Minority Representation in Hemp: Giovan Jenkins & Steven Brown of Nothing But Hemp

The Ministry of Hemp Podcast
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The Ministry of Hemp Podcast
Minority Representation in Hemp: Giovan Jenkins & Steven Brown of Nothing But Hemp
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How can we increase minority representation in the hemp industry? That’s the topic of episode 20 of the Ministry of Hemp Podcast.

In this episode, our host Matt talks about a new report with good news about drug testing and CBD. Then Matt is joined by Giovan Jenkins and Steven Brown, the founders of Nothing But Hemp for a discussion about why there is so little minority representation in the hemp industry and their plan to change that.

Also mentioned on the show: a recent report predicts $1 billion in CBD sales in 2019.

(Article feature photo from Disabled And Here released under a Creative Commons Attribution License.)

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Giovan Jenkins of Nothing But Hemp poses with some of the company's products. Why aren't there more black people and minority representation in general in the hemp industry? (Facebook / Nothing But Hemp)
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Giovan Jenkins of Nothing But Hemp poses with some of the company’s products. Why aren’t there more black people and minority representation in general in the hemp industry? (Facebook / Nothing But Hemp)

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Minority Representation in Hemp: Complete episode transcript

Below you’ll find the complete written transcript of this episode:

Matt: 00:03 Minority representation is on the rise in just about every aspect of American business, except for the hemp industry. Today on this show, we’re going to talk about why at present, hemp is still a very much venture capitalist game in America and the USDA just handed down some new guidelines that no one is really happy about, but we’ll get to that in the next episode. Today we’re going to talk about why there isn’t more minority representation in the hemp business and what companies like Nothing But Hemp are doing to change that. My name is Matt Baum. I’m your host and this is the Ministry Of Hemp podcast. But before we get into that, let’s talk about drug tests for a minute.

Drug tests and CBD

Matt: 00:54 This month in the November edition of the journal of analytical toxicology researchers working with the Johns Hopkins University School Of Medicine published a study about the impact of CBD exposure on urine drug testing. Now, I’m bringing this up because a lot of you have called our phone line, (402) 819-6417, and asked us, “Is taking CBD going to get me in trouble in drug test?” It’s a valid question and the answer is still kind of yes and no, but it’s looking like it’s leaning towards no.

Matt: 01:33 Here’s the good news. This latest study used human subjects that were using a hundred milligrams of CBD orally or through a vaporizer and when their urine samples were tested, only one of the 218 urine samples that were collected gave a positive result for THC and the one that did could be an outlier. Now there have also been some studies out there that show when CBD encounters acid, it can convert to THC, so by that logic, if you’re taking CBD orally, say in a pill form, sooner or later it’s going to encounter your stomach acid. The good news is, while scientists have seen this happen in lab settings, there have been no observations of this taking place in the human stomach. The final findings of this study basically said, “These data indicate that acute dosing of pure CBD will not result in positive urine drug testing using current federal workplace drug testing guidelines.”

Matt: 02:39 But of course there’s always a caveat. CBD products that also contain Delta nine THC may produce urine results for THC metabolites, which basically means until such time that we don’t have to worry about it anymore, these CBD products need to better labeling to illustrate the fact that they have Delta nine THC in the bottle so users don’t fail drug tests when they’re not taking drugs. So while this study like this printed in a major medical journal is good news. If you are being drug tested at work, you still need to be careful. You still need to know what you’re taking and you need to be vigilant in finding a company that puts the actual lab results of what is in that bottle right on the label. The good news is we can help you with that. Go to ministryofhemp.com check out our top brand section and you will find companies that we have researched, we have reviewed and that are putting exactly what is in that bottle right on the label. Now it’s time for my discussion with Giovan’s Jenkins and Steven Brown, the founders of Nothing But Hemp.

The story of Nothing But Hemp

Matt: 04:01 Thanks so much for joining us on the show guys and talking to me. Let’s start with the easy question, how did you two meet? Tell me about Nothing But Hemp. How did this get started? You guys, old buddies?

Steven: 04:11 So actually I married Giovan’s cousin, so about a three years ago-

Matt: 04:16 That’s definitely one way to meet somebody.

