The Executive Page: Cameron Forni

Co-Founder and president of Cura Cannabis Solutions, a Portland, Oregon, maker of cannabis oils and vaporizers

By Kristen Nichols

What’s your top business tip for cannabis entrepreneurs?

People are the only thing that separates your company from another company. … If there’s ever any problem, it’s the people that solve those problems. If there’s a failure in a cartridge, if there’s a misstep in the supply chain, a problem with compliance, the only thing you can do to mitigate those issues is to have the best people that can solve the problem. You gotta hire rock stars.

What was your biggest business “aha” moment?

I was always a closet cannabis user, because I was in the business world, working in private equity. I would use cannabis after 7 p.m. That’s when I would feel comfortable.

So the big “aha” moment came when I first saw vaporizers. Because when you have cannabis on you, it’s pungent. People know that you have cannabis on you. And when you use cannabis, the room smells, the car smells, you are making a statement. So the discretion that the vaporizer cartridge offered, the versatility of oil, it was a major change.

Looking back, what would you have done differently?

Our No. 1 screwup was … in cannabis you can get so distracted with every new idea, outlet, product, business, spinoff, this, that. And you start to think, man, I can have a dispensary. And I can have an oil company. And then I can make edibles. And then I can get a helicopter that carries people, and then I can get a party bus to drive us to other stores and we’ll advertise other cannabis companies. …

And you just get this paralysis, right? We had to pare down. We had two retail locations; we sold one. We had two grows; we’re in the process of selling one right now. We’ve divested everything in our company but what we do in our core, which is make oil.

How do you know when to work together with other companies?

That’s a hard one. Every grower is the best grower, right? It comes down to people. We’re a big handshake industry, and we’ve been burned plenty of times, but through those failures we find partners who are lifelong partners.

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