Dr. Jon Thompson on the Science and Business of Cannabis Extraction

Dr. Jon Thompson is the founder and CEO of extraktLAB and United Science, a Wisconsin-based manufacturer of hemp and cannabis extraction and distillation equipment. ExtraktLAB also operates a 80,000 sq ft hemp extraction and processing facility in Osceola, WI able to process over 5 tons per day. Taking hemp biomass and making CBD distillate and isolate. 

We sat down with Dr. Jon to dig into some of the science that goes into CO2 extraction and to learn why extraktLAB prefers supercritical CO2 over other methods, like ethanol or hydrocarbon extraction. We also discussed what goes into starting up an extraction company. Finally, Dr. Jon gives some valuable advice for individuals looking to enter the cannabis industry.

If you want to learn more about extraktLAB and the services they offer visit https://extraktlab.com/


Transcript

Tanner Berris Good Morning! My name is Tanner with the Minnesota Cannabis College. Today we’re speaking with Dr. Jon Thompson, founder and CEO of extraktLab. Good Morning, Dr. Thompson.

Dr. Jon Thompson Good morning, how are you?

TB Doing really well, how about yourself?

JT Good, good.

TB Good. Well today I’d love to dig a little bit into two different facets of the cannabis industry, looking both at the science and the business of working on the extraction side, looking both at hemp and [THC-rich] cannabis. So we can start by jumping in to the science. Very generally, extraktLab uses a CO2 extraction method. Why did you choose that and what are some of the benefits of that method?

JT Okay, yeah. That’s no problem, that’s an easy question. Okay, so extraktLab is basically a brand of United Science, and United Science was involved in producing and building the processes and extraction procedures for one of the two cannabis operators in Minnesota currently. We were there at the very beginning, and we ended up looking at all the different technologies at the time. Back in 2014, before say ethanol and cryo-ethanol got very, very popular in the last maybe year, year-and-a-half, we were doing those ethanol extractions way back then. We just looked at it from the standpoint of cleanliness and being able to produce clinical grade oils is what our goal was from a medical standpoint in a medical program. We wanted to make sure that our exactions were free from residuals. If you want to use ethanol, you can buy organic ethanol or you can buy ultra-pure 200-proof ethanol, but it’s very, very expensive. Most people don’t extract at a large scale with that type of material and so the alternative is a distilled denatured ethanol which has all of these contaminants in them. It turns out that if you use that distilled or denatured ethanol, all of those small contaminants end up in the extract. Now, they are removed, but they are always there and present at some residual level. I wanted to have the most pure and clean extracts possible, so we stuck with CO2 because the residuals are non-existent with CO2. You extract at a higher pressure and then you let the pressure go back to atmospheric pressure and all the CO2 goes away, so it’s a very, very clean technique. It doesn’t leave any residuals, it’s easy to do, and it’s also a low-cost, so that would be the other thing. When you look at trying to scale up or even any normal operation, if you’re going to use ethanol, it costs a lot of money, so CO2 is a reused product from industrial processes, so it’s nice and clean and green, and essentially the costs are very, very high for ethanol compared to CO2. We’re looking at maybe 4 to 10 cents a pound for CO2, so it’s very low cost. A lot of operators these days are kind of looking at the market, maybe there’s a market dip or something like that and they’re like “okay, how am I going to stay alive when I have all these high operating costs,” right? As compared to all these other operators that are running CO2, very low operating cost, and they’re able to drive the prices down. That’s something from a competitive standpoint that CO2 kind of shines. There’s a lot of other different factors, and we looked at all of them. We looked at fluorinated solvents, we looked at torrefaction, which is basically burning and then condensing the burned materials. We had a lot of fun. We were in the laboratory, checking some things out, seeing how it worked. But with cost and cleanliness, CO2 really shines over the other scientific extraction techniques.

TB That totally makes sense. So shifting a little bit from the general CO2, looking at specifically the equipment that [ExtractLAB] makes, what sets you apart your extracting equipment apart from your average extraction tool? 