Steven: 04:18 Yeah. So about three years ago I saw this beautiful teacher, it was actually my son’s teacher and so I chased her and then we ended up getting married and at the time I was working in LA, I was a contract CMO for a really large cannabis company. And so at the time when I was there, this great thing, Facebook, I saw that Giovan was actually in California and I was like, “What are you doing out here?” And he’s like, “I’m out recruiting.” And so he was a football coach, so he was recruiting on the collegiate level-

Matt: 04:58 Who’d you coach for, Giovan?

Giovan: 04:59 At that time I was at Hamlin University, before that I was at the University of Minnesota and prior to that I spent 14 years as a high school coach in Minneapolis as the head coach at Washburn High School.

Matt: 05:11 Okay. I’m a Husker. So you didn’t really coach any place that’s offensive to me. So that’s okay.

Giovan: 05:14 Except for this year’s I think you may be-

Matt: 05:17 Oh please, oh please, let’s not get into that.

Giovan: 05:20 We’ll go move on, we’ll move on.

Matt: 05:21 No, you guys just rolled us fair and square. It was fair.

Giovan: 05:26 You guys take it too, I like.

Matt: 05:27 Oh yeah, we’re super polite here where it’s like, “Well that’s worse than we expected, but we thought we were going to lose. So thanks for your time.” [crosstalk 00:05:37] So you were out recruiting football, you were in LA working in cannabis. How do we get to the hemp? How does this happen?

Steven: 05:44 Yeah, so this is what happened. He came over to the condo I was staying at and there was a big bowl of all sorts of marijuana products. And so we were doing product development and and so we had of course a really fun night walking the strip of Hollywood. And then he was like, “Man, I want to be in the cannabis industry.” And I was like, “You know what? I’m just about to end this contract. I want to stay in the cannabis industry. We should do something.” And so fast forward a few months later, I was in Nevada and I saw a hemp location. It was a CBD only store. And I’m like, “Oh my God, this would go really well in Minnesota. There’s nothing here.” And so I called him up was like, “Jinx, you got to check this out.” I was like, “We need to open up a CBD location in Minnesota. We’ll get a bunch of press because there’s no one doing it right now.”-

Matt: 06:33 It’s true.

Steven: 06:33 “And we’ll get press.” And so that’s what we did.

Giovan: 06:36 That’s it, that was the conversation.

Steven: 06:38 And so a year ago, we opened up our first location, actually it hasn’t been a year yet, but it was November 3rd and now we have 11 locations. Some of them are affiliate locations and then we have our corporate locations.

Matt: 06:50 Okay, so you were living in LA and you decided, “I’m tired of this nice weather. It’s too beautiful here. I want to go to Minnesota.”

Steven: 07:01 I lived there every other … every other week, I lived in Minnesota. Every other week, I was there for four weeks. But trust me, I miss the weather. I do not like Minnesota weather. It’s horrible.

Matt: 07:09 No, I mean it is what it is. You grow up with it, after awhile, you can’t even feel it anymore. It’s just part of the deal. So you called him jinx. Is that the nickname?

Giovan: 07:18 Yeah, that’s me, man. I’m Coach Jinx. I’m Jinx, everybody knows me as Jinx.

Matt: 07:22 Nice.

Giovan: 07:23 Yeah. And it makes sense as Jinx. Giovan is what I was named obviously. And that links me back to the iron range, Giovanni Leoni.

Matt: 07:32 Wow.

Giovan: 07:32 But I’m Jinx, man.

Matt: 07:34 So let me ask you, you were to like, “I’m done with football. I want to get into hemp.” Did it seem like it was an opportunity thing or was it just right opportunity, right time? Or this guy married your cousin and you were like, “I’m just going to go for it.”

Giovan: 07:45 All of the above. Yes, yes and yes.

Matt: 07:47 Fair enough.

Giovan: 07:49 It was a huge … opportunity meets preparation, so it’s perfect timing. And if he chases Marlo took the 4th of July function like he did and meets the only cannabis user in our family and it happens to be me and he is a cannabis expert and I am a head football coach and I can put my hands on 90 kids and 15 guys and I can control that. I was like, “Man, this might be cool to be able to try to link up with one guy and see what we can do.” And this is what happened.

Matt: 08:20 This is the universe telling you something basically.

