Brian Weiss on Covering the Local Market at L.A. Cannabis News
Brian Weiss is the founder of L.A. Cannabis News, an industry publication featuring brand announcements, events, product reviews and more.
Brian has always been an advocate for cannabis and has had a strong connection in the cannabis industry for over 20 years. Brian grew up in an entertainment family and has been focused on marketing and business development within the cannabis, entertainment and digital media sectors. He began his career in entertainment with his first job at KROQ in the late 1990s and then advanced to working with many of the biggest entertainment and tech companies in the world.
We spoke with Brian for our Higher Calling series, where we chat with leaders in the cannabis space.
Brian, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I was born in New York but grew up in California. I grew up in the city of Calabasas in the West San Fernando Valley. My wife and I currently live in Studio City, though we will be relocating to the Seattle area in the very near future.
Your current role in the cannabis industry.
I am currently the founder and CEO of CN Media Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary L.A. Cannabis News. I am also working on a new psychedelic publication which will be launching later this year.
A story about the positive impact cannabis has had on your life.
To be honest, I am not 100 percent on this question. I do believe it brings out my creativity. When I am in my zone I can do 20 hours of work in 10 hours when I have a good Sativa to smoke. On the other hand, I find that most sativa strains can induce unwanted anxiety. Prior to answering these questions, I smoked a tasty strain called "Mr. Nasty" from the brand THC Design that I recently tried for the first time.
A favorite flower, edible, product or brand.
Most of the flower I smoke varies weekly based on what I am sent to review, but mostly I enjoy the flower that is locally grown by people I know. In regards to edibles, I am a huge fan of the Kanha Treats. I think they make the best tasting and feeling gummies I have repeatedly enjoyed.
The biggest challenge cannabis marketers face today.
Well, we are not a cannabis brand but a media company. I can say what I know and see based on my communications with marketing managers, public relations firms and other types of cannabis marketers.
It's crazy how much money many cannabis brands waste on marketing. Not all money is a waste, as you definitely need to let consumers know you exist, but some of these brands go way too far. And it's not just the brands; the dispensaries waste lots of money, too. Mom and pop brands are the ones that are mostly getting the short end of the stick. Most of the dispensaries, at least here in L.A., all carry the same brands. What you do not see at many of these dispensaries are the newer, smaller brands that do not have the marketing budgets of the bigger brands.
One thing you're excited about right now in cannabis branding, partnerships or marketing.
There have been some great events here in Los Angeles over the last year that I believe have been great for the industry, brands, consumers, community, veterans, homeless and others that could not have happened without great partnerships and marketing. While we are not involved in any of these events, we do appreciate what the organizers did to put on these events. Some of these events include: Green Street Festival, PuffCon, The Emerald Cup Awards, High Times SoCal Cannabis Cup, WeedCon, Burning Treez Festival, Kushtock and of course the Hall of Flowers in Palm Springs.
A cannabis trade/social justice organization that you support.
These three organizations I love to support from a distance. I have never met these folks but hope to one of these days as I do admire what they do for the community.
Last Prisoner Project. I shouldn't need to give any reasons as to why I support freeing non-violent cannabis prisoners other than it's the right thing to do and it's a blessing they are helping do just that.
Weed For Warriors Project. Again, another organization that is helping veterans. Organizations should not have to be helping, as veterans should always be protected, cared about and taken care of for a lifetime, no matter what.
Supernova Women. An organization formed by and for women of color in 2015 with the goal of utilizing their diverse talents to empower these women to become self-sufficient shareholders in the evolving cannabis economy. Did you know that the richest men in the U.S. have women as their bankers and financial advisors? Well, that is great, but women—and more importantly women of color—need to have a center stage in the cannabis industry and not just behind the scenes.
A recent project you're proud of.
To be honest, I am proud of my own project, L.A. Cannabis News. I am a team of one and do everything to not only keep this business alive but not in any debt and making a small profit. Many media companies in cannabis have come and gone, but we are still here. We have over 60,000 email subscribers and a rapidly growing online presence on a local level.
Someone else's project you admired recently.
I like what Green Flower is doing with cannabis education programs in colleges and universities around the country. I think it's great that cannabis is being more embraced, especially within the education system. The cannabis industry has so many opportunities to work with current businesses and create new ones.
Someone you admire in cannabis who's doing great things.
I admire and appreciate what Steve DeAngelo does within cannabis and now psychedelics. This guy is worth a fortune and could easily sit back and relax and enjoy the rest of his life not working. But Steve does the opposite as he continues to work, build, grow and create new businesses and ventures, including the Last Prisoner Project, which I mentioned above. Steve is the founder of Harborside dispensaries. He is also one of the founders of the Arcview Group, which is cool as L.A. Cannabis News was part of the Canopy Boulder accelerator during the Winter of 2018-19, which Arcview was a leading partner on. Steve is a cannabis pioneer who speaks on many panels at many conferences around the world. He is a writer and a painter. I have only met him a handful of times but do like and admire what he does and look forward to what he will be doing in the future.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in the cannabis industry.
I have been working on many businesses and ideas over the years. I love dogs and am already researching a dog business to open in the future as well as investing in real estate and to continue to invest in the cryptocurrency world. I do have some ideas for movies and TV shows I would like to toy around with one day, too. I look forward to having a family as my wife is currently pregnant with our first child and that's what will be consuming all of my time when not working.