JT If you’re going to compare to other extractors on the CO2 side, it really is a high-pressure liquid recycling piece of equipment which means that it doesn’t really take the CO2 back to a gas, it just keeps reusing it in a liquid cycle, so that’s one thing. It’s very high throughput because of that. A lot of times, if you go back and rewind the tape maybe four or five years, essentially what you were dealing with there were very low-pressure CO2 systems and with that low pressure came very, very long runtimes, and so the throughput was really low. Operators were trying to scale up and they were also extremely energy-intensive because they were taking the CO2 back to a gas, recompressing it into a liquid, and then reusing it again and again. You usually had large compressors, high maintenance costs, large rooms, lots of heat being generated in your building. Our innovation was really to bypass all that by keeping the CO2 in its liquid state, and we really got a lot faster than everybody. Our footprint went way down so instead of having 100 to 200 square-foot space, we everything down to like 20 square feet. Very, very small, so probably the size of a large coffee table in terms of its size. Also, the power, we’ve brought the power way down so instead of having a 400-amp panel hooked up to your CO2 extractor, we’d be able to run it off of a traditional 100-amp three phase panel. Power, throughput, and footprint were the three key factors, and they still are. We’ve also added on a lot of bells and whistles to the piece of equipment as we’ve been evolving it. You can imagine that you’ve taking your ride and making it better and better, right?

TB Totally 

JT Get chrome on there, or take off your muffler to make it loud, whatever, that’s what we’ve done with our machine, so over time we’ve evolved a whole bunch of features that are really customer noticeable. Some of them have to do with how you deal with data and data-integrity, that’s called GMP, or General Manufacturing Practices. Some of it has to do with track the batches and the lots going in, the users and the serial numbers of the equipment coming in, and attaching those all to the method, and then printing out the method or storing the method electronically. Those are some things that really add a lot of streamlining to the process if you’re really looking at really tracking all your material the way a lot of GMP manufacturers are required to do, so those are some of the things. We’ve added in bag elevators, for example would be one thing, automation of getting the bags that we use to extract the weed in and out of the extractor really easily. We’ve also innovated into larger system beyond our original system which was basically a five-liter system and now we’re at an 80-liters, essentially. Those are pretty fast machines. I mean, they can do 840 pounds in a day, so that’s a lot of material and you put three of those into a room about the size of the office that you’re in, maybe 400 or 500 square feet, and you can do a ton a day in that. 

TB Gotcha, okay. 

JT You can see how it scales up in a very small footprint, high throughputs, so we’ve kind of engineered it so that it’s also got some great industrial design to it, and a lot of the other machines that you see out there look like they’re just a bunch of pipes hanging around, so we’ve made it into a nice looking machine. So that’s what we do with our extraction. We don’t only do extractions, though, we have distillation equipment, solvent-removal equipment, we have filtration equipment, we have software and hardware for tracking and tracing and things like that. 

TB Very cool, that’s awesome. I think a lot of those processes, sort of GMP as you call them, are really well shone in the tour that you gave of your extraction facility. For anyone who hasn’t seen that, I defiantly recommend checking that out. You mention in that video that one of these machines, or a couple, can be manned by one employee. 

JT Right.

TB Is that something that sets your machines apart from everyone else’s? Are yours a little easier to use for the tech themselves? 

JT Yeah, I think the technician, by definition, it’s a batch process so you’re not continuously putting material in and continuously taking it out, so you have to have someone who is manning the machines. So one person could easily do nine of those machines. When I said easily, I think I’ll take that back. They could easily do about six, and I think a really super user could do about nine. 

TB Okay.