Giovan: 08:22 Yeah man, my mom as an educator, as a very, very educated lady was like, “Go for it.” She’s a PhD, and she was like, “It’s a sign. It’s like go.” So then I was like, “I got it. I take the message, I’m gone.”

Hemp and CBD in Minnesota

Matt: 08:38 So let’s talk about hemp and Minnesota. I know that CBD is legal there and it seems like Minnesota is a little cannabis and hemp friendlier than Nebraska. How hard was it to get into business and get things going there?

Steven: 08:51 You know, it was a nightmare actually. So when I thought about, “Hey, let’s, let’s have this hemp business,” I contacted a local attorney and the attorney said, “Don’t do it, it’s illegal.” And so then I talked to a different attorney that said, “Well, it’s not illegal. You can completely do this. So go and open up a shop.” And so we did, but the banking was a very difficult thing because they didn’t understand it. And then the credit card processing. So we went through the whole process of not having a bank to not being able to have a processor. And it was a cash only business, just like a regular marijuana business. So we went through it. We finally found a bank that would work with us. And so we give them our COAs, all of our lab tests to show that it’s not … it reaches what the law-

Matt: 09:45 The bank wants lab tests?

Steven: 09:47 Yep. So I give the bank lab test so I could bank with them, which is great. I’m okay giving them lab testing.

Matt: 09:52 That’s cool. I just hadn’t heard that. I did a couple shows on the trouble with banking and hemp right now and I’d not heard anyone saying the bank wants to see lab tests. I’ve just heard people saying, “Well the banks are just waiting for it to be completely legal because they’re scared.” But that’s pretty cool, honestly.

Giovan: 10:08 Well, as a privately owned bank, I asked that question, as a privately owned bank and their founders are the people that are invested in them aren’t afraid to take the risk as long as they can see that it’s on the up and up and it’s a good business model.

Matt: 10:20 Right, right. Is your hemp coming from Minnesota?

Steven: 10:25 No. Some of it, yes. So we have a very strong partnership with a company called Siskiyou Sungrown. They are out of Oregon. So their farm’s in Williams, but their corporate headquarters is out of Grants Pass, Oregon and they’ve won a bunch of cannabis cups on their THC side. And on their hemp side, they’ve been growing cannabis for over 20 years. Cedar gray is very well known in the cannabis industry. And so we really loved their product and we wanted to bring a product that you could find on dispensary’s out to some place like Minnesota where they’re getting the green roads of the world, like some of the other hemp bombs, those type of brands where you’re just getting an isolet type of product and you’re not getting a full spectrum and you’re not getting the full plant. And these guys, it’s fully organic. We liked what they stood for. They have a low carbon footprint.

Steven: 11:24 So everything about them we really love and it reaches with our values.

Matt: 11:28 Very cool.

Steven: 11:29 And it actually worked to my wife’s migraines. So it’s just a phenomenal, phenomenal product.

Matt: 11:39 Is that how you came into CBD basically in hemp, through your wife having trouble with migraines?

Steven: 11:44 Yes. So she was still against it. Me being in the marijuana business and even me smoking, because she’s a teacher, she was a goodie two shoes at the time and again, at the time. And so she wasn’t bought into this whole hemp thing and so her migraine was so bad. I said, “You know what, just try some CBD and see what happens.” So we went to a dispensary in Nevada and we ended up picking out Select, which is now called social CBD.

Steven: 12:13 And so it was an isolate product and actually it worked. [crosstalk 00:12:18] but nothing like, like a full spectrum where it really just wipes it out pretty quick. With the isolate, you’re going to have to go with a much higher dosage to get that same relief.

Matt: 12:27 Sure. And what kind of products are you carrying at Nothing But Hemp?

Steven: 12:33 So we carry about 150 different products. We have a full line of different types of full spectrum tinctures from 500 milligrams to a thousand milligrams. We have Charlotte’s web, which has been a very popular product. We like their story. We really liked their product.

Matt: 12:51 Oh, Charlotte’s Web is great. We actually just did a giveaway with them on ministryofhemp.com.

