Joe: On this episode of the "CBD University" podcast, we head to Mexico and an emerging market for the industry, the latest on regulations and distributor on the leading edge of bringing our products to Mexico. This is the "CBD University" podcast and it starts right now. I'm Joe Agostinelli, host of the "CBD University" podcast. If you are a returning listener, welcome once again to our podcast. If you are new listener, we are glad you found us on your podcast platform of choice. A reminder, you can catch the full video episodes of the "CBD University" podcast on our YouTube channel, that's the Global Widget YouTube channel and the YouTube channels of our brands.

And speaking of our brands, one of the most frequent questions we get from you, the listeners and viewers, "Is do you ship to," and you can insert country, city, state name there, "Or do you know of any distributors who may carry your products where I live?" Soon and our guest will elaborate on when, CBD products will be available for distribution in Mexico. We are privileged to be joined on this episode remotely, of course. And if you're familiar with our episodes on our YouTube channel, this is another one we're doing via Zoom with our distributors and I am joined by Marcelo Gracia. He is the Secretary-General of ANICANN, that is the National Cannabis Industry Association. Marcelo, thanks for joining me today.

Marcelo: Thank you, Joe, nice to be here with you. Yeah, it's a great question. This cannabis industry is a very new for Mexico. And when I was invited to join, as secretary-general of the association, one of my tasks was to bring commercial opportunities in the cannabis space for Mexico. So, I started traveling all around the United States in different courses, associations. And I started learning about CBD. I started learning about the companies that are in the CBD space in the United States. And I thought it was very interesting to have a business model for these kind of companies to come into Mexico in the cannabis space.

So, I think that the best companies like yourselves are the ones to come first of all, to the Mexican market. We just had a very big step in legislation last week where the Senate voted in favor of the cannabis industry. So, we're gonna have a lot of movement in this topics next year. We are expecting during December to be approved. It's already voted, but the next step is to be publicized and improved, so we're expecting that next month.

Joe: And you touched on this a little bit, but how did you hear about Hemp Bombs, Nature's Script, and Perfect Paws Hemp? And what led you to partnering with our brands for distribution in Mexico, when it is time to come to do so?

Marcelo: Yes. Global Widget is a well-recognized brand and a key player in the U.S. industry. This is the kind of players that we want in Mexico, well-suited brands with an open market share, a proven track record, and our edge of products, high quality, and the willingness of exploring this new market. We know there's a lot of snake oil in the market, many not so good companies. There is also oil coming from China, which is not very proven. So, we want to make sure that the players going into Mexico are well-vetted and professionals in their space.

Joe: You know, if you look at potential partners and if you look at potential brands, and you talk about, you know, ones that are well-suited to come into space, what's that process like for vetting brands and companies?

Marcelo: As a National Industry Association, we look to have strategic players for the industry. We look for members that meet a lot of criteria such as good manufacturing practices, some kind of vertical integration, well-recognized brands, many different certifications and a unique approach to market, international capabilities, and having been key players in the U.S. industry. As an industry here in Mexico, we need to set the standards very high. We're looking after being the biggest legal cannabis market in the world. And in order to achieve that must be already at the top level of compliance and body.

Joe: And when we talk about retail locations, I mean, obviously here in the United States, where many of our listeners and viewers are located, they're familiar with the type of retail locations. And you can find CBD products, maybe they're convenience stores, maybe they're health and fitness and wellness stores, maybe they're special boutique shops, maybe they're even to some extent now the grocery store. What kind of retail locations are suitable for this industry in Mexico?

Marcelo: Like I mentioned, the legislation just came out but we don't have the rules yet. These rules are gonna come out throughout 2021. But I believe that this industry will evolve following the U.S. trends, following the traditional channels such as the supermarket, pharmacy, specialty stores, practitioners, and e-commerce, those traditional channels will prevail here in Mexico as well.

Joe: How does the distribution channel change at all? If it does, so regarding each vertical, in getting products to that particular retail location?

Marcelo: Yes, I think that the distribution model will be very, very simple. We're very used to the United States of legislation, which was very strict. In Mexico it's going to be very simple. The evolution of the law in Mexico will allow much more relaxed distribution guidelines for these kind of products. With the appropriate partners, you need to understand very well how it's going to work. Of course, there will be strict sanitary guidelines to follow, but that's why the key players and key companies like yourselves, shouldn't have any problems with compliance in Mexico.

Joe: And obviously, when it comes to something new like this to retailers, what challenges are there that may be facing retailers in Mexico who want to offer CBD products when they are able to do so? And how are you able to work with them to ensure a smooth migration in getting to that point? And is that something as you talk about? Is that something that the compliance plays hand-in-hand with, because they know they're doing business with very reputable, compliant, and safe distributors and companies?