JT They’re working it, for sure. So if you have just a machine, your technician has lots of downtime, so they could be doing other things. They can be doing winterization processes or they could do distillation. For example, one side of the room you could have a still, doing distillation, the other side have extraction, probably keep them going at the same time because a lot of those processes have downtime between them. Just someone to man them, look at what’s happening there, look at all the parameters. The machines themselves are pretty easy to use from a user standpoint because they have alarms and alarm settings. There must be a couple dozen different sensors that we have to have on each of the respective systems that you can set high and low limits to them and it will trigger alarms so it will alert the operator that there’s something going offline and it will sound or alarm or a light will shine red or something like that. A lot of those are user settable, and they’re baked into the method, so the method is controlled. You don’t want to have an operator changing the method on the fly, you know? A lot of these chemists, for example, they always want to experiment with things. The problem with that, of course, is that they end up changing the method all the time, they’re just trying to tweak it, trying to hone their craft a little bit. From a manufacturing standpoint, you want that method to stay the same all the time. So usually you want to get the chemists out of the room and put someone in there who can follow instructions. Chemists don’t follow instructions that well, unless they’re organic chemists, then they follow recipes.  

TB Gotcha, okay. So one thing that you touched on in the video and you touched on briefly is that you grind the material and then it goes directly into the machine, there’s not a freezing of the plant material. 

JT Right.

TB I know that some extractors freeze the material ahead of time and some don’t. Is there a specific reason you opt not to in your workflow?  

JT Well you certainly can freeze, and a lot of people pre-freeze material or bring it down. The powder itself doesn’t have a lot of heat capacity, so, you know, but what they’re doing is cooling it down so if they want to do a cold extraction, you’re not adding a warm substance to the cold ethanol, or whatever. Or they don’t want to add a warm substance to some cold CO2, for example, so all they’re doing is they’re using the watts for the cooling capacity of the freezer instead of the cooling capacity of the liquid, that’s all it is. I don’t think that’s more or less a process method thing, and we kind of leave that stuff up to our customers. We give a piece of equipment that you can change the inlet temperatures, you can change the extraction temperatures, you can change the pressures, you can do low pressure long-run at a cold extraction or you can do a high-pressure at a high extraction rate at a high pressure, it’s kind of up to you. You develop your own method and we give you the equipment that has the capabilities to do a range of methods.

TB That makes sense, that defiantly makes sense. So that last question I have about the science and technology itself is as we see the industry mature, you know, you touched on how five years ago the technology is vastly different than we see today. Is there anything coming down the pipe that is going to revolutionize how we extract or change the day-to-day business of running an extraction lab?

JT Right. If you take a look at what an extraction method is, it really involves different types of solvents, it involves temperatures and pressure, and sometimes it involves equipment, how to get the energy into the system and how to get the energy out of the system. Those are what you’re looking at and how to maintain those over time. So if you take all of those and put all the different types of them together and then jiggle them all up and you calculate the number of permutations, it’s an astronomical number of permutations that could possibly come out of this set of variables. I think that, depending on the assumptions, I mean we’re talking about 300,000 different permutations. My point there is that there’s always going to be professors coming out with the new thing, okay? And there’s going to publish on it and the level of the ADD in our industry is such that people will go after it, will look at it like “wow, that’s really creative”, it will be a buzz for a while, and then they end up going back to less novel, lower cost, more proven extraction strategies. A good example of that in my view is the use of fluorinated solvents for extraction. That was a big deal a couple, maybe a year, year and a half, two years ago, something like that, that people were using perfluorinated liquids. We’re in Minnesota, we know about perfluorinated liquids, you don’t want them. They’re in our ground water, right? There are super fund sites all across the United States with perfluorononanoic acid, you’ve heard that in the news, right? You have that in your body, it bioaccumulates, it’s very, very hard and never breaks down, so do you really want to put that and use that in an extraction as an extraction solvent? But a lot of people were going down that bandwagon and one of the other things is that you can’t hardly measure the fluorinated solvent, so you could never see if there was a residual in there, and there’s so many different branched fluorinated solvents that you could never see anyways, so it’s like “oh, this is pure”, but it’s not. 

TB Gotcha, okay.

