As the ongoing “Green Rush” continues to pick up momentum across the U.S., with more and more states inexorably on the road to either passing transformative medical marijuana legislation that is effectively the narrow end of the wedge, or blanket decriminalization, as is the case in Alaska, Colorado ($700 million in 2014), Oregon, Washington, and D.C., the smart money is increasingly focused on pick-and-shovel plays which provide the requisite equipment and services needed for the industry to thrive. Instead of trying to grow, sell or otherwise manufacture cannabis and cannabis based products themselves, a handful of sector players are banking on doing for this now $2.7 billion U.S. market what Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) does for the energy industry, capitalizing on the very legal and logistical difficulties that face sector core companies which are avoided by pursuing this proven strategy, and facilitating the underlying market dynamics via provision of ancillary technologies and services.
With Ohio announcing that it is the latest state to advance towards reform on cannabis prohibition, as Ohio Secretary of State, Jon A. Husted recently reported a constitutional amendment will go before voters this November that would do in Ohio what was done in Alaska and Oregon back in November, it seems clear that the sector’s moment is now unstoppable. Similar moves by Arizona, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada and California, where estimates by leading sector analysts ArcView currently place the initial market potential in this one state alone as topping out around $10 billion if full legalization is passed, are an unambiguous indicator to investors about the forward vector of this yet-nascent industry.
This is why companies like Fastfunds Financial (OTC: FFFC) are bullish about the potential for broad-spectrum “field service” strategy in the cannabis sector, secure in the knowledge that during any such Gold Rush, the companies who will realize the biggest returns are not the core operators, but the guys on the sidelines selling the picks and shovels. FFFC’s shotgun approach has the company pursuing cannabis financial services based on branded frequent buyer loyalty reward top-up cards, as well as cutting-edge antimicrobial sanitation systems for the grower market, and much-needed, high profit margin security services for the essentially all-cash retail market via its wholly-owned 420 Development Corporation subsidiary. In addition to these verticals, FFFC is focused on providing corporate development services and angel funding for sector start-ups not directly involved in growing or dispensing marijuana via its newly formed Cannabis Angel, Inc. subsidiary, which has already secured an agreement with a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based private equity fund to provide the requisite capital.
Fastfunds Financial has a significant advantage in the financial services end of the cannabis business, being already grounded as it is in providing such facilitation to the largely underserved Hispanic community via its majority-owned Financiera Moderna, Inc. subsidiary. Already off to a running start, with a branded series of transaction cards styled after cannabis sector legend Tommy Chong, FFFC’s recent signing of cannabis industry experts and advertising powerhouse, Casa Giallo, should take the company’s 49 percent stake in the Cannabis Merchant Financial Solutions, Inc. (CMFS) Green Card, Tommy Chong Green Card, and Tommy Chong Frequent Buyers Card, to the next level. This is a shrewd move by FFFC, tapping one of the sector’s most notable and well-connected marketing agencies, in order to ensure that their card options take center stage as the industry matures.
Casa Giallo, backed up by experts at Finnegan & Diba Law Firm, has been hugely successful with not only devising winning social media strategies, but comprehensive advertising, branding and marketing solutions as well, for such clients as Snoop Dogg, innovative medical marijuana ordering and delivery company Eaze, and numerous private farms in Northern California’s now world famous “Emerald Triangle” region, where most of the cannabis in the U.S. has been grown since the early 60’s. Tommy Chong and his licensed product lines have attracted a great deal of attention on name recognition alone and Fastfunds Financial, through CMFS, is dedicated to creating a national master distribution, sales and reseller network for its branded card products, something which should help substantially address many of the core transaction-related concerns that continue to hamper the industry.
Reloadable stored value cards, complete with rewards programs and frequent shopper bonuses, are a vital addition to the cannabis sector and will help address the security concerns held by many consumers and dispensaries in a very passive, yet effective fashion. However, FFFC is not content to stop there and the company is also eyeing the remaining chunk of this vertical through a 70 percent stake in diversified security, training and investigations outfit, Brawnstone Security, Inc., a fully functioning and currently operating security company based in Ohio. Evolving Brawnstone Security into a 21st century cannabis sector shield agency could be the most profitable vertical for FFFC too, with extant research indicating that operating margins could be double that of current billing levels for this business. Little surprise there really, as the demand from small, private dispensaries and farmers in particular shows no signs of slowing down. With more and more capital flooding into the industry on a daily basis, loss prevention demand and the need for security guards, systems, and law enforcement liaison work will only continue to increase.
A key operating agreement between FFFC and Sanidor Systems, a developer of proprietary, state-of-the-art formulas and advanced delivery systems for deodorizing, disinfecting and sanitizing personal, as well as industrial spaces, has put the company at the forefront of the commercial grower market facilitator space as well. The recent reception of registration approval for its general label in Washington and Wisconsin allows sales of the GroClean product – developed through the entity created by FFFC and Sanidor, known as Pure Grow Systems, LLC (in which Fastfunds Financial holds a 49 percent stake) – to commence, much to the delight of growers in those states, for whom such sanitizing and disinfecting technology is of inestimable importance. Today’s increasingly sophisticated grow ops have a huge demand for a variety of reasons when it comes to disinfecting and sanitizing their growing and processing facilities, and this milestone registration approval sets up the GroClean product nicely for rapid expansion into the much broader national medical and recreational grower market. GroClean is perfect for eliminating harmful bacteria such as salmonella and e-Coli, in addition to fungi, mildew, mold, viruses and pests like spider mites, showing exceptional results, even in hydroponic applications where moisture is a constant factor.
The company’s showcasing of the entire portfolio of antimicrobial sanitation products and systems available through Pure Grow Systems at the Hempfest on August 14th through the 16th in Seattle, Washington, is the sort of ideal marketing opportunity needed for FFFC to impress upon the broader industry just how attractive these highly cost-effective solutions are. Engineered from the ground up to deliver maximum kill ratios and plant coverage, these products containing 100 percent biodegradable active ingredients are powerful enough to guard against the major production pitfalls faced by all growers, and yet cheap enough to reasonably form the backbone of such efforts when it comes to planning a grow op budget. The distribution agreement signed back in July between Pure Grow Systems and developer of high-end electrostatic sprayers, Byoplanet, which gave Pure Grow Systems the ability to market delivery systems like the Byoplanet ES120 sprayer, goes a long ways towards cementing the grower market for FFFC. Using advanced induction charged technology to ensure that formulated products can cover 100 percent of target surfaces, the Byoplanet ES120 creates droplets with a tiny electrostatic charge that allows those droplets to reach hidden surfaces and penetrate deeper than is otherwise possible, making it a lifesaver for rapidly and effectively dispensing antimicrobial sanitation products.
Fastfunds Financial is well-positioned to drive mounting revenue generation for its shareholders in the coming years, as the cannabis sector goes from 74 percent growth between 2013 and 2014, to a projected 300 percent growth over the next four years, when ArcView estimates the sector could reach upwards of $10.8 billion annually.
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