Diane Czarkowski

Founding Partner

Canna Advisors

Diane has dispensary and cultivation operations experience and consults nationally for operations in new markets.

Call Rates

Duration Price
15 minutes $75.00
30 minutes $125.00
60 minutes $250.00

Tags

#thinkcanna #cannabisconsultant

Biography

Diane and her husband Jay are the founders of Canna Advisors, a cannabis enterprise consulting firm which has spent the last two years advising clients through the competitive state application process for cannabis business licenses. Her guidance has helped Canna Advisors earn one of the best track records in the industry, winning licenses in CT, MA, NV, and IL. Their national perspective on the evolution of the industry and experience as operators makes them uniquely qualified to advise their clients as new states come to market.

Before their work at Canna Advisors, Diane and Jay founded one of the first medical cannabis dispensaries in Colorado in 2009—Boulder Kind Care (BKC)—which received one of the first licenses in the state. Under her management, BKC quickly earned a reputation as one of the most professional and patient-focused dispensaries in the state. They sold BKC in 2012 to focus on business consulting and advocacy.

Diane is a lifetime member of the ArcView Investment group and is a member of the Selection Committee and frequently mentors entrepreneurs that come to ArcView looking for investment capital. She also is a mentor for Canopy Boulder, a business incubator that often feeds candidates into the ArcView Group.

Diane is a founding member and benefactor of Women Grow. She is also a founding member of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), and has served many roles within the organization as it has grown, including taking on the role of Event Coordinator for the annual Gala Event for three years, yearly participation for Lobby Days in Washington DC and writing an industry report entitled, A Tale of Ten Cities. She is a current member of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and a member of the Sensible Society for Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP).

Diane often speaks at events as an expert in the cannabis industry and enjoys connecting people and opportunities within her vast network in the cannabis industry.

Experience

Founding Partner

Canna Advisors
November 2012 - present

Diane is a Founding Partner of Canna Advisors. Her role within the business is in operations and client services. 

Owner

Boulder Kind Care
October 2009 - May 2012

Diane and her husband, Jay founded one of the first medical cannabis dispensaries in Colorado in 2009—Boulder Kind Care (BKC)—which received the 7th license in the state. Under her management, BKC quickly earned a reputation as one of the most professional and patient-focused dispensaries in the state. They sold BKC in 2012 to focus on business consulting and advocacy.

Owner

Construction Design Group
January 2003 - October 2009

Diane and her husband Jay own Construction Design Group, a real estate developement business. Diane held a real estate license and her husband Jay, is a licensed commercial general contractor. Together they bought, developed and sold single family affordable homes and luxury second homes in the mountain resorts.  When the real estate collapse occured, they decided to move into the brand new and unregulated cannabis industry.

Executive Sales

Various High Tech Companies
February 1992 - January 2003

Diane has more than a dozen years in the high tech enterprise software industry. Riding the boom in the early 1990's. Specializing in executive sales, Diane's quotas ranged in the multi-millions. She earned frequent awards for exceeding her quotas and achieving record sales. Diane left sales to start her own business, Construction Design Group.

Education

Shawnee Mission North

High School
1982 - 1985

University of Kansas

1985 - 1986

Johnson County Community College

Associate's Degree
1986 - 1988

Diane earned her Associate's Degree in Fashion Merchandising while she attended college at night while working and being a mom during the day.

Baker University/ Webster University

1992 - 1996

Diane continued to pursue her degree in Business Management while working full time. She is currently shy approximately 16 credit hours from obtaining her Bachelor's Degree.

10/16/2017 2:54:21 PM,
Diane Czarkowski replied:

Currently, in the United States, there is no option for exporting cannabis. We do not have the ability to cross state lines due to Federal prohibition. 

10/25/2017 3:09:50 PM,
Diane Czarkowski replied:

This is a grey area that has not been defined. Our position is to consult with an attorney who has experience in the cannabis area and also exporting. Many businesses are producing and shipping "CBD" products, but some are derived from imported hemp and some are manufactured from licensed cannabis manufacturers. Without knowing what state you are producing in, how you are deriving your CBD and where you are wanting to export it to, I cannot give you an answer.

8/24/2017 12:57:58 PM,
Diane Czarkowski replied:

I am not aware of any formal exchange programs in existance. Many people who are interested in learning more about the industry will move to a state that has entry level positions available. If you have relevant experience, it doesn't necessarily have to be cannabis industry experience.  I also do not know what the added requirements would be for someone coming from another country.I would highly recommend attending a conference that offers some kind of "crash course" that covers all of the basics about the industry. 