JT All you had to do is hand it over to EPA or a 3M chemist and they would tell you “oh yeah, this has got all kinds of janky perfluorontes that in to your body, they bioaccumulate, and they are disrupters, we know that. My point there is that there is going to be certainly the future of extraction is professorial types producing methods that are “novel” that are one of the 300,000 different permutations, and then they create a company on it or something like that. I think that you really have, fundamentally though, some major constrains on it, one of which is the cost, like I was saying, the cleanliness, so you’re really limited to a couple different solvents. Such as, if you’re going to use ethanol, certainly don’t use denature solves, right? That’s just a bad idea but CO2 is really clean, so I can kind of see, you know, CO2 has been around for decades and decades, it’s pretty clean as an extraction solvent as it’s used industrially. So I don’t see a lot of innovation there actually, because how can you compete with four cents a pound? If something is really, really good, and it’s clean, why innovate there? There are other places in innovate, in my view, and I’m an innovator, so you know. Some of the calculations back when we first started kind of came in and said why would we want to one thing versus another thing, you know, some things are no brainers where they don’t really change. Probably, 50 years from now, people are still going to be using CO2 at a large scale to do separations of hemp. I don’t doubt it. 

TB Very cool. So maybe the machine will be different, but the process is still CO2?

JT There will probably be some larger machines at scale. I mean, if you’ve seen some large, have you seen the show How It’s Made? I love that show, it’s great. But if you go in there, you can see there’s one episode on how coffee is decaffeinated and there’s this huge, huge CO2 extractor there. I mean literally, there’s a crane that’s pulling up the top and everything, so I can see, depending on the size, hemp and all that stuff, maybe that’s where that is going. So we’ll see that happens, right now the market, if you’re doing a ton a day of hemp and selling it, you’re doing really good, I mean, the market is kind of sized that way. If you’re doing five tons, you’re a super star, and ten tons, you’re just like “I don’t know what I’m going to do with all of my material that I’m producing”. They’re producing enough material for $5 billion to $10 billion market, all by themselves. So the market itself has to expand out into other, different applications to have the basis to really eat up all of that raw material that people are producing. 

TB That totally makes sense. So the five-ton throughput isn’t necessarily the physical limit, but more it doesn’t make business sense to do more than that. 

JT Right, right, yeah.  I mean, at the current level. There are people right now that are building these plants, but they have other business plans that are only going to take the existing market, but also expand it out with their product line. So I might want to have a dedicated plant, suppose I’m going to come out with a Rockstar beverage, or something like that. I’m going to create my own brand, take it out and I’m going to build up this big energy drink company that incorporates hemp into it and sell it off to Coca-Cola. That’s what people are doing. They’re actually creating whole new markets, that’s why I think the estimated market size for the hemp market globally being right between 20 and 30 billion is actually quite small and underestimated because people are going to be using this in different things. Really, it’s only the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) that’s stopping the market from expanding, like they have done with cannabis from the very beginning for a long time, actually. Not from the very beginning as [cannabis] has been in use for a long time, you know, millennia actually, but the FDA, the War on Drugs, Controlled Substances Act has banned and basically brought it to nothing, made it illegal, and put a lot of people in jail unnecessarily. One of the things about Schedule I, actually kind of interesting, is that it must have no medical benefit, that’s one of the criteria. I think that idea [of cannabis having no medical value] has changes radically in the United States, people don’t believe that. So, the FDA is asking us to believe that there’s no medical benefit to cannabis. It’s a ridiculous statement on its face.

TB Yeah.

JT And what they say is there’s not medical evidence. In the meanwhile, people suffer, people where I don’t know if cannabis is lifesaving in any instance, but certainly a life aliving substance, you know, life enhancing. So, I just think that something has to change there from a regulatory standpoint. That was a sider, sorry about that. 

TB No, no. That actually transitions nicely to what I wanted to talk about next, which is what we can expect to see from the industry over the next couple of years. We’ve seen hemp drastically expand, going from six growers in Minnesota to now over 300 in just a couple of years. 

JT Yeah.

TB We’ve also seen states in the Midwest add on recreational, or adult-use, cannabis programs. I think it’s fair to say that we can expect to see a number of people enter the industry over the next number of years. 

JT Yeah, absolutely.

TB Having gone through that process, both yourself starting up extraktLAB and United Health, but also consulting with other businesses. Can you tell me a little bit about what actually goes into starting an extraction business? I mean obviously you need the paperwork and all [the administrative] stuff, but what goes into starting an extraction lab?