Steven: 12:56 So we carry everything that Charlotte has to offer. We carry bath bombs, soaps, a hemp flower looks like marijuana, smells like marijuana, just doesn’t get you head high. So we carry all sorts of different strains. We’re really excited about this year’s harvest cause there’s about 18 different strains that are out there that-

Matt: 13:17 Yeah, we just had our first legal harvest, which is very cool. I just interviewed a guy in talking about the first legal harvest up there and all the farmers are like, “Great, we’ve got it. What do we do with it?” I’m like, “Well we need to send a processor.” And the processors are like, “Oh, we’re full, we’re busy. We need more processors.”

Steven: 13:36 Yes. That’s actually, Auri, they’re a a research company here in Minnesota and they were bringing that up at our last Minnesota Hemp Association meeting and they were talking about that there’s just not enough processors. And that’s going to be the biggest bottleneck for everybody is you have all this flower, what do you do with it?

Giovan: 13:56 It’s going to sit and mold.

Matt: 13:56 Yeah, absolutely. Unless you can freeze it or freeze dry it or something. And not everybody has access to that.

Giovan: 14:01 Well we know we can freeze here, but-

Minority representation and the hemp industry

Matt: 14:02 We are in Minnesota, you can just put it in the back yard, you’ll be fine, you know? So one of the things I’ve noticed in talking to a lot of hemp companies and hemp business people is almost everybody is white. It’s all a bunch of white guys. Now there’s the exception. There’s some indigenous peoples that are growing hemp in like Nebraska and around the Midwest. But outside of that, all the processors, all the retailers, most of the company owners, they’re white people. Why is this?

Giovan: 14:34 We don’t know. What we don’t know, we don’t know.

Matt: 14:38 It seems like cannabis seems to be very well rounded and there’s a lot of different people that have gotten into the cannabis market, but hemp seems to be very white driven right now.

Giovan: 14:49 But for that same reason, that’s why the stigmas on it, that’s why the perception is on it because when the brown people and the people of color do get involved, it was looked at as a negative for so long, but now that you can A, line your pockets with it and B, feel good and have a medicinal and now that they’re doing all the research and the studies are coming out that it is good for you, cannabis I’m talking about, all those things are going to soon start to crumble and stigmas and our perceptions and then the people will stop being penalized for just wanting to feel better and calm and relaxed.

Matt: 15:25 Absolutely.

Giovan: 15:26 Because you don’t see a bunch of weed heads sitting around fighting, I’ll tell you that.

Matt: 15:29 Yeah, fair enough. It is funny cause the hemp people are a lot chiller than the cannabis people, from my experience, which doesn’t track at all. You know, like you guys should be totally mellow. I don’t get it. So what can we do to encourage more minority representation in the hemp world? What do you guys think? Speaking as minority representation in the hemp world.

Steven: 15:52 Comes down to education, I think is the big piece, but it’s also, if we really look at the big pharma, right? That’s the big thing. They unfortunately target minorities when it comes down to all sorts of pharmaceutical drugs.

Matt: 16:05 Oh no question.

Steven: 16:07 If they’re on a government program, anything of that sort, they’re of course going to say, “Hey, let’s not give you something natural. Let’s give you something that’s going to mess you up.” And so I think that’s another piece. I think there just has to be … we just have to educate. That’s the best way that would be able to take it to get minorities on board and just doesn’t come with just African-American. We don’t have a lot of Asian clients. We don’t have a lot of Hispanic clients, [crosstalk 00:16:39] predominantly white women between the ages of 35 and 65 years old now. That’s our demo.

Education & CBD

Giovan: 16:46 And if you follow that, just to piggyback off of Steven, because we are coming out of education, that is what has made us successful is the way we’ve built it because we will take the time and we will educate and we will spend as much time as somebody needs to make a sound decision because we know that they’re going for comfort and they’re going for a lifestyle change. So we’re not trying to push products just for price, just for money. Actually, we’re trying to keep the price low enough so they can get to maximum comfort as soon as possible.

Matt: 17:12 I think that’s a big part of it as well, what you just said, the price. There’s a lot of great products out there, but they are very expensive and right now the hemp market reminds me of the organic food market when it first really blew up. It was a bunch of rich white people that want to go to whole foods and say, “Well I could spend $4 on an eggplant and at my regular grocery store I can spend $10 on one here and feel better about it,” when you’re not necessarily giving yourself a benefit other than maybe it’s farmed better.

