance and order fulfillment within the cannabis community. Let’s chat about keeping your business legit and on the books. Thank you for being here, Kyle, it’s great to have you!

Kyle:  Thank you for having me. It’s great to be here!

Jessica:  So let’s just start with a little introduction, Kyle. Go ahead and give our listeners and readers a little info on yourself.

Kyle:  Sure, my name is Kyle Cemate, and I’m the Product Manager in the Atlanta, GA office. On a personal note, I’m a sneakerhead. From a business standpoint, I’m a tamper-proof digital agreement enthusiast. Tamper-proof digital agreements is a fancy way of saying we safely take the middlemen like attorneys out of making deals.

Jessica:  For those who are not familiar, would you explain what exactly Flourish Software is?

Kyle:  I’d love to. Flourish is the leading supply chain management software for cannabis and hemp. This means we help clients manage their inventory, purchasing, and order fulfillment. For manufacturing, we handle assemblies and extraction runs. Cultivators use us to track their grow operations. Compliance is at the core of what we do, as we report the relevant data up to the state track and trace system such as METRC. However, Flourish’s value goes far beyond compliance by providing tools to capture and drive business processes, which enables us to do things like understanding the cost of goods sold (COGS).

Jessica:  Here at NUGL, we like to refer to the humble beginnings of the cannabis market as the ‘Legacy Market’; the founding fathers, so to speak, that pushed for legalization and worked behind closed doors before the market was actually regulated. Of course, in our not so distant past, keeping records and reporting them to the state was not an option, to say the least. For the growers and mom and pop shops that were part of the legacy market and are now becoming legal entities, would you explain why we need your software?

Kyle:  Adopting software can be challenging if you’ve never used it before. However, to operate efficiently and avoid compliance issues, you need to have controls and visibility in place. You can’t improve what you can’t measure. This is a classic value of running any operation. Also, the world we live in is digitized. You need a platform that can connect to the tools that you use. It causes way more anxiety when you go through your yearly audit trying to piece together information that you kept on paper and spreadsheets than it does pulling one report from a software system that the auditors are familiar with. Also, when federal regulation comes, it’s the legacy market that should be ready to scale and make money outside of state lines. Larger, more corporate grows use the software and understand their COGS and scaling. We want that benefit for the legacy grower too.

Jessica:  Obviously, Flourish could have used its software to serve any industry. Why did they choose to focus on cannabis and plant medicines?

Kyle:  Prior to Flourish, the founding team worked extensively in the broader supply chain, spanning verticals such as retail, auto-parts, consumer goods, and grocery. Our team genuinely cares about the success and potential of cannabis and hemp, so when we saw an opportunity to contribute our domain knowledge to this, we jumped on it. In 2017 the software options were pretty terrible for growers, manufactures, and distributors. We wanted to make a solution that actually works. We fell into the industry by chance. Once we started digging, we discovered a major need that aligned with our skillset. We secured clients in three states (California, Florida, and Oregon) who we worked with to build out the platform initially. We weren’t jumping up and down to work 12+ hour days solving problems for aftermarket auto parts. Cannabis was something we could get excited about! In fact, we’ve grown with Parallel Cannabis from the beginning. Watching them go from a small team to a multi-state operation informed ways our app can help companies scale.

Jessica:  I heard a little rumor that Flourish is actually getting into psilocybin mushrooms, as legislation allows it. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

Kyle:  The Flourish team has been hoping and preparing for this monumental legislature for a while. Our love for plant medicine really shines through on our cannabis platform, and we’re ready to help psychedelic operators get started with compliance done right the first day on the job. Track and trace systems will be needed for this new industry. We’re experienced with highly regulated products. For example, Flourish is already a Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) certified to report to that traceability system. PMP is one of the harshest compliance specs! For hemp and edible companies, we are GMP-enabled.

Jessica:  How do you determine compliance and build supply chain management software in an ever-changing and brand-new industry like psychedelics?

Kyle:  Compliance is a dynamic term. We’re constantly collaborating with clients, reading regulatory documents, and consulting trusted partners in the space to stay on top of it. The speed at which regulations can change is one of the unique challenges to the industry. Fortunately, we are very agile in adapting to those changes. When it comes to new markets like psychedelics, every operator is setting a standard for whether the program fails or is accepted. It’s super important to the plant medicine community that we all get it right from day one.

Jessica:  If state borders disappear tomorrow as an operator, how can you be prepared to scale?

Kyle:  The only way you’re going to be able to scale is to have complete and clear data available and have systems in place that capture and enable your business processes. A software system like ours helps enforce SOPs and provide a single source of truth for the business. Spreadsheets can do a lot, but they can’t show you the entire picture at any moment. There is no room for guesswork.

Jessica:  I heard you’re making waves in VA.! Can you tell me about that?

Kyle:  Heck yeah! Dharma Pharmaceuticals became the first license holder out of five in Virginia to produce a product and make a sale. We helped them grow their cannabis, process it into distillate medicine, and set up a point-of-sale system for them. The first sale in Virginia happened in October on Flourish software. We’re super happy about being there for that team every step of the way. Virginia has some unique regulations, and we were able to adopt those regulations quickly and facilitate Dharma’s first sale on schedule.

Jessica:  How do we find you on the web?

You can find us at flourishsoftware.com and on social by searching for @finallyflourish and, of course, on NUGL.com

Jessica:  Kyle, it’s been amazing having you, super informative! Thank you so much for your time!

Kyle:  It’s been my pleasure being here!

Jessica:  And for all of our listeners and readers, thank you for staying with us! Remember to download the app and check us out on NUGL.com and https://nuglmagazine.com/ to find all of your favorite canna-based brands! This is Jessica with Backdoor Marketing. See you next time!

Jessica, an accomplished event coordinator and marketing director with nearly 15 years of experience in her field. Specializing in promotional model and brand ambassadors street teams, event production, sponsorships and product placement, her advantage is her unique access points and connections within affluent social scenes and the entertainment industry.

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