JT Well three ingredients: blood, sweat, and tears, just like any other business. I mean you really have to have a set of partners that have the same vision and are willing to really work for it. If you’re kind of unequally yoked on those three things, your partnership is going to kind of go away. It will self-destruct.  A lot of people, when they start a business, they’re looking for “okay, who’s my partner going to be?” That’s something that’s a very strategic question, if you need any partners at all. My number one advice, actually, is basically that if you have the vision, and you’re willing to work for it, don’t bring in a bunch of minor partners because they’re not going to be contributing the way you’re contributing. Are they going to be spending weekends? Are they going to be spending nights? Do they want to run the business on auto-pilot and just collect a check at the end of the day? A lot of that will happen and you don’t want those people involved in a start-up business. So, I think what you want, if you do take on a partner, you want them to be just as dedicated and one-minded as you are, you know what I mean? That’s be the first thing when you’re starting up, make sure it’s built up from the correct standpoint with the right papers and that they’re a good understanding right at the very beginning if you do take on a partner. The other thing would be that once you start up, you get your hemp license, you’re going to have to get a building of some sorts, so that’s kind of the second step. You’re going to have to create a business plan, and then you’re probably going to have to obtain cash, unless you’re independently wealthy. A lot of people, they’re just interested in the marketplace and they’re not necessarily independently wealthy, and they feel like they’ve got the drive to do it. If you’re that person, what you need to do is create a good business plan and go out to investors and they will help you obtain money to get startup funds, so you need a really good business plan. I’ve talked a lot about this on my own podcast, about how to do this. You need to get a pro forma, which is basically a financial plan for your business. You need to define your products, that’s the very first thing you do. Like, okay, am I going to do tinctures? Am I going to do doggie treats? You know, what is my plan for my business, right? And what are you going to produce? As soon as you know what you’re going to produce, you’re going to want to say “okay, now reduce it to one or two things maximum” or you’re going to reduce it to one thing with some very highly related other items, then you create your product forecast, and then you put your product price on them, and then you get your cost of goods, and then you build up your SGNA to really support that. If you do that by month for five years out, you will have achieved nirvana in terms of understanding what it’s really going to take to do the business. We have lots of resources for you on our website on calculators and things because a lot of people, when they get into that, they want to know “what’s the yield that I have?” and “what is it that I need to think about here?” and “how do I dose it and what’s the correct dosage?” and we have a plethora of enabling calculators, really. They’re not there to sell you anything, they’re just there to give you information, so that’s something you should check out if you’re starting up. Those are some of the startup things that you need to think about. You’re obviously going to need a building, right? There are lots of different things that go into that. If you’re thinking about a building, I would not go to an urban center and try to get a processing facility set up there. It’s just very costly, the regulatory environment there is less favorable. I would produce or make a processing facility in a more suburban or rural area, out where there are fields, things like that. 

TB Very cool. I assume that’s sort of the thought that went into both Minnesota Medical Solutions and Leafline Labs, the two Minnesota Cannabis producers both have sort of not outstate, but definitely not urban, that’s sort of the reason behind it?

JT Yeah, I think Leafline, aren’t they in Saint Paul? Or South Saint Paul? I thought that they were right down there.

TB They might be. I know that Minnesota Medical Solutions is in Otsego.

JT Yeah, a lot of different factors went into that. Some local, locality, local politics, you want to make sure that you have land, land use, and permitting. A lot of different things go into those types of things, general location and proximity to the owner’s residence. That has a lot to do with it, as well. I would say that yeah, if there was, for example MinnMed has a greenhouse, an absolutely gorgeous greenhouse, and the founder, Kyle Kingsley, he liked plants and he grew hops and all that stuff, so he wanted to have a greenhouse, and it is a beautiful greenhouse. You’re not going to put a greenhouse in downtown Minneapolis, it would just be too costly. Even out in Otsego, it was a lot of money.

