MMJ: Precision Dosing with Ardent

I love that we are finally beginning to see mainstream patients turn to cannabis a legitimate option.

Cooking with cannabis is fun, enjoyable and many times, medically necessary, but how do you know you are doing it correctly? With weed science being something that not everyone is an expert in, we’re glad to see companies like Ardent filling the void. Keep reading to learn more about Shanel Lindsay, Founder and President of Ardent, and Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Northeast Cannabis Coalition.

What is your name and title?

Shanel Lindsay, Esq., Founder and President of Ardent

shanellindsayheadshot ardent

How / Why did you get into the cannabis industry?

I’ve been a medical marijuana patient for more than 15 years, and consistently struggled to dose accurately with my medicine. I eventually began testing my material in the laboratory, and was amazed to discover the loss that occurs when using kitchen tools to make cannabis medicine. I realized I could develop a technology to help any patients to consume cannabis in the right dosage and form they were seeking. That’s when I created the decarboxylator. It allows patients to transform the plant into an accurate therapy at the touch of a button. With a streamlined, precision device, the patient gets peace of mind knowing that this important has been done correctly and the ability to make any cannabis product at a fraction of the cost.

What do you like most about cannabis?

The positive health benefits of course; the fact that consuming cannabis helps people with both chronic and short term illnesses. I also love that we are finally beginning to see mainstream patients turn to cannabis a legitimate option.

We’ve heard great things about Ardent and your new decarboxylator. Can you tell us more about it? How does it work? Why is decarboxylation important for cannabis consumers?

Decarboxylation refers to the process of converting raw cannabis into its active bioavailable form, and it’s a critical step for administration.  Done with imprecise tools (like the oven or the crockpot) wastes around 30% of the available medicine, costing patients a ton of money and making accurate dosing impossible. Our decarboxylator uses dual precision sensors, a fully encapsulating heating core and decarb algorithm to deliver precise, permeating heating cycles that perfectly activate flower, kief, trim, or concentrate. Patients save money and have a simple, discreet way to make any cannabis product, including edibles, topicals, and sublingual therapies.

ardent 1

Do you enjoy using cannabis? If so, what is your favorite strain?

Absolutely. On the uplifting, energetic side my favorites are Sour Tangie, Dream Queen, Clementine, Stardawg.  For pain and inflammation I steer towards Kosher Kush, OG Kush and Cookies strains.

How do you like to customize your marijuana experience?

I like to incorporate my cannabis therapy into an overall health and wellness plan. I pair my medicine with different dietary elements in order to enhance the effects. I like fresh made edibles, so I often decarb flower or kief in the morning so I can blend mix it in with my meals throughout the day.

How has marijuana helped define who you are?

Cannabis, and really the fact that it has been illegal and so stigmatized has for sure shaped who I am.  I saw early on that I was going to have to develop a thick skin and fighting spirit to defend my own freedom and push to change the perceptions around this amazing plant.  Becoming a professional and parent, it was hurtful not only to be judged for cannabis use, but to see the devastating effects of the racially and socioeconomically biased war on drugs. But there is an overwhelming joy in this struggle, when that change is made, and you can see firsthand people taking control of their health, and for some, finding relief when there was no hope left. In a deeper sense, it has shown me the fallacy in judging or condemning things before fully understanding them.


What is the Northeast Cannabis Coalition? What part do you take in the group?

I am Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Northeast Cannabis Coalition, and we are a group of cannabis business owners who are dedicated to ensuring that cannabis legalization rolls out the right way, both in Massachusetts and as adult use spreads across the Northeast. We are focused on empowering small business owners and entrepreneurs, providing them opportunities to network, expand their businesses, and connect with funding sources.  Our Startup High entrepreneur and investor showcase was the first of its kind in Massachusetts and we are excited for this year’s event as well as focused development sessions we are hosting for entrepreneurs in the space.

How have you dealt with canna-bias throughout the years?

Science and data.  People fear or ridicule cannabis most often because they are uninformed. You’d be surprised how quickly just one data point or study can begin to open a skeptic’s mind to the possibilities.


In your opinion, what is the biggest benefit to legalized marijuana?