4/27/2017 1:55:29 PM,
Diane Czarkowski replied:
Your best resource is to look at the existing regulations for the medical cannabis cultivators in Connecticut. Connecticut is a highly regulated medical market and I would expect similar stringent regulations to follow if they expand to an adult use(recreational) market. Because of these stringent regulations and zoning requirements, to my knowledge, all of the existing cultivators are operating indoors.
4/27/2017 1:52:37 PM,
Diane Czarkowski replied:
The legalization of recreational marijuana has definitely impacted the cannabis black market. New Frontier Data published a slide that indicated that ilicit sales have dropped to 33% of the overall cannabis market in Colorado, with Oregon at 39%, Washington at 51% and California at 71%. As these markets mature and state and local regulations are implemented in California, these numbers will continue to drop. Most people would prefer to buy their cannabis from a legal, reliable source.
4/25/2017 10:29:27 PM,
Diane Czarkowski replied:
I do think 21 is an appropriate age for using cannabis recreationally. For medical reasons, I believe cannabis can help people of all ages.
4/18/2017 5:16:40 PM,
Diane Czarkowski replied:
"What about the children?" is a common question I hear in states where some form of legalization has yet to occur. I'm a parent of 3, and I certainly understand the concern. The reports are already showing that in states where there is legalization, like Colorado, teen use is actually down. What many people don't think about is that there is already a cannabis (marijuana) market in their neighborhood - the black market. They don't check id's, they don't have their cannabis tested for potency or purity and they are extremely motivated to "up sell" to something far more addictive and expensive.
It is far better to legalize cannabis so we have control over who sells cannabis and we can put regulations in place to make certain that things like packaging, dosage, testing requirements and procedures for checking id's are in place.
Along with legalization comes education to the community. In Colorado, the industry took initiative to provide educational materials to the community. I have also heard ads on the radio and tv to encourage parents to talk to their children about cannabis. Kids won't be able to get cannabis from a dispensary. They will get it from a friend or take it from home. That is why educating the communities about safe use and safe storage are critical components of that education. Reference: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/colorado-s-teen-marijuana-usage-dips-after-legalization/
3/27/2017 6:56:04 PM,
Diane Czarkowski replied:
The question is difficult to answer without knowing what your business is and where you are located. In areas where there is a market presence, the answer is to present yourself and your business with the utmost professionalism. If you sell products, make certain they are represented in a true medical perspective. If you are in a place where there is no regulated cannabis industry, you have to be well-prepared with information to refute common misconceptions and continually reach out to the communities you are trying to serve.
3/27/2017 7:00:07 PM,
Diane Czarkowski replied:
Yes, but more so as a wellness product than those that have no health benefits or are detrimental to your health. It is common for cannabis(the scientific term rather than a derogatory term) to be compared to alcohol in the way it should be regulated, but as a product, cannabis has many health benefits, even if it is used recreationally.

Approximately how much would it cost to apply for one of the vertically integrated license in the state of Pennsylvania?

Approximately how much would it cost to apply for one of the vertically integrated cannabis licenses in the state of Pennsylvania?  

12/1/2016 4:02:18 PM,
Diane Czarkowski replied:

The stated costs that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has posted for a grower/processor license is $10,000 for the application fee and $200,000 for the registration(if the license is selected). Also the applicant for a grower/processor permit shall provide an affidavit that the applicant has at least $2 million in capital, $500,000 of which must be on deposit with one or more financial institutions. For a dispensary, the application fee is $5,000 and a $30,000 registration fee. In addition, the applicant for a dispensary permit shall provide an affidavit that the applicant has at least $150,000 on deposit with one or more financial institutions.

In addition to these stated fees, an applicant should have capital to pay for attorneys, consultants, lobbyists, architects, possible acquisition costs for real estate and adding key role talent to the business, if needed.

10/17/2016 11:33:46 AM,
Diane Czarkowski replied:

The grower processor opportunities in Pennsylvania and Ohio will be limited in comparison to the Colorado market. Much of this has to do with the timing of the regulations. In Colorado, the medical marijuana law for patients was passed in 2000, however the business regulations didn’t begin until 2010. Therefore, there were many businesses in existence before the regulations were created. The regulations were framed around a (small) industry already in existence. In Pennsylvania and Ohio, the business regulations are being implemented in conjunction with the medical marijuana patient program.

The biggest difference begins with the limited licenses that will be allowed in those states. In Pennsylvania there will be 5 vertically integrated licenses, with an additional 20 cultivation and 20 processor licenses. For Ohio, those details are still pending. Colorado has not limited the number of licenses allowed in the state although many local municipalities have imposed their own limited licensing process or a complete ban or moratorium. Even before adult-use was legalized in Colorado, the medical marijuana program did not limit those licenses. In states where licenses have been limited, we have seen ten times the applicants for the amount of licenses available. This means the competition is fierce and only the most qualified groups will be selected.

Another limitation is the types of products allowed to be produced. In Pennsylvania, only oil, pills, topicals and tinctures will be allowed to be manufactured. In Ohio, will have a similar product offering and in addition, the raw flower will be allowed to be sold, although smoking is not allowed.

Finally, the window for applying for a license in PA and OH will be limited, so if you don’t submit your application on time, the opportunity is over. If you are not selected, you may not have another opportunity to apply for years to come. So it will be extremely important for you to have a robust application to submit or you won’t have any grower/processor opportunities to pursue.