TB So for people who had the dream of “I want to work in the extraction side of the industry”, and then I asked the question about [what goes into starting up an extraction business], and they were like “oh, that’s a lot of steps”. What kinds of careers exist in the extraction space, not for the start-up, but maybe the technician side, or the chemists, what other jobs are there?

JT Okay. Starting at the top of the operations side, you have the VP of Operations, quality people, which basically run your quality system, you have quality technicians, you also have quality assurance technicians and quality control technicians. The quality control technicians, they run the laboratory. They’re running the tests on all of the items coming into the laboratory, so a lot of that. That’s an analytical function, like an analytical chemist or even someone who has an aptitude for following instructions or clicking the right buttons. If you can do that, and you’re willing to be taught, you can go do analysis, that’s actually a really good skills to have, especially for someone starting out. Quality assurance is someone who really manages the entire quality program. That would mean from very beginning, right from where the hemp comes into the facility or even back at the farm, for example. Making sure all of the quality parameters are met all the way through to finished goods products going out the door, and then any type of feedback mechanisms from the users or the customers as to any quality issues, for example, and so that’s a big job. There’s lots of people, if you have a good background in GMP quality, that’s a big bonus. In other words, you understand what the requirements of GMP or EU-GMP or Canadian GPP, that’s going to be really beneficial to your employer. Those are some things. There’s also operators, you know, that’s where a lot of entry level positions are, so you’re going to be trained on a specific machine, you’re going to be given SOPs and work instructions that you’re expected to follow those, and then not only that, but you’re expected to make sure that everything is clean, and things like that. That can be a really fulfilling job essentially that’s more of a manufacturing job where you’re running a process. I think that a lot of operators like it just because they like to know how to do things and they like to do things from a manufacturing standpoint, so that’s a really great place. There are really great opportunities for operators who demonstrate that they want to learn and they stick with it. What we’ve seen in our operations is that we hire people who have a series of six-month-long gigs, and then they come to us and they want another six-month-long gig. Or if they had three one-year jobs all in a row, it’s very hard. We’ve decided to stop kinds of hiring those because they have too much churn in their background and what happens is, they get bored after, what, six months of doing something and then they say goodbye. Why should we put all that time and effort into training someone and then they say goodbye, so we’re kind of being more selective on that, looking for people with more longevity of experience. If you have that longevity of experience and you want to stick with it, there are tremendous opportunities in every operation that an operator wants to start on. So he may spend a year doing operations and what will happen is that if he’s good, he shows up to work on time, does the normal things that… 

TB Just being a good employee?

TJ Just being a good employee, yeah. Basically, what’s going to happen is the opportunities are going to shift. You’re going to go to another operation, and then you’re going to go to another operation, and then you’re probably going to be involved in R&D, there are formulations for you to be involved in. You can get crossed trained on laboratory and quality. By the time you know it, you have basically a full education, so there’s really good opportunities for really good people and I would say that in the hundreds and hundreds of operations in the United States right now doing hemp, they’re all looking for people that want to stick with it, want to learn the processes, want to advance in their career, and are willing to work for it, and the last part is really the hard part. You know, I’ve been here for six months, how come I’m not running the place? The other thing would be that if you come up with an innovation as an operator going in, like “Oh, I’ve got this innovation”, you need to be reminded or keep in the back of your mind that a lot of times, things have been tried a lot in the past and there are reason why things are the way they are. If you want to go in and want to bring your creative energy into it and create an R&D program, that’s not what you’re hired to do as an operator, okay? And you may bring it up, every operation has like an idea box, you know? Bring it up and then talk to your supervisor about it and maybe you came up with the greatest wiz bang thing, but I know that in my experience, a lot of the operators are extremely enamored with their own ideas and from a scientific standpoint, they’re just not going to work or we’ve been down that road and it just didn’t work, okay, a long time ago, so good on you that you thought of it, but this is why we’re doing what we’re doing. The other aspect of this is obviously the marketing side. Any operation that’s producing either bulk or widgets or material CPGs, is what we call them, consumer product goods. You’re going to have to have a good marketing system, so the sales side is actually a really great way that someone can enter in. If you have the drive and the stamina to go out, get on the street and sell stuff, there’s great opportunities for you, I mean really great opportunities. In fact, give me a call. You’ve got to be self-motivated, I’m not going to call you at 10:00 in the morning and wake you up, okay? But there’s a lot of those great opportunities. And on the marketing side, that’s very exciting, because it’s not straight forward. Marketing, for example hemp products, you know, cannabis products, there are grave and large barriers to doing that. Part of that has to do with Schedule I, part of it has to do with a lot of the normal marketing channels that any other company would have, they’re either restricted or they’re difficult to get around or they’re barriers, so there’s lot of things. In order to be a marketing person, you’ve got to be a guru at it. There’s lots of opportunities there because you can start on with SEO or start on with maybe your email marketing campaign or something along those lines and just start there. That’s a really great entry point for those who are not technical but want to be involved in the CBD business. It’s a really great spot, sales and marketing. 