Safety, access and equity. When cannabis is illegal, there are no protections for patients, many of whom are often already very sick.  With legal cannabis comes standards and the ability to access the variety necessary to determine the right material and administration method for the patient or the person using for wellness. Legalizing cannabis begins to dismantle the biased enforcement mechanism, an important step toward true equality in civil rights.

Tell us a little about the Massachusetts Patients Advocacy Alliance.

MPAA is the primary stakeholder for the Massachusetts medical cannabis program. The MPAA represents a coalition of cannabis patients, providers, and organizations that worked to pass Question 3 to legalize medical marijuana in 2012. MPAA fights for implementation of MA’s medical marijuana program, and is on the front lines advocating for patient access both at the state and level. The executive leadership and our advisory board works with a base of over 15,000 supporters to impact safe access through educational endeavors and direct advocacy with elected officials and in cities and towns across the state.

In your opinion, how has the recent trends in the recreational cannabis industry affected medical marijuana patients?

We bear the huge responsibility of protecting medical patients and the medical program as we move towards adult use. The two programs (medical vs. adult use for health and wellness) absolutely need to remain separate.  For patients, accessing tax-free medicine is critical, and there are certain strains and products that medical patients need that aren’t commercially popular. A safe space for patients will always be crucial, and we as an industry need to advocate for those protections.

What do you believe the future of marijuana holds?

While it’s tough to say what will happen on the federal level, there was an overwhelming and very public acceptance of cannabis last election day.  More people are understanding the hypocrisy of prohibition and realizing the potential of cannabis and hemp.  There is no going back once a person is personally impacted, so I expect we will continue to see a strong focus and interest on cannabis legalization and advocacy efforts throughout the nation.


What are you working on next?

We are expanding to better serve demand, both in the U.S. and abroad. Launching our line of consumables is also top priority. Patients are constantly contacting us, especially requesting the sublingual administration methods, which to me are one of our most exciting developments.

Learn more about Ardent here on their website.


Photos: Courtesy of Ardent

THC Legal Group: Slaying Stigmatization & Protecting Cannabis Business

“Personally, I don’t use cannabis, but I think it is absolutely critical that people who do choose to enjoy the plant are permitted to do so…The cannabis industry is exploding with passion and excitement and we love helping these amazing entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams.”

The cannabis industry (both medical and recreational) has many proponents, both avid cannabis users and those who abstain. We hear a lot from our fellow weed smokers, but we don’t often get to connect with those who are actively supporting and forwarding the industry, and don’t choose to use cannabis personally. Howard Cohn, Managing Partner of THC Legal Group is a non-cannabis user who is still passionate about supporting the budding industry; his practice represents marijuana startups and specializes in intellectual property protection. Read on to find out what he had to say.

What is your name and title?

Howard Cohn, Managing Partner of THC Legal Group


How did you get started practicing cannabis law?

I have been a registered patent attorney for over 35 years and during the course of my career, I have worked with some truly amazing and innovative companies.  While cannabis has been legal in some form or another in various states for the last couple of decades, only recently has it made its way to the forefront of the Startup community.  As a law firm specializing in startup law and intellectual property protection, we have been increasingly contacted by new cannabis businesses seeking our counsel.  We are thrilled and honored to be a part of the cannabis journey for so many brilliant and passionate young companies.

What states do you practice in, and what is a brief overview of the cannabis laws there?

As a registered Patent attorney, I have a license from the United States Trademark and Patent Office (USPTO) to draft and prosecute patent applications anywhere in the country.  Additionally, I am licensed to practice “traditional” law in several other states throughout the nation.  Our headquarters is in Cleveland, Ohio, an incredibly exciting place to be for anyone involved in the cannabis industry.   As of September 8, 2016, House Bill 523 was put into effect and officially legalized medical marijuana in Ohio.  The mechanics involved in applying for and acquiring a dispensary license has not been fully issued but hopefully, Ohio’s cannabis market will be operational by the first quarter of 2018.

Why are you representing the cannabis industry?