Matt: 17:44 This is a case where we have something that is providing a benefit that is helping people, but it’s kind of out of the reach of a lot of people’s hands just as far as budget goes. Do you think this education, does it go as far as to educating insurance companies and doctors on this stuff too?

Steven: 18:01 You know, it’s funny, we work with a lot of doctors and we sometimes will specifically carry products they ask us to, which is really interesting. But they’re not allowed to to truly give recommendations. Even like a naturopath doctor. They won’t carry it in their location because they’ll get in trouble but they’ll refer that business to us. But we’re not seeing that … but we’re really seeing it with progressive doctors that are predominantly working with the white population.

Giovan: 18:32 And I’m going to be honest with you now as you have younger physicians coming out of college that are more in tune to cannabis and the movement of cannabis, we have older patients, clients that are coming in with younger doctors and it comes out of their mouth, “Well she’s just young and she’s innovative. And she just told me to try it because other things aren’t working.” So I think it’s education on both ends, just because they’re doctors doesn’t mean they’re educated on cannabinoids and cannabis.

Matt: 18:57 Oh no, absolutely. I just went and saw my doctor a couple of weeks ago for like allergy related stuff and he said, “Well, what are you taking right now?” And I’m like, “I take an allergy pill and I take CBD.” And he said, “Well, what does the CBD doing for you?” That’s his first question he asked me. I’m like, “Well, I mean, you’re a doctor. Don’t you know?” And I think honestly, he was quizzing me in the sense where I’m saying, “Well, you know, honestly I take it for some pain related stuff and helps with anxiety.” And he was like, :Good, that’s good to hear because there is a lot of myths out there. There’s people that’ll tell you to solve everything. It’ll cure anything,” which can make doctors very nervous. I get that. But what can we do to educate our doctors and our medical people? Just keep screaming about it. Just keep beating the drum basically?

Steven: 19:46 You know, the doctor’s in America, especially … my son has ADHD. Right? And so my doctor’s totally against him taking CBD oil. I have split custody with my son, so I can’t make the full decision on CBD oil. It prescribes them, Adderall instead, which I find ridiculous. So I don’t even try to educate that doctor and saying, “Hey, here’s some studies. Look at European studies.” They only believe what they’re going to see in the United States and he’ll just keep saying, “Well I don’t see enough case studies here in the US besides what we’re seeing on the TV.” And so that’s his approach. And he sticks sticks to that. And I think there’s a lot of doctors that get some kickbacks from the big pharma and they have these reps that are coming in and that are influencing them to say, “Hey, we have this many studies here so you can trust this product. You can’t trust this other product on the market.”

Encouraging minority representation in hemp

Matt: 20:45 So let’s get away from that aspect of it and talk more about the business aspect itself. You guys were two crazy people that said, “Let’s open a CBD joint in Minnesota,” of all places. How do you think we can encourage more minority business owners to look at this as a real chance to get in on something on the ground level?

Giovan: 21:06 I think they got to believe in the product, A, and they have to believe that they can make a change because it’s something going to have to commit to like everything else in life.

Matt: 21:15 Absolutely.

Giovan: 21:16 I mean we jumped in with both feet, both of us. He’s an entrepreneur by trade, so he’s used to doing this. I’m somebody who’s results oriented and goal driven. And in another sense in terms of preparing for a whole season, recruiting kids and doing all that stuff. So if you can get people to see the big picture, which is to give people quality product and have … what our look is an upscale boutique look because this is what we want it to be different. And we don’t want our products to be found on a smoke shop shelf or at a gas station. So we chose to be different. And I think if you can come up with something different or even like us, we have an affiliate motto, “Walk the walk and talk the talk.” I think it’s just believing in yourself, like everything else in life.

Steven: 22:04 Yeah. So we have an affiliate location. So we have five affiliates. Most of them are in Florida. And then we actually have, he’s a minority business owner as well, who is currently looking for a location. He’s paid his affiliate fee, we’ve trained him already. And so he’ll be opening up another location in Minnesota and we’re actually selling one of our locations to a minority as well. And so our company as a whole are pretty much minority run-

Giovan: 22:34 We’re trying.

Matt: 22:34 That’s awesome.

Steven: 22:35 It’s either run by women or people of color in our organization.