TB Very cool. So just wrapping up, you’ve been in the industry a while, I’m sure you get this questions quite often, but for those looking to enter the [cannabis] space, you’ve gave some great advice on just being a good employee, any other general advice for people looking to dip their toes in?

JT Well begin with the end in mind, okay? I didn’t make that up, people have said that forever. Make sure that you have double the amount of money that you need, make sure that you understand that it’ll probably take you twice as long to get there, and the sales that you projected in your pro forma are probably going to be half of what you thought they were. Those are some of the things, just realities. A lot of the time what I recommend to people who are starting out is that they apply this rule of two, which I talk about a lot, it’s basically what I just explained, you understand that it’s going to take you a lot longer than you thought. Probably at the end of that process, if you knew the things that you knew at the beginning, you probably wouldn’t start it at all. Well that’s the wonder and that’s the beauty of being an entrepreneur, okay?  It’s just not knowing, but doing, and taking all of the risks and trying to manage them, okay? So just apply that rule to your business plan, make sure you identify those risks, that’s the other thing. With each unique business there are unique risks, and make sure that you get the fundamentals of your business right in your paperwork. Make sure that you have the right partners, if you don’t do that, a lot of people start out and they get two years down the line and they’re like “okay, this isn’t going to work”. Well I just put two years of my life into this, so there’s only two options, either you shut it down or you litigate and both options are horrible, so you want to make sure that you’re starting out on the right foot. You need a lawyer, and don’t go online and type in freebusinessdocs.com and think that that is going to be okay for you, because it’s not and $4,000 or $5,000 on your founding documentation, it’s worth it. Don’t try to cheapen it out. The only exception to that is if you’re a sole proprietor where you’re the only person. You can kind of get away with a lot more than if you have partners. If you have partners, you better paper up. Those are some of my general pieces of advice, lots of skeletons in the closet there.

TB Totally, lots of experience, that’s the way to phrase it. So for those looking to learn more about you, United Health, or extraktLAB, where should they go?

JT Well you can go to extraktLAB.com, that’s our main brand, we have all of our equipment on there. I would encourage you to listen to our podcast, we do those every Thursday at noon and we talk about every conceivable subject imaginable related to hemp and hemp processing and cannabis and cannabis processing, so go ahead and check that out. We also have lots of resources, white papers, guides, so you can go ahead and download guides and understand, and of course call us. If you thinking about trying to understand if a business would be right for you, you can always call us. We’ll spend 15 minutes, 20 minutes with you kind of discussing it, and we can point you to “here, here’s your proforma calculator, here’s your yield calculator”, stuff like that just to make it easier for you. And then you come back to us and we can help you pick the right equipment and the right time and all that stuff, so we’re here as a resource for you. 

TB Perfect, well Dr. Thompson, thank you again so much for chatting with us today 

JT Okay, thank you. Thank you for taking the time.

TB Have a good rest of your day. Bye

JT Bye.

Published by Tanner B

A Minnesotan dedicated to learning more about cannabis while educating others along the way. I focus primarily on education with an emphasis on career education for individuals unable to navigate traditional career and training programs. Email me: tanner@mncannabiscollege.com

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