Principally, our interest in the cannabis industry stems from two separate imperatives.  The first is a deep-seated concern with excessive government intrusion in the private lives of its citizens.  As a schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), cannabis is considered to be an exceptionally harmful substance with zero medicinal benefit.  Yes, it was as shocking for me to write that sentence as it was for you to read it.  We want to see the government remove itself, as much as is reasonably possible, from the private lives of its citizens. Cannabis criminalization is a paradigmatic example of the sort of government interference that we find intolerable.

Second, as a legal group specializing in intellectual property protection, we are obsessed with working with people that are innovators and visionaries.  The cannabis industry is exploding with passion and excitement and we love helping these amazing entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams.

Why do you think it’s important for cannabis companies to have adequate legal representation?

Like any business, cannabis companies must take any and all steps available to protect their economic interests. Given the novel and unique nature of cannabis law, it is imperative that cannabis companies work with attorneys who are specialists in this field.

What would you say is the best way for businesses in the cannabis industry to protect their intellectual property?

Fundamentally, intellectual property covers ideas, inventions and other creative productions of the mind.  Depending on the nature of the idea, different avenues of intellectual property protection are required. Cannabis companies should work to protect their branding materials (logo, names, taglines) with trademarks (if and when possible) and novel inventions with patents.

Have you ran into any big hurdles regarding current cannabis laws?

Cannabis’s status as a Schedule 1 Drug under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) has created massive difficulties in a number of regulatory sectors for businesses in the industry.  For our purposes, trademarks have been particularly burdened by their CSA classification and have proven to be challenging to acquire.  Under trademark law, an individual/company cannot acquire a trademark on a good that cannot be legally sold in commerce.  Of course, as an illegal substance, cannabis cannot legally be sold in commerce (at least at a federal level) and we must therefore develop creative and dynamic solutions to help companies acquire trademark rights.

If you can share, what is the most interesting case you’ve had?

To a large extent, the cannabis industry is so fascinating because of the people who have engineered and driven it.  I will not get into too much detail but a client of ours had a particularly brilliant idea involving an agricultural tool to expedite the growing process of the cannabis plant. This client had a tremendous amount of experience in growing other vegetation, which he was able to call upon to develop a unique system specifically tailored to cannabis.  We wish him a great deal of success.

What makes you passionate about cannabis?


Personally, I don’t use cannabis but as I alluded to earlier, I think it is absolutely critical that people who do choose to enjoy the plant are permitted to do so.  Cannabis has tremendous heeling properties, both physical and mental, and I am supremely excited to be a part of an industry that has helped so many people in so many different ways.

Have you encountered canna-bias in the workplace or your personal life, and what steps have you taken to overcome it?

While I have certainly received a few raised eyebrows when people learn about our firm’s specialty in cannabis law, the overwhelming amount of feedback we’ve received has been positive.  Fortunately, the stigma of the lazy and inept stoner has been replaced with an appreciation for the very real and material industrial benefits the cannabis business has for individuals and States alike.

Where do you see the cannabis industry headed in the future?

It is difficult to know with certainty when cannabis will be fully recreationally legal but there is no doubt that its legalization is inevitable.  In the meantime, we expect to see an increasing number of states legalize cannabis, either medicinally or hopefully, recreationally.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

We are often asked by our clients to supply them with a good counterargument to critics of cannabis legalization.  It is crucial for both advocates and dissidents alike to remember that the key question is not whether or not one personally chooses to use cannabis, but rather as a matter of public policy; do we really want to throw people in jail for their choice to enjoy this gift from mother earth?

Photo: Toke Tank; Howard’s headshot provided by THC Legal Group

Legalized Cannabis is Big Business, But Still Federally Shunned

MassRoots, one of the largest and most active technology platforms for cannabis consumers, businesses and activists with 900,000 users, has had their application to join the Nasdaq denied. The Nasdaq determined that as MassRoots may be deemed as aiding and abetting the distribution of an illegal substance, and they are unwilling to proceed with MassRoots’ listing application.

This blow to the legalized cannabis industry may be seen as a larger message against the new and successful industry. Continue reading Legalized Cannabis is Big Business, But Still Federally Shunned