Giovan: 22:42 So the how is to get them to see that it’s real, it’s really attainable, that it works, that it takes work in whatever you’re doing for your current line of work, it’s going to take that same amount of dedication but just in a different realm. And then you have to believe in it because I tell Steven all the time, it’s the personality in every single store that makes each store run.

Matt: 23:01 Absolutely. Absolutely.

Giovan: 23:03 And if you put a dead person, in turns a personality behind the counter, your sales are going to plummet. But if you put a bubbly personality there, we see it all the time. So that’s really what it comes down to, the who’s

Matt: 23:15 well, and that’s just any business man, like honestly, that’s like rule number one, be excited and know what you’re talking about.

Giovan: 23:22 Agreed.

Expanding the Nothing But Hemp brand

Matt: 23:23 So how does the affiliate program work? Did people seek you out or are you seeking people out?

Steven: 23:29 Both ways. So our affiliate program, it’s basically a one time $5,000 fee, there’s a licensing agreement where you get the rights to use our brand. We also provide marketing support. So we have a copywriter on board, I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen our blog, but we literally write every single day we write copy and newspapers.

Matt: 23:51 Yeah, I was actually looking at your blog before we jumped on here.

Steven: 23:54 Yep. And so we’re really an educational brand and we want to educate people about the industry and about of course our products and about research in regards of hemp. So we just want to educate. And so they actually receive all of that just from becoming an affiliate. They’ll also received products at a very good discounted rate. So most of the time as a retailer, because of their buying power, you have one location, you’re only at a 50% margin because you can’t afford to buy a bunch of products. So we’re able to at least on the minimum, giving a affiliate between a 55% margin all the way up to a 70% margin, sometimes up to a 90% depending on what products they are.

Matt: 24:43 Wow.

Steven: 24:44 And so we want it for them to grow like we did. And we were blessed to build a contract in place with Siskiyou that allowed us to grow the way that we did because our margins were so great. So we pass on that savings to our affiliates and we have an exclusive contract with Siskiyou Sungrown and Tribe Tokes and all the brands that we work with, we built in contracts that give them protection from competitors in the marketplace saying, “Well, I want to carry that same great product too.”

Matt: 25:13 Right, right.

Steven: 25:13 So that’s what we’re getting.

Matt: 25:14 So you guys put all that in place, start to finish. That’s amazing.

Steven: 25:18 Yep. And so then they would have to purchase 75% of their products through our distribution channels, but we don’t charge a monthly fee or a royalty, like a franchise. So it really allows us to scale. It also allows the affiliate to scale too and to be creative and also gives them the ability compared to some of these other programs out there. There’s American Shaman, a few others that only allow them to carry their own products. What we do instead is we allowed them to carry other products outside of our distribution channel, 25% which gives them some freedom too.

Matt: 25:55 That’s cool. That’s very cool. Let me ask you, so as far as the training goes, you take them all the way through like, “Here’s CBD, here’s what it does, here’s how you can market it. Here is what you can market.” Like it’s the whole shebang basically.

Steven: 26:12 So we do an FDA compliance training so they know how to talk about it. We do everything from … so we have the FDA compliance training, we have a sales training, I owned a company called Connecting Innovations and I trained Best Buy Mobile, GNC franchises on a retail sales. So we do everything from personality style training so they understand their customers so they could better read them. So for example, if you have someone who’s analytical, how do you deal with analytical customers so you’re attending to their needs so they have a better understanding. And so we go through a whole day of training of just that. We do a whole day of training of our products and we do a whole day of training and we do a FDA compliance training, how to use the POS system. Literally everything.

Giovan: 26:56 So in store, I go to the store, every affiliate, anybody who works with us is endo cannabinoid certified. So they have to take the certification training- [crosstalk 00:27:07]

Matt: 27:06 That is awesome.

Steven: 27:08 The certification course they take online that actually doctors and nurses go through to get their, I believe it’s called [inaudible 00:27:18], it’s their ongoing training and so they go through that training as well. And then-

Giovan: 27:21 We put them in one of our stores since we have so many in the area just to work for it that last day. It’s a three day training.

Matt: 27:28 Yeah. And did you just like some on the spot work training, basically talking to the customers.

Steven: 27:33 And then when they open up we’d go on deck for a week and help them.

Matt: 27:38 just like a restaurant more or less. It’s like if I was opening a McDonald’s, that’s amazing.

