Written by: Simon Van Zuylen-Wood | Published: November 23, 2014
Photos: Dan Smarg (Dinenberg); Susan Beard (Snider)
The cannabusinessman with the most promise is David Dinenberg (left), whose KindBanking start-up could revolutionize an industry that’s still operating in cash. Dinenberg, who moved from Penn Valley to L.A. last year, has at least one high-profile local investor: Lindy Snider (right), daughter of Flyers owner Ed, who says she’s invested in several weed start-ups. Claudia Post (center), a polymath businesswoman, founded a transportation company before her son, a glassblower, introduced her to the weed business. Now her Smokin’ Hot Consultants provides sales and marketing counsel to would-be bud moguls.
Other profiles in the article:
Two local politicians — er, pot-iticians? — stand at the forefront of the movement. State Senator Daylin Leach (left) has co-sponsored legislation in Harrisburg both to legalize medical marijuana — a bill that passed the Senate — and to legalize pot outright. City Councilman Jim Kenney (center) has recently fashioned himself into a millennial folk hero, championing gay-rights legislation and marijuana decriminalization that saw passage in September. Michael Bronstein (right), of the Bala Cynwyd political consultancy Bronstein & Weaver, is helming a nascent pot lobby called the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp, designed to persuade states to pass cannabusiness-friendly legislation.
Without these three, marijuana decriminalization doesn’t happen in Philadelphia. Start with comedian N.A. Poe (center) and PhillyNORML co-chair Chris Goldstein (right), whose Smoke Down Prohibition legalization rallies led to their arrests and galvanized their efforts. They joined with former Philadelphia public-school teacher and activist Anne Gemmell (left), whom they met at Occupy Philly in 2011. Gemmell had worked with Kenney in the past, and secured them a meeting with the Councilman in the fall of 2013. One conversation later, the decrim bill was in the works.
Scrapple TV, a sometimes hilarious Web channel based out of a studio at 420 Green Street in NoLibs, is run by Marc Brodzik (left), a massive dude with a massive beard and a massive affinity for pot. He wants to take Scrapple national as a niche channel for stoners. On the culinary front, one prominent chef has been experimenting with gourmet edibles (from duck confit to popcorn) and plans to host underground dinner parties for paying customers.
Originally published as “Who’s Who in Philly’s Wide World of Weed” in the December 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine.
Marijuana financial services firm Kind Financial acquires software maker Agrisoft
KindManage LLC’s Kind Financial, a marijuana industry financial services company, acquired the assets of marijuana company software maker Agrisoft Development Group LLC for undisclosed terms.
Based in Kansas City, Mo., Agrisoft, which designs and sells a suite of software for operating businesses in marijuana wholesale, manufacturing and retailing, was sold to Kind Financial on Thursday, June 25.
“We look at [the Agrisoft acquisition] as an opportunity to integrate our services and products into their software in the future as well as controlling the individual transactions in the industry,” Kind founder and CEO David Dinenberg said in an interview.
Agrisoft’s cloud-based software, “Agrisoft Seed-to-Sale,” is used throughout the U.S. and Canada by purveyors of both recreational and medical marijuana, as well as by regulatory agencies. The software is intended to both improve marijuana business’ efficiency and transparency, and simultaneously to aid state governments by providing records for tax collection and remittance.
Agrisoft could not be reached for comment.
The software tracks individual plants as they grow with standard barcoding and with radio frequency identification (RFID), which speeds production by eliminating the need for each plant to be coded with a scannable barcode and allows producers or distributors to track the plant’s exact location after distribution. Cultivation management software monitors lighting, plant conditions, harvest yields and other agricultural metrics.
Seed-to-sale software, which tracks the plant’s growth and its transit to the seller, is not a legal requirement for marijuana businesses, but Dinenberg believes that the rigorous monitoring of the product that the software provides might become compulsory with more federal regulation. “Right now seed-to-sale is kind of an optional thing in the industry, but as regulation gets more rigid, and if the federal government gets into it, it’ll become more standard. We believe in compliance and transparency,” he said. Agrisoft’s physical security software integrates security cameras and biometric access control, which replaces keys with biological data, such as fingerprints and retina scans. Agrisoft software also aids in the production of marijuana-infused products (MIPs), such as cookies and soda, with features such as recipe automation, automatic adjustments to the concentration of marijuana, inventory and storage, and expiration information. The software also integrates with TurboTax and QuickBooks accounting software, tailored to assist users with IRS 280E, the portion of the tax code that governs licit marijuana businesses.
Kind, based in Los Angeles, offers traditional banking services to marijuana businesses, which often have difficulty obtaining basic financial support, such as small business loans and credit lines, due to banks’ wariness of the business. Because both medical and recreational marijuana are illegal federally, traditional banks are reluctant to grant such companies credit or allow them to open checking accounts. Although these businesses’ products are illegal under federal law, the Obama administration and the Department of Justice have indicated that businesses in full compliance with state law are not considered prosecution targets. Dinenberg noted that his company, which provides investment capital to growing businesses, conducts industry research and plans industry events, among other things, has grown from just himself and his wife to six employees last fall to 20 employees now. “It’s a new industry with lots of consolidation taking place over time,” he said. Surna Inc., which manufactures equipment for the legal marijuana industry, acquired a majority interest in Agrisoft in January. Kind purchased Agrisoft’s assets from Surna, which will remain a “strategic partner” with the combined companies, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing for the deal. The sale was conducted privately with no outside advisers or private equity backing. Marijuana’s differing legal status across the country has hampered the industry. Medical marijuana is legal in 24 states and in Washington, while recreational marijuana is legal only in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington state. However, it is still federally outlawed, listed by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule I controlled substance, a drug “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” the same category as heroin and LSD. The government may be moving towards relaxing these policies. Dinenberg lauded the possible changes. “The [current U.S. attorney general Loretta Lynch and her predecessor U.S.] attorney general [Eric Holder] as well as the Obama administration in general are allowing states to develop their own laws and rules and regulations and watching it. As long as it operates the way it’s supposed to operate, then the current position of the government is, ‘We’re going to leave them alone and not spend money or resources fighting them.’ I think we can all say that the billions and billions of dollars spent on the war on drugs hasn’t worked. The marijuana industry is a tax collector, it’s a job creator, and it’s a tax savings from a budget standpoint because if you’re not fighting something you’re saving money.”
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