Insightful Insider Panel Discussion – 4 Industry Experts Discuss Inflation, Pandemic, and Politics

by | Nov 14, 2022

Written by Kristina Etter

A freelance writer and journalist based in Colorado, Kristi is a seasoned pro in cannabis industry content creation and reporting. Her career includes two decades of corporate IT roles at major firms like Maytag Appliances, Wells Fargo Financial, and DuPont Pioneer, which provided her with a unique perspective on the intersection of technology and cannabis.

Cannabis industry experts speak up on the issues impacting their business in this exclusive Cannabis Tech roundtable-style panel discussion.

Watch the Panel Discussion

Let’s face it; everyone is facing challenges in the current economy. We asked four industry experts to join us on a webcast to discuss how the current state of affairs in the US is affecting their business segment.

Government Lip Service?

President Biden’s announcement about cannabis last month certainly caused a stir in the industry, but as most of these professionals noted, it simply isn’t enough. Seeing through the smoke and mirrors, our experts agreed the move was likely more of a political playing card than actual action and really did very little to change the current circumstances.

Yet, many hope that Congress will make banking regulation changes in favor of the cannabis industry during the lame-duck session between now and the year’s end.

Post-Pandemic Inflation

As cannabis consumers feel the pinch of inflation, cannabis sales are seeing a decline. Our panelists discuss what they’re seeing and how cannabis producers are coping with the deficit. 

Our panelists dive into this topic, the impact of inflation post-pandemic, and their outlook for the future. Watch the video for the whole conversation.


Today’s Panelists for Today’s Panel Discussion

Laura Bianchi, Co-Founder and Partner, Bianchi & Brandt

Founding Partner of Bianchi & Brandt, Laura Bianchi is a widely sought-after expert in cannabis law, business operations, and corporate mergers and acquisitions who pioneered a holistic approach to legal services for the cannabis industry.

Her legal expertise makes her a go-to source, featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, O Magazine, Marijuana Business Daily, Green Entrepreneur, and numerous other national, regional, and trade publications.

Among her recent professional accolades, she is lauded as a top industry leader by Authority Magazine, and AZ Business Magazine named her one of the top five most influential women in the cannabis industry and one of Arizona’s Top 100 Attorneys for 2020 and 2022.

Laura graduated from the Vermont Law School after earning a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Kai Kirk, Chief Product Officer, BLAZE™

Kai is a serial cannabis industry entrepreneur and executive leader with a wealth of experience operating in different roles across several industries.

And his many years in the cannabis sector—as a founder and advisor for cultivation, distribution, and manufacturing companies—also guide his work as he analyzes customer feedback, workflows, and particular compliance parameters in an on-site capacity.

Kai’s skill in synthesizing different user perspectives is essential to BLAZE’s success and status as the industry’s leading supply-chain management and dispensary & delivery POS cannabis software. His expert oversight of the design, compliance, and product management teams ensures that the company works as one to constantly advance its technology and user experience.

Eddie Franco, Director of Policy, Nabis

Franco is the Director of Policy for Nabis, California’s leading licensed cannabis wholesaling platform, and is responsible for the company’s licensing and government affairs. With over five years of experience in cannabis policy, Eddie is consistently looking to improve California’s legal and regulatory landscape by leveraging his past experiences and the vast network of brands, retailers, and operators Nabis serves.

Prior to his current role, Eddie was the Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Manager for the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA), overseeing the trade group’s policy and regulatory objectives, and in 2018, he was proud to staff Dr. Bill Quirk’s cannabis portfolio including AB2020, which established legal cannabis events in California.

Greta Brandt, President, The Flower Shop

As President of The Flower Shop (TFS), Greta Brandt takes a hands-on approach to overseeing every aspect of operations, including cultivation, retail, manufacturing, and wholesale. Greta is a licensed corporate attorney who applies her legal training to ensure compliance and scalability of The Flower Shop and its subsidiary brands in emerging markets with varied regulatory structures. 

Previously, Greta served as general counsel for Sky Dispensaries before stepping into the role of President and rebranding the company as The Flower Shop in 2019 and expanding it into Utah as True North of Utah.

Before that experience, Greta practiced law at firms in California and Arizona after earning a J.D. from the Gonzaga University School of Law, emphasizing public interest law and international law. She also is active in shaping the cannabis industry beyond the C-Suite, serving as president of the Utah Cannabis Association and a member of the Arizona Dispensary Association.

In addition, Greta regularly engages with Arizona and Utah regulatory bodies, including the Arizona and Utah Departments of Health Services and the Utah Department of Agriculture. Outside of her professional capacities, Greta is also a proud mother of three.


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