Steven: 27:41 Yeah.

Giovan: 27:42 And they were going to give you a high five and say, “Man, go ahead and get it done. See you later.”

Matt: 27:48 Only if I open a McDonald’s, I’m just making people fat. I’m not helping anybody out.

Steven: 27:51 So the difference of a franchise, so like a McDonald’s for example, you have to carry all of their products and you have to go through their full distribution channel and then you’re paying a royalty back. And we were like, “Let’s make an assessable.” People have a dream of wanting the hemp industry. We understand the banking aspect. We have the credit card processing contacts. We were part of the square beta program. We were the first out of 10 companies to go in that beta program.

Matt: 28:23 That was real recent too, right?

Steven: 28:25 Yeah, that was, we were one of the lucky 10.

Matt: 28:27 Wow, that’s awesome. Congratulations.

Giovan: 28:30 Thank you. It was a blessing.

Steven: 28:32 It’s totally blessing.

Matt: 28:33 No doubt.

Steven: 28:35 So we help them set up a loyalty program for their customers and then we help them out with their SEO as well. So they’re on the maps. If they want to do further SEO for their own website, then that’s up to them.

Matt: 28:49 Sure. So if they were to come to you and say, “I’m ordering 75% from you guys and it’s all good products, I want to get this other product,” but you don’t know much about that, are you going to research it and look into it or-

Steven: 29:01 We do-

Giovan: 29:02 Great question.

Steven: 29:02 That’s a great question. So part of our contract, we do do that. So we will check out and see if the lab that they send it to is ISO certified and certified.

Matt: 29:15 That’s good [crosstalk 00:29:17], that’s good.

Steven: 29:18 We have the first writer refusal, but we can only do it based upon if that supplier is just like white label supplier and not a real, true supplier.

Matt: 29:28 Really it’s just something shifty going on basically. That’s good because I mean you could set someone up for success but then they could be like, “Oh I want to bring in this crappy improving product.” That’s where things get dangerous. Especially if it’s your name that’s on the front of the building.

Steven: 29:42 We a hundred percent agree with that.

Matt: 29:45 So what is the ideal person that comes to you? Like in your mind, the ideal person that comes to start a new, Nothing About Hemp.?

Steven: 29:52 Our ideal person is someone who’s entrepreneurial but also wants to follow a system. So we really want people that are system … that don’t try to completely recreate the wheel. That’s what we’re looking for. So I go through a whole the interview process prior to actually even having a conversation with them. And if I don’t like what I hear, if I feel that they’re a competitor, then we typically will not schedule the meeting.

Matt: 30:22 Okay. You just answered that really well because this was my gotcha question to see if like, if can I come in and just like pay you guys and you guys will just let me [inaudible 00:30:35]? That was good. That’s a good answer. And I like that because you can tell you since you guys are invested in it, you have to be really careful with who you’re bringing in. Of course.

Giovan: 30:39 Well it’s called trial and error.

Steven: 30:41 Yeah, no it is because we’ve already been burned [crosstalk 00:30:48]-

Giovan: 30:44 We’re a year into it, but we’re so deep into it. They’ve come at us like sharks. So we know exactly almost everything, how to protect ourselves at this point after a year.

Matt: 30:54 Well, you’ve got a coach that knows how to recruit and knows how to run a system. And you’re just looking for team players basically at this point.

Giovan: 31:05 That’s right.

Matt: 31:05 I think it’s amazing what you guys are doing, honestly.

Educating seniors about CBD

Steven: 31:07 We are doing our best right now to promote to the public about hemp is another option for you versus taking pharmaceuticals. And I think that’s where we start. So if there’s people with pain, I think it’s really getting to the African-American demographic that’s older and having the grandmas use it and the grandfathers and once it starts working for them, they’re going to tell their kids. And that’s how you spread the love. And that’s what happened at least on this side of the CBD business already, at least on the Caucasian side. So I think if we duplicate that same same thing, we can do that within the black community.

Giovan: 31:51 I would love to get into some old folks homes and things like that. We would love to.

Matt: 31:56 Yeah, that’s important.

