Matt Seashols is the co-founder at hmbldt, which creates cannabis products tailored to provide sleep aid, relaxation, pain relief, energy, and euphoria. In this week's edition of C-Suite, our series featuring entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry, we speak with Matt - who has been with hmbldt since it launched in 2015 - about his company and his views on the development of the industry itself.
What makes your company different from others in the cannabis space?
We like to think of ourselves as innovators in the cannabis space. Everything we do - from hmbldt's delivery system to its formulations - is innovative in nature. Cannabis, as it is, has significant power and benefits. We first set out to isolate the beneficial compounds of the plant to create our formulations. Next, we saw an opportunity to innovate around how patients received those benefits through technology. We see other companies innovating around their formulations, but our delivery device is a major differentiator.
How did you get into the cannabis space?
I've been an entrepreneur pretty much my entire career. I was always interested in the cannabis space but the rules and regulations made it difficult to be entrepreneurial and innovate. I focused my intent on entering the space about five years ago, but paradigm-shifting innovation in the industry started two years ago, which is when I entered. But I've been looking at it pretty much my whole life.
Walk us through a normal day.
A normal day for me is talking to like-minded people that are in the industry. We have found the most success through collaboration with people who want to make great products for patients and consumers. My day is spent connecting with dozens of people who are looking for new opportunities to work together, to collaborate, and to develop great products.
What has been your biggest lesson about working in cannabis, and in business in general?
I've learned that collaboration and partnerships with like-minded people in the space that you're in can propel you to success. That's who hmbldt is as a company - we look for partnerships with patient-focused people and companies. We've found that to be the way we can ultimately move our company forward, move the industry forward and make better products for patients and consumers.
What do you see as your biggest opportunity?
The opportunity is in the development of more efficacious products. Cannabis itself has such immense power, that we feel we're barely scratching the surface of its potential. We know that it's an incredible plant that combines with our body in a natural and effective way. The biggest opportunity lies in how we isolate and deliver the beneficial compounds of cannabis for specific benefits.
Do you have any thoughts or concerns about Sean Spicer’s statements indicating the Administration’s intention to crack down on recreational cannabis?
I can understand both sides of it. If you look at the industry now, there aren't a lot of products that deliver a repeatable and consistent experience. On the flip side, Jeff Sessions recently talked about dosing of cannabis. To me, that's the healthy conversation we need to be having. If we are able to create safe, effective, and consistent products, then there's really nothing to push back against. The upside is immense and the downside is minimized.
It's the desire to make great products that improve the lives of people. That's our focus. Our brand, our device, and our formulations were all created to improve people's lives, and that's been my focus since the start.
What is the most frustrating aspect of the cannabis industry today?
There's not much consistency in the rules and regulations. Policy varies in each city, county, and state, and that sometimes makes it challenging to operate. The shifting landscape can be frustrating. There's plenty of nuance you have to understand. But the noise and industry shifts gives hmbldt an opportunity to establish our standards as a brand and focus on our mission to simply provide high quality products and formulas.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into the cannabis space?
Education, conversation, and connection. Do as much research as you can. Network. Call us at hmbldt, we're happy to talk with anyone interested in the industry and the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. And just dive in! More information is coming out every minute and the more you dive in, the more prepared you'll be. The industry is just at the beginning, so there's plenty of opportunity for people who would like to make this a career.
What are your biggest tips to branding cannabis?
Giving permissions, that's the way we look at it. There's some miseducation, there's some stigma that exists around that misinformation in society. Much of it has to do with the legal framework that's been around cannabis for the last 100 years. It's really about educating people and showing them how cannabis can benefit their lives.
Do you see any big changes coming in the future of cannabis?
Every day. Every day it's progressing on the science level and it's progressing on the regulatory level. Changes are happening literally by the minute in this industry, it's a really exciting place to be.
Do you consume cannabis? And if so, what's your favorite way to consume?
I've been a cannabis patient for a vast majority of my life. Now that I'm in the industry and I really understand the science behind cannabis, I use vaporization to consume. I specifically use our devices, since they are tuned to activate all of the cannabinoids and terpenes that are in our formulations, which yields the most effective benefits for me. Our Calm formula helps me throughout the day, I use Relief after a workout, and Bliss on the weekend. I like a controlled experience and because it's dosed, I know what I'm getting.