Marcelo: Yes. The main challenge right now for Mexico is indication, we need to understand what is cannabis first. Afterwards, we need to understand what is CBD. People don't know what is CBD in Mexico, for many people it's first time they know that, they hear that. So, then buyers don't know what is CBD and the retailers, of course, don't know what is CBD. So, in order for people to make good buying decisions, and offer the consumer the best quality problems, they need to understand the kind of vertical integration that they are looking for in their products.

These kinds of CBD products are not general products, so we need to treat them as such. First, we need to invite everybody to join our association. This is the best way to start learning about the cannabis industry in Mexico, into the industry. Many companies, international companies are trying to come in many fields, in agriculture, in science, in investigation, and in commercial, like companies in the CBD space. So, we encourage partnering with the right players. We believe that collaboration is the only way for a smooth transition to the Mexican market. As a key player, we will take the guesswork out of their way and help companies start with the right foot. That's it. That's the main goal of our association to help international companies have a smooth migration in to Mexico.

Joe: And Marcelo, just talk a little bit about your work with the National Cannabis Industry Association of Mexico and some of the additional goals of the association.

Marcelo: Yes. Our goal at ANICANN is just to educate everybody about cannabis to develop this industry to its full potential, creating and growing economy. Mexico has been in the dark side for many, many years. We are struggling with security, with the economy, with many people struggling. So, we need to create an economy-based on this new economy, let's say a green economy as we call it. We need to develop the best farm practices and create the best cannabis product for the world. We are right now doing a lot of work lobbying to have the best legislation, the United States has struggled for many years too, and they have not come with the right legislation so far. I believe Mexican legislature have done an excellent job and are coming with the right legislation at first. We encourage, as an association, to be a collaborative industry, helping players find other key players of interest. We are promoting research and development of products and services.

Joe: Certainly... Go ahead. Yep, go ahead.

Marcelo: We provide evolution of the industry in all of its fields, Joe. First, we need to treat cannabis as an agricultural product before anything else. And from there, develop the best practices for success. We have the capabilities of creating the best cannabis industry in the world because we have what I call the four W's, which is whether, water, workers and the willingness of becoming the best player in the world.

Joe: And certainly here in the United States, it seems like something new in the industry just about every day. We've talked about some of the recent developments just in the past week. But what has the journey been like in Mexico to get where you are today?

Marcelo: Our Association was created more than three years ago. And since then, we have been very active in educating the politicians, first of all, the medical community and the consumers about all the benefits of legalizing in the right way. We don't want to make that same mistakes that other countries has been through in legalizing. We will leave that developing this industry with the land of farmers in mind first, we can transform how these practices have been done for decades. We are creating research program with different entities, schools, and research partners.

Joe: And if someone in Mexico is tuning into this episode of the podcast and wanted to learn more about partnering with ANICANN, where can they go and what can they find out?

Marcelo: Like I mentioned ANICANN is the association for the industry. We are the voice of the industry. And anicann.org is our web page. And here you can find a lot of webinars, podcasts, seminars, interviews, and everything about education. We are the best and the only link to companies to find the right way to start and find the right partners in Mexico in this new industry. We want to welcome everybody in the United States that want to come and be the first players here to join ANICANN and join us in this new venture in Mexico, Joe.

Joe: Marcelo, I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to join me on this episode of the "CBD University" podcast. We look forward to a long relationship. We'll certainly, definitely have you back to hear how everything is going, just maybe we can travel for that episode. We'll see what we can do. So...

Marcelo: I love to be here in your facility.

Joe: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, we'd love to have you here. So, once again, I just want to thank you for taking time out of your busy day and joining me for this episode. It's always a privilege to catch up with folks who are leaders in the industry not only here in the United States, but you know, in your case outside of the United States and bring a global perspective to all this. Again, Marcelo Gracia, he is the Secretary-General for ANICANN in Mexico, and you can find out more information about them at ANICANN. It's anicann.org. Thanks again for joining me. We certainly will welcome you back anytime on the podcast.

Marcelo: I'll be more than glad, Joe. Thank you very much for everything.

Joe: And I thank you for tuning into this episode of the "CBD University" podcast. Don't forget that you can subscribe to our podcast receive notifications each week when new episodes are published to your favorite podcast platform wherever you get your podcasts. You can also subscribe on the Global Widget YouTube channel, the YouTube channels of our brands where you'll see full video episodes of our podcast and get notifications each week when new episodes are ready to be watched. I'm Joe Agostinelli, the host of the "CBD University" podcast. Thanks for tuning in.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The CBD products are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Always consult your personal physician about CBD and using CBD products. CBD should never be used by anyone under the age of 18. This content is not intended to provide legal advice regarding the legal status of CBD and CBD products.