San Diego based Medical Marijuana Inc. (MJNA) is commonly regarded as being the first publicly held company to deal openly in the hemp and marijuana markets. Promoted as a sort of ‘one-stop-shop’ for marijuana, hemp, and hempseed oil based products, services, and development, their product line focuses primarily on the benefits of CBDs, or cannabinoids, and what they hope are new, innovative, and popular ways to ingest them. MJNA prides itself on its “range of over 85 proprietary and patented cannabinoid ‘delivery methods’ that are more ‘socially and medically acceptable’ than typical industry methods.”
These “delivery methods” include CBD-infused balms, lotions, capsules and more, but the two products most heavily featured on the MJNA website, and the focus of their recently revamped marketing campaigns, are their CanChew Gum and RSHO.
Rick Simpson Oil, you say? RSO? No, Real Scientific Hemp Oil is the name of their product, see what they did there?
Their RSHO product is lab tested and is undoubtedly chock-full of incredibly beneficial cannabinoids. The patented CanChew Gum contains 50mg of hemp oil and “approximately” 10mg of CBD per piece, and comes with a detailed certificate of analysis. But the relatively high retail prices on the products, combined with a recent volatile ride on the stock market, has made this investment a bit harder for shareholders to chew on.
Hitting a high of just under 50 cents a share in February of this year, the publicly traded stock has dropped to as low as 3 cents a share, and hovered steadily in the 12-14 cent range throughout July. Outspoken MJNA shareholders and critics blame a lack of transparency between the company and its investors, a lackluster marketing push on its new product line, and a high retail market price on the products, for the sputtering stock growth.
The RSHO, for example, comes packaged in six syringe-like tubes, each one loaded with 10 grams of decarboxylated CBD-hemp oil.
The cost of 10,800 milligrams of prepackaged CBDs? $4,995.00
Similarly, the CanChew Gum works out to be about four bucks per piece when you buy the 32-piece pack.
Whether or not the price points are justified is up for debate, but as MJNA shareholders have pointed out, if you are going to charge that amount of money for a relatively unknown product, you need to market it properly and professionally, and it appears that MJNA got the message.
In an email sent out to subscribers last week, MJNA announced “You’re talking, we’re listening!”. In the newsletter, the company sought to address and alleviate the growing uncertainty surrounding their products and business model. They promise better communication, and admit that “it’s been one of our challenges, and we’re busily working on improving communications along with building sales and awareness for our current and upcoming products.” They even address the “approximate” labeling on the CanChew Gum, correctly pointing out that similar labeling can (or should) be found on most plant-based, “whole food” supplements.
In a further attempt to jumpstart their two flagship products, rebates were made available, and then extended, to knock the price of the CanChew Gum down from $125/pack to $110/pack, and the RSHO is temporarily available for $3600, a “savings” of $1395 over the regular retail price.
Charles Vest was hired as the Director of Communications for Medical Marijuana Inc. subsidiary HempMedsPX, and is likely the man most responsible for breathing life into the barely-there marketing campaign that MJNA was suffering from initially. Facebook users have probably noticed a photo of MJNA’s Real Scientific Hemp Oil flash across their screen in the past few weeks, as Vest and his associates have pulled out all the stops to spread their message.
On Wednesday, Medical Marijuana Inc. announced that its subsidiary, HempMedsPX, was named the Gold Sponsor of the National Medical Marijuana Business Conference and Expo 2013. Dixie Elixirs, another MJNA affiliate, was named the Silver Sponsor for the event to be held November 6-8 in Seattle, Washington.
“This event will provide an opportunity to continue the synergistic spirit of the medical marijuana community. We look forward to building even stronger relationships with the experts in the industry,” says Vest.
Talk of ‘thinking outside the box’ and ‘synergy’ rarely satisfies investors and shareholders. Though, any savvy investor knows that it is never a perfectly smooth ride when you are betting on a trailblazer, and MJNA is certainly leading the way in what is sure to be a booming industry once the benefits of hemp-based products and cannabinoids are widely known.
How soon will it happen? That’s the bet.