Online training and education platforms offer access to students across the globe, allowing users to set their own pace for learning and return back to material again and again. In the digital age, this ability to disseminate knowledge to anyone with a computer, tablet, or smartphone has far reaching powers. Enter Green Flower Media. They have taken the cannabis industry by storm with their innovative educational platform that incorporates reading material, video presentations from cannabis thought leaders, quizzes, and a final exam complete with a certificate of completion upon passing. We recently spoke with Max Simon, CEO and Founder of Green Flower Media, to find out more about the team behind the platform. Here, Simon discusses how Green Flower Media got its start, plans for the future, and more.
What was the inspiration behind founding Green Flower Media? How has the company grown since you started it in 2015?
Max Simon: I’ve used cannabis to tame my attention deficit disorder (ADD) for decades. I’ve always had a deep relationship with the plant. But when I wanted to find trustworthy, credible, expert guidance on how to use cannabis medicinally, or how to grow cannabis, or how to succeed in the cannabis industry, I couldn’t find anything! So we started Green Flower to provide trusted cannabis education and training to the world, that way people could experience the personal and professional benefits of this remarkable plant and industry.
What started with my co-founder, Stephanie Graziano, in my garage, has grown into a 45 person global cannabis education company that’s impacting tens of millions of people around the world, training employees from many of the top cannabis companies, and working with colleges and universities to power their cannabis curriculums. I think it’s amazing how far we’ve come; and now, after raising $20 million in a Series A financing from Tuatara Capital, we feel like we are just getting started.
What was the most challenging aspect of launching Green Flower Media? What has been the most rewarding?
Simon: Finding the right investors was an enormous challenge for us; it took many years of hard work and a lot of painful learning lessons. Also because of the stigma around cannabis, we’ve had multiple entities treat us unfairly, whether that’s shutting down our bank accounts even though we’re an education company; refusing to lease us office space; or closing our social media accounts. Despite the progress we’ve made with legalization, the cannabis stigma is truly still alive and thriving.
The most rewarding part of Green Flower is the positive impact we are making on people’s lives. We have collected thousands of stories of people who used Green Flower to get off opiates, start cannabis businesses, learn to grow and cook with the plant, and so much more. When you see firsthand what a profound difference cannabis can make on someone’s life, you become incredibly passionate about helping more people get the benefits.
What is the most popular course you offer? What other areas do think have strong growth potential for cannabis education?
Simon: Our most popular course is our Cannabis Fundamentals Certificate (1) because it gives you a comprehensive understanding of the most important aspects of cannabis today. This includes a deep-dive on cannabinoids, delivery methods, the endocannabinoid system, quality control in cannabis, and much more. So for anyone who’s at all interested in getting into the cannabis industry—which is a huge part of our audience—this course is the ideal place to start.
We’ve recently developed and released two new programs about the Medical Applications of Cannabis, and Compliance & Regulations. These are both high-growth areas that have tremendous needs in the industry, and yet it’s been virtually impossible to develop any form of credible knowledge for people to break in without spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on lawyers and consultants. Those are definitely exciting new areas of growth, and we’re seeing people flock to these trainings since they solve a real genuine need!
What are the benefits for universities to create cannabis courses and majors? How does that shift impact the industry?
Simon: Because we are currently working with many different universities to power their cannabis curriculums, we know that students really want to take these courses. The demand is incredible! So schools get to offer new courses that are in-demand, and students get a pathway to participate in this exciting new industry and study something they are passionate about. As more and more colleges jump on the cannabis train, it will only elevate the industry which suffers from not having enough genuinely skilled and well-trained people to fill specialized roles. More great talent equals more growth of the business.
Do you envision a partnership with any universities in the future?
Simon: We are very excited to announce a bunch of them at the end of this year!
You have a very strong social media presence. How do use your social media channels to help grow Green Flower Media?
Simon: Green Flower has one mission: to educate the world about cannabis. Whether it’s through the content on our social media channels, the videos inside our Membership, or the training inside Green Flower Academy, our goal is to help people gain the benefits and value from this special plant, personally or professionally. Social media has been an invaluable channel for helping us spread this message and build a fan base that resonates.
What are your plans for the future of Green Flower Media?
Simon: Our vision for Green Flower is to be the global leader in cannabis education. In the short term, we have 20+ new courses in development right now from Extraction to CBD to Retail Management and we’re partnering with cannabis companies around the world to build their internal training platforms so every employee is well-educated and successful inside their organization. We are gearing up to announce a whole bunch of college partnerships. Lots to do, so thank god for cannabis!