Giovan: 31:56 Because we know that there is a market, we know that … my grandma’s 95 years old and she’s never drank or never smoked in her life and goes to church three days a week. That’s my grandma, Baptist, Southern Baptist. But I say that because she takes CBD now and she takes it because it makes her feel better and she takes it because they calm her achy little bones and joints, things like that.

Matt: 32:19 That’s awesome.

Giovan: 32:20 And she’s taken the gummies. So if I can get my grandma to try it, she took it to her doctor. Her doctor said, “Absolutely try it,” and she did it and she swears by it. So that’s all it takes is education. But our people need to believe that it’s good. It’s not habit forming. It’s not addictive. It’s not going to make them high because so many times they say, “I don’t want to be high,” and that’s what a lot of our clients say.

Matt: 32:43 Right, right. So coach, let me ask you, it’s okay if I call you coach right?

Giovan: 32:49 My daughter calls me, coach.

Matt: 32:51 Awesome. So do you think that there is … I know that there is definitely a stigma with the older white generation. Like my grandmother, who I recently got to try CBD, she was terrified because she thought it was drugs. Is there that same stigma there with the black and Hispanic aging population as well that they have obviously have seen what drugs have done to neighborhoods and kids and their own families. Does that same stigma, is it worse or is it the about the same?

Giovan: 33:20 I think it’s the same. I think it’s just the stigma with it’s just older people in general that are more aware and have lived longer than all of us and have more experiences and have seen more people make bad mistakes off of decisions and choices they’ve made. So I think they don’t want to put things in their body that could possibly be habit forming, be addicting or possibly cause them to get in a car and hurt themselves or other people. So I think just take chances. And they want to really, really do all their research and talk to doctors and cross all their T’s and dot all their I’s.

Matt: 33:54 Sure. And back to what Steve was saying, it’s that same belief that, “I need to talk to my doctor, I need to talk to my doctor,” and when your doctor is the one that’s giving you Oxycontin or giving you Adderall and you trust that, that just becomes part of what we do. And I didn’t even know what was making us sick. That and that goes back to education.

Steven: 34:13 Exactly.

Giovan: 34:14 I think it’s a health, obviously health and pain, we all know crosses colors, crosses ages, crosses everything. Everybody’s affected by pain and inflammation and mental health and mental illness. So I don’t think it comes down to one color. I just say education for everybody about how wonderful this beautiful plant is and how she can help us. I think that’s what we need.

Final thoughts from Matt: Hemp and the USDA

Matt: 34:39 Huge thanks to Giovanni Jenkins and Steven Brown from Nothing But Hemp for coming on the show. I can’t stress how cool their mission is. And how important what they’re doing is for this industry. Hemp is a business that is going to hit $1 billion in the US this year and we have an article all about it right now at ministryofhemp.com that you can check out. $1 billion is a lot of money and that’s plenty to go around and companies like Nothing But Hemp are going out of their way to teach minorities and people that might not otherwise be able to get into an industry like this exactly how to do it. I cannot say enough how impressive that really is.

Matt: 35:33 Next time on the show, I am joined again by Frank Robeson, you remember him from an earlier episode. He’s coming on to talk again about the USDA rules that were just handed down and how inherently screwed up they really are. It’s going to be a fun show and I’m probably going to have to bleep some language. He’s a little fired up and I do not blame him. As always in the show notes for this episode, I will have links to the study from Johns Hopkins about drug tests, links to Nothing But Hemp and links to the story about hemp’s $1 billion year in America over at ministryofhemp.com and of course a complete written transcript of the show for the hard of hearing. You can also email me your questions to matt@ministryofhemp.com. Hit us up on Twitter at Ministry Of Hemp or Facebook/ministryofhemp. We love to hear from you. By the way, thank you to everyone that has reviewed this show on iTunes or your podcast app of choice. It really does help to get this information in front of people that are looking for it, and it’s the easiest possible way you can say, “Thank you,” if you’re enjoying the show. Until next time, friends, remember to take care of yourself, take care of others, and make good decisions. Will ya? This is Matt Baum, your host, the Ministry Of Hemp Podcast, signing off.

Matt Baum has been hosting, producing, and editing podcasts for almost ten years. He's been a touring musician, chef, journalist, and avid comic book fan for as long as he can remember. Currently, Matt lives in Omaha Nebraska with his wife Kacie and pugs Mable and Bobo.

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